Graph comparing the battery capacity of several popular devices

USB Power Banks

Going to a convention, LAN party, or traveling you’ll want to keep your devices charged up and working. Finding a wall outlet to recharge can be impractical, if not impossible. USB power banks are a great way to do that as they are convenient, portable, and inexpensive. Let us see what type of USB power bank best suits your needs.

For an updated list of power banks specifically for the Nintendo Switch check out my Nintendo Switch Recommended Chargers & Power Banks post.

What To Consider

When looking at power banks consider the following specs in addition to the cost:

  • Capacity (mAh aka milliamp hour)
  • Output (Watt = Volt x Amp)
  • Weight
  • Other Features: USB-A vs USB-C ports, number of ports, etc)

Consider the capacity of your device(s) battery and how many times you may need to recharge it. You can Google for your device’s battery specs. Expect your device’s capacity to be larger than listed, and the power bank’s capacity to be smaller than listed.

Graph comparing the battery capacity of several popular devices

Output will determine how quickly your device will recharge. Listed features like Quick Charge reference the output specs. USB-C devices typically need a USB-C power bank to get the best charge rate. The input limits of your device is also a factor.

Weight, as well as size, matters. The less you are carrying the better your day.

From these details we can also find a power bank’s value (mAh per dollar) and efficiency (mAh per gram of weight).

When flying FAA rules allow power banks in carry-on bags, but not in checked luggage. You must transfer batteries to your carry-on if gate checking a bag.

Power Banks for Your USB Devices

Power banks to keep your phone, tablet, Nintendo 3DS, and similar devices charged.

TravelcardAnker PowerCore+ miniJackery BoltAnker PowerCore 10000Tronsmart Presto 10000 PBT10Anker PowerCore 20100
Cost$39$15$30$26$23$40
Capacity1500 mAh3350 mAh6000 mAh10,000 mAh10,000 mAh20,100 mAh
Weight57 grams80 grams150 grams180 grams210 grams356 grams
Value38.5 mAh/dollar223 mAh/dollar200 mAh/dollar385 mAh/dollar435 mAh/dollar502 mAh/dollar
Efficiency26 mAh/gram42 mAh/gram40 mAh/gram56 mAh/gram48 mAh/gram56 mAh/gram
NotesBuilt-in cables, pocket carryBuilt-in Lighting and micro-USB cablesQuick Charge 3.0

The Travelcard is a favorite pocket sized power bank, almost the size of a credit card. Two models are available: iPhone (Lightning cable) and Android (micro-USB cable). Yet due to its size it is one of the least efficient power banks.

I keep an Anker PowerCore+ mini in my backpack, along with a short Lightning and micro-USB cable. Its shape and size make it pocketable, though you’ll notice it.

The Jackery Bolt is a great EDC (everyday carry, usually in a bag) battery for your phone. It can recharge even the largest phones twice, and it can provide power to many devices in one package.

Higher capacity power banks, such as the Anker PowerCore 10000, offer better value. You gain flexibility with what kind and how many devices you can keep running. I use this model when carrying a portable Nintendo device.

If your smartphone has Quick Charge 3.0 then pick up the Tronsmart Presto 10000 PBT10. It’ll rapid charge your phone like its wall charger.

For power that lasts for days check out the Anker PowerCore 20100. It’ll recharge a regular sized phone 10 times or keep a fleet of devices running over the weekend. It may be easier to bring this than many wall chargers when traveling for a few days. There is a USB-C variant available, but it isn’t the best USB-C power bank out there.

Nintendo doesn’t provide USB cables for the 3DS and 2DS, so you’ll need to pick one up to go with your power bank. Luckily there are plenty to choose from.

Power Banks for Your USB-C Devices

With USB-C devices you need to consider output rates to get the best results. USB-A power banks will work with smaller USB-C devices, such as the Nintendo Switch. You’ll need a USB-A to USB-C cable. But you won’t get the best charge rate due to USB-A’s output limit. To charge and play you need a USB-C power bank.

Tronsmart Presto 10400 Type-CRAVPower 20100Anker PowerCore+ 26800 PDRAVPower 26800 PD
Cost$27$50$120*$80
Capacity10,400 mAh20,100 mAh26,800 mAh26,800 mAh
Output15 Watt15 Watt30 Watt30 Watt
Weight241 grams380 grams490 grams456 grams
Value385 mAh/dollar402 mAh/dollar223 mAh/dollar*335 mAh/dollar
Efficiency43 mAh/gram53 mAh/gram55 mAh/gram59 mAh/gram
Notes*Includes USB-C wall charger

The Tronsmart Presto 10400 Type-C is one of the smallest and cheapest USB-C power banks. It will charge a Nintendo Switch while in use, but it isn’t great for larger devices due to its limited capacity.

The RAVPower 20100 gets you into higher capacity, but with the same base level USB-C output level. It is the best balance of price and future proofing for USB-C devices.

The Anker PowerCore+ 26800 PD and RAVPower 26800 PD both provide you with a high output USB-C power bank. They will quickly recharge a Nintendo Switch while in use. They may not match your USB-C laptop’s wall charger, but they’ll keep it running for longer. The Anker includes a 30 watt USB-C wall charger. If you don’t need that then opt for the RAVPower.

My Recommendations

Smartphone

Nintendo 3DS

Already have a power bank for your phone with 5,000 mAh or more? Then pick up the Nintendo 3DS USB cable and use what you have.

Nintendo Switch

Smartphone & Nintendo 3DS

Smartphone & Nintendo Switch