Of all the advances in technology in the last decade, batteries are probably the thing that’s improved the least. It’s still rare to get much more than a day or two out of a smartphone or a few hours out of a laptop without heading for a power outlet, which is why there’s such a thriving market in portable batteries.
Also known as power banks and portable chargers, these let you plug in and charge or run pretty much any mobile electronic device you can think of. There’s a big difference between charging a phone and running a camp fridge, but with the right portable battery, you can do it!
The Best Portable Batteries for Mobile Electronics
When most people think of a portable battery, it’s typically something they can use to charge their phone or tablet when it goes flat. They’re by far the most popular kind, and for good reason: they’re usually relatively small and light, widely available, and don’t cost a lot.
There’s a big difference, though, between something tiny that fits in a back pocket that charges your phone once or twice, and a big, hefty power bank that can charge a laptop, iPad, or a whole bunch of smartphones.
That’s why we’ve put together a guide to the best power banks for mobile electronics in 2021, across a variety of different sizes and uses. Whatever your mobile charging needs look like, there’ll be something in there that fits the bill.
The Best Portable Batteries for Laptops
While almost any portable battery can charge a smartphone, and many can charge a tablet, it’s a different story when it comes to laptops. The need for much larger capacities and higher power outputs make this kind of battery bigger, heavier, and more complex to produce, which also makes them more expensive.
Even so, there’s plenty of variation among the different models in capacity, compatibility, and price. Some will only just manage one full charge of a USB C-powered laptop, while others will provide up to two charges and can power a wider variety of machines.
Whatever you’re after, our guide to the best portable batteries for laptops in 2021 should have something for you!
The Best Generators and Portable Batteries for Camping
Heading off-grid but still have a bunch of stuff that needs power? You can charge and run anything from a phone to a refrigerator with the right kind of portable battery, but knowing exactly what kind you need (and don’t need) is the key.
That’s why we put together our guide to the best portable batteries for camping in 2021, which covers charging both small electronics like phones, tablets, and speakers, and much larger appliances like mini-fridges, fans, and televisions. In some cases, you can also use solar panels to charge the battery up again as needed.
There’s also an option that can jumpstart your vehicle if you happen to come back to a flat battery, and even a camp cooker that can charge your phone while you cook your dinner!
For those with even greater power needs, we’ve also covered the best portable generators. Most of these run from gas, propane, or both, but there’s also a solar-powered version if you’d prefer a greener (and much quieter!) option.