The Best Power Banks of 2024, Tested and Reviewed

Find the best portable power bank to keep your batteries fully charged while you’re off grid
A pile of portable chargers charging various devices

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If I have the choice between a device that uses conventional batteries or one that uses rechargeable batteries, I’ll always go with rechargeable. But that means I need to maintain that device, which is why a portable power bank comes with me on nearly every trip. Over the past month, I’ve tested a dozen of the top rated power banks, and from that initial pool, I’ve narrowed it down to the six best power banks.

It doesn’t matter if I’m spending time outdoors or traveling, I’ll need to recharge something, and will inevitably use a power bank. My picks for the best power banks have been used while in the outdoors as well as for everyday use and holiday travel. They’ve juiced up headlamps, GoPros, my iPhone, and even other power banks. After all that field testing, here are my findings and recommendations for the best power banks. 

How I Tested the Power Banks

I tested the power banks in three ways: First, I timed how long it takes them to fully charge and how many times they fully charged my iPhone 11 Max. Then over a one-month period I carried these portable chargers during outdoor activities in several states, on long road trips, and a fishing trip in North Carolina. During that month I subjected them to heat, cold, and water to test their durability. Finally, I weighed and measured each power bank to provide you with accurate specs. 

Here are the attributes I used to evaluate the power banks:

  • As advertised (Do the chargers do what the manufacturer advertises?)
  • Number of charges and charge time (How many times does it charge a phone? How long does it take to charge?)
  • Use in the field (Is it practical to use while hunting, fishing, camping, hiking or backpacking?)
  • Durability (Can it hold up to abuse?)
  • Weight (Ounces are pounds, and pounds are pain.)

The Best Power Banks: Reviews & Recommendations

Best Overall: Anker PowerCore Slim 10,000 mAh

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Key Features

  • 10,000 mAh
  • 3-hour charge time
  • Charges an iPhone twice
  • One USB port
  • Micro USB and USB-C input
  • Weight: 8.4 ounces 
  • Length: 6 inches 
  • Width: 2.75 inches 
  • Depth: .5 inch 


  • Fast charging
  • Lightweight
  • Slim profile


  • Only charges one device at a time
  • Not the best option for extended trips

If you’re looking for an all-around solution, consider the PowerCore 10,000 mAh. It’s a happy medium between a small charger like the Goal Zero Flip 12 and the PowerCore 20,000 mAh. If you are going out for the day or an overnight trip, it provides plenty of juice with two phone charges. It’s also light and small enough to not take up space in a pack or pocket. 

The Anker PowerCore went through three key tests: a timed charge, testing how many times it would charge my iPhone 11 Pro Max, and using the power bank in the field. One of my favorite features of this power bank is how fast it charges. In a few hours, you can bring it from dead to fully juiced and ready to hit the field. It’s fast charging ability also makes it an excellent candidate to pair with a solar panel like the BigBlue 24 watt. 

In my testing, the Anker PowerCore charged my phone twice. That’s two times with the phone on and in use. So, if you keep your phone off while it’s charging, you can expect the power bank to last longer—Anker rates it at two-and-a-quarter iPhone 12 charges. I most often use this charger when I’m going to be out all day and will need to charge my phone once, along with another device like a GoPro. It would also be ideal for a two-to -three day camping trip where you need to charge your phone twice. 

The Anker PowerCore is slim and light enough that you can carry it in a pocket for everyday carry. It’s also perfect for carrying in a daypack or sling bag. Mine has been with me hunting, fishing, and traveling—it’s yet to let me down. 

Read Next: Best Power Banks for Camping

Best Ultralight: Nitecore NB 10000 Gen2

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Key Features

  • Weight: 5.4 ounces (as measured)
  • Average Watt Hours Held During Testing: 25
  • Drop Test: Pass
  • One USB-A port and one USB-C port


  • Over two ounces lighter than the other lightweight power banks I looked at
  • Showed minimal damage during the drop tests
  • IPX5 rated


  • Had the lowest watt hour average across all three tests

It’s not just ultralight backpackers anymore: Everyone is looking for every last ounce they can squeeze out of their setup. So that’s why I was excited to see the Nitecore NB 10000 Gen2. This sleek unit weighed over 2 ounces less than the other power banks I tested. Typically, you’d expect that to come with a durability hit, but the carbon fiber shell helped protect the edges during the drop test in my look at the best lightweight power banks. The Nitecore had visibly less scuffing (although not no scuffing) compared to the other two units I looked at. 

However, as with all things ultralight, you’re paying a premium to save those 2 ounces. The Nitecore NB 10000 Gen2 costs twice as much as most similarly sized power banks. Worse, during testing, it held slightly less power than the other two units, although not so much less that I would question its 10,000mAh claim. 

While this power bank is rated IPX5, meaning it should be just fine if you leave it in a rainstorm, I’d be wary of doing this too often as there is no attached cover for the USB ports.–Laura Lancaster

Best Solar Charger: BigBlue 28-Watt Solar Charger

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Key Features

  • 25 Watt
  • 3 USB ports
  • Charges a phone in about 3 hours of full sun
  • Charges a 10,000 mAh power bank in 6 hours
  • Weight: 1 pound 9 ounces
  • Length: 11.125 inches
  • Width: 6 inches
  • Depth: 1.375 inches


  • Price
  • Charging speed


  • Size
A solar charger in the grass charging a power bank
While it can take up to around six hours to charge a full power bank, the BigBlue is a great way to keep a phone charged a little at a time. Scott Einsmann

There are a lot of portable solar chargers on the market, and they range in price as much as they do in effectiveness. The BigBlue is the best solar power charger that actually works and it’s affordable. You have to manage your expectations when it comes to these small solar panels and while three hours to bring a phone to full charge seems like a lot, I think it’s pretty impressive. 

Here’s the context of my testing. I tested this solar panel in the fall when the sun sits low in the sky. The first hour of the charge the panel received partial sun. I managed the position of the panel throughout the day to keep it aligned with the sun. 

The first test was to see how long it took to charge a Goal Zero Flip 12, which is good for one full phone charge. That test took three hours, which is how long it takes to charge the Flip 12 when plugged into the wall. The next test was to see how long it takes to charge my pick for the best power bank, the PowerCore 10,000 mAh. After six hours in the sun the power bank was at full power. 

When you’re in the field, you probably don’t have time to sit around for six hours waiting for a power bank to charge. But, that’s not the best way to use this charger. In my opinion, using the solar panel to maintain battery life rather than fully charge a device is the best use. For example, if you are glassing in the morning, you can roll out your solar charger and plug in a device. Let’s say you stay put for just an hour, that’s enough time to charge a phone 30 percent. By charging your devices a little at a time throughout your time in the field you can make your powerbank or batteries last much longer. 

Read Next: Best Solar Generators

Best Small: Goal Zero Flip 12

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Key Features

  • 3,350 mAh
  • One USB port
  • One full phone charge
  • Three-hour charge time
  • Weight: 2.6 ounces 
  • Length: 3.75 inches 
  • Width: .625 inch
  • Depth: .625 inch 


  • Charges quickly
  • Lightweight


  • Square shape makes it not ideal for pocket carry

This Goal Zero small power bank won’t take up space in your pack and has enough juice to bring your phone from dead to fully charged. For overnight or day trips, it’s my top choice. I also like keeping this best small charger in my carry-on to keep my phone charged while traveling. 

The biggest con is that its square shape makes it uncomfortable to carry in a front pocket. But, it’s at home in a cargo pocket, fanny pack, or day pack. My favorite features of the Flip 12 are it  charges quickly and it doesn’t need a charging cable—the USB is built in. I also think it’s a great companion to a solar panel like the BigBlue

Best for Backpacking: Anker PowerCore Essential 20,000 mAh

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Key Features

  • 20,000 mAh
  • Up to five phone charges
  • USB-C and Micro USB input
  • Two USB output ports
  • 11 hours to fully charge the power bank
  • Weight: 12 ounces
  • Length: 6.25 inches
  • Width: 2.875 inches
  • Depth: .5 inch


  • Lots of power
  • Can charge two devices at the same time


  • No USB-C output
  • Takes a long time to charge the power bank

This is a power house for charging devices. Whether you’re on a short trip where you need to charge a bunch of devices or a long trip where you need to just keep a phone juiced, this is the best power bank. It weighs less than a pound and it’s easy to carry thanks to its slim profile and beveled corners.

The biggest con of the 20,000 mAh PowerCore is it takes a long time to fully charge. But, the negatives end there. The two USB ports allow you to simultaneously charge two devices. I used it to charge my phone and headlamp each night during a weekend outing. During a November fishing trip, I left the 20,000 mAh PowerCore outside in freezing temperatures. The power bank didn’t lose a bit of charge, which has been my experience with all my Anker power banks in cold weather. Granted, my cold weather in Virginia is different from Fairbanks, Alaska’s cold weather. 

Best for iPhones: Anker Powercore Magnetic 5K

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Key Features

  • Wireless charging
  • USC-C output and input 
  • 5,000 mAh
  • Charges in three hours
  • Charges a phone once
  • Magnetic charging works with iPhone 12, iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max
  • Weight: 4.6 ounces
  • Length: 3.625 inches
  • Width: 2.437 inches
  • Depth: .625 inch


  • Charges quickly
  • Ideal for iPhones
  • Small footprint and lightweight


  • Weak magnet 
  • Not ideal for other phones

The PowerCore Magnetic 5K is a great size for everyday carry. It’s super lightweight and charges a phone fast using a USB-C charger. But, don’t buy this charger unless you have an iPhone, preferably a 12 variant, and a compatible magnetic case. If you don’t have a compatible magnetic case, you’ll have to remove your case to use the magnetic feature and you’ll be disappointed in the strength of the magnet. 

But, if you do invest in a magnetic case, it’s a great wireless charger for outdoors use. Other wireless chargers aren’t practical for outdoor use because they need to be laid flat to maintain contact with your phone. But, the magnetic power bank from Anker snaps to your phone and stays connected even in a cargo pocket or your best backpack. You get the benefit of not needing to bring a charging cable and a continuous charge while you use your phone. I find this charger is ideal for all day sits, or days when I’m running OnX continuously.

Best Budget: Miady AS-TPB21

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Key Features

  • Weight: 7.9 ounces
  • Average Watt Hours Held During Testing: 25
  • Drop Test: Pass
  • Two USB-A ports, one Micro USB port, and one USB-C port


  • Very affordable
  • Two for one


  • Case showed signs of wear after the drop test

The lightweight Miady AS-TPB21 was not only the least expensive option I tested, it was even a two-for-one deal, making it a total steal. That’s the kind of budget option that typically proves lacking during testing. But not so with the Miady. It performed just as well, if not better, then the other two lightweight power banks I tested at, and even had the highest watt hour recording (30 watt hours, after the fridge test, inexplicably). 

If I had to ding the Miady AS-TPB21 on something, it’s that it showed the most signs of wear after the drop test. In addition to the slightly scuffing around the edges of the unit, you can see that the case is slightly starting to separate. Treat this one a little more gingerly, but at least you’ll have a second one on hand if it does break.–Laura Lancaster

How to Choose a Power Bank

Power banks are a lot like other outdoor gear, there’s a trade off between features and weight. You can get more capability, but you’ll pay for it in size and weight. You’ll have to decide how much capability you need and how much weight you’re willing to carry. 

Here are more things you’ll need to consider when buying a power bank or solar charger. 

What is a mAh and how much do I need?

A spec you’ll often see is mAh, which stands for milliamps hour. The mAh spec is a measurement of power over time, the higher the mAh the more power the battery contains. To fully charge a phone you’ll need 3,000 to 5,000 mAh. 


A watt is a measurement of rate of energy transfer. So, when shopping for portable solar chargers keep in mind that the more wattage the more power the panel can provide. I’d recommend at least a 24-watt solar charger. 

Are solar chargers practical?

If you’re in an area where you can provide a solar charger full sun, and leave it all day to charge a power bank or device, they are practical. But, you can’t expect a solar charger that fits in your pocket to work well because you need surface area to effectively charge. 

I found small solar panels to work best for maintaining battery life, rather than being used to fully charge a device. The main issue is that portable solar panels are small, and can only gather so much electricity. What they can do is lengthen your phone or power bank’s life. When you stop to glass or cook lunch, lay out your panel and let it charge the device for a few hours. Even if it’s a few percent increase in battery life, it’s free energy and a few percent here and there can add up over a week’s trip. If you get an extra 25 percent out of our powerbank I count that as a win.

Solar panels are also bulky and heavy. For example, the BigBlue weighs 1.5 pounds, and the 20,000 mAh PowerCore weighs less than a pound. You can pack two 20,000 mAh charges that would charge a phone ten times total and weigh the same as a BigBlue.

Waterproof power banks

Why didn’t I include any waterproof power banks? The rugged power banks that are fully waterproof and shock resistant come at the penalty of being heavy and bulky for the amount of power they provide. I’d much rather drop my power bank in a dry bag than carry the extra weight of a waterproof power bank. It’s also worth pointing out that while your waterproof power bank might survive a submersion, your phone won’t.


Q: Which capacity of power bank is best?

A 10,000 mAh power bank is a good balance between charging ability (two phone charges) and size. 

Q: Which brand power bank is best?

Anker makes the best power banks for everyday use. Goal Zero makes great power banks specific for the outdoors. 

Q: How do I choose a good power bank?

First decide how much capacity you need and the physical size of the charger you’re willing to carry. Then you can look at the available options with your required specifications.

Q: What is the difference between a power bank and a portable charger?

They are synonyms and serve the same functions.

Final Thoughts on the Best Power Banks

The best power bank for you is going to be the one that best fits your specific needs. If you’re a whitetail hunter that just needs something for an all day sit, then the 10,000 mAh PowerCore is going to work well for you. If you spend all your time on a boat and need a power bank to keep your GoPros charged and not slow down if it gets wet, the Anker Solar is perfect. The key is deciding what features best fit how you’ll use your power bank and then choose the charger that best matches your requirements. 

Scott Einsmann Avatar

Scott Einsmann

Executive Gear Editor

Scott Einsmann is Outdoor Life’s gear editor. He oversees the gear team’s editors and writers who are subject matter experts in bows, knives, hunting, fishing, backpacking, and more. He lives in Richmond, Virginia with his wife and two bird dogs.