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Best USB battery packs and portable chargers of 2016

Update: Omnicharge added!

Carrying an external battery or portable power pack is the best way to avoid running out of power and being left with a dead phone, so we've compiled this roundup of the best portable chargers available. Whether you need to charge your phone multiple times during a weekend away or just want to top it up before the commute home, you'll find something to suit your charging needs.

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These are the best external batteries of 2016. / © ANDROIDPIT

Best external battery for complete mobility

The designers behind Omnicharge call it the world's first 'smart' power bank. It has clever power management features that allow you to charge up to three devices at once – with two USB ports and one AC port – even while the power bank itself is charging. This means you can charge a phone, tablet and laptop simultaneously.

You can even charge home appliances, making this device a sort of minor off-the-grid experience if you're away from wall sockets for a day or two. It also means you can be completely mobile, whether for a business trip or a weekend of camping. I tested the 13,600 mAh version, which costs $99 (plus shipping) from the product's Indiegogo page (linked at the 'Buy Now' module below), with a maximum output of 65W. You might want to consider investing a little more, though, as the 20,400 mAh unit has an output of 100W and costs $129.

Omnicharge is a powerhouse that can monster through multiple device charging needs. Its quick charger can fill the batteries – with readings shown on its OLED display – within a couple of hours. Overall, I was impressed but still felt a little underwhelmed at the capacity of the smaller unit, which could charge a 3,000 mAh Android phone a little over three times. If you're searching for a serious charging station, I'd recommend buying the bigger one. The retail prices for these power banks will be higher than on Indiegogo, with increases to $199 and $249, respectively.

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Omnicharge is a powerhouse. / © AndroidPIT

Best USB Type-C battery pack

USB Type-C is found on only a handful of Android devices right now, but for those who own one such handset, our best external battery recommendation in this category goes to the Anker PowerCore+ 20100.

This one is our favorite because it charges fast, has a large capacity and is sturdier than its closest competitors. At around $50, it's not the cheapest charger on the list, but this isn't an outrageous price for something with a capacity of 20,100 mAh .

This amount of stored power will easily charge your Android device several times over, whether it's a Nexus 6P, Nexus 5X, and it can even charge multiple USB Type-C devices at once.

What's more, the PowerCore+ 20,100 features 10 LED lights on the face which display its current charge level rather effectively (some batteries only have a single on/off LED).

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Anker has the goods for USB Type-C charging. / © ANDROIDPIT

Best portable charger for your wallet

Yes, credit card-size batteries do exist, but the TravelCard's style and performance ensure it's our current number one for your wallet. The TravelCard charger's dimensions come in at around 3.1 x 2.1 x 0.2 inches and it weighs just 57 grams. Its incredible sleekness – it's about three credit cards thick and only a little longer – means it's perfectly capable of fitting in a normal-sized wallet.

The TravelCard comes with cables built into its body to guarantee a compact feel and its 1,500 mAh of power will fill most modern smartphone batteries by around 30-40 percent.

It’s not especially fast to load your device – largely due to limitations caused by its size and heat transfer – and it’s also expensive for the capacity it holds. What you are paying a premium for here is the convenience.

It’s a good idea, well-presented, and could help you out when you're in a tight spot. Find it at their site via the link below.

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The TravelCard is small enough to fit inside a wallet. / © ANDROIDPIT

Best external battery for your pocket

We recommend the Limefuel Blast L25X as the best pocket-sized portable charger. It measures just 3.6 x 1.5 x 0.8 inches and weighs only 2.3 oz – about the same as lip balm.

The Limefuel Blast L25X holds 2,500 mAh of power, which is not quite enough to fully charge most modern handsets but it's enough to give it a quick boost. The Blast L25X's price and portability make it a great value, no-hassle charging solution.

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For the best pocket-friendly battery pack, go with Limefuel.  / © Limefuel

Best external charger for your bag

The EasyAcc 6000 mAh is slightly larger than the Limefuel option above, both in battery capacity and physical size, but it's still reasonably portable and slightly cheaper. We recommend the EasyAcc 6000 mAh if you want a portable power source that can fully charge your device with juice to spare, and don't mind sacrificing a little ease when it comes to portability. 

It’s a cleverly designed external battery, featuring a built-in USB cable, which is neatly concealed in the side of the device, and it can charge two units at once. It's well-regarded and well-priced, and you can check it out at the Amazon link below.

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The EasyAcc's 6,000 mAh capacity will charge most devices more than once. / © EasyAcc

Best external battery for a weekend trip

For a weekend trip, we recommend the Anker PowerCore 15600. Anker is a veteran of portable power solutions, and the PowerCore 15600 combines a high energy capacity with lightning fast charge times and a durable build.

The Anker PowerCore 15600 can charge two devices at once and is still small enough to carry in a bag. With enough power to charge the Galaxy S7 four times over (five times, in theory), this should be your go-to power bank when you're going to be away from a power outlet for a number of days.

The PowerCore 15600 cost $32.99 when we first recommended it in early 2016. At its current price of $19.99, this is ridiculously good value.

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The Anker PowerCore 15600 is little more expensive but gives a lot more juice. / © Anker

What's your favorite portable battery pack? Let us know in the comments.

Omnicharge section written by Omar Hamwi.


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