While we wait for smartphone makers to develop handsets that can go beyond a day of reasonably heavy use, the short-term solution is to invest in a portable charger – a USB block that you can plug into your phone to get two or three times as much usage.
These portable battery packs are getting smaller, smarter, and able to charge faster, and here we're presenting you with the best portable chargers of 2019. Don't buy anything before you've checked through our list and worked out exactly what you're going to need.
The key factor here is the mAh (or milliamp hours) – simply the capacity of the charger, how much charge it can hold – your phone will have a battery measured in mAh too. Divide a charger's mAh by your phone battery's mAh to see how many times it can be recharged.
The more mAh the better then, but the size and the cost goes up too. The second feature to look out for is how many USB ports it has, which reflects how many devices you can charge up at once – one might be fine for most of you, but it's something else to bear in mind.
Header image: Mophie
Best portable smartphone chargers 2019
Mophie makes some of the best chargers around, and the new PowerStation PD XL does its reputation no harm at all. It offers fast 18W charging for compatible phones (that's the PD or Power Delivery bit), and can charge up to 2.5x faster than traditional battery packs.
The XL bit is for the extra size, giving you a decent 10,050mAh of power on the go – enough to charge up most modern phones two or three times over. You've got a choice of USB-C and USB-A ports (a USB-C cable is included), and we like the nice, textured finish as well.
There's that PD or Power Delivery again – the PowerCore 10000 PD from Anker brings with it the same 18W fast charging as the Mophie model above, and the same choice of USB-C and USB-A ports. In other words, there's not much to choose between them at all.
This Anker model has a 50mAh lower capacity but that's barely noticeable, so it really comes down to which design you prefer, and the prices you can find for these two models. We've certainly been impressed with the speed and portability of this charger in testing.
If you're after something with a serious amount of juice in it, and you don't mind so much if the charger doesn't fit in your pocket, may we present to you the Anker PowerCore 26800. It has a huge 26,800mAh capacity, and can charge three devices over USB-A at once.
What you don't get is the compact size of the PowerCore 1000 PD (above), or the faster charging that Power Delivery supplies. The battery pack itself does charge up very quickly when plugged into the wall, however, and you do get a travel pouch bundled in the box.
With a high capacity of 19,500mAh and the ability to charge up bigger devices – as in laptop-sized big – with its 30W of charging power, there's a lot to like about the PowerStation USB-C XXL. It's easily one of the best portable chargers around in 2019.
Of course with that extra capacity comes extra size, and you can't really slide this into your pocket. You do get a couple of charging points, USB-A and USB-C, for charging two devices at once, and – like the Mophie PowerStation above – it has an appealing fabric finish too.
If you need a battery pack that's able to go anywhere as well as stumping up juice for your smartphone, the LifeActiv Power Pack 10 is definitely worthy of your consideration – it's fully protected against water, drops, dirt and even snow according to the manufacturer.
In another nod to the great outdoors, the pack comes with an LED flashlight you can use to find your way in the dark. On top of that you get 10,000mAh of power in a size that's small enough to slot away in your rucksack, and a light display showing how much charge is left.
With so many smartphones now offering wireless charging, it makes sense to buy a battery pack with the same tech – so step forward this Poweradd model, which gives you Qi wireless charging, 10,000mAh of juice, and a choice of one USB-A and two USB-C ports.
Even with all this functionality packed in, the charger remains light and portable, and available at an affordable price too. Just remember that you're not going to get the same speedy charging rates with a wireless pad as you are by plugging in a USB cable directly.
As you'll have noticed if you've worked your way down this list of best portable chargers 2019, you can go for more capacity, but the pack size goes up accordingly. The RavPower USB-C Power Bank 26800 PD hits a nice balance between the two, and is affordable as well.
That PD or Power Delivery designator means you can fast charge phones that are able to support it, and with USB-C and USB-A ports you can charge both old and new gadgets. There's enough power here to juice up tablets as well as phones several times over.
Design might not be the most important consideration when you're choosing the best battery pack, but the Aukey USB-C Power Bank 20000 packs in plenty of power (20,000mAh) as well as being something you wouldn't be ashamed to have on show.
On top of that you've got no fewer than four USB ports to make use of, one of which is USB-C. Aukey's power banks have a strong reputation, and the company has done fantastically well to cram in this much power inside a device that's so sleek and svelte.