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Best power banks 2024

Which unit should you have at hand in case your phone needs a charge on the move?

It’s easy to run your phone flat when you’re out and about, whether through heavy sat-nav app usage or lots of calls. Having a power bank means you can be up and running even though you’re away from a conventional charger. And it can be used for other gadgets with a suitable socket.

Most banks have conventional USB ports as well as, or instead of, the quicker USB-C ports. There are adaptors available to convert each to the other. Wireless (QI) charging is easier, but generally not quite as quick as using a cable. The capacity (in Ah) is the electronic fuel tank, but more power means more weight and expense. If you have a bank and a device capable of fast charging, the results can be up to three times quicker.

How we tested them

Using a USB-C cable, we connected each power bank to a Samsung S20 (4.5Ah battery) with a start reading of around five per cent for 15 minutes, noting the increase. We logged the technical spec of each device, including the capacity, number and type of ports, presence of wireless charging, weight and battery-state indicator (digital is easier to read). Finally, we considered the price, calculating the cost per Ah. 

Reviews 

MSC QI/QC Wireless Power Bank

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The MSC is extremely well specified, starting with a neat digital battery readout on the side. There are two USB sockets (5V and 9V), along with a bi-directional USB-C port that can also be used to charge the power bank (as could an older-style micro-USB port). 

The wireless charging pad gives it a full house of options, the pad tilting up to 60 degrees to make screen viewing easy. A charging result of 14 per cent was okay, if nothing special, but its myriad options and being the cheapest wireless-equipped unit on test made it hard to beat.

Dudao K16 22.5W Universal USB-A & USB-C Power Bank

  • Price: Around £20 
  • Capacity: 10Ah
  • Website: mobilefun.co.uk
  • Rating: 4.5 stars 

Undoubtedly the most eye-catching bank on test, with its see-through casing showing the device’s electronic innards. Technically it features a USB and bi-directional USB-C port with a 25cm USB to USB-C cable. And as with most of the units in this test, it can charge two devices at the same time.

We like the clear central digital display and at 206g, it is the lightest 10Ah bank we tried, with its neat shape making it easy to store. Better still, it is the cheapest 10Ah bank and its gain of 17 per cent was joint second on the day.

Nebo 20K Powerbank

  • Price: Around £50
  • Capacity: 20Ah
  • Website: nebotools.co.uk
  • Rating: 4.5 stars 
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This is the second most expensive bank we tried – although still a reasonable price per Ah – and the heaviest on test. It also claims the biggest Ah figure, with its 20Ah capable of providing hours of back-up charge. 

It features a USB-A and a bi-directional USB-C socket, and comes with a USB-C to USB-C cable, which might be a hassle for some except that it comes with a very useful adaptor. The 15-minute charge total was 17 per cent, joint second best on test. We liked the digital display and the Nebo is a practical answer for heavy-duty users.

Blue Power 22.5W 10,000mAh 6-in-1 Wireless Charger Power Bank

  • Price: Around £30
  • Capacity: 10Ah
  • Website: mobilefun.co.uk
  • Rating: 4 stars

As with the MSC, the Blue has an abundance of input and output options: there are two USB ports, a bi-directional USB-C, a micro USB and an Apple Lightning port. Combined with the wireless charging pad, this produces the option to charge a total of four products simultaneously if required.

Four LEDs show the battery state, with the final one turning green when the device is charging. The 15-minute total of 16 per cent was good and the weight of 221g is about right. Plus the price is impressive for such a well equipped wireless unit. 

Nebo 10K Powerbank Wireless

  • Price: Around £40
  • Capacity: 10Ah
  • Website: nebotools.co.uk
  • Rating: 3.5 stars 
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Following the bigger Nebo’s lead, the 10Ah version has a USB-to- USB-C cable with a USB-to-C adaptor, which could be really handy where older devices need charging. It features two ports: a USB-A and a bi-directional USB-C.

We like the wireless charge facility and particularly the flip-out phone holder which, allied to the rear-mounted kick stand, meant that the screen was visible while charging. However, the charge result of just 12 per cent was quite disappointing and its price was high for its capacity, even allowing for the wireless function. 

Nebo 5K Powerbank

  • Price: Around £20
  • Capacity: 5Ah
  • Website: nebotools.co.uk
  • Rating: 3.5 stars 

The smallest of the Nebo line-up, the 5Ah is enough to get you out of trouble and would probably completely charge the average smartphone. At 105g, it’s the lightest unit we tried. Its neat and simple design meant it would easily pop in a glovebox or door pocket.

The twin USB-A ports and the bi-directional USB-C port are all rated at 5V (rather than the quicker 9V), so we weren’t surprised at the 15-minute charge figure of eight per cent. The Nebo also works out quite pricey per Ah. 

MSC QC 5Ah Aluminium PD 18W USB-C

Our second 5Ah unit is also designed for emergencies and we like its strong, though light, aluminium construction and svelte oblong design. The four blue battery-state LEDs, power button and two ports (USB-A and bi-directional USB-C) are grouped at one end. 

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Both ports registered 9V, so we expected to get lots of top-up in our 15-minute test, but the charge total of just eight per cent was joint worst of the day, and exactly mirrored the performance of the Nebo 5K. Its per- Ah price is more than all the others, bar the Nitecore. 

Nitecore NW5000 Wireless Power Bank

  • Price: Around £78  
  • Capacity: 5Ah
  • Website: nitecore.co.uk
  • Rating: 3 stars 

Although small and light (120g), the Nitecore has some serious tech. The forged carbon-fibre shell is heavy duty, resulting in IPX5 water and dust-protection accreditation. It charges wirelessly at 15W and wired at 20W. 

The wireless pad is MagSafe and works with newer iPhones (after 12) or Androids with a suitable magnetic adaptor, and so could be stuck to the smartphone when in use. Using the single USB-C bi-directional port, the Nitecore clocked up the best result on test – 20 per cent after 15 minutes. But this cleverness has a high price. 

Verdict 

​​Our top two 10Ah models were very close, with the various extras and wireless facility just swinging it for the MSC QI/QC ahead of the Dudao. The third-placed Nebo 20K would be ideal for those people needing large stocks of back-up power. 

  1. MSC QI/QC Wireless Power Bank 
  2. Dudao K16 22.5W Universal USB-A & USB-C Power Bank
  3. Nebo 20K Powerbank

Looking for a way to hold and charge your phone while on the move? Click here for the best wireless phone charger holders...

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