Slim high-capacity battery with USB-C fast charging
What’s the best power bank for iPhone overall?
If we had to pick a single best iPhone power bank in the summer of 2023, it would be a bit of a toss-up between the Anker MagGo 622 and the myCharge Hub 6700. But those answers are likely to change very soon because of the imminent arrival of the iPhone 15 series (expected mid-September 2023), along with the new Qi2 wireless charging standard.
To be clear, both of those models should still work with any new iPhone going forward. But the new iPhones are rumored to have both USB-C (for wired charging) and an improved MagSafe inductive charging standard, possibly based on Qi2. Newly announced models from Anker and other accessory manufacturers are already supporting the new Qi2 standard, though we won’t know about official iPhone compatibility until the new iPhone are officially announced.
In the meantime, here are our current picks. While this list is geared toward iPhones, any portable battery pack on the list with a USB-C or USB-A out ports will work perfectly well for charging an Android smartphone (or any other portable gadget), so long as you provide a compatible smartphone cable. Wireless (or inductive) charging should also work for Android phones that are so configured.
So what’s the best portable charger for juicing up your iPhone on the go? Here are our top picks, all of which I’ve tested and reviewed. I’ll update this list as soon as the new iPhones and charger details have been confirmed.
MyCharge’s Hub portable chargers come in a few different sizes and not only have an integrated foldable wall plug but integrated Lightning and USB-C cables, so you can charge both Apple and Android devices. It’s a little bulky, but with a 6,700-mAh battery, it should be able to almost fully charge your smartphone, depending on its size. The step-up 10,050-mAh model is about $20 more.
What’s cool about Anker’s 622 magnetic battery is that it’s a wireless battery that has an integrated magnetic flap that converts into a stand. You won’t get fast wireless charging from this 5,000-mAh battery (it charges at up to 7.5 watts), but it’s slim and easy to carry around.
The Baseus Magnetic Mini Wireless Portable Charger is a compact, 6,000-mAh, wireless power bank that sticks to the back of MagSafe-enabled iPhones (or MagSafe-enabled iPhone cases) and charges your iPhone at 7.5 watts. If you’re looking for faster charging, you can plug a USB-C to Lightning cable into the battery and get 20-watt charging speeds. It also offers pass-through charging, meaning you can charge the battery while charging your phone.
Thanks to gallium nitride technology, chargers have been getting more powerful while shrinking at the same time. The latest example of that trend is Anker’s new line of GaNPrime chargers with next-generation GaN 3 technology, which the company says is even more energy-efficient. The Anker Power Bank 733 combines a 65-watt charger with a 10,000-mAh portable battery and is part of the new GaNPrime line. It’s pretty compact for what it is and offers two fast-charging USB-C ports and one fast-charging USB-A port. You can charge up to three devices at once, but note that to get a full 65-watt charge for a laptop, you can only plug in the laptop. Also note that you can save $30 at Amazon by activating the instant coupon on the product page.
Infinity Lab is the new accessories subsidiary of Harman Kardon — a company that is, in turn, owned by Samsung. (Got that?) I like its InstantGo 5000 and InstantGo 10000 power banks, which come with an integrated Lightning cable for easy charging for iPhones (the InstantGo 5000 is currently sold out). The larger 10000 mAh costs more and is heavier. However, it can charge most iPhones twice. Both models are also well designed with a slightly grippy finish on the top and bottom of the battery.
Screenshot by David Carnoy/CNET
If you’re looking for a bigger portable battery that charges your phone wirelessly, the Baseus Magnetic Wireless Power Bank is an excellent option. It houses a 10,000-mAh battery that can charge an iPhone 14 around two times — but it’s still somewhat compact.
You don’t want your phone to go dead on the mountain, so it’s always good to pack a battery pack.
Screenshot by David Carnoy/CNET
Mophie’s Powerstation Wireless Stand with MagSafe is currently only sold through Zagg (Mophie’s parent company) and Apple. It’s not cheap but is a versatile 10,000-mAh battery battery with both a stand and MagSafe charger built in, and also has a threaded tripod mount at the bottom.
If you’re looking for a compact external battery pack for your iPhone (or any smartphone), Mophie’s pocketable Power Station Mini (2022) features a 5,000-mAh internal battery and 20-watt USB-C PD fast charging. (You’ll need a USB-C to Lightning cable to take advantage of that fast charging if you’re an iPhone owner.) That battery will allow you to fully charge your iPhone.
The Anker 523 PowerCore Slim 10K PD is impressively slim for a 10,000-mAh portable phone charger and has a fast 20-watt USB-C out charging port (it’s also a USB-C input to charge its battery), plus a 12-watt USB-A out port. While the Anker 313 PowerCore Slim 10K is cheaper, this offers fast USB-C out charging, which makes spending the extra dough a big plus if you have a USB-C to Lightning cable.
Nimble’s Champ portable charger uses recycled plastic in its construction. You have to pay a bit more for going green, but it is a nice, compact 10,000-mAh charger that features PD 4.0 fast-charging (18 watts) via its single USB-C port. Also, the coupon CNET25 will get you 25% off at checkout.
Factors to consider when choosing iPhone power banks
Lightning vs. USB-C
To date, every new iPhone since the iPhone 12 has used Apple’s proprietary Lightning connector for charging. But now Apple is rumored to be making the switch to USB-C with the iPhone 15 model line. These two connectors only matter if you’re seeking out a power bank with an integrated cord. Otherwise, you’ll want a model with USB-C or USB-A output — that can be used to power your iPhone (or nearly any small electronic device) with the cable that came in the box.
Wireless charging: MagSafe vs. Qi
Most iPhones since the iPhone 8 and iPhone X models introduced in 2017 offer inductive wireless charging. Apple’s standard for these phones is called MagSafe, and power banks that are fully MagSafe compatible — like Apple’s own MagSafe Battery Pack — will charge iPhones at a fast 15-watt level when the power bank is magnetically adhered to the rear of the iPhone. That said, many other more affordable models will still attach to iPhones magnetically, but charge them at half speed (7.5 watts). In all cases, you’ll need to make sure the iPhone has a MagSafe-compatible case, however. The magnetic charging standard is rumored to be changing starting with the iPhone 15 series in 2023, possibly based on the emerging Qi2 standard.
Power capacity vs. weight
Most baseline power banks now start at a 5,000-mAh capacity, which should give you at least one full charge for an iPhone. Chargers with 10,000-mAh or more are available, but they weigh more. That’s of particular note if you plan on traveling with the charger in a purse, backpack or pocket.
How we test power banks for iPhones
At the current time, we do anecdotal testing on these models. Each is fully charged and used on a recent iPhone model for at least a week in real-world conditions. We verify that charging speeds and recharge times are within expected parameters, and — for models with integrated stands or cables — confirm that the connections and build quality are sturdy and free of any notable annoyances or caveats.
How to choose a power bank for your iPhone
Here are a few things to keep in mind when shopping for an external battery pack or power bank:
A higher power output rating (mAh, short for milliamp hours) means more charges — but also a heavier portable charger weight.
For the latest iPhones (everything after the iPhone 7) you should buy a battery with at least a 5,000-mAh capacity, which should give you at least one full charge for a device. All of the models featured above hit that mark.
These best portable chargers for iPhone all use lithium-ion rechargeable batteries, and should thus always be stored in carry-on luggage when flying. Airlines and regulatory agencies are increasingly banning li-ion batteries in checked baggage.
If you want maximum power output, opt for chargers with USB-C PD (power delivery) models, which should charge nearly every device smaller than a laptop, such as a tablet or Nintendo Switch.
Multiple integrated charge cables or USB-out ports will allow you to charge more than one device at a time, such as an iPad or another iPhone. Just don’t expect to charge a laptop unless you get a power bank with 65 watts of output power or more, which is comparatively rare.
iPhone power bank FAQs
What’s the difference between MagSafe and Qi?
MagSafe for iPhone — not to be confused with the identically named magnetic power connector for MacBooks — is an Apple standard that allows for inductive charging with magnetically attached batteries. Qi wireless chargers don’t necessarily have the magnetic component, but also allow for inductive charging. Official MagSafe for iPhone accessories and Made for iPhone wireless chargers (based on the Qi standard) should charge the iPhone at up to 15 watts. Unofficial wireless and magnetic chargers may still work, but will likely be limited to 7.5 watts.
Can these iPhone power banks charge other devices too?
Yes, these power banks should charge any device that’s USB-powered, such as phones, headphones, ebook readers and Bluetooth speakers. Some may also charge larger devices such as tablets, iPads and the Nintendo Switch, albeit at slower levels. You’ll stand a better chance of charging the larger devices if you get a charger with USB-C PD (Power Delivery) support. Don’t expect to charge laptops or Chromebooks without getting larger, higher-capacity power banks that are specifically designed for that purpose (with 65 watts of power output or more).
What’s the difference between USB-C, USB-A and Lightning?
Power banks for iPhone invariably have USB inputs and outputs for charging themselves and other devices, respectively. (Some power banks have single ports that double for both.) The USB-A port is the “classic” rectangular USB port that’s been on computers since as early as the late 1990s. The newer, smaller USB-C port is reversible (there is no “top” or “bottom” to the plugs) and has the capacity to charge at higher speeds.