What Is A Power Bank and Which One Is Right For You?

Written by: Pete Luckhurst



Time to read 6 min

In today's fast-paced world, staying connected is essential. Whether you're travelling, attending an important meeting, or simply going about your day, having a reliable power source is crucial. This is where power banks come in handy. But what exactly is a power bank, and how do you choose the right one for your needs? In this comprehensive guide, we will explore power banks, their different types, and provide you with tips on how to properly charge and maintain them. So, let's dive in!

What is a power bank?

Understanding Power Banks: A Comprehensive Guide

Before we delve into the specifics, let's start by understanding what a power bank actually is. Essentially, a power bank is a portable charger that stores electrical energy and allows you to recharge your electronic devices on the go. With a power bank in your bag or pocket, you can say goodbye to the anxiety of a drained battery.

Power banks consist of a battery, circuitry, and one or more charging ports. The battery is the heart of the power bank, responsible for storing the electrical energy. The circuitry acts as the brain, regulating the flow of energy and protecting your devices from overcharging or overheating. The charging ports, often USB or USB-C, are where you connect your devices.

When it comes to choosing a power bank, there are a few key factors to consider. Capacity is one of the most important aspects to look at - it determines how many times you can recharge your device before the power bank needs recharging. The output power of the power bank is also crucial, as it dictates how quickly your devices will charge. Additionally, the number of ports and their compatibility with your devices should be taken into account.

It's worth noting that power banks come in various shapes and sizes, catering to different needs. Some power banks are compact and lightweight, ideal for everyday carry and short trips, while others are larger with higher capacities, suitable for extended travel or charging multiple devices simultaneously. As technology advances, power banks are becoming more efficient and feature-rich, offering fast charging, wireless charging capabilities, and even solar charging options for eco-conscious users.

Different Types of Power Banks Available

Power banks come in various shapes and sizes, each designed to cater to different needs. Here are the most common types:

  1. Standard Power Banks: These power banks offer a portable charging solution for a wide range of devices, including smartphones, tablets, and even some laptops. They are compact and lightweight, making them ideal for everyday use and travel.
  2. Solar Power Banks: Harnessing the power of the sun, solar power banks are an eco-friendly option. They have built-in solar panels that charge the internal battery using sunlight. While they may take longer to charge compared to standard power banks, they are perfect for outdoor enthusiasts and eco-conscious individuals.
  3. Wireless Power Banks: Say goodbye to tangled cables with wireless power banks. These innovative chargers use Qi wireless technology to charge your compatible devices simply by placing them on the power bank's surface.
  4. Rugged Power Banks: If you lead an adventurous lifestyle, rugged power banks are designed to withstand the elements. They are dustproof, shockproof, and waterproof, making them ideal for camping trips, hikes, or any rugged outdoor activities.
  5. High-Capacity Power Banks: For those who heavily rely on their devices or frequently travel long distances, high-capacity power banks are a game-changer. With capacities ranging from 20,000mAh and beyond, they can provide multiple charges for your devices, ensuring you stay powered up at all times.

Now that you have an overview of the different types of power banks available, it's time to learn how to properly charge and maintain your power bank to prolong its lifespan and maximize its performance.

When it comes to charging your power bank, it is essential to use the right charger and cable. Using a charger with a higher voltage or current than what your power bank supports can damage its internal circuitry and reduce its overall lifespan. Always refer to the manufacturer's instructions for the recommended charging specifications.

In addition to using the correct charger, it is also important to avoid overcharging your power bank. Once it reaches its full capacity, unplug it from the power source to prevent any potential damage. Overcharging can lead to overheating and decrease the overall efficiency of your power bank.

It is advisable to store your power bank in a cool and dry place when not in use. Extreme temperatures can affect the performance and lifespan of the internal battery. Avoid exposing your power bank to direct sunlight or leaving it in a hot car for an extended period.

Lastly, periodically check the charging ports and cables for any signs of damage or wear. Bent or frayed cables can cause poor connectivity and affect the charging speed. If you notice any issues, replace the cables or seek professional assistance to ensure optimal performance.

How to Properly Charge and Maintain Your Power Bank

Charging and maintaining your power bank correctly is essential to ensure optimal performance and longevity. Here are some tips:

  • Use the provided charger or a reputable brand's charger to charge your power bank. Using a low-quality charger may affect the charging speed and the overall health of your power bank.
  • Avoid exposing your power bank to extreme temperatures. Excessive heat or cold can damage the internal components and reduce the battery's lifespan.
  • Avoid fully draining your power bank's battery before recharging. Lithium-ion batteries, which most power banks use, perform best when recharged before reaching a critically low state.
  • Regularly clean the charging ports to remove dust or debris that may interfere with the connection between your power bank and devices. Use a soft, dry cloth or a small brush to gently clean the ports.
  • If you won't be using your power bank for an extended period, it's recommended to store it in a cool, dry place with a charge level between 20% and 80%. This ensures the battery remains healthy during storage.

How To Choose A Power Bank

With the myriad of power bank options available, selecting the right one can be overwhelming. Here are some factors to consider when making your decision:

  • Capacity: The capacity of a power bank is measured in milliampere-hours (mAh). Consider your typical device usage and choose a power bank with sufficient capacity to provide multiple charges. For smartphones, a power bank with a capacity of 10,000mAh to 20,000mAh is generally suitable.
  • Number of Ports: Determine how many devices you plan to charge simultaneously. Power banks come with different numbers of ports, so choose one that matches your needs.
  • Port Types: Ensure that the power bank has the appropriate ports for your devices. USB-A ports are common for charging smartphones and tablets, while USB-C ports are becoming more prevalent, especially for newer devices.
  • Size and Weight: If portability is a priority, opt for a compact and lightweight power bank that easily fits in your bag or pocket. Remember, larger capacity power banks tend to be bulkier and heavier.
  • Additional Features: Some power banks offer features like built-in LED flashlights, LCD screens to display battery levels, or even fast charging capabilities. Consider these extras based on your specific needs.


Lastly, let's address some frequently asked questions about power banks:

    1. Q: How long does it take to recharge a power bank?

A: The charging time depends on the capacity of the power bank and the input amperage of the charger. As a general rule, it can take anywhere between a few hours to overnight to recharge a power bank.

    1. Q: Can I charge my power bank and my device simultaneously?

A: Yes, most power banks allow you to charge them while charging your devices. However, it's important to use a charger with an appropriate output amperage to ensure efficient charging.

    1. Q: Are power banks safe to use?

A: When used correctly and purchased from reputable brands, power banks are generally safe. However, it's essential to follow the manufacturer's instructions and avoid using damaged or counterfeit power banks.

    1. Q: Can power banks explode or catch fire?

A: While rare, incidents of power banks exploding or catching fire can occur. To minimize the risk, avoid exposing your power bank to extreme temperatures, and purchase from trusted manufacturers.

With this comprehensive guide, you are now equipped with the knowledge to make an informed decision when choosing a power bank. Remember, a power bank is not just an accessory; it's a reliable source of energy for your devices, ensuring you stay connected whenever and wherever you need. Embrace the power of portable energy and never be caught with a drained battery again!

Power banks come in various styles, including solar powered for outdoor use and wireless models with Qi technology.

Use the correct charger and cable to avoid damage, and also take care to prevent overcharging to maintain efficiency.

When choosing a power bank, consider the capacity based on device usage, determine the number and types of ports needed, and explore additional features like LED indicators or fast charging capabilities.

About the author

Pete Luckhurst is a Website Manager at Maplin.

After getting an early start in the world of computing with C64 & Amiga computers, Pete now spends much of his spare time in PC VR and dabbling in game development. He also has a strong interest in film, photography and music.

Among other endeavours, he previously worked in a Maplin store, so it was a no-brainer when the opportunity arose to work on the modern incarnation of Maplin online. Besides writing for the blog, Pete works alongside the Maplin team to help keep the online store running smoothly.