With our very busy and digitally-involved lifestyles, we are always wired to cyberspace. We can't seem to live without our electronics - especially our phones! Now that our camera, computer, watch, calendar, documents and many more can function in one little device the size of our palms, we tend to be more dependent on our phones than ever before. Our increased usage depletes our phone batteries in a faster time as well. This makes power banks our next best friends (after our phones, of course).
Then, the next question is: "Is every power bank the same?" As long as it charges your phone, it works, right? Wrong. There are a few main qualities in power banks that you ought to look out for to ensure that you are getting the best bang for your buck.
Here are some tips for buying a power bank.
1. Capacity of Powerbank: INACCURATELY REPRESENTED
The capacity of power banks can tell you how often you can charge your electronic devices before all the energy is depleted and you need to recharge your power bank. Capacity is measured in milliamp-hour (or mAh). Most common power banks in the market are currently holding about 10000mAh to 20000mAh - perfect for charging handphones or small handheld cameras and usually will last you about 2-3 full charges.
That’s what you think. IN FACT, many power banks are often advertised as having higher mAh than in reality.
FUN FACT: Most Power banks in the market derive 10,000Mah base on 3.7V. Hence, the actually mAh = [3.7 x 10,000(Advertised mAh)] / 5 = 7,400 mAh!
Produced by heat production, for e.g. when converting to higher voltage, remember to leave some room for conversion loss between 2-10%)
If we are talking about 5% = 7400Mah x 95% = 7030 Mah is the actual capacity! Hence overall, a 25-30% decrease from the actual mAh!
In the past, it is known that charging a device with a power bank that has higher voltage may ruin the device's battery. People were afraid of it heating up unnecessarily, swelling and even exploding. Yet if you decided to opt for a power bank with a lower voltage than your device, it may never charge.
For best results, you may want to consider a power bank that is +/- 0.5V.
FUN FACT: Now most of our devices now come with a smart chip to control and communicate with the power bank how much current can flow through. Therefore, we save the hassle of reading all the technical terms and be able to enjoy fast charging safely!
2. SPEED OF CHARGING
Measured with the symbol 'A', power banks with higher amperage will charge your devices faster. A normal power bank has an amperage between 1A and 4A.
FUN FACT: 80% of the usual USB charging adapter/cable supports 5V x 2mAh = 10W of charging speed. Most of your phones can actually receive 18W (eg. Iphone 11 and Samsung note 8 onwards)
3. BATTERY TYPE
Electronic devices nowadays are powered by two main types of batteries - lithium-ion and lithium-polymer.
The former is a high power density battery that lacks a memory effect, meaning that it takes a long time before it gets harder to charge over time. Such batteries are also less costly.
On the other hand, lithium-polymer batteries are generally more robust and flexible and tend to last longer. This makes such batteries more lightweight with a lower profile and a lower chance for electrolytes to leak. With all that said, these are more expensive.
Not all power banks specify which battery they use, but it is good to be aware if the qualities.
In summary, we hope to add value and make it easier to understand what you need to look for in getting your next powerbank.
- Total Capacity you need
- Ideal Charging Speed – Ideally supports higher Watt. (5V x 2A) 10W* Most common or Fast Charge (9V x 2A) 18W which is 40% faster.
- Look for Lithium-Polymer Battery (Tend to last longer, lighter weight but more costly)