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Thursday, May 3, 2018

Best Laptop Power Banks 2018

Best Laptop Power Banks 2018
It's not just our phones and tablets that need powering up away from the mains: our laptops also need portable power. We round up some of the best power banks for your laptop.

What type of power bank do I need for my laptop?
Before you can choose a laptop power bank you'll need to know two things:
  • Does it support USB-C charging?
  • How much power is required to charge its battery?
The answers to both these questions should be fairly straightforward: just look at the mains charger that your laptop was sold with. If it has a USB-C connector then your laptop clearly charges over USB-C, and the power rating should be listed in Watts somewhere on the charger itself.

If you can't find it here, check the specification either on the manufacturer's site or in the paperwork that came with the laptop.

If it's a proprietary cable rather than USB-C then you can still charge your laptop using a power bank, but you'll need to select a bank with an AC outlet to which you can physically plug in your laptop using its mains charger. In such a scenario the power bank simply steps in to replace your wall power outlet.

It's a more clunky solution than a USB-C PD charger, for which you simply need to attach a decent-quality USB-C cable, but if you don't have a USB-C port on your laptop then little can be done.

Why don't all USB-C power banks work with my laptop?
Most power banks sold with USB-C are capable of a maximum power output of around 18W. This is not enough to charge any laptop battery.

USB-C power banks capable of charging laptops are specifically marketed as 'Power Delivery' (or PD) chargers. These are capable of up to 100W.

Note the 'up to' in that sentence. We've yet to see a power bank that can actually deliver that amount of power over USB-C. The RavPower PowerStation 27000mAh is not a USB-C power bank, though it can deliver around 85W via its AC outlet. 

One of the examples in our round-up is rated at 22.5W. That might be enough to charge a USB-C MacBook, and so it is marketed as a 'laptop power bank', but be careful: most USB-C laptops will not get by on this amount.

The Dodocool example offers a higher rate of 45W, which is suitable for more USB-C laptops than are the other two, but some laptops require even more power still - often as much as 65W. Be sure to check before you buy and, if in doubt, go for the highest rating you can afford, which will go some way to future-proof your purchase.

Best Laptop Power Bank Reviews

1. Dodocool 20100mAh Power Bank with 45W USB-C PD
  • RRP: $65.99
A 45W USB-C power bank that can charge laptops as well as phones and tablets, and all at the same time. Functional in design - and looks - this Dodocool power bank comes at a good price.

2. RavPower PowerStation Series 20100mAh Portable Power Outlet
  • RRP: $99.99
It has a similar usable capacity to the similarly priced Omnicharge, yet lacks its LCD screen and is much larger and less easily portable. However, this RavPower PowerStation Series 20,100mAh Portable Power Outlet is much easier to get hold of in the UK and even comes with a UK three-pin AC outlet. Both devices are expensive at around £100, but offer insanely fast charging (and recharging) of almost anything you like. A fantastic buy if you can afford it.

3. Anker PowerCore Speed 20000 PD
  • RRP: $79.99 (with 30W PD wall charger)
The PowerCore Speed 20000 PD is a good-value, high-capacity power bank that offers insanely fast charging and recharging speeds, and hails from one of the best-known brands in power-bank tech. Don't make the mistake of assuming its 22.5W USB Power Delivery port will charge any USB-C laptop, however.

4. Anker PowerCore+ 26800 PD
  • RRP: $129.99
It’s expensive, but this Anker heavyweight is an excellent power bank for topping up anything and everything with a USB port - and doing so several times. It is quick to recharge, provided you have a PD adaptor, and will keep on going and going. A great buy if you can afford it.

5. RavPower PowerStation Series 27,000mAh Portable Power Outlet
  • RRP: $129.99
A very pricey but unbeatable power bank for all your devices: it’s got the capacity to keep everything going, the speed to do so quickly, and the outputs to make it all simple. It’s not the most easily portable of devices, and we’d like to see an LCD screen and Quick Charge support at this price, but our only real complaint is the EU two-pin AC outlet. An extra pin would be a dealbreaker.

6. Maxoak K2 50,000mAh Laptop Power Bank
The Maxoak Laptop Power Bank is the highest-capacity battery we’ve ever tested, and ideal if your power needs are great (and land-based - this is too powerful to take on a plane). With 11 adaptors in the box chances are the Maxoak can charge your laptop along with all your other electronic devices, and still have juice to spare. But while it’s a highly functional power bank with premium looks, there’s really nothing here to justify the expensive price tag. We’d like to see an LCD screen and an AC power outlet for that money, while USB-C and Quick Charge support would not be made to feel unwelcome.

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