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Power Bank Basics
Portable, dependable recharging power for your computer or device. That's what a good power bank provides. There are other uses for a power bank that I will discuss a little later, but the number one role this device will play in your life is as a life-saving recharge when you have no power, no phone, and no way to plug into the wall.
A power bank is essentially a storage battery with USB and 12V plugs. A mid-range power bank has enough power to fully charge an iPhone or iPad dozens of times, with no need to be anywhere near a power source. The ones in this guide are affordable—less than $50 for a quality unit.
A good power bank can be your savior in a desperate situation, whether it's during a lights-out emergency due to a storm, being stranded beyond the reach of recharging power, portable power during a camping trip, or simply a head-slapping dumb move in forgetting your charger at home.
I have several power banks, and I will discuss them in this article. Having used them when it counted, I can offer you real-world advice on what features to look for, how to tell what kind you need, and how much you should expect to pay for a good one.
A Top-Quality Power Bank With Great Features
Be-charming High Capacity Backup Battery Power Pack
This is the power bank that I have found to be the most useful. It's the one that "saved" me from my potential run-in with an allergy-inducing wasp sting. Here are the features that matter to me:
- Three USB inputs. As I mentioned above, this means I can share my power with other people, including strangers in airports. But in addition to that, it means I can run three separate lights when I'm camping, or two while recharging my phone. Whichever power bank you decide to go with, I strongly recommend choosing one with multiple outputs.
- LCD readout that shows how much power is left. Trust me, you do not want to play the guessing game with how much power you have. I have another power bank, which I will discuss next, that has a four-light power indicator. That works fine, but the LCD readout with an actual number is way better.
- It charges with a lightning cable. This means I don't have to run all over town looking for a particular 12V adapter/charger, I just plug an easy-to-find lightning cable into a wall cube, and I'm good to go.
- Two-year warranty. Just in case.
To be fair to my other power banks, this one is the slowest to charge, probably due to that very-convenient lightning cable. It takes about a day to get it up to 100% power, which isn't a big deal if you have the time and remember to do it.
TalentCell Rechargeable DC Output Lithium Ion Battery Pack
This was the first power bank I purchased, and I got it thinking I would only want it to run DC lights while camping, plus a few other random uses. I wasn't thinking about recharging my devices at the time.
This power bank is really intended for a few specific purposes, especially powering robotic telescopes and cameras, so it's unreasonable to think it would compete with other power banks that are designed specifically to charge things like phones. This power bank can do that, but you will need an adapter or a DC-AC inverter to make it work.
That said, this power bank definitely does what it's supposed to!
- Compatible with any LED strip light products, CCTV Camera, IP Camera, LED Panel, Amplifier, Modem, Car DVR.
- TalentCell Lithium-ion Battery Pack also runs robotic telescopes fine.
- US Wall plug Charger and DC 1 Female to 2 Male Power Splitter Cable are included.
- Designed to integrate with Flexible LED Lights, Digital cameras, Booth lighting, Bluetooth speaker, Fish finders, or most 12V/9V/5V DC electronic devices.
This power bank gets really good user reviews, so it must be doing something right— it's just that what it does is pretty specific and not directed at iPhone and iPad recharging.
RLERON Solar Portable Charger With 3 Inputs and 4 Outputs
Solar portable chargers let you disconnect completely from the grid. With a solar power bank, you can completely remove myself from the need for a wall plug. This means that even if your power bank runs down while you're in the wilderness (possible), or you space out and forget to charge it when you have the chance (likely), you'll be able to get a charge as long as the sun shines.
- 24000mAh high capacity
- Four 2.4A Outputs and & Three 2.4A Inputs
- Supports most Android and phones
- Supply capable for fast charging of four devices
- Green energy!
- Overcharge & over-discharge protection
- Two-year warranty, just in case.
This unit has great user reviews, but I always read what they have to say, looking for someone who has the same user profile as I do.
My Power Bank Conversion Experience
My moment of truth with a power bank came on a recent backpacking trip. I was miles from civilization, although I did have cell phone coverage—spotty, but it was there. What I didn't have was a phone with any battery life. My trusty iPhone 5s (I know it's an antique, but it has never let me down) had 1% battery left, and that was about to go to zero. I was a little anxious about having no way to reach civilization, but I figured I could use a combination of caution and luck to survive.
My moment of truth came when I was suddenly stung by a wasp. It got me on the arm, for no apparent reason, as I was walking on the trail. This was in the American Tropics, and the wasps there know how to sting, believe me. It hurt, but I knew I would get over it.
Then the thought came to me: what if I were allergic? I have been stung a few times in my life, and never had a reaction, but I knew that anaphylaxis could develop at any time, and it could be a serious, life-threatening situation. Suddenly I saw how foolish I was to be out in these unpredictable wilds with no way to reach anyone.
Power Bank to the Rescue!
Nursing my stung arm, I immediately headed back to camp. I had recently purchased a power bank and was intending to use it to power some good lighting once night fell. I immediately saw that the real use for a power bank, and one I desperately needed, was to recharge phones and devices when you have no other alternative.
You don't have to be stranded in the jungle to need a power bank. Since then, I have used my power bank in many situations, all of them in the course of normal, everyday life. Even when I get home with almost no battery and my kids are occupying every single charge, or every single charger has simply and mysteriously vanished from the house, I'm sure you know the feeling. So, a power bank can have many uses in many different situations.
Be Safe and Be Powerful
I hope this guide helps you think about what kind of power bank is right for you. And I hope you can see the need for a power bank, without having to get stung by a wasp in the middle of the jungle!
- Bring a Power Strip to the Airport and Never Worry About Finding an Empty Outlet
Nowadays, airports are full of places to charge and power your technology—but that doesn't mean one of those outlets will be available to you when you arrive. Redditor jaspersurger came up with a simple solution: bring your own power strip.
- Anaphylaxis Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment & Management | AAAAI
An overview of anaphylaxis symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and management written and reviewed by the leading experts in allergy, asthma and immunology.
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