How we test power banks


Here's how we find a good power bank that will keep your smart device up and running when you need it most.

Power up


Our power bank reviews help you find the best model to keep your smart device going when you're out and about. We assess their size, ease of use and charging capabilities, so you can be confident you're making the right decision when its time to buy. Here's how we do it.

Already keen to purchase a power bank? Check out our test results.

How we choose what we test

We look for readily available power banks with:

  • A power rating of at least 10,000mAh, up to around 20,000mAh.
  • The ability to charge multiple devices at once.
  • The ability to charge devices other than a smartphone, such as tablet, laptop or portable games console.
  • Fast-charge capabilities.
  • RRP between $25 and $200.

We also looked for models with USB-C connectivity. (though this is only available on some products).

Scoring

Our overall score comprises:

  • Capacity performance (35%)
  • Versatility (35%)
  • Ease of use (15%)
  • Display (15%)

How we test

We rate and/or assess the following aspects of each power bank:

  • Capacity performance: Number of times each battery charged a test phone (Moto C) to 80%.
  • Versatility: Refers to the power banks’ ability to charge multiple devices at once, if more than one port is available. Higher scoring models showed a limited drop in charging performance when two or more devices were plugged in.
  • Ease of use: Based on port labelling (were the inputs clearly labelled e.g. USB-A, USB-C and fast charge) and quality of instruction manual.
  • Display: Takes into account the position of the display on the unit and how easy it is to see and understand at a glance.
  • Charge time: We completely drain a Motorola Moto C smartphone, and note the time required to charge the device to 80 percent. We run this test three times.
  • USB-C charge time: As above, but with a USB-C enabled phone if the power bank included a USB-C port. We tested this feature using the following popular smartphones; Nexus 5X, LG G5, Galaxy S8, Pixel XL.
  • Number of times phone was charged: We run the aforementioned test repeatedly until the power bank is completely drained.
  • Power bank charge time: We drain a power bank to the point where it will not charge a smartphone, then record how long it takes to recharge. Models with USB-C inputs were also charged using a USB-C enabled power power adapter, though we cannot quote the amperage, as USB-C delivers variable rates of power.
  • Laptop power: We connected USB-C enabled power banks to a USB-C laptop with a fully discharged battery to determine whether they could power the device (not just charge it). If the laptop powered on, then we determined that the power bank on test could power it.
  • Pocketability: Broad guide based on our experience handling the devices.

Test devices

We used the following devices to measure charging time:

  • Device charge time: Motorola Moto C smart phone. Each power bank is allocated its own Moto C. 
  • Device charge time (USB-C): Nexus 5X, LG G5, Galaxy S8, Pixel XL.
  • Power bank charge time: All power banks are charged using a low-end, one amp USB power adaptor. This delivers a slow charge at the lower end of consumer products. Power adapters with greater output current (Amps) will reduce charge time.

Ready to buy?

Take a look at our latest power bank reviews and test results, or head on over to our buying guide for more information.


Leave a comment

Display comments