Running out of battery can be a big problem, especially when you might not have access to a wall outlet to charge your phone. Cue power banks! A power bank can keep your phone full of battery without an outlet, so you’ll never have to miss a selfie opportunity or a call from your mom.

It’s time to get charged up to learn all about power banks, from their purpose, the different types, and why you need one!

What is the Purpose of a Power Bank?

The purpose of a power bank is to recharge battery-powered electronics when you’re on-the-go! A power bank can be small enough to fit in your pocket or they can be larger with a higher capacity.

Power banks are used to charge cell phones, tablets, speakers, and even laptops! If you can plug it in a wall to charge, chances are a power bank can charge it.

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When Was the First Power Bank Made?

The first portable power bank was created in 2001 by a Chinese company called Pisen. The original design was two AA batteries pieced together by a circuit! It made its public debut at the Las Vegas International Consumer Electronics Show.

The first power bank was bulky and had a short battery life. Today, there are much more sophisticated and compact designs with far superior battery life. Most modern power banks can fit in the palm of your hand and charge your smartphone several times before running out of battery.

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Who Invented the First Power Bank?

The first power bank, the Power King, was invented by a Chinese company called Pisen. An Antarctic Expedition Team requested a portable charger for their video cameras and other devices. Cold temperatures would compromise the battery life of their equipment, so a power bank was a necessity for the trip.

What Are the Different Types of Power Banks?

Power banks come in a variety of different shapes and sizes. Some power banks have multiple uses in addition to charging your electronic devices!

The different types of power banks include:

  • Block power bank
  • Credit card power bank
  • Keychain power bank
  • Wireless power bank
  • Flashlight power bank
  • Speaker power bank
  • Novelty power bank
  • Bluetooth earbud power bank
  • Lantern power bank
  • Solar power bank
  • High capacity power bank

Block Power Bank

Block power banks are one of the most common types of portable chargers. The blocks can come in the shape of a slim rectangle, a log, or a wider rectangle. This type of power bank is great for keeping in your bag or backpack for those moments when you need some extra juice on-the-go.

Credit Card Power Bank

A credit card power bank is a portable charger with a slim rectangular design, hence its name. This kind of power bank fits comfortably inside your pocket without feeling bulky. The discreet design allows you to slip it inside small places like a wallet or padfolio without taking up a ton of room.

Keychain Power Bank

You never know when you might find yourself with a phone on low battery and no wall outlet. A keychain power bank is compact enough to add to your keyring and take with you everywhere! The next time you need a quick charge, you’ll have your power bank easily accessible.

Wireless Power Bank

Keeping track of cords can become a nuisance. A wireless power bank works by simply resting the back of your phone on top, and letting your battery charge. Before you get a wireless power bank, be sure your device is compatible with this type of charger.

Flashlight Power Bank

If you go camping, fishing, or hiking, a flashlight power bank is a necessity. Not only does the flashlight provide safety at night, but it can also charge your phone. It’s also a good idea to keep a flashlight power bank in your home in case of a power outage.

Speaker Power Bank

Next time you head to the beach or to a picnic, don’t forget to grab a speaker power bank. Keep your phone charged while listening to your favorite playlist with this compact power bank. It’s also handy for bike rides or while working on an outdoor project.

Novelty Power Bank

There are some power banks that don’t look like a power bank at all, like this Rubik’s Cube! The best part is you can twist the colored blocks while your phone charges. It’s still compact and fits in the palm of your hand, so you don’t have to worry about running out of space in your bag.

Bluetooth Earbud Power Bank

This power bank not only works as a portable charger for your phone, but it’s also a port to store and charge wireless Bluetooth headphones! One end of the power bank has the connection to charge your device, and the other has two slots for the earbuds.

Lantern Power Bank

Anyone who is outdoorsy will want a lantern power bank. Use the light when you need it, and then charge your phone at the same time. With this power bank, you can use a charging cable, or you can place your phone on top to wirelessly charge it.

Solar Power Bank

Go green with a solar power bank! Leave your power bank in the sun to charge it up, and then connect it to your phone. A solar power bank is great to use over an extended period because you don’t have to worry about needing a wall outlet to recharge it.

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High Capacity Power Bank

High capacity power banks provide a lot of power and have a battery with 20,000 mAh or higher. These power banks can charge multiple devices at once, or one device multiple times before needing to be charged.

There is truly a different type of power bank to satisfy every need. Whether you end up having one favorite or multiple models for different occasions, a power bank is always a good item to keep on hand.

What Does mAh Mean?

mAh means milliamp hour. It is a unit of measurement used for electric power, specifically for batteries. A battery that has a higher mAh will have more power and battery life.

For rechargeable batteries found in power banks, the mAh shows how much charge the battery can hold, and how long it can power another electronic before needing to be charged.

How Do I Know My Power Bank Capacity?

Before you invest in a power bank, you’ll want to know how long the battery will last. Knowing the capacity of your power bank will help you make sure you get one that will meet your needs. Use the equation below to find the approximate battery life of your power bank.

If your power bank has 10,000 mAh, you would divide that by the mAh of the device you want to charge. A quick online search can tell you the mAh of your device if you aren’t sure or can’t find the battery. For example, an iPhone XS uses a 2,658 mAh battery. Using the equation, it would take 3 hours and 7 minutes of charging your iPhone XS before your 10,000 mAh power bank ran out of battery life.

Which Type of Power Bank is Best?

The best type of power bank will have a mAh that is higher than the device you want to charge. The larger the battery is on your phone or other electronic device, the more power you’ll need from your power bank to charge it.

For example, if your electronic device has a battery with 2,000 mAh, you’ll want to get a power bank that has at least 2,000 mAh or more. That way, you’ll be able to get at least one full charge for your device without having to recharge the power bank.

What Is the Difference Between a Power Bank and a Portable Charger?

There is no difference between a power bank and a portable charger. Both names can be used to refer to the exact same battery pack you use to charge a device.

A power bank has several nicknames including:

  • Battery pack
  • Fuel bank
  • Pocket power cell
  • Back-up charging device
  • Wireless charger
  • Portable charger

Regardless of the name you want to use for your power bank, you’ll be thankful you have it handy when your electronic device needs some extra juice!

What Power Banks Are Allowed on Planes?

According to the Transportation Security Administration, power banks containing a lithium ion battery must be packed in a carry-on bag. The reason why power banks are not allowed in checked bags is because the battery contains potentially hazardous flammable materials.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) does not allow any type of battery onboard an aircraft that exceeds 27,000 mAh. Keep these guidelines in mind before flying and be sure to properly pack your power banks!

What Are the Advantages of Power Banks?

Now that you know what a power bank is, you might be wondering if a power bank is worth it. There are several advantages to having a power bank you should consider before getting your own.

The advantages of power banks include:

Easily Portable

Most power banks can fit in the palm of your hand, making them easy to take with you anywhere! You won’t have to worry about it taking up too much space in your bag or pocket.

Customizable

Power banks come in a variety of colors and styles you can choose from. You can also add different designs to your power banks to make it your own.

Affordable

You don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to get a quality power bank. Most power banks are under $20 and will keep your phone charged whenever you need it.

Reusable

Each time you need to charge your electronic devices, you don’t have to get a new power bank. You can recharge and reuse the same power bank over and over.

Fast-Charging

We don’t always have time to wait for our phone battery to charge. Thankfully, you can take a power bank with you to quickly charge your phone on-the-go.

Reduces Worry of a Dead Cell Phone

No matter where you are, you won’t have to worry about your phone running out of battery as long as you have a power bank handy.

Power banks are an accessory worth having! If you have smartphone or other electronics that you need to keep charged, then you’ll want to have a power bank with you.

The Bottom Line

A power bank can make a huge difference while camping, traveling, or attending a festival. It can help prevent your phone, tablet, or other electronic device from running out of battery. You never know when you might be stuck without a wall outlet, so keeping a power bank nearby can save you in the long run.

References

Electronics Notes. (2020). What is a power bank – portable charger. Retrieved on March 3, 2020, from
https://www.electronics-notes.com/articles/equipment-items-gadgets/powerbank/what-is-a-powerbank-battery-store.php

Uber Gizmo. (2020). What is mAh? Retrieved on March 3, 2020, from
https://www.ubergizmo.com/what-is/mah-milliamp-hours/

Esposito, Felipe. (2019, September 17). iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro have up to 3,969 mAh battery capacity and 4GB of RAM. Retrieved on March 3, 2020, from
https://9to5mac.com/2019/09/17/iphone-11-and-iphone-11-pro-battery-size/

Bryan. (2020, February 4). What Does mAh Stand For in Batteries? Retrieved on March 3, 2020, from
https://www.powerbankexpert.com/what-does-mah-stand-for-in-batteries/

TSA. (2020). Power Banks. Retrieved on March 3, 2020, from
https://www.tsa.gov/travel/security-screening/whatcanibring/items/power-banks

SWICAD. (2018, September 17). History of the Power Bank. Retrieved on March 4, 2020, from
https://medium.com/@swicaid/history-of-the-power-bank-262684b706a6

Brease, Tom. (2017, November 13). Pisen: From power bank invention to power bank innovation. Retrieved on March 4, 2020, from
https://www.gizchina.com/2017/11/13/pisen-from-power-bank-invention-to-power-bank-innovation/

About the author

Gianna Petan

Meet Gianna - no stranger to all things promo products. Her background in research-based writing, linguistics, and advertising gives her an edge in blogging about the marketing industry.