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Best power bank for iPhone in 2021

Looking for a pocket-size power bank for iPhone charging on the go? Here are some top picks.

The new iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro models boast some of Apple's best battery life numbers ever. But for some of us, that's never enough. That's why a portable battery charger or power bank is often a more practical purchase for your iPhone than battery cases, which increase battery capacity but tend to make a phone extra-heavy and bulky to carry around.

To that end, I've rounded up the best portable power banks and battery chargers that will add a little extra oomph to your iPhone's battery life. Although they cost more, I personally like batteries that have a Lightning cable built into them, so I don't have to worry about carrying around a charging cable for fast charging when I don't have enough power. But I've also included some budget picks that come with a charging cable for those who want to spend as little as possible on charging their iPhone via power pack. 

While we have a similar list of best power banks for Android phones, any portable battery pack here without an integrated Lightning cable will work perfectly well when charging an Android smartphone (or any other portable gadget), so long as you provide a compatible smartphone cable.

So which is the best portable charger for an iPhone? Which is the best portable power bank for a charge on the go? Let's find out. We update this list of the best portable charger for iPhone options periodically, and we've anecdotally tested all of these models or their direct predecessors. 

Read more: Best iPhone chargers

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It's not cheap at around $50, but Anker's PowerCore Magnetic 5K Wireless is one of the best MagSafe accessories even though it isn't an official Apple MagSafe certified accessory. It's a battery that magnetically adheres to the back of your iPhone 12 model or MagSafe case and wirelessly charges your phone. Alas, it doesn't offer fast wireless charging -- this wireless charger only charges at 5W, not even 7.5W (however, you can charge faster via the USB-C port with a USB-C to Lightning cable, which isn't included). While it doesn't offer fast charging without the additional cable, it is convenient and compact. It also adheres well. 

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Mophie's PowerStation Plus with included charging cable is a few years old and has been discontinued, which means you can find some great deals on this portable charger -- just make sure you're not buying a refurbished model. Although it doesn't have fast-charging capabilities, it does have a fabric finish and houses a 6,040-mAh battery, as well as an integrated Lightning connector. Previously, if you bought one of the Apple-exclusive versions (it's no longer available), the battery conveniently charged an iPhone and iPad with any Lightning cable, rather than Micro USB. The version on Amazon charges via an included Micro-USB cable. With the USB port, you can charge or recharge two devices at once, including your latest iPhone.

The larger 10,000-mAh PowerStation Plus XL is also available on Amazon, but it's thicker. The XL can be fully charged wirelessly on a wireless charging pad while the standard PowerStation Plus doesn't have wireless charging but comes with the necessary charging cable.

Note: Ignore Amazon's product description that says the smaller PowerStation Plus has Qi wireless charging -- it's not a wireless Apple iPhone charger.

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Aukey bills its PB-N83 Mini 10,000-mAh USB-C Power Bank as "the smallest and lightest 10,000-mAh portable charger." I'm not sure it qualifies as the world's smallest, but its footprint is smaller than a credit card and it is fast charging. That said, it is 1.18 inches (30mm) thick and has some heft to it. Still, this portable charger fits easily enough in a pocket and has both an 18-watt Power Delivery USB-C port and Quick Charge 3.0 USB-A. The in-out USB-C port can be used as a pass-through port so you can charge the Power Bank and a device at the same time.

The PB-N83 portable charger is around $20, and is sometimes on sale for as little as $13. That's a good price for a fast-charging 10,000-mAh PD power bank. A USB-A to USB-C cable is included for charging and owners of newer iPhone models can use the USB-C-to-Lightning cable included with the new iPhones to quick-charge their phones via the USB-C PD port on the power bank. I charged the iPhone 12 Pro to about 60% in 30 minutes.

David Carnoy/CNET

Mophie's magnetic power bank is similar to Anker's but has a more refined design. Like the Anker, this portable charger isn't an official Apple MagSafe wireless charger accessory, but it magnetically adheres to the back of your iPhone 12 model or MagSafe case -- yes, it sticks nicely -- and is svelte for a 5,000-mAh battery. It can also be used with other phones that support wireless charging as it comes with a stick-on magnet. 

For wireless charging, Mophie says you're looking at up to 7.5W for iPhones, but it felt a little more sluggish to me (more like 5W).  If you need a faster charge, you can connect a USB-C to Lightning cable to bump the speed up to 12W. This has enough juice to fully charge an iPhone 12 or 12 Pro once but it'll fall a little short of a full charge with an iPhone 12 Max Pro.

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While it's thicker than some of the Apple iPhone portable chargers in this roundup, the Anker PowerCore Slim 10,000 mAh is impressively slim for a 10,000-mAh portable phone charger. It has a USB-C input for charging your phone's battery, but no USB-C output. No cables are included.

Amazon

This 15,000-mAh power bank is beefier than some of the chargers on this list but it stores a lot of juice. This portable charger also offers 18-watt fast charging via the USB-C port and has a USB-A port along with an LED that displays battery power juice. Its list price is $44 but if you enter the code RR20 at checkout, the price drops to $28.60.

Linear Flux

The Linear Flux Hypercharger Pro is a good value if you're looking for a decent-sized battery with a built-in Lightning cable. It also has integrated micro-USB cable with a USB-C adapter that you can stick on top of it. 

This model with charging cable came out a couple of years ago so it's discounted at Walmart.

Anker

This Anker model is basically an oversized wall charger that plugs in like a power adapter. We used and liked the older 5,000-mAh version with dual USB-A ports, which retails for $26 to $40, depending on color choice. But the new model doubles the capacity to 10,000-mAh, and adds a USB-C port. That lets you charge two devices such as your phone and a secondary connected gadget (or two phones) simultaneously. There's also a little LED indicator on the side that lets you check the charge level at the press of a button. 

Aukey

This Aukey power bank has both wired and wireless charging options, as well as an integrated kickstand, which makes it an appealing external battery for gamers and binge-watchers. If you use the USB-C port, you can get 18 watts of charging. Go wireless and lay your phone on the charging dock battery and portable charger will wirelessly charge at 10 watts, which is where the charging speed of the iPhone currently maxes out for wireless charging. You're paying a premium, but this fast-charging phone charger unit has a massive battery (20,000 mAh), a built-in kickstand and a digital readout listing the remaining charge. It comes with a USB-A-to-USB-C cable, but you'll need to supply an adapter to charge it.

Sarah Tew/CNET

MyCharge HubPlus Turbo is the company's latest power bank with integrated foldable wall plug and both Lightning and USB-C cables. The wall charger is called the Turbo because it has Power Delivery and Quick Charge 3.0 (USB-C cable) that deliver fast-charging speeds, meaning up to a 75% faster charging speed time than the standard 5-volt charger that comes with most iPhones. This fast-charging wall charger has a 6,700-mAh battery.

David Carnoy/CNET

Nimble's Champ portable charger uses recycled plastic in its construction. You have to pay a bit more for going green, but it is a nice, compact 10,000-mAh charger that features PD 4.0 fast-charging (18 watts) via its single USB-C port. Also, the coupon CNET25 will get you 25% off at checkout. 

Nimble also sells some higher-capacity fast-charging battery packs.

The Atom XS portable charger comes in two versions: a smaller 800-mAh model and a larger 1,300-mAh model. These smart devices are designed to fit on a keychain and are about the size of an electronic car key. But be warned, they won't fully charge your phone. The idea is to have them around for charging in case your phone dies and you need a spot of juice to get you through a few hours. 

Both Atom XS models have an integrated Lightning connector and won't weigh your phone down while charging. At around $40 for the larger 1,300-mAh fast charging output variant (the one I'd opt for), the Atom XS is a fairly expensive device and you may be disappointed that it will only charge some of the larger iPhones to about 25%. But again, this all about the convenience of having a tiny battery charger for emergency charging purposes. A model with USB-C charging is slightly cheaper at $35.

What to look for

Here are a few things to keep in mind when shopping for a battery pack or power bank:

  • A higher power output rating (mAh, short for milliamp hours) means more charges -- but also a heavier portable charger weight. 
  • For the latest iPhones (everything after the iPhone 7) you should buy a battery with at least a 3,000-mAh capacity, which should give you at least one full charge for a device. With the exception of the Atom XS, all of the models featured above hit that mark. 
  • Multiple integrated charge cables or USB-out ports will allow you to charge more than one device at a time, such as an iPad or another iPhone.
  • These best portable charger for iPhone options all use lithium-ion (li-ion) rechargeable batteries, and should thus always be stored in carry-on luggage when flying. Airlines and regulatory agencies are increasingly banning lithium-ion batteries in checked baggage.
  • If you want maximum power output, opt for chargers with USB-C PD (power delivery) models, which should charge nearly every small device (smaller than a laptop), including a tablet or Nintendo Switch.

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