Best festival power banks: 14 portable chargers that will last all weekend

20th May 2018 Off By

This is syndicated content originally written by Sam Warrenger for TheFestivals.UK.

Long gone are the days when Glastonbury would be awash with rumours that the Queen had died. Now that everyone has a smartphone, many festivals now benefit from enhanced 4G internet coverage, leaving power the one remaining hurdle to staying connected throughout the weekend.

Phone charging stalls are a common, and expensive, sight at festivals. Some will charge well over a fiver, for only an hour of charging. Others offer phone charging facilities as part of pricey VIP camping upgrades.

Power banks, or portable chargers, offer a much better alternative. A high-capacity power bank can keep a modern smartphone going throughout even a 5-day festival. Often for less than the price of a phone charging pass at a festival, you can get a decent power bank that you can use again and again for years to come.

These devices contain batteries way bigger than inside your phone, and once charged, provide USB ports for keeping your phone and other devices going when you’re away from mains power. Portable chargers are perfect for days out, camping, and of course, music festivals.

We’ve listed 14 tried and tested power banks below, and alongside loads of great chargers available online, we’ve even found some that are available to collect today on the high street.

So which power banks will last all weekend?

Festival Power Bank

A power bank’s battery capacity is measured in mAh, just like your phone. The smallest are around 2,000mAh, and with most modern smartphones batteries around 2,000 – 3,000mah these tiny chargers are only good for a quick top-up charge. Their tiny size can make them useful, and can often be carried in a pocket, but they’re no use for a music festival with 3 to 6 days away from a plug socket.

A portable charger also doesn’t operate totally efficiently, though a good one should only lose 10% – 20% of its stated capacity when charging your phone. For this reason, we recommend a portable charger with a capacity over 20,000mAh for music festivals and camping trips.

Whilst they can be expensive on the high street, safety certified high-quality power banks with a 20,000mAh capacity can now be purchased online for less than the price of a weekend charging wristband at a festival.

For a festival, a 20,000mAh or larger capacity is perfect. It should ensure your smartphone lasts the entire event, even if you use it heavily and require more than one recharge per day. Most will have multiple USB sockets, allowing you to keep a friend’s device topped-up too!

14 portable chargers that will last an entire festival

AUKEY 20,000mAh Power Bank with Lightning and Micro-USB input and 2x USB ports

Music Festival Charger Aukey Power Bank
Image credit: Aukey

Aukey’s reputation has solidified in recent years, partly thanks to their awesome 24 month warranty. This is a great value, high quality power bank with a 20,000mAh capacity, enough to last throughout a festival. Two USB ports provide enough power to charge two iPads at the same time, at full speed!

This portable charger is set apart by its dual micro-USB and Lightning charging inputs. Most power banks only charge via micro-USB, meaning iPhone users need to keep an extra cable around to charge their power banks, which often get lost.

By recharging with either micro-USB or Lightning cables, iPhone users can recharge this Aukey power bank using the same cable they charge their devices with. This is a unique feature we haven’t really seen on anything else. And no, you can’t charge it faster by plugging both in at once. Sorry.

Oh, and it comes in three different editions, each with next-day delivery available from Amazon in most areas of the UK. One with standard USB charging, which still packs enough punch to charge iPads and iPhones at full speed. The next model up comes with Quick Charge 2.0, allowing compatible Android phones to be charged at superfast speed. There’s now a third version available too, this time with Quick Charge 3.0, allowing the very latest devices to be charged even faster.

The current prices of the standard, Quick Charge 2.0, and 3.0, Aukey portable chargers are shown in order below.

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Anker Powercore

Music festival charger Anker Powercore 20100
Image credit: Anker

Anker are the big name in portable chargers, known for their exceptionally high-quality products. They also have an awesome 24 month warranty.

We’re going to recommend three of their Powercore power banks, each with enough capacity to last an entire festival, or even a week-long camping trip.

Firstly, the Anker Powercore 20100 weighs just 355g, slightly less than the Aukey mentioned above at 388g, but offers slightly more power at 20,100mAh capacity. There’s a MicroUSB input which will recharge the power bank in 10 hours, and two safety-protected USB outputs.

Second, the Anker Powercore Speed 20000 is pretty much the same thing, but adds Quick Charge 3.0 capability. At the expense of a fraction of capacity, this 20,000mAh portable charger will charge any Quick Charge 2.0 or 3.0 capable Android device at super-fast speed. This is brilliant at a festival, as you can top your device up quickly when needed, often adding enough power to last the whole day in half an hour.

Finally, the Anker Powercore 26800 takes the capacity up even further to 26,800mah, perfect if you want to share your portable charger amongst your friends. It’s also great if you’ll be taking longer trips away from power, or have multiple devices to recharge. Its special feature is dual microUSB recharging, which allows it to be recharged from two microUSB cables at once, reducing the total recharge time to just 6 hours. 

The current prices of the Anker Powercore 20100, Speed 20000, and 26800 are shown in order below.

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Sandstrom 20100 USB-C Portable Power Bank

This one’s available today on the high street!

Image credit: Currys

If you don’t fancy buying online, or you need something you can pick up right now, this power bank is available on the high street. 

It’s a 20100mAh capacity means it’s a great portable charger for festivals. It has one standard USB socket, that’s also Quick Charge compatible. Plus, it has the new USB-C connection, the reversible connector found on the very latest Android phone.

The USB-C socket is bi-directional, so can be used for both recharging the power bank, and charging devices from the power bank. All the with same cable.

It’s currently £34.99 in Currys, and if you need it today, you can enter your postcode to check stock in nearby stores and collect in minutes.

EC Technology 22400 Triple USB

Image credit: iEC

With its distinctive black and red design, the EC Technology 22400mah power bank has become a common sight at festivals over recent years. It’s got a sturdy design and a big capacity, along with three USB outputs to charge three devices at once.

And for this summer, a new version of the stalwart device has been launched. The manufacturers have added an extra microUSB port, allowing the portable charger to be recharged with two microUSB cables at once, just like the Anker Powercore 26800 mentioned above. This claims to cut the total recharge time to just 5 and a half hours.

Versions are available with blue highlights or white casing, alongside an increased capacity 26,800mAh version. Prices for all four are below.

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RAVPower iSmart Portable Chargers

Festival Power Bank Ravpower iSmart
Image credit: RAVPower

These three chargers from RAVPower all come with lifetime warranties, so whatever happens, you’ve got power for life. They all have a capacity of 20,000mAh or over, so will be enough to last for an entire music festival.

The first is the RAVPower 20,000mAh power bank with dual USB charging ports, alongside a single microUSB socket for recharging the power bank itself. 

The second is the RAVPower 22,000mAh power bank, which adds a third USB output to charge three devices at once. Despite only having a single microUSB socket for recharging, it can be fully recharged in as little as 11 hours. 

Finally, the RAVPower 26,800mah power bank boosts the capacity even further, matching the massive capacity of the Anker Powercore 26800. Perfect if you’ve got an early entry pass and six whole days without power!

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F.A.Q.

What is Quick Charge?

Most modern Android phones support Quick Charge, either 2.0 or 3.0. This means if you also purchase a portable charger with Quick Charge support, it’ll top-up your phone battery at super-fast speed. Perfect if you want to recharge at your tent for half an hour before heading back into the festival with a fully charged phone.

It’s backwards compatible, so don’t worry about getting 2.0 or 3.0 mixed up. If you have a compatible Android phone, look out for power banks marked as Quick Charge compatible.

And of course, if your phone isn’t Quick Charge, it will still charge as normal at standard USB speeds from a Quick Charge charger.

Does my phone have Quick Charge?

If it’s an iPhone, no it doesn’t. You can ignore the Quick Charge features as they won’t make any difference to your iPhone charging speed.

For all other phones, try Googling the model number of your phone followed by ‘quick charge’ and you should find out pretty quick. There’s an official device list here, but it hasn’t been updated for nearly a year.

I’ve seen chargers on eBay with much higher capacities, how come?

Portable chargers, or power banks, sold on eBay unfortunately often have fake capacity listings. It’s difficult for a consumer to test the capacity of a power bank themselves, and most don’t understand the capacity ratings anyhow. eBay sellers take advantage of this and pretend their power banks have a much higher capacity than in reality.

It’s very hard to create higher density batteries, so if you see a power bank offering 40,000mAh capacity in a similar size and weight to the 20,000mAh ones listed here, you know it’s a fake capacity.

Worse still, most of these fakes also aren’t safety tested. As power banks are made of volatile lithium batteries, we recommend sticking to the official Amazon stores of the trusted brands listed above, or even the high street. Never buy untested lithium battery products from unknown eBay sellers.

Why are portable chargers so expensive on the high street?

High street stores take advantage of poor customer knowledge, as few are aware of what the different capacities mean, and how they relate to their devices. They often charge as much for a 5,000mAh charger as a higher quality, 20,000mAh charger would cost online.

For example, the cheapest portable charger available in Argos is currently £54.99. It lacks many of the features of higher capacity portable charger available online for less than half the price.

How do you recharge a portable charger?

It’s usually really simple to figure out how to recharge a portable charger or power bank. Just look for a small socket, usually labelled input. It’s usually a microUSB socket, but whatever it is, it’ll match the short cable included with your power bank. Most of these high capacity power banks will take 10-12 hours to fully charge, and all have LED lights which will indicate when the power bank’s batteries are full.

The Aukey power bank also has a Lightning charging socket, allowing it to be recharged using the same cable as an iPhone or iPad. The Anker Powercore 26800 and EC Technology power banks support dual-microUSB recharging, using two charging cables to cut the charging time to under 6 hours.

What’s the difference between power banks and portable chargers?

Nothing. We’ve used the terms interchangeably here. Sorry. Some people also call them battery packs or power packs. They all mean the same thing. Simply a battery with some USB sockets that can be used to recharge other devices’ batteries.

How many times can a power bank be recharged?

A portable charger, or power bank, uses the same type of Lithium battery as your phone. They can be recharged thousands of times whilst remaining effective, though after several years, there may be some reduction in total capacity.

Can temperature affect a power bank?

Yes. Lithium batteries work best between 10°C and 50°C, and should never be recharged when below 0°C, as this can damage the battery. Using a power bank at a low temperature shouldn’t have any permanent effects, but may reduce the effective charge of the power bank.

And remember, your phone uses the same Lithium battery technology, so avoid charging it if it’s ever below freezing.

It’s normal for both power banks and smartphones to become warm or generate heat during use. However, if your device gets too hot, safety mechanisms should cause it to cut off. This can happen if you leave your smartphone or power bank in direct sunlight, or during a malfunction.

Featured image credit: Lukas @ Pexels

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TheFestivals Editor ● The Tab Contributor ● University of Manchester Politics Postgrad ● Bangor University School of Computer Science graduate ● One of 1500+ Chester FC owners

sam@thefestivals.uk