As we rely more and more on our smartphones and other devices, power banks are getting more popular than ever. With a good power bank, you can extend your device’s life by many times. But how do you know which power banks are worth buying? Some provide plenty of juice, but lack basic safety features. Others are very well designed, but don’t offer very much capacity. Depending on what you need, one person’s ideal power bank can be another person’s clunker.
Today, we’re going to demystify some of this variation between power banks. We’ll be looking at three different 20,000mAh power banks, and comparing them. First, we’ll review the RAVPower 20000 mAh (60W) PD 3.0 USB-C Power Bank. This is a thick, heavy-duty power bank that’s designed to be tougher than most. Next up, we’ll review the AUKEY Power Delivery Power Bank 20000mAh. This is a slimmer, lighter power bank that’s designed to charge multiple devices at once. Finally, we’ll review the Anker PowerCore Essential 20000 PD (18W) Power Bank. This power bank strikes a balance between the first two. Let’s take a closer look at each, and see how they compare.
How Much Power is 20,000mAh, Anyway?
One thing all of today’s choices have in common is that they have a capacity of 20,000mAh. But what does this actually mean? mAh is short for milliamp-hours, which is a standard measurement of battery capacity. By comparison, an iPhone X battery has a capacity of 2,716mAh. There’s also a reserve capacity built into each battery, so even when a battery is “dead”, it retains some charge. In plain English, a 20,000mAh battery will recharge an iPhone X about 5 times. It will recharge a Samsung Galaxy S10 about 3.5 times, or an iPad Pro 1.6 times. A MacBook Pro 13” will only charge about 0.84 times.
As you can see, a 20,000mAh power bank is effective for recharging any cell phone or tablet on the market. It will also be somewhat effective for laptops, at least giving you a little bit of cushion when you’re traveling. That said, if you’re looking for a dedicated laptop power bank, you’ll want one with more juice. In that case, consider the Crave PowerPack 2. It’s big and bulky, but it has an impressive 50,000mAh capacity.
RAVPower 20000 mAh (60W) PD 3.0 USB-C Power Bank
The RAVPower 20000 mAh (60W) PD 3.0 USB-C Power Bank is a bit large for the capacity. It measures 6 inches long, 2.64 inches wide, and 1 inch thick. So it’s about the same size as an iPhone, but about twice as thick. As you might expect at this size, it’s also a bit heavy, weighing in at 13.2 ounces. It has a matte black plastic case, with a glossy RAVPower logo on the front. All of the edges are rounded, so there are no sharp corners that can damage other objects in a bag. It’s also very safe to use. It has overcurrent and short-circuit protection, which will prevent it from damaging your devices. It also has overheating protection. If the power bank starts to get too hot, it will automatically shut off to prevent damage to the battery.
All of the interfaces are located on the bottom left corner of the power bank. On the left side, there’s a large power button which turns the RAVPower on and off. Beneath that, you’ll see a row of four blue LED lights that indicate the power level. To save power, the LEDs will only illuminate when the RAVPower is turned on or being charged. The USB ports are located on the bottom of that corner. There’s a PD USB Type-C port on the left, and a Quick Charge USB Type-A port on the right. The tabs inside the ports are high-visibility green. Not only is this an attractive accent, but it helps you see how to orient the USB Type-A plug. In addition to the power bank itself, you also get a USB Type-C charging cable for easy charging.
The two power ports on the RAVPower 20000 mAh (60W) PD 3.0 USB-C Power Bank are exceptionally fast. First off, the USB Type-C PD port has a maximum speed of 60 watts. This is enough to recharge a compatible smartphone in as little as 30 minutes. It’s also enough to keep up with the power demands of any laptop on the market. You can effectively increase your laptop battery life by ¾ or more by simply plugging it in while you work. The QC 3.0 USB Type-A port provides 18 watts of power. This is enough to use most modern smartphones while they’re charging. Keep in mind, though, that the total capacity of this power bank is 60 watts. In other words, if you’re using both ports, the PD port will drop from 60 watts to 42 watts.
When it’s time to charge the RAVPower 20000 mAh (60W) PD 3.0 USB-C Power Bank, use the USB Type-C cable. To do this properly, you’ll want to use a 30-watt PD charging adapter, which is not included in the kit. When charging in this fashion, you’ll get a full charge in about 3 hours. Using a standard USB Type-C port will considerably increase the total charge time.
One thing you might not like about the RAVPower charger is that it’s fairly large. If you want a lighter, more portable charger, check out the iWalk Link Me 4. It attaches conveniently to the bottom of your phone as you’re using it. That said, the capacity is only 4,500mAh.
AUKEY Power Delivery Power Bank 20000 mAh
The AUKEY Power Delivery Power Bank 20000 mAh is flatter and slimmer than the RAVPower unit. It measures 7.76 inches long, 3.78 inches wide, and just over half an inch thick. That said, it’s actually a bit heavier, at 15.34 ounces. This is because the outer plastic shell is sandwiched around a tough internal aluminum frame. In addition to being physically tough, the AUKEY power bank also has powerful electronic protections. It has protection against overcurrent and overcharging, so it won’t damage your phone or laptop. It also has overheating protection, so you don’t have to worry about any fire risks.
The top and bottom of the case are a textured matte black ABS plastic. This makes it easy to grip and provides good drop protection. Around the edges, you’ll see a glossy black anodized aluminum band. This is the outside of the reinforcing internal aluminum frame. At the bottom of the left edge, there’s a power button, as well as four small green LED lights. These indicate the current status of the battery when the unit is powered on.
Along the bottom edge of the AUKEY, you’ll see a row of five USB ports. The first is a USB Type-A Quick Charge 3.0 port, with a bright orange tab on the inside. The next two are standard USB Type-A ports. Next, there are two USB Type-C ports. Finally, on the right side, there’s an additional Micro USB port. In addition to the AUKEY power bank itself, you’ll receive a USB Type-C charging cable. You’ll also receive AUKEY’s 24-month warranty to protect you from any manufacturing defects.
The AUKEY Power Delivery Power Bank 20000 mAh is compatible with just about any other device. To begin with, the Quick Charge 3.0 port can charge most smartphones in under an hour. The two other USB ports have a standard, 5V/2.4A current. Finally, the first USB Type-C port offers up to 18 watts of power. That said, 18 watts is the limit for the entire power bank. If you have multiple devices connected, your current will drop correspondingly. In addition to all of that, the AUKEY power bank has a low-current charging mode available. This is useful for charging low-current (sub-60mA) devices. If you’ve had trouble in the past with charging earbuds or fitness trackers, you won’t have trouble here.
With the second USB Type-C port, you can take advantage of pass-through charging. This is because it functions solely as an input, not as an output. The total maximum power input is 9V/2A, which works out to 18 watts. This is the same as the maximum output, so you can effectively use the AUKEY power bank as a splitter. Total recharge time is about 10 hours from dead to full. Alternatively, you can use the Micro USB port on the side for charging. The recharge time will be about the same, since these are both 2-amp connections.
Anker PowerCore Essential 20000 PD (18W) Power Bank
The Anker PowerCore Essential 20000 PD (18W) Power Bank is on the large side, much like the RAVPower power bank. It measures 6.38 inches long, 2.91 inches wide, and just under an inch in thickness. It tips the scales at just over 12 ounces, so it weighs about what you’d expect for the size. It has a textured matte black front and back for plenty of grip. And the sides of the case are glossy black, providing an attractive accent. Like the last two power banks we reviewed, the Anker has overcharge and over-current protection to keep your devices safe. It also has temperature protection to protect the power bank itself.
On the front of the Anker PowerCore, you’ll see a small glossy light wheel with blue-green LEDs. These LEDs will indicate the power level when it’s being charged or charging your devices. On the bottom, you’ll see a pair of USB ports. The one on the left is USB Type-A, with a bright blue inner tab that lets you know the orientation. This port also supports Quick Charge 3.0 charging. The port on the right is USB Type-C, which supports PD charging. In the kit, you receive a USB Type-C charging cable, as well as a small drawstring travel pouch. It doesn’t provide any crush protection, but it does prevent scratching. In addition, you get Anker’s 18-month warranty against all manufacturer defects.
Both the USB Type-C and Type-A ports each provide 18 watts of maximum power. This allows for rapid charging of most modern smartphones, providing a full charge in under an hour. That said, the maximum total voltage is 30 watts. When two devices are plugged in, each port will provide a maximum of 15 watts. This will still provide relatively rapid charging, faster than most chargers. The USB Type-C cable will recharge the Anker in 7 hours when used with a 15-watt PD DC adapter. None is included in the kit, though. If you plug into a standard USB wall charger, the Anker will take up to 20 hours to recharge.
So, where does all this leave us? Let’s take a look at each of these power banks in turn, and see which one is best for which purposes. First, we reviewed the RAVPower 20000 mAh (60W) PD 3.0 USB-C Power Bank. This is a big, beefy power bank that’s designed to provide exceptional levels of current. As we mentioned from the outset, a larger power bank would be ideal for laptop charging. That said, with 60 watts of power, the RAVPower is capable of keeping a laptop charged while in use. In addition, it can charge just about any smartphone in next to no time.
The AUKEY Power Delivery Power Bank 20000 mAh has a slimmer design. At under half an inch in thickness, it’s a great choice if you need a pocket-sized power bank. It also has the ability to charge up to four devices simultaneously, albeit at slow speeds. Still, it’s a great choice for pass-through charging. If you want to charge multiple devices overnight, it makes a great splitter.
Finally, we reviewed the Anker PowerCore Essential 20000 PD (18W) Power Bank. This is a larger power bank that’s designed for desktop use. With both PD and Quick Charge power options, it can charge two devices relatively quickly. Keep in mind, though, that it doesn’t support pass-through charging.