Tips for charging on the go!

Are you the kind of person who will look at their phone battery just as much you look at your phone to check the time? If you use your phone to do as much as I do (that’s everything from taking too many photos to watching The Office over and over again), you’ll know all too well the real-life game that can come about in the late afternoon when you’re trying to save your battery as much as possible.

And while it’s great to force stop apps and eliminate the number of background applications running, if you have to use your phone a lot you don’t want to spend key parts of your day asking around for a spare socket to plug in and charge for a few minutes.

When you’re looking to keep your phone, tablet or laptop ticking along nicely throughout the day, you’ll want a reliable power bank that can do the job of charging quick and easy. If you’re in the market for a power bank and feel a little overwhelmed by the options out there, no need to worry, let me guide you some tips for finding the ideal power bank to help you charge while on the move.

Tip 1: Know your battery size

Every piece of tech you own will have a unique battery size. I’m not talking the volts that run through it but the capacity of your device. Phones usually fall within the 1000-2000mAh range. Laptops can be anywhere from 4000-10,000 mAh.

I recommend getting a power bank that either matches or is slightly greater than the biggest item you need to charge. A power bank that does at least a full charge is better than a mini power bank that will waste energy getting a dead phone to reboot.

Look on sites like QI PowerSurge where you can compare different power banks by battery size and get full spec information. The smaller banks with a battery around the 2000mAh mark are more useful if you want to charge a phone or e-cigarette. The bigger banks going up to 20,000 mAh are fantastic for people with a backpack full of devices that regularly need to be charged.

Tip 2: Give your power bank time

Think of your power bank like a sink full of water. You’re best to let the thing fill up if you’re looking for drain it periodically. Most power banks will have lithium batteries that have their own lifecycle, meaning you only get a few hundred charges before the battery’s power starts to reduce.

If you plug it in overnight to full charge, your battery will have a longer life.

Tip 4: Charge more at once

Try and get a power bank with multiple USB slots as it’s healthier to drain the battery in larger chunks rather than a bit here and there. I find that if you have wireless headphones you’ll be using on a trip along with your phone, a power bank with multiple USB slots just makes sense. You’d rather have a full battery on your mobile and headphones rather than waiting on one or the other.

Tip 5: Check for overcharge protection

When you plug your phone in to a wall, your phone will draw current until it reaches 100%, at which point it will stop (TIME magazine has a nice article explaining it all in detail). Some cheap power banks don’t have overcharge protection as standard, and as such, when your device gets to 100% a bank may think it has to keep going. Getting a bank without protection in place an seriously the health of the internal battery.

Tip 6: Don’t charge while charging

When you get used to having a power bank, you may end up just leaving your device’s charging cable attached to the bank. While there’s nothing wrong with that, if you end up plugging a device in to the power bank while you’re charging it,  you run a higher risk of damaging it.

Having the internal battery trying to do two things at once will cause it to heat up quickly and possibly damage the cathode and anodes as they struggle to do keep charge and discharge.

Want to read some more about power banks?

It’s an older post, but the Dubleup power bank review here provides a good insight into having mini power banks that you can you use in an emergency. You can also check out all the blog’s mobile electronics posts here.

Written By: Liam Watson

I love tech things, especially the way they infiltrate our lives without us even realising. I don't like having to explain how a gadget works to every member of my family though!