Today, we use smartphones and tablet computers wherever we go. However, batteries life tends to be a constant issue. That’s why carrying a spare charger in your daypack or purse makes a lot of sense. In most cases, you just need a bit of spare power to make a call or access the internet.
Smartphone (USB) chargers all contain a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, and a USB socket that outputs 5 volts. The difference is the power capacity of the batteries inside the chargers, and this capacity is measured in milliamp hours (mAh). Here’s a quick guide to what you can charge with different battery capacities:
- 1000 – 5000 mAh: This is enough power to recharge a smartphone or small USB device
- 5000 – 12000 mAh: Enough power to recharge a phone, iPad or other tablet computer
- 12000 mAh +: Enough power to charge a notebook computer, tablet computer, or smartphone
These are our selections for the top rated smartphone and tablet chargers:
PowerGen External Battery Pack (Smartphone Charger)
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars from 114+ reviews on Amazon
If you just want to charge a smartphone or a USB device with modest power requirements, the PowerGen Duo-Power USB Battery Pack is a solid and inexpensive option. The charger has a capacity of 5200 mAh — enough to fully recharge an iPhone 4 twice. It can also partially charge an iPad (to about 30% to 50% of capacity depending on the iPad model).
The Powergen Battery Pack takes about 1.5 hours to fully charge a smartphone. The Battery Pack itself takes about 5-6 hours to be recharged (by plugging it into a wall socket). It also features a flashlight that runs for 250 hours. The PowerGen External Battery Pack sells for about $34 on Amazon.
New Trent iGeek (iPad and Tablet Charger)
Rating: 4.6 out of 5 stars from 285+ reviews on Amazon
The New Trent iGeek IMP99D charger stores 9900 mAh, which is almost twice the battery capacity of the PowerGen charger featured above. This means it can fully charge an iPad 2, or charge an iPad 3 up to 60%.
The size of this charger is wider than a cellphone (as shown above), and it has two USB charging ports.