In this high-tech age, our gadgets can be essential lifelines. Smartphones, tablets, laptops and other devices are what help us connect with colleagues, avoid boredom and find our way from Point A to Point B. They can seem almost magic, but there’s one great equalizer that limits them all: battery life.
If you depend on your devices, keeping them charged is critical. But life doesn’t always work that way; you often can’t stay tethered to an outlet for an hour or more, and sometimes an outlet just isn’t there when you need it. And that’s where portable chargers come in.
Power to Go
A portable charger is like a second battery for your device, and some models hold enough juice to charge your devices a few times over. Charge your trusty portable charger at the same time you charge your phone, and you can walk around with double, triple or even quadruple the battery life you’re accustomed to.
The portable charger market is getting bigger all the time, so choosing a model can feel a little overwhelming. But that also means that if you know what factors to consider, you can find the perfect charger for your needs.
When shopping for a portable charger, consider these key attributes:
Size and weight: The smallest portable chargers are about the size of a tube of lipstick, while others may be as big as your hand and nearly an inch thick. Similarly, some are virtually weightless, compared to larger chargers that are even heavier than they look. You might want one of each -- one for your pocket and another for your briefcase.
Charge capacity: There is a huge range of available charging capacities -- that is, how much energy each charger can store at once. Capacity is measured in milliamps per hour (mAh), and models can range from around 3,000 mAh (enough to double the battery life of your smartphone) to more than 20,000 mAh, which is ideal for laptops.
Charge speed: Nobody likes to wait, and some charger manufacturers capitalize on this by emphasizing charging speed in their designs. It’s common for chargers to be marketed based on how quickly they can charge common devices, so look for this detail if speed is important to you.
Connections and cords: Virtually all portable chargers have a USB port, but some may support several types of connections and come equipped with a variety of cords.
Special features: While many chargers just stick to Job #1, others may have features like built-in flashlights or emergency alarms.
Durability: Portable chargers are particularly popular among those who like to go off the beaten path while remaining connected. That’s why some manufacturers make their chargers waterproof, shatterproof and otherwise tough as nails.
Price: When price is an object, you’ll be able to find some chargers for as little as about $10. For the most durable chargers with the highest capacities, prices can exceed $100.
When you need a recharge on the fly, portable chargers are clearly the way to go. But if you ever have trouble getting a charge in your own home, don’t hesitate to reach out to your professional local electricians!