Sat. Jun 22nd, 2024

Key Takeaways

  • Buy from reputable brands for reliability.
  • Use high-quality cables to charge your power bank safely.
  • Avoid fast charging unnecessarily to extend battery life.

So you just got a new power bank, or maybe you’ve been using one for a while, but who doesn’t want to get the most life out of their gadgets? A quality power bank should provide about three to five years of reliable service with proper care. Here are some ways to really stretch out the lifespan of your power bank.

First, Buy from Brands You Can Count On

When shopping for a power bank, it’s important to do your research first to ensure that you get a high-quality one. Check reviews on sites like Amazon to see what real people have to say about their experience with different brands. Word of mouth is valuable, too—ask friends and family for brand recommendations based on their own experiences.

Look for established brands that are highly rated by reviewers and experts (like we have here at HTG), such as Anker, Ugreen, Baseus, Mophie, Aukey, and RavPower. These companies have a reputation for using durable parts and implementing solid safety measures.

Use Quality Cables and Adapters to Charge Your Power Bank

Ideally, most power banks come bundled with charging cables. But if yours didn’t include one, it’s a good idea to pick up a high-quality cable and adapter.

First, check the labeling on your power bank to understand its battery capacity and what input/output voltages and currents it supports. Most power banks can use a 5V/2A or 9V/2A charger for faster charging. If you travel internationally a lot, you might want to go for a charger that works with a wide input range of 100–240 volts. This way, it’ll be compatible with power outlets wherever you go.

For cables, opt for one rated at 3A or higher so it doesn’t bog down the charging process. Some trusted brands for cables and adapters include Anker, Aukey, and RavPower, but it’s always good to check for user reviews and certifications to ensure quality.

Don’t Use Fast Charge Option Unnecessarily

Most portable chargers nowadays feature fast charging capabilities, which can get your phone or tablet juiced up in a pinch when you’re in a hurry. But all that quick power does come at a cost—it generates a lot more heat inside the battery than when charging at a slower rate.

All that added heat puts more strain on the internal battery over time. The increased temperature accelerates the natural chemical degradation process within the lithium-ion cells. Before you know it, the portable charger won’t be able to hold as much of a charge after each use as it once did when new.

Don’t Let Your Power Bank Hit Empty

A power bank with a battery icon and a lightning icon in the background
Lucas Gouveia / How-To Geek | Art of Life / Shutterstock

The lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries in power banks don’t need to be drained all the way before recharging, unlike older nickel-cadmium batteries with a “memory effect,” where they perform better when fully depleted.

So, a habit of running your power bank down to zero can potentially harm the battery over time and shorten its lifespan. It’s better to start recharging once the charge level dips below 20% or even 50%. If you can help it, try not to let it go below 10% depleted.

Also, avoid keeping your battery at 100% for extended periods of time.. Once the power bank is fully charged, it’s a good idea to unplug it so the battery does not experience unnecessary stress. If you’re going to store the power bank for longer than a few weeks before using it again, only charge it to around 80%, and check on it every month or so to ensure it doesn’t dip below 30%.

Use Power Banks in Rotation if You Have Many

If you have a few portable chargers stashed around the house (which is a good idea), try swapping which one you use on a regular basis. Taking turns lets each power bank rest periodically, so no single unit is running constantly. This practice spreads out the charging cycles more evenly over time, as constant charging/dishing on one power bank takes a toll on its battery life.

You could number them to stay organized or come up with a simple rotation. Maybe use a different one each week and then repeat the cycle. Even just consciously choosing a different one each time could help spread the wear more evenly without having to be too strict about it.

Don’t Use Your Power Bank While Charging It

Asus Power Bank with pass-through charging

When you plug a device into a power bank that’s charging itself, you’re asking it to do two energy-intensive things at once—charge itself and power your device. This is known as pass-through charging. This double duty can cause extra heat buildup in the power bank’s lithium-ion battery, and this extra thermal stress can degrade the battery cells faster over time.

Splitting its power between two tasks also means the power bank may charge slower, and your connected device may not even get the full power it needs. Yes, some models from brands like the Ugreen 20000mAh and Zendure handle pass-through charging better than others, but it’s generally best to avoid it if you can. Let the power bank fully charge itself first before using it to top up your gadgets.

Keep Your Power Bank Away From Extreme Temperatures

Like any electronic device, power banks are susceptible to temperature extremes. According to Anker, their optimal operating temperature range is typically between 0°C and 45°C (32°F and 113°F). So, when your power bank isn’t charging a device, keep it someplace cool and dry, like a drawer or cupboard. Don’t leave it in the car on super hot days or forget it on the dashboard.

Avoid Dropping the Power Bank

You should always be mindful when handling your power bank. Avoid placing it in situations where it could fall, such as on the edge of a table or in an unzipped bag pocket. A fall can disrupt the delicate internal structure of the power bank, affecting its performance. The battery cells, circuitry, and connections inside are sensitive and can be compromised by shock from a drop.

If you’re like me and tend to be a bit clumsy sometimes, you could consider using a protective case for your power bank. Not only does it look nice, but a good protective cover can go a long way in providing a comfortable buffer for accidents and reducing the risk of damage.

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By John P.

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