Powerful power banks that can be used to charge your notebook and smartphone at the same time are ideal when traveling. ntv.de explains why battery capacity usually does not exceed 27,000 mAh and presents two top devices from Anker and Jackery that convince in the practical test.
A Power Bank is the ideal travel companion with which you can charge your smartphone, laptop, camera or other mobile devices at any time while on the move, preferably at the same time. But apparently there are limits to the capacity of these batteries, as the values usually do not exceed 27,000 milliampere/hour (mAh). This is not due to technical reasons, but there is a good reason.
Up to 100 Wh in your hand luggage on the plane
To be allowed in hand luggage on the plane, the power rating of a power bank must not exceed 100 watt hours (Wh), according to the guidelines of the international aviation authority IATA. With a typical battery cell voltage of 3.7 volts (V), this corresponds to a capacity of approximately 27,000 mAh. The conversion formula is mAh x V ÷ 1000 = Wh.
You can usually bring two battery packs that meet the guidelines. However, these are not general rules; rules may vary from airline to airline. It is best to inquire before starting your journey before you have to leave the mobile service station at the security check-in. In certain circumstances, devices with higher capacities are also permitted. Lufthansa, for example, can (!) approve power banks of up to 160 Wh on request.
Solo performance at the security checkpoint
Basically, during security checks, you should remove large batteries from your luggage and place them uncased in the conveyor belt box to avoid problems. It is important to be able to demonstrate that the capacity does not exceed the limit if the value is not indicated on the device. If in doubt, ask before check-in what the airline would like to see.
Batteries generally do not fit in checked baggage. In the event of a short circuit, the batteries can catch fire. This would be noticeable in the cabin and the cabin crew would know how to deal with it. However, a fire in the trunk could have fatal consequences.
In general, when it comes to batteries, you should avoid cheap products; in high-quality branded devices a short circuit almost never occurs. ntv.de has tested two completely new power banks that have almost 100 Wh and can be taken in hand luggage on the plane. Mobile charging stations are obviously also practical when traveling by train or when traveling by car or on two wheels. Thanks to their relatively low weight, you can also take them with you in your backpack when hiking.
Jackery Explorer 100 Plus
The Explorer 100 Plus is available for around 150 euros. Because the device looks like a cute miniature version of its large portable charging stations, Jackery calls it a powerhouse. However, these have much higher capacities, are much more powerful and, among other things, also have AC outlets.
The Explorer 100 Plus, on the other hand, only has USB ports in its small 12.6 x 8.65 x 8.7 cm housing, which is practical for its tasks. Two of these are USB-C sockets that can charge other devices at up to 100 Watts (W), a USB-A output provides a maximum of 18W. Together, the USB-C ports can output up to 110W, with the The combination of USB-C plus USB-A 118 W is possible. All three sockets together produce 128 W.
100W input or output
The 965g power bank automatically charges via SB-C at up to 100W, even with a compatible solar panel. The Explorer 100 Plus can draw a maximum of 60W from your car connection with an optional adapter. The power supply is not included in the supply. Under optimal conditions, an empty battery is fully charged in 1.8 hours.
A small display above the outputs shows how much power the device draws or puts out. This also shows how high the remaining capacity is and approximately how long the reserves will last.
If you want, you can use the Display button to make the screen light up permanently. According to the instructions, if you hold it for a long time, the power saving mode is activated. This is a little misleading. In this way, in fact, the automatic system that turns off the power bank is deactivated if less than 2 W is supplied for twelve hours. The function is necessary if, for example, you want to charge earphones that consume less energy.
Well protected and durable
The Jackery Explorer 100 Plus has no particular refinements to offer, but why should it? What is asked of her is not only done reliably but also safely. Among other things, it automatically stops if temperatures are too high or too low and is protected against overvoltage, overcurrent and short circuits. The housing is fireproof and can withstand some impacts (class 9).
You can also enjoy the device for a long time because it is equipped with a LiFePo4 (lithium iron phosphate) battery, which lasts approximately six times longer than traditional rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. Jackery says the battery still has 80% capacity after 2,000 full charge cycles.
Anker Prime 27,650 mAh power bank
For the AFor the 27,650mAh Prime power bank you have to shell out around 190 euros. But you get, among other things, a battery supplied At 16.17 x 5.70 x 4.97 cm it is significantly more compact than the Jackery Explorer 100 Plus. The form factor makes it easier to stow in hand luggage and at almost 680 g it is also noticeably lighter. The power bank also technically has a lot to offer with an attractive metallic glass look.
First there is the battery, which is a lithium polymer battery. Although the technology allows for a particularly compact design and high performance, it apparently does not allow for such long-lasting energy storage as LiFePo4. In any case, Anker does not provide any information on the matter.
Cut for maximum performance
But the manufacturer really pushes the limits in terms of performance. Because 27,650 mAh is equivalent to 102.3 Wh, which is above the maximum value allowed for luggage on board. In fact, Anker declares the nominal power equal to 99.54 Wh. This is probably due to losses: no battery in the world converts 100% of the energy.
Connections are also difficult. Two USB-C sockets can each provide up to 140W, while the USB-A output should have up to 65W. This also works at the same time. If both USB-C ports are active, one creates a maximum of 140W and the other 100W. All three sockets together have a maximum output of 250W: 140 + 92 + 18W.
The 27,650 mAh Anker Prime can be filled from 0 to 100% with up to 170W in just 37 minutes if you connect two powerful power sources at the same time. Alternatively, it is possible to purchase a 100 Watt charging station for 60 euros, on which the power bank is charged via pin. To ensure that nothing goes wrong with the high performance, there are various protection mechanisms, including the temperature which is supposed to be measured up to three million times per day.
But the power bank can also be convenient. So that it does not shut down at less than 2 Watts, it also has a corresponding function to keep it running. A multicolor display shows the power delivered by the outputs or the amount of charge in the power bank. As with the Jackery Explorer 100 Plus, both are possible at the same time. On the screen you can also view the remaining time, capacity, temperature and battery status.
Bluetooth and apps
But the Anker 27,650 mAh power bank can do even more. If you press the large on/off button on the right side once, you have the option to pair the device with a smartphone via Bluetooth. You will then also be able to see all the statistics in the associated app.
You can also activate optimized charging of the battery and connected devices. Batteries are refilled at specific periods with reduced power to extend their life. You can also view how often you can still charge your devices, but you have to enter the values yourself. All of this is nice to have, but you don’t really need it. Furthermore, the Bluetooth connection costs energy.