For a student, nothing makes one's stomach drop faster than losing class notes to a dead battery. More so, when the nearest power outlet is out of reach. This is why emergency power banks are gradually becoming a school essential. Among the many tasks, subjects and projects a student juggles, remembering to charge devices isn’t necessarily at the top of their to-do list. A battery pack in the bag takes care of that – it can quickly charge laptops and other devices.
Generally, portable power banks with the highest capacity, or milli-ampere hour (mAh), will deliver more charge cycles. According to TP-Link, a China-based computer networking device company, a 10,400mAh power bank can charge a smartphone over two times! This is why our experts recommend students go for a power brick with a minimum capacity of 10,000mAh.
Mustafa Shaik, a sales representative at the IT solutions store Techmate Computers in Dubai, says university students will most likely put their devices to use throughout the day, from smartphone browsing between classes to studying on their laptops and tablets. "A power capacity range of 10,000 to 20,000mAh is the best for them, even if we're talking about Macbooks," said Shaik.
While most latest phones have a 5,000mAh battery, tablets peak at around 8,000mAh. So, if you carry multiple gadgets to school, then your minimum threshold for a power bank should be 20,000mAh and up at best, advises Abdul Qadir, sales executive at Seven Wonders Digital Electronics Trading, Dubai.
Besides power capacity, consider the different output ports on the brick for your existing devices. Power banks will almost always feature either or both of two fast-charging technologies, Qualcomm's Quick Charge (QC) and USB Power Delivery (PD). The former is usually tied to Android systems that use a Qualcomm Snapdragon chipset, while USB PD support is reserved for power-hungry laptops and devices.
No matter the standard support, Qadir says a Type-C port is a must-have on the power bank. Even if you don't own PD or QC-compatible devices, a USB-C will always deliver faster charging than older connectors. It's also important to note the quality of your charging cable, to yield the best results; luckily, we've got you covered on that front here.
Start your search with us, as we list our power bank picks for school and university students. Qadir shares popular choices here in the UAE: "Most people go for Anker, Promate and Belkin, which is mostly used for Apple products."
1. Best Overall: Anker PowerCore+ (26,800mAh)
- 45W USB PD port for laptops
- Includes its own wall charger and USB-C cable
- Highest battery capacity on our list
- Takes only three and a half hours to recharge
- Reviews say customer service is excellent
- Heavy due to its large capacity
We ranked the PowerCore+ 26,800mAh by Anker as the best power bank for school in our student tech essentials list. For one, it has a 45-watt USB-C PD port exclusively for laptops, like MacBook Pro and Dell XPS 13. And two, it comes with its own wall charger that refuels the PowerCore in less than three and a half hours. Other outputs include two 15W USB ports, suited for powering up smartphones and tablets. Let’s not forget the massive 26,800mAh capacity: Expect to charge your iPhone X six times and Samsung Galaxy S9 more than five times. According to reviews, MacBook users have had the best luck with the charging brick, while HP laptop users struggled with recharge. But many commend Anker’s after-sales support team for being prompt and responsive.
Warranty: The manufacturer offers an 18-month warranty.
2. Best Value: VRURC Power Bank (20,000mAh)
- Compact, lightweight
- Digital display shows remaining battery percentage
- Comes with a USB-C cable
- Charges four devices simultaneously
- Actual capacity is less than stated, say reviewers
Here’s a 20,000mAh power bank that won't break the bank. VRURC's compact power bank feels sturdy in the hand, keeps the brick cool and features a real-time LED display that tells you how much battery is left, at a glance. Taking it a step further than our Anker pick, this portable charger juices four devices simultaneously. Its USB output supports 22.5W Power Delivery and Quick Charge 3.0 for various devices. However, reviewers do note that the power bank only fast charges one compatible device at a time. Many find the remaining battery percentage on the display window convenient when out and about. It comes with a USB-A to USB-C cable for recharging the unit, albeit without the wall plug.
3. Best for Samsung Devices: Samsung Power Bank, Dark Grey (20,000mAh)
- Super Fast Charging (SFC) at 25W
- Includes two USB-C output ports
- Charges three devices simultaneously
- Stays cool, say reviews
- Fast charging works when only one device is being charged
Students with a Samsung Galaxy ecosystem should look no further for a reliable power bank. In fact, Shaik urges opting for a power bank that's of the same brand as your devices. This charging brick by the tech giant delivers its 20,000mAh capacity via three output ports – two Type-C and one USB-A ports. Its maximum output power (25W) is based on the brand’s own fast charging method, so you can trust this power bank to look after your flagship Samsung devices. It's also supported by the Quick Charge protocol. With this in the backpack, you can power up a Galaxy S20 Ultra three times and a Galaxy Tab S7+ nearly twice over. Even if you don’t own Samsung devices, the battery pack works just as well with compatible electronics. Reviewers confirm having charged their iPhone X, Nintendo Switch, Beats earbuds and laptop, too.
4. Best for Emergency Backup: Charmast Mini Power Bank (5,000mAh)
- Easy portability, weighs only 92 grams
- Wireless charging
- 20W PD for iPhones, AirPods and more
- Includes USB-A to USB-C recharging cable
- Capacity is insufficient for a full smartphone charge
With the Charmast mini power bank, there’s one less thing to fuss about. It’s completely wireless. Slip the ultra-lightweight charger (92 grams) in your pocket and charge on the go, without a USB cable. Specially designed for iPhone models and AirPods, the mini battery pack is fixed with a 20W PD fast-charging lightning pin. The unit attaches to the bottom of the smartphone like an accessory, and delivers 5,000mAh of capacity. This means it’s best used as an emergency backup for a less-than-full charge, which it delivers within 30 minutes. For example, your iPhone 13 Pro Max will get a charge of just over 60 per cent, while AirPods get six charges. It's perfect for plugging in mid-class or en route to a lesson, without the hassle of wires getting in the way. Buyers love the protective cap over the connector that keeps the pin from breaking in transit. Have an Android device? Find the mini power bank with a Type-C connector here.
Warranty: The manufacturer offers a two-year warranty.
5. Best for Laptops: Anker 737 PowerCore 24K (24,000mAh)
- Incredibly powerful delivery at 140W
- Two USB-C and one USB-A ports
- PD 3.1 support for fast charge
- Colourful digital display shows remaining battery, ports in use and more
- Comes with a recharging cable
- Bulky build due to its heavy-duty capacity
- Needs a PD wall charger to recharge quickly
Our second Anker pick sits just above the recommended capacity, at a whopping 24,000mAh. The 737 PowerCore 24K is going to take up considerable space in the bag, but only because it's capable of delivering 140 watts of total charging power. You can plug your and a friend's laptop to fuel up simultaneously, thanks to the two fast-charging USB-C ports. If need be, the 18W USB-A port is free to add a third device, like a smartphone or a smartwatch. With so much happening, the brick's smart intuitive display keeps you informed about active ports and how much juice you've got left. Buyers call it a beast in terms of performance, taking on Macbook models, the latest iPhones, Android smartphones and tablets easily.
Bonus: The manufacturer offers a two-year warranty.
6. Best for Dorms: Promate SolarTank-20PDQi Power Bank (20,000mAh)
- Fast charges up to 50 per cent in 30 minutes
- Supports 10W wireless charging
- Built-in bright night light
- Can be recharged in the sun
- Water- and dust-proof
- Takes longer to charge via solar power
If you live in student accommodation, you'll need a water- and dust-proof power brick in the drawer. With an IP66 protection rating, this Promate power bank has a 20,000mAh battery capacity and can be recharged in the sun. Simply place it under direct sunlight if you're in a pinch and let the built-in solar panels do the work for you. Two rubber flaps cover two USB-A ports and a PD 20W/QC 18W USB-C port, you'll also find 10W wireless Qi charging on the back. The Type-C promises a 50 per cent charge in 30 minutes for iPhone, iPad and Android phones. A bonus feature is its bright built-in flashlight that has an emergency strobe mode, which students may find handy on trips or during a blackout at the dorms.
Warranty: The manufacturer offers a two-year warranty.
7. Best Portable Charger for Apple: Belkin Boostcharge Plus 10K Portable Charger (10,000mAh)
- Eliminates the need for carrying around different cables
- Charges three devices, when not being recharged
- Compatible with devices that have USB-C ports
- Lightning cable is Apple-certified
- Doesn’t come with a recharging cable
Leave your expensive charging cables at home, when you pick up the Belkin Boostcharge Plus. All you have to do is toss the power bank into the bag before heading out, because it comes with its own integrated cables. Belkin’s accessories are Apple-certified, so anyone with a growing Apple ecosystem, from smartwatches to Macbook, can take advantage of the attached lightning and USB-C cables. But there’s more, an 18W in/out USB-C port lets you add a third device for charging, albeit with your own cable. With a 10,000mAh capacity, you can expect to fully charge a tablet once. But, note that it doesn't come with its own recharging wire. Check out other portable, travel-friendly power banks here.
Our recommendations are independently chosen by Gulf News editors. If you decide to shop through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission, as we are part of Amazon Services LLC Associates Program.