Strong power banks that can be used to charge your notebook and smartphone at the same time are ideal for traveling. ntv.de explains why battery capacity usually does not exceed 27,000 mAh and presents two top devices from Anker and Jackery that impress in practical testing.
A power bank is an ideal travel companion so you can charge your smartphone, laptop, camera or other mobile devices at any time while you’re on the go – preferably at the same time. But apparently there are limits to the capacities of these batteries, as values tend to be just over 27,000 milliampere-hours (mAh). This is not due to technical reasons, but there is a good reason.
Up to 100 Wh in airplane hand luggage
To be allowed in airplane carry-on luggage, the rated power of a power bank must not exceed 100 watt-hours (Wh), as per guidance from 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 take two batteries that meet the guidelines. However, these are not general regulations; Rules may vary from airline to airline. It’s best to ask before starting your trip, before leaving the mobile gas station behind at security check-in. In certain circumstances, devices with higher capabilities are also permitted. Lufthansa, for example, can (!) approve power banks of up to 160 Wh upon request.
Individual performance at the security checkpoint
Basically, you should remove large batteries from your luggage during security checks and place them in the conveyor belt box without a case to avoid problems. It is important to be able to prove 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 luggage. Batteries can catch fire if there is a short circuit. This would be noticeable in the cabin and the onboard crew would know how to deal with it. However, a fire in the trunk can have fatal consequences.
In general, you should avoid cheap products when it comes to batteries; A short circuit almost never occurs in devices from high-quality brands. ntv.de 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 also practical when traveling by train or car or on two wheels. With their relatively low weight, you can also carry them in your backpack while hiking.
Jackery Explorer 100 Plus
The Explorer 100 Plus is available for around 150 euros. Because the device looks like a miniature version of its large portable charging stations, Jackery calls it a power station. However, these have much higher capacities, are much more powerful and, among other things, also have AC outlets.
The Explorer 100 Plus only has USB ports in its small 12.6 x 8.65 x 8.7 cm box, which are practical for your tasks. Two of them are USB-C sockets that can charge other devices at up to 100 watts (W), one USB-A output provides a maximum of 18 W. Together, the USB-C ports can output up to 110 W, with the USB-C combination C plus USB-A 118 W is possible. All three sockets together produce 128W.
100W indoors or outdoors
The 965g power bank self-charges via SB-C with up to 100W, including compatible solar panel. The Explorer 100 Plus can draw a maximum of 60W from the car connection with an optional adapter. The power supply is not included in the scope of delivery. Under ideal conditions, a discharged battery is fully charged in 1.8 hours.
A small display above the outputs shows how much energy the device absorbs or emits. This also shows how high the remaining capacity is and approximately how long the reserves will last.
You can use the display button to make the screen light up permanently if you wish. According to the instructions, if you hold it for a long time, the power saving mode will activate. This is a little misleading. In fact, this is how you disable the automatic system that turns off the power bank if less than 2W is produced for twelve hours. You need the function if, for example, you want to charge headphones that consume less energy.
Well protected and durable
The Jackery Explorer 100 Plus doesn’t have any special refinements to offer, but why should it? What is required of her is not only done reliably, but also safely. Among other things, it automatically pauses if temperatures are too high or too low and is protected against overvoltage, overcurrent and short circuits. The case is flame retardant and can withstand some impacts (class 9).
You can also enjoy the device for a long time because it has a LiFePo4 (lithium iron phosphate) battery, which has a lifespan of about six times longer than conventional rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. Jackery claims 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 will have to shell out around 190 euros. But you get, among other things, a battery that comes with it 16.17 x 5.70 x 4.97 cm is significantly more compact than the Jackery Explorer 100 Plus. The shape makes it easy to store in hand luggage and, weighing just under 680g, it’s also significantly lighter. Technically, the power bank also has a lot to offer with an attractive metallic glass appearance.
Firstly, 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 energy storage to be as long-lasting as LiFePo4. In any case, Anker does not provide any information about this.
Trimmed for maximum performance
But the manufacturer really pushes the limits when it comes to performance. Because 27,650 mAh are equivalent to 102.3 Wh, a value above the maximum value allowed for luggage on board. In fact, Anker claims the power rating is 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 deliver up to 140W each, while the USB-A output should be up to 65W. This also works at the same time. If both USB-C ports are active, one creates a maximum of 140 W and the other 100 W. All three sockets together have a maximum power of 250 W: 140 + 92 + 18 W.
The Anker Prime 27,650 mAh itself can be filled from 0 to 100 percent with up to 170 W in just 37 minutes if you connect two powerful power sources at the same time. Alternatively, you can buy a 100-watt charging station for 60 euros, in which the power bank is charged via pins. To ensure that nothing goes wrong with high performance, there are several protection mechanisms, including temperature must be measured up to three million times a day.
But the power bank can also be comfortable. So that it doesn’t turn off at less than 2 watts, it also has a corresponding function to keep it running. A multicolor display shows how much power the outputs provide or how much the power bank is being charged. As with the Jackery Explorer 100 Plus, both are possible at the same time. You can also see the remaining time and capacity, temperature, and battery health on the screen.
Bluetooth and app
But the 27,650 mAh Anker power bank can do even more. If you press the large power button on the right side once, you’ll have the option to pair the device with a smartphone via Bluetooth. You can also see all the statistics in the associated app.
You can also enable optimized charging for your battery and connected devices. Batteries are recharged at set periods at reduced power to extend their useful life. You can also display how often you can still charge devices, but you must enter the values yourself. It’s nice to have all this, but you don’t really need it. Furthermore, the Bluetooth connection costs energy.