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Technology.

3 December 2021

Best cheap power banks for 2021

A portable power bank charger is a simple way to top up your gadgets on the go. Find out what key features to look for, along with some of the best cheap power banks we’ve tested.
FW
Felix Wilson
Power bank man outdoors

Power banks are essentially big rechargeable batteries with built-in USB ports – but their flexibility and portability make them one of the most useful accessories you can carry.

Capable of topping up everything from phones and tablets to wireless headphones, they offer significant peace of mind when you need to keep your gadgets alive. A good power bank is perfect for topping up charge on weekends away without plug sockets, keeping your devices alive on long journeys or just providing some extra juice in an emergency. And they needn't cost the earth, either – below we round up some of the cheapest power banks we've tested, and explain what to consider before you buy.

Go straight to the best power banks we've tested to find out which models impressed our experts.

Best power banks under £20

We regularly find decent power banks for £20 or less – including the occasional Best Buy. The best cheap power banks are quick, efficient and versatile. Models with larger capacities, measured in mAh (milliamp hours), have more cells inside the outer casing. This makes them more expensive – so we don’t tend to see high capacity power banks in this price range. 

  • 70%
    £14.99

    This small 5,000mAh power bank just misses out on being a Best Buy. It’s a handy combination of power and portability, with enough capacity to fully charge a smartphone once – perfect for the occasional top-up on the go.

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  • 69%
    £15.00

    This affordable medium power bank has enough juice to fully charge two smartphones. The USB-C input/output port is handy – especially for Android users. It’s not the fastest or the lightest we’ve tested among its peers, but at this price, it’s a compelling pick.

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  • 69%
    £28.40

    This medium power bank isn’t the best we’ve seen by any stretch – but was above average in practically every test we threw at it. With enough energy to recharge a smartphone twice, it’s a good choice for a weekend on the go.

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Pricing, recommendations and test scores correct as of December 2021.

Best power banks under £30

While our tests show time and time again that price is no guarantee of quality, there are some fantastic models available if you’re willing to spend a little more.

Notably, we start to see some very good 20,000mAh power banks in this price range, with plenty of power to charge smartphones, tablets and handheld games consoles. Below are three of the best mid-priced portable power bank chargers.

  • 80%
    £20.99

    This small power bank is among the best we’ve tested. It’s quick, fits nicely in a pocket and can charge devices through either USB-A or USB-C. At 6,700mAh, it has a slightly higher capacity than most other small power banks – making it a nice compromise between a super portable model and bigger, chunkier ones.

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  • 79%
    £24.00

    This Best Buy model probably can’t fit in your front pocket, but it can fully charge a smartphone up to four times. It’s fast, efficient, and has plenty of sockets. So, if you’re happy to sacrifice portability for power, this 20,000mAh model should be on your shortlist.

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  • 77%
    £29.99

    This medium power bank aces practically all our tests. It lives up to its claimed capacity, there are plenty of sockets and it’s lightning fast at charging devices. If you’re looking for something to keep your devices alive over a weekend, or on a long journey, this could be the power bank for you.

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Pricing, recommendations and test scores correct as of December 2021.

What should you watch out for when buying a cheap power bank?

  • As a rule, cheap power banks tend to be on the slower side, both when charging the power bank and using it.
  • Consider capacity vs portability – do you want to slip something into a pocket that has enough juice to charge a phone, or keep a range of gadgets going for a whole weekend? The smallest power bank we’ve tested capable of fully charging a smartphone is 5,000mAh.
  • Larger power banks are generally more expensive, but they’re often better value in terms of mAh for every pound spent.
  • Useful features like ‘pass through charging’, which allows you to charge your power bank from the mains while it’s in use, start to appear even in budget models.
  • Be wary of suspiciously cheap models from unknown online brands – shoddily constructed power banks without the right safety features have been known to overheat, or even explode.

Still unsure what kind of power bank is right for you? Visit our page on how to buy the best power bank for more information.