Power banks are well known these days as something of a travel standard. But this wasn’t always the case.In fact, it might sound surprising that as little as a decade ago, most travelers setting off for a long journeywould rarely consider a powerbank as something to bring along. They existed back then, but they were simply not well known. So, what has changed?
Well, the first thing is that powerbanks have been developed considerably in recent years, to the point where they are now a highly effective means of supplying power on the go. A powerbank means you are bringing three sources of power with you. There is the power your device holds, there is the charger which can top you up whenever a mains source of power is available, and there is a power bank for when these two sources fail you.
Powerbanks have increased in functionality in tandem with the general explosion in effective battery technology. From the massive lithium-ion batteries that power electric vehicles to the smaller USB C rechargeable AA smart batteries that have replaced traditional AA (as well as AAA, D, 9v, etc.) household batteries. Pale Blue Earth, a company specializing in such technology, predict that battery power is, in many ways, finally having its day.
Furthermore,the other reason powerbanks have become such a travel essential today is that they are now needed more than they were in the past. Guidebooks have been replaced by e-guidebooks;maps have been replaced with Google maps, and so on. Electronic guides also have the great advantage of being weightless – if you are going on a long trip, you can load as many of them into your portable electronic device as possible.
Thus, travelers need power in many more circumstances than they did before. Of course, you can always go backto using the older technologies, but if you’re out on the road, you might simply be unable to find the right physical maps and guidebooks as the rise of electronic forms has reduced the demand!
One response to this increased demand for powerbanks – as well as their increased functionality – has been that there are now many more powerbank models on the market than ever, and there’s considerably more choice too.
So, what makes for a great powerbank? By what metrics should you judge them before purchase to make sure they don’t let you down when you need them most?
In many ways, this is the most important thing. Naturally,capacity refers to how much power can be banked in the powerbank. But there is more to it than just that. Capacity is technically measured in milliampere hours (mAh), but it’s better to think of it in terms of how many full chargesthey can offer to your device before running out. This is also essential knowledge when you’re planning the trip itself.
All travelers know that the weight of the things they bring is essential to know before setting off. Getting through airports – or simply being able to carry what you’re bringing – all comes down to weight. Powerbanks rarely weigh that much, but they could be straw that breaks the camel’s back of your weight limit.
Size and Design
Or, to put it another way, the shape and dimensions of the powerbank. Powerbanks are typically cuboid orcylindrical. This could be an important consideration if you want to have the powerbank easily to hand in a special pocket.
Powerbanks are today travel essentials – but they certainly aren’t all created equal.