Many of our electronic devices come with their own plug-in charger but it’s not designed to charge when there is no power. How should you pick the best portable battery charger that will work with your device? What you need is a guide or some tips to help you choose the right charger for your device. This article provides 7 great tips for choosing the right portable battery charger.
If you have an iPhone device, the choosing is fairly easy. Portable battery chargers must be designed specifically for the iPhone and so are automatically compatible. Something to look for though is your model of iPhone to make sure the connection and amps are compatible.
What if it’s another portable device besides an iPhone? That’s where some help is needed.
7 Tips for Choosing the Right Portable Battery Charger
1. Portable Battery Charger Power
The first thing you need to consider is voltage and amps. Your device should come with some specifications for how many volts and amps input are required to charge the device. Sometimes, like in the case of a GPS or rechargeable flashlight, this specification may be printed near the charging port. Sometimes it will be printed inside the battery compartment if it has one for the rechargeable batteries. On many others you will have to find the manual or look online.
Pay close attention to what you’re charging. MP3 players and other small devices with minimal power requirements will be easy to charge using any portable charger. Larger items like laptops, some mobile phones, and portable DVD players may need a larger portable charger or you should use your car to charge them.
Tip: The most important specification is amps. If try to charge your delicate electronic device with an amperage that is too high for the device, you can damage the batteries or even the device. Make sure the amperage is close to the requirements of the device. Next most important is the voltage. Make sure the voltage is equal to or higher than the specification for the device so that the batteries will charge. If not, you may damage or discharge the batteries instead of charging them.
2. Trip Duration
If you’re going to the shopping mall or the local park, you can probably get away with a just charging at home or using a car outlet charger to keep your device powered-up. Not all devices have compatible car outlet chargers so that’s something to keep in mind.
Many of us have car 12V power outlets now but, what if it’s a long trip with multiple devices being used by multiple family members and some of the trip will be walking through Yosemite National Park or other suitable vacation or adventure destination? That’s where the portable battery charger comes in.
A portable battery charger is usually has its own internal battery pack that must be kept recharged in order to provide power.
Tip: Come up with a power strategy for your trip in advance. Consider taking a couple of portable battery chargers that can be plugged into your car 12V outlets to keep them charged until you need them. That way whether you’re staying in the car or going on an extended jaunt away from the trusty SUV, you will have the power you need for all your devices. Many newer chargers come with multiple outlets and multiple outlet types to service multiple electronics requirements.
Solar panel chargers are becoming more and more popular as they come down in price and offer more power per dollar. For the most part they don’t put out that much power and of course it depends on the light available. But, they can be a nice plug and forget charger for non-emergency charging.
Tip: This might be a good choice to power that second battery pack on a long trip. The kids can use the outlets while solar takes care of the battery pack for you. You just need to keep the panel in as much sun as you can which is usually on the dashboard of a car or SUV. Also, make sure that any solar panel charger you buy comes with an intelligent controller so that it won’t accidentally overcharge your batteries.
4. Jump Start Capability
Believe it or not, many of the newer Battery Jump Starters also function as portable battery chargers. They can both jump start your car and often have built-in outlets either for DC or possibly inverter outlets for AC.
Tip: This is a handy device in emergencies being able to jump start the car, power emergency lights, emergency radios, and mobile devices.
5. Connectors and Adapters
Be sure you have the proper outlets to power all your devices. These days, devices are all over the board on their requirements for a power connection. It could be AC, DC, USB, etc.
Tip: Figure our your charging needs in advance and buy the proper outlet adapters to avoid having to have those outlets on your portable battery charger. It will save you money and adapters are available in kits to save you even more money.
Batteries are heavy and a portable battery charger is mostly made up of batteries. Plus the more features and power that a charger has, the larger and heavier it will be. Always check the dimensions before you buy and make sure it fits into your plans both in function and in size.
Tip: Portable chargers need to be charged themselves so when planning long trips, make provision for keeping your portable charger(s) charged.
Your portable battery charger can be just a lump sitting there providing no information about what’s going on or it can have meters, LED lights, knobs, and dials to provide exactly what is going on so you’re never in the dark.
Tip: Opt for a battery charger that gives you some basic information about when charging is complete. It’s possible for some chargers, particularly the larger ones, to overcharge your devices. Try to get a device that has a microprocessor controller to automatically protect your devices from damage. That way it’s set and forget!
I hope this article has given you some insight to choosing and using a portable battery charger.