Best power banks 2024: Portable charging for astronomers

Person outside using one of the best power banks to charge smartphone
The best power banks enable skywatchers and astrophotographers to have extra peace of mind when they're on the go. (Image credit: Getty)

One of the best power banks or power stations is the ideal way to make sure your devices never run out of juice while you're out and about. They store up power when you charge them off the mains at home so that they're ready to give you a much-needed power boost when you find yourself away from a plug. Astrophotographers, hikers, campers and anyone else who spends a lot of time outdoors can benefit from being able to keep their phones, camera batteries or flashlights full of charge when working off-grid.  

Power banks come in a range of different designs, sizes and capacities. Some are small enough to fit in your pocket and make the perfect companion for your daily commute, while others are designed with high capacities to help you charge multiple devices at the same time. Others have handy additional features like being able to double up as a flashlight or handwarmer for those cold late-night shooting sessions. We've included a wide range of options on this list so you can decide on the best model for your needs.  

If you're looking to upgrade the rest of your kit, we have guides to the best cameras and best telescopes, along with lists of useful accessories like the best headlamps and best camera backpacks

Amazon Prime Day starts tomorrow,  July 16th and it's a great opportunity for Prime members to find power banks for cheap. Our Amazon Prime Day space deals page shows a round up of all the best deals on the site — make sure to check it regularly so you don't miss a bargain.  

The quick list

Best power banks and power stations we recommend in 2024

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Best power banks we recommend 2024

Best for portability

Best for portability: A compact, no frills and FAA carry-on-compliant, reliable power bank

Specifications

Capacity: 74Wh/ 20,000 mAh
Output ports: 1 x USB C-PD, 2 x USB A
Charging time: 5 hours by 18W USB C-PD
IP rating: None
Weight: 1 lb (465g)

Reasons to buy

+
Quick Charge 3.0 Protocol (fast charging)
+
Portable and durable
+
Reliable

Reasons to avoid

-
No % charge indicator
-
Multiple cables needed (USB-C to USB-C and USB-A to everything else)
-
No water resistance
Buy if:

✅ You want something simple: This power bank is simple, portable and reliable. With no fancy screens or other functionality, it just does what it needs to.

You're after Quick Charge 3.0 compatibility: This is required to activate fast charging modes on compatible devices.

Don't buy if:

❌ You need something waterproof: There is no waterproof rating so it's best you only use it where there's guaranteed to be no water or heavy condensation/moisture.

You want to see the exact level of charge remaining:  This power bank utilizes a 4-light LED indicator to show how much percent charge is remaining, so it's not as accurate as other models.

The bottom line:

🔎 BioLite Charge PD 20/40/80: A no-fuss, affordable power bank that can be relied on for multiple charges over a couple of nights. We really like BioLite's mission too.

We're big fans of BioLite as a company. This manufacturer of outdoor and off-grid products is on a mission to provide 20 million people with clean energy and to avoid 3 million tons of CO2 emissions by 2025. By opting for a BioLite product, you're doing your part to help that mission. But that's just one of the reasons we like the BioLite Charge 80: It's also a very neat little power bank.

There are three different versions of BioLite's Charge power bank that are very similar in terms of specifications. Here we're looking at the Charge 80 since it has the largest capacity. It is rugged and simple to use, and in our BioLite Charge PD review, we noted that its size-to-capacity ratio felt just about right. It's able to charge multiple devices more than once over a couple of days — notably, it can charge the BioLite HeadLamp 425 (which features on our best headlamps for astrophotography list) approximately 16 times. 

One of the standout features is the Quick Charge 3.0 Protocol which is needed to activate fast charging modes for compatible devices. This power bank has an LED indicator with four bars that let you know how full the charge is (25%, 50%, 75% or 100%). While some might prefer an LCD screen that shows exact charge numbers, we think the LED indicator is more than enough.

The Charge PD ships with a USB-A to USB-C cable, but you'll have to supply your own USB-C to USB-C cable or something with multiple ends for a more universal fit.

The power bank can operate in temperatures between -20C to 40C, so unless you travel to the most hostile conditions, you shouldn't run into any issues in that department. However, it's not waterproof, so you'll want to keep it somewhere dry.

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Test Results
AttributesNotes
DesignSimple, grey and yellow, rounded edges
FunctionalityNot waterproof but robust, small and light
PerformanceGreat, does what you'd need it to inc PD which charges devices three times faster than a 5W charger.

Best value

Explore Scientific 8300mAh Power Bank with Red LED Flashlight

Best value: Made with the astronomer in mind, power your off grid all night skywatching sessions

Specifications

Capacity: 99.6Wh/ 8300 mAh
Output ports: USB Port 5 VDC, 2A 12 VDC, 6A
Charging time: 6 hours max
IP rating: None
Weight: 1.4 lbs (635g)

Reasons to buy

+
Operates in extreme temperatures
+
Designed with astronomers in mind
+
Red LED Flashlight built-in

Reasons to avoid

-
Charges one device at a time
-
Brick-like
-
No cables supplied
Buy if:

You want the red light functionality: Having a built-in red light is particularly useful for astrophotographers.

You'll be using it in extreme temperatures: It can happily operate in temperatures from -4 to 140F (-20 to 60C)

Don't buy if:

You want something pocketable: This power bank is brick-like and pretty heavy. You can find lighter models with higher capacity.

You want something that's quick to charge: Some power banks take less than two hours to charge to 100%, but this one can take up to six hours.

The bottom line:

🔎 Explore Scientific 8300mAh Power Bank with Red LED Flashlight: If you're heading out for a night of skywatching or astrophotography and require a red light and some backup 'juice', this will serve you well.

For astronomers and astrophotographers, the Explore Scientific USB Power Bank with Red LED Flashlight is a great choice. Not only does it have enough power to see you through the night, but the red flashlight is a nifty integration that will help you maintain your night vision.

Granted, it's not the brightest flashlight and it won't light up whole areas like one of the best headlamps for stargazing would. But as an additional feature to a power bank, it's very useful indeed, whether you're checking star charts or fiddling around with the settings on your camera.

This device definitely doesn't look as 'sleek' as some of our other picks, but it's covered in a thick layer of rubber armor that keeps out dirt and moisture while shielding the electronics from minor impacts. It can operate in temperatures from -4 to 140F (-20 to 60C), so there's no need to worry about protecting it from extreme temperatures.

The flashlight has a tactile toggle switch that you can use to turn it on and off. It also has a two-point attachment point so you can hang it from a convenient place, like your tripod frame. There are five LED indicators on the body that show you the amount of power it has left, so you won't get caught out unexpectedly.

Best for keeping in your car

Best for keeping in your car or camper thanks to its simple, compact design

Specifications

Capacity: 25,000 mAh
Output ports: 2 x USB-C, 1 x USB A
Charging time: 1.5 hours
IP rating: None
Weight: 1.13 lbs (513g)

Reasons to buy

+
Simple design
+
Has both USB-C and USB-A ports
+
FAA carry-on compliant

Reasons to avoid

-
Larger than comparable capacity power banks
-
Heavier than comparable capacity power banks
Buy if:

✅ You want something carry-on compliant: This is almost the maximum capacity power bank you can take in your hand luggage.

You want something that charges quickly: During our tests, we charged this power bank from 0-100% in just 90 minutes.

You need both USB-C and USB-A ports: This has both, so there is no need to carry an adapter with you.

Don't buy if:

❌ You want something for carrying around in your backpack: This might not be the ideal power bank for you as it's on the heavier side.

❌ You want wireless charging: This particular Ugreen model doesn't feature wireless charging, but some of their other models do.

The bottom line:

🔎 Ugreen 2500mAh Power Bank: We really like this power bank and wouldn't hesitate to recommend it as a simple, elegantly-designed, high-capacity and reliable model.

The Ugreen 25000mAh power bank is a simple but sleek-looking device with some impressively fast charging times. Its capacity is more than large enough for powering multiple devices, but it's also just under the maximum limit permitted for hand luggage, making it very travel-friendly. You get USB-C and USB-A ports on this device, as well as a USB-C to USB-C cable in the box.

During our Ugreen 25000mAh power bank review we were able to charge the power bank itself from empty to full in just 1.5 hours, and we charged a laptop from empty to full in the same amount of time.

The two-way charging featured on this model means that it can both charge and give charge at the same time, so it's an ideal charging hub for multiple devices. It also allows for trickle charging and has built-in surge and short circuit protection to give you peace of mind.

One of our favorite features on the Ugreen power bank is the built-in digital display. It lets you see exactly how much power is left in it, which means there's no guesstimation involved unlike with with power banks that use light indicators instead. The level of precision is very welcome as it means you're able to keep careful tabs on your power usage, knowing exactly what you can still afford to charge.

One thing to bear in mind is that this power bank is heavier than some other similarly-sized models. As such, it's not the best for carrying around with you, but it is very useful for keeping in your car or tent for charging devices as you travel. It would also have been nice to see a wireless charging feature, particularly as the Ugreen 25000mAh power bank's size would allow for it, but its absence shouldn't be too much of a deal-breaker for most.

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Test Results
AttributesNotes
DesignProfessional looking — stylish and fuss free with a digital power indicator
FunctionalityUSB-C and USB-A ports are useful, two way charging so you can use it as a charging hub
PerformanceIncredibly fast to charge, real time information is accurate

Best for longer charges

Anker PowerCore+ 26800 with Quick Charge 3.0

Best for longer charges: A premium, colossal capacity power bank

Specifications

Capacity: 26,000 mAh
Output ports: 3 x USB Type A
Charging time: 4 hours
IP rating: None
Weight: 1.3 lbs (591g)

Reasons to buy

+
Huge capacity
+
A good choice for large devices

Reasons to avoid

-
Quite big and bulky
-
Definitely not cheap
-
No IP rating
Buy if:

✅ You want to buy from a well-known and respected brand: Anker is one of America's leading USB charging brands.

Don't buy if:

❌ You primarily charge USB-C devices: This power bank has three USB-A outputs and takes Micro-USB input.

You need it last minute: It takes around six hours for a full charge. 

The bottom line:

🔎 Anker PowerCore+ 26800 with Quick Charge 3.0: A product from a well-respected brand with the maximum capacity allowed in your flight hand luggage, it intelligently delivers the optimum power to your individual devices.

Anker is a well-known USB charging brand in America, so we're always confident to recommend their high-quality products. The Anker PowerCore+ 26800 comes in a sleek aluminum design, with rounded corners and round battery indicator button surrounded by 10 small LED lights to help you keep track of how much charge you have left.  

Although it's a little bulkier than some of the other options on our list, measuring around 7 x 3 inches (18 x 8cm) and weighing 1.3 lbs (591g), it could still be a worthy travel companion thanks to its high capacity, which falls just under the carry-on limit for airplane travel. You can charge up to three devices at the same time with this power bank via the three USB-A ports, and it comes with a handy carry case.  

The Anker PowerCore+ 26800 features dual input ports, allowing it to halve the amount of time it takes to charge up at the wall, and it's also compatible with Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 technology to allow it to charge even faster — though you'll have to buy the wall charger separately to make use of this feature. With the additional wall charger, you can charge it from empty to full in around four hours, versus around six hours without it.  

It also boasts another inbuilt piece of technology called Power IQ which allows the power bank to identify connected devices and deliver the optimum charging speeds to all devices at the same time. Overall, it's a solid and reliable power bank that comes with an 18-month guarantee for further peace of mind.  

  • Need a camera backpack to carry your kit? Look no further than our handy guide.

Best for waterproofing

Otterbox Fast Charge Power Pack (15,000mAh)

Best for waterproofing: You can take this fast charging, rugged power bank with you in any weather

Specifications

Capacity: 55.5Wh/15,000mAh
Output ports: USB-C, USB-A, Qi Wireless 10W
Charging time: 4 hours approx
IP rating: IP54
Weight: 0.73 lbs (330g)

Reasons to buy

+
Durable with drop protection
+
Limited lifetime warranty
+
Supports wireless charging

Reasons to avoid

-
Basic LED power indicator
Buy if:

✅ You want wireless charging: This is the only power bank in this guide that offers wireless charging.

You want something pocketable: This is 140 x 73 x 22 mm so it should easily fit in your pocket. 

You want something waterproof: It has an IP54 rating, which means it isn't submersible, but it would be fine if you accidentally left it out in the rain.

Don't buy if:

❌ You like seeing real-time data: This power bank only has a basic LED indicator for charge levels.

You need to charge your devices multiple times: This is a low-capacity power bank that should be seen as a spare supply of power in case needed, rather than relying on it to keep you powered up.

The bottom line:

🔎 Otterbox Fast Charge Power Pack:  An extremely rugged and weatherproof power bank that has the added bonus of wireless charging.

The Otterbox 15,000mAh (also available as 10,000mAh) is a reliable outdoor companion. With a protective rubber shell, it's very hard-wearing so it's a great power bank to choose if you're off on an adventure that may involve a few knocks (or if you're a little accident prone).

Its IP54 rating means it's totally protected from dust ingress and allows for some water ingress too. While it obviously isn't fully submersible, the odd splash or a bit of rain isn't anything to worry about, so it's good for use in most weather conditions.

This power bank comes with wireless charging, which is very handy as it means you don't need to carry around extra wires and cables — providing your devices are wireless charging compatible, of course.

Some might be disappointed that the Otterbox doesn't have a display, which means you don't get an accurate numerical depiction of how much charge remains in the device. Instead, there's a basic LED indicator which lets you know when it's charging and when it's fully charged. 

The Otterbox comes in three colors: Twilight Black, New Blossom Pink and White Sands. The latter two make the device easier to spot among a sea of predominantly black photography gear, or if you're out on an astrophotography shoot in the dark.

Best for wireless charging

Lion Energy Eclipse Mag - 99.9Wh Wireless Charger

Best for wireless charging: The perfect choice if you want to eliminate the need for extra cables

Specifications

Capacity: 27,000 mAh
Output ports: 3 x Qi Wireless, 2 x USB-A, 1 x USB-C
Charging time: 1.5 hours
IP rating: None
Weight: 2 lbs (907g)

Reasons to buy

+
Wireless charging capabilities
+
Rugged and durable
+
Approved for airplane travel

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive
-
No water resistance
-
Quite heavy
Buy if:

✅ You value wireless charging: You won't need to remember various different cables to charge your devices. 

Don't buy if:

❌ You're looking for a budget buy: This is one of the more expensive units on our list for its capacity.

The bottom line:

🔎 Lion Energy Eclipse Mag - 99.9Wh Wireless Charger: A great pick for anyone who wants to charge their devices wirelessly, especially for people who own all the Apple gear, but this makes it pricier for its capacity.

For those who want to go wireless, the Lion Energy Eclipse Mag is the ideal travel companion. Although it's relatively weighty at 2 lbs (907g), it's approved for airplane travel and has a chunky, rugged build so it should be able to withstand getting jostled around in your backpack. It has a high capacity of 27,000 mAh, too, so you won't find yourself running out of charge easily. 

The main selling point of this power bank is its wireless charging capabilities. It comes with three wireless charging pads on the top, one for charging your phone, one for wireless earbuds and one for an Apple Watch. It may appeal most to Apple enthusiasts who can charge their devices that way, but anyone will benefit from being able to charge their phone without having to remember to pack a cable. 

You also get two USB-A charging ports and one USB-C charging port that is rated for up to 85W, so it can be used to charge up your laptop. We were really impressed by how fast the power bank itself charges up from the wall. You can charge it from empty to full in around 90 minutes, and it's able to keep wirelessly charging your devices at the same time.  

This power bank is rated for over 1000 life cycles and comes with a hefty five-year warranty. Although it's fairly expensive compared to other models, it's a powerful little device that may be worth it if you enjoy being able to charge your devices wirelessly. 

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Test Results
AttributesNotes
DesignChunky and rugged
FunctionalityThree wireless charging options
PerformanceCharges from the wall in around 90 minutes

Best 3-in-1 device

Celestron ThermoTorch 3 Astro

A handy 3-in-1 power bank, hand warmer and red flashlight for night time adventures

Specifications

Capacity: 3550 mAh
Output ports: 1 x USB Type A
Charging time: 2 hours
IP rating: IPX4
Weight: 10.58 oz (300g)

Reasons to buy

+
Multi-functional
+
Rechargeable (no external batteries)
+
Two year warranty

Reasons to avoid

-
Micro-USB Charging (USB-C preferred)
-
Low capacity power bank
Buy if:

✅ You want to carry as few things as possible: Triple functionality ultimately means you have less kit to take with you.

Don't buy if:

❌ You need to charge your devices multiple times: This is a low-capacity power bank, so it's not going to keep all your gear charged for days at a time.

The bottom line:

🔎 Celestron ThermoTorch 3 Astro: A handy multi-functional device for astronomers and astrophotographers. It's small and light, so it can be kept in your pocket to keep your hands warm on night-time adventures, and used as a red torch or power bank when you need it.

There's an awful lot to like about the Celestron ThermoTorch 3 Astro. As its name suggests, it's first and foremost a torch. Not just any torch, though: Coming from Celestron, this is designed with stargazers in mind, so it features a red light for preserving night vision. But as bonus features, you also get a 3550 mAh power bank and a hand warmer thrown in for good measure.

If you're solely after a power bank, this probably isn't the right choice for you. At 3,550 mAh, it's barely enough to charge your mobile phone to full, let alone a suite of equipment. That said, it's a handy amount of charge if you're caught off-guard. With the addition of the red flashlight and handwarmer, however? The Celestron ThermoTorch 3 Astro is practically an astronomer's best friend — and a very handy little tool to have in your equipment.

We particularly like that the hand warmer can be used simultaneously with the flashlight — handy when you're holding the light out in front of you. The hand warmer will provide around four hours of continuous heat on a full charge.

The internal battery charges within two hours, so it's ideal for some last-minute adventures. There is also a white LED version of this model, so make sure you choose the Astro version to get the red light capability. It has an IPX4 rating, which means it can be used on rainy nights —it's worth noting though that while it can withstand light water splashes, it obviously cannot be submerged.

Best compact device

Celestron PowerTank Glow 5000 Red Torch Power Bank

Best compact device: A 2-in-1 red LED flashlight meets 5000 mAh 5V DC power bank

Specifications

Capacity: 25 Wh/ 5000 mAh
Output ports: 1 x USB Type-A
Charging time: 0-3.5 hours
IP rating: IP65
Weight: 6.3 oz (179g)