Best power banks 2024: Portable charging for astronomers

The best power banks (and power stations) have a variety of uses, and if you're the type of person to venture off into the great outdoors, purchasing one could be a very wise choice indeed. Whether you're an astrophotographer who spends a lot of time out in the wild or an adventurer who spends many a night in a tent, having the option to charge or plug in your cameras, phones, headlamps and more can be vital.

Power banks come in many different shapes and sizes. Some are compact enough to fit in your pocket, giving you enough charge to power your phone or your camera in a pinch. Others are huge power stations, boasting enough power to charge a camera — and numerous other devices — 99 times over. What makes the best power bank for you will depend on how you're hoping to use it. The largest power stations can weigh upwards of 50lbs, so if portability is something you're keen on, that's something to keep in mind.

Some of the best power banks on this list do more than simply charge your devices, too. We've included some multi-featured devices, like a torch, hand-warmer and power bank in one, which could come in very handy indeed if you're headed out on a skywatching trip.

Each product comes with different features and it's worth considering what you're looking for in terms of power capacity, portability, waterproofing features and, of course, your own personal budget. We've covered a range of products here, so you're sure to find something to suit your needs and make sure that you never have to cut your trips short because of power.

If you're planning some longer night-time adventures, you may also want to check out our guides to the best stargazing tents and best headlamps to see you through the nights.


The quick list

Best power banks and power stations 2024

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Best power banks we recommend 2024

Best power bank overall

Best for capacity: Massive capacity power bank encased in an aluminum shell with an informative OLED screen to boot

Specifications

Capacity: 96.48Wh 26800 mAh
Output ports: USB-C1 / C2: 5V/3A, 9V/3A, 12V/3A, 15V/3A, 20V/3A, 20V/5A, 100W Max; USB-C3 / C4: 5V/3A, 9V/2A, 12V/1.5A, 20W Max
Charging time: 105 minutes
IP rating: None
Weight: 1.25 lbs (565g)

Reasons to buy

+
Upgradable Firmware
+
Real-time OLED screen
+
138W max output

Reasons to avoid

-
On the heavy and bulky side
-
No USB-A ports
-
Fairly expensive
Buy if:

✅ You want to stay up-to-date: You can download the most recent firmware for this power bank, ensuring maximum performance in the future.

You want to see the nitty gritty: The real-time OLED screen shows you exactly what power is entering and leaving the device from or to each of the ports.

Don't buy if:

❌ You want something compact: This is a reasonably chunky power bank, which isn't surprising given the capacity.

You use mostly USB-A charged devices: Though the SuperTank Pro does come with a USB-A to USB-C adapter, its four ports are geared toward USB-C users.

The bottom line:

🔎 Zendure SuperTank Pro 100W: A huge capacity powerbank that provides users with all the information about incoming and outgoing power on an OLED screen. It's carry-on compliant and durable thanks to its anodized aluminium casing.

Zendure is one of the fastest-growing EnergyTech start-ups with a mission to make energy available and accessible.

The vast capacity Zendure SuperTank Pro 100W power bank is about as big as you can legally carry in your hand luggage on a flight. It is encased in anodized aluminum with ABS plastic which gives it a rugged but premium feel, as we discussed in our hands-on Zendure SuperTank Pro 100W review.

The Zendure SuperTank Pro 100W can charge exceptionally fast, taking only 105 minutes in lab conditions. This makes it an ideal choice if you're looking for a quick solution before embarking on a spontaneous night of stargazing. With a total output of 138W, you can power four devices simultaneously, including your smartphone, headtorch, star tracker, and lens warmer. Amazing.

The built-in OLED screen of the SuperTank Pro is very helpful as it provides real-time information about the power you're currently using — and it'll also keep you informed on how much charge is left in the bank. It's always helpful to know so you can plan what you can and can't charge.

Annoyingly, however, there's no USB-A port on this power bank. It does have USB-C, but with many devices still requiring USB-A, it would have been nice to be able to plug those in directly to the device. Not all is lost, thankfully: Zendure does include a USB-A adapter, which can be stowed away in the storage case for safe keeping. 

Although this is an expensive power bank, if you need a lot of power on the go, it's perhaps the best choice on the market. And with promised firmware updates, you have the peace of mind that the device will always stay up-to-date. Even better, it comes with a two-year warranty to cover you against any faults.

Unfortunately, the Zendure SuperTank Pro has recently been discontinued; so if you're interested in getting one, grab one before they sell out.

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Test Results
AttributesNotes
DesignAluminum casing, durable, looks like a small luggage case
FunctionalitySuper fast charging — less than one hour, charge four devices at once
PerformanceImpressive, can't fault it

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 seeing the actual figure.

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 has a sustainability mission to provide 20 million people with clean energy and to avoid 3 million tons of CO2 emissions by 2025. It's a very noble effort and, by opting for a BioLite product, you're doing your part to help that mission. But that's only one reason we like the BioLite Charge 80: There's also the fact it's just a very neat little power bank.

There are three different versions of BioLite's Charge power bank. They're very similar in specification but 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 remarked that its size-to-capacity ratio felt just about right. It's able to charge multiple devices (and more than once) over a couple of days — and, 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. It has an LED indicator with four bars that let you know how full the charge is (25%, 50%, 75% or 100%). We don't think an LCD screen showing exact numbers is strictly necessary, so 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 to be more of a universal fit.

It can operate in temperatures between -20C to 40C, so unless you travel to the most hostile conditions, there shouldn't be any issues, however, you'll need to store 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

-
Charge 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 very useful particularly 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. Opt for a lighter model 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 is by no means as 'sleek' as some of our other picks. 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. The five LED indicators show the amount of power it has left so you don'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 given that it's on the heavier side.
❌ You want wireless charging:
This particular Ugreen model doesn't feature wireless charging; 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, reliable model.

The Ugreen 25000mAh power bank is a simple but sleek-looking device with some impressively fast charging times. Its capacity is plenty large enough for powering multiple devices while still being 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 device itself from empty to full in just 1.5 hours, as well as charging 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, making it an ideal charging hub for multiple devices. It also allows for trickle charging and has a built-in surge protector 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 as an actual number: That means there's no guesstimation involved as there can be 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 power banks. It's not the best for carrying around with you, then, but it is very useful for keeping in your car or tent for charging devices as you travel. It would have also 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.

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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: You're guaranteed a product from a well-respected brand with the maximum capacity allowed in your flight hand luggage, that intelligently delivers the optimum power to your individual devices.

We don't hesitate to recommend products from Anker: It's one of America's leading USB charging brands, so you know you're buying a good quality product that's known to be reliable with good performance. The Anker PowerCore+ 26800 is no different: It might not be the lightest or the smallest power bank on the market, but we can vouch for its quality.

Indeed, the Anker PowerCore+ is one of the more cumbersome devices on our list of the best power banks. At 7 inches long and 3 inches wide, it's rather sizeable particularly if you plan to be carrying it around with you. But if size isn't a factor, don't let that put you off this otherwise excellent power bank.

This is a power bank that doesn't need to pack in extra bells or whistles. It has three USB-A charging ports which you can use to charge your phone, camera or whatever other USB-powered device you need to give juice to. But that's it: There's no built-in hand warmer or useful flashlight. If you're just looking for a solid power bank, though, that shouldn't matter. 

It charges from empty to full in just over four hours with a Qualcomm Quick Charge wall charger (but this is to be purchased separately). Using a normal wall charger will take around six hours. 

It has intelligent PowerIQ technology which identifies the connected devices and delivers the optimum high-speed charge to all devices. Impressive. Ten tiny LEDs indicate the Anker PowerCore+ 26800's level of charge, and it comes with a no-fuss 18-month warranty.

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