The Celestron Elements FireCel Mega 6 power bank is one of a series of electronic devices that Celestron has designed to be tough, rugged, and withstand the toughest elements. This handy 3-in-1 accessory is no different.
Capacity: 6000 mAh
Output ports: 1 x USB Type A
Charging time: 6-12 hours
IP rating: IP65
Weight: 6.2 oz (177 g)
Dimensions: 51.3 x 24.42 x 117.71mm (2" x .96" x 4.6")
The pocketable Celestron Elements FireCel Mega 6 (opens in new tab) has three helpful functions that skywatchers will love. It's a hand warmer, a portable power bank, and a four-mode flashlight (including red LEDs).
We featured it and rank it highly in our best power banks guide because of its versatility when stargazing or taking astrophotography out in the field, so here is our hands-on review.
Celestron Elements FireCel Mega 6 power bank review
Celestron Elements FireCel Mega 6: Design
- Feels premium
- Clever, functional design
- Smart, gift-friendly packaging
First and foremost, let's discuss the packaging. It screams 'adventure'. It's rugged and has a unique lift-up velcro fastening to access the device, something else which mirrors the device's well-thought-out functionality. It's a black and blue box with an alpine background, sprawled with bold writing that shouts the device's specifications in five different languages. Under the velcro flap, a picture of the FireCel Mega 6 lying atop muddy rocks. Even if we knew nothing of this product before purchasing, it is obvious it is made with the outdoor enthusiast in mind. It looks like a premium product and would be nice to give or receive as a gift.
Moving on to the device itself, it is smaller than a smartphone, and a little bigger than a vape mod (or old iPod), easily fitting in the palm of your hand. It is built with a smooth, curved body to enable maximum contact with the skin when using the hand warmer function, this also makes it very comfortable to hold.
4-inch 550 paracord strip
USB charging cable
Soft carry pouch
It's not quite light enough to be carried on your car keyring (it would tug on the ignition a little), but it would be comfortable when attached to a belt, cargo pants or kit bag. It's easily pocketable too.
The power button, which sits on top of the device, is relatively small. It is recessed, so it does not get switched on by accident, but it does make it tricky for larger fingers to press and a little tricky when your fingers are still cold!
The light blue plastic trim at the top and bottom and around the 'lid', which protects the input and output ports, differentiates this model from Celestron's ThermoCharge 10 (opens in new tab) which has an orange trim. The difference between these models is that the ThermoCharge 10 has an extra USB-A charging port and more battery capacity, but doesn't feature a flashlight.
Celestron Elements FireCel Mega 6: Performance
- Quick to heat up
- Flashlight is useful
- Electronic, no fuel or smell hand warmer
Looking at each of the functions one by one, hand warmers come in different types. Generally speaking, you'll have battery-powered, air-activated, or fuel-activated hand warmers, each type with its own pros and cons.
Fuel-activated hand warmers tend to have a strong smell (of burning fuel), but they are long-lasting and generally affordable. Disposable air-activated ones are straightforward to use, but they don't last very long, and they can become expensive if you're using them regularly.
Meet the rechargeable hand warmer. They can be pricier than the types mentioned above, but once charged, the heat can last for hours, and there is no fuel to buy, no need to replace them after one use, and no spark or flame is needed to get them going. The downside is that they do need charging before to your skywatching adventure.
The Celestron Elements FireCel Mega 6 provides heat for eight hours at 114°F (45°C) on a full charge. It's certainly not the hottest hand warmer available, but it provides a constant heat output that will certainly take the edge off the cold, much like holding someone else's hand after they have been warming it up next to a radiator. In our test, it takes around 30 seconds to start feeling the benefit of the heat after powering that function on (long press of the power button).
Next, we have the flashlight with four LEDs that give us four different modes. They are white LED, red LED, red and white LEDs together and SOS mode. As sky watchers, the red light is beneficial to help us preserve our night vision, but be mindful that you can only cycle through the lights with the white LED being the first in the cycle. You'll have to remember to cover the LED until you've pressed the button quickly twice to get to the red LED.
The flashlight isn't hugely powerful, but it is most helpful in altering settings on your astro gear, reading star charts, finding things in your kit bag, or something you might have dropped on the floor, or hanging off the ceiling in your tent while reading. Of course, it can help you find your way if your other lighting supply fails, but lighting up pathways or large areas isn't its intended use.
Finally, we have the power bank function. Use your device's cable (or the supplied one if the device you want to charge uses mini-USB in) and plug it into the USB-out port. There are no buttons to press, the internal battery will automatically start charging your device as soon as it's plugged in, a green LED indicates this. Throughout our testing, charging has been quick and effective.
As an example (not 100% accurate due to variations in batteries) we can use the FireCel Mega 6's 6000mAh battery to charge our favorite BioLite HeadLamp 425's 1000 mAh battery approximately six times. Or our Galaxy S21 Ultra's 5000 mAh battery one and a bit times from completely drained. You can charge one device at a time as there is only one USB-A port.
Celestron Elements FireCel Mega 6: Functionality
- Hang it anywhere with the supplied cord and carabiner
- Eight hours of hand-warming heat
- Rated IP65 to protect against water and dirt ingress
As with most rechargeable electrical products, the Celestron Elements FireCel Mega 6 ships with a partial charge, and a full charge is recommended before using it for the first time.
The device is charged by plugging in the mini USB end of the included cable to the FireCel, and the USB end to any USB-A port. Four blue LEDs blink during charge, the device is charged when all of the lights stop blinking.
The FireCel Mega 6 ships with a strong 4-inch 550 paracord strip and carabiner to attach it to whatever you like! This prevents you from misplacing it when you're skywatching or camping.
We think it would have been a bonus if the charging cable had been somehow built into the paracord, stored in the body of the device, or used an integrated USB that plugs straight into a USB charger (much like the Knog Bilby headlamp). This would be especially helpful for overnight trips, as a cable, especially a mini-USB which is becoming less common, is just one more thing to forget. There is no option to use external batteries.
We tested numerous devices — phones, tablets, headlamps, and our move shoot move star tracker. Almost everything uses a USB-C cable to charge. This meant actually carrying two cables with us if staying anywhere for longer than a couple of nights. One to charge the FireCel Mega 6, and one to use the FireCel Mega 6 to charge our devices.
The device is rated to IP65, which means total protection from dust ingress and protection from a 6.3mm spray of water (12.5 liters per minute) from any direction.
Should you buy the Celestron Elements FireCel Mega 6 power bank?
The FireCel Mega 6 is a handy bit of space-saving kit for skywatchers and outdoor enthusiasts. If you're heading out for an evening or two of sky-watching, this seems like a no-brainer when bought at a reasonable price.
You get 3-in-1 functionality from a device from Celestron, a trusted, well-known brand smaller than your smartphone and weighing just 177g. None of the functions are exceptional on their own, but they come together as an extraordinary package. As a low-cost multi-tool device, you can't go far wrong.
If the Celestron Elements FireCel Mega 6 isn't for you
If you don't need a hand warmer or flashlight functionality, the BioLite Charge PD (opens in new tab) series of chargers are excellent. They are a no-frills, portable power bank, and by purchasing from BioLite, you are helping with their vision to provide 20 million people with access to clean energy and to avoid 3 million tons of CO2e by 2025.
The Zendure SuperBank Pro (opens in new tab) has a whopping 4 USB-C ports if the ability to charge multiple devices tops your list of 'must haves'. It also has an OLED screen displaying useful information about what the huge 26,800mAh (about 100Wh) is doing in real-time.
For our other power bank recommendations, be sure to check out our best power banks for astrophotographers buying guide.