The best power banks are an essential skywatching accessory for anyone, especially astrophotographers.
Out in the field, astrophotographers and skywatchers carry around plenty of kit, from headlamps, lens heaters, telescope Mounts and star trackers — not forgetting their smartphones, which are often used as star trackers or remote shutters. As hikes and shoots can span several days, it's quite common to run out of juice on at least one of these devices.
In order to avoid cutting your session short, a power bank is a great investment. Not all of them are created equal, so we've tested and reviewed a range of products with different features and price points to suit every budget.
If you're new to the game and are wondering what to look for in the best power banks, we've summarized the most important things to consider at the end of this article. To get started, you should look out for a device with a reliable power indicator, waterproof resistance, good portability, and an even better capacity. Some of the more premium models also function as a torch and handwarmer, which is a nice added bonus but by no means essential.
Best power banks 2023
Why you can trust Space.com Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test and review products.
Best power banks 2023 ranked
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 OLED screen gives you real-time information about your power usage and remaining charge, meaning you can plan and adapt your setup accordingly.
One downside of this power bank is the lack of a USB-A port. Even though USB-C is becoming more prevalent, many devices still require USB-A charging. Fortunately, Zendure includes a USB-A adapter that can be conveniently stored in the sleek storage case.
Although the initial cost may seem significant, the firmware updates that are promised should ensure that the power bank remains useful and up-to-date in the long run.
The SuperTank Pro 100W has a two-year limited warranty for added peace of mind.
Update March 2023 — unfortunately, the Zendure SuperTank Pro has recently been discontinued; so if you're interested in getting one, grab one quick before they sell out.
BioLite has three versions of the 'Charge' power bank. Here we'll look at the Charge 80 as it is the most powerful with the largest charge capacity.
BioLite is best known for creating affordable and durable products for life outside and off-grid — so it's no surprise the BioLite Charge 80 PD fits this bill. Moreover, we're fully on board with BioLite's mission to provide 20 million people with clean energy and avoid 3 million tons of CO2 emissions by 2025. By purchasing a BioLite power bank, you are, in part, helping with this mission.
It is rugged and simple to use, and in our BioLite Charge PD review, we thought the capacity-to-size ratio was spot on. It has enough capacity to charge multiple devices, multiple times, over a couple of days. It can charge the BioLite HeadLamp 425 (which features on our best headlamps for astrophotography list) approximately 16 times. It is made with a rubberized finish, and the ports are housed in a durable orange plastic casing.
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.
- Read our full BioLite Charge PD Series review
Designed with the astronomer in mind, the Explore Scientific USB Power Bank with Red LED Flashlight will ensure you have enough power to see your electronic devices through the night. The integrated LED with red cover will ensure you can see through the night too. It won't light up vast areas like some of the best headlamps for stargazing but it will allow you to read star charts or locate knobs and buttons to tweak your astro setup while keeping your valuable night vision intact.
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.
- View our Best headlamps guide for other astro friendly light sources
The Anker PowerCore+ 26800 is one of the more cumbersome power banks in this guide at 7 inches long and 3 inches wide. That said, we are big fans of Anker, and they are one of America's Leading USB Charging Brands. We can happily vouch for the reliability and performance of their products, so if you're not too concerned about having the smallest or lightest power bank, don't let the larger size stop you.
It doesn't offer much in the way of features — there is no flashlight or handwarmer, but it's an extremely high-capacity power bank that can charge three devices at once. It charges from empty to full in just over four hours with the included Qualcomm Quick Charge wall charger, and it has intelligent PowerIQ technology which identifies the connected devices and delivers the optimum high-speed charge to all devices. Impressive.
It has ten tiny LEDs that indicate its level of charge. Before March 2022, the device shipped without a wall charger or cables, so we are pleased to see that a USB-C to USB-C cable and a wall charger are now included as standard, as is a no-fuss 18-month warranty.
- Need a camera backpack to carry your kit? Look no further than our handy guide.
The Otterbox 15,000mAh (also available as 10,000mAh) is a reliable outdoor companion. It weighs 450g, which is somewhat heavy for its pocketable size, but that is mostly due to its dense, protective rubber shell. It's waterproof and drop-proof, giving the clumsiest or most accident-prone skywatchers peace of mind. The IP54 rating means it is totally protected from dust ingress and allows for some water ingress. No need to worry about the elements.
A basic LED indicator shows when the power bank is charging and when it is fully charged. It ships with a 150mm long USB-A to USB-C cable and delivers up to 18W Fast Charge. There's also an easy alignment QI wireless indicator pad for wireless charge-compatible devices.
It comes in three colors; Twilight Black, New Blossom Pink and White Sands. The latter two make them easier to see when amongst predominantly black photography gear, or if you're out on an astrophotography shoot in the dark.
- Often out in the rain? Check out the Knog Bilby 400 waterproof headlamp
This 47 lb power station is a serious piece of equipment with a luggage-inspired design and telescopic and fixed handle mounted on industrial-grade wheels. It has 2096Wh Capacity with 2,000W Output that can be boosted to power up devices that typically need 3000W using the AmpUp feature.
While it's obvious that you can't just throw it in your backpack and hike to a dark sky area, it makes the perfect travel companion for extended off-grid sky-watching and camping trips.
This monster can even provide an electric car with enough juice to travel five miles, so you won't have any trouble charging your devices for several days, including laptops, video equipment, drones, mini-fridges, and heaters.
The body is reinforced with a shock-resistant outer shell and it has a reinforced interior. Its optimum operating temperature is between 59°F to 95 °F (15°C to 35°C) but it will still work — but drain quicker — from -4°F to 14°F (-20°C to 40°C). It won't accept a charge below freezing and, unsurprisingly, you can't get it wet.
When not used in astronomy and astrophotography, this can be an emergency backup power source in your home. Like the rucksack-friendly SuperTank Pro 100W, this product comes with a Zendure two-year limited warranty.
- Take a look at the Best telescopes for seeing planets
Another model from Celestron — first and foremost, it's a night vision-preserving red flashlight. However, as with the FireCel MEGA 6, it also operates as a hand warmer and low-capacity power bank.
Despite having a relatively small capacity compared to other models in this list, it has enough power to keep your phone and other small devices charged for a night of stargazing. The hand warmer function provides up to four hours of continuous heat and can be used with the torch simultaneously.
The internal battery charges within two hours, so it's ideal for any of those last-minute adventures. There is also a white LED version of this model, so make sure you choose the Astro version for the red light capability.
As we discussed in our best headlamps buying guide, using a red light as opposed to a white one is essential for maintaining your night vision. While we provide a number of hand-free lighting options in that guide, the fact that this small red LED torch also functions as a 5000mAh power bank makes it a fantastic gift for someone new to astronomy or astrophotography and a useful bit of kit to keep in your bag.
It ships with silicone mount straps to attach the device to somewhere useful, like your tripod leg, and it also comes with a wrist strap. It comes with a minimum of 500x charge cycles and has overcharge protection for maximum longevity.
This is a product for a beginner or someone who doesn't need the best of the best kit. It does what it's supposed to do but might have a limited lifespan the more you develop your skywatching prowess.
- Like travelling light? Check out our guide to the best travel tripods
Best power banks in 2023: What to look for
With the sheer amount of power banks available out there, making a purchasing decision can be overwhelming. We've summarized our advice to help you find the best device for you here.
The first thing you'll need to consider is your budget. The price of power banks can vary widely, with some budget models costing a few dollars and some more premium ones that will set you back over a hundred bucks. Luckily, though, you don't need to spend loads of money to find a reliable piece of kit. We've included devices for every budget in our guide above.
Another important factor when choosing a power bank is its capacity. The capacity of batteries is indicated as XXXX mAh (milliampere/hour). The higher the number, the bigger the capacity — the more power you can draw from it. We've included the capacity of each power bank in this guide so you can easily refer to this measurement.
Usually, power banks with a higher mAh are bigger and bulkier devices. So if you're often on the go and are looking to travel light, it's important to find a good balance dependent on your needs. There are really compact models available to purchase, including some you can attach to your keyring, which we've included in the guide.
Some of the more premium power banks will come with extra features such as a torch or a hand warmer. While these aren't essential to the smooth running of your night time escapades, they may come in handy and can be worth splashing out if you have the budget.
NB — If you're going to be traveling on a plane with your power bank and plan to have it in your hand luggage, it must not exceed the 100Wh (27, 000mAh) limit set by the Federal Aviation Administration.
All of the power banks listed here have been selected as being good value-for-money with features that are especially helpful to astronomers and astrophotographers above anything else. We will review and update this guide often and keep an eye out for discounts and deals to help you save money.
How we test the best power banks for skywatchers and astrophotographers
To guarantee you're getting honest, up-to-date recommendations on the best power banks to buy, here at Space.com, we make sure to put every power bank through a rigorous review to test each device thoroughly. Each power bank is reviewed based on many aspects, from its construction and design, to how well it functions as a power bank and its performance in the field.
Each power bank is carefully tested by either our expert staff or knowledgeable freelance contributors who know their subject areas in depth. This ensures fair reviewing is backed by personal, hands-on experience with each power bank and is judged based on its price point, class and destined use.
We look at how much capacity each power bank has, how quickly it charges, whether it includes a built-in flashlight, whether there's a red light option for night vision protection, and whether they have in-built hand warming capabilities.
With complete editorial independence, Space.com are here to ensure you get the best buying advice on power banks, whether you should purchase a device or not, making our buying guides and reviews reliable and transparent.