It's not just our phones and tablets that need powering up away from the mains: our laptops also need portable power. We round up some of the best USB Power Delivery power banks for your laptop.
What type of power bank do I need for my laptop?
Before you can choose a laptop power bank you'll need to know two things:
- Does it support USB-C charging?
- How much power is required to charge its battery?
The answers to both these questions should be fairly straightforward: just look at the mains charger that your laptop was sold with. If it has a USB-C connector then your laptop clearly charges over USB-C, and the power rating should be listed in Watts somewhere on the charger itself.
If you can't find it here, check the specification either on the manufacturer's site or in the paperwork that came with the laptop.
If it's a proprietary cable rather than USB-C then you can still charge your laptop using a power bank, but you'll need to select a bank with an AC outlet to which you can physically plug in your laptop using its mains charger. In such a scenario the power bank simply steps in to replace your wall power outlet.
It's a more clunky solution than a USB-C PD charger, for which you simply need to attach a decent-quality USB-C cable, but if you don't have a USB-C port on your laptop then little can be done.
Also see: Can I take a power bank on a plane?
Why don't all power banks charge my laptop?
Most power banks sold with USB-C are capable of a maximum power output of around 18W. This is not enough to charge any laptop battery.
USB-C power banks capable of charging laptops are specifically marketed as 'Power Delivery' (or PD) chargers. These are capable of up to 100W.
Note the 'up to' in that sentence. We've yet to see a power bank that can actually deliver that amount of power over USB-C. The RavPower PowerStation 27000mAh is not a USB-C power bank, though it can deliver around 85W via its AC outlet.
One of the examples in our round-up is rated at 22.5W. That might be enough to charge a USB-C MacBook, and so it is marketed as a 'laptop power bank', but be careful: most USB-C laptops will not get by on this amount.
The Zendure and Dodocool examples offer a higher rate of 45W, which is suitable for more USB-C laptops than are the other two, but some laptops require even more power still - often as much as 65W. Be sure to check before you buy and, if in doubt, go for the highest rating you can afford, which will go some way to future-proof your purchase.
Best Laptop Power Bank Reviews
1. Zendure A6PD
Zendure might be late to the USB-C power bank party, but it has come in style with the A6PD. This isn't just any old USB-C port, it's a Power Delivery 2.0-specified port that can accept or deliver up to 45W - that's enough for fast-charging not only your phone, tablet and other USB devices, but many USB-C laptops too.
When used as an input it means you can refill this power bank in as little as four hours, and as an output it's meatier than many we've seen.
Built from an ABS/PC Composite, the A6PD has the same rugged build as previous power banks in Zendure's line-up. It used to market these devices as tough enough to run over in a McClaren, and though that no longer seems to be something it shouts about the A6PD certainly seems as if it would stand up to that amount of force.
Our review sample is a gloss black, though it's also available in silver. It has a ribbed exterior that aids grip in the hand. The single button has been moved from the front position to the power bank's side, where it also sits with four LEDs used to show how much power remains. We'd rather see an LCD screen for an exact readout as this capacity, but we can't complain.
Zendure stands out among power bank manufacturers for its 80 percent energy efficiency rating, where most others can support only up to 70 percent. Its devices will also hold that charge for up to six months.
This means with a rated 20,100mAh capacity you could see as much as 16,000mAh available to your devices. Zendure suggests you'll easily be able to charge your MacBook 1.5 times, iPhone X 5.5 times or Nintendo Switch 2.5 times. And yet it's not overly big and heavy at 162x78.5x22.5mm and 370g.
You won't necessarily use this Zendure to charge only one device, of course. It has two inputs and two outputs, though you'll see three ports on one end of the bank (this is because the USB-C port is both input and output).
We've already raved about the 45W USB-C port, but the full-size USB-A is pretty impressive, too, able to fast-charge at up to 18W, which is Quick Charge 3.0 speed. Pleasingly, the Zendure can support both outputs at max speed at once. The second input is a 12W Micro-USB.
When it does come to recharging the Zendure you'll find you can do so while charging a connected device. This is a process known as Charge-through or passthrough charging, and allows you to use a single mains outlet for charging multiple devices.
2. Zendure X6
Another 45W USB PD power bank from Zendure, this X6 has the added functionality of performing as a USB hub while connected to your laptop. And it builds in an LCD readout of exactly how much power remains and four full-size USB outputs, one of which is Quick Charge 3.0-compliant.
Why is it not top of our chart? Quite simply, price. But if you can afford to spend £74.99 on a power bank for your laptop then you won't be disappointed.
Looking a little different to previous Zendure power banks, its softer design is still as tough and rugged as they come. There's a 24-month warranty for peace of mind, too.
In common with all Zendure power banks there's also passthrough charging, incredible six-month standby, higher-than-average 80 percent efficiency and Zen+ tech that can deliver the optimum charge for your device.
The USB hub functionality is supported on two of the full-size outputs, offering data transfer at speeds of up to 480Mb/s. All four USB outputs can also provide power, with one at 18W and the other three at 12W, sharing a maximum output of 45W.
3. Zendure A8PD
Some of our criticisms of the Zendure A6PD above are addressed by the A8PD. Right now it will cost you an extra £15 over that power bank, and will prove itself worth the extra cash if you will appreciate the built-in LCD that shows exactly how much power remains inside the bank.
The A8PD is also higher in capacity - 26,800mAh versus 20,100mAh and naturally a bit chunkier in response - and loses the Micro-USB input in favour of three extra full-size USB outputs. The four full-size outputs have a shared maximum output of 24W, with each separately capable of outputting up to 12W.
The catch: its USB-C PD input/output is rated lower than that of the A6PD at 30W. This will charge your MacBook, but it won't be up to charging all USB-C laptops so carefully check your spec.
In other respects the A8PD has the same tough build, passthrough charging and impressive efficiency and standby as its sibling. It will charge in just five hours using a 30W USB PD charger.
4. Dodocool 20100mAh Power Bank with 45W USB-C PD
Unfortunately this Dodocool USB PD power bank appears to have gone off sale in the UK, though it's still available in the US. If you can get hold of one then do so, because it is a great deal.
It appeals to us because it has a higher output than most power banks marketed as 'laptop power banks'. Rated at 45W it will charge a USB-C MacBook, but also our Mi Air 12 that refuses to charge from typical 30W USB-C PD power banks. It will even power our Mi Notebook Pro, though it can't charge it at the same time.
The Dodocool is notable for a couple of other reasons. First, that USB-C output also works as an input, and if you were to charge it using your USB-C PD laptop charger you'll fill its battery in just three hours. With passthrough charging support you could even charge another connected device at the same time.
That's quite amazing when you consider this is a high-capacity 20,100mAh bank - though you won't actually see that much power delivered to your devices. The industry-standard efficiency lies between 60- and 70 percent, so expect a maximum 14,000mAh. How many times that will charge a laptop depends on its battery capacity.
Second, there are two additional USB-A (full-size) outputs, which means you can charge up to three devices at once. These two ports have a combined output of 12W, so they'll work faster with only one device connected.
So it's fair to say the Dodocool is a very functional device for charging your mobile devices, particularly laptops. Unfortunately, it doesn't perform quite so well in the looks department.
This is a chunky rectangular black plastic slab some 481g in weight and 188mm long. It's not going to fit in a pocket, and neither will it go unnoticed in a bag. It's very large for a 20,100mAh power bank, but laptop chargers aren't known for their compact dimensions.
5. RavPower PowerStation Series 20100mAh Portable Power Outlet
The eagle-eyed among you will notice that this isn't actually a USB PD power bank, but it is a standard power bank with the addition of an AC outlet that is capable of charging your laptop.
Let's start with the obvious: at 69x69x146mm this power bank isn't going to fit in anyone's pocket. RavPower instead supplies a soft mesh case for carrying the power bank and necessary cables, plus a tough zip-up case that can hold it and the required external DC charger (you don't use Micro-USB to refill this portable charger). We also found a carabiner clip in the box, which can be attached to the strap on the case.
There are two reasons for its size: first, it is a huge capacity 20,100mAh (74.37Wh) power bank with enough juice to fill an iPhone 7 six times, a Galaxy S7 4.5 times, or even a 12in MacBook 1.3 times; second, there's lots of clever charging tech inside.
The key difference between this power bank and those that cost a fifth of the RavPower's price is the 65W three-pin AC outlet and 19V/1.6A DC input. It might have a huge capacity, but over the DC input it will charge in just four hours. By comparison a standard power bank of this capacity would take at least 10 hours to refill. Meanwhile, the plug socket on top lets you plug in and power anything from drones and action cameras to printers and laptops, provided they draw less than 65W.
For phones, tablets and other USB gadgets there are two USB outputs: one USB-C, which runs at 5V/3A, and one 5V/2.4A iSmart USB output. There's no support for Quick Charge but both are fast-charging ports, with the iSmart output able tor recognise the type of device plugged in and deliver only so much power as it requires.
To switch from USB power to the AC outlet you simply press and hold the power button for three seconds to turn it on. This power button can also be tapped to show how full is the power bank, with five LEDs in a strip around its belly each representing 20 percent, or 4,020mAh.
In reality it's not quite 4,020mAh, because not all of that 20,100mAh is available to your devices. Some energy is always lost through heat and voltage conversion, and the industry-standard efficiency rating is around 65- to 70 percent.
There's also a 27,000mAh version with a European two-pin plug.
6. Anker PowerCore Speed 20000 PD
USB Power Delivery can offer up to 100W in either direction. But the 'up to' here is important: this Anker power bank offers 22.5W, which means it will charge your USB-C laptop only if it meets that requirement.
The 12in MacBook (which ships with a 29W adaptor) apparently does, though our Mi laptop does not. You'll need to carefully check the spec of your laptop, or perhaps the charger you're currently using, to see if it will be supported.
The Anker PowerCore Speed offers 20,100mAh of power for keeping your devices going, and as such is a lower-capacity and cheaper alternative to the 27W 26800 PD. But in design - and, of course, capacity - it looks more like the Anker PowerCore 20000, a slightly cheaper device but one with two USB-A ports and no support for USB Power Delivery.
You'll pay £49.99 for this Anker PowerCore Speed 20,100 PD in the UK, or $79.99 in the US. Although our review sample shipped with a 30W USB-C PD mains adaptor (with US two-pin plug), we don't believe it comes with one in the UK. This should explain the difference in price, since you'll pay upwards of £20 for such a plug in the UK.
Even so, a penny short of £50 for a device that offers insanely fast charging - and recharging (in just four hours), with USB-C PD also supported on the input. There's also peace of mind associated with buying from Anker, which is one of the best-known brands in the power bank market.
Of course you won't actually see 20,000mAh in real terms. Power banks typically operate at between 60- and 70 percent efficiency, so you might get around 13,000mAh for charging your devices.
The design is Anker's standard fare, a rectangular plastic brick with a matte finish and softly rounded corners. Four LEDs are used to show how much capacity remains, which doesn't give an especially precise impression when each LED represents 5000mAh.
The power bank is pretty heavy at 371g, which is understandable given the capacity, but it's elongated design makes it feel bulkier than it is. You'll find it more practical carrying the Anker in a bag than a pocket.
On the side is a button that activates these LEDs to show you what there is at a glance, though charging is automatic when you connect your device. You can add two if you like, with two ports found at one end: one is a USB-C PD port, and the other a 10W USB-A output with PowerIQ (tech that identifies your device type and delivers the optimum amount of power).
You can't charge a device a recharge the Anker power bank at once (passthrough charging), though the USB-C PD input means having to charge each device separately is less of a hassle.