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  November 2, 2015

A Comprehensive Guide to Power Banks


If you are interested in purchasing a power bank but you are unsure of what it really is and how it works, then this guide will definitely help you clarify most of your uncertainties. This article aims at providing answers to some of the most frequent questions regarding power banks.

What is a power bank?

A power bank functions as an external charger or ‘extra battery’ for phones, tablets, and many other electronic gadgets.

Where do most power banks come from?

Currently, the vast majority of the power banks available on the market are manufactured in China.

How can we charge a power bank? 

Power banks are extremely easy to charge.  Power banks are endowed with dedicated input sockets that are designed to receive power. And this power can come from the USB sockets on your PC, from a wall socket adapter, or even from another power bank. Most power banks come with Mini or Micro-USB sockets for charging, and full-sized USB ports for discharging.

How long does it take to charge a power bank? 

The charging time actually depends on the power bank’s REAL CAPACITY. The larger the power bank’s REAL CAPACITY is, the longer the charging time will be. The charging time may also vary depending on the employed charging method. For example, charging your power bank with its original charger will definitely be faster than if you decide to charge it using your PC’s USB port.

Why does the charging time of the same power bank vary? 

Even though you always opt for the same charging method, the actual charging time may vary due to factors such as temperature, power flow, or environment.

What does mAh mean? 

mAh stands for Milliampere Hour. Your power bank’s capacity is measured with mAh.

Is a 12000mAh REAL CAPACITY power bank capable of fully charging a 1500mAh capacity phone 8 times? 

Many people make this common mistake. If you want to roughly calculate the total charge time, please make use of the following formula:

REAL CAPACITY x conversion rate x phone battery health/phone capacity

E.G.: 12000 x 0.8 x 0.8/1500 = 5.12 charging times

What is the conversation rate?

The conversation rate can be defined in terms of the remaining battery percentage after the PCB operation and the battery lost due to heat.

How can ‘phone battery health’ be defined?

Put simple, the newer your phone’s battery is, the stronger it is. With time, the storage capacity of your phone’s battery gets lower and lower. This also explains why our phones last much longer when they are newly bought than 5-6 months later. It is also true that some phone models drain their batteries faster than others. And this can affect calculations.

What is PCB? 

PCB stands for Printed Circuit Board. The PCB controls the operation flow inside a power bank. A high quality PCB provides power banks with an enhanced durability and allows them to charge more.

A brief introduction to 18650 power banks and Li-Polymer power banks

18650 power banks are the most common type. However, Li-Polymer power banks are considered a much better power bank type.

Which are the main differences between 18650 and Li-Polymer?

The dimension and size of 18650 are fixed. In exchange, the dimension and size of Li-Polymer are flexible.

While 18650 power banks produce more heat, the Li-Polymer type is considered much safer.

The 18650 type has a higher self-discharge rate. The Li-Polymer type has a low self-discharge rate.

18650 power banks are cheaper than Li-Polymer power banks.

The battery durability of 18650 power banks drops faster than the battery capacity of Li-Polymer power banks.

What is the normal mAh use in 18650?

The most common mAh use in 18650 ranges between 1300mAh and 2200mAh.

Which is the most common REAL CAPACITY of the 18650 power banks?

A power bank using:

1pcs 18650 * 1200mAh – 2600mAh

2pcs 18650 * 2500mAh – 4400mAh

3pcs 18650 * 3750mAh – 6600mAh

4pcs 18650 * 5200mAh – 8800mAh

5pcs 18650 * 6500mAh -11000mAh

6pcs 18650 * 7800mAh -13200mAh

No info available for 7pcs 18650

8pcs 18650 * 10400mAh -14400mAh

Are there power banks that use more than 2200mAh per 18650?

The answer is yes. However, due to their expensive prices, they are not very common.

Which is the main difference between branded power banks and generic power banks?

Generally, branded power banks sell in REAL CAPACITY, while generic power banks sell in MARKING CAPACITY. And this is why you won’t get to see branded power banks get close to 30000mAh – 50000mAh. A quality 12000-13000mAh power bank can charge almost as much as market 30000-50000mAh power banks.

Do branded power banks explode while generic power banks don’t?

Everything that has to do with batteries can explode, no matter if it is branded or generic. However, the chances for power banks (be them branded or generic) are near to 0%.