Powerbank with USB, USB-C and 12V DC input and output.

This question isn’t about security electronics but battery banks – increasingly our techs use devices during installations and having access to a dependable recharging source in the field is increasingly important. Has SEN ever compared types, brands, or could you point us to information that would assist? We’re interested in a best performance/economy vector.

A: The Devel 10,000 mAh is splashproof, can charge an iPhone 6s Plus which has an mAH of 2750, about 3 times. It’s light enough to always carry at around 120g, has an integrated solar panel that allows an emergency call and some texting after 10-15 mins in the sun, or will re-charge the battery after about 2.5 days sunlight. 12V recharging is slow at 1A using micro-USB but it has a 2.1A USB port output as well as a 1A USB port. Has an integrated torch with multiple settings that lasts weeks. Cost is about $22.

The 20,000mAh Anker Powercore iQ weighs 440g and charges an iPhone Plus about 7 times. It’s light enough to carry in your briefcase or overnight bag and will keep you going for days. Quite fast phone charging and recharging thanks to 4.8A input/output. Uses mini-USB input and has no USB-C. Cost is about $90.

The 26,800mAh Power Bank weighs around 550g, has USB-C for super-fast recharging and charging of devices, and 2 USB ports. USB-C recharging is fast and very flexible at up to 88W, which makes this unit more than usually good – especially if you need your tablet or small laptop charged, too. Shame no digital display but a solid back-up for one or more technicians. Cost is about $190.

The 50,000mAh Powerbank is a monster – it weighs 1150g and can only be charged from the wall/inverter but charges fast. It has voltage selection and a digital display. There are 2 x USB outputs, a USB-C output and a selectable 5, 7, 12, 15 and 20V DC output with a huge range of connectors to charge devices and laptops. This is for when you’re going to be away from all power sources and need iPhone and Surface Pro and whatever for 2 people for a couple of days. Cost is about $270.

What do you want? At least 20,000mAh. Digital display if possible. Fast recharging. Robust construction. Decent warranty. USB and USB-C outputs – USB-C high speed charging is to be preferred. Our recommendation for professional applications is the 50,000mAh Powerbank – if weight and cost are an issue, then go with the 26,800mAh. If you added a Devel 10,000 mAh to your tool bag, it would get you out of trouble at practically no cost.