Choosing a Battery Backup for Your Phone
You Can’t Be Too Connected
In 2017, through our handheld devices, we are connected to people and information like never before. With our cell phones, we literally hold the world in the palms of our hands, and we love it! However, this luxury is only available until the power runs out. In a hurricane (or any other power failure), that can mean a serious inability to communicate with family and friends to assess the situation and make sure everyone is ok. But, even under normal non-emergency circumstances, we find it annoying when our phone batteries die and there is either no available place to charge them, or no time.
It has happened to me (and I’ll bet to you, too). You are sitting in a crowded restaurant when your phone needs to be charged. You look around, and spot an open outlet, but your table is in the middle of the room. Even if you are carrying a cord long enough to reach the outlet (you aren’t), someone would probably trip on it and sue you. So, there you sit, with a source of power so close, yet out of reach!
And, even if you were sitting right by the outlet, plugging into a random outlet in a public space is making a commitment to sit in that spot while your phone charges! For those of us who are commitment-challenged, this is a huge problem.
You Can Get Charged on the Run (Or While You Are Running!)
One fantastic way to protect your ability to communicate in a power failure, or maintain your freedom of mobility while charging your phone, is with a rechargeable portable battery pack.
What is a Portable Battery Pack?
Portable battery packs are rechargeable batteries that can be carried with us and connected to our phones, when needed, to recharge the battery, regardless of where we are. For me, that freedom is priceless.
Are there different types?
While all portable battery packs operate under the same principle, there are wide varieties of shapes, sizes, and strengths from which to choose. Your buying decision should be based on your needs and your budget. Remember, this is a functional tool, designed to make life easier. So, don’t buy less than you will benefit from, but don’t waste money on more, either.
How Much Power Do You Need?
This is a major factor in choosing a portable battery pack. To determine this, you need to know your phone’s battery capacity, and decide how you plan to use the battery pack.
Your phone’s battery capacity is represented using an electrical value, milliamp hours, or mAh. So, that’s what you are looking for. If you don’t have the specs for your phone handy, you can find it online. I got the capacity for my iPhone 7 (1,960 mAh) using a simple Google search. Once you have that information, you need to select a battery pack that will give you the charging bang for the buck you want. Here’s a simplified explanation of how to do that.
Battery packs are also sold according to their mAh capacity. So, at the minimum, if you want to be able to charge your phone just one time with a fully-charged portable battery pack, you need a backup battery that is about 25 to 30 percent higher than the mAh of your phone battery. You need that extra capacity because the battery pack uses some of its energy during the charging process; it doesn’t all flow to your phone battery. Also, based on temperature conditions, and how long your battery pack sits idle, it may lose some of its charge.
iPhone 7 Example (using 25% overage factor)
- My iPhone 7 battery has a capacity of 1,960 mAh.
- To fully recharge my battery one time, I need a battery pack with a minimum mAh capacity of 2,450 (1,960 X 25%). So, I would select a 2,600 mAh unit.
- To fully recharge my battery four times, I need a battery pack with a minimum mAh capacity of 9,800 (1,960 X 25% x 4). So, I would select a 10,000 mAh unit.
How Will You Use Your Battery Pack?
There are, of course, tradeoffs. The higher the mAh of your portable battery pack, the larger and heavier it will be to carry around. This can stress the capacity of a man’s pants pocket, or add additional weight to a woman’s already heavy handbag. In addition, these larger capacity units cost more. So, consider how you will be using your battery pack before you decide which one to buy.
As I said earlier, if you just want to be able to get one full charge out of your battery pack, or, if you like to top off your battery when you are not using the phone to keep a full charge, you may want to opt for a smaller, lighter, pack. For my iPhone 7, I could accomplish this with the 2,600 mAh iPlanet Keychain Power Bank, or the iPlanet Power Bank with Flashlight, which is available in 2,200 and 2,600 mAh models.
If you want to be able to get multiple charges for your phone from a single-charged backup battery pack, or, if you want to allow others to charge their phones on your battery pack, select a unit with a higher mAh. Great choices include the V19.69 Italia Power Bank, available in either 5,200, 10,050, or 16,750 mAh, or the 10,000 mAh Maui & Sons Power Bank.
Whatever decision you make, you will love the freedom these units provide every day. And, in an emergency, you’ll be so glad you made the investment. So, keep these handy, and stay connected!