When shopping for gadgets, especially a power bank, batteries and their capacity tend to play a pivotal role. Checking your power bank battery type and if it has a great battery life is just as common as inquiring about its price and other specifications. After all, considering the significance of these batteries in acting as a backup power option for your smart gadgets, you want to know everything you can about them.
In this guide, we’ll go over exactly what you need to know regarding different power bank battery types. Plus, we’ll also cover the most important things you should look for when buying a power bank. It’s not just the battery type that’s important — the size and the charging connectors are just some things you should take into account when purchasing a new power bank.
While the exponential growth in technology may have benefited society and improved our quality of life, there is a darker side to it as well. Today, technology has also made us completely dependent on it. From smartphones to tablets to laptops, getting through a single work day without using technology is something that one cannot even begin to fathom.
In fact, technology has infiltrated so deeply into our lives that almost 77% of society has become completely dependent on technology in order to succeed. Given the importance, it is only natural to rely on supplementary power sources such as power banks should the need arise. However, there is one caveat. Power banks run on batteries, and choosing which power bank to buy largely depends on the power bank battery type.
Factors to Consider When Buying A Power Bank
Before we jump into details about a power bank’s battery, let’s consider some of the key factors one should be looking at when buying a power bank.
Does the Power Bank Match the Charge Capacities?
This is one of the most important things to consider when selecting an adequate power bank. You must take into consideration what needs to be charged. For instance, charging a tablet using a power bank will require more power than charging a smartphone. To find out more about the charging capacities, try looking up the specification section of the power bank. You’ll probably find details regarding its battery capacity there.
The battery charge is measured in mAh. To provide a complete charge, the power bank you decide to buy should have a battery capacity that is slightly higher than that of the gadget that’s going to be charged. It is always best to have a bit extra to make sure the device gets a full charge.
Ensuring It Has Adequate Output Charge Current
The second factor to consider while shopping for a power bank is the rate at which it can deliver a charge. This will directly impact the amount of time your gadget takes in order to charge fully.
Normally, power banks tend to specify what current they can deliver. The lower the maximum current it can provide, the longer it will take to charge the device. Some larger power banks have multiple outputs — each output will be specified and often written on the power bank. However, be aware that if a device has multiple outputs, it may not be able to deliver the maximum current to all the outputs simultaneously. Alternatively, a power bank with a high output current is more likely to provide a fast charge.
Size Matters — Even for Technology
Both the size and the weight of a power bank are equally important factors to consider when you step out to buy one. After all, if you are buying one for your smartphone, then you will be the one carrying it around in your pocket or your bag all day long and even when you travel. Usually, the greater the capacity of the power bank, the heavier it is likely to be. So, choose carefully and try finding a portable charger. Think about which one of your gadgets requires a power bank and just how much charge capacity it needs.
What About the Charging Connectors?
Another key area to take under consideration is the charging connectors. Although the output on power banks is universally a USB Type-A, the connector used to charge a power bank is a bit different. While charging connectors for power banks usually use a micro –USB and sometimes a mini –USB, the new power banks also have a lightning connector to facilitate Apple gadgets.
Don’t Forget the Leads
Today not all power banks come with leads, either for charging devices from the power bank or for charging the power bank itself. This is especially true with budget power banks, which assume you will provide your own lead. However, the last thing you need after the daunting task of buying a power bank is running from shop to shop in the hopes of finding the right lead. So, when buying a power bank, make sure it comes with leads.
Avoid Underestimating the Power Bank Battery Type
This is one of the most important aspects of a power bank and one that requires careful attention and evaluation. While the traditional power bank batteries were limited to only one type of battery and had lithium-ion batteries, lithium polymer batteries are now also available. The section below talks about each of these battery types in detail. While buying a power bank, one can easily spot whether a power bank has lithium-ion or lithium polymer batteries by reading the power bank’s specification section.
Choosing the Right Power Bank Battery Type — A Real Catch-22 Situation
Lithium-ion Power Bank Battery
The lithium-ion battery, more commonly known as the Li-ion battery, started gaining popularity in the early 90s. These are essentially rechargeable power bank battery types. A Li-ion battery consists of a group of firm and inflexible electricity generating compartments. The battery itself has three main parts: a positive electrode, a negative electrode, and a liquid chemical compound known as an electrolyte.
Moreover, unlike traditional batteries, lithium-ion batteries also have an electronic controller. This controller is responsible for both regulating power and discharging the flow so that the battery doesn’t end up overheating or exploding. Being the older of the two, lithium-ion batteries are considered to be highly durable and great for longevity. Moreover, they can easily last for at least two to three years in any of your smart gadgets and provide 300-500 charge cycles.
Lithium-polymer batteries consist of only a positive electrode and a negative electrode. They have no liquid or electrolyte in them. Instead, these power bank battery types use technology in one of the following three forms:
- A dry solid (However, these were mostly phased out during the prototype years of the Li-Po battery)
- A porous chemical compound or
- A gel-like electrolyte
Amongst the three, Li-Po batteries with a gel-like electrolyte are the most advanced and are most likely to be found in modern-day laptops, power bank batteries, and even electric cars. Despite their advanced specifications, many companies refuse to sell lithium polymer batteries. Instead, the market is flooded with lithium-ion polymer batteries or a Li-ion in a more flexible casing.
Lithium-ion vs. Lithium-polymer Power Bank Battery Types — Which One Is Better?
Apart from it being the market leader and rapidly gaining popularity in consumer electronics, using a lithium-ion power bank battery type has several advantages.
- They are cheaper and more cost-effective than lithium-ion polymer batteries.
- The lithium-ion power bank batteries tend to provide a high power density (lack of which is usually referred to as the memory effect)
- They are long-lasting and can last easily for around two to three years.
- They are easy to maintain and require no complex maintenance process.
- Lithium-ion, more commonly known as Li-ion batteries, are both rechargeable and portable. Perhaps that is why they are mostly used in electric cars and aerospace applications.
- Lithium-ion power bank batteries are capable of maintaining a steady voltage no matter how heavy the load or usage is.
- They have a higher power density and can store three to four times more charge than a lithium polymer battery.
On the contrary, the lithium-ion power bank battery type also has some demerits. These include:
- Lithium-ion batteries are inherently unstable, potentially dangerous, and suffer from aging.
- It has been noticed that the barrier that separates the positive and the negative electrode can be quite unreliable.
- Moreover, chemical combustion can cause an immediate fire in the event of a breach. Perhaps that is why these batteries are banned from being on airplanes.
- Even though they are said to be long-lasting, their efficiency, capability, and performance start to deteriorate with time.
- They are quite fragile and not recommended for rough usage.
The lithium-ion polymer power bank battery type also has a few benefits to its name.
- For instance, they are more robust and flexible in terms of both shape and size.
- They are considered to be more efficient and safer to use.
- They are versatile. As a result, the lithium-ion polymer comes in different shapes and sizes.
- They are lightweight and have proven to have a far lesser chance of leakage due to leaking electrolytes.
On the contrary, some of their limitations include:
- They are more costly to manufacture, which makes them expensive to buy.
- They have a shorter life span compared to lithium-ion batteries.
- They also have a lesser energy density than lithium-ion batteries, meaning the amount of power that can be stored is quite less.
Although both Lithium and Lithium polymer batteries are used in power banks, one cannot deny that both are extremely different from one another in terms of price, durability, reliability, and even efficiency. Perhaps that is why choosing the right power bank battery type is an incredibly overwhelming task. After all, one doesn’t go to buy power banks on a daily basis.
However, despite the early mover advantage and cost efficiency, today, lithium polymer batteries are more in demand when it comes to choosing the best power bank battery type. Li-po batteries have been proven to be safer and more versatile. However, their short life span and reduced energy density don’t make them everyone’s favorite choice. That’s why many people choose Li-ion batteries, which are more efficient and have higher energy levels.
In the end, the choice is up to you! We hope that this guide has been helpful in laying out all the details about different types of power bank batteries. Good luck shopping!