Power banks have become indispensable for smartphone users. Few years ago, power banks used to offer simple 1 Amp USB charging. However, the latest power banks featuring fast charging technologies such as USB-C PD charging and are also quite expensive.
For example, power banks offering fastest 20 to 30 watt USB PD charging for iPhone 13, 12, 11, XR, etc. and Samsung Galaxy S/Note/A such as Anker PowerCore 20000 USB-C PD command premium prices.
The Li-ion or Lithium Polymer batteries in power banks have a fixed life cycle of nearly 400-500 charging cycles and the batteries begin to degrade after that. However, if you keep your power bank fully discharged or fully-charged for months, then it will lose quite a bit of capacity in just 5-10 charge-recharge cycles!
Here are some tips to help you take good care of your power banks and maximise their life.
Store Power Banks at 40-50% charge
Many users often store their power banks fully discharged or fully charged after an overnight charge. This causes extreme wear of the Li-ion/Li-Po batteries very quickly and should always be avoided.
Many users store depleted power banks after travel and only charge the power banks before their next trip! This should be absolutely avoided as keeping the batteries in depleted state for long periods will effectively kill the battery in a few months.
The optimum charging for storage for modern Li-ion or Li-polymer batteries is about 40 to 50%. You should therefore aim to not discharge the power banks below this level for long periods.
On returning from a trip, if you see that your powerbank is depleted, then it is best to recharge it till half-full (two lights blinking in a four-light battery status indicator), before storing it for long periods.
Similarly, if your powerbank is charged to near full, you should “bleed” some charge away by charging you phone till the battery status indicators show about 50% charge.
Keep Powerbanks Cool During Use and Storage
Powerbanks work through chemical reactions to produce electric charge, and like all chemical reactions higher temperatures lead to faster reactions. Powerbank degradation is also temperature dependent and keeping power banks in a hot storage will degrade them very fast.
Ideally keep the power banks at room temperature (60 to 80 degrees fahrenheit or 20-28 degrees celsius). Also always avoid storing the powerbanks in enclosed glass cases exposed to sunlight or in overly hot workplaces.
The best-kept-cool rule also applies during use. A hot powerbank will discharge much quickly!
Keeping powerbanks cool does not mean that you should refrigerate them or keep them in cold conditions. Freezing temperatures will disable the powerbank altogether. A too cold powerbank will also take very long to charge.
Use Pass Through Charging Rarely
Pass through charging means using the powerbank to charge your devices while the powerbank it self is being charged. This wears down the batteries very fast and should be avoided. Most modern powerbanks disable passthrough charging for this reason. However, even if your powerbanks allows passthrough charging, it is recommended to use it only when extremely necessary.
Use Short and High Quality Cables for Charging Devices
Poor quality and long cables waste a lot of current and drastically reduce the usable charge in a powerbank. Long cables cause huge voltage drops and reduce the charging current to a trickle. In fact, one of the biggest reasons behind people complaining about the poor performance of their pwerbanks is that they are using long cables to charge their devices.
It is highly recommended to use high quality and as short as possible cables for charging your devices from powerbanks. Simply replacing a long cable a short high quality cable sometimes triples the usable battery capacity of the powerbank.
6-inches or 12-inches is good enough length for powerbank charging cables. Avoid going beyond 3 feet length. You really do not need 6 foot cables to charge your phone. Also, always use reliable and high quality cable brands.
For Android users, Anker Powerline+ is an excellent brand. For iPhone users, Anker Powerline II is one of the best brands available.
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