Laptops are easily the most power hungry essential devices that we carry around. Even though modern laptops now offer 8-10+ hour battery life thanks to low-power processors, SSD drives and high efficiency displays, powering laptops while away from AC outlets still remains a challenge.
Laptop powerbanks in the market can be broadly divided into two categories –
Portable AC Outlet laptop power banks
These have an inbuilt AC outlet in which you can plug in your laptop power adapter. Such power banks are extremely inefficient as they involve two power conversion steps – DC to AC in the powerbank and again AC to DC in the laptop power adapter. This dual power conversion wastes a lot of power and as a result such power banks suffer from extremely poor power efficiency. Therefore, if your main intended use is backup power for laptops, we recommend not purchasing AC outlet power banks.
Instead, we recommend purchasing direct DC outlet (USB-C PD power banks also output direct DC) power banks. AC outlet power banks are only justified for providing back up for speciality power equipment that need AC power only as there is really no other alternative.
DC Output Laptop Power banks
DC output powerbanks have a DC barrel port (or a USB-C PD port) that usually outputs 19 volt or 20 volt DC power. Some latest power banks these days also come with USB-C PD port for laptops that can output variable 20/15/12/9/5 volts power over the USB-C port for laptops. As most laptops use 19/20 volt DC power, this is the most efficient way to power laptops as it eliminates DC-AC-DC conversion step and therefore allows for much greater efficiencies. As DC outlet portable chargers are far superior to AC outlet portable chargers, all our picks here are DC Output portable chargers.
Here is our selection of the best portable chargers or power banks for laptops –
Best Portable Charger for HP Spectre Laptops
HP Spectre USB-C Power Pack 20100 mah
HP Spectre laptops are one of the most popular laptops around. HP restricts (via firmware) powering these laptops from third-party USB chargers and as a result most regular USB powerbanks fail to charge HP Spectre laptops. However, HP manufactures its own portable charger for HP spectre laptops – HP Spectre USB-C Power Pack 20100 mah – that is perfect for charging all HP Spectre laptops that come with a power brick with 65 watt or less of power output. This means you can charge your 13.3 inch and 12-inch screen HP Spectre laptops (HP Spectre, HP Spectre x360 and HP spectre X2) using the HP Spectre USB-C Power Pack . It even charges 15 inch screen HP Spectre models that have a much higher power draw and come with 90 watt adapter brick.
The HP Spectre USB-C Power Pack portable charger is currently available at Amazon. Prices for HP Spectre USB-C Power Pack are usually much better at Amazon. However, in case you find it out of stock there, you can also purchase direct from HP online store at the HP Spectre USB-C Power Pack page
The HP Spectre USB-C Power Pack weighs about .95 lbs (420 grams) and comes with two USB-C ports and a regular USB port for charging smartphones.This portable charger comes with USB-C to USB-C cable and can be recharged over the USB-C cable in about 3 hours with the Spectre 65 watt power brick.
The HP Spectre USB-C Power Pack has a 20100mah battery (75 watt-hours). In our tests, the HP Spectre USB-C Power Pack was able to charge a HP Spectre Core i5 13.3 inch screen laptop about 1.1 times, which is an excellent charging performance.
What We Like
- Great battery capacity – adequate for about 1.1 to 1.2 charges for most 12 inch & 13.3 inch Spectre laptops
- Decent weight .95 lbs
- Extra USB port for charging smartphones is very useful.
- High build quality
- Comes with good quality case and USB-C to USB-C cable
What we Do not like
- A bit pricey but there is no other product in the market with comparable 60-watt USB-C charging performance
Best USB-C PD Power Bank for Macbooks and Dell XPS 13, XPS 15
RAVPower 20000 USB-C PD Portable Charger (45 watt USB-C PD)
Recommended for Macbook Pro, Macbook Air, Dell XPS 13/15, iPhone XR, XS, XS Max, X, 8/8+, USB-C ultrabooks, Samsung S10, S10+, Note 9/8 S9, S8, S7, S6, Note 9, Note 8, all Android smartphones, Nintendo Switch
If you want a powerbank to charge Macbooks Pro, Macbook Air, or Dell XPS 13/15 laptops at fastest speed currently possible from power banks, then our top choice as 45-watt USB-C PD powerbank is RAVPower 20100 45-watt PD 3.0. This portable charger has an incredible 45 watt USB-C PD maximum charging output, which allows it to charge Macbook Air and Macbook Pro but also the much more power hungry Dell XPS 13 and Dell XPS 15 laptops.
The 45 watt maximum charginging output power of RAVPower 20100 45-watt PD 3.0 is higher than the original Apple MacBook Air’s 29 watt wall charger. This effectively means that the power bank can charge your Macbook Air faster than the original Apple charger! We recommend this powerbank if you have a USB-C chargeable laptop, especially Macbooks, Chromebooks as well as newer models of Dell XPS 13 (9360, 9370 etc.) and XPS 15.
Besides charging laptops, RAVPower 20100 45-watt PD 3.0 supports fastest charging of most latest smartphones (iPhone XR/XS/X/8 and Samsung S10, S9, Note 9/8, Pixel 3/2).
There are some questionable quality 60-watt USB-C PD portable chargers available, but if you want a good quality 45 watt USB-C PD power bank at lowest cost and do not need a bundled USB-C wall charger than RAVPower 20100 45-watt PD 3.0 is easily the best option in the market, especially as Anker currently does not sell any 45-watt PD power bank.
The best way to charge is by either a 30-watt USB PD wall charger as Anker Powerport II USB-C PD 49.5 watt wall charger or by any any Macbook charger as it gets charged in just about 4 hours with these chargers. RAVPower 20100 45-watt PD 3.0 can also be charged with a regular USB wall charger via its micro-USB port in 12+ hours.
Also, remember to buy a 30+ watt USB-C PD charger such as Anker Powerport II USB-C PD 49.5 watt wall charger (and NOT a regular 30 watt USB-C charger OR a 18-watt USB PD charger) to go with this powerbank. Apple’s standard Macbook wall chargers (29 watt, 61 watt or 87 watt) will also work great with RAVPower 20100 45-watt PD 3.0. .
- 45-watt power – suitable for fast charging USB-C chargeable laptops, specially Macbook Air & Macbook Pro
- Compatible with Dell XPS 13 9350/9360/9370/9365 laptops
- Compatible with Dell XPS 15 9570/9575/9560-r1845 laptops
- Better in capacity and value wise than Dell’s own companion series power banks for Dell laptops (see below)
- Gets charged in just 3.5 hours with a 30 watt USB-C PD wall charger and in 6 hours with a Quickcharge phone charger
- Supports the new fast charging mode for iPhone XR, XS Max, XS, 8, 8+, and iPhone X (zero to 50% in 30 minutes).
- Supports fastest charging mode for Samsung Galaxy S10, S10+, S9/S8, S8+, S7, S7 Edge, Note 9, Note 8
- Fast charges iPad Pro 2018, iPad mini 2019, and iPad Air 2019
- Sturdy build quality and quality construction
- True 20,100 mAH capacity
- Excellent 24 months customer support/warranty
- USB-C to USB-C cable included
- An option with bundled USB-C PD wall charger would have been nice. To charge RAVPower 20100 45-watt in 3.5 hours or less, you require a 30 watt PD wall charger such as Anker Powerport II USB-C PD wall charger or the Macbook PD wall charger.
Best Portable Charger for Dell XPS Laptops (Runner-Up)
Dell Power Companion 6 Cell 18000 mAh
Dell PW7018LC Notebook Power Bank Plus – USB-C
These two Dell power banks are our next best choices for charging Dell laptops including the XPS and Latitude series laptops. While not exactly as good and efficient as the HP Spectre powerpack or the RAVPower 20100 45-watt PD 3.0, these two portable chargers are currently the only ones that work reliably with a huge range of Dell laptops for which they are designed.
Dell PW7018LC Notebook Power Bank Plus – USB-C is an 18000 mAh portable charger designed for USB-C laptops drawing up to 65 watt of power. It supports Dell XPS 13 9370 and Dell XPS 15 9570 laptops (does not support earlier 9360 or 9560 laptops). The 18000mAH capacity just about charges the battery of XPS 13 once.
Dell Power Companion 6 Cell 18000 mAh has a conventional DC barrel port output and supports a large range of Dell laptops. It supports Dell Inspiron 5555, 5758, models as well as Dell Latitude 12 Rugged Extreme (7204), 13 7350, 14 Rugged Extreme (7404), 3160, 3350, 3450, 3550, 7214 Rugged Extreme series of rugged laptops. It also supports Dell E5250, E5450, E5550, E5570, E7250, and Dell Venue 11 Pro (5130), 11 Pro (7140), 8 Pro (3845), as well as Dell Vostro 3558, 5459, Dell XPS 13 (9343), 15 (9550) series of laptops.
We found charging efficiency of both these portable chargers as decent (though nothing spectacular). These both are 65Wh batteries but in actual tests, they deliver about 36 Wh of charge to laptop batteries. The Dell PW7018LC USB-C charges an 2018 XPS 13 about 80%. Given the lack of any other alternative, these two batteries are still the best portable battery options of Dell owners.
What We Like
- Pass through charging – Dell PW7018LC can be charged while it charges the laptop. Extremely handy feature as you can keep powerbank constantly plugged in and topped up.
- Dell Power Companion 6 Cell 18000 mAh can charge the power hungry XPS 15 series which few other powerbanks can manage
- Dell PW7018LC Notebook Power Bank Plus – USB-C does not support some older XPS 13 laptops such as 9360 and 9560
- Extra USB port for charging smartphones.
What we Do not like
- If your laptop supports it, RAVPower 20100 45-watt PD 3.0 is much better choice than this one. However for some heavy duty Dell laptops, Dell Power Bank’s are the only option.
- Lack of adequate supporting literature and manuals