10,000 mAh, two USB ports and 2.1 A output power – and that for less than 10 Euros? We tested whether the cheapest power stations keep what their data sheets promise. The result surprised even us, because there is a clear favorite.
While the top models of power banks from 20,000 mAh offer modern features such as quick charging (Qualcomm Quick Charge or Power Delivery via USB C), LED spotlights or even solar panels, users of inexpensive models for less than 10 euros have to be satisfied with significantly less . The storage density is lower and there are no special functions. You can only use it to recharge the batteries of smartphones, Bluetooth speakers or game consoles on the go or to operate frugal gadgets like a Raspberry Pi away from the socket for a while – but nothing more. Nevertheless, there are important differences in the test field: With the capacity, with the connections, with the quality and mobility – and with the truthfulness of the information on the packaging.
capacity and performance
Just as in the upper class presented last, storage density and output power are also decisive in the beginner’s league . The capacity, usually given in milliampere hours (mAh), provides information about the maximum amount of energy the battery pack can store. The charge will decrease over time even if the power bank is not used. If the battery is stored for a longer period of time, it is advisable to bring it to 50 to 70 percent beforehand in order to maximize the life of the cells – completely full and completely empty lithium batteries wear out faster. The capacity of the specimens tested here is nominally between 2,600 mAh (SeniorMar Daily Artifact – the product is really called that)and 10,000 mAh (Powerowl Powerbank), although the value is often lower in practice and also decreases with each charging cycle. After 300 to 600 charging cycles, the power of these batteries is often completely exhausted. This means that the power banks are loyal companions for several years, even if they are used regularly. The storage density of 5,000 mAh of the Ansmann Mini Powerbank, for example, is sufficient to completely fill a current iPhone 13 Pro Max – and even leaves a little reserve.
The input and mobile-sola/”>output power determines how quickly the battery pack can be charged and, conversely, how quickly it gets a connected gadget up and running again. It is usually given in amperes or milliamperes, each at 5 volts, the standard for USB ports. In comparison, the charging process of the smallest power bank (SeniorMar) takes around three hours, just as long as that of the much more powerful model from Intenso – although it holds twice as much energy. Conversely, the small battery from SenorMar only provides a maximum of 1 amp at the output, the rival from Intenso manages 1.5 amps. The power bank from Ansmann even has two USB outputs, one with 1.0 and the other with 2.1 amps.
Decisive purchase criteria
Apart from these most important key data, features such as size, weight and robustness should be decisive for most users . The two smallest and lightest power banks on test are the SeniorMar Daily Artifact and the Varta Power Bank. Both weigh exactly 66 grams and fit easily in your pocket, although the Varta model is more comfortable to wear thanks to its round shape and also makes a much more stable impression. At the other end of the scale is the powerful but also bulky battery pack from Powerowl , which weighs 245 grams and more than ten centimeters in length is also clearly visible in the jacket pocket. Nevertheless, all of the models presented here can be conveniently carried along at any time. And so to the tests of the five power banks under 10 euros .
|product||Dimensions||weight||inputs||exits||measured capacity||output current|
|Senor Mar Daily Artifact||9.1 x 2.4 x 2.2 cm||66g||1 x Micro USB||1 x USB A||2,389mAh||1.0A|
|Intenso power bank PM5200||9.5 x 2.5 x 4.3 cm||131g||1 x Micro USB||1 x USB A||5,450mAh||1.5A|
|Varta Power Bank 2600mAh||9.9*2.4*2.3cm||66g||1 x Micro USB||1 x USB A||2,603mAh||1.0A|
|Powerowl Portable Charger||10.7 x 8.0 x 2.3cm||245g||1 x USB-C||2 x USB A||9,226mAh||2.1A|
|Ansmann mini power bank 5000 mAh||11.9*6.7*1.2cm||125g||1 x Micro USB||2 x USB A||5,097mAh||2.1A|
SeniorMar Daily Artifact
The colorful cases – the test specimen is adorned in light blue, somewhat creaky plastic – bear the names of different, mostly unknown brands. Inside is practically the same everywhere: a lithium-ion cell in the 18650 form factor and a tiny circuit board with a USB port for charging and discharging. The mobile battery is recharged via a micro-USB connector, whereby the supplied cable is extremely short. The charging process takes around three hours, which is surprisingly long given the low capacity. The manufacturer promises 2,600 mAh, we measured almost 2,400 mAh – just acceptable. A USB-A socket is available for supplying external devices, which lets through a maximum of one ampere – the daily artefact from SeniorMar (probably an “artefact” of the automatic Google translation) is also somewhat weak in this regard. The supplied key ring recommends the power bank as a pendant – the angular, thick housing rather not. The bottom line is that the Daily Artifact only meets the absolute minimum requirements for a battery pack. There isn’t even a charge indicator without plugging the device into a power supply – but it also costs next to nothing. The supplied key ring recommends the power bank as a pendant – the angular, thick housing rather not. The bottom line is that the Daily Artifact only meets the absolute minimum requirements for a battery pack. There isn’t even a charge indicator without plugging the device into a power supply – but it also costs next to nothing. The supplied key ring recommends the power bank as a pendant – the angular, thick housing rather not. The bottom line is that the Daily Artifact only meets the absolute minimum requirements for a battery pack. There isn’t even a charge indicator without plugging the device into a power supply – but it also costs next to nothing.
Intenso power bank PM5200
The PM5200 from Intenso is 2.5 centimeters high quite thick, but comparatively low and narrow, so that the overall package looks pleasantly compact. The power bank owes its considerable weight of just over 130 grams to its stable metal casing, which underlines the robust impression. On the top there is an easy-to-read level indicator with four LEDs, which reveals the reserve at the push of a button. The Intenso Powerbank PM 5200 is fully charged after around three hours via micro-USB and then supplies attached gadgets with up to one and a half amps via the USB-A port. At 5,450 mAh, the measured capacity was even greater than the stated 5,200 mAh – great! The comparatively detailed printed manual, the sturdy packaging and the five color options (black, white, gray, silver and pink) are also commendable. However, the included charging cable is very short. Thus, the Intenso PM5200 is a small, handy and recommendable power bank at a relatively low price.
Varta Power Bank 2600mAh
Similar to SeniorMar’s artifact, the Varta Power Bank is also 2600 mAh little more than a battery with charging circuitry encased in a sleek black plastic cylinder. Although the two batteries are exactly the same weight and almost the same size, each weighing 66 grams, the Varta Power Bank is noticeably more comfortable to carry in your pocket thanks to its round shape, even if it still seems too bulky as a key fob. Nice: In contrast to the rival from SeniorMar, it actually achieves the promised capacity of 2,600 mAh in the discharge test, almost to the point. Although the branded battery costs a bit more and it also lacks a level indicator (the LED only flashes when charging or discharging), we would still vote for the Varta model in a direct comparison, which is available in white, red and mint green in addition to black. The Varta Power Bank 2600 mAh is charged via micro USB in about two and a half hours and then provides 1 ampere at the USB-A port. The energy storage is sufficient, as the advertisement states, to fully charge an iPhone 5S once – which underlines that the Varta Power Bank is no longer the newest. But that doesn’t change the fact that it still perfectly fulfills its main purpose as a compact, mobile power storage device.
Powerowl Portable Charger
The portable charger from Powerowl is not just a power bank, but as the name suggests, it is actually a charging station for four lithium-ion cells in size 18650. Four of these compact batteries are pre-installed under a removable cover in the relatively large housing, which is made of not exactly high-quality plastic. The supplied no-name batteries can be exchanged for branded goods at any time. Great, that’s sustainable and at least potentially extends the life of this device. What is less nice is that after the charging process, which takes almost five hours via USB-C connection, only about 9,200 of the promised 10,000 milliampere hours remain – but that is still significantly more than with all other power banks in the test. After all: Two devices can be supplied in parallel at the two USB-A sockets, each with up to 2.1 amps. With this you can, for example, quickly recharge a large Bluetooth speaker or operate a Raspberry Pi for a whole day (as long as it is not running a stress test). The current reserve can be queried at the push of a button and is displayed using four small but very bright LEDs. Because of the high weight of 245 grams and the considerable dimensions, the Powerowl power bank is rather unsuitable as a pocket battery. But who The current reserve can be queried at the push of a button and is displayed using four small but very bright LEDs. Because of the high weight of 245 grams and the considerable dimensions, the Powerowl power bank is rather unsuitable as a pocket battery. But who The current reserve can be queried at the push of a button and is displayed using four small but very bright LEDs. Because of the high weight of 245 grams and the considerable dimensions, the Powerowl power bank is rather unsuitable as a pocket battery. But whoIf you are looking for maximum capacity at an affordable price , value sustainability due to the easily replaceable cells or simply need a charger for 18650 batteries – this is the right place for you .
At the time this article was published, the Powerowl power bank was available on Amazon for EUR 9.99 .
Ansmann mini power bank 5000 mAh
Although the Ansmann Mini Powerbank 5000 mAhWith a weight of 125 grams, it is not the lightest mobile battery in the test field, but with its pleasantly thin housing and rounded edges it still looks slimmer than the comparable PM5200 power bank from Intenso and feels right at home in your jacket pocket. The battery is filled via micro-USB, which takes almost three hours. The Ansmann device easily surpasses the promised capacity of 5,000 mAh by almost 100 mAh in the practical test. Two receivers can be fed in parallel at the two USB-A outputs, with only one of the two connections delivering 2.1 amps. For the other, one ampere is the end. Still, the second USB port is a welcome bonus. In the product description, the manufacturer advertises all sorts of safety functions, including protection against overcharging, deep discharge, overload and short circuits. In addition, the GS test seal of TÜV Rheinland is proudly emblazoned on the housing. Buyers have to decide for themselves whether this is worth the extra charge compared to the Intenso Powerbank PM5200 model, which is comparable in terms of storage density, especially since the Powerowl model offers an even larger capacity for the same money. Nevertheless, the Ansmann Mini Powerbank 5000 mAh makes a total excellent impression . Also thanks to the informative manual.
There are already usable portable power banks for less than 10 euros. The devices in this price range are limited to the basic functions, but fulfill them satisfactorily. It is noticeable that both offers from comparatively little-known brands – Powerowl and SeniorMar – do not quite reach the promised capacity and the processing also inspires less confidence than with the established manufacturers Ansmann, Intenso and Varta. But: The two particularly cheap offers are not a bad choice either. Powerowl’s mobile battery offers almost twice the storage of the next two best candidates and is also sustainable thanks to easily swappable batteries.
If you need larger models, you will certainly find what you are looking for in our guide to mobile batteries from 20,000 mAh . Information on even more powerful energy storage systems is available in our solar generator theme world .