Juiced Up: The Best Phone Charger Alternatives

Cases, packs, pads. Here's how to get the power you need.

What's more annoying than leaving for a weekend trip and realizing you left your phone charger at home? It's enough to ruin your vacation.

It doesn't have to be that way. There are plenty of ways to keep your phone battery charged, and many don't even involve wires. Whether you're forgetful or just a heavy user, here are a few alternative ways to keep your phone charged and extend its battery life.

Battery Cases

A battery case is a straightforward solution for a couple of problems: keeping your phone charged, and protecting it from the elements.

These nifty little contraptions are really just phone cases built around rechargeable batteries that can more than double the power available to your phone. Essentially, you're trading your phone's slim, stylish design for extended battery life and physical protection.

Essentially, you're trading your phone's slim design for extended battery life and protection. Tweet It

When shopping for battery cases, you want to pay attention to a few key specs. Most important is capacity. Battery cases offer anywhere from 2000 to 25000mAh (milliampere hours); for reference, the iPhone 6 battery clocks in at a mere 1810mAh.

But design is also important. Some battery cases suffer from cheap, flimsy build quality, which is antithetical to the purpose of a smartphone case. Make sure the one you buy is sturdy, but also slim enough for your purposes.

Finally, if you can dig up reliable info, check out how quickly the battery case is able to recharge your phone. Some batteries have a huge capacity but take forever to move the juice. If you're in a pinch, that may prove aggravating.

Here are a few good options for iPhone and Android users:


Lenmar Meridian (iPhone 5)

  • Capacity: 2300mAh
  • Black rubberized case with access to all ports
  • LED power indicator for battery power level
  • On/off switch to control when to use the extra power

Trianium Atomic S (iPhone 6)

  • Capacity: 3100mAh
  • LED battery level indicator
  • 360° comprehensive bumper design and hard-shell backplate
  • Sync-through technology allows you to sync without removing case

Stalion Stamina (iPhone 6 Plus)

  • Capacity: 4000mAh
  • Four LED lights indicate how much power is left
  • Built-in MFi chip to support full charging capabilities
  • Built-in smart sensor prevents overcharging and overheating

PowerBear (LG G3)

  • Capacity: 6500mAh
  • Protection from overheating and overcharging
  • Good for over 500 repeated charging cycles

Stalion Stamina (Samsung Galaxy S4)

  • Capacity: 3300mAh
  • Four LED lights indicate how much power is left
  • Built in foldable kickstand
  • Built-in smart sensor prevents overcharging and overheating

Mophie Juice Pack (Samsung Galaxy S5)

  • Capacity: 3,000mAh
  • Soft touch rubberized finish
  • 4 LED light status indicator
  • Pass-thru USB lets you charge & sync without taking phone out of case

Stalion Stamina (Samsung Galaxy S6)

  • Capacity: 3500mAh
  • Four LED lights indicate how much power is left
  • Built-in cutout for camera and buttons

External Battery Packs

Cases, though handy, aren't for everyone. They're big and bulky, and because they double as cases, they're tied to a single phone.

Another solution? External battery packs. These little gadgets usually boast much larger capacities, and will work with just about any mobile device—even some cameras and laptops. They also cost about the same as a battery case. Unless you tend to lose things easily, this is probably a better bang for your battery buck.

Unless you tend to lose things easily, an external battery is the best bang for your battery buck. Tweet It

The only problem is that there are virtually endless options to choose from. To narrow the field, focus on these two features: capacity and design. You want something that's compact and rugged, but also equipped with some serious amperage.

Be conscious of how you plan to use the battery, as well. You may want to charge two devices at a time, in which case you should be on the lookout for a device with two USB ports. Or you may prefer a battery pack that tells you how much juice is remaining in a charge. Or maybe you want a solar-powered option for camping trips.


Anker 2nd Gen Astro

  • Capacity: 6400mAh
  • Premium LG cells with sturdy drop-tested exterior
  • PowerIQ Technology detects your device to deliver fastest possible charge
  • 18-month warranty

Intocircuit Dual USB

  • Capacity: 11200mAh
  • Dual USB outputs charge two devices simultaneously
  • Smart LCD display with LED flashlight
  • Aluminum alloy brushed shell

Anker 2nd Gen Astro E4

  • Capacity: 13000mAh
  • Huge capacity charges iPhone 6 five times
  • Premium LG cells with sturdy gloss exterior, LED flashlight
  • PowerIQ Technology detects your device to deliver fastest possible charge

Anker 2nd Gen Astro Mini

  • Capacity: 3200mAh
  • Compact, lipstick-sized design
  • PowerIQ Technology detects your device to deliver fastest possible charge

Poweradd Pilot S

  • Capacity: 12000mAh
  • Dual USB outputs charge two devices simultaneously
  • Smart LCD display reveals charge status

RAVPower

  • Capacity: 3200mAh
  • Lightweight, lipstick-shaped design
  • iSmart technology charges your device faster than standard USB

Anker 14W Dual-Port Solar Charger

  • PowerIQ detects your device to deliver the fastest possible charge speed
  • Provides up to 2 amps under direct sunlight
  • 14-watt solar array can charge two devices at once

Wireless Charging Mats

Believe it or not, there are ways to charge mobile devices wirelessly. If you're tired of tangled cables and own a phone or tablet with inductive charging capability, it's something worth looking into.

Wireless charging mats have compatibility issues. Tweet It

However, like battery cases, wireless charging mats do have compatibility issues. You need to make sure the mat you're looking at will work with your device—different technologies like Qi and PMA don't work the same way. Most new devices use Qi, but if you have an older phone, you may need to be careful.

To get you started on the road to frustration-free charging, here are a few of the best wireless charging mats on the market:


Samsung Mini Wireless Charging Pad

  • Qi inductive charging technology eliminates need to attach charging cable
  • Built-in LED light indicates charging status
  • Reduced power consumption by minimizing heat generation and increasing charging efficiency

Duracell Powermat for iPhone 5

  • Wireless charge using the Access Case
  • Made for two devices to keep your mobile device charged
  • iPhone 5 only

RAVPower RP-WCN7 Charging Pad

  • Compatible with any Qi-enabled device
  • LED light indicates charging status
  • Works with Galaxy S6, Nexus 4/5/6/7, Nokia Lumia 920, LG Optimus Vu2, HTC 8X

PowerBot

  • Plug and play Qi standard compatible
  • Smart IC energy management system maximizes output and minimizes energy consumption
  • Works with all Qi-compatible devices, including Samsung, iPhone, Nokia, Nexus, LG, and HTC

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Anker 2nd Gen Astro E5 16000mAh Portable Charger

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