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Can you charge your power bank using a mobile charger?

The vast majority of power banks sold today do not also come with a wall charger. Those that do, are usually more expensive and clearly mention that. However, most people that purchase a power bank will have to find a charging solution and they usually turn to existing phone chargers. While this is usually a good idea, it’s worth mentioning that both devices need to be fully compatible in order to achieve the best charging experience. In case of incompatibility, the charging might be sub-optimal, or it may not even work at all. So let’s see what you need to pay attention to before charging your power bank with a mobile charger. 

Charging port compatibility

Since power banks feature a USB Type-C (new) or Micro-USB (old) input port, you will need to ensure that your mobile charger has the compatible plug type. Not to mention that some Apple chargers feature proprietary Lightning plugs for example, which will not be able to charge your power bank if it has a USB-C or micro-USB input port.

But what if the ports are incompatible? Generally, there are some workarounds that you can implement. The majority of wall chargers have detachable charging cables. If you can find the right type of cable, you can simply replace it. An alternative but less common method is to use an adapter. Type C to Mirco USB adapters for example are quite cheap to get. 

Charging technology and speed

A large number of mobile chargers provide just 5W of power, which is below fast-charging speeds. While that may seem sufficient to charge your phone, it will take a lot longer to charge your power bank compared to other charging technologies.

For example, some power banks feature fast charging technologies, such as QC 3.0/2.0, PD 3.0/2.0, etc. Generally, these charging speeds range from 18W to 65W. Charging a power bank that could take up to 30W for example, using a regular 5W mobile charger will slow its charging time by 6 times. 

Furthermore, some charging technologies are not compatible with each other although they could provide similar charging speeds. This is why the ideal case is to have both the power bank and the charger fully compatible when it comes to charging technologies. So if the power bank is PD/QC compatible, the charger should be similar. 

Voltage and current ratings

You will also need to confirm that the voltage and current rating of the mobile charger is not higher than the power bank’s input port. Otherwise, it could interfere with the charging process, causing overvoltage and/or overcurrent.  The voltage/current rating can usually be found on the device or in the user manual.

Can you charge a power bank with a laptop charger?

Absolutely! As long as the ports are compatible, then you will have no problems charging the power bank through a laptop charger. Many of today’s laptops come with USB type-C chargers, which will fit many power banks that have the same port.

Laptop chargers generally deliver +45W of power, but this isn’t an issue for power banks because the device will just take in as much as it needs. So you can expect a normal charging time through this method. Also, some laptop chargers feature Power Delivery, so if your power bank also has this technology, then you can expect a faster charger time due to compatibility.

Can you charge a power bank using a laptop USB port?

Charging a power bank using a USB output on a laptop is also possible. But this is also a case of mismatched compatibility since most laptop USBs provide very little power: 5V and 0.5 – 1A. Compared to the power needs of most portable chargers, this is very little. This means that the power bank would take much longer to charge. Sometimes maybe even longer than an entire day, depending on the capacity. This is why charging a power bank via a laptop’s USB should be used only as a last resort, when there really are no other alternatives. 

The best-case scenario is to get a compatible, fast-charging adapter if you don’t already have one. But if you’re looking to get one these manually curated lists might come in handy: