We discussed the lifespan of cell phone batteries in a previous article. Since portable chargers are built using basically the same technology, you can expect them to behave in a similar fashion to cell phone batteries. But let’s dive into the details of power banks in particular.
Similar to laptop and smartphone batteries, power banks also have a certain number of charge-discharge cycles before the device loses its capacity. Generally, lithium-ion batteries will be at 80% capacity after 500 cycles, while others will experience the same performance loss after 800-900 cycles. Afterward, the portable charger can last for a long time, but there will be a gradual loss in capacity.
A cycle is used up when the power in a portable charger goes from 100 to 0% and gets charged back to 100%. However, there are a few different ways to consume a cycle, which can be done by charging the device from 0 to 50% twice, 0 to 33% three times, and 0 to 25% four times. How frequently you charge and use a power bank will determine how quickly a cycle is consumed. A power bank will suffer from performance loss every time a cycle gets used up.
On average, power banks last 4 to 5 years and can hold a charge for 4-6 months without losing much power. For example, a 5000mAh portable charger that’s powered up once every two days, it will need 1,000 days to reach the 500 charge-discharge cycles and drop to 80% capacity.
Power banks that have a small battery capacity or low-quality build won’t last very long. This is mainly because the charge-discharge cycles will be consumed rather quickly. High-quality power banks with a large battery capacity will last a lot longer. Since the battery is bigger, you won’t need to charge it as often, which also means the cycles won’t be used up as quickly.
Regarding the amount of time a power bank can hold a charge, the majority of Li-ion and Li-poly power banks discharge themselves by 2% every month. The rate will often increase to 3% and 5%, depending on the type and care they receive. Storing the power bank in a hot area will also result in the device generating less power over time.
In the end, you should know that not all power banks are built the same. Some producers use higher quality materials, while others are using the cheapest possible parts. The build quality can have a major impact on overall battery life. Most power banks have 1-3 years of warranty upon purchase. So you get a minimum period of guaranteed high-performance out of our device. For example, this DB Power portable charger has a 3-year warranty.
Guidelines to extend the lifespan of your power bank
Do not use in extreme heat/cold
Usually, any electronic device, like a laptop, will slow down or crash when it’s overheating, which could also happen to power banks. Using the portable charger in extremely hot or cold temperatures can damage the battery cell. As a side effect, this will cause the unit to shorten its lifespan. To ensure the portable charger lasts for a long time, you must use it where the temperatures aren’t too high or low.
Don’t let the power bank battery completely discharge to 0%
Discharging the device to 0% all the time will damage it and degrade the battery, especially if it’s lithium-based. The original charge capacity will also be lessened. Whenever the voltage plunges below 2.4A, carbonization will kick in, which causes the device to shorten its lifespan over time. It’s good practice to charge your device whenever 50% of the battery has been used. This will ensure there is minimal damage to the cell.
Avoid using the device in a bag
Using the battery pack to power up your smartphone while it’s in a bag is a bad idea. It will prevent the heat in both devices from dispersing properly. As a result, all the extra heat could potentially damage your smartphone and power bank, so it’s a good idea to use them in open ventilation areas.
Make sure the power bank is only used with compatible devices
Standard power banks have an average of 3.7V and use 1A or 2A current. The 1A output is intended to be used for charging smartphones and sometimes you might want to use the 2A port for a quicker charge. Using the 2A output for this might actually damage your power bank and smartphone.
Keep your power bank away from water
Most power banks aren’t waterproof, which can be problematic. If you leave your device in the rain or spill water on it, the unit will get flooded, causing it to be unusable.
Charge your smartphone to 80-90% with the power bank
Charging your smartphone from 90% to 100% will take more time and energy than charging it to 80%. It takes more time and energy to charge it to 100% because the voltage reaches a constant value with the charge current slowly tapering off over time.