This is a bit random. I didn’t go looking for this, I just stumbled across a tweet that interested me and followed the rabbit hole long enough to find it interesting.
So, I ran across this tweet for a Kickstarter campaign to produce a very small charger named the Megalo Mini.
I guess I was drawn in by the size (first) and the clean design (second) and, of course, as someone who is interested in bike touring and backpacking with modern devices, I’m also interested in charging options. Over the years, I’ve noticed and briefly looked at options such as dynamo hubs, solar chargers, and rechargeable battery packs such as this. However, I’ve always found power outlets where I can charge my devices so I’ve not done anything on portable charging options except look on with interest.
Well, I began pulling a thread based on this tweet and I was surprised by what popped out at the end. I thought about how to evaluate devices like this. Of course, there are buyer ratings and reviews out there and those should be considered, but I’d not really seen hard data comparing the many versions out there. So, I decided to compare a number of these devices based on the power-to-weight ratio. To find my pool of devices to study, I began by looking on outdoors retailers’ sites such as REI and Dick’s. I then moved on to Amazon where all the top hits were brands I’d never heard of before. I finished off by searching Walmart and Newegg to get a couple of other perspectives. I did not pull in any devices that were more complicated than a simple battery pack, which means I excluded the solar, hydrogen fuel cell, wood fired, and hand-cranked chargers from this survey. Just pure, rechargeable battery packs. I also ignored any devices for which I could not find the weight. So, here are the results of the P/W comparison…
|Product||Price||Weight (oz)||Power (mAh)||P/W (mAh/oz)|
|EC TECHNOLOGY New 22400mAh||$50||15.8||22400||1418|
|RAVPower Deluxe 14000mAh||$43||10.0||14000||1400|
|RAVPower Deluxe 8400mAh||$30||6.2||8400||1353|
|Anker Astro E5||$50||11.2||15000||1339|
|Poweradd Pilot X6||$46||16.2||20800||1284|
|EasyAcc Ultra 16000mAh||$50||13.0||16000||1229|
|Anker® Astro Mini||$17||2.6||3000||1172|
|RAVPower Luster 3000mAh||$20||2.6||3000||1154|
|Anker 2nd Gen Astro Pro2||$80||17.6||20000||1136|
|Poweradd™ Pilot X1||$14||4.6||5200||1121|
|Eton BoostBloc 4000||$60||3.7||4000||1081|
|EasyAcc 12000mAh Power Bank||$38||11.4||12000||1056|
|Eton BoostBloc 6600||$100||6.5||6600||1015|
|Poweradd Pilot 2GS||$26||10.1||10000||990|
|Verbatim Portable Power Pack||$20||2.3||2200||960|
|EasyAcc 10000mAh Brilliant Ultra Slim||$27||10.6||10000||943|
|Eton BoostBloc 2000||$30||2.2||2000||909|
|Verbatim Dual USA Power Pack||$60||11.5||10000||872|
|Mophie Powerstation Mini||$60||2.9||2500||862|
|Duracell 2,600 mAH||$25||4.0||2600||650|
|Duracell 4,000 mAH||$30||6.4||4000||625|
|Mophie Powerstation Pro||$100||16.0||6000||375|
I think there are two things of note here: one I would have expected had I thought about it and one I did not expect.
First, you’ll notice that the smaller capacity devices did not rank as well as the larger capacity devices. I think this is obviously because electronics required for charging the batteries or external devices is relatively fixed and, therefore, constitutes a greater share alongside a smaller battery. In addition, some of the smaller capacity devices seemed to have one or more cables built in, which would further skew the results.
The second thing I noticed and did not expect was that the brand name devices (Duracell, Brunton, IOGear, Verbatim, etc.) did not rank as well in general as the non brand name devices. Now, maybe others are cynical and might say that brand names are all about advertising and not necessarily performance. But I’m of the opinion that many respected brand names can be trusted for quality. I think the issue here is probably that power-to-weight performance is not necessarily quality. But to be honest, power-to-weight ratio seems to be a metric that should not be influenced by brand or prices so I don’t really know what is going on here. Maybe the brand names are just more conservative in their ratings?
I was also interested in how the price affected rankings so I decided upon a metric of price-to-power ratio and here are the results of that ranking…
|Product||Price||Weight (oz)||Power (mAh)||$/P|
|Poweradd Pilot X6||$46||16.2||20800||$0.0022|
|EC TECHNOLOGY New 22400mAh||$50||15.8||22400||$0.0022|
|Poweradd Pilot 2GS||$26||10.1||10000||$0.0026|
|Poweradd™ Pilot X1||$14||4.6||5200||$0.0027|
|EasyAcc 10000mAh Brilliant Ultra Slim||$27||10.6||10000||$0.0027|
|RAVPower Deluxe 14000mAh||$43||10.0||14000||$0.0031|
|EasyAcc Ultra 16000mAh||$50||13.0||16000||$0.0031|
|EasyAcc 12000mAh Power Bank||$38||11.4||12000||$0.0032|
|Anker Astro E5||$50||11.2||15000||$0.0033|
|RAVPower Deluxe 8400mAh||$30||6.2||8400||$0.0036|
|Anker 2nd Gen Astro Pro2||$80||17.6||20000||$0.0040|
|Anker® Astro Mini||$17||2.6||3000||$0.0057|
|Verbatim Dual USA Power Pack||$60||11.5||10000||$0.0060|
|RAVPower Luster 3000mAh||$20||2.6||3000||$0.0067|
|Duracell 4,000 mAH||$30||6.4||4000||$0.0075|
|Verbatim Portable Power Pack||$20||2.3||2200||$0.0091|
|Duracell 2,600 mAH||$25||4.0||2600||$0.0096|
|Eton BoostBloc 4000||$60||3.7||4000||$0.0150|
|Eton BoostBloc 2000||$30||2.2||2000||$0.0150|
|Eton BoostBloc 6600||$100||6.5||6600||$0.0152|
|Mophie Powerstation Pro||$100||16.0||6000||$0.0167|
|Mophie Powerstation Mini||$60||2.9||2500||$0.0240|
These result are similar to the power-to-weight rankings in my opinion with some non-remarkable differences. (Maybe I’ll stare at it two weeks from now and see something entirely different.) In general the larger capacity devices ranked higher as did the off-brand devices.
For my final look, I decided to combine the two rankings into a composite and see if there were any surprises from that. To create a composite ranking, I simply multiplied the power-to-weight and price-to-power rankings (1..n) together. Therefore, any device that ranked #1 on both would be 1 on the composite; any device that ranked #n on both would be n^2 on the composite; any device that ranked #1 on one and #n on the other would be n on the composite; and so on. Here are those results…
|Product||Price||Weight (oz)||Power (mAh)||P/W (mAh/oz)||$/P||P/W Rank||$/P Rank||Comp|
|EC TECHNOLOGY New 22400mAh||$50||15.8||22400||1418||$0.0022||2||2||4|
|Poweradd Pilot X6||$46||16.2||20800||1284||$0.0022||6||1||6|
|RAVPower Deluxe 14000mAh||$43||10.0||14000||1400||$0.0031||3||6||18|
|RAVPower Deluxe 8400mAh||$30||6.2||8400||1353||$0.0036||4||11||44|
|Poweradd™ Pilot X1||$14||4.6||5200||1121||$0.0027||11||4||44|
|EasyAcc Ultra 16000mAh||$50||13.0||16000||1229||$0.0031||7||7||49|
|Anker Astro E5||$50||11.2||15000||1339||$0.0033||5||10||50|
|Poweradd Pilot 2GS||$26||10.1||10000||990||$0.0026||18||3||54|
|EasyAcc 10000mAh Brilliant Ultra Slim||$27||10.6||10000||943||$0.0027||20||5||100|
|Anker® Astro Mini||$17||2.6||3000||1172||$0.0057||8||14||112|
|Anker 2nd Gen Astro Pro2||$80||17.6||20000||1136||$0.0040||10||12||120|
|EasyAcc 12000mAh Power Bank||$38||11.4||12000||1056||$0.0032||15||8||120|
|RAVPower Luster 3000mAh||$20||2.6||3000||1154||$0.0067||9||17||153|
|Eton BoostBloc 4000||$60||3.7||4000||1081||$0.0150||13||22||286|
|Verbatim Portable Power Pack||$20||2.3||2200||960||$0.0091||19||20||380|
|Verbatim Dual USA Power Pack||$60||11.5||10000||872||$0.0060||24||16||384|
|Eton BoostBloc 6600||$100||6.5||6600||1015||$0.0152||17||24||408|
|Eton BoostBloc 2000||$30||2.2||2000||909||$0.0150||21||23||483|
|Duracell 4,000 mAH||$30||6.4||4000||625||$0.0075||29||18||522|
|Duracell 2,600 mAH||$25||4.0||2600||650||$0.0096||28||21||588|
|Mophie Powerstation Mini||$60||2.9||2500||862||$0.0240||25||32||800|
|Mophie Powerstation Pro||$100||16.0||6000||375||$0.0167||32||27||864|
No real surprises (outside those seen in the results of the first test) were waiting here either.
I’m wondering if I’m seeing the entire picture here. I’m wondering if there is any technology contained in one brand or the other that makes charging the internal batteries faster or maybe ensuring more efficient power transfer to external devices. I love to hear from someone if they have information on this.
Were I to decide to purchase a device soon (I won’t), I would probably lean toward those at the top of the power-to-weight ratio with a consideration to reviews, ratings, price, and overall weight. Of course, I’d be less concerned with overall weight on a bike tour than backpacking.
At some point, I’ll probably do similar Interweb-powered research on the solar chargers out there so stay tuned to this channel.