Power trips: 10 ultraportable smartphone chargers

You’ll barely even notice you’re carrying these feather-light chargers that give your handset a boost when you need it most.

Big boost, small package

Smartphones are power-hungry, and if you’re using yours all the time—whether talking, texting, or checking your stock profile—you’ll probably notice that it doesn’t even last a full day. But carrying around a charger can be a drag, especially when you don’t need to recharge from zero—just a little boost. Some of these ultraportable chargers include built-in cables and connectors for maximum convenience. You won’t even notice their minimal extra weight, and you’ll be able to make it through a full workday without plugging your phone into a socket.

Miccus ChargeBlock XL for iPhone and iPod

This charger is built to add a little extra juice to your iPhone (all versions except 5) or iPod (all except the Shuffle and fifth-generation Touch). The ChargeBlock XL is about the size of a pack of gum, and has a built-in 30-pin connector, which means no cables to worry about. According to Miccus, the ChargeBlock XL should be able to give you an extra five hours of talk time on an iPhone 4S.

Weight: 1.55 ounces
Battery capacity: 1500 mAh
Price: $29.99, Miccus

Mophie Juice Pack Reserve for iPhone and iPod

This one works with any iOS device that has a 30-pin connector (so not an iPhone 5, fifth-generation iPod Touch, or iPod Shuffle). This small backup battery fits on a keychain and is about the size of a cigarette lighter. It has a built-in 30-pin connector and a flip top. The Juice Pack Reserve isn’t meant to fully charge your devices, but as an emergency battery pack when you need a quick boost. It should be able to add about 3.5 hours of talk time to an iPhone 4S in about 1.5 hours.

Weight: 1.6 ounces
Battery capacity: 700 mAh
Price: $34.95, Mophie

Digipower JS-SLIM ultra-thin USB battery pack

Digipower’s slim 1100 mAh battery pack is just 7 millimeters thick, which means it’s thinner than the iPhone 5. This ultra-thin battery pack comes with MiniUSB and MicroUSB cables, though you will need to plug those into a proprietary DC barrel-to-female-USB cable (also included), since this device is so slim that it doesn’t have a USB port. According to the company, this 1100 mAh battery pack can get you up to three hours of extra 3G talk time, 7 hours of video playback, and 21 hours of audio playback on a typical smartphone.

Weight: Unknown
Battery capacity: 1100 mAh
Price: 29.99, Digipower

TYLT Energi

TYLT’s Energi is built for MicroUSB devices (such as most Android phones). It weighs just under four ounces and features built-in prongs for wall-charging, a built-in MicroUSB cable for charging your device on the go, and a female USB port, so you’ll still be able to charge non-MicroUSB devices (such as an iPhone), so long as you have a cable handy. The Energi takes 4 to 5 hours to charge itself, and, according to the company, providingone full charge to a smartphone, one-third of a charge to a 7-inch tablet, and 12 full charges to a Bluetooth device. The Energi does have pass-through charging, which means that you can plug it into the wall and charge the Energi and your smartphone simultaneously.

Weight: 3.8 ounces
Battery Capacity: 1800 mAh
Price: $39.99, TYLT

Scosche flipCHARGE Boost

Scosche’s flipCHARGE Boost is another convenient-looking charger for your iPhone or iPod. This charger is about half the size of an iPhone and it has a flip-up 30-pin connector as well as a built-in USB connector. This charger is a little pricey considering its battery capacity—just 720 mAH. Translation, according to Scosche: The flipCHARGE Boost takes 2.5 hours to charge itself up, and can charge an iPod up to 70 percent battery capacity (from dead), and an iPhone up to 30 percent battery capacity (from dead). Like the ChargeBlock XL, this gizmo is meant as an extra boost to your smartphone—not as a replacement battery. The benefit of the flipCHARGE Boost is that it doesn’t have a removable cap that can get lost.

Weight: 1.6 ounces
Battery capacity: 720 mAh
Price: $44.99, Scosche

Duracell Instant USB charger

Duracell’s matchbox-sized portable battery is made for USB-powered devices. It has a female USB port for connecting with iPhones, iPods, smartphones, and handheld gaming devices. According to the company, you can get an extra 35 hours worth of power for your devices—but as with many vendor estimates, this probably assumes you’re not actually using the devices. Still, with 1150 mAh, you should be able to get at least 50 percent (if not more) battery life for a typical smartphone.

Weight: 3.2 ounces
Battery capacity: 1150 mAh
Price: $23.99,

Luna Power Bank charger

This 5600 mAh option should be enough to charge your smartphone a couple of times. At 3.7 inches long, the Luna Power Bank is a little larger than others in this slideshow, but it’s still pretty portable. It comes with a MicroUSB cable, but it is also compatible with iOS devices. The Power Bank takes between five and six hours to charge itself, and can fully charge a smartphone three times, the company says. Bonus: a built-in LED mini-flashlight.

Weight: 4.3 ounces
Battery capacity: 5600 mAh
Price: $49.95,

Energizer AP750

The Energizer AP750 is small enough to fit on your key ring, and it should give your smartphone a modest boost (probably around 30 percent). What’s nice is its hooked design, so that the battery part curves around the back of your smartphone. This means you can use your smartphone while you’re charging it. There are two versions of the AP750: one has a MicroUSB connector facing upward, while the other has the MicroUSB connector facing downward. You’ll have to determine which version you need based on the placement of your phone’s MicroUSB port. The downside is that this charger may not work with some handheld cases.

Weight: 4.8 ounces
Battery capacity: 750 mAh
Price: $23.95,

Anker SlimTalk

At less than half an inch thick and roughly the size of a smartphone, the Anker SlimTalk portable external battery is a little larger (if slimmer) than many of the chargers in this slideshow. Still, it packs a 3200 mAh battery, so it’s supposed to charge an iPhone 4S at least one full time from dead. The SlimTalk offers a built-in MicroUSB connector as well as a female USB outlet, so it’s compatible with MicroUSB devices as well as iPhones (though you will need an extra cable for an iPhone). Fumbling in the dark? There’s also a built-in flashlight.

Weight: 3.2 ounces
Battery capacity: 3200 mAh
Price: $24.99,


JuiceBuddy calls its portable iPhone-and-other-devices charger ”the world’s smallest and most portable iPhone charger.” This tiny device, about the size of an iPhone wall plug, fits neatly onto a keychain and sports built-in prongs, a built-in 30-pin connector, and a female USB port for charging other USB-powered devices. It is not, however, a portable battery—rather, it’s a portable wall charger that lets you charge devices using a standard wall socket. Still, since it does away with the iPhone cable, you can effectively charge your device whenever you're near an outlet. It can charge an iPad, but it’s designed so that you balance your phone on top of the charger while it’s charging. Needless to say, the weight of an iPad might be too much to keep this charger from falling off the wall. If you need something tailored for a tablet, check out these 10 portable tablet chargers.

Price: $24.95, JuiceBuddy

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