Hurricane season is on us -- keep your iPhone charged with one of these batteries

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in General Discussion
Hurricanes Florence and Olivia are poised to slam into the U.S. later this week, which will leave some people without power for long stretches of time. AppleInsider shows you some of the better options for powering iPhones, iPads, and/or Macs so they don't go down with the grid.

Hurricane Florence


As previous disasters have proven, cell phones are a crucial lifeline in a crisis, particularly ones with mass power outages and flooding. But, that rectangle slab might as well be made of wood for all the good it will do you if the battery is dead.

These aren't just batteries we picked out of the air. We've used all of these in one capacity or other, and recommend them all. Amazon has many of these available for same-day delivery, and some available for next-day or two-day delivery.

And, two of these have already helped out in one hurricane for an AppleInsider staffer.

Mophie Powerstation

Mophie Powerstation


If you don't expect to be offline too long, the Powerstation ($35.99) is compact and a staple among iPhone and iPad owners. The main model is rated at 6,000 milliamp-hours, enough to provide about two extra charges for an iPhone, give or take depending on the model. It has two USB Type-A ports.

If you're worried about extended outages, the Powerstation XXL ($94.59) is a 20,000 milliamp-hour version with three USB ports. Mophie claims this can extend iPhone life up to 70 hours, or keep an iPad going for 18.

Jackery PowerBar

Jackery PowerBar


One option to keep a MacBook going is the PowerBar ($129.99), which is rated at 20,800 milliamp-hours and can fully recharge just about any Apple device that connects to its AC port. The one exception is the 15-inch MacBook Pro, which can only reach 70 percent.

The battery also has twin USB Type-A ports, one supporting Quick Charge, and a lone USB-C connection. The latter doubles as a way of recharging the PowerBar itself.

Anker PowerCore AC

Anker PowerCore AC


There's no USB-C, but the PowerCore AC ($149.99) is a 22,000 milliamp-hour pack with AC output and two USB Type-A ports. It has enough to juice to refuel most MacBooks and iPads, and of course it can handle an iPhone several times over. Be warned, it's not small.

Goal Zero Yeti 400

Goal Zero Yeti 400


Even bigger however is the Yeti 400 ($599.95). This what you want if you've got an arsenal of devices and you're worried about power being down for a week -- Goal Zero claims it can provide over 30 charges for a smartphone, 10 for a tablet, or 3 to 5 for a laptop.

It has two AC outlets, three USB Type-A ports, and some 12-volt hookups to boot. Goal Zero also sells optional solar panels that can keep power going indefinitely.

Anker PowerCore 20100

Anker PowerCore 20100


The PowerCore 20100 ($49.99) may be slightly bulky, but makes up for it by offering a lot of juice on the cheap. Anker claims that it can charge an iPhone 8 almost seven times over, and an iPad mini 4 twice. It has two USB-A ports.

Jackery Bolt

Jackery Bolt


The Bolt ($29.99) is a 6,000-milliamp-hour unit that can only charge an iPhone up to two times. It makes up for this with a low pricetag, portability, and convenience. It has a built-in Lightning cable, so you'll never have to remember to drag a separate one around with you.

Tronsmart Edge 20000

Tronsmart Edge 20000


This Tronsmart pack ($39.99) has a smaller supply than the PowerCore 20100, but does sport two-way USB-C and two USB-A ports, one of which is Quick Charge-compatible. As with its rival, you will have to cope with size issues.

Jackery Explorer 160

Jackery Explorer 160


Here's some bang for the buck: the Explorer 160 is currently only $199.99, but provides 46,400 milliamp-hours and even has a USB-C port. Also present are two USB-A ports, a 12V DC connection, and an AC inverter.

As with the Yeti 400, you can buy an optional (and very pricey) solar panel if you want to keep the Explorer running as long as possible.

RAVPower 25,000mAh Solar Power Bank

RAVPower 25,000


A cheaper solar option, this pack ($52.99) has a rugged casing, a built-in flashlight, and three USB ports, one of which is two-way USB-C. You can even charge it faster by connecting USB-C and micro USB cables simultaneously.

The main drawback is that RAVPower only recommends using the solar panel to "top off" the battery, instead of completing a full charge, since the latter can take up to 85 hours. Be sure you've had the bank plugged in before disaster strikes.

Goal Zero Sherpa 50 (with Nomad 13 Solar Panel)

Goal Zero Sherpa 50


For those who insist on solar power, this Sherpa 50 bundle ($249) will cover the basics. Don't expect much from the battery itself -- it has a relatively low capacity, and the the only Apple-compatible connections are AC and USB-A. However, the solar panel can completely recharge it in 5 to 10 hours, which may be enough to get you through as the weather clears.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 14
    I used a Noco GB40 jump starter to help get me through five days without electricity at home during Irma. Luckily I was able to charge it at the library and work over those days.
  • Reply 2 of 14
    great toy review, meanwhile the adults buy generators.  A generator will powers most of your  house as long as we have fuel. beside who gives a fuck about shitty phones when your food coukd get spoiled. Or even worse the beers could get hot.
    fastasleepairnerd
  • Reply 3 of 14
    On the subject of battery backups, as I am often on extended away periods without power supply, I have a range of battery backups. I generally pick up a new one when it’s a bargain, and being a bit of an afficionardo, have probably bought more than I need. Because when you see a bargain, well, bargain!
    • I find the Ankers and xiaomis the best value for your dollar.
    • You can get real cheap no name stuff on eBay and the like but they do not match their rated capacity and don’t last.
    • High capacity batteries like that jackery or goal zero above never get fully used and the battery has lost its capability sooner than the number of times you are likely to need it to get the value out of it. A very limited us case to b honest.  I bought an admittedly cheaper version like it once from a auto parts shop and ended up disappointed so go for small and cheap these days.
    • Solar ones are OK on sunny camping trips, but not much good in the persistent cloud cover in the aftermath of a big cyclone ( also causes problems with my sat phone). They are also bulkier than a couple of 10,000 mAh backup batteries that cost a fraction.
    • Airlines limit lithium batteries to about 20,000 mAh.

    For this reason I have a 5000 mAh thin xiaomi for overnight hikes, a couple of thicker 10,000 mAh, each enough for a few days with an iPhone and an iPad Pro, and a couple up to 20,000 mAh for extended camping.  Which one I take depends on purpose, but honestly they sit around most of the time, so cheap is good. Every now and again I check the charge to make sure they are full. Even the old ones where the charge doesn’t as last long anymore.  This is because if there was an extended power loss, collectively they would last a very long time. Even in the last cat 5 to hit our coast, power in the most damaged locations was out three weeks, but you would not be in a situation like that without charging opportunities somewhere.

  • Reply 4 of 14
    As one living in a hurricane prone area, this is an interesting article topic.

    Why don’t all the devices have their milliamp-hours identified? Hard to compare without that for every one. 
    dewme
  • Reply 5 of 14
    jimh2 said:
    Yet another media outlet to join the weather hype machine. It used to be you might hear about a pending weather event happening on the coast if you lived inland. Now every last minute of news is forced onto us from all outlets when things change only with NOAA updates their forecast. Since there is nothing report stories of preparedness and imminent doom are all that is to be found. Life was so much more carefree when only the people who needed to be concerned were worried about it.
    Where do you live? Here along the gulf coast we’re all very interested in hurricane preparedness. My power just came back on 30 minutes ago from today’s rains.

    And thanks to global warming it’s affecting more people, all the way up to NJ and NY. 
    dewmepropodMacPro
  • Reply 6 of 14

    great toy review, meanwhile the adults buy generators.  A generator will powers most of your  house as long as we have fuel. beside who gives a fuck about shitty phones when your food coukd get spoiled. Or even worse the beers could get hot.
    Cool bro, but not everyone can buy a generator (can you say...apartment?). These devices serve a purpose even if it’s outside your perosnal monkeysphere.
    dewmeMacPro
  • Reply 7 of 14
    I’m pretty sure I’m an adult (my girlfriend may disagree) but as Strange Days points out, those of us living in an apartment or condo can’t use a generator. A Mophie and units like it are great for travel (I have one) but another option is a deep cycle lead acid battery and a small inverter for considerably more capacity. I use this set-up in my rented garage where there isn’t power and also when primitive camping. Like Strange Days we also live on the Gulf Coast and when storms approach we’ll set it up so we can run phones, computers, tv’s etc. for several days. It’s not meant as a replacement for a generator but it’s (relatively) safe, (relatively) cheap and absolutely silent. It may be a good way for some to get AC power depending on your needs.
  • Reply 8 of 14
    great toy review, meanwhile the adults buy generators.  A generator will powers most of your  house as long as we have fuel. beside who gives a fuck about shitty phones when your food coukd get spoiled. Or even worse the beers could get hot.
    Actually you buy both. You aren’t going to cart a genny with you when you evacuate. And make sure the genny is a sine wave inverter. Otherwise it could kill your phone.  And get it big enough to start your fridge.
  • Reply 9 of 14

    great toy review, meanwhile the adults buy generators.  A generator will powers most of your  house as long as we have fuel. beside who gives a fuck about shitty phones when your food coukd get spoiled. Or even worse the beers could get hot.
    Cool bro, but not everyone can buy a generator (can you say...apartment?). These devices serve a purpose even if it’s outside your perosnal monkeysphere.
    Not being in a house I have a rather large portable generator that luckily I haven't even had to fuel up yet, but it's there if I need it.  I have a smaller Honda generator though that I do use when camping.  It is quite expensive but man is that thing reliable and extremely quiet.  The larger one would need a hose and muffler combo to carry the noise away if I needed to power things in my house for any time, but those little Honda (and their clones if you want to save a few bucks) are well worth the expense even if you are in an apartment.  


    edit: I assume there is a ledge or someplace you could safely put the generator so not to carbon monoxide poison yourself.  
  • Reply 10 of 14
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,520member

    great toy review, meanwhile the adults buy generators.  A generator will powers most of your  house as long as we have fuel. beside who gives a fuck about shitty phones when your food coukd get spoiled. Or even worse the beers could get hot.
    Cool bro, but not everyone can buy a generator (can you say...apartment?). These devices serve a purpose even if it’s outside your perosnal monkeysphere.
    Well said, thanks for the chuckle too.  
  • Reply 11 of 14
    My son-in-law picked up a couple of these:



    https://www.homedepot.com/p/RIDGID-18-Volt-USB-Portable-Power-Source-with-Activate-Button-AC86072B/206936434


    It attaches to the battery from a Ridgid cordless power tool and turns it into a charger. $20.

    We thought it was clever, but don't have any Ridgid power tools so we priced out buying the batteries and charger to see how the cost compares to alternatives like the ones presented in this article.

    A dual-bay charger, the adaptor shown above, and a pair of 40,000 mAh batteries works out to $260. That's great value for money, providing an excellent amp hours per dollar ratio. Each battery has the same capacity as the Jackery Explorer show above, but at a fraction of the size and weight, and there are TWO of them.

    Home Depot is now offering a pair of 90,000 mAh for only $60 more, which provides MUCH more capacity and better bang-for-the-buck than any reasonable alternative I can find.
  • Reply 12 of 14
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 3,229administrator
    My son-in-law picked up a couple of these:



    https://www.homedepot.com/p/RIDGID-18-Volt-USB-Portable-Power-Source-with-Activate-Button-AC86072B/206936434


    It attaches to the battery from a Ridgid cordless power tool and turns it into a charger. $20.

    We thought it was clever, but don't have any Ridgid power tools so we priced out buying the batteries and charger to see how the cost compares to alternatives like the ones presented in this article.

    A dual-bay charger, the adaptor shown above, and a pair of 40,000 mAh batteries works out to $260. That's great value for money, providing an excellent amp hours per dollar ratio. Each battery has the same capacity as the Jackery Explorer show above, but at a fraction of the size and weight, and there are TWO of them.

    Home Depot is now offering a pair of 90,000 mAh for only $60 more, which provides MUCH more capacity and better bang-for-the-buck than any reasonable alternative I can find.
    I've seen those. None of us have used them as of yet, so we really can't comment on them, but they do look pretty slick.
  • Reply 13 of 14
    My son-in-law picked up a couple of these:



    https://www.homedepot.com/p/RIDGID-18-Volt-USB-Portable-Power-Source-with-Activate-Button-AC86072B/206936434


    It attaches to the battery from a Ridgid cordless power tool and turns it into a charger. $20.

    We thought it was clever, but don't have any Ridgid power tools so we priced out buying the batteries and charger to see how the cost compares to alternatives like the ones presented in this article.

    A dual-bay charger, the adaptor shown above, and a pair of 40,000 mAh batteries works out to $260. That's great value for money, providing an excellent amp hours per dollar ratio. Each battery has the same capacity as the Jackery Explorer show above, but at a fraction of the size and weight, and there are TWO of them.

    Home Depot is now offering a pair of 90,000 mAh for only $60 more, which provides MUCH more capacity and better bang-for-the-buck than any reasonable alternative I can find.
    I've seen those. None of us have used them as of yet, so we really can't comment on them, but they do look pretty slick.
    Yup. My wife camped in the middle of August heat this year. She said the 4Ah battery kept her phone charged the whole time and ran a little 5" USB fan all day for two days. Pretty impressive.
  • Reply 14 of 14
    airnerd said:

    great toy review, meanwhile the adults buy generators.  A generator will powers most of your  house as long as we have fuel. beside who gives a fuck about shitty phones when your food coukd get spoiled. Or even worse the beers could get hot.
    Cool bro, but not everyone can buy a generator (can you say...apartment?). These devices serve a purpose even if it’s outside your perosnal monkeysphere.
    Not being in a house I have a rather large portable generator that luckily I haven't even had to fuel up yet, but it's there if I need it.  I have a smaller Honda generator though that I do use when camping.  It is quite expensive but man is that thing reliable and extremely quiet.  The larger one would need a hose and muffler combo to carry the noise away if I needed to power things in my house for any time, but those little Honda (and their clones if you want to save a few bucks) are well worth the expense even if you are in an apartment.  


    edit: I assume there is a ledge or someplace you could safely put the generator so not to carbon monoxide poison yourself.  
    Fueling and running a gas-powered generator indoors in an apartment...then perching it on a window ledge? Yeah no. 

    My point stands. Generators aren’t for everyone, and that doesn’t make solar batteries toys. 
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