iPhones and iPads have come a long way over the years, but one area they haven't improved as much as we might hope is in battery life.
Sure, the batteries are bigger, more powerful, more efficient, and charge faster, but the devices' power consumption has risen at the same time, so they don't last much longer than they used to.
The good news is, there's no shortage of portable battery packs to help make up for the shortfall. We've tested loads out, and here's our pick of the best.
If you're looking for a battery case for your iPhone, you can visit our round-up of the best here.
Techlink Recharge 12000
- RRP: £59.95, US$89.99
- Buy from Amazon
If you just want a powerful battery pack that will keep you going for as long as possible then the Recharge 12000 is a good, no-nonsense solution.
As the name implies, the Recharge 12000 houses a powerful Lithium-Polymer battery pack that can store up to 12000mAh of power when fully charged. That’s enough to charge an iPhone 6 five times over, or to provide one full recharge for an iPad Air, so you can be sure that you’re not going to run out of juice even on a long plane or train journey.
It’s got two USB ports, so you can charge two devices at a time, and the Recharge 12000 is smart enough to know when your devices are fully charged so that it can stop charging and avoid overloading the battery.
The Recharge 1200 includes both Lightning and micro-USB cables, so you can use it with non-Apple devices if you need to, and there’s a carrying pouch included as well.
Admittedly, the size of the battery means that the Recharge 12000 is one of the bulkier chargers currently available – it’s as big as many portable hard drives, and weighs in at just under 300g. However, Techlink has turned that into a virtue by incorporating a fold-out stand that can support an iPhone or an iPad so that you can sit back and watch some video while they’re charging.
JBL Charge 3
- RRP: £149.99, $140
- Buy from Amazon
There are a few speakers around that will allow you to use their internal battery to top-up your iPhone every now and then, but JBL’s Charge 3 is a versatile, portable option that you can easily carry around when you’re travelling.
The Charge 3 is a small cylindrical speaker that's so it’s easy to slip into a backpack when you’re on the move. It works well as a portable speaker, with Bluetooth connectivity, and a bass radiator that gives it a nice, strong sound. There’s also a noise-cancelling microphone for taking phone calls too.
The rubber casing of the Charge 3 provides good protection for bumps and drops when you’re in the great outdoors. It’s even rated IPX7 for water-resistance, which means that it can cope with being submerged in up to 1m of water, so it’s a good choice if you’re out in bad weather or splashing around on a beach.
You can link multiple Charge speakers together to really pump up the volume, and there’s a Social mode that lets you pair it with three Bluetooth phones or tablets all at once so that your friends can join in and play their own music too.
Despite its compact size, the Charge 3 manages to squeeze in a powerful 6,000mAh rechargeable battery. That should last for up to 20 hours when just playing music, but it can also fully recharge most iPhones and still have enough juice left to keep playing music for a few hours too.
EasyAcc 20000mAh Power Bank
- RRP: £23.99, $32.99
- Buy from Amazon
EasyAcc once had the RRP on this bank at £59.99 on Amazon, but they are never sold for that much - the products are quality though, so don't think this is some knock off. They are excellent value, and this 20000mAh pack is no exception.
To put its power into perspective, EasyAcc claims this particular bank can, when fully juiced, charge an iPhone 7.5 times. If you leave the house and you'll be away from a plug for a couple of days, it could be all you need. Plus, it's capable of charging up to four devices at once, and even comes with a little torch.
Moshi IonSlim 5K
- RRP: £54.95, $54.95
- Buy from Moshi
Moshi bills the IonSlim 5K as the world's slimmest portable battery, and it's easy to believe - at just 8.5mm, it's only a fraction thicker than the built-in USB-A port, while at 13cm long it's just shorter than the iPhone 7.
It supports fast charging, with up to 3A output. It also has a version with Micro USB connector.
At just 5,150mAh it's a relatively low capacity battery, but that's fair enough given the pocket-friendly size, and it still packs enough power to fully charge an iPhone twice.
The aluminium casing is understated and attractive, and the IonSlim won't look out of place next to your Apple product of choice.
Nomad slim leather charging wallet
- RRP: £99.99, $119.95
- Buy from Amazon
This neat little wallet from Nomad looks like a classic leather card holder, but there's a 2,400mAh battery in there with a small Lightning connector.
It's designed for any iPhone with Lightning (so iPhone 5 and later) but you could top up an iPad too. It charges via the supplied micro USB cable and holds 4 cards, plus has a little pocket for notes or coins.
A smart way to carry your essentials and a charger.
- RRP: $29.99 (around £21.60 + shipping), $29.99
- Buy from LinearFlux
The LithiumCard isn’t the most powerful battery pack available, but it’s very slim and light so you can easily slip it into your pocket and carry it around with you all day long.
Its capacity of 1200mAh is relatively modest, so it’s not the best choice if you want to the Lord Of The Rings trilogy on your iPad on a long plane flight. However, it only measures 5.5mm thick and weighs just 47g so it’s ideal to carry around when you’re on the move and just want to give your iPhone a quick top-up at the end of a busy day.
It’s cleverly designed too, as it includes a built-in Lightning cable that folds out from the side of the LithiumCard, and the cable is even reinforced with Kevlar for added protection. There’s also a reusable ‘nanostick’ pad that you can use to attach the LithiumCard to the back of your iPhone.
The use of the Lightning connector means that the LithiumCard won’t work with older iOS devices that use Apple’s original 30-pin connector, but it does also have a micro-USB port that will work with quite a few non-Apple smartphones as well.
This power bank ships from the US, so UK shopper will have to pay separate delivery fees.
- RRP: £23.19, $24.99
- Buy from iQunix
This smart little cylinder packs a surprisingly large 3,550mAh in a body that's 102x23m.
That capacity is more than most smartphones, meaning carrying this slim battery pack with you will give you the reassurance of a full recharge. Itself recharges via microUSB pretty quickly, and we've used it to fully charge several iPhones.
It is affordable too, compared to high street prices.
Mophie Powerstation Duo
- RRP: £24.99, US$19.99
- Buy from Amazon
The Powerstation Duo shown here has a chunky high-capacity battery that is powerful enough for both the iPhone and iPad.
The Powerstation Duo measures a full 110m long and 26mm thick, so you’ll need to carry it around in a backpack or bag when you’re travelling. However, its large battery has a capacity of 6000mAh, which is enough to recharge an iPhone 6 twice, or give an iPad Air about 60% top-up.
You could even charge both devices at the same time as the Powerstation Duo includes two separate USB ports for connecting mobile devices, along with a third micro-USB port that is used to charge the Powerstation itself.
It’s also quite solidly built, with a smart and sturdy metallic case that should be able to cope with life outdoors when it needs to. It may not be as convenient as the Power Reserve but the Powerstation Duo will be a really good option if you and some friends need to keep your phones charged up when you’re out on a long cross-country hike.
Mophie Power Reserve
- RRP: £39.95, $49.95
- Buy from Amazon
Mophie's Power Reserve really is designed to be pocket-sized - in fact, it even comes with a keyring attachment so that you can keep it with you at all times.
The Power Reserve measures just 72mm long, 38mm wide and 14.5mm thick, so it's certainly easy to carry around if you do decide to keep in your pocket or in a bag. It's available in a number of different colours, and there's a quick-release button that lets you detach it from the keyring when you need to use it.
That compact design means that its battery capacity is relatively limited at 1350mAh, and Mophie says that it is primarily intended for use with the iPod or iPhone rather than larger devices such as an iPad. Even so, that should be enough to give you about 50% extra charge and keep you going for a few more hours.
There’s a Lightning cable that folds out from the side, but – apart from a USB connector to charge the battery itself – there are no other connectors, so you won’t be able to use it with older iPods and iPhones that use the original 30-pin connector.