Your buying guide to the best Nintendo Switch power banks in 2018
If you've bought a Nintendo Switch, by lunchtime it could be out of power. That doesn't sound good, right?
According to Nintendo, the Switch’s 4,310mAh battery can handle between 2.5- and six hours of untethered gameplay, but that all depends on the game you play. In our experience with the likes of Zelda and Super Mario Odyssey, we’ve been getting around three hours - and that's not enough.
So what can we do to extend Nintendo Switch battery life?
There seems to be a bit of confusion as to what power is required for charging the Nintendo Switch, and most of that seems to stem from the fact the supplied charger specifies an output of 5V/1.5A - 15V/2.6A. Portable power banks can usually handle the former, but not the latter.
However, the Nintendo Switch is not going to draw 15V/2.6A at all times. Most likely, this is reserved only for when it is combined with the dock and connected to a television.
We presume that in such a situation you will be using the Nintendo Switch at home and can connect its charger to mains power rather than a power bank. So when not connected to the dock the Switch will draw much less power, and refilling its battery with a power bank won’t be a problem.
If you don’t believe us look at the Nintendo Switch car chargers: some are specified at 5V/1.5A, which almost any power bank can handle these days, and others at a fast-charging 5V/3A. Some of the better power banks can handle this, too.
So what do you look for in a Nintendo Switch power bank?
What capacity do I need?
First, capacity. Most power banks operate at a minimum of around 65 percent efficiency, which means to fully charge the Switch’s 4,310mAh battery you would need to have a power bank at least 6,630mAh in capacity.
The bigger the better, though, and if you aren’t worried about carrying it in a trouser pocket and pulling down your pants then you could get a higher-capacity bank that offers several recharges for many more hours of unplugged fun.
Second, ports. The Nintendo Switch has a USB-C port, but that doesn’t mean that your power bank has to have one.
You can use a USB-A to USB-C cable to connect the Switch to a power bank, but note that in the vast majority of cases the maximum output of a USB-A port on a power bank will be 2.4A.
You are more likely to find 3A output with a USB-C port, and in which case you may find a USB-C to USB-C cable offers a faster way of charging the Switch. Look out particularly for power banks that support USB-C PD (Power Delivery) - tech which allows them to output enough power to keep up with the demands of laptops or the Switch.
There are exceptions to this rule, of course, and the Omnicharge we outline below can offer up to 4.8A from each USB-A output. It does not have a USB-C output, so you’ll need to check which outputs the power bank you select has before you purchase any cables.
And, on that note, not all cables are created equal, and some USB-C cables use the slower USB 2.0 protocol. Look for a USB-C 3.1 cable for the fastest connection.
It may be useful to look for a power bank that can be refilled over USB-C, since this will allow you to use the same cable for both charging your Switch and charging your power bank.
Micro-USB is still largely the standard here, though, and most households will have several Micro-USB cables to hand.
Third, price. You can pay an awful lot of money for a power bank, and most of the time you will be paying over the odds for a fancy design or LCD screen or advanced features such as passthrough charging (which would allow you to charge the Switch and the power bank simultaneously from a single mains outlet).
Nine times out of 10 you can pay an awful lot less for a cheaper device that still meets your needs. All you really need to worry about is the capacity of the power bank and how fast it can charge the Switch, though you might also be interested in how quickly the power bank itself can be charged before you can use it again.
Perhaps we should say eight times out of 10, because there are two exceptions in this round-up. Both the RavPower PowerStation and Omnicharge Omni 13 will cost you around £100/$100, but each includes a DC power outlet that will allow you to plug in the Nintendo Switch adaptor that came in the box. (The RavPower has a UK three-pin plug and the Omnicharge a US two-pin plug.) The Omni 13 also offers up to 4.8A from a single USB-A output, and the Switch will draw only what it requires.
- Reviewed on: 1 December 2015
The Anker PowerCore+ 20100 USB-C is a very decent high-capacity power bank for fast-charging all manner of USB-connected devices, including USB-C models such as the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P - even if you don't have a USB-C smartphone now, chances are you will do at your next upgrade. It's big and heavy, yet remains stylish and easy to use, and currently offers good value. We'd like to see such things as passthrough charging and an LCD screen, but the LED power wheel is the best implementation we've seen, and we appreciate the Anker's ability to recharge itself in just over eight hours.
Read our Anker PowerCore+ 20100 USB-C review.
- Reviewed on: 17 January 2017
It has a similar usable capacity to the similarly priced Omnicharge, yet lacks its LCD screen and is much larger and less easily portable. However, this RavPower PowerStation Series 20,100mAh Portable Power Outlet is much easier to get hold of in the UK and even comes with a UK three-pin AC outlet. Both devices are expensive at around £100, but offer insanely fast charging (and recharging) of almost anything you like. A fantastic buy if you can afford it.
- Reviewed on: 9 October 2016
Charge it from anything and charge anything with it, the Omnicharge is one of the smartest and the best power banks we’ve seen. There are cheaper and more compact power banks on the market, but none that work so intelligently and keep you as well informed every step of the way.
Read our Omnicharge Omni 13 review.
- Reviewed on: 13 July 2017
Fast, portable, high in capacity and affordable. There are some boxes the Anker PowerCore Speed 10000 QC power bank does not tick, yet you’d be pushed to find fault with it at £25. A recommended gadget for the upcoming festival- and holiday season.
Read our Anker PowerCore Speed 10000 QC review.
- Reviewed on: 22 August 2016
Incredibly well designed with excellent features including passthrough charging and an LCD panel, a tough build and huge amounts of power, that £69.41 asking price doesn't look so high after all. The only thing we can fault Zendure on is the fact its three Zen+ ports can't simultaneously run at full speed. However, the new Quick Charge 3.0 input and output, plus increased capacity are very welcome additions, making this an excellent buy if your power needs are great.
Read our Zendure A8 QC review.
- Reviewed on: 6 July 2016
Affordable, high in capacity and able to keep three kids entertained at once, the RavPower Ace 22,000mAh is possibly one of the best family power banks. A great buy if you’re planning a long journey away from mains power.
- Reviewed on: 9 February 2018
The IonSlim 10K is beautifully designed and wonderfully portable, but you'd better be ready to pay for that premium aesthetic. Still, it boasts USB-C PD support, so if you want to be able to top up your laptop and phone wherever you are without carrying around a bulky black brick, this could be the power bank for you.
Read our Moshi IonSlim 10K review.