Your buying guide to the best Nintendo Switch power banks in 2017
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 ahead of its release 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 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.
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, 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.
The design doesn’t thrill us, and we’d like to see support for passthrough charging, but the Lumsing Glory P2 offers great value and some welcome features. Few power banks of this capacity will charge in just five hours.
Read our Lumsing Glory P2 review.
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.
The Tronsmart Presto is a good-value power bank with sufficient capacity to charge your phone several times. It places speed of charging above all else, so it’s an ideal portable charger to have to hand (preferably in a bag) when the need arises. With no support for Micro-USB it’s best suited to those with USB-C phones.
Read our Tronsmart Presto review.
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.
If you need a lot of power, the Magnum Opus is an excellent power bank: fast, high in capacity, affordable and with an LCD screen. Even despite its bulk and lack of passthrough charging, the CHJGD is easy to recommend.
Read our CHJGD Magnum Opus review.
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.