Time for a battery check. You rely on your devices — especially phones — to power your business. But will they last a full day — which in contractor terms means way past eight hours?
The good news: There are a slew of good, reliable and affordable charging options out there. But whatever you buy, be sure to look for these basics:
Size and Capacity: A good rule of thumb for power banks says the bigger the battery, the greater its capacity and the more ports it can accommodate. It’s easy to find an inexpensive one that will fit in your pocket and, with 5,000mAh, reload your phone once or twice. It’s also not hard to find something a bit more robust.
Power In. Power Out: When shopping for a charger or power bank, be sure it’s compatible with the device(s) you’ll be using it with. Most will have a USB-A port for reloading the battery and for sending the juice to your device. More and more devices are relying on USB-C ports, as they are also compatible with most fast-charging options.
And, of course, Apple has a port all its own: Lightning. However, with the Apple iPhone 12, charging can be done with a USB-C port.
So, regardless of the charger or battery pack you buy, be sure its ports match up with your device's cords.
Wireless Charging Is a Real Thing: Newer models of smartphones and other devices may be set up to be charged without having to be plugged in. Wireless charging relies on electromagnetic induction to reload your device. In short, wireless, or Qi, charging works by transmitting power from a coil in a charging unit to a coil in the receiving device. All you do is place your smartphone or other device on the pad of the receiver.
As we said, there are hundreds of charging devices on the market. With even modest study, you can find one at a travel center, truck stop, big-box store or online that fits your device and your budget.
Here’s a few to get you started:
To the untrained or unfamiliar, putting using this portable power station in your pickup might seem like going rabbit hunting with a Howitzer. But it never hurts to be over-prepared.
Weighing in at just a shade less than 4 pounds, the Explorer packs a big charging wallop and also provides the convenience of not having to reload it too often.
It has a 100-watt AC outlet, a USB-C and two USB-A outlets, and a 12-volt car outlet as well.
And at its heart, the Explorer has rechargeable lithium-ion batteries that provide 167 watt-hours of energy storage. That means it’ll recharge the thirstiest of smartphones 16 times.
You can refill those batteries by plugging into a wall socket (about five hours) or your truck’s 12-volt system as you drive, or hook it to an optional solar panel.
The Explorer 160 sells for about $106 on Jackery’s website.
PowerDrive’s Cup Holder Power Inverter
This device not only charges your devices, it also provides AC and 12-volt outlets so you can use your truck’s battery to power other appliances.
Fitting nicely into your truck’s cup holder, it has both USB 2.4 amp and USB-C 3 amp ports, in addition to the AC outlet, making it able to accommodate most of your charging requirements.
It has a 2-foot-long cable to plug into your truck’s 12-volt port.
PowerDrive is a member of the RoadPro Family of Brands, and the cup holder inverter is available at most travel centers and truck stops and sells for $32 online.
Nekteck PD 45W Type-C Car Charger
Don’t be thrown by the name. This’ll work in your truck and delivers plenty of power for a reasonable price – about $20 online.
This device fast-charges phones, tablets and laptops on its USB-C port and, at the same time, can charge a second phone on its USB-A port. It conforms to USB-C fast-charging standards and includes a good quality cable.
This Nekteck’s 45-watt output and its USB-C–to–C cable support the maximum charge rate on Android phones, the 2018 and 2020 iPad Pros, and some laptops. In addition, you can use the 12-watt USB-A port at the same time to charge a second phone or other device with any USB cable you already have.
MobileSpec Charging Bundles
Let’s face it; your fancy smartphone is useless if not charged. And even the best, most powerful charger is of no value if you can’t get the juice to that same smartphone. The important link is the cable (yes, yes, we know, Qi allows wireless charging, but not every person has a compatible device), and MobileSpec delivers not just a good, solid charging cable but some much-appreciated accessories in its bundles.
Each bundle has a 6-foot-long Lightning to USB or USB-C to USB braided cable that has strain relief built-in, but other goodies as well. All three bundles include five cable organizers. Then you can get a bundle with a:
● Multi-tool that has a pen, knife, bottle opener and flashlight
● Phone cardholder for up to three cards
● Three-in-one phone mount (finger, stand or dashboard venter)
MobileSpec is a member of the RoadPro Family of Brands, and its bundles and other charging devices can be found at most truck stops and travel centers. Available online for under $13.
WeeGo Jump Starting Power Pack
Don’t let the name fool you. This powerful battery can:
1. Jump-start your pickup or ATV
2. Recharge your smartphone or other device
3. Fit in the palm of your hand
That makes it ideal to keep in your truck’s cab. It literally packs a lot of power and takes up little valuable space.
WeeGo makes several power packs (including the Crankenstein, which is suitable for jump-starting duties at jobsites and repair shops), and includes the 44.1.
WeeGo’s new 44.1 weighs just a pound and a half, but its lithium-ion battery delivers 440 cranking amps, so you can jump-start most vehicles. The $129 unit also has a 12-volt port, a fast-charge USB port, and doubles as a flashlight with 500 lumens of illumination.
Anker 24W Three-Port USB Portable Solar Charger
Anker is well known for producing reliable, affordable chargers and other digital devices. Among them is a solar charger; the Anker 24W 3-Port USB portable solar charger includes a foldable CIGS (thin-film) solar panel.
It’s suitable for iPhone 12/SE/11/XS Max/XR/X/8, iPad, Samsung Galaxy S20/S10/S9/S8. The solar panel’s three USB ports share a total 21W output, allowing you to simultaneously charge up to three devices. When you’re not charging, the PowerSolar folds away for easy storage. The built-in storage compartment can hold cables or small mobile devices. It comes with an 18-month warranty.
Available online for $79.99.
myCharge HubMax 10050 Portable Charger
The myCharge HubMax 10050mAh portable charger has an integrated Apple Lightning cable, an integrated USB-C cable and a USB port. It also has self-contained wall prongs so you can plug it into a wall socket or an inverter.
With a 10050mAh internal battery, the HubMax 10050 delivers up to 54 hours of charging power. It’s available online for $89.99.
Belkin Boost Charge Wireless Charging Stand
Belkin Boost WirelessThis wireless charging stand can reload a typical smartphone from empty to 50% in about an hour. It comes with a cable and wall plug and delivers a 7.5 W charging speed for iPhones and 10 W for Android smartphones.
The Belkin Boost is compatible with Qi-enabled devices including iPhones, Samsung Galaxy and Google Pixel. You can charge your phone in portrait or landscape modes.
Available online for $32.99.