If you’ve realized that you haven’t planned ahead to take a portable charger on a trip with you, then you might be scrambling to find an option that comes fully charged already.
Whether your existing power bank is broken, or you’ve only just thought about buying one last-minute, this guide will tell you everything you need to know about whether portable chargers come with a charge already on them.
Do power banks come fully charged?
Reusable power banks do not come fully charged. A new portable charger may have a small amount of charge on it, but you won’t know how much until you receive it. If you need an emergency charger that’s pre-charged, you should consider buying a disposable one.
Disposable chargers like these can be delivered to you quickly and are already fully charged. They’re single-use.
You unwrap them from their sealed packaging and then plug them straight into your phone, and they’ll provide a small amount of power. They’re also lightweight, so they’re great for that last-minute festival purchase.
For phones with a large battery, it won’t be enough to fully charge the phone, but it’s an option for emergencies when you need to make a call. They aren’t always very environmentally friendly, although ChargeTab chargers are recyclable through a special program.
The better long-term solution is a reusable power bank, but since you don’t know how much charge (if any) they’ll have when you order them, they aren’t the best as a last-minute emergency option.
Should I charge my power bank before the first use?
You don’t need to charge a power bank before you use it for the first time. You can use whatever power has been stored on there before you charge it. The instructions may tell you to charge it first, but it’s safe to use whatever power is stored on the battery.
Ideally, you won’t use all of the power before you charge it, because power banks have a longer lifespan if you don’t completely drain them.
How do I charge my power bank for the first time?
Charging a power bank is simple. Just connect the power cable to the input port on the power bank, and then connect the other end of the wire to a USB outlet. You may need to use a USB wall adapter, or you can plug it into your laptop.
Ideally, you should disconnect the power bank from the charger once it is charged. And to maximize the lifespan of your power bank, you should aim to only charge it to 80% on most occasions.
Obviously, if you’re taking it on a long trip then you may prefer to charge it to 100% to give you the most power to use.
How long does it take for a portable charger to fully charge?
The time it takes to fully charge a portable charge will vary as they have different battery sizes. Smaller chargers can be fully charged in up to 2 hours, while larger chargers can sometimes take 3 to 5 hours.
These times assume you are charging them directly from the mains, which is the fastest solution. You can charge a power bank from other indirect sources, such as plugging them into your laptop, but this will take longer as the supply isn’t as powerful.
How do you know when your portable power bank is fully charged?
Most power banks use LED lights to report their charge level. These will either change color depending on how much charge the power bank has, or it will use multiple lights to demonstrate how full the battery is.
For example, if a power bank has four LEDs and three of them are blinking, you know that it is between 75% and 99% charged. This won’t be exact but it will give you an indication of the charging progress. Once all four lights are illuminated, it is fully charged.
You’ll need to check the instruction manual for your charger for specific instructions, but once you know the charger has been fully charged you should disconnect it from the power source.
Can I charge my power bank overnight?
It’s not recommended to leave a power bank charging overnight, although most will be safe. The risk comes from overcharging, which can cause the power bank to overheat, creating a fire hazard. Most power banks are protected from this, but not all.
If you’ve bought a power bank from a reputable electrical brand and they tell you it’s safe to leave charging overnight then you should be OK to do so.
Some may not say that they’re specifically safe for overnight use but will instead have a feature that switches off the power once fully charged – this is also safe.
Otherwise, the best thing to do is disconnect it once it’s fully charged or when you’re about to fall asleep, to avoid taking a risk. This also avoids damaging the battery inside the power bank, meaning it won’t have issues with inconsistent charging in the future.
How often should I charge my power bank?
You should only charge your power bank when you need it. Power banks will lose power over time without being used, and every charging cycle shortens the lifespan of the charger. The best way to preserve a power bank is to charge it to 80% and avoid letting it fall below a 20% charge.
This won’t always be possible – there will be times when you need a full charge on there, and when you need every last drop of power from the charger for your phone. But try to stick to the 80/20 rule when you can to make sure your power bank works at its best for longer.
The Bottom Line
You can buy a power bank on Amazon for fast delivery, but there’s no guarantee that it’ll come with enough charge for what you need if you’re leaving on a trip immediately after. Usually, they’ll need a charge first.
Emergency disposable chargers are an option, but they are single-use and many of them aren’t great for the planet. If you have the time to spare, pick up a reusable one and make sure it’s charged and ready to go.