Let’s keep it real here folks. Apple’s iPhones and iPads have amazing battery life but it is also fairly easy to kill the battery with a few hours of heavy use. That includes gaming, tethering, watching videos and just plain old-fashioned “usage”. Since Apple (thankfully) doesn’t have a removeable battery, the best way to extend your devices’ useful power life is with a portable USB battery. Normally I’d recommend a $10 Lipstick form factor flashlight pack but you only get a single extra charge with something like this. For multiple charges and/or multiple devices, you are going to need something a little burlier.

Two of the better big chargers I’ve been using are the Lumsing 10400mAh Harmonica Style Portable Power Bank External Battery Pack Backup Charger (above, $25) and the monster RAVPower Xtreme 23000mAh Multi-Voltage 3-Port Portable External Battery Charger (below, $100).


Let’s take a closer look:

First up, the Lumsing Harmonica 10400mAh will fit most external battery needs. As the name implies, it is about the size of a harmonica which is a little longer and narrower than a typical iPhone 5s (product comparison shots in the gallery below). It weighs 12.5oz and fits easily in the hand, purse or larger pockets. The build is a very high quality with piano black and aluminum accents. The front and sides are where the action is with 2 USB ports (one 1A for phones and one 2.1A for tablets) sitting next to a 4 LED battery indicator/charge button and a Micro-USB power input port.

The MicroUSB input is 5V/1.5A which is enough to charge 2 iOS devices and still move the storage needle. In my testing I was able to charge an iPhone and an iPad simultaneously and fairly quickly.

A typical use case: In about an hour, the iPhone went from about 20% to over 80% while the iPad Air went from just above 50% to almost 90%. At the end of the hour, 1 out of the 4 LEDs was still lit.

If you are only charging one  iPhone, you can go from almost dead to fully charged at least 3 times and probably more.

One thing I really like about the Lumsing is that it turns off when the item is charged or unplugged rather than just running dry. Turning on the charge or checking the storage only requires pushing the charge button. It also doesn’t get hot even under extreme circumstances and the enclosure is strong and stays in nice shape.

One unconventional use I use it for is in the car. I plug it into the lighter and the phones into the Lumsing. When I turn off the car, the Lumsing is still charging which is nice. IT also helps power the car Mifi on trips.

My biggest complaint is that it doesn’t come with an AC USB adapter. I typically use my MacBook Pro or the USB adapter that came with my iPad to charge it up – Micro-USB means you can charge it just about anywhere. It comes in 3 colors and is available at Amazon for $25.

Not enough power for you? RAVPower is stepping into HyperJuice’s territory with the Xtreme 23000mAh Multi-Voltage 3-Port Portable External Battery Charger:

719usQ0dBsL._SL1500_-1We’re talking about 10 or so iPhone charges and a few full charges for your iPad on this one which is pretty insane for soemthing the size of a small paperback book. It is actually built to power some PC laptop computers and comes with tons of heads to fit what must be just about every kind. As Apple users, you probably know Apple has locked down the Magsafe adapter so you’re screwed on that front unless battery splicing is your thing.

Other features which push this into the Hyper-range is a very visible OLED display which gives you a % of charge left and information on the USB port draw.

I used the RAVPower a few times at picnics to backup power the wireless speakers and to give a few people a portable charging station. At the end of the day I had nearly 80% of the charge I started with. this is the battery pack you buy if you want to go camping for a week or want to power big devices. I love it.

If you want to get adventurous, charge it with solar panels and put it somewhere like a shed/barn without power and you have an always available USB charger. A great buy for $100. 

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27 Responses to “Add days of battery life to iOS devices with these powerful USB portable batteries from Lumsing and RAVPower”

  1. lol – or just get a car charging cable like everyone else? My iPhone and iPad take forever to drain…


    • wootaddict says:

      Thankfully don’t have a removable battery?


      • as in the components that are required to make it removable would add weight and make it less structurally sound. drop a Galaxy on the carpet and watch it break into pieces


      • I saw a girl drop her Galaxy in a metro station in Paris. The back of the phone slid on the ground and landed… under the train wheels. Bummer!


      • herb02135go says:

        My goodness, was Seth paid by the companies to promote their product? It’s been a couple of days since I’ve seen an article so biased.

        Being able to replace a battery on a Samsung device is fantastic. Especially since we know the first part of any device to go is the battery.

        A couple millimeters is a problem? I think Seth needs to eat his spinach. But how are you able to lug all of the extra charging products you’ve written about?

        Yes, a battery cover is more likely to pop off IF you drop it. That’s actually a good thing as it helps to mitigate the shock. I have yet to see a Samsung device break into a million pieces upon dropping. I have, however, seen an iPhone fail after about a 6″ drop onto carpet.
        How about not dropping the phone?


    • oreomuncher says:

      I never find the car provides enough power to charge an iPhone at an acceptable rate.


    • right but turn the car off and it stops charging. put a battery in between and you can get a few extra hours when you need it.


    • PMZanetti says:


      An article is “biased” because Seth is intelligent enough to understand why a removable battery is completely archaic and unnecessary?

      Enjoy your Samsung pile of shit. Because it really is a pile of shit. I used to dismiss Samsung mobile electronics because of pure Apple fandom….then recently I got the opportunity to work with them a lot for product testing at work….and WOW was I blown away by what actual garbage they are. I expected bad, but not that bad.


  2. Hey they are nice but as they are not covered under the MF iphone i am worried that they break chips inside the iphone? like some Chinese chargers?


  3. I have the 10400 lumsing external battery, and I can confirm its pretty good. I was able to charge a retina ipad mini from 1% to 100% and still have ~25%. With the remaining charge was able to charge an iphone 5 from 0 to ~50%. If only charging iphones I think its like 4 times.


  4. Marcel Brown says:

    I’ve been using the Limefuel products for a few months now. Great devices. I’ll write a review on them soon.


  5. mpias3785 says:

    I’ve seen a great many useless reviews done on these types of batteries, yet I have not found a single review that actually verified the rated capacity.

    Come on guys, do some science!


  6. j0hnf23 says:

    hm i don’t want to carry a battery pack with me all the time. how about if apple would build in a better battery instead of making it 23% thinner than the previous generation?


  7. patstar5 says:

    I use this:
    22400 mah for $50. But it only charges 1 at a time, still cheaper than the rest of competition.


  8. I must say, Seth: GREAT headline. I rarely get drawn in with common tactics journos use, but seeing a notification on my Mac saying “Add days of battery life to iOS devices with these powerful …” worked on me!


  9. I bought one of these on Amazon the other day:

    I gotta tell you, for 30 bucks its super light and easy to throw in my backpack. It’s awesome how thin it is. Never thought i’d be a backup battery kind of guy but hey, they work


    • mpias3785 says:

      Let us know how it works out!! It should be able to charge the phone from 0 to full twice with charge left over. If it does I’ll probably start stocking up for christmas!


  10. Aah..This really seems impressive. However I doubt the productivity as most of the devices do not have removal battery.



  11. Can this Lumsing be used for an iPhone 6?