The Best External Power Banks for Gaming Laptops
(Updated on September 5, 2021 to include latest prices and product information.)
As more PC manufacturers (HP, Apple, Lenovo, etc.) shift to use of non-removable, sealed batteries in their laptops, you can no longer count on buying and carrying around extra laptop batteries to run your laptop when on the road. The battery is now an internal component, and replacing it is equivalent to replacing a laptop’s HDD.
The portable power bank! This is an external battery pack for running your laptop or notebook computer. Unfortunately, MOST so-called portable power banks are intended for smartphones and tablets and cannot handle the high power demands of a gaming laptop. Even if you can find a power bank with an AC outlet connector (most have USB ports only), after connecting it to a high-power device like a laptop, the power bank may automatically shut off due to the high current (amperage) demand.
Step 1: Find Your Computer’s Maximum Power
This is written on the power adapter. It is either written in large text as 120W, 230W, or similar, or you can figure it out from the numbers 19.5V===11.8A, 19.5V===6.15A, and so on, on the adapter. Multiplying 19.5V x 11.8A gives us 230W, and multiplying 19.5V x 6.15A gives us 120W.
Step 2: Find the Power Bank’s Maximum Power Output (Not Power Capacity)
To determine if a power bank will work for your computer, the most important spec is maximum power output, not power capacity. This is often displayed as “100W max”, “250W max”, or similar. Even if a battery pack has a high capacity of 30,000 mAh (110 Wh) to 50,000 mAh (185 Wh), most cannot continuously supply power to run devices at more than 90W.
It’s like having a water tank that is full (=lots of stored power), but it can only supply water in a small trickle like a water fountain (= low power output) — Forget about taking a shower with that water output! A battery pack must be capable of spurting out power like a high-pressure jet stream to keep your laptop or notebook computer running.
How Long Will My Device Run?
Because about 10% to 15% of power is lost during power conversion, which is normal for all power banks, use the following formula to calculate how long a selected power bank will run your device.
(Power capacity of power bank (Wh)) x 0.85 / (Device wattage (W))
And so, if your device is averaging 60 W usage, for the 146 Wh power bank below, we get 146 Wh x 0.85 / 60 W= 2.07 hours.
This analysis covers three power banks that can fit into the second pocket of most laptop backpacks where the AC power adapter and extra batteries usually go. If you can carry around even larger sizes (lunch pail size), take a look at our recommended portable power stations.
To better compare with your laptop, the specs of our tested laptops (120 W, 230 W) are shown at the end of this article.
|For Gaming Laptops (250W and 600W max.)
|Reasonable Size and Cost
||Bulkier, But Best Cost Performance|
|42000 mAh (146 Wh) Power Bank/Solar Charger||64800 mAH (220 Wh) Power Bank/Solar Charger|
|For Non-Gaming, Smaller Laptops (90W and 100W max.)
|Best for 90W and less||Travel Power Bank (Up to 100W)
|50000 mAH (185 Wh) Power Bank||31200 mAh (116 Wh) Power Bank|
|42000 mAh (146 Wh) Power Bank/Solar Charger||Available from a large number of vendors on Amazon, such as Powkey, this high performance product can sometimes be found for a great price (especially Amazon Lightning Sales). As of this writing, the best price for 42000 mAh (146 Wh) power bank is around $150.
This model comes with an AC adapter cable, manual, and case. The power output specifications are 200W continuous power/250W peak power. This product does NOT include pass-through charging, but we don’t consider this a necessary feature.
We were able to successfully power BOTH our 120W and 230W laptops using this power bank (but not at the same time), and so for us, this power bank presents the right sweet spot between cost and performance. In fact, our high-power 230W laptop ran without any problems.
One quirk with this power bank was that, for our 230W device, it would not run when using an AC adapter with 2-prong plug (frequently used in Japan). Only when a 3-prong plug was inserted would it work. However, other (lower-power) 2-prong plug devices, such as lamps, worked fine.
Also, after turning on the power bank, you have to press the “AC” button to activate power from the outlets.
As mentioned below, although this power bank meets the current TSA regulations for carry-on baggage (but NOT checked baggage), I suggest bringing the manual with you to show that it is 42000 mAh (146 Wh).
|Verdict||Power bank with best price performance
Although the somewhat heavy and bulky, this power bank can provide long power performance at a reasonable price.
64800 mAh (220 Wh) Power Bank/Solar Charger
|If you are thinking about the above high cost-performance model, you might want to consider this higher capacity version by the same manufacturer. It features a higher maximum power output of 300W continuous / 600 W peak, making it the power bank with the highest maximum power output of our featured models here.
The tradeoff is a higher weight and bulkier body. Also, because this exceeds TSA regulations for carry-on baggage, you will be UNABLE to take this with you on airline flights.
Like the above model, after turning on the power bank, you have to press the “AC” button to activate power from the outlets.
|Verdict||Great combination of high capacity and low price — if weight and size are not an issue|
|50000 mAH Power Bank||Available from the vendors MAXOAK and Krisdonia on Amazon for just above $100, this is the slimmest of the power banks that we tested. In contrast to the other two, it does NOT include an AC outlet. Instead, it has four USB ports, one 20V/3A output for laptops, and one 12V/2.5A output for digital cameras. This power bank also comes with a full set of laptop connectors for connecting your laptop.
In our test model, we were able to successfully run our 120W laptop without any problems even though the stated specs only indicated power up to 90W. However, this power bank was unable to power our 230W laptop even without any power-hungry apps running. Instead, this message appeared. However, we were able to charge the 230W laptop’s battery when the laptop was off.
Still, for our 120W laptop, this is the ideal solution. It’s cheap, slim, and relatively lightweight. Also, I would think that a direct connection of DC power from the power bank to the laptop (without an AC adapter) means higher efficiency due to less power loss without the need to convert back and forth between DC and AC. And for this size, 50000 mAH (185 Wh) is outstanding.
An Amazon reviewer having a Dell XPS 15 (9550) with 130W power supply noted that the power bank would shut off when running under high loads, such as when firing up a game. If you need the power bank for running games, you should probably go for the safe choice of the other power banks here which can handle 250W.
By the way, the 50000 mAh (185 Wh) capacity means that this power bank would NOT be allowed on planes (either carry-on or checked baggage) under current TSA restrictions (limited to 42000 mAh).
|Verdict||Best solution IF you can run your laptop
Slimmest size of all three power banks (but second heaviest), this will fit right into your backpack as an external battery.
|31200 mAh (116 Wh) Power Bank||If you have a smaller laptop such as one with a 12″ or 13.3″ screen (up to 100W) and need a power bank for traveling, this could be the product for you! This power bank has the smallest capacity (116Wh/31200mAh) of the ones evaluated here, but it makes up for it with the smallest size (2.7 x 2.7 x 8.3″) and weight (2.1 lb) too.
Compared to the 50000 mAh power bank, this has an AC outlet and Type-C port.
Its small capacity also means that this power bank would be allowed on planes (carry-on only) under current TSA restrictions (limited to 42000 mAh).
|Verdict||Great solution with AC outlet for traveling with non-gaming or smaller laptops
For users need convenience over performance, this is the best choice. It gives you a little of everything (AC outlet, USB port, Type-C port) in a compact package.
Summary of Power Bank Specifications
|Name||50000 mAH (185 Wh) Power Bank||42000mAh (146Wh) Power Bank/Solar Charger||64800 mAH (220 Wh) Power Bank/Solar Charger|
|Verdict||Slimmest and cheapest, but limited compatibility||Best performance for price, wide compatibility||Higher capacity cost-performance model|
|Price||$130 to $133||Around $150||Around $190|
|AC Power Output
(Key spec for running gaming laptops)
|90W / 5 Amps Max.
Auto-shutoff if draws more than 5 Amps.
|300 W / 600 W (Peak)|
|Capacity||50000 mAh (185 Wh)||42000 mAh (146 Wh)||64,800 mAh (220 Wh)|
|Dimensions||5.3 x 8.1 x 1.3 in||5.71 x 7.87 x 1.81 in||7.87 x 7.87 x 3.15 in|
|Weight||2.77 lbs||3.31 lbs||5 lbs|
|Can run Laptop 1 (120W)?||Yes, but may not run high-load programs (i.e. games)||Yes||Yes|
|Can run Laptop 2 (230W)?||No, but can charge internal battery when laptop is off.||Yes||Yes|
|Laptop Power Bank (Maxoak) Manual||Portable Solar Generator 42000 mAh (146Wh) Manual||Specifications Sheet|
Specs of Tested Laptops
|Type||Laptop 1: Desktop Replacement Laptop (120W)||Laptop 2: Gaming Laptop (230W)|
|Model||HP DV7-7300||Omen 17-w200|
|Features||17.3″ widescreen, 2 internal HDDs||17.3″ widescreen, 2 internal HDDs|
|AC Power||120W Smart AC adapter
|230W AC adapter
|Power Usage (standard/maximum)||Approx. 17W/120W||Approx. 23W/230W|
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New similar products are continuously being introduced, such as the Omni 20400 mAh (max. output 100W) and the 60000 mAh/222 Wh Krisdonia (max. output 130W), but none of these seem capable of providing the power to run a gaming laptop.
Our testing did NOT include external power supplies (or “power stations”) that cannot be carried in your backpack or bag, such as the Rockpals Power Station (weighing 5.5 lbs) (literally a “power brick”). Still, these products can carry tremendous capacity (100,000 mAH and higher) and convenient features (UPS, solar charging, etc.), and most can run gaming laptops (power outputs of 250W+ are typical) with power to spare. We review these portable power stations here.
Update: Airplane Travel with 42000 mAh Power Bank
Before our recent trip (summer 2018), we checked the airline’s website and found that up to two batteries between 100 and 160 watt-hours (Wh) are allowed in carry-on baggage only (United Airlines details). In case that the baggage scanning employees were unaware of these regulations, we printed out (1) the airline baggage restriction information and also brought (2) the manual for the battery packs, which clearly shows “146 Wh”. In fact, we did not even need to show these documents, and we passed through the baggage checks in two North American cities without any problems. Still, I strongly suggest that all travelers bring the manual for their large-capacity battery packs as documentation just in case problems arise.
For the portion of the flight in the large aircraft (Boeing 777), an outlet was available near the bottom of the seat in front of me, BUT it would turn off whenever I plugged in my gaming laptop, indicating that the required power output was too high. Still, I could charge the portable power banks from the outlet. This way, I was able to switch between using one power bank while simultaneously recharging the other. This would not work indefinitely because I was using power faster than it could be recharged, and so at some point, you may have to take a break to allow the charging to catch up. Generally, it took about 2 to 2.5 hours to use the charge in the power bank and about 7 hours to fully charge it.
– This testing is intended only to provide data points for analysis as case studies. No guarantee is provided that these portable power banks will work for your computer. Check your computer’s specifications carefully to compare with those here, but be aware that results may also vary based on your individual usage patterns.
– The limit for airline travel is 100 watt-hours in the United States for checked luggage and 160 watt-hours for carry-on luggage (with certain restrictions), but even this may vary by airlines and country. Still, all regulations are subject to change without notice. Please confirm with the TSA and your airlines before your trip.
Hello, I was just wondering if using the 200w power bank would damage my laptop, since it uses 230w like the omen with 19.5v and 11.8A, thanks.
Here’s my opinion as a non-expert.
Electronics are sensitive to changes in voltage, such as when a 100V device is plugged into a 240V outlet, but the power brick for your laptop probably is an international product that can handle 100V to 240V (mine says “INPUT: 100-240V ~3.5A”).
And so, what will happen if you can only give your laptop 200W when it needs 230W (peak)?
In my experience, such as when riding on planes with a supplied outlet (probably max. 120W), my laptop simply switched to battery power when it did not get enough juice.
Also, the 200W power bank has a peak of 250W, and so it MIGHT be able to handle 230W for a short length of time.
Hi, thanks for the review. Just wondering what made you say that the 42000mah version can’t do the passhrough, like does it physically not let you?
That’s right. You can’t charge it (connect to the INPUT) and use power (connected to outlet or USB) at the same time.
Thanks for the review.
You just introduced me to a new world of portable power supply!
Hi there, do you know roughly how long did the FLOUREON battery last for your 230w gaming laptop?
Off the top of my head, I’d say slightly more than two hours for word processing applications. Of course, this would be significantly less for games.
Great, thks for the quick reply!
Hi mr Japandude, been hoping you might update this soon as there are very few references online to help me decide which power bank will give me the longest battery life. All i need to do is stream video to it at hd – uhd, with as close to full screen as possible. I was wondering if you knew if there was a huge difference between streaming video from a camcorder, or playing a video game such as dota 2. What id like is a power bank capable of giving me 12 hours of stream per day, and be ready to go again the next day after a night of charging. What id love is for it to allow me to play dota 2 as well for 12 hours, but do realize that is a lot to ask and would require many many amps.
Thanks for visiting my site!
It sounds like you’re going to need a lot of power.
First, do you want your power bank to be portable (fit in a backpack) or can it be a bigger size? I review some of the large power stations here (http://www.japandude.com/guide-to-portable-solar-generators-power-stations/).
To get an idea of how much power you need, try to figure out how many watts you’re using. You might be able to find out from the device manual, otherwise, you’ll need an “energy consumption meter” or similar device. I’ve seen them for $12-$13 on Amazon.(https://amzn.to/2pwHVjC)
Then, you need to compare that value with how much juice the power bank will provide. From the manual (http://www.japandude.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Portable-Solar-Generator-42000-mah-Manual.pdf), the 42000 mAh power bank above is 146 wH. That means that if you’re using 100W, you should get less than 90 minutes or power. If you’re using 50 W, you should get almost 3 hours. Of course, actual performance will slightly less than this theoretical value. This should at least give you an idea of what mAh (wH) range you should be looking for.
Pls, how long will the 64800mah powerbank last while playing games on dell xps 9550
It’s difficult to give a reliable estimate with all the possible variables, but here’s some estimates for you.
The 64800mah is equivalent to 220 Wh, and the 6-cell battery in the XPS 9550 is rated at 84 Wh, and so that’s nearly three times as much as the current battery.
Your power supply is rated at 130W, and so when running at FULL power, you should get around 220/130 = 1.7 hours.
Hey, great article. I had zero knowledge about how powerbanks work, and your article was my introduction.
Do you have a recommendation for a car-charger for a laptop? It is an MSI GF75 with a 3-cell 51Whr battery. The power adapter says “180W”. It does NOT have USB-C charging capabilities. Also, I would only be charging it while the laptop was off and the car was running. 🙂
Any education or advice would be well received.
Thanks for the kind words.
It sounds like you need a “power inverter” for your car that plugs into the cigarette outlet. Plus, you’d want one that’s rated HIGHER than 180W.
Here are some power inverters.
Great post! Thanks for sharing the knowledge and keep up the good work.
Hi there, firstly would like to appreciate this article and say it is brilliant especially with the detail of air transport restrictions. I just have one question.
I wanted to ask if you know how long a 230w gaming laptop would last on the larger Floureon 64800mah power supply/bank.
Thank you! and sorry for such a late comment.
I have the 42000mah power bank, and for my 230w gaming laptop, it gives me about 2 hours of power — longer when using light apps, shorter for games and other power-intensive apps.
Based on those numbers, the 64800mah power bank should give you around 3 hours of power.
I hope that this helps!
Hello Japandude, great review !
I’ve got a Lenovo legion y540 170W, 20V, 52.5Wh
Should I look for a powerbank of +- 150W and 20V and more than 60Wh ?
Hope you’ll see this message.
A powerbank of +- 150W will PROBABLY be OK unless you are running games or other high-demand apps.
Normally, my PC runs at only a fraction of the maximum power.
However, 60Wh seems a little small to me. If your PC runs at about a third of the maximum power (170/3 = 57W), that will only give you one hour of power.
The 42000mAh (146Wh) power bank featured here will give you 146 Wh, which is almost 2.5x more than 60Wh.
Of course, it all depends on what you need it for. I hope that this helps!
Thanks for the answer JapanDude !
I’ll take a powerbank with the most Wh possible then.
The 42000mAh power bank has got too much watts (200W) for my 170W Legion y540, hasn’t it ? Wouldn’t it be dangerous for my computer? I wonder what would be the best option in terms of watts.
I thought I should look for a power bank with less watts than the computer since you took a 200W power bank for your 230W computer.
Hope you’ll see this new message and sorry for disturbing you ^_^
I just bought this computer and I would be really happy if I could use it for a whole day at the university.
I think that you’re misunderstanding the units of power, watts (W), here. You NEED to have a power bank that supplies at or more than your power needs.
You can plug low-power devices into the 200W power bank without any problems. The 200W is how much power it supplies at the peak.
When you plug in low-power devices, the power bank will last 8 or more hours. When you plug in a high-power device, it will only last for an hour or two.
The AC output for the power bank is “AC 110V”. As long as your device can plug into outlets in North America (110V), you don’t need to worry about frying your device.
Everythhing’s clear now.
Unfortunately, I didn’t find any powerbank that would fit. Some are real generators, so too large for my backpack and others are not deliverable in Belgium… My device can’t plug into outlets in North America but I could have bought an adapter. Anyway, Thank you for your explanations, JapanDude !
Tu trabajo es inclreible!!! Estoy muy impresionado, me has enseñado mas en 30 minutos de lo que he aprendido buscando videos e informacion sobre este tema, muchas gracias por compartir tu conocimiento 😉
I have an acer predator helios 300, my power adapter says 180 watts what power bank would be best for me? And in canada flying with a less than 160wh battery. Thanks in advance, jeff
Thanks for your question!
Because the 50000 mAH power bank featured here supports only up to 90W in the specs (we tested it working up to 120W), I think that the 42000 mAh is the best choice for you.
It’s also the only one of these three that is TSA-approved for airline travel (carry-on) because it’s less than 160wh.
Thanks man your the best, promot reply, i forgot to mention in my previous question, the device will not charge while in play will it? Does it need to be in sleep mode or turned off to charge? Thanks Japandude.
Your device does NOT need to be in sleep mode or turned off.
The 42000 mAh power bank can provide power continuously at 200W (250W peak). That means that you CAN run your PC while charging — the PC will act like it’s plugged into an outlet. In fact, I was able to run my 230W power laptop this way.
In my experience, the PC would need to be off only when the power bank cannot supply enough power in its normal state — such as when using the 50000 mAh power bank that has only 90W power output.
Hey, thanks for the information. But i still have a doubt tho. My laptops adapter says 16A 250V. So what kind of power bank will i need. Please suggest.
And that my laptop says its 66Wh
In that case, the 64800 mAH power bank (220 Wh) would be your best choice because it offers 300W power output (600W peak).
The next closest is the 42000 mAh power bank, but it only offers 200W power output (250W peak).
If you still don’t think that these will give you enough power, you need to look at the power stations that I review here.
The large power station there provides 1000W power (2000W peak).
I want an half or less capacity 250W power bank like this, to be allowable in air travel.
This power bank provides up to 100W of power and should be OK for air travel.
That is not capable to power a 230 W consumer, like is common in some gaming laptops.
This is very confusing. In some places I see the limit for air travel is 20000 mAh, others say 27000 mAh, others say 27600 mAh and now it appears here an entry with 42000 mAh!
The best thing is to just check with the airline that you will be flying with. Many have it posted on their websites.
AOHI has an AC 150w TSA compliant portable powerbank
Hi JapanDude, thanks for writing this article and sharing the wisdom! I reckon I have a fundamental gap in knowledge that brings up this question but I’d like to ask if it’s technically possible to charge a 200W gaming laptop with a a 100W power bank when the laptop is not in use (let’s say it’s sleeping)? I’d just like to charge the laptop when it’s in my backpack or not in use, I can stand not having it charge while I’m using it. Cheers
Technically, it’s difficult to say, but if I had to guess, I’d say yes. That’s because I was able to charge my 230W laptop with a 90W power bank when it was turned off.
Of course, there’s no guarantee, and so maybe you should buy the 100W power bank from a dealer with an easy return policy just in case.
The reason it could work is that 200W is the maximum power that your laptop draws, but normally, it should not need that much power.
JD, borrowed a power bank from a friend to power something, not charge. It was low power but needed it to ‘continuously’ run. However, I found that the power bank switches off after 2 hours. Do all power banks switch off like that? Just need it to stay on. Any recommendations? Thanks!
On the Amazon page of the Powkey power bank presented here, the manufacturer answers this question in the Customer Q&As: “The DC & USB outputs will auto off in several seconds if no devices loaded. but even a very small load, such as 2W USB fan, It will also be detected and the battery will always output power.”
If size is not an issue, for this 300W peak / 280Wh capacity large power bank, in the Customer Q&As, the manufacturer says: “This portable power station will power down automatically if the total output power is detected lower than 2W for 12 consecutive hours. But if you charge the device less than 2W, this power station won’t stop working until 12 hours later.”
Hope this helps!