External battery packs make me happy.
I like to know I won’t be caught with a dead cellphone battery.
This is twice as important for people who have dropped their landline and rely solely on their cellphones.
I have several external batteries, and I strive to find the right battery for each situation.
I have a battery in my computer bag, one in my car’s glove box and one in my small tool bag, and my wife has a credit card-size battery in her purse that she uses much more than she thought she would.
The battery collection comes from my obsession with being prepared.
When I got the chance to review a few different batteries from Intocircuit, I said yes.
I first became aware of Intocircuit from a recommendation on thewirecutter.com, my favorite website for unbiased testing and recommending cool gadgets.
At the time, a midsize battery from Intocircuit was its pick for best external battery for travel.
I was sent three battery packs, which are pretty similar. In fact, two look identical.
Most batteries have an LED that changes color, or a series of dots, like a gas gauge, to indicate charge level.
The Intocircuit line is the first I’ve seen with a tiny digital readout of the power level. It’s easy to see, for instance, that the battery has exactly 64 percent of its charge remaining.
Each battery is charged by plugging in a micro USB cable to any available USB port.
POWER CASTLE 12000
The first and smallest battery, the PC-12000 ($29.99), is not much bigger than an iPhone 6. It has a capacity of 12,000 milliamp hours (mAh).
For reference, my iPhone 5S battery can hold 1,570 mAh, so the PC-12000 can charge my phone almost eight times.
Its case is aluminum, and the power gauge has blue LED numbers.
There are two power ports — one provides 1 amp of power and the other provides 2.1 amps for fast charging.
Most modern cellphones and tablets can fast-charge, so I always use the 2.1 amp port for the fastest results. The PC-12000 weighs 12.8 ounces.
Pros: Smallish size, digital power gauge. Inexpensive.
Bottom line: Nice mix of slim size and decent battery size.
POWER CASTLE 13000 AND 15000
These two batteries use the same aluminum case, but as the names suggest, they provide 13,000 or 15,000 mAh of power.
They get their charge from an included micro USB cable and also have two USB ports to charge two gadgets at a time.
They do differ in the amount of power they provide through the ports.
The PC-13000 ($29.99) has one fast-charge port (2.1A) and one regular port (1A), while the PC-15000 ($39.99) has two fast-charge ports that provide 2.4A per port.
Both of these batteries have a single LED flashlight that’s turned on or off by pressing the power button twice. I did notice it was easy to turn on the light by mistake, as the button is not recessed.
These batteries also have a digital power gauge, and they feature SmartID technology to give each connected device as much power as it can use.
They’re not exactly lightweight, though. The PC-13000 weighs 11.5 ounces, and the PC-15000 weighs 14.1 ounces.
Pros: Power when you can’t find a plug. Fast charging.
Cons: They’re a bit heavy.
Bottom line: Everyone should be prepared with a good charging backup plan.
ICLEVER 6-PORT USB TRAVEL WALL CHARGER
Keeping your gadgets charged gets much easier if you have a wall charger like this one from iClever.
The charger ($25.99) has six ports that all provide up to 2.4A of power, which means up to six devices — even tablets — can be charged at a time and they’ll get as much power as they need.
This charger is not much bigger than a deck of cards, so it’s easy to drop in a purse or computer bag to take on the road.
All of the power gadgets in this review are available from Amazon.
Pros: Small, light, ample power, six ports
Bottom line: Every household needs at least one of these.