How Long Does a Power Bank Last? (Explained!)

If you are wondering how long does a power bank lasts then read our post. We will tell you the exact time, and also give you some tips to increase the time.

Just like most things, power banks also have a shelf life. So, how long does a power bank last?

On average a power bank will last between 3-5 years. The lifespan of a power bank depends on how often you use it, the quality of the device, and how use store it when not using it. 

There are a few things that you can do to exceed its lifespan, and there are a few things that you shouldn’t do. We will explain everything you need to know.

Do Power Banks Wear Out?

Do Power Banks Wear Out?

Power banks wear out after a while, but that doesn’t make the power bank unusable. The reason you have to replace your power bank after 3-5 years is its battery.

Power banks, just like any other rechargeable battery has a certain number of charging cycles. High-quality power banks have up to 600-1000 charging cycles, while low and medium-quality power banks have 300-500 charging cycles.

A charging cycle is completed when the battery of the power bank goes from 100% to 0%, recharging it back 0-100% doesn’t count as a charging cycle. However, you can also complete a charging cycle if you use a power bank to charge a phone 0-50% twice, and so on.

If you exceed the charging cycles, the power bank will lose its charging capacity up to 30-40%. If you keep using the same battery, it will lose more of its charging capacity over time. That’s why the lifespan of a power bank depends on how much you use the power bank. It’s recommended to replace a power bank once the charging cycles have been completed.

Related Read: How Long Does Power Bank Keep Its Charge?

What Types of Power Banks Last Longer?

What Types of Power Banks Last Longer?

Power banks that have a larger charging capacity tend to last longer than the ones with a lower charging capacity, and there’s a reason why.

Power banks with a lower charging capacity won’t last long because their charging cycles will be consumed quickly. But, a power bank with a higher charging capacity will last longer.

For example, 20000mAh power banks have up to 500 charging cycles. You have to charge a phone 6 times for the 20000mAh power bank to complete a charging cycle. If you use it once per day, it will take up to 8 years for a 20000mAh to complete all its charging cycles.

However, the power bank has to be from a trusted brand. Most of the time, low-quality manufacturers tend to overestimate the power bank capacity, when in reality the capacity is much lower. Trusted brands tend to write the exact capacity. To know the exact battery capacity, discharge the power bank to 0%, then charge it and use a USB meter to calculate how much mAh is transferred into the power bank.

High-quality or power banks from trusted brands also come with protective circuits that prevent overcharge. Overcharging can lead to a swollen battery or it can severely damage the battery and affect the charging capacity. So, having circuits that will prevent overcharging will improve the lifespan of a power bank. However, these protective circuits are the reason why lithium batteries discharge 2% each month.

When Should You Replace a Power Bank?

You should replace a power bank once you complete its charging cycles. If you notice that the battery isn’t charging your phone as fast as before or its charging capacity is lower, then most likely the battery has completed its charging cycles and you should replace it.

After the battery has reached its maximum cycles, the battery cells will start to weaken. You should expect the battery to be at its 80% capacity after that. The more you use the battery the less capacity it will have.

Over time, the battery cells will also start to weaken, with weak battery cells the protective circuits may also fail, and that can lead to overcharge. Overcharge can lead to a catastrophic failure such as a swollen battery, or the battery can catch fire.

So, it’s best to replace a power bank once it reaches its maximum charging cycles.

How to Extend Power Bank Lifespan?

The life of a power bank starts to fade away once you complete the charging cycles, but there are a few things you can do to prevent early battery damage.

1. Avoid Using Fast Charger

We all want to have our power bank fully charged as fast as possible, so we use a fast charger. But, you have to avoid using a fast charger as that might damage the battery.

A normal charger charges a battery with 3 different current (I): high, medium, and low. The high and medium current (I) is used from 0-80%, while the low current (I) is used from 80-100%.

A fast charger always uses a constant current (I) which often crosses the voltage limit. By that, the temperature increases, and stress on battery cells is also increases. This will damage the battery life.

2. Don’t Store a Power Bank in Extreme Heat or Cold

Have you noticed that your laptop starts to work slower when it gets too hot? The same thing applies to power banks. If you store a power bank in extreme cold it will damage the battery cells.  Extreme heat will also affect the lithium protective circuits and increase the battery discharge.

But, this doesn’t mean you should store the power bank in an extremely cold area. The power bank should be stored at a 20-25-Celcius temperature.

3. Don’t Discharge The Power Bank To 0%

Most people believe that you should discharge the power bank to 0% before you charge it, that’s false. This will damage your batteries, especially lithium batteries.

Once the battery goes under 50%, the voltage also decreases. When the voltage decreases to 2.4 volts, carbonization will appear. Carbonization will affect the battery life over time. It’s best to charge a power bank once the battery is lower than 50%.

4. Don’t Use a Power Bank In a Bag

How many times have you charged your phone by putting both the phone and the power bank in a bag? If you did, you shouldn’t do it anymore.

If you place a power bank in a place that doesn’t have good ventilation, the heat from the phone and power bank won’t be able to disperse. The extra heat will damage your power bank and your phone as well. It’s best to place your power bank in a well-ventilation area.

5. Limit Passthrough Charging

Passthrough charging is when you charge the power bank, but at the same time use the power bank to charge a device, say a mobile phone. This process causes the power bank to produce more heat. Since the battery is also charging a phone, it will take longer for the battery to fully charge.

The more time you charge the battery, the more heat it will produce, this also means the battery will be exposed to a higher temperature for a longer period of time. This will damage the battery over time by decreasing the charging capacity and transfer speed. If you must use the passthrough charging, you should not use it for a long period of time or at least rest the power bank for a bit.

6. Don’t Fully Charge Your Power Bank (100%)

Most power banks come with lithium batteries, either lithium-ion or lithium-polymer. These batteries are known to lose up to 2% of their charge due to self-discharge.

Most of the time the voltage limit is passed if you charge the batteries to 100%. The voltage at 100% is 4.2 V, batteries with 4.2 V tend to weaken after 300-500 charging cycles.

However, if you charge the battery for 0.10V per cell, i.e 4.10 V per cell, the battery will start to weaken after 600-1000 charging cycles. This means the charging cycles are doubled and the power bank will last twice as much. So, it’s best to stop charging your power bank once it reached 80%.

Final Words

In short, the lifespan of a power bank depends on you, but not entirely. You should always go for a high-quality power bank as they come with more features to prevent battery damage. Where you store and how much you use a power bank is also extremely important.

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