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When shopping for power banks, you might have noticed advertisements that constantly reference the mAh capacity while others talk about watt hours. It’s important that you understand what both terms mean and how they apply to a power bank’s energy charge capacity.
You need to understand a certain amount of jargon to make the right purchase. Use this guide to help you navigate the difference between milliampere-hours (mAh) and watt-hours while gaining a better idea of how to choose a power bank.
mAh vs. Watt Hours: Distinguishing Between the Two
Hand-held and portable devices have become more common, with many people relying on them for work and leisure. These devices contain batteries that draw on a current for energy. Both mAh and watt-hour values express the current and energy required to power a device.
What Is a Watt Hour?
A watt-hour is a measure of energy describing how much energy gets generated or consumed by a device when operated without interruption for an hour. One watt-hour is equivalent to 3600 joules. Watt-hours typically represent the energy used or created by any electric system.
It may be easier to think of watt-hours as a battery’s energy capacity. It’s used to determine how much energy you can store in a cell phone battery. A single watt-hour is represented by the formula energy = power * time. The power needed by a device is measured by the watt-hour, and the time it runs is measured in hourly units.
What Is a Milliampere Hour?
An ampere-hour represents a single electrical charge unit. If an electronic device uses or provides a one ampere current over an hour without interruption, that represents 3600 Coulombs, which are units of electrical charge.
An mAh unit represents one-thousandth of an ampere-hour or 3.6 Coulombs. We typically use mAh hours to measure the size of an electrochemical system, like an electrical battery.
A watt-hour tells you how much energy a device consumes, while mAh describes its storage or charge capacity. They’re both used to describe batteries, which is why you typically see both measurements referenced when describing electronic products like a tablet or cell phone.
What Are These Units of Measurement Typically Used to Describe?
So now that you have a clearer idea of what mAh and watt-hours represent, take a look at how both terms are commonly used to describe measurements for the following.
Battery capacity represents the amount of electricity generated by a battery’s electrochemical reactions and is typically measured in mAh hours. For example, a battery with a 500 mAh capacity should technically last around five hours. However, other factors, like how a battery discharges, makes a difference in how long it lasts.
A higher mAh shows that a battery can store more energy, giving it a higher capacity and longer battery life. If you bought a device labeled as having a 3000 mAh battery, it should last around 30 hours at 100 milliamps (mA).
Watt-hours are used to measure the amount of power consumed by a device over a specific period. When it comes to batteries, you look at how many watts it uses over the course of an hour. You should pay careful attention to the watt-hours to understand how long your device will last once charged.
Hours of Energy
The hours of energy are how much energy gets generated from a device over an hour. That’s why you see advertising from marketers showcasing how long a new phone will last once it’s charged. Again, you have to pay careful attention to how the power consumption (watt-hours) measures up against the total battery capacity (mAh).
How Does This Affect How You Choose a Power Bank?
The specs you should be looking at when choosing a power bank is the capacity, how much energy it takes to charge the bank, and the available output. You also want to consider how many ports are available on the device.
Larger batteries have a larger capacity. Your typical pocket charger comes in between 3,000-9,000 mAh, making it easier to carry around. That’s enough to charge your typical cell phone once or twice. However, you’ll need something with a larger capacity, or mAh, to charge something more significant, like a tablet or a laptop.
Your medium-sized charger, which typically goes up to 15,000 mAh capacity, will let you charge one tablet or cell phone several times. These are often too large to put in your pocket, so you’d need to store them in a bag or carrying case. Power banks of this size can give you a partial charge on a laptop.
Big chargers start at around 15,000 mAh and can provide unlimited charges to your devices. You could keep your phone charged for a week or fully power your laptop. If you’re going to invest in a portable battery, this is a good one to have.
Something to keep in mind with power banks is that there can be some loss of efficiency when transferring power. Make sure you purchase a unit that’s large enough to cover all your charging needs.
The Optimal Power Solution
Omnicharge portable charging devices offer consumers a flexible, all-in-one solution that works from anywhere. You don’t have to deal with the power restrictions that come from your typical power bank. Our charging solutions work with a wide range of devices, including laptops, cameras, and phones.
One Omnicharge portable charger covers all your power needs in a compact, easy-to-transport solution. We designed our product thinking of professionals who need to tap into multiple devices, keeping them charged as they go about their work. The versatility of Omnicharge means you can keep going all day using one charging solution.
See how Omnicharge covers all your device-charging needs within one solution by checking out our available power devices.