When shopping for a phone or portable charger, you will surely come across the term milliampere hours or the acronym mAh. Not sure what that means? It’s a simple concept and it’s relatively easy to figure out what you need.
What are milliamp hours?
Milliampere hours is a unit that simply measures power over time, abbreviated mAh. To get a better idea of how this works, we can look at what milliamperes are.
A milliampere is a measure of electric current, in particular one thousandth of an ampere. Amps and milliamps measure the strength of an electric current. Add hours to this and you will get a measure of how long this current can run at this power.
I think about battery as an example. If this battery can support an output current of one milliampere for 1 hour, you can call it a 1 mAh battery. One milliamp is a small amount of power, so this battery would not be very practical.
In fact, we see mAh used in every electronic device with a battery, from phones to Bluetooth speakers. These devices range from hundreds of milliamperes to thousands in terms of capacity, but they are all measured in the same way.
One thing to note here is that milliampere hours are just a measure of capacity. They do not dictate how fast your charger will charge a device. This varies with different chargers depending on a number of factors, such as whether they support it fast charging.
Milliampere hours and charger capacity
The average smartphone nowadays has a battery capacity of 2000 to 4000 mAh. These are much larger batteries compared to flip phones and older smartphones. But as phones have become more advanced, the demand for batteries has increased, thus decreasing battery life generally. This means that portable chargers are more popular than ever.
To be truly useful, you will want a portable charger that has at least as much battery capacity as what you want to charge. After all, an older charger with a capacity of 2000 mAh will not do much for the iPhone 13 Pro Max with a battery of 4352 mAh.
A charger with about the same capacity as your phone or tablet is better than nothing, but in this case, a bigger one is almost always better. Even if you do not use the maximum capacity of your charger, it is often better to have extra juice and do not need it than to skip it.
However, needs can vary greatly between people. If you want charge your smartphone while camping, you will want a charger with a higher capacity, as you will probably have fewer (if any) recharging options. Look for something in the 20,000 area, especially if you’re planning longer trips.
If, on the other hand, you occasionally need to top up a bit at the end of the day, a 10,000 mAh charger will be enough for your needs.
Is there such a thing as too much capacity?
The capacity of the charger continues to increase as the batteries of our devices increase. With that in mind, is it possible to have a charger with too much capacity for the devices you are charging?
Although there are some disadvantages to the larger capacity of the charger, they are not many and none of them is dangerous. Having a charger with much more milliampere capacity than you need will not damage your devices.
Instead, the main disadvantage of a charger with more capacity than you need is the size. Higher capacity means larger batteries, which sometimes require more cooling space, so you end up with a much larger charger. This can be inconvenient if you are using a charger march to the backcountrybut intelligent packaging can solve this problem.
Another disadvantage of a higher capacity battery is that it can take longer to recharge. This is often not as bad as you might think, but if you use a daily charger, you will probably want it to charge quickly.
If you’re in a hurry and don’t want to look for your phone’s battery capacity to choose a charger, just check out our review of the best portable phone chargers. While you’re at it, you may want to make sure you are wall charger is up to snort too.