True power bank capacity versus battery capacity 

When purchasing power banks do you know the difference between the true capacity and the capacity shown on the packaging or the spec sheet?

This is a long standing debate that’s been raging since the introduction of power banks.  Many manufacturers state the capacity of the battery cells in the power bank rather than the usable capacity of a power bank.   In South Africa we have adopted the use of stating the battery capacity rather than the actual usable capacity.  We can only assume this happened because some of the earliest brands we saw in the shops were based on battery capacity.  These include brands like Yoobao, GP, Energiser and InOut.   The brand Amped was also one of the earliest power bank brands seen in South Africa, their stated capacity is based on usable capacity.

Gecko Media was one of the first promotional distributors to offer power banks. In fact we offered a solar charging model as far back as 2008.  We can speak from a corporate gift channel perspective, all the power banks sold as promotional items state battery capacity only.  The only question now is whether these power banks are truly the capacity they claim to be.  Any customer is most welcome to visit Gecko Media to see our specialised testing equipment that allows us to test the actual capacity of the power banks we sell.

Fake power bank capacity

Stated capacity and true capacity should not be confused with fake capacity.   Fake capacity is when a power bank claims to be 16000mAh and is in fact only 2000.  This is a type of fraud committed by many Chinese factories that sell power banks filled with sand and all sort of materials to make them feel heavier and more substantial.  Take particular care when buying online and importing form China.

Fake power banks

Power bank filled with sand


These fake capacity power banks are often sold online on sites like eBay.   Many of these factories recycle old laptop 18650 cells and put them into cheap power banks (see pic below).   Be careful where you buy from. Gecko Media offers a 1 year swap out warranty provided you didn’t drive over the power bank of course.

Typical recycled battery power bank

Typical recycled battery power bank