Does your iPhone run out of battery by mid-day? You can make your iPhone’s battery last through the day by turning the brightness way down and using it sparingly, but if you want to really enjoy all the cool things your iPhone can do you’ll need a battery case. Battery cases are also a great traveling companion, helping you endure that coast to coast flight or take snapshots all day long at Disney World.
We looked at eight popular power cases and compared ’em up based on price, power charge, design, and other factors.
Best & Worst iPhone 5 Battery Cases 2014
All battery cases below include:
- iPhone 5 / iPhone 5S compatibility
- Micro USB charge cable for charging and iTunes sync (does NOT include wall adapter!)
- Headphone jack (case thickness necessitates a special plug for your headphones)
- 2000 or 2400 mAh lithium battery (which is about equivalent to one more full iPhone battery)
|Battery Case||Our Rating||At a glance||Approx. Price|
|Rokit Boost Excess 2400||Enlarged camera opening, 4 colorful bumper frames included, 3 oz weight, sync to iTunes without removing from case, well-reviewed on Amazon.com||$80|
|Vority X5S||7 colorful bumper frames, case kickstand, enhanced acoustics, sync to iTunes without removing from case||$70|
|Maxboost Atomic S||Comes in 8 colors, including rare blue, purple, and pink (colors sold separately), case kickstand, adds length and depth to case, 1-year warranty, sync to iTunes without removing from case, well-reviewed on Amazon.com||$50|
|Lenmar Meridian||Rubberized case, adds length and depth to phone, some recent negative reviews on Amazon.com||$67|
|uNu Power DX||Successor to the best-selling uNu for iPhone 4/4S, 1 year manufacturer's warranty, 4 colors sold separately: red, black, white, gold, slow to charge case, plastic buttons feel cheap||$50|
|Mophie Juice Pack Plus||Sturdy case construction, cannot sync with iTunes without removing it from the case, more expensive than better options||$116|
|Amazon Generic Case||Numerous negative reviews||$16|
|myCharge Freedom 2000||Black metal, silver metal (sold separately), numerous negative reviews||$60|
Keep in mind, these cases are specific to iPhone 5 and 5S only! These cases won’t work with an iPhone 5C, iPhone 4 / 4S, or any Android phones.
How does an iPhone charger case work, exactly?
The battery case contains a second battery which is attached to your phone via a plug inside the case.
When your phone starts running low on its own battery juice, you press a button on the case to activate charging. Your phone charges from this extra battery as if it were plugged into charger on its own. Charging time varies by phone and case, but expect it to take about 2 hours to fully recharge from the case’s battery.
How do I charge an iPhone battery case?
Plug the included micro USB cable into your battery case, and plug the “normal” USB end of the cable into one of your computer’s USB slots.
Note: iPhone battery cases don’t include a wall charger! If you like to charge your phone via a wall charger you’ll need to buy an AC charger separately. These usually cost less than $10 and are compatible with a wide variety of devices. Basically, anything that can charge up via a USB cable can use one of these wall chargers.
We recommend the New Trent NT90C dual USB port wall charger:
If you’d rather have another charging cable, check out this USB wall charger by Motorola.
iPhone Battery Case Pros
Reasons why an iPhone battery case is great:
Double your battery life: Make it through the day or a long flight with what is basically a second phone battery. All of the iPhone battery cases we reviewed add 100% charge to your phone (basically, another full battery). Some even offer a little more than 100%.
Extra protection for your phone: Nearly all of the cases we reviewed include a “lip” around the edge of the screen to protect your phone when dropped or placed face down.
Charge with Micro USB: All of the iPhone battery cases above charge via a micro USB plug, not Apple’s proprietary (and pricey) Lightning cables. You may already have devices that charge via USB that can share the same charging cable with your new battery case. If you’d normally buy Apple charger cables for home, car, and office, a battery case might actually save you money because of its compatibility with micro USB chargers you might already own.
Charge your phone when you want to: The case’s battery doesn’t start charging your phone until you tell it to.
iPhone Battery Case Cons
There are a few disadvantages to slapping a battery case onto your iPhone that you should be aware of:
Increased thickness: All iPhone battery cases add thickness and sometimes length to your phone’s overall size. Thickness isn’t a big deal if you’re carrying it in a large pocket, purse, or your hand all day, but the thicker case may be a tight squeeze in some pockets.
LED charge lights can be annoying: Most of the iPhone battery cases in this review have LED lights on the backside which light up when the phone and case is being charged. If you usually charge your phone in your bedroom, you might need to throw something over the phone to block out the lights.
You may lose direct access to the Lightning port: You can still sync with iTunes via the USB port, but if you already seeded your car, home, and office with Lightning charger cables you might find the switch annoying.
Our Pick: the Best Battery Case for iPhone 5/5S
Our top pick from the spring 2014 crop of iPhone 5/5S battery cases is the Rokit Boost Excess 2400.
- Enlarged camera opening (some cases are a tight squeeze here)
- Snug fit
- 2400 mAh capacity adds 120% battery life
- Feels good in the hand with its rubberized back
- Good price – under $100
- 4.5 stars on Amazon
Avoid These Battery Cases
In researching this article we found some battery cases that garnered particularly negative reviews. We’re calling these cases out as “Do Not Buys” based on numerous negative reviews, safety concerns, and reports of poor customer service.
What’s wrong with it?
- The back is slick (not grippy) so it’s prone to sliding out of pockets and hands
- No “lip” to protect the phone’s screen if it falls face down
- Scratches easily
- Some Amazon reviewers complain that the case died after a few weeks, and complain that myCharge refuses to replace defective cases purchased through third party retailers
On the bright side, this case leaves the base of your phone exposed, making it easy to plug in headphones or another Lightning cable in. But unless you need access to the Lightning port, there are better battery cases to choose from.
What’s wrong with it?
They say you get what you pay for – and at around $16, maybe this particular deal is too good to be true. This cheap case (distributed under Amazon’s “generic” brand) has earned a heap of negative reviews on Amazon.com complaining of burnt cases, incompatibility, and the case’s inability to hold a charge.
If you’re on a tight budget, give the Alpatronix BX110 a look. This case is better reviewed and comes with a 1 year warranty.