The Best Hand Crank Phone Charger: A Buyer’s Guide

In an age of decadence and convenience, it might be surprising to know that the popularity of hand-crank phone chargers is increasing exponentially.

Whilst it's now become the norm to see people walking on the street, sitting on the bus, or working at their desk, whilst their phone is attached to a power pack, perhaps the same cant be said for hand-crank chargers. 

So why are they popular? Who might want or need such a device? Do you mean I have to crank it myself?  

All important questions when considering buying a hand-crank phone charger. 

The primary reason for their popularity is that they work at any time, in any environment, and under any conditions that life or nature may throw at you. All that is required is a few minutes of motion via the hand-crank, for an emergency charge of your device to be possible.

These devices have become an essential part of any seasoned outdoors adventurers’ kit, as they are compact, lightweight, durable, and often weather resistant.

Some models provide a basic hand-crank feature, whilst others are absolutely loaded with features and essential tools of survival.

Whether you are planning your next expedition or you just so happen to run out of battery too frequently, a hand-crank phone charger could be just what you need.

With so many variables to consider, read on as we guide you through some of the best and most popular models on the market today.

OUR TOP PICK

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The FosPower 2000 mAh is jam-packed with features that make it an attractive purchase for consumers. It has a durable, rugged, and water-resistant design to help deal with any environmental challenges.

The radio gives access to AM/FM and NOAA radio for up-to-date emergency broadcast news. The 2000 mAh power pack is backed up by both a hand crank and the option of AAA batteries, providing three power sources.

The USB port allows a wide range of devices to be charged. The lifetime warranty is a clear indication of the manufacturer's belief in the high quality and long-lasting lifespan of its product. 

Pros

  • Three Power Sources - Hand crank, solar, and AAA battery power
  • Power - 2000 mAh battery for charging devices
  • Lighting - Two light options. 1W flashlight and 4 LED reading light
  • Water-Resistant - Durable and rugged design for use outside
  • Radio - AM/FM and NOAA to ensure receipt of emergency broadcasts 
  • Warranty - Lifetime warranty for this product 

Cons

  • Charging level? - No indicator on the device for how much battery charge has been accrued

EDITORS CHOICE

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The RunningSnail is loaded with useful features in a compact and convenient package. The 2000 mAh lithium-ion battery provides big power with fast charging via its USB port. The device is powered via a hand crank, solar panel, or lithium-ion battery pack.

A 1W LED flashlight maximizes visibility to help you find your gear or light a path when walking in the dark. Access to AM/FM and NOAA radio provides access to all important weather and emergency updates.

Customer care is carefully considered, with a 30-day money-back guarantee, eighteen-month replacement promise, and access to lifetime customer support.

Pros

  • Power - 2000 mAh lithium-ion battery for charging devices 
  • Radio - AM/FM and NOAA to ensure receipt of emergency broadcasts 
  • Three Power Sources - Hand crank, solar, and lithium-ion battery 
  • Light - 1W LED flashlight to maximize visibility 
  • Customer Care - 30-day money-back guarantee, 18-month replacement promise, and lifetime customer support 

Cons

  • Flashlight - Some users point out a ‘dark spot’ in the center of the light beam 

BEST VALUE

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The Esky Portable Emergency Charger packs a lot of features into its small and lightweight design. Though small, it is designed for use in the most extreme environments thanks to its durable and water-resistant design.

It is small enough to be carried in a bag, pocket, or via the attached lanyard. The device offers charging via USB and Micro-USB ports, ensuring it is compatible with a wide range of devices across manufacturers.

The 1000 mAh power bank can be charged via the hand crank, solar panel, or lithium-ion battery. The seven band radio includes AM/FM and NOAA to provide access to emergency radio broadcasts.

A 3W 3 LED flashlight ensures light in the darkest environments.

Pros

  • Power - 1000 mAh battery for charging devices 
  • Radio - AM/FM and NOAA to ensure receipt of emergency broadcasts 
  • Three Power Sources - Hand crank, solar panel, and lithium-ion battery
  • Weather-resistant - Water-resistant and durable design for battling the elements
  • Connectivity - USB and Micro-USB ports for charging a wide range of devices
  • Light - 3W 3 LED emergency flashlight 

Cons

  • Solar Panel Strength - Some users have noted the solar panel lacks strong charging power

RUNNER UP

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Puiuisoul is a collaboration between U.S. and Chinese minds. The companies Hand Crank & Solar Power Bank and Emergency Radio offer power and functionality.

The powerful 2000 mAh Li-ion battery offers optimum performance, whilst there is the option of adding three AAA batteries for additional support.  

The 6 LEDs lamp offers light for reading and brightening your tent, as well as being a handy torch for your treks at night.

With access to AM/FM as well as the emergency NOAA frequencies, you can enjoy a tune, stay safe and stay aware.

The manufacturer even includes a lifetime warranty, offering a refund for those unsatisfied with their purchase. 

Pros

  • Power - 2000 mAh Li-ion battery for solid performance 
  • Light - 6 LEDs reading lamp  
  • Additional Power - Use 3 AAA batteries for additional power
  • Radio - AM/FM and NOAA radio connectivity for emergency broadcasts
  • Connectivity - Charge up devices and connect via Micro USB
  • Warranty - Lifetime manufacturers warranty

Cons

  • Longevity - Some reports of issues with durability after extended use 

RUNNER UP

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A high-quality 4000 mAh lithium-ion battery ensures fast and efficient charging of devices via the USB port. An impressive five ways to power the device, a hand crank, solar panel, AAA batteries, rechargeable battery pack, and USB cord with wall adapter.

The 7 band radio provides easy listening and access to emergency broadcast channels. A large LCD screen provides clarity, the device’s battery level and shows the charging progress of any connected device.

The one-year no-risk money-back guarantee shows the manufacturer’s belief in their design and product’s durability. 

Pros

  • 5-way Power - Hand crank, solar panel, AAA batteries, rechargeable battery pack, and USB cord with a wall adapter
  • Power - 4000 mAh lithium-ion battery for charging devices
  • Radio - 7 bands AM/FM and NOAA to ensure receipt of emergency broadcasts 
  • Customer Care - One-year no risk money-back guarantee
  • LCD Screen - Large screen for clarity and includes device charging progress

Cons

  • Radio Antenna - Some reports of the antenna being damaged too easily 

RUNNER UP

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A streamlined, compact, and convenient to carry flashlight and hand-crank phone charger. As no battery is required, it's environmentally conscious.

This design strips away many of the other features found on competitor models to provide a simple and efficient hand-cranking phone charger and flashlight. Its compact design makes it easy to carry, and the 3 LED flashlight is impressively bright.

This is perfect for emergency use and for carrying on hiking or camping trips. The direct-charge device saves weight and space due to there being no internal storage battery, though this might be off-putting for some.

It requires constant cranking of the handle to provide charge, so a user can’t turn it on and just leave it to charge independently.  

Pros

  • Experience - Manufacturers have over 30 years of experience designing products for emergency environments
  • Design - Small and lightweight design makes it easily carried
  • Light - Bright 3 LED bulb emergency flashlight 
  • Environmentally Conscious - No battery required 

Cons

  • Direct-charge Device - Requires continued motion of the crank to generate charge as there is no internal storage battery 

Buyers Guide / Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Does It Take To Charge A Phone With A Hand Crank Charger?

This varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, and model to model. As the mAh level varies, the strength and speed of charge can be quite different. Most manufacturers advise that ten minutes of cranking will provide enough energy for an emergency charge.

For those that may wish to charge more frequently, or use other features such as flashlights or radio, then considerably more hand cranking will be required.

Many models will come with multiple ways to power the device as well as the hand crank, such as solar panels, removable AAA batteries, and AC wall adaptors.

The Best Hand Cranked Phone Charger: A Buyer's Guide

What Are The Benefits Of Using A Hand Crank Charger?

A hand-crank charger can be used at any time and in any conditions, night or day, rain or snow. With a few minutes of motion, it’s possible to provide an emergency charge to a device to make important calls or access useful apps like maps.

Unlike other kinds of chargers, these don’t require mains electricity, removable batteries, or solar power to work. As such, they are an essential piece of gear for any outdoors-loving individuals that like to disappear into the mountains for days on end. 

What Does mAh Mean?

This means the capacity of batteries is indicated as XXXX mAh (milliampere per hour). Hand-crank chargers often don’t have the power of high-end power banks, though many provide a mighty impressive power level that will provide efficient charging for a wide range of devices.

What Is NOAA Radio?

NOAA Weather Radio is a network of radio stations that broadcast continuous weather reports nationwide. Their information comes directly from the National Weather Service (NWS) of the country as user or listener is in.

The broadcasts run twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, and they include weather warnings, forecasts, weather observations, and any other emergency information. 

Do I Need A Model With A Radio?

If you plan on trekking into the wilderness and embarking into the great unknown, then a model with NOAA Radio is the sensible choice. Access to the emergency broadcasts is an essential part of maintaining safety and planning during expeditions.

Experienced adventurers may well have other gear with them that provides this service, though having a backup option is still advised. 

Brett Jones
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