Q: I have a mobile workstation and need to work remotely longer than my laptop battery lasts. Would a regular laptop power bank, the type with the round power connector tip, work for me? Or do I need something more powerful?
A: You'll want something more powerful.
To figure out if a particular power bank will work for you: Compare the wattage that can be supplied from your laptop's OEM power brick against the wattage that can be supplied from the power bank. Most mobile workstation (and desktop replacement gaming laptop) power bricks will be in the 150 - 250 watt range. Power banks for mainstream laptops tend to supply around 60 - 90 watts (similar to their OEM charging bricks). If the power bank lists amps and volts instead, multiply them to calculate watts, e.g. 4 amps x 19 volts = 76 watts. Given these typical values, there's a good chance that when your laptop is under a heavy load it can draw more than a power bank can supply.
In order to avoid battery discharge during computation (or gaming) and hitting the thermal limits of power banks not designed for higher power levels, it makes sense to look at more capable power banks rated at or above the wattage of your laptop's OEM power brick. For these high-wattage laptops, that means power banks (a.k.a. power stations) with AC outlets for you to plug your existing laptop power brick into.
Compared to the smaller mainstream power banks, these will be heavier and they are definitely not suitable for air travel. However, they meet the power delivery requirements and often have quite a bit more capacity.
For example: the above power bank has a 252.7 Watt-hour capacity. If, for example, you have a Dell Precision with a 91 Watt-hour battery, that would add approximately 2.8x the capacity of the laptop battery, meaning real word battery life would be extended by at least a couple times (accounting for conversion losses and less-than-ideal conditions).
Also see this lighter option with 225 Watt-hours of capacity yet the same 300W delivery (a bit over half the capacity and a bit over half the weight) of the above.
If you have any questions, please comment below or contact us.