Can power banks explode in the (summer) heat? You have to pay attention to that

We clarify whether power banks can overheat and even explode in summer.  (icon image generated by Adobe Firefly)

We clarify whether power banks can overheat and even explode in summer. (icon image generated by Adobe Firefly)

Power banks are more useful these days than ever before. Apart from mobile phones, all kinds of gadgets can be charged with it, from laptops and e-readers to headphones.

But what is the best way to deal with these on particularly hot summer days? Can they catch fire or even explode? We clarify and give you important tips that you should consider when using power banks.

Can power banks explode?

The probability of a power bank exploding is very small, but not zero. There are now some documented cases where the mobile batteries have suddenly burst into flames or even exploded.

In September 2020, a woman in Kelantan, Malaysia, was woken up by her neighbors to see smoke coming out of her car. A power bank that the lady left in the hot car exploded and set the back seat on fire. No one was injured, but the damage could have been much worse had neighbors not noticed the fire.

Another case happened in Zhangzhou City, China in 2018. A bus passenger’s bag suddenly caught fire on its own. The woman panicked and threw the source of the fire on the ground next to the bus driver, who calmly kicked the burning bag out of the bus.

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Despite cases like these, we can give the all-clear: Such individual cases are not representative and occur very rarely.

Nevertheless, it is important to keep an eye on the risks and to handle the mobile batteries correctly. That’s exactly why they aren’t allowed in the cargo hold of airplanes, where a small fire can set off a catastrophic chain reaction.

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What are the most common causes?

Bad processing: Like any other electronic device, power banks must meet certain quality standards before they are allowed on the market. This is especially true for devices that have a battery built in – and power banks aren’t much other than batteries.

A good power bank will have isolated circuitry, temperature control, and over-voltage and power protection, ensuring the power bank is not charged past full capacity. Any lack of these functions increases the risk of a technical defect.

Bad battery quality: Most power banks use lithium-ion or lithium-polymer batteries, which are the most expensive components. To save costs, manufacturers tend to use cheap or even recycled batteries, which are often not of good quality. Not only does this increase the safety risk, but such batteries rarely reach the specified capacity.

Improper use: If the previously mentioned causes come up against external influences such as heat or humidity, then problems are inevitable. A power bank that is left in a hot car can certainly start a fire (especially if it is one without the protection mechanisms mentioned above).

If a power bank overheats, this can lead to an explosion due to the built-in lithium-ion batteries. These are sensitive to heat. If they get too hot, the electrolyte in the battery can ignite or vaporize, leading to increased pressure and ultimately causing an explosion.

It is therefore important to protect power banks from excessive heat to prevent such dangers. The same applies to moisture, of course, because this can cause a short circuit.

These are the warning signs of an explosion

Before a power bank bursts into flames, there are a few warning signs that may indicate this:

  • It becomes abnormally hot when charging
  • She is bloated or swollen
  • Smoke can be seen or smelled
  • A hissing sound can be heard

If you notice any of these signs, you should immediately disconnect the power bank from all devices and power sources.

Remove all flammable objects from the immediate area and ideally use a fire extinguisher to extinguish the fire. If none are available, you can smother the fire with a fire blanket or sand.

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If you do not have the necessary tools to effectively extinguish the fire, you should not hesitate too long to call the fire brigade for help.

Important: Not all power banks give warning signals before they become dangerous. This is why you should prevent this as much as possible and ideally not let it happen at all.

How to prevent an exploding power bank?

It shouldn't come to that in the first place: A power bank that catches fire in a car.  (Image: Generated with Adobe Firefly)

It shouldn’t come to that in the first place: A power bank that catches fire in a car. (Image: Generated with Adobe Firefly)

The first and most important measure starts with the purchase: Only get power banks that meet the necessary safety standards and come from reputable manufacturers. Here are a few examples that are particularly trustworthy.

  • Anker
  • Okay
  • Belkin
  • RAVPower
  • BioLite
  • PowerADD
  • the maxos
  • EasyAcc
  • Energizer

These are usually a bit more expensive, but they are better made and you don’t have to worry about them spontaneously bursting into flames one day.

Before buying a power bank, especially if it costs a little more, it still makes sense to read the user reviews and tests beforehand, as even well-known manufacturers can sometimes make mistakes.

Otherwise, you should store your power bank in a cool and dry place. Avoids direct sunlight and unplugs it early when fully charged.

In addition, you should not charge a device via the power bank while it is charging itself, as this can damage both devices (except for power banks with pass-through charging).

And last but not least, it is important to know how to dispose of an old power bank as safely as possible. Like any battery, they contain toxic ingredients that should not be released into the environment. Therefore, dispose of them at collection points for old batteries or at a recycling center.

Reliable charger from Anker


Power banks can explode, but you don’t have to worry even in hot summer temperatures as long as you use the mobile batteries properly and they come from a reputable manufacturer.

Hot summer temperatures are usually not dangerous, but you should still not forget the power bank in a hot car, as it can be significantly hotter there and the risk increases.

Have you ever had a power bank or battery that burst into flames or do you know someone who has experienced this before? Tell us your stories and experiences in the comments!

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