No matter what you're looking for in a smartphone, one thing's certain, you'll want to make sure it offers decent battery life.
It's no good having a phone with a killer display for streaming video or a top-notch camera if it turns into a paperweight after only a few hours of use. For some, long battery life is essential, whether as a means to stay connected to someone or if you're one to venture out, away from a viable power source, for days at a time.
Bad battery life on smartphones is something we’ve all grown to tolerate. While Apple’s iPhone was once the cited device that needed charging by lunchtime, it was never the only culprit; and while strides have been made on Apple's part, the iPhone is still nowhere near the head of the pack in this regard (as our rundown reveals).
You can, of course, charge during the day if that doesn’t bother you or even carry around a power bank to top up your phone when away from the wall plug, but if you don’t want to keep checking that percentage icon, then here are the phones that you should look to.
Best battery phones 2021
Doogee S58 Pro - Best overall
Battery test score: 14:10 (GB 4), 17:01 (PC Mark)
Battery size: 5180mAh
A budget offering that specialises in being resilient and long-lasting. The cameras and performance aren't great but the S58 Pro will still serve those looking for a device that can withstand an active lifestyle and long stints away from the wall plug well.
With some of the best battery longevity that we've tested, the S58 Pro is a great option for hikers, divers or people who work in extreme conditions. The one thing no-one can complain about is the battery, which lasts multiple days on a single charge.
Read our full Doogee S58 Pro review
Moto G9 Power - Best for ease of use
Battery test score: 16:18 (PC Mark)
Battery size: 6000mAh
The latest in a growing line of Moto G phones built specifically to offer exceptional battery longevity, the Moto G9 Power packs in a whopping 6000mAh cell, which offers up enough juice for multiple days usage at a time.
It also sports a pleasing display and a water-repellent design, and while its cameras are on the underwhelming side, if they're not your top priority, there's a lot going for the Moto G9 Power.
Read our full Moto G9 Power review
Moto G9 Play - Great value
Battery test score: 16:04 (PC Mark)
Battery size: 5000mAh
An even more affordable alternative to the G9 Power is Motorola's own G9 Play. While it doesn't pack in quite as sizeable a cell, the phone still delivers on battery life.
If you're not hankering after super-fast 5G mobile speeds, the Play is a great affordable option with a big screen and a huge battery.
The display needs work, as does the camera, but for the price and paired with Motorola's slick user experience, the G9 Play isn't a bad budget offering by any means.
Read our full Moto G9 Play review
Xiaomi Redmi Note 9S - Great all-rounder
Battery test score: 15:03 (GB 4)
Battery size: 5020mAh
The Redmi Note 9S' key selling point is its 5020mAh battery. With some budget- to mid-range hardware inside, along with a large (6.67in) - but only Full-HD+ - screen and the Snapdragon 720G processor, it was able to put in the longest result we've ever seen in the Geekbench 4 battery life test.
Though its battery life excels, this remains a budget phone, so you won't find support for wireless charging. It is otherwise a great all-rounder at this price.
Wired charging is fast - at 18W over USB-C - and a 22.5W charger is supplied in the box, which enabled us to get from 0 - 36% in 30 minutes.
Read our full Xiaomi Redmi Note 9S review
Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro - Most feature-packed
Battery test score: 14:24 (GB 4), 14:55 (PC Mark)
Battery size: 5000mAh
Dubbed a 'spec beast' in our review, the Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro packs in flagship-class innards against a mid-range price tag.
What's more, it features a huge 5000mAh battery that translates to days worth of use per charge and has no right being the final punctuation in a long list of hardware highlights.
If the battery alone isn't enough to tempt you, the 144Hz display, 108MP camera and the 5G connectivity should win you over.
Read our full Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro review
Vivo X51 - Best camera
Battery test score: 14:42 (PC Mark)
Battery size: 4315mAh
Vivo's first true offering in Western markets comes in the form of the Vivo X51 and it's a great first gambit - even if it's essentially just a re-branded take on the existing X50 Pro.
Its primary hook is a gimbal-stabilised main camera and a competent 5G-capable Snapdragon 765G chipset. A killer design and some top-notch battery life don't hurt either.
Read our full Vivo X51 review
Xiaomi POCO X3 NFC - Best value
Battery test score: 14:24 (PC Mark)
Battery size: 5160mAh
One of our favourite budget phones of 2020 also happens to be a superb battery champ, thanks to a large cell, efficient internals and 33W fast charging.
The version we reviewed features NFC but if you pick the Poco X3 up without this extra connectivity, the internal space is instead filled up by an even larger 6000mAh cell.
In testing, that 33W fast charging resulted in 59% charge after just 30 minutes.
Read our full Xiaomi Poco X3 NFC review
OnePlus 8T - Most powerful
Battery test score: 13:24 (GB 4)
Battery size: 4500mAh
OnePlus' last flagship of 2020 brings the heat with its 4500mAh battery, which delivers exceptional battery life but not only that, also includes rapid 65W fast charging, resulting in a full charge in just 39 minutes flat.
The inclusion of a 120Hz AMOLED display, Snapdragon 865+ chip and the latest Oxygen OS user experience make this an easy phone to recommend for those looking for an affordable flagship.
Read our full OnePlus 8T review
Xiaomi Mi Note 10 - Feature-packed
Battery test score: 13:13 (GB 4)
Battery size: 5260mAh
The Mi Note 10 is a great phone for many reasons and battery life is certainly one of them. You'll also benefit from 30W wired charging which gets you to 80% in 40 minutes and fully charged in just over an hour. Impressive stuff.
Read our full Xiaomi Mi Note 10 review
Doogee S88 Pro - Biggest battery
Battery test score: No score
Battery size: 10,000mAh
The Doogee S88 Pro's 10,000mAh battery is almost unheard of in a smartphone and double many of the other entries in this chart.
In fact, it lasted too long for us to effectively benchmark. Nonetheless, from typical everyday usage, we were able to get a ridiculous six and a half days on a single charge.
There's also 24W fast charging via the adapter included in the box and even 5W reverse wireless charging. Its rugged design and significant weight (372g) might put some people off, but for people who spend long periods away from the charger, this is a great option.
Read our full Doogee S88 Pro review
Battery capacity explained
Battery capacity is measured in milliamp-hours (mAh). The higher the mAh of a battery, the higher its technical capacity. But the phones with the highest mAh aren't always the phones with the best battery life.
It can depend on how efficient the phone's processor is in conjunction with the software, as well as how much you actually use your phone. Expensive high-end phones often are faster and have better screens, but require larger batteries to compensate or suffer from crippling shortfalls (such as with Google's Pixel 4).
What to look out for
When choosing a phone, it's important to consider what you'll likely use it for primarily and the hardware that it brings to the table. If you buy a larger-screened phone with a high-resolution display and a high peak brightness, those attributes are all going to affect longevity negatively compared to a phone with the same-sized battery but a smaller or lower-res panel, for example.
Some phones - particularly in the mid-range and budget segments - may offer large batteries and great battery life but forgo or offer underwhelming fast-charging speeds, meaning recharging them at any time other than overnight may become a chore.
Decent fast charging speeds wattages to look out for as of early 2021 are anything over 25W, with some devices boasting 65W and beyond at the top end of the current range.
What do the results show?
We're currently in a transitionary period and as such use two battery drain tests and record the results from both. We're transitioning from Geekbench 4’s battery test feature to PC Mark for Android's Work 2.0 battery test, meaning the results below are marked with which app the results came from.
For consistency's sake, we'll be replacing Geekbench 4 scores with PC Mark scores every time we update this list.
It's worth that these tests spit out a figure in minutes and seconds, but this is not an indication of how long a phone will actually last.
In all tests, the screen brightness is set to the same level to ensure a fair test (120cd/m2 for GB4, 200cd/m2 for PC Mark). The phone discharges its battery and the screen is set not to dim or turn off.
For example, if a phone lasts 12:15 in a test, it lasted 12 hours and 15 minutes with the screen on and the test processes running. These figures may vary from a device's own report of screen-on time, as usage and power management setups have an additional effect on real-world situations.
The star scores here are the scores we gave the phones overall in their original reviews, not star rating scores for battery life specifically. As we test more phones, we’ll update the chart.