The HomePod mini is shipped with a 20W USB-C Charger in the box. How much power do they actually draw during daily use? How long can a 10,000 mAh power bank power it?
HomePod mini is one of the most interesting products Apple had launched in 2020, along with the M1 Macs. As a fan of home automation and music-listening, this 99$ gadget is definitely a must-buy for me. Especially since this is also the first device from Apple that supports Thread and the first HomePod that has the U1 chip. If you are planning on building your smart home in 2021, you might want to consider it for your home.
HomePod mini comes with an Apple 20W USB-C charger in the box, as it gets power from its USB-C cable, which is permanently attached on the HomePod mini end. Several users reported that at launch in November 2020, you must use the included charger to use the HomePod mini, but in mid-December, Apple released software update 14.3 that allows HomePod mini to be powered by other types of USB-C chargers.
Technically, now you can make the HomePod mini portable by using a power bank.
But, is it really possible? How long can a 10,000 mAh power bank keep a HomePod mini running?
Good questions. The first question can be easily answered: Yes! It is possible. The second question is a little bit more complicated, so let’s do a simple experiment to answer it.
Disclaimer: Information on this article was written based on my personal experiment, and certainly was not conducted inside a laboratory condition. I did the experiment because I was curious, and this experiment was not endorsed, paid, or influenced by anybody. Use the information for yourself only (although you are more than welcome to share this articles with your friends). Inputs are welcome.
- Apple HomePod mini, Space Gray,
- Baseus 18W 10,000 mAh/3.7V/37Wh power bank,
- Satechi USB-C Power Meter Tester,
- iPad Air 3 (2019) as the Apple Music controller for the HomePod mini.
This article will run you through these tests:
- Test 1: Charging an iPad Air 3 at 60% battery,
- Test 2: HomePod mini on standby (waiting for command/Hey Siri),
- Test 3: HomePod mini at 30% volume,
- Test 4: HomePod mini at 50% volume,
- Test 5: HomePod mini at 70% volume,
- Test 6: HomePod mini at 85% volume,
- Test 7: HomePod mini at 100% volume,
I am using a Satechi USB-C Power Meter Tester which is available to buy here. This device shows us the Volt and Ampere that are currently running through it, and by using a simple calculation (Volt x Ampere), we can get the Watt.
During each of the tests, I played Black by Danger Mouse and Daniele Luppi from Apple Music at different volumes.
Accuracy of The Tests
The amounts of Volt and Ampere are not flowing at a persistent rate (you can see it in the video on Test no. 7 below). I tried to take the pictures at the average number of Ampere during each test case for the best reference.
Enough talk, let’s see the results.
Test 1: Charging an iPad Air 3 at 60% battery
As a sample, I connected my iPad Air 3 to the power bank, and it shows 11.9V and 1.45A, which translate to 17.26 watts. This is in line with the power bank’s rated power of 18 watts.
Test 2: HomePod mini on standby
On standby, the HomePod mini uses 0.27 watts of power as it is connected to the network waiting for your command from another device or “Hey Siri” voice command.
Test 3: HomePod mini on 30% volume,
While playing the music at 30% volume, the HomePod mini uses 0.81 watts. This volume is perfect for background noise while working.
Test 4: HomePod mini at 50% volume,
While playing the music at 50% volume, the HomePod mini uses 1.17 watts. This volume is best when you want to chill and listen to some music.
Test 5: HomePod mini at 70% volume,
While playing the music at 70% volume, the HomePod mini uses 2.25 watts.
Test 6: HomePod mini at 85% volume,
While playing the music at 85% volume, the HomePod mini uses 4.68 watts. It is impossible to talk without shouting if there’s a HomePod mini playing music at 85% volume 1 meter (6 feet) away from you.
Test 7: HomePod mini at 100% volume,
At full blast, we see that the power usage hits 9.19 watts, and it registers a 17.21 watts of peak usage (8.92V 1.93A). Most of the time, it will use around 6–12 watts.
At this volume, the HomePod mini fills the entire room. It is very loud and I personally never play music at this volume, but I use the HomePod mini (stereo pair) to watch movies at this volume.
The HomePod mini use:
- 0.27 watts on standby,
- 0.81 watts at 30% volume,
- 1.17 watts at 50% volume,
- 2.25 watts at 70% volume,
- 4.68 watts at 85% volume, and
- 9.19 watts at 100% volume.
During most of the tests, the HomePod mini does not use all the 18 watts available from the power bank. During daily use, I use it at 30–50% volume which means it pulls around 1 watt from the wall. During standby, it only uses around 0.3 watts, making it a very efficient little device and I don’t need to worry about my electricity bill even if I have 5 of them around the house.
Based on my testing I also found out that my HomePod mini can only work when my power bank supplies it with 9V of power. When I switched it to 5V, the HomePod mini simply refuses to work (the light blinks orange).
Edit: I just found this document by Apple on HomePod mini’s Product Environmental Report, and on the last page they mentioned power usage when playing music at 50% volume, which is around 1.28–1.34 watts.
So, how long can a 10,000 mAh power bank keep a HomePod mini running?
I did a test playing the HomePod mini at 30% volume, and after around 15 hours the power bank still has around 50% of power remaining. That means that it theoretically can power a full day (24 hours) of music listening.
Please note that I did the test in my own home at a temperature of 25° Celsius (77° Fahrenheit). Batteries are known to discharge faster in cold weather.
The final verdict is that technically you can bring a HomePod mini to a camping trip with a power bank!
Thanks for reading!
- Deleted mention that you need to have a portable WiFi hotspot to use HomePod on a camping trip. Turns out we can use HomePod without hotspot/internet, but we still need WiFi to connect between HomePod and iPhone via Airplay (Note: I have never tried this myself).
- Added mention of a document from Apple on HomePod mini’s Product Environmental Report (including the link).