Keeping my various electronic gadgets powered on the road can be cumbersome, but I have a pretty good system worked out. That being said, I’m always looking for a better way to keep my gear charged. So, when I happened to walk by a few Fuel Rod kiosks recently, I was at least initially curious.
It was a long shot this would be a viable option, but I did a little research anyways to see if it would be a good fit for any of my readers.
The machines advertise a $20 fully charged battery to charge your various devices. $20 buys you the battery and charging tips for Android and Apple devices (both the older 30-pin connection and the newer lighting cable) as well as a cable to recharge your battery if you so choose.
You can also deposit your spent battery (fuel rod) in a machine and get a fully charged one.
I spent some time on the Fuel Rod website trying to figure out what the capacity of the battery is. Unfortunately, they’re not very forthcoming about that. By looking at pictures on the website and other places on the internet, I can gather it’s pretty similar to the smallest Anker battery I carry in my backpack.
The cheapest I had seen it over the last few months was $13.99, but Amazon has it for $9.99 (as long as black is your color, since they charge $20 for some of the other colors). That’s rated as a 3350 man battery, and I can generally get almost 2 charges of my iPhone before this little guy dies. For roughly the same $20 Fuel Rod is charging, you can get this 6400 mAh battery from Anker (again, the other colors will cost you more).
So far, Fuel Rod has 9 airport locations:
- San Diego
- Minneapolis-St. Paul
- Kansas City, MO
I happen to have run through two of their 9 airports in the past couple of week (Kansas City and San Diego) or I probably wouldn’t even have gotten curious.
There’s probably a business model here for them, but they’re going to need a lot more airports. Is it worth it for you to pay $20 for one of these batteries? If you’re in the airport and running desperately low on juice and you don’t have a power cord, maybe. But, there are a lot more places to charge your phone than there used to be, including quite a few airplanes.
Oh, and the links for the Anker batteries above are Amazon referral links for me. If you bought half a dozen of these I could buy a cup of coffee at Starbucks. Good thing I don’t drink coffee. That’s the lowest price I’ve seen for the smallest Anker, and about half what I paid when I bought mine.
If I happen to be through one of these airports again, I’ll likely buy one and compare the charging time to one of my current batteries. Even if it’s a good battery, Fuel Rod will need more locations if they want to build a viable business model.