Battery life is not a strength of GoPros (or of GoPro competitors, for that matter). If you get two hours of shooting time out of one you're doing well. Most of the time you'll get significantly less, with some shooting modes and features eating into battery life more than others.
So if you're wanting to get more than an hour or two of shooting and don't want to be juggling spare batteries all the time, you might be interested in the options for extended battery life with these cameras.
Many of the older GoPro models had a port on the back panel that could be used to attach a GoPro BacPac extended battery to the back of the camera. That port is not on the newer models like the HERO6 Black and HERO5 Black, so the BacPac batteries are no longer an option.
Nor is it an option to use the internal battery space. That's a small space, and there's only so much juice the current lithium battery technology can cram into a space that size. The standard GoPro internal battery is rated for 1220mAh.
There aren't a whole lot of options for extended batteries that are compatible with the HERO5 Black and HERO6 Black, but there are some. All of the current range are external batteries that supply the charge through the camera's USB-C port on the side. That means removing the side door, which in turn means that the camera itself is no longer waterproof. Some of the options overcome that by including a waterproof housing that goes over the whole thing; some don't.
Of course, you can just plug in any old USB powerbank and use that as an extended battery, and that's one of the options listed below. But that's not always a practical solution for various reasons.
So there are some other options worth considering. Which works best depends on how you want to use it. Do you need it to be waterproof, for example? Or do you need it to remain minimalist in size? Some of the options have strengths and weaknesses when it comes to considerations like those.
Wasabi Extended Battery
The battery is rated for 2500mAh and it comes with a frame mount to hold it securely in place. I have a hands-on review of the Wasabi Extended Battery here. For now, it's not an option if you need something waterproof because they've not yet released a waterproof housing that's compatible. Another important consideration is that it completely obscures the camera's back screen.
- Compact. From the front, it retains the GoPros' small size (most of the battery sits behind the camera)
- Not waterproof. Waterproof housing not yet available.
- Back screen obscured. You can't see or use the camera's back screen. The battery completely covers it.
Oumers Side PowerAmazon.
The battery is rated for a capacity of 2300mAh (nearly double of the standard internal battery). It has an integrated USB-C plug, so there's no need for a separate cable to connect to the camera--it just plugs right into the side. The dedicated housing that comes with it is what holds the two pieces securely together.
The result is simple to use, although the side-by-side layout makes the whole thing significantly larger and bulkier, which isn't going to be ideal for every mounting situation. But if you need a waterproof extended battery, it's about the only practical option for now.
You're not alone if you haven't heard of this brand--I hadn't either. But I bought one to try out, and it has been working as advertised for me. I've posted a detailed review of the Oumers Side Power here.
- Waterproof when used in the housing. It's a dive housing rated down to around 150 feet (45 meters).
- Can't use the camera's touch screen controls (but you can still see the back screen for viewing.)
- Can overheat in some conditions.
- The housing can fog up in humid/damp conditions.
Wasabi Power Clutch
You can find them at Amazon.
I've posted a more detailed review of the Wasabi Power Clutch here.
- You get a battery and grip in one.
- Large capacity battery (5300mAh).
- Compatible with any GoPro (or any other camera that can powered by USB, for that matter, provided to add a mounting adapter).
- Not waterproof.
- Best for hand-held shooting and not really suitable if you plan to mount the camera on something else.
Standard External Powerbank
This approach adds maximum flexibility in many respects. If you want to add a battery that has over 20 times the capacity of the standard GoPro battery and get many hours of shooting, you can. But it also adds some complexity, at least in terms of creating a secure, portable package. And it's not waterproof on its own without some creative DIYing for a housing or one of these off-the-shelf options.
If you're looking for suggestions, I've been impressed with Anker's offerings, which range from high-capacity, larger batteries like Amazon to highly portable but smaller-capacity batteries like Amazon. I've also put together a post on some of my favorite powerbanks.
- Widely compatible. Pretty much any external USB powerbank will work.
- Not limited to the GoPro HERO6 Black and HERO5 Black (so long as you switch the cable to the one the camera uses).
- Not waterproof.
- Cumbersome, with multiple moving parts and points of weakness. Best suited to static filming.
All of these batteries connect via the camera's USB-C port. When using them, the external battery first charges the internal battery, and the camera is actually powered from the internal battery (ie. it's not bypassed). Once the external battery is depleted, the internal battery will continue powering the camera until it too is depleted.
It is also possible to power the camera only with an external battery. Here's more on that.
Images and product information from Amazon Product Advertising API were last updated on 2018-09-21 at 22:37.
Common GoPro Questions
Here are some common questions I get from GoPro users.
How to Maximize a GoPro's battery life
There are several factors that influence how long the GoPro's battery life lasts. Among them include what mode you're recording in (4K uses more power than 1080p30, for instance), the health of the battery, and even the environmental temperature (lithium batteries don't perform well in very cold temperatures). But there are some things you can do to maximize battery life. Not every GoPro has all of these features, but start with these:
- Minimize use of the back screen
- Turn off wireless
- Turn off voice commands
- Turn off GPS
- Turn off Protune
- Use QuickCapture mode
Is it normal for GoPro cameras to get hot?
Yes. Depending on the model and the shooting mode you're using, it's normal for GoPros to get quite warm while shooting. They can get hot enough to be uncomfortable to touch. It's especially noticeable when shooting high-resolution and high-framerate video. Some newer models have an overheating protection mechanism that will shut the camera down if it gets too hot. I have more details on GoPros getting hot, here.
How can I control a GoPro remotely?
GoPro makes a range of wireless remote controls. They don't all work with all GoPros--for example, the HERO (2018) isn't compatible with this type of remote control. Many of the newer models also work with the GoPro mobile app. Not every model can be controlled remotely, but most of the newer models have wireless compatibility that can be used for at least some methods of remote control.
Can you take pictures with a GoPro?
If you've been using a GoPro for a while, this might seem pretty obvious, but if you've never used one, it's not quite so self-evident. GoPros are best known for dramatic action videos, but they can most certainly take still photos too. In fact, they can be a very interesting alternative to a traditional camera so long as you work within its limitations. I have more more details here.
Do GoPro wireless controls work underwater?
No. You can't use the mobile app or a wireless remote control if the camera is fully submerged in water. They will normally work just fine in rain and spray--just not submerged. I have a more detailed explanation here.
Do GoPro touchscreens work underwater?
No. If they're just wet above water, they can work to some extent, although often less reliably. But the touchscreens won't work underwater.