I have been testing the Jackery Explorer 500 and SolarSaga 100W Portable Power Station for many months. I use it as a way to charge my laptop, phone, music speaker, etc. when I’m in the garden. It would also be useful for car-to-camp camping and for RV owners who don’t have a leisure battery installed.
The Jackery Explorer 500 is a 518 Wh lithium portable power station.
- The Jackery Explorer 500 has a 518 watt-hour (24 Ah, 21.6 V) lithium-ion battery
- 1 AC socket (230V, 500W) with pure sine wave inverter
- 3 USB-A ports
- 2 DC ports
- 1 car garage for low to high power appliances, including a mini-fridge, air pump, and TV.
- Built-in LED flashlight
- LCD screen that tells you exactly how full the battery is
- Designed for portability
- Different recharging options: a plug for home electricity, car battery (plug into cigarette lighter) and solar power when combined with Jackery SolarSaga 100W solar panel (sold separately).
- Price: £556.99 for the power station and £272.99 for the portable solar panel.
- See jackery generator and the solar panel
- there is also a case at £42 to £50.
- Note: I receive a small commission for sales through Amazon.
Jackery Explorer 500 Power Station Charging
- Home Wall Charger: 7 to 8 hours for the battery to reach 100% power.
- Car charger: A car cigarette lighter takes 11-12 hours to fully charge
- Portable solar panel: Using the SolarSaga 100W takes more than 16 hours (so they say).
My Thoughts: Jackery Explorer 500 Portable Power Station
As the name suggests, the Jackery Explorer 500 Portable Power Station provides 500 watts of power. There are bigger versions if you think you’ll need more power, but that means the power plant is bigger and heavier.
The Explorer 500 will automatically turn off if you try to plug in a device that consumes more than 500W, for example a hair dryer or electric kettle.
The 500 version weighs about 6 kg. It’s fairly easy to carry, with a large plastic handle, but I don’t think you’d want to carry it very far.
At first I wasn’t sure if I would make much use of the Jackery Explorer 500 Portable Power Station. I have a motorhome with a leisure battery, plus I have a handy inverter that plugs into my truck’s cigarette lighter port and can be used for power things like my laptop.
But then summer came and I wanted to move my « office » to the garden. I usually used an extension cord from the house to my yard work station for power, but I found the Jackery to be a great alternative option.
Wherever I am in the garden, we have quite a large garden, I can have power with me. So I can connect my laptop, phone and speaker to listen to music, for example, anywhere.
This would also be a great device for car-to-camp trips. The Jackery’s Power Station isn’t small and light enough to carry too far, but if you’re simply hauling items from a car to a camping spot or picnic spot, it’s easy enough to take with you.
The station itself is thick and made of durable materials. It has a large handle that makes it very easy and comfortable to carry.
This can be connected to the portable solar panel to increase the charge. The solar panel folds in half and also has an easy-to-use handle for carrying it.
I would say the solar panel is better for a boost than a full recharge. I’ve found that even when left in full sunlight for a full day, the charge boost is slow and limited. I think the panel is better to help boost the load on the power plant, rather than as a full recharge.
The best way to recharge the power station is by plugging it in at home or using your car’s cigarette lighter port (I suggest you do this while driving).
When fully charged, the power station offered many hours of charge for my laptop. I can plug in the laptop and use a USB port to charge my phone.
Note that the USB ports are standard A and not the more modern USB-C, which I have for some home appliances. It would be better if one or two of the USB ports were the more modern C ones. (I suppose it’s possible to buy converters to solve the problem if you don’t want to use a plug).
Also note that there is only one standard plug port, which could be a limitation if you want to charge more than one item that has a plug, such as a laptop, and for charging a bluetooth speaker.
There are other useful ports, including DC ports and a car port for running appliances like a mini-fridge, air pump, or even a TV.
One thing that is a bit annoying, although you do get used to it, is that from time to time the power plant makes a noise, like a fan revving up. This is apparently the low power cooling fans that kick in when the station gets hot and is most noticeable when using the AC plug outlet.
For this reason, you don’t want to use the Jackery in a place where you need quiet. I’m not sure turning on a TV with Jackery is a good idea, as the fan noise would disturb your TV enjoyment.
Also, keep in mind that the power station is not waterproof, so you have to take it indoors or in a tent or caravan when it rains.
Conclusion: I have found that I have used the Jackery Explorer 500 Portable Power Station a lot more than I thought. It’s great for spending time outdoors, whether in the garden or camping. It’s what I would call « quite portable », if you’re not going too far on foot.
If you have a semi-converted pickup truck, you could make good use of this portable power station for electronics.
A full charge overnight is the best way to recharge the power station, while the solar panel can be used to supplement charging when outdoors and using the power station.
It’s great to have multiple ports for electronics, though I’d like to see a USB-C port and not just the A ports.
The power station can be noisy when the fan kicks in, but I don’t mind that kind of noise. Other people may find it really irritating, especially if they try to listen to music or watch TV.
The Jackery isn’t cheap, but it looks and feels sturdy and durable. It is a pity that the power station is not waterproof.
Overall, I have been very impressed with the Jackery Explorer 500 Portable Power Station.
- They sent me a Jackery Explorer 500 portable power station and solar panel, plus carrying case, in exchange for an honest review.