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Jackery 500 review – 518Wh portable power station

Charlie and Dale are authors of The Van Conversion Bible. They travel full-time in their van Ringo.

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Jackery Explorer 500 review – 518Wh portable power station

The Jackery Explorer 500 is an all-in-one solution to a campervan electrical system. It combines a lithium leisure battery, a pure sine wave inverter and a solar charge controller in one portable unit and weighs in at only 6kg, making it perfect for van life.

It can be charged via a mains plug socket or by connecting to a Jackery 100W Solar Saga solar panel, and it features 12V DC and USB charging points, and a 230V AC plug socket.

We put it to the test whilst working remotely from our campervan in France – read on to read our Jackery 500 review.

Looking for a different size Jackery? Read our Jackery Explorer 240 review and our Jackery Explorer 1000 review if you need a smaller or larger portable power station.

jackery explorer 500 portable power bank and jackery solar saga 100w solar panels in an off grid setup van life digital nomad

The Jackery Explorer 500 gives us the flexibility as digital nomads to work wherever we travel

Functionality

The Jackery Explorer 500 is comprised of a lithium-ion battery, a pure sine wave inverter, and a solar charge controller. Its screen shows power input, output and state of charge, and its face is covered in various charging ports. The unit has a built in handle, making it easy to move about. 

Battery capacity

The Jackery 500 has a built-in 518Wh (24Ah) lithium battery. This is enough to charge a laptop using a 60W charger 5 times, or a phone using a 10W charger around 50 times.

Power input

The Jackery Explorer can be charged in 3 ways:

  • A mains power wall plug (~7-8 hours)
  • A car cigarette lighter (~7-8 hours)
  • Solar Saga 100W solar panel (~9-10 hours using a 100W solar panel)
We’ve included more info about the Jackery Solar Saga solar panels below.

Power output

The Jackery Explorer has a range of different power outputs:

  • 1x 12V DC car cigarette lighter charger
  • 3x 12V DC USB chargers
  • 1x 230V AC mains power plug sockets

The 230V mains power is supplied from an internal pure sine wave 500W inverter, meaning the unit can power up to a mains power product with a total wattage under 500W.

Once you have plugged in your appliance, you can swap between the different type of outputs (AC, USB and DC) by using the buttons on the main face.

Display

The Jackery has a useful display which shows power input (which is useful for measuring total power draw from your solar panels) and power output (to show how much power your appliances are using) measured in watts. It also shows the current state of charge of the power bank.
jackery explorer 500 portable power bank built in screen

Solar Saga 100W solar panel

The Jackery Explorer 500 can be paired with the Jackery Solar Saga 100W monocrystalline solar panel to make a completely off-grid setup. The built-in MPPT charge controller converts the power harnessed from the solar panel to recharge the internal lithium battery.
 
We used the Jackery 500 when working outside, and it was the perfect setup for keeping our laptops powered all day. The solar panel is super efficient and fully charges the Jackery power bank in 9.5 hours.
 
The panel weighs only 4kg, so the total setup of both the power bank and the panel is 10kg. The panel is foldable and has convenient carry handles, as well as a  built-in kickstand so you can angle the panel towards the sun.

 

Recommended usage

The Jackery Explorer 500 is perfect for someone converting a smaller campervan who doesn’t want to install a full electrical system, but still wants access to 12V and 230V power. Paired with the Solar Saga 100W solar panel, it makes a great little off-grid setup with zero installation requirements.

We also rated the Jackery Explorer and Solar Saga panel as a great van life working setup, to provide extra flexibility for remote working. When it’s sunny, we love to work outside on our laptops, and the Jackery Explorer meant we didn’t have to retreat to our van when our laptop batteries were low. It would also be useful as a backup power bank for those with a lower spec electrical system.

The Jackery Explorer 500 weighs 6kg and the Solar Saga 100W solar panel weighs 4kg, so at a total of 10kg it’s not a significant weight to add to your conversion, and would also be perfect for car camping.

Where to buy the Jackery Explorer 500

So now that you’ve read our Jackery 500 review, if you’ve decided it’s the right powerbank for you, where can you buy it?

We now have all of the Jackery powerbanks and solar panels for sale on our webshop! Plus we’ve benchmarked all of our prices to ensure we’re cheaper than competitors. 

jackery explorer 500 portable power bank and jackery solar saga 100w solar panels in an off grid setup van life digital nomad

Jackery 500 FAQs

How much is a Jackery 500?

The Jackery Explorer 500 costs £502.99 when you buy it from Climbingvan, which is cheaper than Amazon and we offer free delivery on orders over £50.

What can a Jackery 500 power?

The Jackery 500 can power any 230V appliance with a power draw which is below 500W, such as a SUP board pump, a speaker, a TV, an outdoor light, or hair straighteners. It can also charge devices such as laptops, cameras and phones.

How long does Jackery 500 last?

The Jackery 500 power station will last for 25 hours if it is powering something which draws 20 watts, such as a phone charger. It will last for 5.5 hours if it is powering something which draws 90W, such as a drone charger.

How long to charge a Jackery 500?

The Jackery 500 will take 5-6 hours to fully charge when it’s plugged into a mains socket. It can also be charged from a car’s cigarette lighter socket (5-6 hours) or from portable solar panels (7-8 hours using a 100W solar panel).

How many years will a Jackery 500 last?

The Jackery 500 battery will last for 10 years if you use it around four times per month (on average). The Jackery 500’s battery has a cycle life of 500 cycles. After 500 cycles, the battery’s capacity will be reduced to ∼80% of its original capacity, meaning it will still work, but won’t hold as much charge.

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