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Review: Jackery Explorer 500W portable power station

Jackery Explorer 500W portable power station review

The Jackery Explorer 500W 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 the Jackery Explorer to the test whilst working remotely from our campervan in France – read on to find out more about it.

Contents

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 500W gives us the flexibility as digital nomads to work wherever we travel

Functionality

The Jackery Explorer 500W 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 Explorer 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 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 Explorer 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 500W

You can buy the Jackery Explorer 500W portable power station and the Solar Saga 100W solar panels on Amazon, and using our discount code CLIMBINGVAN1 you can get 5% off!

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

Thanks for reading, if you have any questions feel free to drop us a message on here or via Instagram!  

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