April 5, 2020

Jackery Explorer 1000 Portable Power Station – 10 Things You Should Know Before Buying

Looking for an EASY way to power your laptop, CPAP, portable DC refrigerator, or other electronics while traveling or camping off-grid? The new Jackery Explorer 1000 portable lithium power station may be exactly what you need.

The Jackery Explorer 1000 has double the capacity of its predecessor the Explorer 500. It also has more power outlets, USB ports and recharging options.

Here are a few things I’ve learned about the Jackery Explorer 1000 while testing and using it to help you decide if it’s right for you. Let’s start with benefits of owning a portable power station.

1. Why Are Portable Power Stations So Popular?

Portable power stations like this are very useful for providing electricity when and wherever electricity is not available. They come in various sizes from 100, 250, 500 and now 1000+ watt hours of capacity. Basically, the larger the capacity the more power it provides.

Once charged, you can simply plug your equipment and electronics and enjoy those conveniences wherever you are.

With a portable power station you can:

  • Power and recharge lights, phones, tablets, laptops and other small electronics
  • Power a small portable refrigerator
  • Run a CPAP machine while camping, tailgating or RVing
  • or run small power tools on the jobsite

Larger capacity power stations (like this Jackery Explorer 1000, 1500W Maxoak Bluetti and others) now include the same type of high-end components you would find in small-sized off-grid power installations.

Fast-charging lithium battery banks, 1000 watt pure-sine power inverters, and sophisticated MPPT (Maximum Power Point Tracking) re-charging systems are now standard components. And you get it all in a portable package.

Why is this a good off-grid power solution for small RVs and campers? With one of these power stations, you’ll have plenty of power for boondocking or dry-camping in one compact unit. If you’ve been holding back on installing your own off-grid power system, a portable power station is a “One And Done!” solution.

2. What Can You Run With 1000 Watt Hours of Capacity?

There’s a lot you can power with a 1000 watt pure-sine inverter. Since it provides the same clean AC power you get at home, just plug anything into the AC outlets and you’re up and running.

Is your CPAP preventing you from boondocking? This power bank can easily power a CPAP for several nights.

Laptops, TVs and portable refrigerators can be powered for multiple days as well.

You could run a coffee pot, hot plate, induction plate or small microwave for short periods of time as long as the total power level doesn’t exceed the 1000 watt rating on the inverter. The inverter can surge up to 2000 watts for short periods. So if you do go over 1000 watts briefly, it’ll be ok.

RVWITHTITO - Jackery Explorer 1000

Finally, if all you need is to recharge your small electronics, then the battery charge will last a very very long time. In fact you could even go for a smaller unit like the Jackery Explorer 500.

3. Is the Explorer 1000 a Solar Generator?

The definition of “Solar Generator” is highly debated online. So I won’t bother adding to the confusion. Can you recharge the Jackery Explorer 1000 from solar? Yes.

RVWITHTITO - Jackery Explorer 1000 with Solar

Jackery recommends their 100 Watt Solar Saga Portable Solar Panel for solar recharging. But you can also use your own solar panels for recharging. I’ll talk more about this in the recharging section below.

4. How Portable Is It?

When I first received the Explorer 1000, I was surprised how compact and small this was. I expected it to be bulkier and heavier given all of the components that were inside. But the size seemed just about right — not too big and not too small.

It’s about the size of a 12 pack of beer and weighs in at only 22 pounds. I found it very easy to lift, carry around and stash away.

In comparison, the larger Maxoak Bluetti weighs roughly 38 pounds which is about the same as a small portable generator. Sure it has more capacity than the Explorer 1000, but the difference in weight and dimension is noticeable.

5. Is it Easy to Use?

YES. Simpy power on the battery pack, plug in your electronics and make sure the AC, DC or both sections are enabled. It’s that easy.

The power ports, buttons, and status display are clearly marked and all accessible from the front panel. With no receptacles on the back or side, you can easily tuck it into a corner. The only thing on the sides are cooling vents and a built in flashlight.

RVWITHTITO - Jackery Explorer 1000

The AC and DC sections are separated. You can turn power on or off to each section with a push of a button. I recommend only enabling the sections you need in order to conserve power.

There are three 120 Volt AC power outlets in the AC section. So you won’t have to use a power strip for multiple electrical cords.

The DC section has four USB ports. There are two USB-C ports plus two standard USB ports. The bottom USB port is designated for quick charging.  There’s also a cigarette lighter style DC power plug in the DC section that provides a steady 13.2 volts.

Finally, the status display shows you the exact percentage of capacity remaining plus the amount of power (in watts) coming in and going out.

6. How do you recharge the Jackery Explorer 1000?

Charge From Household AC Outlet

Recharging using the AC charger (provided) is the fastest way to recharge the Explorer 1000.  Just plug it into a standard household AC outlet. The transformer outputs 24 volts DC generating a steady 164 watts of charge until full.

Charge While Driving (Car Charger)

A DC charging plug and cable is included. So you can easily charge the Explorer 1000 while driving. Just plug it into the cigarette lighter socket and get free power while you travel.

I noticed that the input maxes out at roughly 80 watts.

Charge from Solar Panels

There are two ways to recharge the Explorer 1000 from solar. The first option is to use Jackery’s Solar Saga portable solar panel (not included). The cord included with the Solar Saga will plug directly into the 8mm charging port of the Jackery Explorer 1000.

The second option is to connect one or more solar panels to the Anderson Power Pole charging input. There is no cable included for this, but you can buy them online. Here is a link to the Anderson Power Pole to MC4 adapter cable I picked up from Amazon.

RVWITHTITO - MC4 Adapter for Jackery Explorer 1000

7. How Long Does It Take to Recharge?

Charging times vary depending on the source. The fastest way to recharge the Explorer 1000 is to use the AC power charger. Charging from solar would be the second fastest option.

One or more solar panels could generate the same amount of power as the AC charger. However, limited sun exposure throughout the day will limit the charge duration.

Here are rough recharge times

Power Level Time to Full Charge
AC charger 160 watts 7 hours
Car charger 80 watts 14 hours
100 watts solar 80-100 watts 10 hours
200 watts solar 160 watts (10A max) 7 hours

8. Can It Be Recharged From Two Sources At Once?

NO. You might have thought it possible to charge from both the 8mm charging port and Anderson Power Pole input simultaneously for faster charging. Well, that’s not the case. I tested that option and here’s what I found.

When power is applied to both charging inputs, the Explorer 1000 uses the 8mm charging port. Only when there is no power coming in from the primary charging port will the charger accept a charge from the Anderson Power Pole input.

You can keep both cables plugged in though and the internal charger will switch accordingly.

I keep the car charger plugged in to the primary charging port and also plug a roof mounted solar panel into the Anderson port. While the car is running, it charges from the alternator. With the engine off, it takes the charge from the solar panel. There’s no need to keep switching cables around with this setup.

9. Is it worth the price?

Compared to other Jackery Explorer products, Explorer 1000 seems appropriately priced. The retail price for the Jackery Explorer is $999. That’s twice the price of its predecessor the Jackery Explorer 500 which has half the capacity and fewer options.

How does it compare to other 1000 watt or better lithium power stations? Similar power stations like the Bluetti, Suaoki, ECOFLOW, and Goal Zero Yeti are all priced over $1000.


Add up the price of the components included in these power stations and you’ll see why they are priced over $1000. The combined cost of a large lithium battery, battery management system, battery monitor, 1000 watt pure sine inverter, and MPPT charge controller alone would put you over that amount.

10. What Would Make It Better?

Overall, I am pleased with the Jackery Explorer 1000 and believe it will be a good product for Jackery. I’ve used it regularly to power my portable DC refrigerator 24/7 and prefer it over the Bluetti primarily because the Bluetti lacks a car charging option.

Jackery does not provide an Anderson to MC4 adapter to use with non-Jackery solar panels. Considering the price you’ll pay for this power station, I believe Jackery should throw in this adapter cable so you wouldn’t have to find and buy one.

Outside of that…the compactness and portability of this unit is a big plus as are the multiple recharge options. It’s not the largest unit out there but, with the multiple recharge options, I’m able to keep it regularly charged up.

Here is a link to the Jackery Explorer 1000 to get current pricing and product information.

Brian

Often confused as Tito, Brian answers to both. Other known aliases are "Obi Wan Titobi" and "Brito". He thinks solar power is cool and enjoys being off-grid teaching others how to do the same.

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