Jackery Explorer 500
Easy to use9.8/10
Value for money9.2/10
- The design is rugged yet appealing
- Can power many different types of appliances
- Includes efficient lithium-ion battery
- Easy to carry with a solid handle
- No wastage of power
- Very quiet (even with cooling fans)
- No USB-C port
Prevalent since 2012 in the industry, Jackery holds expertise in delivering outdoor green power solutions for explorers. One of the most useful types of products from this brand is portable power stations. Jackery explorer 500 portable power stations are rechargeable battery-powered generators. Incorporated with the DC car port, AC outlet, and USB charging ports, these portable power stations keep all your devices charged. You can charge your devices like laptops, smartphones, CPAP machines, electric grills, coffee makers, mini coolers, etc.
Prominent benefits of using Jackery explorer 500 portable power station include safety, rechargeable, ease of use, quiet operation, and zero maintenance cost. Throughout the operation, the portable power station don’t make pollution. Now let’s get deep into the following Jackery explorer 500 portable power station review to make a judicious decision about portable power station.
With the 518Wh battery capacity, this Jackery explorer power station is efficient enough to power several appliances. You can charge devices like a cooling fan, a mini-fridge, an air pump, a TV, etc. Whether you are out for an outdoor adventure or a road trip or camping or simply traveling in a car, this 500w portable power station will prove to be a practical solution.
If you don’t want to use its 110V/500W AC outlet, you can use its solar panel. So, this equipment can work as a solar generator. For that, you can pair this Jackery explorer 500 portable power station with the SolarSaga 100 Solar Panel to obtain a constant power supply directly from the sunlight. No need for a charge controller on the panel.
To make sure the generated power lasts long, this equipment is constructed with an efficient lithium-ion battery pack. The battery power lasts long for each of your outdoor adventures. The entire body of this explorer 500 portable power station is made rugged yet compact for portability. The exterior has no extra embellishments, so no worries about breaking off or catching nearby objects. Accessories in the pack are a car charger cable, an AC adapter, and a user manual.
- The pure sine wave inverter presents a clean AC supply at 110V, 60 Hz.
- With the AC wall charger, the unit charges within 8 hours. When a 100W solar panel, the unit gets charged in 12 hours.
- A 110V/500W AC outlet is included for charging.
- Pass-through charging is supported.
- Names of ports available are a car port, an AC outlet (110V/500W 1000W peak), 2 DC ports, and 3 USB-A ports.
- Battery Management System controls every individual cell to enhance the battery life cycle when being pass-through charged.
- It is easy to carry this power station with a solid handle. So, it is a reliable choice for a road trips, camping, and home backup.
- Protection features available are over-current, short-current, over-charge, over-discharge, over-voltage, and thermal protection.
From this Jackery explorer 500 portable power station review, it is now easy to get the portable power station from this renowned brand. Jackery explorer 500 power stations are reliable enough to efficiently charge your electronic devices. With multiple ways of charging, they provide you flexibility on the go. Despite packing in a massive power, they are lightweight and portable.
Top 10 Jackery Explorer 500 Portable Power Station Reviews
1. Why didn’t I get the Jackery Explorer 500 sooner?
I live in Florida and this is a must have for power outages, camping, and hurricane preparation. It’s so much easier than a traditional generator. It’s also a much cleaner solution and easier to have available when needed. The display screen is very helpful as far as knowing whether or not it’s fully charged. It has ample outlets and ways to charge it as well. I have to to also get the solar panels. I cannot wait for my next camping adventure to use Jackery Explorer 500.
Update: Just pulled this out of the garage ahead of the upcoming hurricane Isaias and the charge level is still 100% from last year!
2. Great all around product! – Jackery Explorer 500
The Jackery Explorer 500 is a solid, well designed product. The unit is rugged and compact with nothing on the exterior to break off or catch on nearby objects. The display shows charge level, charging wattage, and use wattage, all very handy. The pure sine wave inverter provides a clean AC supply at 110V, 60 hz. The unit charges in 8 hours with the AC wall charger, and 12 hrs with a 100W solar panel. Solar charging is ultra simple, requiring no charge controller on the panel, simply an MC4 to 8mm connector from the panel. Pass through charging is awesome, gives the ability to charge and use the unit simultaneously. DC socket provides a solid 12V (actually 13.4V) to ensure your 12V devices have full voltage as the battery discharges. The unit can run as many devices as you can plug in at a time in the 12V, 120VAC and USB sockets, as long as it doesnt go over the 500W max. The 6 hour socket timeout for loads less than 10W is still an undesirable feature. Running a ceiling fan or diesel heater in my van, the unit shut off sooner than desired. Jackery is working on extending the timeout time, but until then the problem can be solved by adding an additional load (cell phone charging or light) to get load over 10W and avoid the unit shutting down.
The price is on-par with other portable power units at about $1 per watt hour. As mentioned, the battery is lithium ion, which has only 500 use cycles vs. LiFePo batteries at 2000. However, I dont think any LiFePo units are available at $1 per Wh, so the price is fair for the product. Thats only $1 per charge cycle!
Note that inverter losses are real. I ran a desktop monitor from the AC plug with the typical AC/DC adaptor, and the unit drew 58W. I then plugged the monitor into the DC plug with 12V to 16V step up convertor and the draw was 30W. So use DC whenever possible…
Jackery Explorer 500 is all around a great product with a combination of features superior to other portable power units you might find on Amazon. Jackery has prompt customer service to back it up.
3. Power For when You really need it
When Explorer 500 arrived, I charged it fully, and then connected it to my DC powered fridge/freezer. My tester immediately showed that the 12v DC output is working on this unit. Under load, the Jackery is maintaining the 12v output even after 15 hours of powering the fridge/freezer. Which, by the way, the Jackery still had over 50% capacity, and my fridge/freezer did not error out once. I checked the AC output at over 280W load for 6 minutes with no problem. The USB ports worked fine as well. That is quality and reliability.
I shut it down, and then took it to my garage to test the solar charging, It was connected to two 50W panels and the input varied, but I was able to see a 62W input at one point. I did not observer the input all day, however the unit fully charged by 5 PM when I checked on it. So, a little over 8 hours and it charged fully from around a 57% starting point.
Jackery Explorer 500 is a great unit that performs like I expected it to. It is a great value for the price, and it beats out the competition in the same power class with its regulated 12v DC output. This now gets 5 stars form me. I will continue to test the unit for capacity and efficiency, and I don’t expect to be disappointed.
4. Perfect holiday gift for Christmas, Chanukah, or any time!
We just received the Jackery Explorer 500 Power Station. It’s a much bigger unit than the Honda 290 Power station that we already have. It’s still lightweight, but it’s much heftier than the 290. The new one is going to be a holiday gift for my parents, since they don’t have a generator (we do). Power outages are a part of life in the Northeast, like many other areas. Whether due to strong storms, hurricanes, heavy snow, or just random unexpected issues, we prefer to be prepared. We’ve gifted smaller Jackery Power Banks to many family members over the years. We carry them everywhere, so that we don’t have to worry about using up too much phone battery. These Power Stations can do much more.
I haven’t had time to test the number of phone charges it can get – it boasts 30+, but I have tested it out on my MacBook Pro 15 inch. My laptop is more demanding than the ones they tested, so it can be re-charged about 4X with a charge taking about 1.5 hours (I was using the laptop at the time, so I’m guessing it might be faster and do more otherwise). A smaller one would get 6+. Still, this is great! I would never charge my laptop from our generator. I wouldn’t trust it. Jackery is a safe way to charge your electronics during a power outage (or while camping, for those of you who like to get away from the city). It can even be used to power a tv (not my priority, but I know it will be for some!
One note, the 290 is a bit sensitive, so we are careful not to push plugs in too hard. I don’t know if the 500 is similarly sensitive, but it’s worth being aware. Jackery customer service is excellent, should you have any need to contact them.
If you add the solar panels, your ability to stay charged is limitless. This is a great device and would be an incredible holiday gift for anyone. Perfect for Chanukah, under the Christmas tree, or for any celebration! We highly recommend this Jackery Explore 500 Power Station! Whatever holiday you celebrate, this would make someone very happy!
5. What a Fantastic Solar Generator! – Jackery Explorer 500
I’m really impressed with the Jackery Explorer 500. The wall charger is bigger than the ones that came with the 240 & 290 and thus it does not take long to charge it up. The 12 volt cigarette lighter port is where you can hook up small electric blankets and small heaters on cold winter days. The 12 volt cigarette lighter port on the 500 is regulated and it has a boost converter which means 13.2 volts of power is available for when you use the cigarette lighter port. What does this mean? As the battery gets lower the cigarette lighter port will still give off max power even as the battery approaches the empty mark. Most solar generators on the market will not do this with their 12 volt cigarette lighter ports. When you use the AC port you will lose 10% power because the converter requires the power to run. Not so with the 12 volt cigarette lighter port. So most of the toys that I have been buying for the Jackery 500 all have 12 volt cigarette lighter adapters on them, because this port is where you will get your best performance! Jackery you rock!
6. PlugNPlay Reliable Portable Power in a small package!
I will start this review on the company, Jackery behind the Explorer 500. I love Jackery! Jackery’s Customer Service is by far one of the best in the industry. I have contacted them and received quick professional answers to my questions. An outstanding company and technical support group, have a question or problem? Simply email ([email protected]) and you’ll get a answer in a timely manner. The Jackery Explorer 500W Lithium Portable Power Station is Big power in a small package and comes with a 24 month warranty. I love the small Jackery Explorer 500W charging station setup with my Jackery SolarSaga 100W solar panel.
The Explorer 500W is compact portable power and offers safe charging with built-in Over Voltage Protection, Short Circuit Protection, Battery management system (BMS), a 500Watt pure sine-wave inverter capable of handling 1000watt surge, 3 USB Type-A ports, 12V DC carport, two 12V 6MM barrel connectors and 110V AC outlet at 500W max. The built-in backlit LCD screen displays charge/discharge rates, battery state of charge and rated at 500 cycles to 80%. It’s temperature rating is 32F-104F which meets my camping needs.
Here are some specifications which meet/exceed my needs such as: Lithium 518.4Wh/144,400mAh Lithium battery capacity, built-in inverter is 500W rated power and 1000W surge power from the built-in AC port, 24Ah/21.6V and input is 12V-30V at 3.5Amps. The following is my test and experience. Input charging times will vary depending on how empty/full the battery is and how you charge it. So the following is based on battery being at 20%, charging by AC Outlet using the included Li-ion Battery Charger 25.2V at 3.5Amps charged it in 7.1 hours, using Jackery SolarSaga 100W solar panel charged in 10.5 hours in southern Louisiana summer sun from 7am till 5:30pm, no clouds or overcast.
Using the cigarette lighter 12v/10A adapter charging took 13.3 hours using my 17 year old 110V to 12V converter. As another test using my 110V outlet on my inverter generator took almost 7.3 hours. The size dimensions are 11.84″W x 9.2″H X 7.59″D, weighs 13.32Lbs on my scale, has a built-in LED light which is a nice feature when camping in my tent. Jackery Explorer 500W is a portable compact powerful charging station to fill my charging requirements. I use ALL Jackery products including the 1 Jackery PowerBar 77Wh, 2 Explorer 240Wh Power Stations, 1 Explorer 500Wh Power Station, Jackery 50W and 100W Solar Panel Kits and Jackery Protective Carrying Bags which I highly recommend to protect your investment. I go camping regardless of weather conditions about 120+ days a year. I have 30 tents of various sizes, shapes and designs which I modify each one for my needs. I camp all over USA and keeping my devices charged up is of great importance. I used the 500 while on a 3 week camping trip to HOT Arizona for a gathering. I recharged 4 Action cameras, 4 Mavic Pro batteries, iPhone6, six 18650 batteries for 12v Fan, and 10000mah portable battery pack.
When the Explorer 500Wh Power Station was at 45% charge, I would set solar panels outside 7:30am and reposition them thru out the day and was at 100% by 5:30pm on sunny no cloud days. If you look at the picture of shade on the panel, it was still charging whereas most panels will not charge at all when shade is on even 10% of some panels. The solar panels are well made. To charge my Jackery 240Wh I use the Jackery 50W solar which came with a nice protective cover to stow it in when not in use. Also I use the Jackery SolarSaga 100W panel kit to charge the Jackery 500Wh Power Station. As my battery charging requirements have increased, I love Jackery so much which is why I purchased a Jackery Explorer 500Wh power station, Jackery had a 20% discount using discount code from HoboTech youtube channel and was able to purchase this one at a reduced rate.
When available, I will be purchasing Jackery 500 Protective Carrying Bag to protect my investment. Yes the solar panels are a little pricey, but they are well worth it. They are very convenient, well made, foldable which take up a smaller foot print when not in use, tough, rugged and do the job as described. Being able to charge multiple devices at the same time such the my iPhone, 2 hotspots, laptop, iPad4 tablet, 4 Mavic Pro batteries and 4 action cameras, etc. You can use the this power station while you are charging it from any of the 3 charging types: solar, 12v carport or 110 AC outlet. Now I am able to charge anywhere WITHOUT having to carry 5 gallons of gasoline and my 2200watt inverter generator making my charging setup eco-Friendly, compact, lightweight and very manageable. If you pair together the Jackery 100W SolarSaga Panel kit and Jackery Explorer 500W, it truly is a portable plug and play power station. I give the Jackery Explorer 500W Lithium Portable Power Station 2 thumbs up for portability, design and functionality.
7. Impressive – 5 stars
I really like the Jackery Explorer 500. It is perfect for dry camping or remote charging requirements. It is well built and easily powers a host of small appliances including my car refrigerator.
One of the only issues I have with the 500 is the fact that it uses a PWM charge controller instead of a MPPT controller. The PWM controller limits the input charging current to 3.5 amps regardless of the input voltage (up to 30V). It won’t let you go beyond 30 volts, so you can’t series connect two solar panels that put out 18 volts. Also, since the car only puts out 13 volts, at 3.5 amps I am only able to charge it at a rate of about 45 watts. Thus, the time it takes to recharge from a solar panel or from the car 12 DC is way too long (12-14 hours to charge from 0%). AC charging rate is about 82 watts, which is fine (6-7 hours to charge from 0%).
I found a great way to increase the car DC charging input to 78 watts. I purchased a KFD 12V-24V DC converter (that is used for a ResMed 10 Series CPAP) on Amazon and replaced the 24V terminal with an 8mm male barrel connector to fit the Jackery input port. Now when I plug it into the car’s DC cigarette lighter to charge, it charges at 78 watts instead of 45 watts, in just over half the time.
Now that I’ve got the car DC charging time solved, I’m looking at a way to increase charging output from my 100 watt solar panel up to a similar wattage range.
One other improvement that would be very helpful on future versions of the Jackery (and other solar generators) would be to provide AC output paralleling capability with a 2nd solar generator, similar to what you can do with a gasoline powered inverter generator. This would allow RV’ers to attach their 30 amp shore power cord to a paralleled set of 500’s to power the internal AC outlets (with 8 amps of current). I am not aware of any solar generators with this capability as of today. Maybe put this feature on a future 1500 watt Jackery with an MPPT controller.
8. Great product with excellent customer service
The Jackery Explorer 500 is one of the best purchases I have made and also own a Jackery 440, both are excellent products. Very reliable powerful backup power. We use these for everything camping and even for my CPAP machine. If you want and excellent dependable power backup, then Jackery should be your choice. I chose Jackery because of the independent reviews I have read and nobody had anything bad to say about them. I highly recommend the Jackery Explorer 500.
9. Jackery nails it with the Explorer 500!
Jackery by far offers one of the most superior portable power stations available on the market at a very competitive price. The Explorer 500 has more than enough power to supply the charging needs for your off grid gear.
Unique features liked pass-through charging, set it apart from many of the competitors. Pass-through charging allows you to charge the unit and power other products at the same time. So essentially, I can charge my Jackery 500 with a solar panel, while charging other equipment at the same time with my Jackery Explorer 500. Neat!
The Jackery Explorer 500 has three standard USB ports, a standard 110 US outlet, a 12-volt cigarette lighter port, and two 12-volt DC input ports. The option to power many accessories are right there built in to the Jackery Explorer 500.
If you’ve been searching for a portable power station, I highly recommend the jackery Explorer 500. This has been a champion in my camping equipment. Backed by a two-year warranty, I see nothing to lose – only positive gains from the purchase of a Jackery.
10. How did I ever live without my “Jackerator”
Update 5/9/2022: Let me start with after 6 months of use, I still love this product in fact we call it my “Jackerator” it’s like part of the family. I don’t know how I ever operated without it (like trying to live without a mobile phone). Also, I would like to say that Jackery stands behind their product. They followed up with me and addressed my concerns. I have since tested a new Jackery 500 and I am not able to replicate my initial observations. Additionally, the Jackery Solar Saga 60w works very well with this unit. Ideally the 100w panel would recharge the unit faster, but the size and portability of the 60w unit makes it a powerful combination.
I use Jackery Explorer 500 in my mobile office and demo trailer at customer sites to show automation hardware and software. It works brilliantly! I love this product but found an issue with the solar charging. Today, I got my solar panel plug adapter and It appears if the solar panel output voltage drops below a certain value the Jackery will stop charging. This is a major problem as I plan to use this dry camping and was planning to recharge while out hiking and etc… But if a cloud going by stops the charging process, this is a serious issue.
Enjoyed this Jackery explorer 500 review? Then be sure to check out the other guide of the Best 300W Portable Power Station.