Cleantech & EV'sNews

Jackery 1500 review: A giant solar generator to charge my power tools, e-bike, e-truck, and more!

Jackery’s new Explorer 1500 Portable Power Station debuted earlier this year as a giant, high-capacity, and high-power backup battery that does so much more than just providing emergency power. I’ve been testing one out along with Jackery’s solar panels to see just how useful they are for everyday life tasks.

I’ve actually got two other Jackery Explorer units. My first was the fairly large Explorer 1000 that I reviewed last spring, and then earlier this year I also bought an additional Explorer 300, so I’d have a little unit that could easily fit in a backpack and charge my stuff on the go.

But when I saw Electrek’s Michelle Lewis take a first look at the giant Jackery 1500, I knew I’d have to go bigger.

This baby is by far the largest “portable” battery I’ve used, and I’m in love with it.

Compared to my other units, the Explorer 1500 isn’t just bigger – it’s also better. And it should be – Jackery has been around the block a few times by now. This isn’t some fly-by-night startup. They’re now celebrating their 9th anniversary, which is a pretty darn long time in this industry.

Jackery made several upgrades to the 1500 over the other models I have, chief among them a better screen with more info.

Previous models have told you how much battery you had left and how much power you were either consuming or dumping into the unit. The new models gives a much more accurate indication of the power you’re using by also calculating for you how much time you have left at your current charge or discharge state. I know exactly how long until the unit will be fully charged, and I know exactly how long I can run it at the current discharge rate before it will peter out on me. It’s also a much easier to read the screen with its better contrast in bright light.

With my other units, I’ve always had to guess, but the accurate and detailed data on the display takes the guesswork out of charging the unit or powering your devices.

While the USB and 12V sockets are nice to have, I mostly find myself using the AC inverter part of the Jackery Explorer 1500. That’s where the real magic is, being able to take an AC outlet with you anywhere.

When I’m working outside and running low on juice in my power tools, the battery has proven to be a handy tool that prevents me from having to take a break and wait for my batteries to charge indoors. I can keep one in my tool and the other charging off of the Jackery.

As a big e-biking fan, I’m constantly looking for ways to carry more battery with me or not be tied to the wall. The Jackery 1500 comes in super handy here too.

With over 1,500 Wh of capacity, I can get several recharges of an average e-bike battery. Whether day-tripping and returning to base or overnight camping, the Jackery can top off my e-bike batteries and keep me riding around all day.

I found that a long morning ride followed by a break for lunch midday was a good combo for making efficient use of the Jackery to charge my e-bike batteries and not miss out on too much riding daylight.

If you’re someone like me who uses your phone for maps and GPS while biking, and consequently is always on low battery from the GPS eating it up, you can also use the riding/charging break to re-juice your phone from the Jackery’s USB outlets. I always find it kind of funny that I can use the same source to dump a huge load into a big e-bike battery and also sip electrons into my tiny phone battery.

Speaking of big charging loads, the e-bike charging made me want to up the ante.

The Jackery 1500 is rated for up to 1,800 W of power. My little 100W e-bike charger was nothing to it, so I stepped it up a bit with a higher power 600W charger for my Sur Ron electric dirt bike. That was a piece of cake as well.

And the fact that I can use the solar panels to recharge the Jackery while the Jackery recharges my bike is the epitome of crunchy coolness. There’s nothing greener than silent, efficient, and solar-powered outdoor fun!

And since the Jackery seemed to handle my 600W charger with ease, I had to keep going. It was time to pull out all the stops: charging my electric mini-truck.

I bought this hilarious little truck from China after discovering it for one of my Awesomely Weird Alibaba EV of the Week articles.

It has a 1,000W charger and the Jackery did not protest when I called upon it to feed more electrons into my little truck. Granted it could only charge around a quarter of my 6 kWh battery, but it would certainly help in a pinch if I just needed a bit more charge to get home (or to a real outlet).

And again, those solar panels are key because they mean the Jackery can put out more than just its stored 1,500 Wh. As long as there is sun, you can keep charging.

I had four of the 100W panels to test and I could get around 300W of actual input power in direct sunlight. That’s not too shabby!

Imagine camping and charging your Jackery all day while using it to power all your goodies. You can be completely off-grid and yet have the comforts of real, reliable AC power. And not just any AC power – but power that you earned by generating it yourself from the sun. I know this makes me a nerd, but I just find that so cool.

As cool as it is, it doesn’t mean the Jackery is perfect though. I love almost everything about it, other than the weight. At 35 lb (15 kg), this thing is heeeeeaaaavvvvyyy.

Sure, most able-bodied people can lift it. Most people can pick up a 35 lb. dumbbell off the ground. But try holding that dumbbell out in front of you with straight arms and suddenly it’s a totally different situation.

The issue with the Jackery is when I go to load it on a shelf, or once when I went to lifted it over the side of my truck bed to put it in back, suddenly it feels way heavier when you try to place it somewhere. So keep in mind that this is a “portable” power supply in a loose interpretation of the word. It’s got a nice big grab handle and you can farmer’s carry it around, but it sure gets arduous after a while.

For these kind of features though, I can put up with the weight.

The price, now that might be harder for some people to stomach. This giant battery is priced at $1,599. The folding 100W solar panels, as awesome as they are with their own USB chargers inside, are also pricey at $299 each.

But to celebrate Jackery’s 9th birthday, the company is running a promotion from October 18-20, where all products on their site will be 15% off.

That certainly sweetens the deal! With those savings, you can buy a few extra tubes of Icy Hot for your back or perhaps just pay someone to lug this heavy battery around for you.

While it ain’t cheap, the capability it provides is awesome and I find it totally worth it. Fast reliable solar charging that takes me totally off-grid is exactly my kind of jam.


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Author: Micah Toll
Source: Electrek

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