Jackery Power Outdoors, who makes the Jackery Explorer 1000, was founded in 2012 in Silicon Valley. The founder was a previous Apple battery engineer. They claim to be the first company to create a portable power station with a lithium battery in 2015. Whether they were the first or not, lithium batteries are the only way to go.
Jackery has made a name for themselves in the solar generator market, especially on Amazon. Go check out the reviews on their portable power stations and you’ll see thousands of satisfied customers. The Jackery Explorer 1000 is their newest and biggest model to date. Their previous models came in at 500, 240, and 160. The model number of course corresponds to the strength and size of the system in terms of battery capacity.
While the previous models were great for cell phones, laptops, Bluetooth speakers, etc, the 1000 opens the potential for more powerful electrical appliances. Let’s break it down and go over its features point by point.
The Jackery Explorer 1000 comes in fairly strong with a 1002Wh (21.6V, 46.4Ah Lithium Ion NMC battery. Having a 21.6V battery vs 12V comes with many advantages.
- It keeps costs down. With a 1000W inverter and a 12V battery, you would have 83 amps running through the copper wiring inside of the unit. With a 1000W inverter and a 21.6V battery, you would only have 46 amps. That means the copper wire for a 12V would have to be almost twice as thick or doubled up. Copper wire is expensive so being able to use a smaller size saves money in production and saves money for the consumer.
- Higher voltage runs more efficiently than a 12V. Why? A 21.6V battery is running 46 amps. A 12V battery is running 83 amps. Electrical current (amp) causes heat. The more current, the more heat. The more heat in the wiring wastes power, making your system run less efficiently. In this case, the 21.6V battery would be almost twice as efficient as a 12V battery. What this means is that whether you are charging your battery or using it to power your equipment, you will get a minimal waste of power so that your battery charges faster or has a higher output.
It’s good to see all these companies using high-quality lithium-ion batteries. One of the great things about Lithium-Ion batteries is the weight. They are so much lighter than the older lead-based batteries. 1002Wh is probably the bare minimum that you want for your basic generator tasks. Most people will buy small and quickly realize that they need more juice. Unlike the Titan, there is no battery expansion option for the Jackery. What you get is what you get.
The battery is good for 500 life cycles to 80%. A single cycle of the battery means when it goes from 100% down to 0% and then charged back to 100%. If you are running your battery down to 50% and back to 100%, then that 500 life cycles is actually 1000 half-cycles. And even after that, the battery still functions at 80% efficiency meaning you still have an effective unit. Don’t get hung up on the lifecycles. It’d be nice if it had 2,000 lifecycles like the Titan but 500 is pretty standard even though it’s lower.
Obviously, if you use it occasionally, 500 charges are going to last awhile. If you were using it daily, say to power your DC fridge in your RV, and only run it down to 50% before charging it, then it would be good for close to 3 years. It would still be useful after that, just running at 80% efficiency.
The inverter for this model is a 1000W Pure Sine Wave with 2000W surge power. The benefit of having a 1000W inverter is that it pairs well with the 1002Wh battery. For some reason, certain companies don’t match the inverter size to the battery size.
For example, the Inergy Apex has a 1100Wh battery and a 1500w inverter. During my testing of it, I discovered that the battery was only capable of pulling 850 watts continuously. It doesn’t make sense to have such a large inverter if it can’t get a full draw on the battery. You are just paying for more expensive equipment that you can’t even use. The Jackery 1000 doesn’t have this problem, and the 1000w inverter can pull the full 1000Wh of the battery.
One of the great features of the Explorer 1000 is the weight. It comes in at 22 pounds. Let’s compare that to similar generators. The Goal Zero Yeti 1000 comes in at 40 pounds. The MAXOAK Bluetti EB150 comes in at 38 pounds. It is definitely one of the lightest 1000W generators on the market.
The Inergy Apex comes in at 25 pounds with a 1100Wh battery, but as I said above, it’s limited in its output. It can only pull 850 watts whereas the Jackery 1000 can do the full 1000 watts.
It also incorporates an easy carry handle. If you are going for a lightweight 1000w generator, this is a good option for the weight. It is very portable for its output. Similar to the Bluetti EB150 as far as inverter capability but a smaller battery and less solar input.
A big hang-up with this model is the charging speed. It is not very impressive. Plugged into an AC outlet, you’re looking at around 7 hours from 0 to 100%.
Using two of the Jackery SolarSaga 100w solar panels, you’ll be around 8 hours for a full recharge.
(2) 100w panels x 8 hours = 1600Wh. Seems like it should only take 5 hours right? Well, the Jackery SolarSaga 100w solar panels actually only charge at about 67w. Our formula would look like this:
The 67w seems a bit low especially since the Explorer 1000 has an MPPT charge controller. Typically, an MPPT charge controller will allow the panel to make much better power even in poorer conditions.
While I like the foldup design of the SolarSaga panels, their input is very lacking and really dampens the effectiveness of the unit.
One of my favorite features of the Jackery 1000 is that they put in an Anderson Powerpole input plug! Finally, they have started turning away from their proprietary 8mm plug that made it hard to get regular panels connected to their Jackery units. Now I can use a simple MC4 to Anderson Powerpole adapter and get power into my Jackery Explorer 1000. That was not something I could do with my other Jackery units.
The average sunlight you can expect on a good day is about 5 hours. If it takes 8 hours of sunlight for a full recharge, you are looking at two days to charge it, and that is without using it at night also. If you could use traditional solar panels that pulled in a full 200w, then in a single day you could charge to full capacity. While they stepped up the performance of the Jackery Explorer 1000, their solar panels could use an upgrade to match the bigger battery.
It does have a car charging option. It takes about 14 hours to charge from your vehicle. That would mean the car charger is putting out about 70W of energy.
1000W/14Hrs = 71W. If you were driving across the country with a DC fridge that consumed 30W, then you could be slowly charging your Jackery 1000 at 41Wh/hr while still keeping your fridge running.
If you are using the Jackery Explorer 1000 on a daily basis for your electric needs, you might not be able to charge it to full capacity at the same time. That would be very frustrating while RVing or in an emergency situation.
Compared to similar models, like the Bluetti EB150 that can have a 400w input, it really underperforms in this area. Because of that, it might not be the best option if you plan on using it daily. If you needed something that you could use daily while charging to full capacity at the same time, you might want to look at the Titan.
The amount of ports on your generator makes a big difference. The Jackery 1000 has a useful (3) 110v AC ports (big improvement over the Jackery 500 with only 2 ports), (2) USB-A ports, (2) USB-C ports, and (1) DC 12V car port. If you have read any of my other reviews, you know that one of my pet peeves is how close the outlets are to each other on many systems. Some companies like to cram the outlets too close to each other. If you have a power cord with a box on it the other outlets might get covered.
Thankfully, the Explorer 1000 doesn’t do this. There is a good amount of space between the outlets. And the USB ports and car port give you plenty of options for charging the smaller items, like phones, tablets, etc. For the size and portability of the generator, it has a good amount of ports which means you can keep all the essentials up and running when needed.
I have looked everywhere to find the absolute best price for this unit. The best price I have been able to find for the Jackery Explorer 1000 comes in right at $999.99 on Amazon. It comes with 1 AC Adapter, 1 car charger cable, 1 SolarSaga Parallel adapter cable, and the user guide.
At one point Jackery was offering an option to get a free SolarSaga solar panel with the order of the Jackery 1000 unit but they have since done away with that and there are no coupon codes currently available.
Customer Service and Warranty
Some companies don’t make it easy to contact them. Jackery provided both a phone number and an email on their website if you have sales questions or issues. I gave them a call to see if I could talk to a representative and ask them a few questions.
Their opening message asks you to email them if you are calling about your order. Press 1 if you have any other questions. Press 2 for service. I pressed 1 and immediately went to an answering machine. I left my name, number, and email. It sounds like they prefer to do email, so I won’t be surprised if they email me back.
Their generators come with a 2-year warranty, which is plenty long for a solar generator. If it has been working fine in that time frame, it is unlikely for something to go wrong after that. It is non-transferable, so if you buy used, make sure you are aware of that.
The 3 cornerstones of solar generators are:
- Inverter Capacity
- Batter Capacity
- Solar Input Capacity
The Jackery Explorer 1000 has a good inverter and a good battery capacity for very basic power needs. They are equally matched with each other and use the latest technology for increased performance. But it does come short in the solar input category. Definitely something Jackery should consider upgrading in their next model. If they upgraded the input and had bigger solar panels, they could have a really effective lightweight unit. Beyond that, if they could make it to where you could add more batteries then it would be even better.
For the weight and the price, I think the Jackery 1000 will fit certain people’s needs. There might be better options out there, but everything is a compromise and while other ones might outperform in one area, they might underperform in another area.
It does not have enough juice to keep your house running on a daily basis so if you’re looking for something like that, check out my review on the Titan. It’s probably best suited for a weekend camping trip, a day at the beach, Vanlife, or as an emergency backup power supply for a fridge if there is a power outage.