Welcome to out Jackery Explorer 1000 Review.
Jackery stands out as one of the best recognized manufacturer of portable battery power stations and solar generators. Outdoor enthusiasts, hikers, and campers are familiar with the smaller, ultimately portable Jackery power solutions. The Jackery Explorer 1000 is the most powerful, and versatile, portable battery power station in their lineup. This review explores the advantages and disadvantages of the Explorer 1000.
With one-kilowatt continuous power, and 2000W surge capacity, the Jackery Explorer 1000 is able to provide electricity for much more than a few electronic devices or CPAP machines. Add to this, a larger 10002WH lithium battery, and you have one versatile portable battery power station. It’s as portable as anyone can wish for and the battery can be charged using virtually any power source, including solar panels.
I guess the Jackery power station product range is enduringly popular because of their lower prices. A lithium-ion battery, pure sine wave portable power station is never going to be that cheap, especially if you’re looking for reasonable quality. Though, when comparing any Jackery product to their rivals, good value is certainly a major Jackery advantage. Their battery generators are also excellent when it comes to compact lightweight design. No wonder Jackery products are amongst the most popular choices for camping and emergency power at home, or on the go.
If you are prepared to spend more, you can get a lot more battery storage and, possibly an all-round better product. For those requiring longer battery time, the MAXOAK Bluetti has some remarkable attributes. With a longer AC peak power output and more than twice the battery capacity, it might be worthwhile spending extra when comparing the MAXOAK vs Jackery 1000W power station. Of course, more battery storage means a bulkier machine, and quite a few pounds of additional weight. As far as portability goes, the MAXOAK Bluetti cannot compete with Jackery Explorer 1000. How do they compare in general? This review is going to examine this question, covering every base.
Jackery Explorer 1000 Review
Images coming soon
Over the years, I’ve reviewed every battery generator that Jackery has to offer. I’ve compared them to just about every alternative, like Goal Zero Yeti and more. Jackery usually comes out tops when comparing prices, making them one of the best budget options. While some brands might be considered higher quality, or offer superior technology, Jackery is no Mickey Mouse brand. They simply offer excellent value for money. Coming in at a snippet under $1,000, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better deal than the Jackery Explorer 1000.
A general first impression indicates a well-made product. The Explorer 1000 is obviously larger than the others in the Explorer range. It is, after all, their most powerful battery power station. Apart from the physical size (33.3” X 23.3” X 28.3”), the Explorer 1000 looks like any other Jackery Explorer product. Elegantly molded from impact resistant plastic, with an ergonomic handle along the full length of the machine. It obviously weighs more than the smaller, less powerful models. Though I think this is incredibly reasonable at 22.04 pounds. Considering the high-power output (1000W continuous and 2000W surge capacity), along with a 1002WH lithium battery, the Jackery Explorer 1000 has a wonderful power to weight ratio. Generally, I find this to be a great attribute to all Jackery products. Superb, when it comes to easy portability.
The lithium-ion battery is one of the best you can get. Using a Li-ion NMC battery is probably the ideal power storage solution for this type of application. Because Lithium-ion batteries are not all the same, I’ll be discussing these batteries in more detail after the review. For the purposes of the Jackery Explorer 1000 review, you should be aware that NMC lithium-ion batteries are amongst the best. As a cost-effective, high-cycle, extremely safe lithium battery, this is should be the number one choice. The Jackery 1002WH lithium-ion battery is rated for more than 500 cycles (up to 80% discharge). For the average user, I would think this should be sufficient for up to 6-years. If you’re using the battery to maximum discharge every day, you should get around 2-years lifespan. Apart from the incredibly stable chemical structure of this battery, it has all the built-in safety features for your protection, and that of the battery itself. The battery management system (BMS) offers protection against overvoltage, temperature, short circuit, and basic safety operations.
To give you an idea of how the Jackery Explorer 1000 battery performs during normal usage, Jackery have provided some typical usage stats, listed below.
- Phone: 100 charges
- Laptop: 12.5 charges
- 5W LED light: 76 hours
- CPAP (using 12VDC outlet): 55 – 78 hours
- 60W 12VDC mini-cooler: 66 hours
- Energy Star TV: 14 hours
- 300W Blender: 13 hours
- 700W Ice Shaver: 3.5 hours
- 900W Electric grill: 50 minutes
- 1000W Pressure cooker: 45 minutes.
It’s clear that the larger battery has its advantages. The pure sine wave inverter is pretty competent too. Though it might not be the most efficient. Jackery, don’t supply an efficiency spec for their inverters. This, in itself, suggest that it might not be the best. Judging by the AC vs DC battery time, I estimate an inverter with around 80% efficiency. This is not an official spec, just my calculations based many years of inverter experience. I’m not suggesting that this an inferior inverter. Though one can do better. The best inverters used for this type of portable power station can be more than 95% efficient. This increases battery time when using AC power by about 15%. You could watch TV for a couple more hours if the Jackery had a more efficient inverter. To be fair, you’ll be paying much more for a top-rated inverter.
Battery charging is exquisite. Like all Jackery power stations, you have a great selection of charging methods, and the solar charging function is step up from the smaller cheaper models. The 120V AC wall charger will charge the battery to full within 7-hours. Using the 12V car charging adapter takes a while (14-hours). This can’t really be avoided though. Generally car chargers are 8 – 10A. The Jackery 1000 is on the higher end of the scale at 10A. Because the battery is larger than the average portable power station, it requires more charging current. To charge the powerful 46.4AH battery to a peak 21.6V is going to take longer when using a 12VDC 10A charger. I suppose, if you’re going on a long road trip, you can pump quite a bit of juice into that battery while you’re driving.
When it comes to solar charging, the Jackery Explorer 1000 can compare to any of the best solar generators. The Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) charge controller is way more efficient than the Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) controller used for the cheaper Jackery models. Thanks to an upgraded MPPT solar charge controller, the Explorer 1000 can charge the battery in about 8-hours. This would mean using 2 X 100W solar panels in good sunlight. You can use any solar panel kit up to 200W with a voltage range between 12V and 30V. The solar input is by means of an 8MM Anderson connector. Some panels may need an adapter for this connection port.
The Jackery Explorer 1000 has improved power outlets, when comparing this model to the smaller options. The real upgrade comes in the form of 2 X USB-C 18W Ports (5V-3A; 9V-2A; 12V-1.5A). The other models in the Jackery range only offer USB-A, which you also get on the Explorer 1000. It has 2 X USB-A ports (5V-2.4A; Quick Charge USB 3.0). For 110V AC power, supplied by the 1000W (2000W peak) inverter, the Explorer has 3 X standard 3-prong AC outlets. 12VDC power is supplied by a car auxiliary (cigarette lighter) outlet. An 8mm charger input is conveniently positioned at the front of the machine. Information is displayed on a fairly large LCD screen. It is all very logical and easy to use, with a good graphic display, and a one touch digital display button.
Jackery portable battery generators are known for their great prices, making for excellent value. In some cases, a cheaper price means less. While the smaller, Jackery models may be somewhat lacking when compared to their more expensive counterparts, the Jackery Explorer 1000 is pretty much up there with the best of them. Despite being one of the cheaper 1000W portable power stations, the Explorer has an incredibly high spec level. The inclusion of an advanced MPPT solar charger and the latest USB technology are welcomed upgrades on this model. Jackery appears to be great when it comes customer service and satisfaction. The Explorer 1000 received a mighty impressive 4.8 star average customer review rating on Amazon. This product includes a 30-day money back guarantee and 2-year warranty.
MAXOAK BLUETTI EB240
The most significant difference between the Jackery Explorer 1000 and the Maxoak Bluetti EB240 is the improved battery storage for the latter. On the flipside, the Maxoak battery generator is more expensive and weighs quite a lot more. The weight difference is noticeable, placing the Maxoak at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to portability. As for the higher piece tag, I believe the Maxoak is equally good value when compared to Jackery alternative. The higher price is easily explained by the additional battery watt-hours.
I’m a little disappointed that I’m unable to find any real technical information regarding the 2400WH LG battery used to supply the Maxoak EB240. This is, in my opinion, the most critical specification for this type of device. They advertise a Lithium-ion polymer battery with an incredible 2500+ cycles. The Li-NMC battery used for the Jackery Explorer 1000 is only rated for 500 cycles, which is more realistic at this price. I’m not sure if the Maxoak battery lifespan is just enthusiastic marketing, or are they using a superior battery. It’s possible to achieve this type of lifespan, using more expensive materials, like LiFePO4. If this is the case, the Maxoak EB240 would be exceptional value for money as these are much more expensive batteries. In the absence of any real tech specs for this battery, one can only guess. In the end, the extended power usage from a 2400WH vs Jackery Explorer 1000 (1002WH) battery is an obvious plus.
The pure sine wave inverter is pretty average, perhaps a bit above the norm, with a specified efficiency of 88% up to 70% of the maximum 1000W continuous output capacity at 110 -120V. It can also supply 220 – 240V with an improved efficiency rating of 90% when the AC load is less than 70% of the maximum continuous output. This inverter appears to be in a higher class than many cheap options. The surge capacity is not as high the Jackery Explorer 1000, only 1200W. However, it can sustain peak power for up to 120-seconds.
Battery charging is exceptionally fast. This has mostly to with the higher battery charge voltage (42V). At a higher voltage, you don’t need as much current per watt-hour. Even though the Maxoak has a battery twice the size of the Jackery 1000, it doesn’t always take twice as long to charge. Although the battery operating voltage is 14.8V, the ability to accept a high input voltage has distinct advantages when using the 120V/160W wall charger and solar charger (up to 500W). It allows for improved charging times and the Maxoak Bluetti 240 is able to supply pass-through current when charging. This means you can use the Maxoak to supply power whilst charging. Most portable power stations don’t have the power input capacity to simultaneously supply an output current. Because of the pass-through voltage, it can take up to 15-hours to fully recharge the battery, but you will have the advantage of using the power outlets whilst charging the battery. Total Harmonic Distortion (THD) is less than 5%.
Solar charging capabilities are exquisite. The Maxoak is equipped with a super-efficient MPPT solar charge controller, with a rated 99.5% efficiency. It also has a whopping 500W maximum capacity and incredible voltage range. You can connect solar panels rated for 16V – 60V. The charger has a maximum 73V (±2V) built-in overcharge protection. The battery management system (BMS) can rate alongside any of the best, offering protection against overcharging, overvoltage, high temperature, and all the basic safety functions. A thermostatically controlled cooling fan will switch on when the operating temperature is too high. The fan will also switch on automatically when the AC output exceeds 400W, or the DC output exceeds 80W. This allows for maximum cooling, whilst reducing unwanted noise when forced ventilation cooling is unnecessary.
The Maxoak Bluetti EB240 is up to date with all the same electrical outputs that you find on the Jackery Explorer 1000, as well as an equally impressive LCD data display. For some reason, they have chosen to place the 2 X 120V/240V AC outlets at the back of the machine and all the others, including the display, at the front. Though I don’t see that this is any kind of inconvenience. On the front panel, you’ll find a 12VDC (10A) automotive style outlet and 4 X USB ports. These comprise 2 X 5V; 3A USB ports, and 2 X 5 – 20V; PD Protocol outlets: 5V/9V/15V @ 3A or 20V @ 2.5A. The screen is a little larger than on the Jackery and has similar graphics. A large battery icon shows battery charge percentage in segments, with a more detailed numeric display for output and input current.
The Maxoak Bluetti EB240 appears to offer several advantages over the Jackery Explorer 1000, albeit at a higher cost. Improved battery time and lifespan being the most significant. The only aspect that is not as impressive, would be the matter of portability. The Maxoak portable battery power station measures 19.4” X 6.5” X 14.4” and weighs 48.5 pounds.
If you don’t mind the price, the Maxoak Bluetti EB240 is certainly a great buy. If you look at what you’re paying for, it equates to excellent value. This is a reliable portable battery power station with the best that modern technology has to offer. The battery and inverter are excellent, and this is what really counts. Okay, it’s a bit heavy, this has a lot to do with the extra battery storage and, possibly a more durable inverter.
Understanding Portable Battery Power Stations
When researching this article, I took a look at the information that is already out there. So many websites offer portable battery power station buying guides that provide little valuable information. They point out the obvious, without presenting any really useful information.
I got to thinking what information is most important when buying a product like the Jackery Explorer 1000, or any of the equivalent options. Stuff like weight, dimensions, output wattage, and battery charging options are probably what we look at first. All this information is available in spec sheets and has been covered, in detail, when reviewing the products. No need to rehash it here.
I think it would be of greater value to provide some technical insight as to how these devices work and what to look for in this regard. It’s never easy to tell what you can expect, in terms of quality and practicality, when buying electronic equipment that may all look similar at face value.
There are two main aspects that define a portable battery generator. The inverter, which supplies the AC power, and the battery that stores the power. This is the really important stuff, and few people understand either that well. When considering the battery, charging efficiency can be another important aspect.
To provide a better understanding of portable power stations, I’m going to discuss these main topics:
- Battery chargers
At the heart of any AC battery power supply lies the inverter. This converts stored DC power into AC power.
Early inverters used MOSFET technology and were known as switch-mode inverters. They were, by modern standards, quite primitive. Essentially a MOSFET switches polarity along a linear DC current to simulate an AC pulse. The most basic of these, only use two MOSFET switches to create a square sine wave. By adding MOSFETS, more steps can be created. This generates a step square, or modified sine wave.
Using multiple steps, the modified sine wave will function like a true (pure) sine wave. The problem with using switch mode inverter technology to create a pure sine wave is that the inverter becomes bulkier and heavier with each set of MOSFETS. More importantly, the cost becomes prohibitive. Today, MOSFET modified sine wave inverters are offered as a cheaper alternative to pure sine wave inverters. The modified sine wave will utilize the minimum amount of steps, in order to keep prices low. The resultant effect is a less efficient inverter. The only benefit to using this older technology is affordability. There are several disadvantages:
- A modified sine wave is not as efficient as a pure sine wave. This means an increased power loss during the conversion process, resulting in reduced battery time.
- Equipment does not function optimally when supplied by a modified sine wave inverter. Electric motors and electronic equipment generate extra heat, which can be harmful. An audible electric buzz often be heard.
- Some electric devices may not function, or function poorly, when supplied by a modified sine wave inverter.
- Modified sine wave inverters do not always adapt easily to load changes and may experience increased harmonic distortion (HD).
In 1977, the Internal Gate Bipolar Transistor was invented. This was to change the face of inverter technology forever more. Using sophisticated transistors and large (high-charge) capacitors, these inverters are able to produce a perfect sine wave with a true curve. This means an electric current that truly resembles conventional AC power generators. There’s an additional advantage in that IGBT inverters are able to utilize computerized management systems to monitor and adjust the sine wave to reduce distortion. This means low Total Harmonic Distortion (THD). Because of this, the best IGBT inverters produce an electric sine wave that is superior to normal grid supply electricity.
Initially, IGBT technology was exorbitantly expensive. These inverters were only used for commercial applications where clean, low HD power was critical. I call this NASA-grade power, as it is used for finely calibrated navigation equipment, like that used by space and aviation agencies. Low HD pure sine wave inverters are also used for medical and laboratory equipment. In these situations, a high-grade IGBT inverter is essential. Regular utility power has distortions that affect data accuracy for some highly sensitive equipment. Inverters used for these purposes have less than 1% THD.
By the 1990s, IGBT inverter technology was becoming more affordable. This opened a market for true sine wave inverters available to the general consumer. Not quite as sophisticated as NASA-grade inverters, they are more affordable. Most of the commercially available pure sine wave inverters have THD levels ranging from 3% – 5%. While this is not as impressive as the high-end spec of <1%, it is still perfectly safe for all types of electric equipment and highly efficient. Portable generators can produce THD exceeding 25% and, in some areas, grid power supply can be almost as bad at times.
If you’re buying a portable battery power station, it is advisable to check what type of inverter you’re getting. The best way is to look at the THD specification. Ideally, this should be <3%, but anything up to <5% is evidence of quality IGBT inverter.
Some IGBT inverters cannot supply inductive (or non-linear) loads. This means they will be damaged when powering refrigerators, air conditioners, or any equipment that uses a high capacity, brushless AC electric motor. This also applies to microwaves and inductive lighting, like fluorescent lights. If the inverter uses copper transformers, it will be fine for high-current inductive loads.
Since portable battery power stations are not generally designed for high-current equipment, you should assume that they probably won’t be the best for inducive load. Unless otherwise stated in the user manual, avoid using a portable power station for heavy-duty power, like a refrigerator. A DC-powered cooler is fine, a large refrigerator is not. Similarly, you can use a 1KW power inverter, like the Jackery Explorer 1000, for a small drill (around 400W), but not large power tools.
There are numerous types of rechargeable batteries used to supply inverters. Too many to mention here. For portability, lightweight lithium-ion batteries have become the norm for portable battery power stations. For this reason, I’ll only be discussing these batteries.
Despite being one of the most common batteries used today, few people have a good understanding of lithium-ion batteries. Not all lithium batteries are equal. Since battery lifespan is possibly the most important economic factor when buying a portable battery power station, this has to be considered very carefully. A cheap battery may only last a year, whereas a high-quality battery can be good for 10-years or more.
The type of battery used to supply the power station will determine how long you can use it. It is, therefore, a good idea to know more about lithium-ion batteries. Battery lifespan is determined by the number of cycles it is capable of. A single battery cycle means a full discharge (usually up to 80% of the total capacity), followed by a full charge. If a battery is discharged to 40% capacity before charging, this would be half a cycle.
Other factors include operating temperature, battery management systems (BMS), and charge controllers. Though, the best batteries are more forgiving and will always last longer, regardless of external factors.
- Lithium Cobalt Batteries: Lithium Cobalt Oxide is the cheapest form of lithium battery. They are mostly used in low current devices, like LED flashlights and cell phones. Lithium Cobalt batteries do not last as long as more expensive variants, typically around 2 – 3 years for normal use. These batteries are not safe at high-discharge and can be a fire hazard.
- Lithium Manganese Batteries: Lithium Manganese Oxide is a more stable battery platform, and is better suited for high discharge, at higher temperatures. The improved safety and discharge capacity, make this type of battery more suitable for a portable power station. However, they don’t last a long as more expensive Li-ion batteries.
- Lithium Phosphate Batteries: Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4) is widely considered the best battery platform a portable battery power station. These batteries outlast most others, are perfectly safe, and remain stable at extreme temperatures. Although more expensive, their increased lifespan make LiFePO4 worthwhile for high discharge applications.
- Lithium Nickel Batteries: Lithium Nickel Manganese Cobalt Oxide (NMC) is a cost effective alternative to LiFePO4 and are, therefore, a popular choice for battery generators. The batteries offer the same safety, and almost the same temperature tolerance as the more expensive lithium batteries, but don’t typically provide as many cycles. They are cheaper than LiFePO4 batteries, but don’t last as long.
- Lithium Aluminum Batteries: Lithium Nickel Cobalt Aluminum Oxide (NCA) is one of the most advanced lithium battery type. The use of aluminum allows for improved cooling, making for much higher discharge capacity and increased battery charging capacity. Because of the high cost, these batteries are not used for consumer products.
- Lithium Titanite batteries: Developed specifically for commercial electrically powered vehicles, these batteries have the fastest charging time.
All rechargeable batteries are affected by the method and frequency of charging. While rapid charging is convenient, there are more important considerations. A good battery will have a built-in battery management system (BMS). This prevents overcharging, over current, and high temperatures, all of which prolong battery life. They also provide basic safety features, mostly reducing the risk of fire.
A good charger is equally important. The best battery chargers will provide additional cooling, as heat, generated during charging, is one of the greatest causes of premature battery failure. Charge control is also vital. For the most efficient charging of lithium ion batteries, a constant current is required with a gradual increase in voltage as the battery reaches full capacity. This is the opposite to lead acid battery chargers, which require initial high-voltage bulk charging with the highest current, and then a gradual decrease in volts and amps. It is important to use the correct charger for the type of battery you’re using.
There are two types of solar chargers used for battery generators. Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) solar charge controllers are the cheapest but are not that efficient. To maximize the full spectrum of sunlight a Multiple Point Power Tracking (MPPT) solar charge controller is best. Although more expensive, MPPT charge controllers can increase charge efficiency by up to 30%.