Portable solar generators are building a reputation for themselves in the RV/van life community, and Jackery is certainly a name that has come out on top.
It’s tough to put in a good DIY electrical system for your camper, and the promise of an all-included unit with a clean energy source that can give you power anywhere you go, even when you are off-grid, is certainly alluring.
But is the Jackery Explorer 1000 Portable Power Station all that it promises for van lifers, or is it just another fad and will fizzle out soon? Let’s find out.
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Jackery 1000 Solar Generator Overview
The Jackery 1000 Solar Generator is a portable solar generator that you can recharge with solar power, AC power, or even your car charger. It comes with two solar panels – the Jackery SolarSaga 100w – for charging when camping off-grid and has several output ports for connecting and running your various devices.
The generator is low on noise, eco-friendly, zero-emissions option for van lifers, car campers, and tent campers. It’s easy to use, well built, and is powerful enough to charge most of your short-duration trips.
On the other hand, the Jackery 1000’s 1002W power output may not be enough for longer trips and permanent van life. With a 500 cycle battery, frequent users may have to get a new unit much sooner than you might expect.
Our final assessment is that this versatile generator can serve many purposes, including powering a summer trip or as emergency backup power for your house or camper. Even if you are a weekend camper, this unit is a pretty good option, in our opinion.
But perhaps it’s not sufficient as the only power source for permanent van lifers. Read on to know why we say so.
Disclaimer: Jackery was kind enough to send us an Explorer 1000 and two 100W SolarSaga foldable panels for this review. However, the content of this post is not sponsored by Jackery. Our thoughts are our own and that of the grandchildren on a weekend car camping extravaganza.
Jackery 1000 Solar Generator Spec Summary
The Jackery 1000 Solar Generator is comprised of 2 products: the Jackery Explorer 1000 portable power station and 2 SolarSaga 100W solar panels. You can either buy them separately or choose to buy them as a bundle. The bundle is known as the solar generator.
Jackery Explorer 1000 Portable Power Station
- Output Rating: 1002W
- Output Surge Rating: 2000W
- Battery Type: Li-ion NMC
- Battery Ah: 46.4Ah @ 21.6v
- Battery Life: 500 cycles to 80%+ capacity
- Recharge Time: 7 – 14 hours (depending on charging method)
- Inverter: 1000w Pure sine wave (2000w surge)
- Charging Methods: Solar panel, main supply wall socket, vehicle’s 12V output, electric generator
- AC Output: 3 x 110 VAC, 60Hz, 1000W (2000W Surge) (UK version has 2 x 230 VAC)
- DC Outlets: 2 x USB-C, 2 x USB-A, 1 x 12V DC Car Port
- Display: LCD screen
- Weight: 22.04 lbs / 10Kg
- Dimensions: 13.1 x 9.2 x 11.1 in (33.3 x 23.3 x 28.3 cm)
- Warranty: 2 years
Jackery SolarSaga 100W Solar Panels
- Peak Power: 100W with 23.7% efficiency
- Power Voltage/Current: 18V/5.55A
- Open Circuit Voltage: 21.6V
- Short Circuit Current: 6.1A
- 1 x USB-C Output 5V, 3A
- 1 x USB-A Output 5V, 2.4A
- Operating Temperature Range: 14 to 159° Fahrenheit (-10 to 65° Celsius)
- Dimensions (Unfolded): 48 x 21 x 0.2 inches (1220 x 535 x 5 mm)
- Dimensions (Folded): 24 x 21 x 1.4 inches (610 x 535 x 35 mm)
- Weight: 10.33 lb
- Warranty: 2 years
Jackery 1000 Solar Generator
- 1 x Jackery Explorer 1000 Power Station
- 2 x SolarSaga 100w Solar Panels
What’s In The Box?
The Jackery 1000 Solar Generator comes with everything that you need to set it up:
- 1 x Jackery Explorer 1000
- 2 x 100W SolarSaga Panels
- 1 x SolarSaga Y Parallel Cable
- 1 x AC Sine Wave Adapter (wall outlet cable)
- 1 x DC car charger type adapter
- 1 x Carrying pouch for all the cables
- 1 x User Manual (Solar Generator) and 1 x User Manual (Solar Panel)
- 2-Year warranty
Jackery 1000 Features
It has a total output rating of 1002W, with a surge rating of 2000W. While you can exceed the 1000W output for a few seconds, the unit will shut down if you try to do it consistently as a safety feature.
So, for example, when you switch on your fridge, you may experience a power surge as the fan, compressor, and electronics startup. The startup cycle is usually short-lived, lasting only a few seconds. If that surge is greater than 1000w but less than 2000w, the Jackery 1000 will handle it.
The battery capacity for the Jackery 1000 is 46 amp-hours (Ah), which is nearly the same as a typical 12V deep cycle battery with 85Ah.
The one downside of the battery is that you can only charge it for 500 cycles until its capacity drops to 80%. That’s lower than what you would typically expect from a van life electrical unit. That said, if you are only using it for weekend camping trips, it will still last for many years.
Battery Power Output & Ports
The unit has several output ports (8 of them). These are:
- DC Output
- 2 x USB-C
- 2 x USB-A
- 1- 5V/2.4A
- 1- Quickcharge 3.0
- 12V Car Charger
- 13.2V output, upto 10A
- AC Output
- 3 x AC outlets
- Sine Wave 1000W
The 3 AC outlets are perfect for running most appliances onboard your van, whereas the 12V DC outlet provides a constant voltage which you might need for your portable fridge, which has a built-in low voltage shutdown. You can charge your mobile phones/tablets etc., on the USB ports.
We tested the UK model, which has a few minor differences from the USA models:
- The inverter is 240v rather than 110v, and
- The US model has 3 AC outlets instead of the 2 outlets on the UK version.
Pure Sine Wave Inverter
You will get three pure sine wave AC outlets in the unit, which lets you plug in things like your phone, laptop, and even a small motor. Sine wave inverters provide the same kind of AC power that your wall outlets provide. So you don’t have to be worried about your electrical appliances or sensitive electronics getting damaged.
Read more: What Does An RV Inverter Do & Why Do I Need One In My Camper?
Here is a summary of the charging methods and capabilities of the generator:
|Type of Power||Adapter/Hardware||Specs||Charging Time|
|2 x SolarSaga Solar Cells (100W each)||MPPT solar charge controller + Anderson Powerpole inputs||30V / 163W maximum input||~8 hours|
|AC (Wall Outlet)||8mm AC adapter||24V max input||~7 hours|
|DC (Car Charger)||8mm DC adapter||12V max input||~14 hours|
The Jackery Solar Generator is the combined bundle of the Jackery Explorer 1000 and 2 SolarSaga 100w Solar Panels. If you already have solar panels fitted on your roof, you can connect them to the Explorer 1000. They must be 12-30V panels with between 7.5-8.33A current.
You’ll need an adaptor to connect third-party panels to the Explorer 1000.
Note that because the in-built MPPT solar charge controller is relatively small, connecting more than 200W solar panels will not result in faster charging. The Explorer 1000 has a maximum input wattage of 126W.
Build Quality & Design
The Explorer 1000 is made of ABS plastic with a rugged build, capable of handling typical wear and tear of outdoor living. It’s very compact and has a nice handle at the top. The unit weighs about 22 pounds, so it’s not lightweight, but it is lighter than its competitors, and the handle makes it easy to carry.
There are rubber foot pads at the bottom which provide a bit of grip to the unit, so it won’t fall off easily from anywhere you place it. It has an LED flashlight on the side that’s great for nighttime operation. It also turns into an emergency light.
The SolarSaga solar panels are monocrystalline. They are constructed out of plastic, rubber, and nylon. These panels have a nice handle in the corner and magnets that keep them shut when folded. They also have a handy pouch to store their cables when not in use.
Each panel also has a USB-C and USB-A port built-in, which gives you extra options to charge your devices. The panels have kickstands built into the back, which can be folded/unfolded as and when needed. Each of the panels weighs around 10 pounds.
Jackery 1000 Benefits
The Jackery 1000 Solar Generator is super quiet. The unit does not produce much noise, even with the fans running during high temperatures. You can hear the crickets chirping in the field; it’s that quiet.
Compare that with other generators that use gasoline or diesel. You will realize how much of a difference the Jackery 1000 will create for you.
No Fumes & Eco-Friendly
The Jackery 1000 is very eco-friendly compared to similar 1000-W diesel or gasoline generators.
Let’s do some simple math here. A 1000 W gasoline generator can typically run for about 2 hours on a full tank (about 0.6 gallons). Burning a gallon of gasoline produces as much as 20 pounds of Carbon dioxide.
With a gasoline generator running on full blast, you could be generating about 6 pounds of CO2 every hour! If you do the same calculation for propane, it would also come out to about 5 pounds of CO2 per hour.
Using a portable solar power generator such as the Jackery 1000 with solar panels reduces your carbon footprint. In addition, it protects your family from the toxic gasses that gasoline generators produce.
You can just set up your 2 SolarSaga solar panels, and on a good day, you can charge up your power station in just under 8 hours.
You can also charge up the power station from a wall outlet before getting to the campsite, or even charge it up using the car charger while you are on the road.
Multiple Charging Methods
You can charge the Jackery Explorer 1000 in three ways: through the SolarSaga solar panels that come with the unit, any regular wall outlet, or through your car charger.
This makes it super convenient because you can charge it almost anywhere, whether at your house, campground, camping, or boondocking in the middle of nowhere.
Compare that with gasoline or propane generators, for which you have to buy and lug around gasoline tanks and propane gas cylinders all the time, or you run out of power. Those generators have no backup charge if you don’t have any fuel.
Jackery offers a lifetime customer support service, so you don’t have to worry even if you are out of the 24 month warranty period. You can either drop a mail at [email protected] or call the customer support services at 1-888-502-2236. The customer service options are only open Mon-Fri 9 AM – 5 PM PST.
Service, Warranty & Manual
You get a 24-month limited warranty from the date of purchase with the Jackery 1000. In addition, the warranty covers shipping and returns, so if you ever get a defective product (rare but can happen), you can always send it back.
Jackery also offers a 30-Day Money-Back Guarantee if you try and don’t like the Jackery 1000. You will also get manuals for both the Explorer power station and the solar panels in the packaging. The manuals are pretty well designed and easy to understand.
How We Tested The Jackery 1000
We live in our Sprinter campervan full-time and have been on the road in South America for over 4 years. Unfortunately, all the global trials and tribulations during 2020+ played havoc with our travel plans to visit the family back in the UK.
So with the northern hemisphere Spring on the horizon, we finally booked an extended stay back “home.”
Stealing away the grandkids for the weekend was a must, but without the home comforts of our van, we got back to basics with a couple of nights of car camping – with tents, portable cookers, and of course, the Jackery 1000 Solar Generator.
We brought our essential electronics.
- The iPad was crucial for rainy day activities for the children. Spending an hour looking at photos of Baloo in the Andes mountains and penguins in the Antarctic from the comfort of a quilted sleeping bag is exciting for a 4-year-old!
- Both our phones needed charging during our 3-night camping trip, and more through testing the Jackery than anything else, we kept these topped up whenever we were on the campground.
- You may have noticed, but we run a blog, which means we often need access to our laptops and cameras. So we brought along one laptop and a camera battery charger.
- We’d have brought along an electric cooler or fridge in an ideal world. We didn’t take one with us, but we did run a small household AC fridge at home before we left. It was the only device running, the Jackery was fully charged when we started, and we didn’t plug it into the solar panels during the test. The fridge was in use, and in 24 hours, it had used less than half of the Jackery 1000’s capacity.
Because part of the objective of our weekend camping trip was to test and review the Jackery, we gave a lot of thought to how we’d potentially use it in the van and wanted to push it to see how far it’d go.
So we went crazy. We don’t carry a hairdryer or hair straighteners in the van, but we added them to our must-have list for a weekend camping trip in the Peak District to test this bit of kit.
And we love coffee, and in our temporary car, we have a lot of space in the trunk (or the boot to us Brits). There’s something so satisfying about rolling out of a tent, opening the trunk to the sight of a Gaggia coffee machine! Taking glamping to a whole other level!
So how did that go?
Our Experience of The Jackery 1000
The Great British weather is nothing, if not predictably unpredictable. A forecast sunny but chilly spring weekend in March turned into a blustery, damp weekend with an occasional sunny spell.
The Jackery portable power station nor the SolarSaga solar panels are waterproof, but they are water-resistant. So, we kept the portable power station inside the tent or in the car.
We kept the solar panels indoors overnight (kind of obvious). During the day, we positioned them to face the (limited) sun, maneuvering them throughout the day to get the maximum benefit. Of course, we had one eye on the weather and needed to unplug the panels and get them out of the rain a couple of times during the weekend.
Setting up and packing away takes literally 2 minutes. There’s hardly anything to it because the solar panels are simply plug-and-play.
Read more: Jackery 240 Solar Generator: A Must-Have Car Camping Gadget
Charging The Jackery 1000
We fully charged the Jackery 1000 from an AC mains supply before setting off on our camping trip.
The battery was already around 34% charged out of the box, and it took 4 hours to charge fully. Aside from that, we ran entirely off-grid for 3 days without using shore power to top it up.
In reality, though, we could easily have plugged into the campground pedestal and never worried about its charging level.
Note: if using a Jackery 1000 in the UK, you will need an adapter to plug into the campsite pedestal. You can grab one here.
At a little over 2 meters, the cable length is pretty short. It’s not a problem for charging at home or if you have a hookup facility close to your vehicle. But that’s not convenient on some campgrounds, so an extension cable is most likely a necessary accessory.
Our tests running in less than favorable weather conditions proved to be a reasonably good test of the Jackery’s capability. In optimum conditions, the Jackery Explorer 1000 can absorb a maximum of 127W of energy. Of course, an overcast day isn’t optimal, but we saw around 50W of input from the pair of panels. When the sun came out, that would rise to around 100W.
We feel confident that we’d easily get the maximum charge into the power station in good conditions.
Again, one of the downsides of the solar panels out of the box is the length of the cable. At about 3 meters, the panels need to be positioned relatively close to the power station. That’s often not a problem, but as the sun’s position moves throughout the day, you’ll probably want to keep the power station shaded while the panels are in the sun.
If we’d have had better weather, we think we’d have needed to move the power station a few times and the panels. You could extend the cable yourself by splicing an extension cable into the Jackery provided cable or use an extension with 8mm connectors.
However, you’ll need to take care with that approach because the longer the cable, the more voltage loss you’ll experience.
Although the solar panels are lightweight and great for portability, that also makes them more likely to blow over in the wind. We experienced some blustery conditions when we tested the solar panels, and they blew over a few times. Next time, we’ll use robust tent pegs to secure them.
Luckily, we have a 12v socket in the boot of the car. With a bit of creative organizing, we had an ideal home for the Jackery so we could easily charge it while on the move.
We left the cable plugged into the socket all the time and connected the Jackery when we set off on day trips out.
Once again, the cable length is relatively short – only about 2 meters. For our setup, that was ideal, but if you don’t have a 12v socket in your trunk, that could be a tad awkward. Plus, you’ll need to find a suitable position to charge the unit while driving.
Charging from the engine is time-consuming, so we don’t suggest relying on this as the only recharge mode. That said, it’s a bonus to be able to charge while you’re driving, and it gives a little extra boost you wouldn’t have otherwise.
Charging Our Appliances
Aside from monitoring how much energy was left in the battery, we didn’t adapt our behavior or use of the Jackery 1000. Instead, we wanted to test it as though we were in the van and, of course, car camping to see if or when we’d hit its limit.
We kept our phones topped up all weekend and recharged the iPad twice. No dramas. We used the coffee machine a couple of times each day, and it coped beautifully.
We charged the camera batteries and laptop early in the day – just as we would in the van, so we had all day to replenish the used energy with the solar panels.
On the final morning, we tested out the hairdryer and straighteners. We were down to about 50% of the battery at the time, so we were pretty interested in how it would cope.
Angela’s hairdryer is a powerful gadget, pulling up to 2000w. The Jackery 1000 isn’t designed to run it, but there’s a variable setting to reduce the power of the hairdryer. The Jackery didn’t falter at 1300w. Much higher than that, and the Jackery cut out. Quite the result!
Onto the hair straighteners. These GHD bad boys heat up to 230°c in no time and pull 400w. Not a challenge for the Jackery 1000. They’d have glowed at their highest heat setting all day long (or until the battery was flat).
And after 3 days of car camping, with unfavorable weather, we still returned with 25% of the battery. And Angela’s never looked so spruced up after a weekend camping trip!
Remember, though, we didn’t bring our fridge on the weekend camping trip. Had we done and used the same fridge, the Jackery 1000 wouldn’t have supported all our electrical needs – at least not in the poor weather conditions we had.
Is The Jackery 1000 Solar Generator Any Good For RV Living & Van Life?
So, after all that, what’s our verdict?
We loved the Jackery 1000. It’s a fine bit of kit, excellent quality, and compared to designing and installing an equivalent size electrical system in your camper, it’s pretty good value. That said, it’s not suited for everyone.
Who Is It Good For?
#1. If you are going on a shorter weekend trip or are out for a single season
Not all van lifers are full-timers. Sometimes, all you are aiming for is a short summer camping trip or just a weekend away from it all, boondocking away from the hubbub.
The Jackery 1000 is excellent for such short trips because you don’t need to install a whole electrical system. It will power most of your appliances for a few days.
#2 Campers and Car Campers
We live in a van but have just spent the weekend car camping. It turns out that despite our expectations, car camping can be almost as comfortable as van life. With the Jackery 1000, we never scrimped on our electrical devices once – even in typically British weather.
#3. When you just need to hit the road immediately
Not everybody is a planner; some road trips happen on the spur of the moment. If you are heading out immediately and don’t have an electrical setup in your van, a Jackery 1000 is a great temporary option to get you going.
It is a pick-up-and-go power supply, so if you’re not a full-timer and prefer not to learn everything you need to know about campervan electrics, this is ideal. So long as you’ve sized it to meet your electrical demand, the Jackery 1000 is a cracking solution.
#4. When you need a power source that can do multiple things
The Jackery 1000 can do a lot of stuff. If you want to camp without your van – a Jackery 1000 is a great way to power your appliances. If you want a backup power source at your house – it’s great for that.
You can power AC and DC appliances and use them for family garden parties, outdoor events, or weekend camping trips. If you have multiple needs for a portable power source, the Jackery solar generator is just the job.
#5. When you need a portable power supply
As an RVer or van lifer, you probably have an in-built electrical system, so you may think you have no need for a Jackery 1000.
One of the limitations of your camper’s electrical system is it’s only as portable as your vehicle. So if you want to hang out away from your van, say around the campfire or grill, with lights and music, a portable power source like the Jackery 1000 provides the best of both worlds.
#6. When you need backup power supply
Even with an onboard electrical system, sometimes you may need an extra backup supply.
Perhaps the weather forecast is atrocious, and you can’t rely on solar to charge your onboard battery bank. Maybe you intend to be off-grid for a few weeks and don’t want to worry about running low on power.
If you have the space to store it, the Jackery 1000 Solar Generator provides a whole lot of assurance.
Who is it not suitable for?
#1. When you need a lot of power
The Jackery 1000 is versatile, but the one thing it lacks is the ability to add power to it. So what you see is what you get with the Jackery 1000 – it’s a 1000w inverter and a 46ah lithium battery, and that’s that.
If you need the power to run heavier electrical equipment, like AC units or an electric kettle, you’ll need a much larger inverter than the Jackery 1000, or consider installing a customized electrical system in your camper.
Read more: You can use our inverter calculator to figure out what size inverter you need and marry that to the Jackery of your choice.
Also, you must consider the battery size. The Jackery 1000 has a 46ah lithium battery. If you start your trip with it fully charged, you have those 46ah to play with. You must replace any energy you use to keep it topped up.
So, for example, if you need, say, 30ah per day, and you’re not charging the battery, the Jackery 1000 will be flat after a day and a half. But if you’re generating lots of energy from the solar panels, you’ll obviously make that last longer.
The critical thing to remember is to choose a battery size that can support your needs. You can use our solar calculator to determine how much power you need and what size lithium battery will support that. If you need a larger or smaller battery, consider the other Jackery solar generator models.
#2. You are a permanent van lifer
Not all van lifers are permanently on the road. But if you are one of the traditional van lifers in it for the long haul, you might want to avoid a portable power supply as your sole energy source.
Firstly, as the only source of power, it’s impractical in the long term. As the panels and power station are portable, you’ll need accessible storage for them on board. Then, you’ll be shifting them around frequently. Whether you’re moving the panels into better sunlight and hauling the power station around to follow or packing up and setting up camp. After just one weekend, we can see how the power station would become an irritating inconvenience.
Secondly, the lifespan of the Jackery 1000, measured in battery cycles, is limited to around 500 cycles. After that, you can expect some degradation of the battery performance. A typical lithium battery installed in a camper van’s electrical system has an expected lifespan of in excess of 5000 cycles. That’s not a typo – it’s 10 times more!
If you use the Jackery 1000 full-time, you can expect to use those 500 cycles in probably 2 to 3 years. That makes the Jackery a pretty poor contender for full-time use.
Note though – this is not to put off part-timers. Occasional use is likely to use far fewer cycles per year. The Jackery is most likely to last for many years when used less frequently.
#3. You want a customized electrical system
Building or specifying your electrical system allows you to completely customize every aspect of your setup. For example, you can design multiple USB Type-C ports, install large components to scale up your battery bank and solar panels in the future, house components in suitable locations, and increase the number of outlet sockets.
With a portable solar generator, you can forget all that. What you get is what’s in the box, and that’s it, and that’s all it’s ever going to be. It’s not scalable – nope – you can’t connect multiple Jackery solar generators.
If you want complete control over your setup, we recommend you don’t rely on Jackery as your sole energy source.
- Very Quiet
- Eco-friendly, Low emissions
- Multiple charging options, including solar for those off the grid trips
- Eight power outlets for your devices
- Portable, easy to carry (and even better with the optional carry case)
- Durable build quality
- Easy to set up and use
- Provides enough power for most shorter trips
- Works with delicate electrical equipment since it provides AC power through a pure sine wave inverter
- Excellent warranty and lifetime customer support
- Super expensive compared to gas-based generators
- The battery is not expandable beyond the 1000W output.
- Cannot charge through multiple charging methods for quicker charging
- It is somewhat impractical for permanent van life
- Not waterproof
- Only 500 battery cycles will last 2-3 years before you need a replacement.
Is The Jackery 1000 Worth The Price?
It’s good to be skeptical whenever answering a question like this. We looked at the specs, performance, and capabilities of the Jackery 1000 thoroughly, and it’s a terrific product for what it does.
It offers you a good amount of power to run most of your electrical appliances and devices for a few days or short trips. If you are going to a spot with a power grid nearby, it can be a great all-in-one option to power your RV.
As far as solar panels are concerned, they are an excellent, eco-friendly addition to the Jackery 1000. They can certainly recharge your unit when the conditions are perfect.
Suppose you compare the price of the Jackery 1000 to installing a permanent solution of a similar size spec. In that case, the Jackery works out comparable, if not a little cheaper. Plus, you get a 2 year warranty and lifetime support – you don’t even get that with multi-thousand dollar van conversion companies.
However, Jackery’s lithium battery doesn’t have the same lifespan, so arguably, it offers a little less value for money.
The biggest downfall of the Jackery 1000 is that it does not let you add more juice to the unit – you are stuck with the 1000W inverter and the 46ah battery. It makes buying the right size for your needs absolutely crucial.
In terms of build quality, ease of use, and design, the Jackery 1000 certainly scores high. If you are in the market for this kind of generator, it’s a great buy.
How To Use The Jackery 1000 Solar Generator?
Hooking up the Jackery 1000 Solar Generator is pretty straightforward. The unit has rubber feet at the bottom so that you can place them on any surface. Next, unfold the SolarSaga solar cells, place them with clear access to the sky, and open the stand at the bottom.
There are cables kept in the back of the solar cells, which you need to plug into the solar cell and then connect them on the other end to the adapter unit provided. Then, plug in the adapter to the Anderson Powerpole socket at the front, and you are all set to charge the Jackery 1000 with solar panels.
There are separately marked DC and AC output ports, which you can turn on using the button provided above either panel. So long as the Jackery 1000 has some charge, you can hook up your devices and start using them.
We suggest pre-charging the Jackery 1000 from a wall outlet for short trips before taking it on the road. This way, you don’t have to wait around for the solar cells to put some juice in it.
How To Use The Jackery 1000 Solar Generator In Bad Weather?
Suppose you are camping in the Southwest or traveling in places where overcast conditions are common such as the Pacific Northwest. In that case, you won’t always get the bright, sunny skies that solar cells need for peak charging.
You need to make sure that the solar panels are always kept in a position where they can get the maximum amount of sun. Firstly, be careful that the sun’s shifting position during the day will cause the solar cells to come under shade. So you need to keep moving them to ensure they get as much sun as possible.
Secondly, neither the Jackery Explorer 1000 nor the SolarSaga Solar Panels are waterproof. Jackery has made them water-resistant, so a splash of water won’t hurt them, but the panels will get damaged if you leave them outside in the rain.
If you are in a place where the sun is not shining very brightly, the Jackery 1000 with solar panels will probably give you only about half of the juice that it can give you in bright weather. So you shouldn’t go too far from the grid.
How Portable Is The Jackery Solar Generator 1000?
The Jackery Solar Generator 1000 weighs about 22 pounds, and the two solar cells each weigh about 10 pounds. That makes about 42 pounds, which can be pretty heavy to lift.
Compared to other 1000W generators, the TogoPower gas generator weighs about 35 pounds, and the PowerSmart Generator weighs 39 pounds.
Keep in mind that these two are gas generators, which means you will also have to carry gasoline to fuel them.
The Goal Zero Yeti 1000 weighs in at almost 40lb without the solar panels. The Bluetti EB150 weighs in at almost 38lb, also without any solar panels. These are both competing alternatives for the Jackery 1000.
So in all, the Jackery 1000 is above par for the course as far as weight goes.
In terms of design, the Explorer 1000 unit has a nice and sturdy handle at the top, which makes it easy to lift the unit. Both solar panels also have handles built-in on their sides.
Another important aspect is how much space the unit takes up in your van. Let’s compare it again with the above products. The PowerSmart Portable generator takes up 15.9 x 14.7 x 14.3 inches of space, and the TogoPower unit takes up 15.0 x 12.8 x 12.6 inches.
Remember that you also have to keep your fuel somewhere in the RV, which takes up additional space.
The Goal Zero Yeti 1000 takes up 10.11 x 15.3 x 9.3 inches, and the Bluetti EB150 takes up 14.6 x 6.5 x 14.4 inches.
The Jackery 1000 is the most compact unit taking up only 13.1 x 9.2 x 11.1 inches of space.
The Solar panels are bigger but very thin. When folded, they take up just 24 x 21 x 1.4 inches. So you can put them away very neatly when not in use.
How To Recharge The Jackery Solar Generator 1000?
The Jackery Solar Generator 1000 can be recharged in three ways:
SolarSaga Solar Panels
Using Solar panels is the most environmentally sustainable method. You can add either one or two of the 100W solar panels with Jackery 1000, though it is better to use both for quicker charging.
The Jackery 1000 has an MPPT solar charge controller, which lets you monitor how much charge is coming in through your solar panels. It also comes with a standard adapter which you can connect to the solar panels.
All you need to do is to:
- Plugin the charging cables from the solar panels into the adapter input
- Plugin the adapter to the Anderson Powerpole port at the front of the Generator unit
If you are on the road and need to recharge your Jackery Explorer, you can hook it up with the car charger. You can simply plug the DC Adapter (through an 8mm input) into the 12V car charger and plug the other end into the generator’s input.
Once you are back home or setting out for a new trip, you can plug the AC adapter (through an 8mm input) into any standard wall outlet.
How Long Does It Take to Recharge?
It takes about 6.5 hours to charge from 0% to 80% under ideal conditions, or 8 hours to fully charge when using both SolarSaga panels.
It can take up to 14 hours to fully charge with just one panel.
You need to note a couple of points here:
- You can’t add the solar panels in series because the output of each panel is 18V. The Jackery Solar Generator does not accept more than 30V charging on solar input (In series, the total voltage would become 36V).
- Similarly, there is no point in adding more than two solar cells to the unit because the Jackery Solar Generator accepts only 126W solar input. Adding more than two cells will give you more than that in ideal conditions.
It takes about 14 hours to fully charge using your 12V car charger.
It takes about 7 hours to fully charge through a regular AC wall outlet.
How Many Times Can You Recharge A Jackery 1000?
The Jackery 1000’s battery is rated for 500 cycles before the capacity falls to about 80%. That means you can take it down from 100% to 0% 500 times before its capacity drops to 80% of its original capacity.
While this doesn’t mean that the Jackery 1000 will stop working immediately after that, it’s a marker that it’s time to get a new battery. Depending on how much you use it, this will typically last you between two to three years on the road.
If you compare it with other RV/Van Life typical batteries, the 500 cycles are pretty low. Most will have more than 3000 cycles; some might have even 5000+ cycles.
What Can You Run With A Jackery 1000?
What you need to understand about the Jackery 1000 is that it is a sine wave inverter. That means it gives out AC power like your regular wall outlet.
With its powerful 1000W output, the Jackery 1000 can:
- Charge your laptop and mobile phone several times over
- Run your RV fan and lights for days on end
- Run your portable refrigerator for nearly 17 hours
- Let you cook with an induction plate for a 10-15 minutes dish.
- Let you boil a pot of coffee 8-10 times.
- If you are boondocking and need to run a CPAP machine for your sleep apnea, the Jackery 1000 is a great solution.
You can use all the power outlets simultaneously, both AC and DC, so long as the total power consumption does not exceed 1000W. It can also surge up to 2000W for brief periods, so it’s ok to exceed that requirement once in a while, but the unit will shut itself off if you overdo it.
Can It Charge Different Devices at Once?
The Jackery 1000 has eight power ports, and yes, you can use each of them simultaneously.
Following are the available output ports:
- 2 x 18W USB-C ports
- 2 x USB-A ports, including 1 for Quick Charge 3.0
- 3 x 100V AC ports
- 12V Car Charger Outlet
Just note that the power consumption should not exceed the rated 1000W.
Can You Use Jackery 1000 While It’s Charging?
Yes, you can. Jackery products have a “pass-through” charger, just a technical term for a charger that you can charge and discharge simultaneously. Jackery doesn’t recommend doing this regularly as it will reduce the battery life, but the unit can cope.
Even better, the Jackery 1000’s LCD panel lets you simultaneously see both the input and output power to the unit.
Jackery sent us their Explorer 1000 Solar Generator to review and we have to say we’re impressed. We were a bit skeptical at first, assuming it was just a battery in a box. However, it is so much more than that.
It is compact and easy to set up, and it provides enough power to run most small appliances.
The Jackery 1000 solar generator is one of the most popular portable generators on the market. It’s perfect for camping, tailgating, and other outdoor activities.
The generator is lightweight and easy to set up, and it can be used to power a variety of devices. Most importantly, it can run a coffee machine. So if you’re looking for a way to make Expresso in the wild, the Jackery 1000 is the perfect choice.
The generator is also very quiet, so you won’t have to worry about disturbing your neighbors.
The Jackery 1000 is perfect for a weekend away in a van or car or even an RV. It’s a great option for those who need a reliable power source while away from home.
But let’s be honest here, it is not suitable for everybody.
Firstly, if you are a full-time van lifer, there are drawbacks to using this as your main energy source. Firstly it is portable, so it needs a secure and accessible storage space in your RV. It’s designed to work best with Jackery solar panels but with the right adaptors, you can connect it to third part panels too. However, the MPPT on this unit is limited to 126w so you can’t benefit from anything more than about 200w of solar.
That’s not a lot of energy capture capability, and it means the smallish battery takes around 8 hours to charge in good full sun. If you stick with the supplied portable panels as your primary energy source, you will spend a lot of your time moving them around to face the sun, pinning them down in windy conditions, and putting them away in the rain.
It is also not capable of expansion. So in the future, if you need to increase your power capacity, you can’t just add more batteries to the unit, extra outlets, or a bigger inverter.
Of course, you could buy another unit that would increase the number of outlets and battery capacity, but it still would not increase your 1002w AC load limit.
And finally, what about bang for your buck? Is it worth the money? We think so, if this unit is the right size for your needs and you just want occasional or straightforward use.
We love it, and will find the room to keep this Jackery in the back of our van just in case.