I’ve enjoyed testing Jackery’s portable power stations for use in all sorts of off-grid power applications. Having spent some time with the Jackery Explorer 300, I can already tell you that this pint-sized battery offers all the utility of Jackery’s larger units, but in a more affordable and compact device.
When I want to spend a whole day working outdoors or charge a few of my e-bikes during a long day of riding, I turn to Jackery’s bigger batteries.
When I need that same access to power in the great outdoors but don’t want to lug as big of a battery, the Jackery 300 is the right choice for me.
It includes a pair of 300W AC outlets that actually peak at 500W. The built-in inverter is a pure sine-wave inverter and thus protects your devices with a steady, clean electrical source. Most household appliances that plug into a typical 110V outlet can thus be powered by the Jackery 300.
For me that often means power tool chargers or even my drone battery charger. I sometimes use it to top off my e-bike batteries, but it will usually only do around a half charge on high-capacity e-bike batteries. Remember, this is a compact battery – which is part of its charm.
One of the most common devices I hear about other people using it for is a CPAP machine while camping. I haven’t had the need to test that myself, but since it will run any 300W or less device that would normally plug into a wall outlet, a CPAP machine is obviously well within its limits.
I also get great use out of the USB charge ports, with a pair of old school USB A ports as well as a USB-C PD 60W port.
That USB-C port is powerful enough to charge my MacBook quickly, which is great for when I’m working from the road and need a charge in the car or in the field. And I can even charge the Jackery 300 unit using USB-C as well, meaning I don’t have to bring the Jackery’s own charger if I have my laptop charger with me already.
There’s of course a standard 12V charge port that works with the Jackery’s included wall charger, or you can go for bonus points by charging it from the sun with a solar panel.
I’ve used both Jackery’s 60W solar panels and 100W solar panels before, and they’re convenient for this use. They fold up when not charging (which also helps protect the panels’ surfaces), but can be unfolded and deployed for quick use. The 100W panel will charge the Jackery unit in around 5 hours, so one panel would be enough to keep it going nearly continuously while camping or working outdoors.
If you’re grabbing one for emergency preparedness, then I highly recommend getting a solar panel as well. The unit would be perfect for powering your phone, laptop and other devices when power gets knocked out after a storm. But after the battery eventually runs out, you’ll want some way to recharge it if the power in your house hasn’t come back on yet. A solar panel is the perfect solution. I went through a direct eye hit from Hurricane Irma in 2017 and was without power for nearly a week. A mere 12 hours after the storm passed we had blue, sunny skies but no grid power. If I had a Jackery power station and a solar panel back then, I would have been a lot more comfortable.
There’s also a 12V cigarette-lighter port (does anyone still call them cigarette lighter ports?) on the Jackery, but I haven’t found a use for it yet since I just don’t have many items that charge that way. But the drone community often charges off of car ports like these, and so I can see how it’d be useful for a number of items that would typically be recharged from a car’s battery.
At just 7 lb (3.2), it’s the most portable of all of my backup batteries. While I love the larger capacity of my other big power stations, their portability is limited by not being able to fit in a back pack or being tricky to hold on a bike. But the Jackery 300 is my go-anywhere, do-anything portable backup battery due to its small size and low weight.
And at just $299, it’s also a lot more affordable.
If you do a quick search of portable backup batteries, you’ll find prices generally start in the $250-$300 range and quickly shoot up in to the thousands of dollars for high capacity solutions. So at under $300, the Jackery Explorer 300 is the perfect budget model.
There are times I wish it packed in more capacity than its 293 Wh so it would run longer, but that would of course defeat the point of making small, light and low-cost. So while there’s a definite compromise going on for capacity, that makes total sense for the its typical use case.
You can find the Jackery 300 for around $299 normally, but Jackery is currently offering some big sales with up to 30% off across their site. Head on over to check out the deals while they still last.
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