Jackery has a range of portable power stations that vary in power, capability, size and cost. The most basic (and cheapest) is the Jackery 160. One step up from that is the Jackery 240, which is what I have and what we’re reviewing in this post.
The Jackery Explorer 240 has a current price tag of $219.99. The power station is equipped with a 240 watt-hour lithium-ion battery pack and two USB outlets, one 12V car outlet, one 200W AC outlet, and one DC input for charging.
I bought the Jackery 240 after COVID-19 prevented me from being able to keep my laptop charged in places like coffee shops or breweries. I could only last 2-3 days off the grid with my van’s power setup–two deep-cycle batteries that charge off the van’s alternator (I don’t have solar).
Shop Jackery 240
A few months after I bought the Jackery 240, Jackery dropped its price by $50 (dangit!). But even having bought it with its higher price tag, it’s been worth it. This power station isn’t a “backup” power source for me–I rely on it daily. It has basically become my laptop’s personal charger.
Here are my honest thoughts on how my experience has been with using the Jackery 240 for a year of van life.
How long does Jackery 240 last?
Before I jump into an overview of this, I want to answer a commonly asked question I get:
How many hours will the Jackery 240 keep my laptop charged?
I get about 4-6 hours of charging power from my Jackery to keep my 2016 Macbook Pro charged. My laptop is older and doesn’t hold power well, so take this estimate with a grain of salt.
Here’s an estimate on how long the Jackery 240 will last for common items:
- Drone (60W) = 4 charges
- Electric blanket (55W) = 4 hours
- Laptop (Macbook Pro13) = 3.5 charges
- Fan (15W) = 15 hours
- Camera (10W) = 11 charges
- iPhone 8 = 24 charges
- TV (60W) = 3 hours
- Camp light (5W) = 40 hours
These estimates come directly from Jackery. Ultimately, how long the Jackery 240 lasts depends on what you’re using it to charge. For example, a laptop is going to pull a lot more watts than a cellphone, thus draining the Jackery battery more quickly.
But how many years will the Jackery last?
All Jackery portable power stations use lithium ion batteries, which are typically rated to last for 500 cycles, or 2-3 years.
So depending on how frequently or how “intensely” you use your Jackery battery, you can expect it to have a 100% lifespan for 2-3 years. After that, its battery power will drop down to roughly 80% and slowly reduce from there.
Your battery is still very much useable after 2-3 years, it just won’t have the same charging power.
How many amp hours does a Jackery 240 have?
The Jackery 240 has 16.8Ah (Amp hours), at 240W and 14.4V. Here’s a conversion calculator to figure out how many Amp hours, watts, and/or volts you’ll need to run whichever items you’d like to on the Jackery 240.
Can you use the Jackery while charging it?
Yep, I use the Jackery while charging it nearly every day. This allows me to have battery power all day; never letting it hit zero. Typically, I’m charging my laptop while charging the Jackery with the portable solar panels.
The Jackery’s digital screen shows me how many watts are coming in and out of it at any given time, so I try to make sure it’s always receiving more than it is putting out.
The size of this battery works great for me. Before I invested in solar panels to charge it, sometimes I’d take it into Planet Fitness gyms and let it charge while I worked in their small lobby areas. I could fit it into my gym bag or a regular backpack. It was fairly discrete and lightweight.
I’ve driven with the battery on top of my kitchen table, on my bed, on the floor–you name it. It’s very evenly-weighted and has grips on the bottom so it doesn’t slide or tip over. The carrying handle is wide and easy to grab from any angle.
The only sound I’ve heard it make is after many hours of use, an internal fan comes on. It’s pretty quiet but I believe it’s trying to cool down internal parts that have been in use for a while. It turns off within a few minutes.
As mentioned earlier, I mainly use the Jackery for charging my laptop while working remotely from the van. I can get about three full charges for my Macbook Pro 2016. Sometimes I’ll use it to charge my cell phone, Fitbit watch or bluetooth speaker–those pull much less power.
I love that the Jackery’s digital screen shows exactly how many input and output watts it’s giving or receiving at any moment. This information helps me keep the battery from getting too low if I see its output wattage is significantly higher than its input wattage for a long period of time.
The digital screen will flash for a few seconds once it reaches a low of 20% remaining battery–and again at 10% remaining battery.
Charging Jackery with Solar Panels
A month ago I finally bought solar panels that are designed to charge this battery. So long as I’m working from my van on a sunny day, I simply always keep the battery plugged into the solar panels and it stays fully charged even while charging my laptop.
PRO TIP: Save yourself twenty bucks by buying the ToGo 60W solar panels (at $160) that are compatible with the Jackery 240, as opposed to the official Jackery 60W panels (at $180). That’s what I did and they’ve worked like a charm–no adapter needed.
UPDATE: Use code JADEAL on Jackery.com for 10% off the Jackery 60W panels if you’d rather keep all of your products on the same brand! Code is valid until December 31st, 2022.
If you’re interested in a more robust, higher-power solar set for your van (or any overlanding vehicle) click here to learn about how to set up your solar.
Shop Solar Panels
**Update: ToGo has changed their 60W solar panel design to just two panels, instead of three (like the photos of mine above). The new design is more compact but carries the exact same power.
Value for Money
Since I no longer have to solely rely on my deep-cycle batteries that charge off my van for power, I can be off the grid for as long as I desire. The Jackery has given me that freedom and for $250, that’s totally worth it to me.
The Jackery 240 comes with a wall charger and a car cigarette lighter charger. So if needed, even when I’m driving I can charge my Jackery. A full charge from those outlets can take up to eight hours, which seems way too long to me. That’s a slow charge!
The solar panels provide the fastest recharge thanks to the Jackery’s special MPPT green technology that allows it to efficiently gather energy from the sun. A full recharge will take closer to six hours, instead of eight. Even then, fingers crossed you have a sunny day to keep it charging as quickly as possible.
Overall, I’ve been really pleased with the Jackery 240. It has done exactly what I hoped it would do–allow me to stay off grid for an indefinite amount of time.
That being said, I was sure I could do fine without needing to also buy separate solar panels to keep it charged. I thought between charging it while I drive and/or in coffee shops, I’d be all set. But since it takes so long to charge, I had to dish out another $120 for solar panels.
That’s the biggest and only con I’ve found with the Jackery, so overall–it still has a full two thumbs up from me.
Great review – exactly what I was looking for to help make a decision on the Jackery 240 vs. 160.
I’m psyched to hear that, Craig! Thanks for letting me know – feel free to email if you ever run into more questions on the Jackery 240.
I used the 240 and 60w panels to keep my euhomy 45L car refrigerator running all weekend. Sunny so I got close to 50w charging and 47w for the fridge at 50% duty cycle. Perfect and also charged my phone
I knew a device was needed but, didn’t look forward to making that decision. Not much said about a controller needed between panels and Jackery 240 in which I ordered. I guess the controller is a part of the Jackery? Saved a little money on the AllPowers 60w solar panels coming in at around $100.00. Once again I did not see or read anything pertaining to a controller with the panels. After going to Jackery.com and reading up on the 240 it does have “The Jackery Explorer 240 has a built-in MPPT controller”. That’s a $30-$40 dollar addition I had to pay on the last system I had. With the Lithium battery it also beats the Acid, or Jell or we service add water type. So Hillary you picked a winner for me. Coming to me by Friday July 29th I’m sure by UPS because of the battery USPS won’t deliver. Time to get back to your VAN-TASTIC CAMPERS RV Magazine August 2022 edition. Thanks Hillary.
Ed, I’m pumped to hear this! So glad you found a winner, and that I could help! Also, thanks for the tip about the AllPower solar panels…even less expensive than the ToGo ones I have–gonna have to look into those. I hope you enjoy the rest of the Van-tastic RV Magazine issue!
Thank you for your review. You had all of the information that I was looking for. I was curious as to how long the solar charging would take – and it is interesting that it is actually faster than the wall outlet. I may just mount the solar on the roof of my truck, as it is in direct sunlight almost all of the time.
Do you use the Jackery to power any kind of fridge or cooler?
Hey Charles, I don’t use it to power a fridge or cooler, I just use a Yeti cooler with ice. I don’t think the Jackery 240 would provide enough power to power a fridge, though. If you’re looking for a heftier power option, here’s my friend’s write-up on different battery options: https://www.thewaywardhome.com/solar-generator/. Hope that’s helpful!
How many hours did your Jackery power your laptop? The conversion on the charts are confusing. Thank you.
Hi James, there isn’t a clear-cut answer to that question. Unless you are charging your laptop from when it’s at 0% power, and constantly doing the same activities on your laptop (which is not the case for me-sometimes I’m uploading/editing video which drains laptop power much more quickly than just surfing the web), it’s hard to give an accurate answer. I would estimate anywhere from 5-10 hours, depending on how charged my laptop already is and what activities I’m using it for.
Excellent review, I’m very confident in this company and my purchase of the jackery 240. be safe, 🌼
Thanks Sonam! I hope you love your Jackery as much as I love mine!
Very well thought out review that answers a lot of our questions. I’m curious since you’ve had yours for about a year now, are you still getting 100% after 300+ cycles or so? FYI – Prime day deal today sells this unit for $176 in case you want to get another one 🙂
Thanks Victor, for the kind words AND awesome discount tip! And yep–I’m still getting 100% power from my Jackery. But I also have it charging on my solar panels most of the time I’m using it, so it is constantly getting charged.
great review. I was curious of two things.
1.) the one picture you posted showing the charging cable to connected to the solar panel; did that cord come with the solar panel and connects directly to the input of the jackery?
2.) do you have your panels on top for you your van that charge your jackery daily? if not, where do you normally place your panels when charging?
Hey Christopher, good questions! 1) Yep that’s exactly right, the cord came with the solar panels and perfectly connects to the Jackery. 2) I don’t put any solar panels on top of my van. I just keep my solar panels set up right outside my van, and shift them occasionally as the sun shifts. The only solar panels I use are the ToGo 60W ones. Let me know if you run into more questions 🙂
Do not buy a product from this company. They do not provide any customer service so their warranty might as well not exist. I have had 2 fail on me in less than 10 months of very occasional use and I cannot get anyone to respond to me. You cannot depend on this company
My experience was quite the opposite. The first unit I received was defective; the customer service guy on the phone was friendly and helpful, quickly (no bs) emailed me a shipping label, and the replacement was at my door several days before I would have begun expecting it. I’m sorry you didn’t have a similar experience.
I use the jackery 240 and the 60 w solar panel to keep the unit charged while I ran a 45 watt Euhomy refrigerator / freezer on 50% duty cycle. Kept everything running just fine and even charging my phone while still maintaining at least 50% power. Good solid package to run some basic off-grid stuff.
I bought a jackery for the same reason. Living in a vehicle made it really difficult to find places to charge my phone and laptop when covid had everything shut down. Thankfully, everything has opened back up again, and I can hang out at the library when I’m not at work.