Skip to content Skip to sidebar Skip to footer

[Updated] Jackery Explorer 240: My Honest Review

Jackery offers a range of Jackery power stations that vary in size, power, capability, features, and cost. The most basic (and cheapest) is the Jackery 160. One step up from that is the Jackery 240, which is what we’re reviewing in this post. 

The Jackery Explorer 240 has a current price tag of $239 on both the Jackery site and Amazon. The portable 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 the Jackery 240 itself.

With its compact, sleek and stylish design, smart display screen, and varied charging options, the Jackery Explorer 240 is ideal for keeping small appliances powered up on events or trips ranging from:

  • backyard camping

  • tent camping

  • car camping trips

  • outdoor adventures

  • van life or overlanding

  • festivals

  • tailgating

  • power outages

  • beach days

With the Jackery Explorer 240, you can charge devices such as cellphones, smart watches, camera batteries, laptops, tablets, electric blankets, drones, (60W) TVs, fans or camp lights. However, don’t rely on it for more heavy power-draw items such as a cpap machine, mini fridge, portable air compressor or portable vacuum.

Overall Thoughts on Jackery 240 Portable Power Station

jackery 240 features
Click to view on Amazon

I bought the Jackery 240 in July of 2020 and it’s been a staple item of my van life and digital nomad lifestyle over the last three years. Thanks to the Jackery 240’s lightweight and compact build, I can fit it in my travel backpack, gym bag, easily transport it between my camper van or backyard–it’s a very versatile power source. Especially since it can be charged using solar panels, a wall outlet, or car outlet–so I always have a way to charge it whether I’m camping, in a house, or in my van.

At the peak of COVID-19 when I couldn’t work remotely from restaurants, coffee shops or libraries, I bought the power station (mainly) so I could keep my laptop and cellphone charged. It was a lifesaver and allowed me to have uninterrupted work days. Side note: I can only last 2-3 days off the grid with my van’s power setup, which includes two deep-cycle batteries that charge off the van’s alternator (I don’t have solar on my van). 

Using the Jackery explorer 240 portable station in conjunction with the ToGo portable solar panels allows me to always keep the Jackery charged, so I basically have a constant power supply. I’m now living in a house but still love working outside from my back deck, where I use the Jackery and solar panels so I can work all day out there from my laptop. I essentially have a permanent outdoor office now! I’ve also used it during a power outage at my house during a winter snowstorm. It was great for keeping a USB-powered flashlight charged, my phone and laptop charged.

How long will the Jackery last?

Before I dive deeper into my review, let’s answer a question I get all of the time: 

How many hours will the Jackery 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, the Jackery 240’s actual power consumption varies, depending on what you’re charging with it at the moment. For example, a laptop is going to pull a lot more watts than a cellphone, thus draining the Jackery battery more quickly. 

jackery-240-laptop-work-remote-van-life

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. 

jackery 240 handle
Click to view on Amazon

Can you use the Jackery while charging it?

Yep, I use the the Jackery 240 power station while charging it nearly every day. This is also known as pass-through charging; where all Jackery batteries have the ability to be recharged while they are charging other items.

The pass-through charging feature allows me to have battery power all day; never letting the Jackery’s power supply hit zero. Typically, I’m charging my laptop while charging the Jackery with the portable solar panels since the Jackery charges up the fastest with solar panels (vs car or wall outlet).

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.

Does the Jackery Explorer 240 have short circuit protection?

Yep, the Jackery Explorer 240 offers short circuit protection, voltage protection and temperature control thanks to its robust Battery Management System (BMS). Rest easy knowing your devices won’t risk overheating, getting fried or even worse, catching fire.

That being said, the Jackery 240 Explorer’s operating temperature is 0 – 40°C (32 – 104 °F) – so if you happen to be using it in temps that don’t fall within that range, expect that your Jackery will not perform at its highest efficiency.

Practicality

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. 

jackery 240 grip pads
Click to view on Amazon

The only sound I’ve heard it make is after many hours of use, an internal fan comes on to cool down internal parts. It has built-in temperature control. It’s pretty quiet and turns off within a few minutes.

jackery 240 air vents on side
Click to view on Amazon

Power

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 240 Power Station with Solar Panels

jackery-with-togo-solar-panels

I finally bought solar panels that are compatible with the Explorer 240 portable power station and they have skyrocketed my ability to use the power station anywhere. As long as the solar panel set has an unobstructed view to sunlight, I simply plug them in to the Jackery 240’s charging port and allow the solar panels to charge up the Jackery.

Not only that, but charging the power station with solar panels actually makes for a more efficient charge than using a wall outlet or car outlet. So instead of taking 8 hours to fully recharge the Jackery 240, it will take closer to 5-6 hours with a solar panel set. And you can feel good knowing this is a green power supply; better for the earth!

UPDATE: ToGo has discontinued their 60W solar panel set and replaced with a 100W solar panel set for the price of $199, which will recharge the Jackery 240 portable power station faster than Jackery’s 60W solar panel set will ($180). And you don’t need an adapter to use ToGo solar panels with the Jackery portable battery.

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.

togo-60w-solar-panel
jackery-togo-solar-panel-connector

Shop Solar Panels

**Update: ToGo has replaced their 60W solar panel set (shown above) with a two-panel 100W solar set. 

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, with solar panel optional for an additional price (which I highly recommend). So if needed, even when I’m driving I can charge my Jackery. A full charge from a wall outlet or car outlet 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 built in MPPT controller 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 portable power station 240 as both an off grid power supply and for random at-home uses. It has done exactly what I hoped it would do–allow me to stay off grid for an indefinite amount of time. It’s also allowed me to work all day from my back deck and help me get through a power outage at my house.

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. (UPDATE: the solar panel set I originally purchased is no longer available and has been replaced by the ToGo 100W solar panel set, an equally good option).

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.

Ready to shop other van life and adventure appliances? Check out the best portable 12V fridges or top-rated campervan heaters!

Save this on Pinterest

jackery 240 power station
jackery 240 portable power station pinterest

20 Comments

  • Craig Ramsay
    Posted October 3, 2021 at 3:34 pm

    Great review – exactly what I was looking for to help make a decision on the Jackery 240 vs. 160.

    Reply
    • Post Author
      Hilary
      Posted October 3, 2021 at 8:55 pm

      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.

      Reply
      • Steven kahl
        Posted September 8, 2022 at 7:06 pm

        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

        Reply
    • Ed
      Posted July 26, 2022 at 11:46 am

      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.

      Reply
      • Post Author
        Hilary
        Posted July 30, 2022 at 2:21 pm

        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!

        Reply
  • Joe
    Posted October 26, 2021 at 8:21 am

    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.

    Safe travels!

    Reply
  • Charles
    Posted January 22, 2022 at 9:37 am

    Do you use the Jackery to power any kind of fridge or cooler?

    Reply
    • Post Author
      Hilary
      Posted January 24, 2022 at 8:55 am

      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!

      Reply
  • James
    Posted May 13, 2022 at 9:53 am

    How many hours did your Jackery power your laptop? The conversion on the charts are confusing. Thank you.

    Reply
    • Post Author
      Hilary
      Posted May 17, 2022 at 8:00 am

      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.

      Reply
  • Sonam
    Posted July 3, 2022 at 8:28 pm

    Excellent review, I’m very confident in this company and my purchase of the jackery 240. be safe, 🌼

    Reply
    • Post Author
      Hilary
      Posted July 18, 2022 at 5:47 pm

      Thanks Sonam! I hope you love your Jackery as much as I love mine!

      Reply
  • Victor
    Posted July 13, 2022 at 7:29 am

    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 🙂

    Reply
    • Post Author
      Hilary
      Posted July 18, 2022 at 5:47 pm

      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.

      Reply
      • ChristopherG
        Posted September 7, 2022 at 9:46 am

        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?

        Reply
        • Post Author
          Hilary
          Posted September 7, 2022 at 3:58 pm

          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 🙂

          Reply
  • Tyler Schrock
    Posted August 17, 2022 at 11:22 pm

    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

    Reply
    • Michael
      Posted May 7, 2023 at 5:29 pm

      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.

      Reply
  • Steven kahl
    Posted September 9, 2022 at 7:08 am

    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.

    Reply
  • chrystal
    Posted February 14, 2023 at 6:57 pm

    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.

    Reply

Leave a Comment

Get Exclusive Tips & Stories

Sign up below to receive monthly email updates! Whether it's a hilarious short story or a special offer, I'll be including content that isn't on my website.

* indicates required