A couple weeks ago, Jackery sent me one of their Explorer 1000 Pro power stations to review (full disclosure: Jackery is letting me keep it after review). This isn’t the first time Jackery has sent me an Explorer 1000 power station (reviews for those are here and here), but this time it’s the “Pro” model. So, readers and people shopping for a Jackery power station are probably left wondering what makes the “Pro” better than the regular 1000 model.
In this article, I’m going to cover some of the more important differences and discuss who should spring for the Pro and who probably shouldn’t.
The Important Difference: More Power Input
Like the non-Pro Explorer 1000, the maximum sustained power output is 1000 watts and it can do that for about an hour if you start with a full battery. But, the biggest functional difference for the Pro is how much power you can put into it. If you buy the full package with four 200 watt solar panels, you can recharge the unit from dead to full in under two hours.
What this translates to in off-grid situations is that you can get a lot more power out of the unit over the course of a day. With 800 watts of power input, you’d get around 5 recharges during the day. If you keep your power usage below what the solar panels are putting in, you could run a heavy load on the Explorer all day without ever running it dead.
And really, this is what the “Pro” is all about. If you’re a casual user who just wants to be able to charge phones and run a little fridge and some lights at a campsite, you can get away with using the cheaper non-Pro model with a couple hundred watts of power and be fine. But, if you’re running bigger loads, like circular saws, air compressors, nail guns, medical equipment, etc., you’re going to want to make sure that periods of heavy use don’t make the unit run out of power.
Also, if you’re charging the unit at home or from some other AC power source, the Pro units don’t use a transformer to charge via the solar inputs. Instead, it has a power plug like a desktop computer, and can pull enough power from the wall socket to charge in under two hours. Obviously, if you’re at home you’ll be able to just use the wall plug, but if you’re coming and going ferrying power for an event or something, being able to charge it quickly makes it a lot easier to use.
Another Important Difference: It Uses Different Panels
One thing that might not be obvious is that Jackery sells two different classes of solar panels. The older 100-watt panels have a slightly different plug, with a smaller center conductor, that isn’t compatible with the Pro models. The Pro models (available in 80-watt and 200-watt sizes) have a fatter center conductor and you won’t be able to plug those into the non-Pro models.
Jackery probably does this to prevent damage to some of the older Jackery models that can’t handle the full power of a 200-watt panel. So, if you’ve got a bunch of Jackery 100-watt panels, be sure to get a new set for the Pro or contact Jackery about adapters if you want to use them with a new Jackery box.
A Big Convenience Feature: A Nicer, More Comprehensive Display
Another great thing about the Explorer 1000 Pro over the non-Pro version is that it has the same display as the Explorer 1500. It’s a multi-color display with a black background, which is more visually appealing, but that’s not all.
Perhaps the most important thing is that the better screen gives you much more detailed information on your power flows. Like the non-Pro version, you can see how much power is going in and how much is going out, but it also gives you a current estimate on how long it’ll take to go dead or go to full. Sure, you can do the math and figure this out, but when solar power and what power you’re using can vary from moment to moment, you’ll spend a lot of time punching the calculator keys in your smartphone just to keep up.
So, once again, if you’re running something critical and need to know how much time you have left at your current power levels, and want to be able to make quick adjustments, get the Pro. If it’s not a big deal to have that extra information, you can probably get away with the non-Pro version.
A More Convenient Form Factor
One thing that’s great about Jackery power stations is that they have a built-in handle. This makes them a lot easier to move, especially the bigger ones. But, having that big, easy to grab handle on the top makes them somewhat difficult to store.
When you go to put the non-Pro Jackery power stations in your closet or stack them with your camping gear in the back of your suburban utility vehicle, you’d better put the Jackery on the top unless you’re really good at balancing things. That handle just isn’t a great place to stack the next piece of gear, that old box of clothes, or your beloved stamp collection between uses.
But, don’t worry, it still has a handle that’s every bit as tough and easy to use as the old Jackery designs. It just flips down and folds flush with the unit when you’re not using the handle.
A More High-Tech Aesthetic
Finally, I’d like to discuss something that’s just a matter of taste. I think the Pro Jackery units are just a lot cooler looking. They’ve got a darker color to them, and they just look more modern and high-tech than the older units. I’m sure there are people who would prefer the look of the original Explorers, but for me, I think the Pros are just neat looking.
For people on a budget not doing anything that requires more power, knowing when it’ll run out, or other critical needs, the Explorer 1000 is a good pick. If you need or want the better features of the Pro, I’d definitely spring for the Pro.
All images (including featured image) by Jennifer Sensiba.
Appreciate CleanTechnica’s originality and cleantech news coverage? Consider becoming a CleanTechnica Member, Supporter, Technician, or Ambassador — or a patron on Patreon.
Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.