Welcome to our indepth review of the Jackery Explorer 1000, one of most versatile portable power stations on the market. How good is it? Well, customer love it and so do we. I think it’s important to see how it compares to Goal Zero YET 1500X and the EGO Nexus — two excellent alternatives.
On February the 13th 2021, a winter storm developed off the Pacific Northwest coast and gradually moved inland towards the southeast. It resulted in snowstorms and blackouts across many parts of the United States and Northern Mexico. However, this winter storm is primarily known for causing the 2021 Texas Power Crisis. A series of blackouts in the state of Texas that left over 4.3 million homes and businesses without power for days.
Government officials blamed frozen wind turbines for the lack of power, but the real issue goes much deeper. I don’t want to get into the specifics of why the Texas power grid was unprepared for a situation like this, as there are already plenty of articles on the subject matter from people who are far more qualified to speak on it. Some blame the fact that Texas has its own separate deregulated and privatized power grid, which isn’t interconnected with the national power grid of the United States. Others have pointed out that the Texas power grid is the only US power grid without rules for resiliency.
VIDEO | See the Jackery 1000 in Action
It is true that Texas unlike many northern states doesn’t see winter storms very often. Which is why the power grid, natural gas pipelines, and wind turbine systems aren’t weatherized to deal with this kind of situation. Even the people aren’t as prepared with warm clothing, and we saw temperatures drop as low as -2°F (-19°C) in some parts of the state. There were photos of fans with icicles hanging from the blades, and videos of cars sliding down icy roads. Some families were burning personal belongings to keep the fireplace running.
If there’s one thing I and many people learnt from this experience, it’s that you shouldn’t always rely on the government to bail you out. Whether it be a financial crisis or a natural disaster, the government isn’t your friend. Learning to be self-sufficient is one of the most important skills one can have. Reading news stories of families who were hit by layoffs during the Covid-19 pandemic, only to end up in a snowstorm with multi-day blackouts and bursting water pipes just a few months later is indeed very depressing. Preppers are often mocked for being too paranoid, but guess what- during these blackouts they were some of the only households with power thanks to portable generators that they purchased long ago.
Without power, you can’t heat your home. You can’t keep food in the fridge, and you can’t work either. I rely on my computer to work from home, and I can’t imagine going several days without power. But I also live in an apartment which makes it impossible for me to operate a conventional gas powered generator, as the fumes would pose a health hazard. A quick Google search will show you several cases of carbon monoxide poisoning caused by people operating gas generators indoors during natural disasters like the 2021 Texas power crisis. Not to mention, if you’re part of a homeowner’s association there are rules regarding acceptable noise levels. A commercial grade open frame generator produces more than 75 decibels of noise from 20 to 30 feet away, which will get you fined and reprimanded by the authorities.
The Need For Portable Power Stations | Why Solar And Battery Power Are The Future
So what is the solution to getting reliable backup power in your home without noise and fumes? There is only one way- a portable solar power generator, also known as a portable power station. These are essentially giant batteries hooked up to inverters. You can charge them from the wall outlet or through solar panels. And when the mains power goes down, you can rely on these power stations to run essential appliances like the refrigerator, computer, lights, Wi-Fi router, etc. The best part about a portable power station is the fact that it’s practically silent, since there are no moving parts. No engine also means no fumes.
I strongly believe solar and battery power are the future of portable energy, and as battery technology advances we will slowly lose the need for noisy gas generators. Sure, they are more expensive but you also don’t have to pay for gas ever again if you’ve got a solar panel setup for your power station. It’s literally free power, and there is very little impact on the environment (mining of precious metals for the solar panels is an issue, but outside the scope of this article). While solar panels don’t have a true 0 carbon footprint like many believe, they are exponentially better for the environment than fossil fuels. And they will work even when the local gas station, unlike gas/ propane generators that require fuel. As long as you have a few hours of sunlight a day, you’re good to go.
If you’re serious about living off-grid or sustaining yourself during a pandemic/ natural disaster, I highly recommend a portable power station. One with at least 1000Wh of capacity, if you’re expecting the blackouts to last for up to 1 day. Depending on how powerful the inverter in your portable power station is, you can power a multitude of appliances- everything from TVs and game consoles to blenders and coffee makers. As I was reading the news regarding the Texas blackouts, I saw several cases of people not having power for their oxygen/ CPAP machines and having to call emergency services. A Yeti 1500X could easily power all the medical devices in your home for multiple days.
Note: Goal Zero also makes the Yeti Home Integration Kit which is essential a 4-circuit 15amp 120V manual transfer switch that lets you seamlessly power any 4 essential circuits in your home during an outage. You have to install it with the help of a certified technician, and anything above a Yeti 1000 will work with their home integration kit. This makes powering a home with your solar generator a real possibility. Examples of things you can power with the home integration kit- your living room furnace, the refrigerator in your kitchen, the TV and entertainment system, lights, etc.
Goal Zero Home Energy Storage Kits
I wasn’t kidding when I said you can power your entire home with solar via a portable power station. People have been doing it for a while now. Goal Zero even has preconfigured kits you can purchase; with all the necessary components you need to power your home appliances during an outage. There are several models, with the primary difference being storage capacity.
They all have a portable power station which acts as a central hub, this is where all your outlets are (and it contains the inverter). Then, you have external battery packs to enhance the capacity of the power station, since its built-in battery isn’t enough to run a home. Goal Zero also includes their home integration kit, which is a manual transfer switch that can power up to 4 circuits. And finally, there’s a Yeti Link expansion module which lets you daisy chain external batteries to your Yeti power station.
The expansion batteries or “tanks” use lead-acid (AGM) batteries, and each tank has a capacity of 1200Wh. With a 120V AC wall outlet, you can charge one of these tanks in 11 hours. No solar panels are included in the home energy storage kit, but you can buy a few Boulder panels separately to set up your very own solar powered home.
You might be thinking, “well shouldn’t I just buy the Tesla Powerwall instead of running this complicated setup with external batteries and a power station?” and that’s a valid opinion. Well, Goal Zero does have a comparison chart on their website showing you the pros and cons of both systems. They don’t call the competing device a Tesla Powerwall, but it’s pretty clear what they mean. First off, a Tesla Powerwall is more expensive. Sure, it can output a lot more power (both continuous and peak) but it’s also fixed to the wall. You can’t carry it around with you on the RV for an off-grid event or camping trip. You also have to pay an installation fee for the Powerwall, and it’s hardwired to your main panel via a gateway so there are no ports on the actual device. The Goal Zero portable power stations can be connected to your home circuits via the home integration kit, but they also have their own outlets and USB Type C ports for additional flexibility.
Currently, Goal Zero’s Home Energy Storage Kits are available in the following capacities (small to large)- 3.9KWh, 5.4KWh, 6.3KWh, 7.8KWh, 8.4KWh, and 10.8KWh. The largest one (10.8KWh) stores enough energy to run your refrigerator, lights, TV, Wi-Fi, furnace, computer, blender, washing machine, slow cooker, etc. for 2 to 3 days.
Jackery Explorer 1000 | Review
“Affordable, yet extremely handy and practical- the Jackery Explorer 1000 is a compact indoor generator targeted at people who need noiseless backup power. It will run anything that draws under 1000W continuous and 2000W peak, so stuff like a Magic Bullet Blender, Keurig Coffee Maker, desktop PC, MacBook, 55” OLED TV etc. The Explorer 1000 is extremely light, thanks to its polymer shell and lithium ion battery. It features an MPPT charge controller for efficient solar charging, and can be purchased as part of a kit with dual 100W SolarSaga solar panels.”
Even though it’s advertised as more of a camping/ RV solar generator, the Explorer 1000 functions extremely well as a home backup system. Especially when you combine it with two of Jackery’s 100W SolarSaga panels which take it from zero to full charge in just 8 hours (under a clear sky). If you combine a Goal Zero Boulder 200 (or 2 Boulder 100’s) with a Yeti 1000 Lithium, it costs more than the Jacker Explorer 1000 + dual SolarSaga 100W kit.
And the Jackery Explorer 1000 has certain features that are lacking from many other portable power stations at this price point. For starters, it has an MPPT (Maximum Power Point Tracking) charge controller which significantly increases charging speed from solar power when compared to a regular PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) charge controller. The Goal Zero Yeti 1000 Lithium has a PWM charge controller, so even if you use the exact same solar panels on both power stations the Goal Zero will not charge as fast.
The Explorer 1000 has three AC outlets instead of just two on the Yeti 1000 Lithium. This means you can connect more devices simultaneously to your power station. Connecting devices directly to the station is recommended instead of a power strip. On top of that, the Explorer 1000 charges much faster than a Yeti 1000 lithium. From the wall, you can charge an Explorer 1000 in just 7 hours with the included AC adaptor. Compare that to the Yeti 1000 Lithium which needs 18 hours (over twice as much time) to charge from the wall with its 5A adaptor. Even with solar, the Explorer 1000 charges much faster (thanks to the MPPT charge controller).
The Explorer 1000 also weighs much less than the Yeti 1000 Lithium, it’s literally 44.7% lighter (Yeti 1000 Lithium weighs 18.1kg while the Explorer 1000 weighs 10kg). So how does Jackery offer so much more for less money? Well, they are a relatively new brand trying to compete against the titans of the portable solar power industry, i.e. Goal Zero. Which means they have to price their products aggressively in order to snatch away market share. Plus, the Explorer 1000 is a newer design and uses more modern technology compared to the Yeti 1000 Lithium.
Personally, I feel the Explorer 1000 from Jackery is a superior product compared to the Yeti 1000 Lithium. Unless you’re interested in setting up a Goal Zero home backup system with Goal Zero external batteries, a home integration kit, Yeti Link, etc. I suggest you get the Explorer 1000. Along with the dual SolarSaga 100W solar panel kit for effortless charging anywhere you go. Just set up the solar panels on the balcony of your apartment/ condo, and your Explorer 1000 will keep charging throughout the day. You can use it while it’s charging. And since it provides clean sine wave power, you can use it to power your phone or computer.
- One of the lightest 1000Wh solar generators you can buy, at just 10kg (22lbs) which makes it significantly lighter than the Yeti 1000 Lithium.
- The Explorer 1000 has an MPPT charge controller, something that’s usually reserved for more expensive power stations. This feature increases solar charging efficiency significantly over PWM charge controllers.
- Three AC outlets is really good for a power station of this size, and it’s one more than what you’ll find on a Goal Zero Yeti 1000 Lithium.
- LCD display with charge/ discharge data and other metrics such as watts, remaining runtime, etc.
- Pure sine wave power, which makes this safe for delicate electronics.
- Ergonomic carry handle combined with the compact form factor lets you carry it around easily.
- Two USB Type C ports and two USB Type-A quick charge ports.
- With 1000W continuous power and 2000W surge power, you can run everything from a blender to a pressure cooker on this power station.
- Unlike Goal Zero, Jackery doesn’t have a wide range of accessories and expansion options for their power stations. There is no home integration kit or external battery pack to boost the capabilities of your Explorer 1000.
- The built-in digital display doesn’t show the same range of information as the one on the Yeti 1000 Lithium, and it’s harder to navigate.
Goal Zero Yeti 1500X | And Other Yeti X Models
Excellent / Reliable indoor generator. Pure Sine Wave.
- With a lithium-ion battery at its core, the Goal Zero Yeti X equips you with safe, clean, portable power for camping, tailgating, off-grid events, workshops, and emergency home backup.
- Increased 2000W AC (3500W Surge) inverter allows you to run power-hungry devices and appliances with confidence. Our new industry-leading inverter can handle surges from power tools, medical devices, and home appliances, including full-size refrigerators.
- Power a wide range of devices with seven different port options including fast-charging 60W USB-C Power Delivery, multiple USB-A ports, regulated 12V, and two 120V AC ports.
- Charge the Yeti 1500X from the sun with our portable solar panels while away from the grid and keep it topped off from a wall outlet when you’re home. Integrated MPPT charge controller ensures you’re getting the most efficient solar charge possible.
- Monitor, control, and optimize your power usage from anywhere with Yeti App 3.0. Features remote control of power in/out, real-time power consumption notifications, and charging profiles to optimize your battery life
“A premium product from a well-known company with tons of options for future expandability. The Yeti 1500X is equipped with a brand-new 2000W inverter and MPPT charge controller, which make it THE best 1500Wh power station in terms of pure performance. It even has a USB Type-C PD spec port that can transfer up to 60W of power. Like previous Yeti 1000 and above models, the 1500X has an expansion bay where you can attach a Yeti Link module to set up a home energy kit alongside Yeti Tank batteries.”
Goal Zero’s Yeti 1500X is the middle-range model in their new Yeti X lineup which was released during CES of 2020. This brand new Yeti X series brough some incremental upgrades over previous generation Yeti models. Like MPPT charge controllers on all models, from the smallest (Yeti 200X) all the way up to the largest (Yeti 6000X).
The Yeti X series also introduced a new 2000W continuous and 3500W surge inverter for the 1500X and above models. All Yeti X models are equipped with Lithium Ion NMC batteries to reduce weight and increase storage capacity (as compared to older Yeti models with lead acid AGM batteries). Yeti X power stations also charge faster, both from the wall and via solar.
VIDEO | Learn More about the Technology
There are currently 5 Yeti X power stations —
- Yeti 200X: The smallest, most portable Yeti. It’s a backpack power station for charging your phone, camera, and laptop whenever you’re away from the grid (hiking, camping, tailgating, etc.). The 200X features a 187Wh lithium ion NMC battery and weighs just 5lbs. It has an MPPT charge controller, and can charge in just 2 to 4 hours from a Nomad 100 solar panel.
- Yeti 500X: Larger than the 200X, but still a very compact and portable power station. If you just want to power some lights and a computer, this is perfect. In theory, it can power anything that draws under 300W continuous. However in practice, you shouldn’t try hooking up a blender or crockpot to the Yeti 500X because you’ll discharge its 505Wh lithium ion battery very rapidly. It can power a coffee machine and even a TV + game console set up, but only for short periods of time.
- Yeti 1500X: This is a Yeti you can truly use for home backup purposes. Not too small, nor too large- just right. It can run a blender, pressure cooker, juicer, home entertainment system, and pretty much anything that draws under 2000W continuous. Yes, it can even start and run a 10,000 to 12,500 BTU air conditioner. Because of its oversized inverter, it’s not hard to drain the Yeti 1500X in less than an hour if you aren’t careful with what you’re powering. But this very same inverter lets the Yeti 1500X run tools like circular saws and compressors, something most other power stations can’t do.
- Yeti 3000X: A beast of a power station, just one of these can run all the essential appliances in a flat. TV, air conditioning, heating, refrigerator, you name it and the Yeti 3000X can power it. It’s a good choice for those who want to replace or even supplement their small gas generator with something that is noiseless and environmentally friendly. Connect a Yeti 3000X to your home’s main panel via a Goal Zero home integration kit, and you can seamlessly switch from mains to backup power in the event of a blackout.
- Yeti 6000X: As of right now, this is the largest power station Goal Zero has ever made. And probably the largest indoor generator you can buy. With a massive 6071Wh battery, the 6000X is a gas generator replacement if I’ve ever seen one. Oh, and the wheel kit isn’t optional, it’s a necessity because this behemoth weighs over 100lbs. If you want to move it around, you need the wheel kit. The Yeti 6000X is meant to run tools, large freezers and refrigerators, medical devices, etc. And if you pair a few Yeti Tank expansion batteries to it using the Yeti Link module, it can run all appliances in your home for 2 to 3 days straight.
So, who should get the Yeti 1500X? The answer depends on what you’re trying to power and for how long you intend to power it. If it’s just your Wi-Fi router + phone, a simple Yeti 200X or Yeti 400 is more than enough. However, if you’re serious about powering critical appliances like CPAP machines, oxygen machines, and refrigerators/ freezers during a blackout then you need at least 1000Wh of energy. There are alternatives such as the Jackery Explorer 1000, ECOFLOW Delta 1300, etc. Each of those options has its pros and cons, for instance the Delta 1300 is hands down the fastest charging power station you can buy. And the Jackery Explorer 1000 offers exceptional value for money with its lightweight design and MPPT charge controller.
However, there are things only the Yeti 1500X can do. Like function as a central hub for your solar-based home backup system. You can hook it up to a few Boulder panels and connect external Yeti Tank expansion batteries via a Yeti Link. This is all possible because of the Goal Zero ecosystem, and no other company does it like them. Solar and battery power are the future, which is why just having a technologically competent power station isn’t enough. You need to have the right accessories and expansions to transform that power station into something that seamlessly powers your entire home. Goal Zero’s home integration kit does exactly that.
The Yeti 1500X also has a very powerful inverter, capable of pumping out 2000 continuous watts and 3500 surge watts. Even the mighty ECOFLOW Delta 1300 can’t match these figures with its 1800W continuous, 3300W surge inverter. This additional headroom means the Yeti 1500X can power air conditioners and power tools that other power stations simply cant. Sure, you’ll run out of charge rapidly but that can be remedied with a Yeti Link module and some Tank expansion batteries.
Once again, no other company out there has such a diverse collection of expansion modules and accessories for their power stations like Goal Zero does. The only limiting factor is how much you’re willing to spend, because buying into the Goal Zero ecosystem will cost more compared to alternatives from Jackery or ECOFLOW. However, you’re purchasing quality products backed by a company that truly believes in advancing the renewable energy industry through constant innovation.
Finally, there are some interesting features on the Yeti 1500X that you won’t find on many other power stations. Like the 60W USB Type-C power delivery port which can power a laptop or be used to charge the Yeti itself. Then, there are the dual 6mm 12V outputs which pair perfectly with Goal Zero lights (like the Light-A-Life 350). The Yeti 1500X also has a APP 30amp output for powering large 12V systems. Under the expansion bay cover you’ll find additional ports which are specifically designed to improve cable management. And the Yeti 1500X even has Wi-Fi built in so you can monitor and control it from anywhere in the world.
EGO Power+ PST3041 Nexus
“EGO takes a very unique approach to the portable power station concept with their Power+ PST3041 Nexus, which is essentially the base PST3040 power station with quad 5.0Ah batteries. Unlike most other manufacturers who design their power station as a closed unit with unremovable batteries, the Power+ PST3040 platform is essentially a base onto which you attach batteries. These are the very same batteries you use in other EGO power tools, so you can remove one and plop it into your snowblower (or vice versa). The modularity of this power station is what makes it so unique as well as versatile. A very compelling option for anyone looking to purchase a portable power station.”
For a long time, the portable power station/ indoor generator market was churning out more of the same thing. Batteries paired with inverters aren’t a new concept, your desktop computer’s UPS is the same thing but on a smaller scale. However, what if you could remove the batteries and swap them out with larger capacity batteries at your own convenience? What if these were the very same batteries that you use in your electric lawnmower or snowblower? Well, EGO went ahead and executed on that idea. The result is a one of a kind power station that I absolutely love because of how practical and versatile it is.
You see, most people who are interested in buying power stations are people living in urban areas. And many of them own electric chainsaws or lawnmowers because those are much quieter than their gas-powered counterparts. Now imagine if you could use the batteries you already own for those tools in a power station. Not only would that save you time, but it also opens up new possibilities. And it makes future upgrades easy since you don’t have to replace the entire power station if you want to upgrade your storage capacity. All you have to do is swap out the batteries. This level of modularity was previously unheard of.
The Power+ PST3041 Nexus is made up of two things-
- The PST3040 power station tool (just the chassis and inverter, no batteries)
- Removable EGO lithium ion battery packs (just like what you’d use on an EGO power tool)
Essentially, EGO is offering you an inverter and chassis. If you already have EGO tools in the house, you can reuse those batteries to transform them into a portable power station. That’s what I call true eco-friendliness. Reuse what you already have instead of creating entirely new products. Oh, and you know what’s the best part about the PST3040 Nexus platform? It will accept literally any EGO ARC Lithium battery. No really, you don’t need a specific battery model to make this portable power station work. Just go to this page, and you’ll find 4 different battery models ranging from 2Ah to 7.5Ah. Any of those will work on the Nexus. You can even mix and match, so two 2.5Ah batteries + two 5Ah batteries. Your battery runtime will be adjusted accordingly. This level of versatility and modularity is just insane, and what makes EGO’s entry into the power station market so unique.
For contractors and small business owners, the EGO Power+ PST3041 Nexus is the perfect power station. You are getting the only power station on the market that runs off existing tool batteries and it’s even weather resistant on top of that. It mounts up to 4 EGO Arc Lithium batteries in any configuration. The Nexus power station has a powerful inverter, with 2000W continuous and 3000W surge. This means it can match the best models from the new Yeti X series in terms of performance and what it can power.
So how much capacity can you get from the Nexus power station? Well, the largest ARC Lithium battery that EGO currently makes is their 6.31lb 7.5Ah battery with a capacity of 420Wh. Multiply this by 4 (since that’s how many batteries the Nexus can fit) and you get 1680Wh. Not the largest capacity power station out there, considering the fact that Goal Zero has 3000Wh and even 6000Wh models. However, you can’t pluck the battery out of your Goal Zero and fit it into your chainsaw or lawnmower. Neither can you upgrade the battery on your 1000Wh goal zero to a 1500Wh unit in the future. And the last I read; Goal Zero power stations weren’t specifically designed to be more weather resistant so they could be used by contractors on jobsites.
Having 4 separate batteries also opens up new possibilities in terms of charging. For instance, you can charge each battery separately on its own charger. Or you can mount all 4 to the EGO Power+ Nexus, and it will act as a charging station. Think of it, your portable power station/ indoor generator is also a portable charging station for the batteries you use in all your tools.
The one area where this power station really falls short is its solar charging abilities. Goal Zero’s new Yeti X models can accept up to 660W via their APP ports from solar panels. The Nexus is much more limited since it lacks APP ports or 8mm barrel connectors for solar panels. Instead, you have to use a proprietary EGO solar panel charger in combination with your EGO Power+ NEXUS to charge it via solar panels. The list of approved solar panels is also very small, limited to just the Renogy RNG-100D-SS and Grapesolar GS-STAR-100W. That’s because the max input power via solar is limited to just 180W and 12V.
Who Is It For?
You can tell the EGO Power+ PST3041 is more of a portable power station rather than a solar generator, based on the design priorities. You certainly can run it as a solar generator if you’ve already integrated solar power into your home circuit, but it won’t charge very fast directly from a solar panel. It is designed to be charged from the wall AC outlets.
And that’s fine because this power station is different. It is the most versatile power station I’ve ever seen, with more use cases than one can initially imagine. It is a charger for your tool batteries, and a power bank for off-grid events, parties, tailgating, etc. Like every other power station, it provides clean sine wave current so you can power delicate electronics such as laptops, phones, etc.
If you are a long time EGO power tools user and have 8 or 10 EGO batteries laying around, you don’t even have to charge the power station. Every time the 4 installed batteries run out of charge, you simply swap them out for 4 more and put the previous ones on their own chargers. This power station is basically a way for you to power your 120V AC appliances using tool batteries.