The Jackery Solar Generator 500 is the ultimate campervan accessory. In this guide, I give a complete and honest review of the product, so you can decide if it’s the right choice for you.
When it comes to Vanlife, convenience and efficiency are always at the forefront of our minds. So when Jackery asked us to try out their Solar Generator 500 bundle, we jumped at the chance.
While we already have a fully-functional campervan electrical system, this handy bit of kit acts as the perfect addition to our set-up.
In this article, I’ll take you through exactly how the product works, compare it with other products in the Jackery range, alongside all the benefits of having one for your campervan.
So let’s get to it – here’s an honest review of the Jackery Solar Generator 500.
Jackery Solar Generator 500 – An Honest Review
Full Disclosure: We received complimentary products from Jackery in exchange for our review. However, all opinions expressed here are our own.
Who are Jackery?
Jackery are pioneers when it comes to producing high quality, portable power stations.
Founded in 2012 by a group of adventurous engineers, their vision was to provide a portable electricity solution that’s both clean and accessible.
10-years later, it’s safe to say that Jackery are leading the way when it comes to solar-powered portable power solutions.
They understand that the modern-day explorer requires off-grid power capabilities, and that’s precisely what the Jackery Explorer series provides.
In this article, we will be focusing on the Jackery Solar Generator 500; However, this is just one in a long line of products in the Explorer range.
With power stations starting as small as the Explorer 160 up to the chunkier Explorer 1500, there’s a kit to suit a variety of electrical requirements.
What is the Jackery Solar Generator 500?
The Jackery Solar Generator 500 is a bundle pack comprising of 1 x Jackery Explorer 500 Portable Power Station and 1 x Jackery SolarSaga 100 Solar Panel.
This bundle is perfect for us since we spend most of our time off-grid. So having the option to recharge our power station with solar power is a necessity.
However, if you spend a lot of time on campsites or only require your power station for daily or weekend use, you might prefer to buy the unit separately.
All units can be recharged by a wall outlet or by using the in-car cigarette outlet while driving, so the solar panel is not always necessary.
Key Features of the Jackery Solar Generator 500
There’s a lot to love about the Jackery Solar Generator 500 bundle. But one of the most essential features for us is how compact the design is.
The unit itself is small enough to be tucked away in a cupboard or under the bed. While the solar panel folds down and can slide beneath our countertops.
Then there’s the fact that it’s a clean, reusable energy source. We would never consider getting a fuel-powered generator since they are noisy and bad for the environment.
However, our Jackery power station recharges using energy from the sun and powers through a lithium battery.
Finally, our Jackery set-up is the perfect addition to our campervan electrical system. It allows us to take pressure off our leisure batteries and acts as a backup in off-grid situations.
For example, when our campervan solar panels don’t generate much charge on cloudy days, we have our Jackery power station to help share the load.
Highlights of the Jackery 500 Power Station
The Power Station includes 3 x USB ports, 1 x AC outlet, and 1 x 12V car output.
So effectively, you can power up to 5 gadgets and appliances at a time so long as you don’t exceed the 500 Watt limit.
You can use your Jackery power station to power a wide range of AC devices like blenders, air fryers, and laptops. Again, so long as they are rated under 500 watts.
If you want to power appliances rated higher than 500 watts, you may consider the Jackery Explorer 1000 or Explorer 1500 units instead.
We also love that the power station is relatively lightweight (6kg). So we can carry it with us on days out and use it to recharge all of our gadgets.
Highlights of the Jackery 100 Solar Panel
First of all, we are very impressed with the efficiency of the Jackery SolarSaga 100 Solar Panel.
On a sunny day, we can recharge our power station from 0-80% in a matter of hours. For a full recharge, it takes approximately 9-hours.
The panel is extremely lightweight, so it’s convenient to move around. And the built-in kick-stand allows us to adjust the angle.
My only observation with the solar panel is that it doesn’t fare well in high winds because it’s so light. However, in all honesty, I’d rather that than it be chunky and heavy.
All things considered, it’s a really fantastic piece of kit.
Jackery Explorer Range Comparison
To help you understand the capabilities of the Jackery 500 Power Station vs other products in the range, I thought I would share some examples from the Jackery website.
This should help you understand what sort of appliances you can power using Jackery power stations and how long you can expect them to last.
I’m also including links to where you can buy; however, you might find that some models are only available in the US.
Final Thoughts on Jackery Solar Generator 500
If you’re still wondering whether the Jackery Solar Generator 500 is worth buying, I can honestly say it’s a worthwhile investment.
Even though we have a fairly decent electric set up in our camper, we actually tend to use our Jackery power station more since it is so convenient.
This model is especially ideal if you’re looking for a compact and lightweight design with a reasonable amount of power.
In our case, it’s an excellent addition to what we already have in the van. However, if you want a unit that’s your only power source, you may consider the bigger models.
While Jackery isn’t the cheapest brand on the market, they are certainly the best value for money when you compare like for like with their competitors.
So what do you think? Is a Jackery Solar Generator 500 on your vanlife gift list?
Let us know! Feel free to reach out to us in the comments. Or drop us a message – we are always happy to help.
For more help with your campervan electrics, be sure to check out our van build series.
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Charlotte & Natalie x
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