If you are looking for a solar generator that can power appliances but is still portable enough to take camping and other outdoor adventures, I recommend the Jackery Explorer 1500.
The Explorer 1500 is capable of running most household appliances like a refrigerator, TV and coffee maker. Thanks to its fairly compact and lightweight design, you can also take it with you on the road.
Read on for my in-depth review of the Jackery Explorer 1500.
If it’s not what you are looking for, see our reviews of the best portable solar generators for other alternatives.
If you want a bigger unit you can use for home backup during a prolonged blackout, see my roundup of the best standby solar generators.
I have also highlighted three great alternatives to the Jackery 1500 at the end of this review.
Pros and Cons
The 1.5kWh capacity of the Jackery 1500 lets you power larger appliances or more appliances at the same time without quickly draining the battery.
It also makes the Jackery 1500 a good pick if you want a power station with a longer battery life. It’s great for surviving through a prolonged blackout or if you often go camping for several days.
The Jackery 1500 uses a lithium-ion NMC battery. While not as long lasting as a LiFePO4 battery, it’s lightweight, which helps keep the solar generator easily portable.
What can the Jackery Explorer 1500 Power?
Here are some of the appliances and devices the Explorer 1500 can power.
Mini fridge (60W)
Coffee maker (1350W)
Can a Jackery 1500 run a heater?
Yes, the Jackery 1500 can power a standard 1500W heater. But I don't recommend doing it. With a capacity of 1534Wh, you’ll only get an hour or less of heating before the battery dies.
It’s okay to run high-power appliances like a coffee maker or microwave with the Jackery 1500 because these operate for short periods.
But for high-consumption appliances that run continuously like a space heater or a portable/window AC, a high-capacity (5000+ Wh) solar generator is more suitable.
1800W Power Output
The Explorer 1500’s 1800W power output means you can plug in just about any household appliance.
You can power a refrigerator, your large screen TV, a CPAP machine, a coffee maker, a blow dryer and so on.
Of course, you have to be smart about what you power. As I have just mentioned above, things like heaters will drain the battery in no time.
The Jackery Explorer 1500 has three household style AC sockets. So you can run multiple appliances at the same time as long as you don't exceed a total draw of 1800W.
If you need to run 12V electronics, there’s a 12V, 10A car socket.
And for your gadgets and devices, there are three USB ports: 60W USB-C PD, Quick Charge USB-A, and regular USB-A.
Three Ways To Recharge
Depending on where you are and the kind of power you have access to, you can recharge the Jackery 1500 in one of three ways.
You can plug it into a wall outlet or a gas generator. It will take about 6 hours to recharge. If you are on the road, you can plug it into your vehicle’s 12V/24V socket. It will take 15.5 hours to recharge.
In an emergency or when you are outdoors, you can hook it up to solar panels (max 400W). On a good day, it’ll take about 5hrs to recharge the Explorer 1500 from a 400W solar array.
Note that AC, solar and car charging cables are included with the Jackery 1500. But you have to get solar panels separately if you want to charge with the sun.
The Jackery 1500 doesn't have Bluetooth or WiFi connectivity, so you can’t control or monitor it from your smartphone.
Thankfully, it comes with a clear and detailed display. Here you can monitor how much power is going out and how much is coming in as well as remaining battery charge plus other details.
Still, an app would have been nice.
The Jackery Explorer 1500 is not the most portable solar generator you’ll find. The Jackery 500 and 1000 are lighter.
That said, for a solar generator of its capability, the Jackery 1500 is fairly portable. It weighs 35.2lbs. Most people will be able to lift and carry it on their own over short distances using the built-in handle.
I don't recommend it for backpacking or if you have to walk a long distance to your campsite, but it’s perfect for car camping, tailgating, road trips and backyard parties.
Issues & Concerns
A few years ago, a 6-hour recharge time for a solar generator would have been acceptable.
If you want a solar generator you can quickly recharge and put to use, the Jackery 1500 is not it.
Moderate Lifespan Battery
There is no doubt that Li-ion batteries are miles better than lead-acid batteries. A solar generator with a Li-ion battery lasts 500-800 cycles to 80% capacity.
The overall lifespan is 3-5 years.
But there’s an even longer lasting type of battery that is increasingly common in solar generators. Lithium-phosphate solar generators can last up to 10 years
The main advantage of the li-ion battery in the Jackery 1500 is that it’s lighter, making the power station more portable compared to similarly sized LiFePO4 power stations.
You Can Get A Better Deal Elsewhere
When it comes to value for money, there are other more impressive solar generators particularly from newer brands like Bluetti.
For about the same price as the Jackery 1500, you can get the Bluetti AC200P with more power, more capacity, more outlets, and faster recharging.
Best Jackery Explorer 1500 Alternatives
Not sure about getting the Jackery 1500? Here are three alternatives to consider.
1. Jackery Explorer 2000 Pro - More Power and Capacity
If you need a more capable solar generator, get the next one in line after the Explorer 1500. The Jackery 2000 Pro is the newest power station from Jackery, and their largest one so far.
It has a capacity of 2160Wh and a power output of 2200W.
You can access power via three AC outlets, two 100W USB-C ports, two QC USB-A ports and a 12V car output.
The 2000 Pro is 43lbs heavy, so it’s probably not the best choice if portability is your main concern.
It’s more suited for home backup and powering appliances in RVs, boats and camper vans.
2. Bluetti AC200MAX - Long Lasting & Expandable
The Bluetti AC200MAX also offers more power and capacity than the Jackery 1500. You get a 2048Wh capacity and 2200W of power output.
But what really sets the AC200MAX apart is the type of battery it uses. The LiFePO4 lasts 3500 cycles to 80% capacity. In other words, the Bluetti AC200MAX lasts a long time - up to 10 years with good care.
Also notable is the expandable capacity of the AC200MAX. You can tack on additional battery packs to increase capacity to 8192Wh, making the AC200MAX great for home backup, off-grid cabins or powering a small RV.
The AC200MAX also has more outlets than the Jackery 1500 (including an RV port), charges faster (2.5-3 hours with dual AC), and has more recharging options including from a lead-acid battery.
The best part is that the Bluetti AC200MAX is just a bit more expensive than the Jackery 1500. The Bluetti it’s a better deal.
The main downside of the AC200MAX is that it’s heavy (62lbs), mostly because of the LiFePO4 battery.
3. EcoFlow Delta 1300 - Cheaper
If you are shopping on a budget, I recommend the EcoFlow Delta 1300. It has almost the same capability as the Jackery 1500, but it’s a lot cheaper.
Capacity is 1260Wh, but power output is 1800W, the same as the Explorer 1500. So anything you can power with the Jackery you can also power with the Delta 1300.
Where the Delta 1300 has a huge edge is charging speed. Plug it into a wall outlet and it’ll recharge in just 1hr 36 minutes. Compare that to the 6-hours recharge time of the Explorer 1500.
The Delta 1300 also has more outlets including 6 AC sockets, 1 car port, and 6 USB ports (2 USB-C, 2 USB-A, 2 QC USB-A).
The Delta 1300 is only slightly lighter (30.9lbs) so they are matched on portability.
Care and Maintenance
Solar generators generally don't require any maintenance, unlike lead acid power stations or gas generators.
As long as you use and store the Jackery 1500 properly, it takes care of itself via internal systems (BMS, MPPT controller etc.).
Be especially careful the temperature at which you use and charge the Jackery 1500. It has a usage temperature range of 14-104F and a recharging range of 32-104F.
Keep in mind that extreme temperatures are bad for batteries. They’ll significantly reduce battery (and this solar generator) lifespan.
Something else to note is that the Jackery 1500 is not rated to withstand elements like rain or snow. Do not leave it outside when it’s raining or snowing.
If you plan to travel a lot with the Jackery 1500, consider getting the Jackery travel case to protect it against dust, moisture and impact.
Jackery offers a 24 month warranty for the Explorer 1500 power station.