Jackery Explorer 240 power bank review: Portable power in a pinch

Jackery Explorer 240 battery bank, under a tree

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The Jackery Explorer 240 is a compact way to carry enough power for short off-grid adventures or as a short-term emergency power source in the event of a crisis.

In recent years, consumers have been given a lot of choice when it comes to supplemental battery power, with many options available depending on their needs.

At the low end are highly portable power banks that can recharge an iPhone a few times while being carried around in a bag. Those with higher demands might opt ​​for much larger power plants, some of which can easily handle power tools for a long time and act as a home battery backup.

The Jackery Explorer 240 portable powerhouse adapts to verso half of the range. It can supply a decent amount of power to devices while being small enough to carry around without too much difficulty.

Jackery Explorer 240 – Portable power

Dressed in dark gray and orange, the Jackery Explorer 240 is best described as a lunchbox, measuring 9.05 inches long, 5.24 inches wide and 7.87 inches tall.

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A good two inches of that height is consumed by a thick handle, making it very easy to carry around. While space could have been saved by using a flip handle, molding it as part of the casing is a safe way to drag it around without worrying about the hinges breaking after too many bumps.

It’s not quite lunchbox-like when it comes to weight—it’s 6.6 pounds. However, this is still easy enough to pick up and move around without much effort.

Even children can carry it without too much fear that they will damage anything. It’s a tough plastic casing, with few elements that could break or be damaged by a kid-friendly drop.

We dropped him a few times and he fell out of a hammock under the wheelchair once or twice. So it’s no worse for wear.

Jackery Explorer 240 – ports and charging

Despite being a small unit, it still packs plenty of power into a compact size. As the 240 in the name suggests, the Explorer 240 has a 240 watt-hour, 14.4V, lithium-ion battery pack that delivers 16.8Ah.

Jackery Explorer 240 battery bank and an Apple MagSafe battery for scales

Jackery Explorer 240 battery bank and an Apple MagSafe battery for scales

That battery has a life cycle of 500 recharges with more than 80% capacity. There is built-in over-voltage and spike protection, a battery management system, over-voltage protection and short-circuit protection.

All the main controls and ports are on the front, with an LCD display showing details like how much charge it has and the input and output levels it’s handling at a time.

The list of ports includes an AC outlet capable of delivering 110V, 200W of power and 400W peak, supported by a pure sine wave inverter. We measured the output using a borrowed Fluke 289 multimeter with the help of an electrical engineer, and everything is fine and as described.

Two USB Type A ports can output at 5V, 2.4A and one car port at DC 12V, 10A. So, it’s kind of short for ready-to-use gadgets, but it’s easily adaptable to your needs. Each outlet has a button to turn the power on and off.

The unit is also actively cooled, with what appears to be an 80mm fan inside. It is very quiet and inaudible on the outside and barely noticeable on the inside.

Behind the orange exterior vents, there's a fan to keep the interior cool

Behind the orange exterior vents, there’s a fan to keep the interior cool

As for how much power you can get, the unit’s documentation states that it can supply four charges of a drone, “about three charges” of a “12-inch MacBook” similar to a MacBook Air M2, 24 charges of a smartphone and can power a 60W TV for about 3.5 hours.

In our tests, this is about right. For example, we got two full charges for a 16-inch MacBook Pro M1 Max, about 25 charges for an iPhone 14 Pro, and some extra mileage from a wheelchair, but more on that in a bit.

We even used it for backup in a thunderstorm. We have fiber optic internet in this house and its own battery kept the ONT alive. The Jackery Explorer 240, however, managed to keep our router and Wi-Fi running after a particularly bad outage for 19 hours.

Fortunately, power returned after just over 20 hours. We would have managed if we had thought of turning off the battery during the night.

Jackery Explorer 240 – Refill

Getting power from the Jackery Explorer 240 is obvious, and getting it is just as simple. Jackery includes a car charging cable and an AC cable in the box, so you can recharge it with a vehicle or from a household outlet.

Jackery claims that the AC adapter can recharge the battery in 5.5 hours, while the 12V car adapter can do it in 6.5 hours. That’s right: We saw about 5 hours 10 minutes from the wall and 6 hours 41 minutes from our vacuum van.

If you’re off the grid and away from major energy sources for some time, Jackery sells SolarSaga 60W solar panels separately as an eco-charging option. The company says using the panels can take up to 7 hours, depending on the weather, but at least it extends the time you can be away from civilization for a little longer. Unfortunately, we have not been able to test this.

And, if you have power like the aforementioned solar or AC at home, you can “float” the battery. It will accept a charge and discharge at the same time. So, if you want, you can use it as a surrogate UPS for your computer when you’re not roughing it.

The Jackery Explorer 240 Portable Power Station obviously won’t save the entire house if it’s in the middle of a power outage. It’s also probably overkill if you want to charge your iPhone on a day trip somewhere. There are more convenient and pocket-sized batteries for this.

Where the Jackery Explorer 240 fits into life are situations where you have one reasonably large device that needs power, or more likely, many smaller devices that need power, either overnight or over a weekend.

You may want to avoid taking a television or refrigerator with you on a camping trip if that is your main source of power. But something like the Jackery Explorer 240 will keep your MacBook Pro — or better yet, for this use case, an iPad — charged up and usable for your entertainment needs.

We use it as a backup power source for an electric wheelchair and it gives us about 15 extra miles of full-to-empty range. Of course, these are occasional charges here and there when stationary, as the wheelchair in question doesn’t charge and drive at the same time.

If you need a sizable power capacity that you can easily fit in the back of the car for a weekend away, the Jackery Explorer 240 is an affordable option for keeping the lights and your iPhone on while you’re out in the woods.

Jackery Explorer 240 professionals

  • Lightweight and easy to move
  • Cost-effective in its battery class
  • It can be used as an UPS at home

Jackery Explorer 240 vs

  • Two USB-A, no USB-C
  • Not easy to store, due to that rounded handle protruding from the top

Score: 4 out of 5

Where to buy Jackery Explorer 240

The Jackery Explorer 240 is available for $219 from the Jackery site.

It is also available from Amazon for $180.39 at the time of publication. Deals may be left over from Cyber ​​Monday, so act fast for that low price.