Ever since we got our Jackery Explorer 240 lithium battery portable power station earlier this winter, I’ve developed a small obsession with off-grid portable power options.
292 Watt-hour energy storage
The Honda by Jackery HLS290 is the latest portable lithium ion portable power station release from Jackery and it features a partnership with Honda which is super exciting. We recently had the chance to test it out!
From Jackery: "The HLS290 provides safe, quiet, mobile power to go places wherever your adventure takes you. Now you can charge up activity electronics such as drones, cameras, smart phones, and a host of other recreational equipment. The HLS290 is solar-ready and designed for an active outdoor lifestyle. Plus it also serves as a reliable power source in case of emergency."
Meanwhile, Back in New Hampshire
We have 356 Ah of battery bank in our off-grid bus conversion slash tiny home. That gets us pretty far. However, we recently made our return to our favorite place in northern New Hampshire which happens to also be the second cloudiest county in the country. Winter is also still in full swing. Yay! Less solar means more planning and exploring our other options.
We already love the Explorer 240 by Jackery so we had a feeling we would appreciate having their new model around as well.
We had a little snow squall for a couple days that dumped 12 inches on our solar panels. With no power coming in to charge our batteries (we’re also not traveling right now) we have to be extra cautious of our usage. Luckily our Explorer 240 just got a new buddy for us to hang out with and test, the brand new Honda by Jackery HLS 290.
Tested by Ben and Meag
We’ve tested all of the products we mention in this blog with the exception of the E160. We love researching, testing and figuring things out, especially when it comes to low impact living and off-grid living. That is EXACTLY how we built our bus and our lifestyle over the past few years. Nothing fancy, we’re just curious by nature! Always learning and improving...
First, Let’s Go Over a Few Jackery Favorites
We incorporated Jackery into our day to day lives and outdoor activities for the past couple of months (the HLS290 was the latest addition this month!) to see what works and where so we can share our favorites with you.
Price: $399 (Even more power! This is their brand new release and partnership with Honda!)
Highlights: Same design & benefits as the E240 with more power and a design partnership with a well rooted and trusted brand, Honda. At only 9" long and weighing just 6.6 lbs — the 290 is also super portable! We brought it on a couple Jeep trips already.
Price: (on sale!) — $249 + an additional $15 off with Amazon coupon.
Highlights: Versatility! Car camping, weather emergencies, off-grid or tiny living power options, etc. (these benefits go for all models, really!) — It has a solid amount of power and doesn’t take up a lot of room in your living space (6.6 lbs and 5'' wide and 8'' tall, with an easy-carry handle). You can read our last blog about the Explorer 240 for more information.
Price: (on sale!) — $139 + there’s an additional $20 off with the Amazon coupon.
Highlights: This is the smallest, most portable and most inexpensive option in the bunch. It also has a cool built-in flashlight. To me I see this rocking in a car camping adventure or just on hand at home as a quick grab backup. It cannot support devices over 100w. We have not personally tested this one.
Price: $25 - $35
Highlights: Portability! I have to mention the next two on our list because we’re taking them on our Appalachian Trail thru-hike. We’ve been testing this teeny portable power bank for the past couple months and it’s perfect for keeping our phones charged on hikes or on the go.
Price: $27.99 + an additional $5 off with Amazon coupon
Highlights: Waterproof! I love the durable design on this portable power bank. Both this and the Bolt charge your phone REALLY quickly, twice as fast as a standard iPhone charger.
Great for Challenging Weather Conditions
Now that we’re pretty certain we’ll build roots in northern New Hampshire after we hike the Appalachian Trail this summer, we want to know as much as possible about our off-grid power options in a cloudy place like the White Mountains!
On cloudier stretches of weather, we’re able to avoid tapping into our bus batteries that power our absolute essentials like the fridge, water pump, toilet fan, and lights. We can run the blender for smoothies in the morning, charge our devices, and power our white noise fan all night while we sleep, all off Jackery lithium battery portable power stations.
When the 240 is discharged to 20% we can switch to the HLS 290 until the next sunny day comes around.
When we’re pulling in lots of solar and our batteries are fully charged in float mode, we plug in the Explorer 240 and the HLS 290 to optimize the sun’s power and charge them back up.
Portability for our Bus (home) and our Jeep
Our bus is our FIRST build. It was a Sherrif’s department mobile command center beforehand the electrical was already setup for that purpose. We made use of their setup so our outlets are not in the MOST convenient locations. Sometimes we’ll charge up our laptop on the dining table or nightstand with the Jackery instead. Portability, baby!
Another benefit to these easy to transport power systems is we can now leave one in the bus and take the other with us in our Jeep Wrangler.
We generate our income online. Our laptops, phones, and camera are our livelihood. So if we’re out and about and need power, Jackery is there for us. I just brought the 240 with us to a meeting in North Conway the other day. It was perfect to charge things on our way through the mountains in the Jeep!
Affordable Power Options for All
Adventuring isn’t the only viable reason to own one of the new Jackery Explorer HLS290s or another product in their lineup; they’re also great in an emergency situation.
Typically in the US we lose power a few times a year averaging between 2-4 hours at a time depending on the state. With standby generators costing between $4,000-$10,000, the Jackery power stations are a much more affordable solution for those who don’t live in areas that need to worry about freezing temperatures during outages.
If you’re not ready for that level of investment, it’s a nice way to have some options available!
How to the 240 & 290 Models Compare?
Now, after owning both the Honda series and the Explorer series it was only natural to want to compare the two. Unboxing, there isn’t much difference.
They both offer pure sine wave output, both come with a two-year warranty, both use lithium ion technology, and as far as the 240 and 290 go they both have all the same input and output ports.
Major differences… the 240 is orange and the HLS is red. I know, that’s huge. 🙂 Of course the most obvious difference is the the 290 has a slightly larger capacity (it’s in the name).
Overall Consensus: We love the Jackery lineup. There’s something for most of your needs.
Honda Partnership - Pretty cool!
So aside from the increase in capacity, which in my opinion is pretty impressive considering they are the same dimensions and weight, what’s the big deal here? Well, it’s what’s going on behind the scenes that’s really intriguing to me. Honda, a juggernaut in the portable power world, has partnered with Jackery. What does that tell us?
One: Jackery is just rocking it right now. A company that’s only been around since 2012 has made such a splash in portable power supply technology that they’ve attracted Honda. Enough said.
Two: A partnership with Honda only further solidifies the quality of these products. Jackery’s products have always shown nothing but excellence, and now they have the seal of approval from a company that’s had their hands in things all the way from humanoid robots to formula one racing. I think I trust them.
And Three: having a relationship with Honda can only mean great things in Jackery’s future. With the launch of their new 1500W power station coming mid 2019 (I hope I can get my hands on one of these!) it’s clear Jackery isn’t slowing down anytime soon. I have no doubt they will only continue to innovate above and beyond to better battery technology.
Their collaboration has already shown in the Honda series that they can pack more power into the same space without any weight increase. Rumor has it that Honda is working on new fluoride ion technology that could succeed lithium ion batteries in power, weight, and affordability. Possible partnership here some day? Hope so!
That's all for Now!
We hope our research and testing of these adventure and off-grid lifestyle products helps YOU as embark on your journey. Whether you’re looking to adventure out there in the wild or have reliable emergency backup solutions, these guys won’t let you down.
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