Recently I’ve made some custom modifications to my SUV to create somewhat of an Off Grid Micro-Camper for sleeping in before and after races and staying near the mountains on a budget. The biggest struggle is finding a way to power my devices while car camping. Small USB power banks are great for charging your phone. But what if you want to power something larger like a laptop? Charge drone batteries? Or even a small AC appliance like a mini fridge? Sure, an Inverter in your cigarette lighter port will work… but it will also drain your car battery.
That’s where Jackery comes in. Jackery has been making portable “solar generators” for a few years now and in collaboration with the big brand Honda has recently released the Jackery Honda HSL290 Portable Power Station. This feature rich package has a lot going for it. The Jackery Honda HSL290 is basically a clone of the Jackery Explorer 240 with a slightly higher battery capacity. It currently retails for $349 on Amazon. Lets take a closer look!
- Price: $349 MSRP
- Battery Capacity – 292Wh (14.4V, 20.3Ah) / 81,200 mAh @ 3.6V
- Battery Type – Lithium Ion
- Life Cycles – >500 Cycles to 80%
- Shelf Life – Full Charge lasts 6 months
- Recharge Time – AC – 8 Hours, 12V Car Adapter – 8 Hours, Solar – 10 Hours
- Charge Input – 12V-30V (42W Max)
- DC Output – 13.3V up to 10A
- USB Output – 5V 2.4A
- AC Output – 110VAC, 200W – 400W Peak Pure Sine Wave
- Safety – Short Circuit Protection, Over current Protection, Voltage Control, Temperature Control
- Size: 9.0 x 7.8 x 5.2 inches
- Weight: 6.6 lbs
- Warranty: 2 Years
What’s In the Box
- Included in the box are the following items:
- Jackery Honda HSL290 Portable Power Station
- AC Charging Wall Adapter
- DC Charging Cigarette Lighter Adapter
- Neoprene Cord Carrying Zippered Case
- User Manual
Build Quality and Form Factor
The Jackery Honda HSL290 features a nice big handle on the top of it. This is pretty convenient and makes carrying it a breeze. It’s compact size and light weight feels like carrying a lunch box (a very full lunch box). Around the front of the device you’re greeted with a informative LCD display. Around the display you’ll find various ports:
- 8mm Input – For charging, also compatible with Goal Zero Solar Products!
- 12VDC Output – Cigarette lighter style DC output for 12V devices
- 110VAC Inverter – Pure sine wave 200W / 400W Peak inverter for powering even sensitive electronics
- 2x USB Ports – For directly charging phones, cameras, and other small devices
The Jackery Honda HSL 290 is made out of a hard plastic material. The plastic feels quite durable and despite being dropped and knocked around in the back of my car it still looks new. I have no concerns about the durability of the Jackery Honda HSL 290 Portable Power Station and its longevity in use. Like with any Lithium Ion battery it’s best to avoid exposure to extreme cold or extreme heat.
Battery Capacity and AC Inverter – What can it power?
If you’re not familiar with electricity and how these types of batteries are rated and work it can be confusing. The most important number is the battery banks “Watt Hour” capacity. This is quite literally how many watts the battery can produce in a given hour before being depleted. The Jackery Honda HSL290 features a 292 Watt Hour battery. This means if you were able to draw 292 Watts from the AC and DC ports total the HSL290 would only last for 1 hour before being run down to 0%. It also means that if you powered a 50 watt appliance, the HSL290 could power it for almost 6 hours (50 x 6 = 300 Watt Hours)… get it?
The other important number to keep in mind is the AC Inverters Continuous Watt Output. This is how much power the AC plug can produce without overheating and shutting off. The Jackery Honda HSL290 features a 200 watt AC Inverter with a 400 watt peak. This should be enough AC power for most off-grid uses. When purchasing a power bank like this its important to have your expectations set. Some appliances like coffee makers can draw almost 1500 watts of electricity! This is simply too much for a battery bank like the HSL290 to handle.
Here’s some examples of what I could be power with the Honda by Jackery HSL290 Portable Power Station:
- Razer Blade 15 Advanced Laptop – 3 full recharges (80Wh battery)
- 12VDC Air Mattress Pump – 150w to 200w for a few minutes
- 12VDC Oscillating Fan – 8W Continuous for 10+ hours while sleeping
- USB LED Strip Light – 5W Continuous for 10+ hours
- Samsung Galaxy S10+ – Full Recharge 15-20 Times
- Small 12VDC Electric Cooler – 40 Watts Continuous for roughly 6-7 Hours
- Garmin Forerunner 945 Watch – Could be recharged over 100 times
- 55″ LED TV (just for fun) – 125W For around 2 1/2 hours
- DJI Mavic Air Batteries – Roughly 10-11 Full Recharges
- GoPro Batteries – Roughly 50 Full Recharges
- Mini Fridge – 120 Watts roughly 2 1/2 hours
And here’s a few exampled of what the HSL290 CANNOT and SHOULDN’T power:
- Coffee Maker – up to 1000W Peak
- Hair Blow Dryer – up to 1500W Peak
- AC Power Tools (Drills, Saws, Heat Guns, Etc…) – up to 3000W Peak
- Air Conditioners – 3500W Peak
- Space Heaters – 1500W – 3000W
- Dehumidifiers – 3000W
- Gaming Desktop PC’s – 500W or more
- The list goes on….
There’s a few things that separate the Jackery Honda HSL290 from some of the other cheaper options on the market.
Pure Sine Wave Inverter
The HSL290 features a Pure Sine Wave inverter. This is a unique feature that a lot of cheaper options do not have. This means that you can trust that your sensitive electronics will not be damaged by the AC output of the HSL290!
The display on the Jackery Honda HSL290 is excellent. Not only does this display give you an idea of how low your battery capacity is but it also tells you how many Watts are coming in from a charging source, and also how many Watts are going out to appliances. This information will allow you to maximize your battery life by knowing exactly what appliances are guzzling all of your battery life!
The one limitation of the Jackery Honda HSL 290 is its 42W max input for charging. This means it takes a bit longer to recharge than some competitors. 8 hours by AC Wall outlet, or DC adapter in your car. Or up to 10 hours via a 50W solar panel.
Personally, I leave the Jackery Honda HSL 290 plugged into my cars accessory 12V port that’s only energized when the car is on. This means, anytime I’m driving my car the HSL290 is charging. This works great and keeps the battery topped off in most situations. Worst case scenario the HSL290 could be carried into a coffee shop thanks to its small size to be topped off.
I also have a 50W foldable solar panel for multi-day trips that I can use with the Jackery Honda HSL290. Mine is the “Paxess 50W Solar Folding Panel” with this panel in full sun I get around 30-40W of power. This means it could take 9-10 hours for a full charge. Not super practical but it does the job if I’m out on a hike and leave the panel on my dashboard to charge.
Honda HSL290 Vs. The Competition
Jackery and Honda aren’t the only players in this market. There are other manufacturers making similar devices. Lets compare a few close rivals.
Goal Zero has been the biggest name in portable power in the last decade. They make great, but rather expensive products that can be found in outdoor equipment stores like REI, MEC, and more. The Goal Zero Yeti Lithium 400 features a larger 428Wh battery, a more powerful 300W (1200W Peak) Pure Sine Wave Inverter, and a great LCD display with similar information that the Jackery Offers. However, it’s $250 more expencive, weighs 10 pounds more, and it’s much larger.
RockPals 300wh solar generator has quickly become an amazon top seller due to its great price to performance ratio. It’s $50 cheaper than the Jackery Honda HSL290 and offers very similar battery capacity. The RP300 also offers a slightly more powerful AC inverter at 300W / 600W Peak and has a handy flashlight feature built into the front of the chassis. It also features a MPPT charge controller that allows it to charge much faster than the Jackery Products. However, it’s front LCD display doesn’t give you the valuable information like Input / Output wattage on the Jackery Honda HSL290 and the overall product doesn’t appear quite as polished. Also, the RockPals RP300 cannot be re-charged via a Car’s Cigarette lighter port while the Honda by Jackery HSL290 can
Conclusion – Who’s it for?
Overall I’m quite impressed with the Jackery Honda HSL290. It’s a solidly built device with an excellent display and simply just works. It’s got all the ports I need for a night out. I hate having to fiddle with stuff and this is a fiddle-free product! Plug your items in, press the “on” button and you’re good to go! I’ve thoroughly enjoyed using this product on my car camping trips to power my laptop, lighting, fans, and charge my phone and watch. It’a also been a great companion to my drone to keep it’s batteries charged. I can see myself using this during power outages to entertain my kids and charge our devices, maybe even watch TV for a little bit.
Obviously this isn’t a device for lightweight hiking or backpacking at nearly 7 pounds. Though, I guess you could if you really wanted to! However, if you’re a car camper, emergency prepper, or van-life enthusiast I highly suggest checking this product out! As long as you’re not trying to power a circular saw, air conditioner or coffee maker this should suit your power needs in most situations!