I sort of have an obsession with USB Battery Packs, I just can’t seem to get enough. Today I will be reviewing the Jackery PowerBar which has quickly proven to be a very capable battery pack that seems to handle everything I have thrown at it without issue thanks to its high capacity USB Ports and built in AC Inverter. Yes, this thing will even power a full laptop when needed – Of course you need to ask yourself if this monster of a battery pack is worth the $149.99 asking price?
For full disclosure, I purchased the Jackery PowerBar out of my own personal funds and have owned it since March of 2018.
The Jackery PowerBar was purchased from Amazon and arrived on my doorstop within a few days thanks to Amazon Prime. The box that it was shipped in was actually a lot nicer then any other USB battery pack box I have ever had. It provided plenty of protection and included a short USB Type C cable and small AC adapter.
The Jackery PowerBar packs several features including 2xUSB A ports, 1xUSB Type C Port, LCD Screen showing battery percentage and a 110v AC Outlet on the back side of the unit. I have owned several USB battery packs that include a 110v AC Outlet but this one is special as it is the only one I have ever owned that actually charges over Type C instead of a proprietary and often bulky power brick. The Jackery PowerBar can easily be charged with the included AC adapter (which outputs to a 5V @ 3000 mA USB Type C port) or by plugging it into any other USB power source – including a Solar Panel or Car Charger. The USB Type C port acts as both an input and output.
The AC Outlet on the Jackery PowerBar is powerful enough to supply between 45 minutes and 2 hours of power to connected items. Your time will vary based on the power draw of the devices. Speaking of devices, you can plug in devices such as lights, laptops, monitors, cameras, and more (up to 100 Watts max). In one test, we connected an IBM Thinkpad and got around 70 minutes of additional power. The Jackery PowerBar does have a small cooling fan that automatically turns on while in use, the fan is very quiet so it mostly goes unnoticed.
One other major advantage the Jackery PowerBar has over other AC enabled USB battery packs is that it is only 77 Wh which means it easily falls under the 100 Wh maximum limit imposed by commercial airlines. You must travel with this battery in your carry on luggage but are free to use it aboard your flight when it is safe to use electronic devices. This should allow you to catch up on work, play games, watch movies and more from cruising altitude.
Aside from travelers, the Jackery PowerBar is also perfect for those who like the outdoors, students and field employees as this allows them to keep their devices charged up while on the go. I personally attend several tech conferences every year and know for a fact how hard it is to get a free power outlet at times. I have also tested this with my Nintendo Switch and it works very well. The Jackery PowerBar also supports QuickCharge 3.0 for select devices that use that standard.
The build quality of the Jackery PowerBar is among the best I have personally seen. The body of the battery pack feels very solid although it is made from plastic. I honestly feel this could stand up to years of abuse if tossed into the bottom of a backpack or even dropped a few times. It almost feels like metal but I can confirm it is plastic.
The Jackery PowerBar also charges quite fast with the included USB Type C adapter; normally going from an empty charge to a full charge in as little as 5 hours. The Jackery PowerBar charges just as fast when plugged into a USB PD outlet in the car. I have been known to plug this battery into a solar panel that I keep in my bedroom window (firstname.lastname@example.org) and get a full charge in 2 days.
Is the Jackery PowerBar perfect? No, there are two small issues that I have found while using it.
- The Jackery PowerBar is pretty large, which is not a surprise when you consider all of the features it includes. You may have issues putting this battery pack in some smaller backpacks and it takes up a considerable amount of room in larger backpacks. The Jackery PowerBar barely fits into the cord pouch of my small Timbuk2 backpack. The battery pack also weighs as much as some new laptops at a hefty 1.5 lbs (24.97 oz).
- The Jackery PowerBar does not include a case in the box – it is an extra $20.00 purchase. For a $150.00 item, I really don’t understand why a case is not included – especially as the AC outlet port is always exposed to the elements or other small items that may be floating around in your backpack. If you are no up to purchasing the case, I would at least pick up a set of wall outlet covers to prevent crumbs from collecting in the AC Outlet.
Even with the problems I stated above, the Jackery PowerBar may very well be the best portable USB battery pack I have seen to date. I honestly don’t see any of the problems I pointed out as a reason to avoid this product.