If, like me, you’re something of an adventurous soul, you no doubt invested in a portable solar panel system at some point, only to be disappointed when it failed to live up to your expectations — I feel your pain.It puts you off the whole idea of road-friendly green energy.
But, thankfully, there have been some incredible advancements in photovoltaic technology in recent years, with brands such as Jackery spearheading the solar revolution.
In light of this, I decided to pick up one of their flagship products, the SolarSaga 100W, and put it through its paces. Here, my wanderin’ friend, is what I discovered.
No time to check out my full review? No problem. Have a quick glance at this pros and cons list for an abridged version of my findings.Pros
- Supports direct charging
- Can charge three devices simultaneously
- Insanely lightweight and portable
- 23% solar efficiency
- Rugged build
- Splash- and dust-proof
- Kickstands make it a breeze to set up
- Decent performance on overcast days
- 2-year warranty (optional 3rd year for a fee)
- Not as versatile as the SolarSaga V2
Jackery SolarSaga 100W At A Glance
The SolarSaga 100W is a super portable, foldable solar panel prime for taking with you on your next wilderness adventure. It’s compatible with most Jackery solar power stations, but can be used as a direct power source if need be.
Where Can You Purchase The Jackery SolarSaga 100W Portable Solar Panel?
Shop the Jackery SolarSaga 100W Portable Solar Panel here
As I’m sure you’ve gleaned from the name of this solar panel, it has a 100-watt output, which is amazing for its size!
Of course, that’s only the advertised theoretical output. Realistically, your solar yield is going to be just shy of that most of the time.On a clear, sunny day in my yard, with only a few cottony clouds in the sky, I managed to pull a stable 80 watts, a very impressive figure that I chalk up to the hyperefficient monocrystalline silicon PV cells.Most other panels will get you somewhere within 50–75% of their advertised capacity, but here, I’d witnessed 80% efficiency on my very first outing with the SolarSaga — I could already feel my faith in the solar industry returning!“Calm down”, I told myself, “Don’t get too carried away. You don’t know how it will perform on a gloomy day”. So I waited for some overcast weather and took the SolarSaga for another spin.To my surprise, it still pulled in a respectable amount of power. Was it quite as impressive as it was on the sunny day? No, the output dropped to around 30 watts, but it’d be unreasonable to expect much more.It generated just enough power to lift my Jackery 1000 from 40 to 50% charge, which may not sound like a lot, but that’s a big generator, and remember, the weather wasn’t that great.
Jackery SolarSaga 100W: Charge Times
Although I own a Jackery power station, one of the things I adore about the SolarSaga 100W is that you don’t strictly need a discrete battery to use it. You can just link your tablet or phone directly to the integrated USB-A or C port.On a hazy day, I managed to get the SolarSaga to charge both my iPad and smartphone in around 6 hours, and I didn’t even alter the angle or direction of the panels to follow the sun’s path.In terms of power station charge times, it can supposedly juice the Jackery 1000 in as little as 13 hours. My testing clocked it in closer to 15 hours, but I was battling against inconsistent weather.I don’t have any other Jackery power stations, but according to the company site, it’s capable of charging the Jackery 500 in 7.5 hours and the 300 in 3.5 hours.
Durability And Design
No matter how powerful or efficient a portable solar panel is, if it can’t handle the rigors of a life lived off grid, then it’s essentially just expensive trash, so I wasn’t pulling any punches with the SolarSaga on this front.If the unit that showed up at my door showed even a modicum of weakness, I was going to send it right back where it came from and tell Jackery, thanks, but no thanks.As it happened, I was pleasantly surprised — this thing is tough as old boots. I mean, you still need to look after it when you’re out in the great outdoors, but the materials are about as robust as they could possibly be, and they can handle a bit of moisture too.Rated as IP65, the SolarSaga isn’t completely waterproof, but it can brush off the odd splash here and there, which is a smart design move. It also features an ETFE film to protect against dust and debris, which I’m certain will extend its service life significantly.
We’ve already discussed the integrated USB ports for direct charging, but what I didn’t mention earlier is that you can actually charge two devices and a power station at the same time, which is awesome in my opinion. The USB station also has an LED charge indicator, which is only a small addition, but reflective of Jackery’s attention to detail — sometimes it’s the little things that make the big things shine!The solar power cable and USB ports are protected by a little zip pouch on the back of the panels. It’s all very smart and secure, but I do have one complaint…Word on the wire is that the older version of the SolarSaga (this is the V3), featured an Anderson connector rather than a fixed port for the solar cable.This meant that you could integrate the V2 into 3rd-party arrays and use them to charge power stations from other brands.
Without the Anderson connection, you’re locked into the Jackery ecosystem, which is a shrewd marketing move, but irritating for customers hoping for a versatile panel.On a more positive note, the dual kickstands are great. These things make it super easy to set the panel up and adjust the angle to optimize your power yield. I find them to be incredibly stable, even on windy days.
The portability of the SolaSaga is next level! It’s a folding design, combining the power of a much larger system with the practicality of a briefcase. Well… I say briefcase; it’s quite a bit larger than that.It reminds me a bit of the big folder cases the arty kids would use to carry their portfolios around high school, yet, despite the size, the only time it ever feels unwieldy is when the wind picks up.It weighs 5.5lbs, which is barely anything, and a magnetized top keeps it shut tight when folded, which is a godsend when packing, transporting, or storing this panel.The handle is made from TPE, a plastic, but it has a soft, rubbery feel. It’s both grippy and super comfortable, something that I’m incredibly thankful for, as the joints in my hands can be quite painful at times.
Value For Money
Compared to competitor panels, the SolarSaga 100W isn’t exactly cheap, so if you’re looking for portable solar power on a budget, it’s perhaps not the best choice for you.That said, if you can push your budget just a little, I guarantee you won’t regret it. The SolarSaga is a premium product in every conceivable way.
The materials are top-notch, the design is second-to-none, and the cells were crafted by legend of the solar industry, SunPower.
The SolarSaga arrives with a 2-year warranty as standard, which I feel is fair, but, if you’re feeling cautious, you can tack on an additional 12 months coverage for a small fee.I chose not to extend my warranty, as I intend to take very good care of my panel, but I appreciate having the option, and it shows that Jackery has no problem putting their money where their mouth is when it comes to the quality and longevity of their products.
The Final Verdict
Solar panel technology has come a long way in recent years, and the Jackery SolarSaga 100W is testament to that — I love it!It’s a shame that the company did away with the Anderson adapter of the V2, but this is literally the only issue I could find with the V3, and it will have little if any impact on how most use it.Yes, the SolarSaga is a little on the pricey side, but its efficiency and durability mean you get great bang for your buck in the long run if you’re willing to make the initial investment.I know we’ve both been hurt before, forking out our hard-earned cash for subpar solar gadgets, but the Jackery SolarSaga 100W has fully reinvigorated my faith in portable solar power, and there’s no doubt in my mind that it can do the same for you.I give the Jackery SolarSaga 100W Portable Solar Panel 4.8/5