Last fall, after an extended remodel, my family and I finally moved into our new home. Not six weeks later, we were hit with hurricane Sandy. We lost power for four or so days and counted ourselves lucky. As annoying as it was, others fared far worse.
What the storm did was make us consider our preparedness for such an event. If climate change scientists are correct, these storms are going to be occurring on a more frequent basis in the future.
One of the most immediate and potentially fixable issues is power for cell phones. Forget being able to watch movies and play games, texting people to let them know you’re okay and the occasional actual voice call to do the same are hugely important and without power you’re liable to not be able to do either. Landlines can, obviously, also have issues with the lines themselves and if you have FiOS or phone from your cable company, it will, very likely, fail in the event of a power outage. So, as I said, cell phone, and cell phones need to be charged all too regularly which is an issue if you don’t have power.
Thus was created—as far as I’m concerned, they may have had other reasons for making it (things like recharging devices whilst away from home)—Jackery. Available in more than one size, the concept is simple – Jackery is a battery you can use to charge your phone (or any other USB-charging device). The process is simply, you charge Jackery with a USB cable (we plugged the included cable into an AC adaptor, but presumably a computer would work as well), it holds a charge for six months, when you need it you plug your device into it (via your device’s USB cable), and your device charges in a reasonable amount of time.
The three different sizes Jackery is available in determine the size of the included battery. The Jackery Mini, which we tested, can charge an iPhone before it runs out of battery. It is, therefore, slightly less useful for our intended purpose than something that can charge your phone 18 times over the course of a week if you don’t have power, but a charge is a charge is a charge.
We weren’t able to test whether or not the charge will actually hold for six months (the review would take an exceptionally long time to produce if he attempted to do such a thing). Jackery does, however, have a display that tells you how charged the battery is so that you need not guess.
The Mini is lightweight (2.7 ounces), small (they refer to it as lipstick-sized), and bright orange which makes it highly visible in any sort of emergency bag you may have for when the power goes out. Sold on Amazon for $29.95, it seems oh so smart and worked very well in our tests. Even so, we might go with the Jackery Giant which is twice as expensive, but has a larger battery, and can charge two devices at once.
In our world—a world which doesn’t include a generator for our house should the power go out for days on end once more—the Jackery makes sense. It is well-designed, easy to use, and charged our phone without issue. What more could one want (save a bigger battery… which, as noted, they make).