Thinking of purchasing a smart solar generator or considering the Yeti 400?
This Goal Zero Yeti 400 review will do sufficient justice to your information quest 🙂
Considered by many industry experts (and users alike) as the greatest – and best portable solar generator ever made (by an equally great and promising American alternative energy company), this review is on the singular quest to see if the solar generator is worth that title or it is an issue of unmerited fame.
Accordingly thus, we shall be thorough and very critical. No detail is going to be spared.
First things first though: let’s take a good look at the generator we’re about to thoroughly review.
Having taken a good look at the product under review, its time to take an executive summary of the Goal Zero 400 solar generator.
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Goal Zero Yeti 400 Review: An Executive Summary
Powered by a 33Ah, 12v battery and capable of 400Wh, the Yeti 400 is a portable solar generator that is difficult to beat – both in looks and function.
With a built in inverter that produces completely pure sine wave AC and capable of charging a traditional laptop for up to 5 times before needing to be recharged itself, the Goal Zero Yeti 400 solar generator is a natural choice of adventure seekers and those whose realities take them far away from civilization or to places where stable power is still a luxury, reserved for the very rich.
Modeled to accept recharge power from the sun, the wall or a simple car, you are most certainly never going to lack places to charge your generator – or the inspiration to do so.
However, despite these awesome features and clearly above average ratings, the Goal Zero Yeti 400 solar generator has some cons (or challenges) that we do not particularly like – and sincerely believe that the generator would have been a better model were these issues taken care of.
Kindly continue reading to see what we consider as the cons or challenges of this otherwise brilliantly engineered portable solar unit.
Goal Zero Yeti 400 Solar Generator: What Does this Device Do?
The Goal Zero Yeti 400 is a portable solar generator.
The unit comprises a 33Ah, 12v battery – and a pure sine wave inverter. Power, by the national grid, sun or cigarette lighter of a car is drawn and saved in the unit for future use.
The power saved in the in-built battery is usually in the form of direct current (DC). This means that, to be used by ordinary day-to-day devices, it needs to be converted back to the power form most devices would appreciate and consume: Alternating Current (AC).
This is where the Pure Sine Wave built-in inverter comes to play. It beautifully converts the stored DC energy back to AC and feeds the devices that are connected to it via either the dedicated AC outlets or the USB hubs (for USB powered devices).
However, with this model, there’s something worth mentioning: recharging of the units’s 33Ah battery can only be carried out when it is not powering any load. There is an exception though: when recharging the unit with the recommended solar panels (the Nomad 20 solar panel, the Boulder 30 solar panel or the Boulder 90 solar panel), it can dispense power while recharging its own battery via solar energy. This way, the unit never technically runs out of juice.
In summary therefore, this unit does one amazing thing: recharges your small electronics/gadgets: laptops, phones, cameras, tablets etc. from the power saved in the inbuilt battery and itself, recharges via three (3) easy methods, majorly, solar energy.
Here’s a video of the Yeti 400’s main features, indicating how exactly it converts cold DC to warm AC to power up devices that need juice from the remotest corners of the earth:
Let’s now take a look at pros of the Goal Zero’s Yeti 400.
The Pros of Goal Zero’s Yeti 400 Worth Taking Note of
The Goal Zero Yeti 400 solar generator has a lot of fine points worth taking special note of. Carefully outlined in the paragraphs below, we have chronicled these fine points for you – after all, there can be no Goal Zero Yeti 400 review without the strong points of the generator being factored.
Here are the strong points of the generator we hopelessly fell in love with:
1. Ultra portable design
The primary attraction of any portable solar generator is its portable nature – after all, a solar generator needs to be taken from place to place in the fashion of ‘mobile electricity’.
The design of this unit is ultra portable and easy to carry around and about. With one hand, you can conveniently carry your electricity source without much ado.
This makes the Yeti 400 a truly ‘mobile’ power source. This is the first – and most important feature that attracted us to this Yeti model.
It is also a feature that you should take seriously and fall in love with if you’re going to be using the generator in the manner it was originally intended – to be upwardly mobile.
2. Impressive and long lasting battery
A solar generator that does not have an impressive battery is plain useless. In this regard, the Yeti 400 excels – and delivers well above average in terms of both the battery size and its ability to retain a charge.
The inbuilt battery of this generator is a 33Ah, 12V battery that is capable of being recharged in a day (or less). This battery powers/charges a traditional laptop between 3 and 5 times before running out of juice.
Aside the fact that the 33Ah battery can comfortably power/charge such devices as laptops and tablets over and over again without any challenges, it is also capable of retaining a charge for an impressive amount of time.
Our personal tests indicate that after about 3 months of non-usage of the solar generator, no significant charge was lost. This means that, the unit can be stored away for years and taken out – without charge when an emergency presents itself!
Isn’t this both beautiful and rare?
3. Pure-sine wave output
The inverter of the Yeti 400 generator is of the pure sine wave variant. This inverter type produces the cleanest form of AC available and specifically, renders an output no different from the output obtainable from a traditional wall outlet.
With such a ‘clean’ output of energy, everyday appliances like your laptop and sensitive gadgets (like some cellphone variants) will not be able to pick up any differences in the power output neither will they be obstructed in their (otherwise smooth) operation.
This means one thing and it is very important: your gadgets will clearly last long – consuming the electricity/power variant they were meant to consume by their original manufacturer(s).
4. Fast charging via solar/multiple charging options
Unlike other solar generators, the Yeti charges well under a day when paired up with a powerful solar panel and left in impressive sunshine. Aside this, it also charges from a traditional wall outlet or (alternatively), from the cigarette port of a car.
In the wild (and elsewhere where power is really needed and there is no alternative), this function is very important and may very well be the ultimate determinant between an awesome solar power generator and a (practically) useless one.
Fortunately, the Yeti 400 can brilliantly recharge itself via solar energy within a day (from a completely dead battery to one, 100% full).
Aside this, the model is hybrid, in terms of its ability to receive a charge. The means that, besides its ability to charge quickly via the sun directly, it can even charge quicker via an AC wall outlet.
If an AC wall outlet and favorable sunlight isn’t available, the cigarette lighter of your car can also assist in the business of charging this Yeti.
In essence, you can NEVER go stranded or run out of options so far as recharging this device is concerned. And for this, we fell in love, instantly 🙂
5. USB ports availability
Aside sporting dedicated AC ports, this generator is also fitted with 2 USB ports that handle the charging needs of devices that are USB compatible.
This means that, without a dedicated AC power cord, you can still charge your devices in the most brilliant fashion, especially phones, tablets and small power banks.
We particularly love this charging option especially since most USB cables we use serve both data and charging needs, eliminating the need for the conventional AC charger and hence, assisting with the reality of traveling light.
In the wild – and on the road, this function was one of the most loved. We are dead certain that you will also love it passionately when you get to test this portable solar generator.
6. Status display with led backlight
The Yeti 400 also sports an impressive feature: a status display on the unit that indicates vital stats like incoming and expended watts. This is meant to show the user how much power is coming into the generator and how much power the devices plugged to it are consuming.
In this way, Goal Zero has ensured that load balancing for longer run times is made as easy and as simple as possible – without the need for guesswork that winds up being completely wrong most of the time.
Aside the above, this model also shows the battery charge level of the device. This feature, unlike the former, is battery centered and not directly related to the watts that are either received or expended.
The battery charge level displays the exact and correct state of the in-built battery of the device. This feature ensures that you know the exact power left in your solar generator so that you can plan on how best to use the device to derive the most impressive run-time.
To cap it up, this important status display is powered by a led light that can be turned on and off at pleasure. This means that, these vital stats of your device can be checked at the dead of night or when lightening proves tricky.
It was however our extreme joy to note that, the led powered backlight can be switched off to save power. This is a smart move, especially when it is figured that the led light in itself would consume power that would be better used for appliances/gadgets that are plugged to the device directly.
We’re certain you’ll also come to the same conclusions.
7. Unique ‘chaining’ ability
This Goal Zero unit can also be ‘chained’ to another similar unit to prolong the total run time of both devices. This feature is very important if you desire more raw power/output or need to power on ‘heavier’ loads.
While we did not expressly have use for this feature – it is a nice thought to know that if there is need for longer run-times or we decide to get another unit of the Yeti 400, we can enjoy the wild more, watch our favorite TV programs even during power outages or work longer online with our PC, crafting awesome product reviews like this.
Isn’t that truly awesome?
8. Easy to replace inbuilt battery
The inbuilt 12v, 33Ah battery of the Yeti 400 is completely easy to remove and replace. In addition to being easy to remove or replace, it is also pretty common to find both online and in regular offline stores.
This is one point it is fundamental to include in this Goal Zero Yeti 400 review. Or, what point is there in bothering with a power generator that would be completely useless once its inbuilt battery packs up and a replacement becomes due?
Luckily, the 33Ah, 12v battery that is in the Yeti 400 can easily be replaced – even by a non-professional – who has no prior experience with solar power generators.
MORE: Goal Zero Yeti 1400 Lithium Portable Power Station Review
The Cons of the Yeti 400 that we Didn’t Particularly Like
Now, having exhaustively treated 8 (eight) of the pros of this portable solar generator in the present Goal Zero Yeti 400 review, it is time to turn our attention to the cons – the small points of the generator that we did not particularly like.
1. No DC power option
There are a number of devices currently being manufactured/in the market that rely exclusively on DC. Such gadget/devices have nothing to do with AC at all.
Now, while such devices are not many/popular (and the chance of you having one is really slim to none), it is always a good idea to know that you can stand up to a challenge – should the need arise.
Unfortunately, the Yeti 400 from Goal Zero is completely without a DC option or outlet. This means that, the inbuilt inverter converts DC primarily to AC and leaves nothing for direct transmission or consumption for DC powered gadgets.
This is the number one challenge of this device.
2. The Yeti 400 has no jump-start options
The second con (or challenge) about this solar generator model that we do not particularly like is its inability to help out, if your car’s battery refuses to co-operate.
In essence, this model is completely without a jump-start ability, like its close twin the Suaoki 400Wh portable solar generator. This means that, in the event that you are stranded because of a weak battery, you are likely to remain stranded even if you have this portable power generating unit right in your trunk or just beside you!
This is a con worth taking note of – and no Goal Zero Yeti 400 review will ever be complete without the clear mention of this fact.
Conclusion: Should you Buy the Yeti 400 Solar Generator?
The Yeti 400 is no doubt one of the best portable solar generators in production today.
However, like all things good, it also has its drawbacks, which have already been covered in detail above – though in all truth, it is crystal clear that the advantages/pros far outweigh its disadvantages/cons.
Here is our final verdict: if you do not expressly require DC power and are sure that using your solar generator for jump-starting your car isn’t one of the reasons why you are considering the Goal Zero’s Yeti 400, then, this would be a most brilliant purchase that you will certainly be proud of in the years to come.
However, if DC output is important to you (as equally important to AC discharge, perhaps) plus you’ll feel better knowing that you can easily jump-start a misbehaving battery without asking the next driver for help when such a need arises, then, you should take a look at our Yeti 400 alternative.
It may just be what you need and should be looking at momentarily.
Now, to answer the initial question: is the Yeti 400 the best portable solar generator ever/ currently available in the market?
The answer, sure, is a huge ‘YES’.
Kindly take a look at the generator on Amazon directly to see what we mean.
Happy shopping 🙂