The Kalisaya vs Goal Zero argument is one argument that you cannot avoid if you’re in the business of shopping for portable solar power.
The reasons are as many as they are obvious:
- Both are competing brands; brands that are in the business of portable solar generators.
- Both brands are relatively new in the market – each being less than 10 years old.
- Both brands make products with similar/overlapping technical specifications/features, making it ultra difficult to decide on a particular option.
- Finally, both have dedicated fans/die hard customers who swear by the products they make and are pretty convinced about what they say/believe. An objective voice is thus not only important but super necessary if you’re to make the right choice between these brands.
However, before we proceed, are we even qualified to run this comparison in the first place?
Why We Are Qualified To Run This Comparison
Not anyone can claim to objectively run this Kalisaya vs Goal Zero comparison. However, we sincerely believe that we are thoroughly qualified on the following grounds:
- We have experience with all the leading portable solar generators online today.
- We are solar energy savvy – and know exactly what to expect from a solar generator. We are thus always testing according to ideal standards and not mere comparison figures.
- Finally, we are independent and not directly affiliated to either Goal Zero or Kalisaya. This means, we will maintain our hard won integrity without any threat that comes with brand affiliation.
Having seen why you should listen to us and infact, take our opinions and conclusions dead serious, let’s lead you right to the next section to see what this comparison really means.
Kalisaya Vs Goal Zero: What Such A Comparison Really Means
For this comparison however, that is not the objective.
The objective is to bring out the strengths and weakness of each brand and show you, the reader (who needs portable solar power) which of the models will serve you better, depending on the use you intend to put it and your exact circumstances.
Remember, no one solar generator is completely good, 100% and none is completely bad, 100% – at least for the brands under discussion today.
The goal thus, is to see what will serve you brilliantly for your given project or manner of use, particularly as regards circumstances and operating conditions.
Having cleared that, let’s now take a look at what really makes a great portable solar generator. Please, note that it will be from these variety of features and specs that we’ll be running our comparisons and offering our tips and advise on subsequent purchase and eventual use.
What Makes A Great Portable Solar Generator: Our ’11 Point System’
A portable solar generator is completely useless – unless it conforms to the features and specs shared below. With this conformation, you’re dead certain as a user that you’re having not just a deal but a great, sweet deal 🙂
However, it is our experience that, there is yet to be a solar generator (of the portable variant) that (brilliantly) meets all the 11 conditions listed below.
However, if a generator meets between 8-10 of these conditions, it is an awesome portable solar generator and must be judged as such.
Here are the 11 points:
- Portable size.
- Impressive battery capacity.
- Fair number of ports.
- A plethora of recharging options.
- Fast charging/recharging time.
- Fair weight.
- Ability to output both AC and DC current (on demand).
- Presence of a Pure Sine Wave inverter.
- Chaining ability (to increase overall run-time).
- Ability to continuously output fade-free power.
- Overall brand appeal.
Let’s now explain the points listed above to see what they truly mean and importantly, see how we can show you what to look out for when you go shopping next for a portable power unit.
1. Portable Size
The whole appeal of a portable sized solar generator is first and foremost, the “portable” in its name. Users like you who are interested in such a solar generator are thus primarily drawn to it because of a particular purpose that its portable nature appeals to and is its practicality for that task, owning to its size.
In line with the reasoning above, a solar generator that isn’t portable does not make for a great unit at all.
Or, where is the joy of a solar generator when you cannot carry your unit to remote areas or are forced to leave it at home when you take on the wild by way of a hike or camp?
2. Impressive Battery Capacity
The heart of a solar generator (especially if it is of the portable variant), lies with the battery. The larger the battery of a portable solar generator unit, the better such a battery will deliver when the generator is used.
However, ‘larger’ in this context does not mean size: rather, it means the raw power holding capacity of the battery, usually measured and projected in Amperes (Ah) or MilliAmperes (mAh).
Generally, capacities from 15Ah up are great for this purpose.
Further, Lithium-Ion batteries, currently, have an amazing way of ensuring that they balance up the energy-weight deficiency most of the batteries powering traditional solar generators have.
This means that, they are able to hold a ton more of charge (translating to more Ah or mAh) even when they are physically small (or smaller) compared to other battery types, Lead-Acid for example.
To wrap up, a solar unit, to be judged great, must have an awesome battery (preferably, the Lithium-Ion variant) and the battery should be able to hold a charge – that matches it actual capacity.
3. Fair Number Of Ports
There’s nothing as annoying as having 2 dead cellphones and an equally dead iPad but having just a single socket in the room (without a power extension plug).
If you’re ever faced with such a situation, it will mean that, you’ll need to charge the devices one after the other.
Ordinarily, if you have the whole time in the world, this would not be a problem – or present any challenge. However, what if you’re time constrained but need all 3 gadgets in the next hour or two and would appreciate that they be fully charged in that period?
That is the same mess you’ll automatically land right in when you are trapped with a solar power station that has 1 or maybe, only 2 ports.
A great solar power generator should thus have at least 2 USB ports, 2 power sockets and 2 DC ports each.
With the above configurations, you’ll certainly not be frustrated into running around with dead gadgets when you have a fully charged portable solar unit right by your side.
4. A Plethora Of Recharging Options
The joy of a solar generator (and its ultimate advantage over a conventional solar system installation) is that, some of the generators have a plethora of recharging options; a feature that really makes for great portable solar generators.
A plethora of recharging options ensures that, when the sun is down or the elements are tricky, your solar power station still gets to be recharged and ready for use.
Generally, apart from the solar recharging option all the generators come with, such hybrid units, in addition, come powered with an option to charge the device via a AC wall socket and further, via a DC cigarette lighter port.
A great portable solar generator should have at least an alternative charging option apart from the solar panels that power it primarily. A good example of this is the Goal Zero Yeti 1250 solar generator – a unit that can be recharged by means of a traditional solar panel and the AC wall socket powered by the grid.
5. Fast Charging/Recharging Time
The 5th most important feature of a smart portable solar unit that makes a generator worth purchasing is its ability to charge fast the devices that are plugged to it and to recharge itself quickly to replenish the lost power.
In the light of the above, an awesome solar generator should not take more than the the time a conventional socket, powered by the grid takes to charge a device/gadget. If anything, it should take less, provided the recommended charging adapter of the gadget is used.
The reasoning here is that, the solar generator outputs a standard 120/220 volts whilst the power the grid powered socket outputs may be less than the standard/recommend volts of 120/220.
Aside fast charging, the generator itself ought to be capable of recharging its battery well within sensible periods. For instance, the Goal Zero Yeti 150 portable solar generator recharges itself with solar (via the Boulder 90 solar panel) in just about 3 hours (in bright sunlight).
For the wall, the same solar power generator mentioned immediately above takes only 6 hours and when plugged via the cigarette lighter port of a vehicle, it takes a fair and understandable 8 hours.
Fair and impressive charging/recharging times are thus critical if a solar generator is to be adjudged a great unit, whether in this Kalisaya vs Goal Zero comparison or elsewhere.
6. Fair Weight
The prime objective of the portable solar generator revolution today is the desire for power where tradition power means are not practical or in the instance that they fail. Often, this also means the ability to be able to move the ‘new power source’ from place to place.
If a solar generator is bulky, it will thus not serve this purpose and will accordingly, not wind up as ‘great’.
It is for this reason that the Kalisaya KaliPAK brand remains immensely popular given that its signature product, the Kalisaya KP601 weighs only an impressive 14lbs (6.3kg).
If you’re thus looking for what actually qualifies as a great portable solar generator, you should be careful not to wind up with anything bulky – especially when you factor its weight-energy ratio.
7. Ability To Output Both AC And DC Current (On Demand)
The 7th feature/spec any great portable power station should sport is its ability to be able to output both AC and DC current on demand.
Granted, almost all the brands today run inverters that convert the DC current captured and stored in the battery to AC. However, some units still do not come default with this feature.
It is also instructive to note that the conversion alone is not the issue; what really matters is that the generator should be able to serve the user with any variant of electricity current type so that all manner of gadgets can be catered for.
Failing this, such a power station clearly lacks one of the features that make for great solar generators (already 🙂 )
8. Presence Of A Sine Wave Inverter
Closely related to the point treated above, a portable solar power station, to be looked upon as great, should have a Pure Sine Wave inverter, if it sports an inverter at all.
This is because, the current outputted by pure Sine Wave inverters is of the same quality with the AC outputted by the grid. This effectively allows gadgets and other devices plugged to the generator to function normally and optimally.
In line with the reasoning above, solar generators that are powered by modified Sine Wave inverters are to be rejected in preference to the pure Sine Wave variants if the health of the electronics and other gadgets connected to the generators is to be assured.
9. Chaining Ability (To Improve Run-Time)
The ability of a similar model/brand of portable solar generator to be chained to another is critical is determining its greatness. The principal reason for this position is that, increasing overall run-time has always been a top priority for solar generators users in our power hungry world.
Accordingly thus, models/brands that ensure this feature are always a step ahead of others (that don’t) and in our professional estimation, are amongst the very best that can be found today commercially.
If you’re thus looking for the major features of great solar generators, then, this is undoubtedly, one of them.
10. Ability To Consistently Offer Fade Free Power
While some portable solar units are awesome at the business of providing fade-free power, some are not so great at that department and constantly provide fluctuating power, especially when the power stored depletes right to a certain (low) level.
For generators that behave in this manner, it becomes challenging using them when they begin to misbehave in such a manner. Worse, electronics and gadgets plugged right in them stand the risk of damage and subsequent malfunction if an external power stabilizing device like a voltage stabilizer is not used.
The 10th point thus, that make for a great solar power generator is the inherent ability of a solar generator to overall, provide fade-free power throughout its use.
11. Overall Brand Appeal
Finally, the last point that should be considered when looking to pick up a solar generator or determine if one is worth your time is the reality of an overall brand appeal.
Here, brands like Goal Zero and Kalisaya should be considered first, before taking other brands into consideration (if need be).
The reasoning here is that these brands are tested and trusted; their manufacturers are thus critically aware that they have a reputation to protect. You will thus get the highest quality and value for your money when you invest in these brands (as against others you are not so sure).
Still on the point of brand appeal, the Goal Zero and Kalisaya brands have been in the forefront of the portable solar generator revolution for sometime now.
Accordingly, most solar energy technicians are familiar with the units and can take a professional look for you in the event that you need ‘outside warranty’ help and the brand cannot assist directly due to whatever reason.
Having taken a look at what really makes a great portable solar generator, let’s now take a look at something else: are the brands under discussion here awesome solar generators according to the guide we have laid out above?
The next section answers.
Kalisaya Vs Goal Zero: Are These Solar Generator Brands Great in Themselves?
After taking a look at the special features every great portable solar generator is supposed to have and specifically sport, it is right to ask at this point: do the Kalisaya and Goal Zero brands qualify as great power stations worthy of our time and consideration?
The answer to the question, without any doubt, is a resounding “YES”; at least, both brands feature at least 8 (or more) of the specifications and features listed above.
8 out of 11 isn’t bad – and certainly, qualifies both brands to this vigorous testing and comparison.
Let’s now fire with the comparison proper 🙂
Unique Advantages Of Kalisaya’s KaliPAK Over Goal Zero’s Yeti
If you’re a Kalisaya fan, you should be happy now: we’re dealing with the advantages Kalisaya has over Goal Zero. They are listed accordingly in the following lines and brilliantly explained:
1. Better Energy To Weight Ratio
Kalisaya argues that their KaliPAK series are the best portable solar generators in the market today, so far as energy to weight ratio is concerned.
This is a big claim – and one that is likely to be passed off as mere marketing tactics.
However, upon careful examination and actual use of a plethora of other solar power stations, we have come to the conclusion that the claim is indeed true – not only for ‘other solar generators’ but also, for the instant generator under consideration here, Goal Zero.
In lay man’s language, there is no solar power generating station available today that will give you the power a typical KaliPAK model gives and weigh as little as a traditional KaliPAK unit!
In essence, if you get a more powerful solar generating set (as compared to a KaliPAK model), you’re going to have to ‘pay’ for the extra power in the overall weight of the generator.
For instance, the KP 601 from Kalisaya famously weighs only 14lbs (6.3kg). With a battery rating of 38Ah, this generator is able to churn out 558Wh of power.
By sharp comparison, Goal Zero’s own Yeti 400 (the closest model to the KP601) weighs 29lbs (13.2kg), has a battery rating of 33Ah and churns out only 400Wh of power!
This overall energy-weight ratio superiority, Kalisaya achieves by making certain that their generators run without traditional inverters and importantly, the deployment of lithium-ion batteries (which are well known for their small size but impressive storage capacity).
2. Waterproof Solution
There are very few waterproof portable solar generators available today and the Kalisaya’s KaliPAK models all qualify as ‘waterproof’, a feature the Goal Zero brand is yet to boast of.
For the KaliPAK models however, this is made possible by a special coat called the Kalisaya KaliPAK Weatherproof Raincoat.
This raincoat works out of the box for all the KaliPAK models: the KP 201, the KP 401 and the KP 601.
It is also worthy of note that this raincoat enhances the storage of the generator and effectively makes it ‘backpacker friendly’, when it is stored therein. This is made possible because of the shoulder straps of the raincoat and other numerous carriage handles.
Importantly, it is instructive to understand that the solar generator can comfortably work right in the waterproof raincoat, even when it is raining and the generator is safely packed therein.
The coat thus effectively ‘proofs’ the entire unit against the elements and importantly, facilitates the active use of the generator even when it is so packed and secured from the troubling elements.
3. Remote Management/Operation Capabilities
There are, to the best of our knowledge, no solar portable generators that are capable of being operated/managed remotely. Fortunately, the Kalisaya brand has ensured that its KaliPAK models can be managed/operated remotely via the associated Android or iOS apps.
This remote management/maintenance feature is what the Yeti series from Goal Zero lack, completely.
For younger users (and users who are young at heart), this is a function/an advantage that will mean a lot to them, especially during tiresome hikes or long stretches/days on camp or expedition.
4. ‘Back Packer Friendly’ Design
Closely related to the first point above is the fact that the Kalisaya brand offers ‘back packer friendly’ portable solar generator designs that currently, Goal Zero is lacking.
This design is achieved by the compact unit of the KaliPAK models. Further, it is enhanced by the fact that the units are very light and are easy to carry on the back, making them one of the solar generator brands ideal for hiking.
5. Storage Box Design
The Kalisaya range of solar generators have one final advantage over Goal Zero: they are designed in a storage box design that does not only shelter its internal components but also serves as a smart storage for the users to keep one or two things.
In times where there appears to be no other storage, the space therein, though relatively small, can act as a practical option for storing away valuables that one would not not appreciate openly displayed, especially in public places like the beach or open Safari.
This option, sadly, the Goal Zero Yeti models lack.
Instances Where The Kalisaya’s KaliPAK Will Serve Better And Is Preferred
- Solo trips to the wild especially when one is/wishes to travel light with minimal gadgets/power accessories.
- Where there is need only for light, DC appliances/gadgets.
- Instances where back-packing is a must/is preferred.
- Places/instances where the rain/the elements may interrupt one’s work/pleasure.
Unique Advantages Of Goal Zero’s Yeti Over Kalisaya’s KaliPAK
It’s now the turn of the Goal Zero fans! If if you’re one of the thousands across the world who swear by the Goal Zero brand, here are some more reasons to smile – and be happy about the brand you love 🙂
1. AC & DC Power Options
As unbelievable as this may actually sound, the KaliPAK models from Kalisaya do not come engineered with a built-in inverter. What this means is that, there is automatically no option for AC current and only DC is an option if you travel the Kalisaya route.
By sharp contrast however, all Goal Zero’s portable solar generators come standard with inbuilt pure sine wave inverters.
What this means is that, pure clean AC power that is exactly like the variant obtainable from the grid can be got from the Goal Zero models to power gadgets and electronics.
However, here is the interesting thing: the Yeti series from Goal Zero also have DC current options, just in case you need to power a DC TV or refrigerator. Essentially thus, you get the best of 2 worlds, AC and DC – something the KaliPAK series from Kalisaya lack.
2. Traditional Power Sockets
Another advantage of the Yeti series from Goal Zero over their counterparts from Kalisaya is that, Goal Zero’s solar generators have traditional power sockets ensuring that normal devices can be plugged right in.
In sharp contrast however, the KaliPAK models from Kalisaya have no such provision, making it difficult to plug a traditional cable right into them. As a result, conventional gadgets like Television and Laptops have a hard time working seamlessly with this generator brand without the help of adapters or special extensions.
3. Wilder Product Range
Goal Zero has an impressive array of products, especially when it comes to its solar power generators. This impressive product line ensures that there is a solar generator for everyone irrespective of size preferences, battery needs, gadgets users desire to power and ultimately, the price point.
Unfortunately, Kalisaya does not have such an impressive array of products to match the stock from Goal Zero: the Kalisaya KaliPAK series only have 3 solar generators in its lineup: the KP 201, KP401 and KP 601 as against Goal Zero’s 5 products, spanning lithium-ion/lead acid batteries with several functionalities at varying price points.
For those who really love more choices to help them pick up the best of whatever it is they desire, they’ll find themselves particularly pleased with this advantage from the Yeti brand.
4. (Optional) Chaining Ability
The joy of many users of a portable solar unit is the ability to chain the unit to another (similar device type) to achieve a longer and more impressive run-time.
The Yeti series from Goal Zero have made certain of this. Accordingly thus, a Yeti 400 can be chained with another Yeti 400, a 1250 with another 1250 and so on.
Sadly, however, this is not the case with the KaliPAK series. For this Kalisaya model line, the reality of ‘chaining’ to increase run-time is still as alien as the thought that life can permanently supported on Mars 🙂
Special Note: Not all the models from Goal Zero support the chaining reality. If you’re however interested in the added power chaining a solar generator brings, kindly cross-check the exact model to make certain that this feature is supported.
Instances Where The Goal Zero’s Yeti Will Serve Better And Is Preferred
- Dedicated home use, especially as an alternative power backup solution when the mains fail.
- Super camping/hiking trips involving more than 1 person and implicating a truck or SUV. Perfect spots for such a camp include the Safaris in Africa or the beaches in South America.
- The Goal Zero’s Yeti brand is also perfect for tasks requiring longer overall run-time e.g. medical emergencies.
Goal Zero Vs Kalisaya Wrap Up
The Kalisaya vs Goal Zero comparison has taken up some time: we have used more than 4,000 words to trash out this topic and at this point, we sincerely believe that, sufficient justice has been done to the comparison.
However, before we round up, it is important to remind you again that:
This comparison does not in any way make a particular solar generator brand better than another. What is intended – and achieved is that, you can now make an intelligent choice, based on what you really want out of a solar generator, as dictated by your power needs.
Now, after a SUPER thorough comparison and analysis on our part, what remains is (informed) action on your own part.
Go, pick up the brand/model that makes the most sense (according to your needs) and enjoy the immense power portable solar generators make possible and brings within your very reach 🙂