Goal Zero Yeti 400 Review

Goal Zero Yeti 400 Review & Buyers Guide

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Goal Zero Yeti 400 Review & Summary

Product Name: Goal Zero Yeti 400

Product Description: The Goal Zero Yeti 400 is a solar powered portable power station with 396 watt hours, 300 watts running power and 600 watts surge power. This is enough for charging sensitive personal electronics like laptops, cameras and smartphones several times over. The shelf life of the battery is 3 - 6 months so a fully charged unit is a good off-grid power source. You can also charge it on the go using either Boulder solar panels or a 12 volt car port.

  • Noise Level *does not emit noise
  • Reliability
  • Value vs. Cost
  • Ease of Use
4.5

Summary

Goal Zero delivers reliable and clean portable power stations with good battery management systems that prevents damage from overcharging or depletion. The specs are impressive and each unit is easily maintained with a replaceable battery.

The Goal Zero Yeti 400 is a smart choice for camping or road trips because besides solar energy, you can also charge the unit through a car port. The capacity is suitable for most computerized sensitive electronics and lights but electrical appliances with a large draw cannot be connected.

One of the manufacturers garnering a strong reputation in the field of solar generators is Goal Zero. Starting as a humanitarian effort, their solar power products provide an essential service to those living off the grid or are affected by extreme weather conditions that cut out the mains electricity supply.

Portable power stations that rely on solar energy are great for camping trips and other outdoor activities. It provides you with a clean, free and reliable electricity source for charging small electronics like mobile phones and lights.

It is also perfectly safe for indoor use because it does not require any polluting or hazardous fossil fuels. This compact device charges through solar power or you can plug it into any regular wall outlet.

Their smallest portable power product, the Yeti 400, is an excellent tool for making sure you always have access to your communication lines i.e. mobile phones or laptops. For example, when you are toughing it out in the wilderness for a few days or if a tropical storm cuts out the power lines to your home.

Yes, the Yeti 400 has minimal power capacity compared to most inverter generators but don’t write it off just yet. Find out why you should keep a solar generator handy and how the Goal Zero products are the smartest choice in this category.

This review is not based on any personal tests done on the machine but rather a comprehensive overview of the Goal Zero Yeti 400 derived from expert reviews, customer comments and the specifications provided by the manufacturer. Any conclusions drawn in this review are based on a comparison of these three different sources of information.

About the Yeti 400

Yeti 400 Company Video

Goal Zero Yeti 400: Technical Specs
Product InformationDetail
Running Watts300 watts
Surge Wattage600 watts
Capacity396 watt hours
Battery TypeLead Acid
Voltage12 volts
Noise LevelNone
Recommended Temp. Range32°F - 104°F

The Yeti 400 has a few cool additional features that you won’t find in all solar powered portable power stations. For example, besides charging through solar energy or a wall outlet, you can also reach full charge through the 12 volt car port in 13 hours using the Goal Zero Lithium 12v car charging cable.

The benefit of such a small capacity is that the charge times are shorter compared to larger solar generators. Charging with a car port takes 4 – 7 hours, charging with the Boulder 200 solar panels takes 4 – 8 hours and plugging it into a wall outlet gets you to full charge in about 7 hours.

The good thing about solar-charged batteries is that they have a decent shelf-life, referring to how long it retains charge. The Yeti 400 has a shelf-life of 3 – 6 months so chances are you can still use it even though it has been sitting still in storage for several weeks.

Goal Zero rates the lifecycle of the battery at 500 charges or 18 months before its performance drops to 80%. The lifecycle is one thing that experts always warn for but that should not be too big of an issue with this model because it has a replaceable battery.

Another extra function is that the battery is chainable with other 33Ah lead acid batteries so that you get a longer run time or capacity. You can compare this function to how most inverter generators are parallel capable.

So, if you bring along one or two additional batteries during your trip, you significantly increase the watt hours that you get while not losing out on portability. This is something you might want to consider doing if 400 watt hours don’t meet your electricity requirements.

This unit is capable of 300 watts continuous power but it reaches double that as surge power. This should be enough to charge your sensitive electronics like a GoPro, DSLR camera or laptop multiple times and can give keep a mini fridge running for several hours.

Intuitive LED Display

Goal Zero Yeti 400 Portable Power Station, 400Wh Battery Powered Generator Alternative with 12V, AC and USB Outputs

Monitor everything from a quick glance thanks to the LED display which shows how long it has been running, how long it can continue running with the current draw, the battery level and a input/output meter. This information is not only useful for planning out your energy usage but also helps you better position the connect solar panels when charging.

The unit also does some self-monitoring with the Pulse Width Moderation (PWM) and low battery battery protection to prevent any damage to the battery. Essentially, these systems make sure that you cannot overcharge the battery and that the unit will switch off before the battery is completely empty.

Also note that this is a lead acid battery, not a lithium one. There are pros and cons to this choice but the main benefits of a lead acid battery are that it is less sensitive to extremely cold weather and easily replaced, i.e. cheaper with a longer lifespan for the unit.

If you are still unsure about the lead acid, you can look for an older model of the Yeti 400 which still uses a lithium battery.

Yeti 400 vs Yeti 150 vs Yeti 1000

Goal Zero Yeti 400 Portable Power Station, 400Wh Battery Powered Generator Alternative with 12V, AC and USB Outputs
Goal Zero Yeti 150 Portable Power Station, 150Wh Small Generator Alternative with 12V, AC and USB Outputs
Goal Zero Yeti 1000 Lithium Portable Power Station, 1045Wh Silent Gas Free Generator Alternative with 1500W (3000W Surge) Inverter, 12V and USB Outputs
Model
Yeti 400
Yeti 150
Yeti 1000
Running Wattage
300 watts
80 watts
1,500 watts
Surge Wattage
600 watts
160 watts
3,000 watts
Watt Hours
396 Watt hours
168 Watt hours
1,045 Watt hours
Recharge Time
5 hrs with wall outlet | 13 hours with car charger | 8 hours with solar panels
6 hours with wall outlet | 4-6 hours with car charger | 6-12 hours with solar panels
4-18 hours with wall outlet | 9-18 hours with car charger | 10-20 hours with solar panels
-
Goal Zero Yeti 400 Portable Power Station, 400Wh Battery Powered Generator Alternative with 12V, AC and USB Outputs
Model
Yeti 400
Running Wattage
300 watts
Surge Wattage
600 watts
Watt Hours
396 Watt hours
Recharge Time
5 hrs with wall outlet | 13 hours with car charger | 8 hours with solar panels
Goal Zero Yeti 150 Portable Power Station, 150Wh Small Generator Alternative with 12V, AC and USB Outputs
Model
Yeti 150
Running Wattage
80 watts
Surge Wattage
160 watts
Watt Hours
168 Watt hours
Recharge Time
6 hours with wall outlet | 4-6 hours with car charger | 6-12 hours with solar panels
Goal Zero Yeti 1000 Lithium Portable Power Station, 1045Wh Silent Gas Free Generator Alternative with 1500W (3000W Surge) Inverter, 12V and USB Outputs
Model
Yeti 1000
Running Wattage
1,500 watts
Surge Wattage
3,000 watts
Watt Hours
1,045 Watt hours
Recharge Time
4-18 hours with wall outlet | 9-18 hours with car charger | 10-20 hours with solar panels
-

Last update on 2019-11-12 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

One size smaller than the Yeti 400 is the Yeti 150 and the next step up is the Yeti 1000. The smaller option also uses a lead acid battery while the larger option uses a lithium battery.

The Yeti 150 is great for charging sensitive electronics. Consider it a large powerbank but one that is capable of charging more than just your smartphone.

In comparison, the Yeti 1000 is a great emergency power source for at home. It is safe for indoor use and can keep a small fridge running for over 17 hours, a 32” LCD TV for 10 hours and keeps the lights on for days.

Like the Yeti 400, all these models have three charging possibilities; car port, solar energy or wall outlet. For the Yeti 150 Goal Zero recommends the Boulder 50 solar panels (6 -12 hours) and for the Yeti 1000 the company recommends the Boulder 200 briefcase (10 – 20 hours).

Overall, the specs of all three models are basically the same besides their respective capacity. The only noteworthy difference is that the Yeti 1000 has a lithium battery.

There are a few perks to this lithium battery such as less sensitivity for power surges, a longer shelf life and being more lightweight. However, this type of battery is more expensive and you can only replace it with a proprietary battery from Goal Zero.

If you prefer sticking to a lead acid battery, you can opt for the Goal Zero Yeti 1250.

Goal Zero vs Jackery Explorer 500 vs Aeiusny ADS

Goal Zero Yeti 400 Portable Power Station, 400Wh Battery Powered Generator Alternative with 12V, AC and USB Outputs
Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 500, 518Wh Outdoor Mobile Lithium Battery Pack with 110V/500W AC Outlet, Solar-Ready Generator (Solar Panel Optional) RV Battery CPAP Power Outage Emergency Kit
Aeiusny 400W Solar Generator Portable Power Station, 296Wh CPAP Backup Lithium Battery, 110V Pure Sinewave AC Outlet, 12V DC Output, USB Output Power Supply for Camping/Travel/Fishing/Hurricane
Model
Goal Zero Yeti 400
Jackery Explorer 500
Aeiusny ADS 400W
Runnings Wattage
300 watts
500 watts
400 watts
Surge Wattage
600 watts
1,000 watts
800 watts
Watt Hours
396 wH
518 wH
296 wH
Charging Sources
Outlet, Car, Solar
Outlet, Car, Solar
Outlet, Car, Solar
-
Goal Zero Yeti 400 Portable Power Station, 400Wh Battery Powered Generator Alternative with 12V, AC and USB Outputs
Model
Goal Zero Yeti 400
Runnings Wattage
300 watts
Surge Wattage
600 watts
Watt Hours
396 wH
Charging Sources
Outlet, Car, Solar
Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 500, 518Wh Outdoor Mobile Lithium Battery Pack with 110V/500W AC Outlet, Solar-Ready Generator (Solar Panel Optional) RV Battery CPAP Power Outage Emergency Kit
Model
Jackery Explorer 500
Runnings Wattage
500 watts
Surge Wattage
1,000 watts
Watt Hours
518 wH
Charging Sources
Outlet, Car, Solar
-
Aeiusny 400W Solar Generator Portable Power Station, 296Wh CPAP Backup Lithium Battery, 110V Pure Sinewave AC Outlet, 12V DC Output, USB Output Power Supply for Camping/Travel/Fishing/Hurricane
Model
Aeiusny ADS 400W
Runnings Wattage
400 watts
Surge Wattage
800 watts
Watt Hours
296 wH
Charging Sources
Outlet, Car, Solar

Last update on 2019-11-12 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Yeti 400 strongest competition is the Aeiusny, a 400 watt solar generator with 296 watt hours. Another option is the Jackery Explorer 500 which has a little more power with 518 watt hours, 500 watts running power and 1000 watts surge power.

Although the Aeiusny has fewer watt hours than the Yeti 400, it does have more outlets on the control panel; 3 AC outlets, 2 DC outlets and 4 USB ports. The company also limits you to devices with a less than 400 watts power requirement because anything above this draw will automatically shutdown the device.

For larger electrical appliances, choose the Explorer 500 which is recommended as an RV generator. It can support appliances that have a less than 500 watts draw.

All three devices can be charged through 3 sources, wall outlet, car port and solar panels. Jackery and Aieusny each have their own-brand recommended solar panel, the Jackary Solar Sage 100W and Aieusny 60W solar panel respectively.

Both of these alternatives weigh less than the Goal Zero model making them the more portable option. The Jackary weighs less than 13.5 pounds while the Aeiusny is even lighter at just 7.5 pounds.

So, when considering these three options portability is one of main deciding factors. In terms of performance, the Goal Zero is still the better option, even though it has less capacity than the Jackary – chaining extra batteries would resolve this issue.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Advantages

Some argue that solar generators are more expensive to buy but you have to consider that there are no running costs and with the Yeti 400 also minimal maintenance. Solar power is a free energy source and the only maintenance costs associated with this model is replacing the battery.

One of the greatest feature of this model is that it is chainable. This gives you more watt hours so you can run your electronics for longer hours before having to charge the unit.

Plus, the compact square box-like design makes for easy stacking so carrying several batteries with you should not pose too much of a storage problem. Of course, it is also a lightweight design.

This model with the lead acid battery is more suitable for colder climates than models with a lithium battery. It is also less susceptible to issues from power surges so you can feel safer about connecting sensitive electronics like smartphones and cameras.

Finally, the battery protecting systems such as the PWM and automatic shutdown at low charge levels helps keep the battery in good condition ensuring a longer lifespan. When it is time to replace the battery, you can easily replace it yourself with another affordable lead acid unit.

Goal Zero Yeti 400 Portable Power Station, 400Wh Battery Powered Generator Alternative with 12V, AC and USB Outputs
  • 396Wh lead acid battery portable power station can power up to 7 devices at once (33Ah @ 12V)
  • Continuous 300W, 600W surge pure-sine wave inverter, 2.1A USB ports, 120W 12V ports

Last update on 2019-11-12 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Disadvantages

Besides personal electronics devices, there is not much that you can connect to the Yeti 400. Electric appliances that take too big a draw would cause a short circuit and damage the battery.

As with any solar powered portable generator, the charge times are relatively long. This is something to keep in mind when you leave the unit stored away, you don’t want the battery life to be depleted when you suddenly need it.

There are also a few disadvantages associated with a lead acid battery. For example, it is heavier than a lithium battery and depletes faster.

Conclusion

Overall, the quality of all Goal Zero products is excellent. They are a reliable emergency power backup source or a charging station for off-grid use.

The Yeti 400 in particular is great for camping and outdoor activities where you want to keep your sensitive electronics charged at all times. If you are out with your car, you can also recharge it any time using the car port.

For home use, the Yeti 400 does not have enough capacity for most household appliances. Besides the lights, there is not much else that this small generator can power.

In short, if you need a portable power station for computerized electronic devices, this is a great choice. If you need to power larger appliances, you should choose a larger capacity Yeti.

9.5 Total Score
A Great Choice for Off-The-Grid Charging

The Yeti 400 in particular is great for camping and outdoor activities where you want to keep your sensitive electronics charged at all times. If you are out with your car, you can also recharge it any time using the car port.

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