If you are looking for an emergency power supply or a quiet, easy to use generator for your next camping trip, a lithium power station should be considered.
The beauty of a this kind of mini generator is that it can be charged on free energy from the sun and they are extremely quiet making them a perfect choice for camping, tailgating, and emergency situations.
Although they do not supply the power needs of a full home backup power supply, the Yeti 400 can keep your vitals components charged like your phone, laptop, or radios.
In most situations you will not need a large solar generator to power your small items.
A simple 400 watt power station such as the Goal Zero Yeti 400 will provide you with everything you could possibly need from a portable solar generator.
Let’s take a look at a few of the high level features and specs of the Yeti 400 to give you a more in depth look at this solar generator.
Functions and Ease of Use
When it comes to functionality and ease of use on the Yeti 400, it doesn’t get much easier. The layout of each section of the dashboard makes it easy to find exactly what you are looking for without overcomplicating it.
The digital screen allows for easy readouts on the important vitals of your generator.
On the front of this GoalZero power station, you will get 2 USB charging ports, a pair of 110 AC plugs, a traditional 12v cigarette style outlet, and two outlets made to charge GoalZero accessories such as their LED lanterns.
Each section of outlets has an on/off switch to supply power to just the needed plugs.
To the left of the LCD screen is an input outlet to charge your power station back up.
This can be done with traditional solar panels or with the included wall charger.
Each outlet section is outlined with a color coded line to both separate outlets and provide a very aesthetically pleasing display.
Moving onto the rest of the exterior on the Yeti 400, you will notice a very nice silver and black scheme that is complimented by a lime green handle that matches GoalZero’s traditional branding.
At only 29lbs, the integrated handle makes this power station easily portable to take in and out of your car with ease.
Noise Level - Is It Quiet?
If you are used to go camping with regular gasoline generators, you know just how loud they can be. This can be a nuisance with close quarter situations such as camping or emergency situations.
With solar generators, they run off of solar energy which requires no engines or gasoline. This makes these power stations super quiet and easy to use in just about any setting.
Not to mention, you will not have to worry about dangerous fumes like you would with a gasoline generator.
One drawback: Charging Times
One drawback with the Goal zero 400w, but also with most solar generators when comparing it to a gasoline or propane generator is that you do have to charge it up before you use it.
With the Yeti 400, you get three different options to choose from to charge your Yeti.
This includes with a solar panel (sold separately), with the included wall charger, or in your car through a 12v power source.
Below are the charge times that it will take for your Yeti 400 to fully charge with various methods:
- Wall Charger (72W): 5 Hours
- Car Charger (30W): 13 Hours
- Nomad 28 Plus Solar Panel: 23-58 Hours
- Boulder 50 Solar Panel: 13-32 Hours
- Boulder 100 Solar Panel: 6.5-16 Hours
- Nomad 100 Solar Panel: 6.5-16 Hours
- Boulder 200 Solar Panel: 4-8 Hours (NOTE: Connecting the Yeti 400 to the Boulder 200 Briefcase requires an Anderson to 8mm Connector cable)
What You Can Power With It
The Yeti 400 can power just about any small electronics that you can plug into it.
While it is not going to be a power station to run appliances on constantly, it will charge anything from a small smartphone up to a mini fridge.
Of course, with larger current draws, the usage time will drop.
Below are the general times that a fully charged Yeti 400 can provide you:
- Smartphone 20+ Recharges
- POV Camera 70+ Recharges
- Headlamp 70+ Recharges
- Tablet 10+ Recharges
- Laptop 3-5 Recharges
- Light-a-Life 130 Hours
- Mini Fridge 7 Hours
- 32 LCD TV 3 hours
This power station was built with mobility in mind. The combination of the lightweight and built in handle make taking this power station anywhere super easy.
Service, Manual & Warranty
GoalZero is well known for the high quality solar power stations and accessories. They take pride in their work and back it up with industry leading warranty and return policies.
GoalZero offers a one year warranty on each of their batteries, power packs, and solar panels. For open box items, you will receive a 6 month warranty. This warranty protects you from any defects in craftsmanship and materials on their products.
As far as returns, GoalZero offers a 30-day money back guarantee.
This no hassle return policy if you buy the goal zero 400 on Amazon allows you to easily return the product if you are not satisfied. This does not apply to open box products as all sales are final on these items.
Yeti 400 VS The Competition
The GoalZero Yeti 400 may be at the top of its class, but that does not mean it has some stiff competition.
GoalZero Yeti 400 VS AcoPower 400Wh Portable Solar Generator
With both power stations having the same capacity of energy storage, the competition is a close on between the Yeti and AcoPower. Let’s take a look at a few features to see how they stack up.
The playing field is pretty level here as they both have a capacity of 400Wh.
Since both of these power stations have the same capacity, we are going to have to explore more details to see which is the best buy.
When it comes to solar generators, one of the biggest factors that comes into play when its time to make a purchase is charging time. The AcoPower has a slightly shorter charging time which gives it the edge over the Yeti if charging times are important to you.
Another big selling point on any power station is the power outlets that are built into the generator.
Each of these power stations has a set of AC outlets, a single DC output, battery jump starters, and USB outputs. The only thing that the AcoPower offers that the Yeti does not is 4 USB outlets. The Yeti only has 2 available so if you are going to be using multiple USB powered devices, this may be something to take into consideration.
Goal Zero 400w VS Jackery Explorer 440
Taking a look at both the Yeti 400 and the Explorer 440 might make you take a double take. The designs are quite similar and should provide for a great comparison.
The Yeti 400’s 400Wh is overshadowed by the Explorer’s 440Wh capacity.
When it comes to charging times, the Explorer disappoints with an 8 hour wall charge time as opposed to the Yeti’s 5 hour charge time.
The layout of these two power stations are quite similar but the Explorer only offers a single AC outlet when the Yeti offers two. It does offer one more USB outlet than the Yeti, but whether or not that is beneficial will depend on what you plan on using the power station for.
VS Suaoki G500 Portable Power Station
The Yeti 400 and the Suaoki G500 are both built with durability and transporting in mind. Lets see how they stack up in common features and benefits.
The Suaoki G500 takes the cake as it has an ultra high-capacity 500Wh while the Yeti only supports up to 400Wh. While this extra capacity may appeal to others, let’s look at a few other key points before awarding a winner.
While the Yeti doesn’t stack up to the Suaoki when it comes to power, it sure stands out in charging time. The Yeti beats out the G500’s 8-10 hour wall charging with it’s quick 5 hour charging. The Yeti also trumps the G500 when it comes to solar charging as well.
Looking at the power outlets that each of these power stations offer, they are quite similar. They both offer two AC 110v plugs, 2 DC ports, a standard 12V plug and USB ports. The only difference is that the G500 offers a 2 fast charging USB ports along with one addition USB port for a total of 3 ports, one more than the Yeti 400.
Online Reviews and Customer Ratings
With nearly 400 reviews on Amazon at the time of this article, the Yeti 400 is boasting an impressive 4 out of 5 stars. 70% of these reviews are in the 4-5 star range.
After taking a close look at the negative reviews, it seems that most of the issues people have faced are sporadic and I could not find a common problem.
In terms of customer feedback and reviewer’s opinions, it’s a green light for me.
My Opinion: Should You Buy It?
If you are wanting a power station that is going to give you the needed power to charge up small electronics on the go, this Yeti power station is a great candidate.
With the quiet operation, long charging times for your appliances and relatively short charge up times, this power station would be a great addition to any household.
As someone who likes to be prepared in the event of a power outage, the Yeti 400 gives me the needed power to supply all of my emergency essentials such as phones and radios to stay connected.
Since I do not have to worry about any harmful fumes, this generator can be used just about anywhere I need it.
The things you are going to need to consider are what you are wanting to power, how much power they will require (estimate your power needs with my calculator), and whether or not the Yeti is going to supply the amount of power you are going to need.
I placed three goal zero generators in my best solar generator reviews post, it’s a good brand that I definitely recommend.