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Which Small Goal Zero Power Station Should I Get For Trips?

Questions & Answers

(click links to view products on Amazon)

If you’re looking at different models of Goal Zero power stations these comments might have some useful information for you to consider.

Here’s the comment from our Best Portable Power Station/Solar Generator For Camping article.

Question 1

My wife and I have an older Tacoma as well as a larger Tundra with a four wheel camper on the back. The Tundra has 380watts of solar on the roof and that keeps our 2- 6 volt deep cycle batteries pretty full for the most part.

In our Tacoma, we have a Dometic fridge (no freezer) that we want to power full time while on extended trips as well as charge 2 laptop computers, 2 cellphones, and some small led lights in the evening and for about 8 hours a day a remote satellite dish and modem we use for internet. The modem and satellite maybe will pull 2.5 amps at 120 volts.

We’ve been looking at the goal zero 500x or the older 400 to be our main source of power in the Tacoma and a great backup option in the Tundra build we have. I’ve read in some of your info that we can purchase cables so we can purchase other solar panels other than Goal Zero.

In your opinion what might be the best way for us to go? 500x with 100 or 150 watt panel? 400 with what panel? I’d like to say money is no object but that’s just not the case. I do however want to purchase something that will work for our needs as well as get some miles out of it and keep it light and somewhat compact…maybe asking to much? – C

Answer 1

Hmm, that’s a tricky one. It’s hard to say for sure without knowing how much power the fridge uses.

If the fridge uses 40W when it’s on, and it turns on 12 hours a day, you’ve used up pretty much all of the battery capacity in either battery.

If you can figure out how much power the fridge uses in a day, it will be easier to make a list and calculate watt-hours.

When it comes to Yeti 400 Lithium Vs Yeti 500X, I would pick Yeti 500X every time.

Faster charge controller, USB C (in/out), regulated 12V output (a must for 12V fridges in my opinion), and higher resale value.

It’s easy to connect third-party panels to it, and I suggest a Renogy 160W panel that connects to the Yeti with an MC4 to 8mm adapter.

The Yeti 500X with a 160W panel would not have any issues powering your computers (as long as they’re not gaming computers), your dish satellite, modem, phones, and lights.

The big question is how much power your fridge needs.

Question 2

It looks like the fridge watts used are ruffly around 0.87 Ah/h at 12v. I was able to talk to a friend who said they have a Yeti 500x and mentioned it not performing as well as they had hoped it would, with similar wattage consumptions as we are looking for.

That being said, we are now considering the larger yeti 1000 or other brand options that will give us peace of mind. If that was the case, what would be your recommendations for paring a higher watt power station with a good panel? But if you think the 500x will have us covered we are def happier to save the cost and weight… – C

Answer 2

I understand, as somebody that has both a 500Wh and 1000Wh power station, I would recommend the larger one if you have space for it.

I depend on my batteries every day, and having the extra battery capacity means that you will be prepared for a cloudy day.

I have realized though that what’s even more important is doing what you can to max out the solar charging so it only takes a couple of hours to recharge the battery.

If you could wait, Goal Zero is releasing new models soon. It’s hard to say how soon though, it might not be until late summer due to the pandemic.

(click to view new Goal Zero 1000 model on Amazon)

I don’t recommend buying the Yeti 1000 right now at full price since it’s an older model.

If you want to order one today, I recommended the Jackery Explorer 1000 paired with a Renogy 160W panel via an MC4 to 8mm adapter.

For extension cables, I recommend Windynation MC4 cables.

You could also go with two 100W panels wired together in parallel to increase the charging speed.

The Explorer 1000 is lighter than the Yeti, and has three AC outlets, MPPT charger built-in, USB C, and a regulated 12V.

The downside with the Explorer 1000 is that its max solar input is about 175W, while the Yeti 1000 can handle about 400W input or more with the MPPT upgrade.

You’d have to spend extra money to add a regulated 12V output and an MPPT charge controller to the Yeti though.

If you think you’ll use more than 200W of solar, let me know and I might have a better option.

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Have any questions about this Q&A? Leave a comment below.

by Jenni
Jenni grew up in a small town in Idaho. With a family that loves camping, she has been towing trailers since a very young age.

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