Recently, I’ve been in the market for a power station to take on road trips with me. Being a nature fan, I like to get out into the great outdoors from time to time, but I still need something to charge my phone, laptop, lights, and a few other essentials.
I also like having backup power at home, just in case there’s a blackout.
With these needs in mind, I decided to try out the Goal Zero Yeti 1000 Lithium portable power station. While the $1,200 price tag didn’t thrill me, the Pure Sine Wave Inverter with 3000W surge power piqued my interest, as well as the solar panel charging capabilities.
The Goal Zero Yeti 1000 Lithium portable power station is a large portable power station that can be used for backup power in the home or outdoors camping trips, though its 40 lb weight and large size make it more suitable for backup home power in my opinion.
You don’t wanna lug 40 lbs around a muddy campsite.
The Yeti 1000 Lithium comes with 1,084 watt-hours of usage, and the lithium-ion battery can handle 500 cycles of charging up to 80% capacity, so it’s fairly long-lasting if you’re not using it too much.
Like many portable power stations, the Yeti 1000 portable power station can power many things, from refrigerators to power tools and more. It can basically run all your devices on a camping trip or keep a couple of larger appliances going (laptops, refrigerators, TV) if the power goes out for a few hours.
You can charge the Yeti 1000 portable power station with solar panels or AC outlets (wall outlets). Unless you pay to upgrade, you cannot currently charge it from a DC 12V car charger, which is annoying.
Here are some key features of the Yeti 1000 Lithium portable power station:
There’s definitely a lot to rave about with the Yeti 1000 Lithium, and it’s great for powering lots of devices from lights to laptops and even mini ovens. I took this on a camping trip once and powered the “Hot Logic Mini” oven which helped me to make pizza in the middle of a forest.
The Yeti Goal Zero 1000 has a shelf life of around 3-6 months, so you need to make sure that you’re using it fairly regularly. It lasts up to 500 life cycles with 80% battery capacity.
When it comes to discharging, the LCD screen lets you see exactly how many hours your battery has left at its current usage with the push of a button. Depending on what your input and output levels are at the time, the “hours left” will change accordingly. Very handy.
A Yeti 1000 Lithium is powerful enough to power basically anything you would take on a camping trip, giving you power at the push of a button. In the event of a home blackout, it’s also powerful enough to power your refrigerator or TV for a few hours.
You can charge a Goal Zero Yeti 1000 through AC outlet charging, which takes around 18 hours to fully charge.
The greener option is solar charging with a solar panel kit, which takes 8-20 hours to fully charge depending on weather conditions.
The Goal Zero Yeti 1000 Lithium costs around $1,200 USD.
If other power stations haven’t quite cut it for you in terms of raw power, then the Yeti Lithium 1000 might be just what you need.
With over 1000 (1,084) watt-hours of power, you can run larger devices like fridges and microwaves on this thing.
However, you pay for that with the hefty size and 40lb weight.
If you’re new to power stations or you just want to go camping and you don’t have much interest in how all this electric stuff works then the Yeti 1000 is a good choice.
You don’t really need to know too much to use this thing — just charge it up, turn it on, and get power at the push of a button.
It clearly tells you how much juice you’re using and how many hours you have left till it runs out, so you don’t need to be doing any complex math equations in your head.
This power station has a couple of cooling fans on either side that help to regulate the temperature.
Despite the fans, you don’t actually hear much noise at all. This is good for peaceful camping trips, though there may still be a slight hum.
The Yeti 1000 takes around 18 hours to fully charge from an AC outlet, and anywhere from 8-20 hours to charge in good solar conditions.
This isn’t particularly good, so I ran a little test.
My tools measured that I was supplying the Yeti with 170 watts of input from my solar panels, but the Yeti itself was only registering 90 watts of this 170 watts. That’s a terrible conversion loss of 43%.
Now I understand that some energy will always be lost in conversion, but losing NEARLY HALF of the solar charge is just not good.
As a green citizen, I’d prefer to use solar power, but the Yeti 1000 really puts me off doing it now. I don’t have an eternity to spend.
Considering the steep $1,200 price tag, the Yeti 1000 doesn’t come with an Anderson Pole connector or an 8mm plug for connecting solar panel kits — these need to be purchased separately.
That’s annoying in itself, but to buy these accessories from Yeti separately will cost you upwards of an additional $50. If I wanted to buy a lot of items, I would have built a DIY solar generator instead.
Quite frankly, that's a shameless cash-grab.
If you’re interested in solar energy like I am, they don’t make it easy (or cheap) for you.
At a hefty 40 lbs, the Yeti 1000 definitely isn’t the smallest portable power station in the world.
Now obviously the weight is due to the large power output, which is fair enough, but it means that this device isn’t ideal for camping and outdoor trips. 
I originally bought the Yeti 1000 for camping, but I ended up retiring it as my backup power supply for my house instead.
40 lbs were just too heavy to be lugging around muddy fields and forests, especially if I was on my own. I'm not Hercules.
Continuing the Yeti theme of not including stuff that many users would want… the Yeti 1000 also doesn’t come with DC (12V) charging capabilities, meaning you can’t charge it from your car as standard. 
It also doesn’t come with an MPPT Charge Controller included, which is annoying.
You can buy these things separately if you want to use them as part of your experience, but it’ll cost you a pretty penny for sure.
Read my reviews of other solar generators:
Everyone has different experiences and different needs for their power stations, so I thought I’d give you some quotes from reviews of other users and industry experts:
I like the Yeti 1000. It has nice features and it seems very well thought out. One thing that I found misleading is that it is advertised to have a 12V power supply. That is actually not true I measured the power supply to start at about 11.8V and then with usage it drops to 11.6 and probably less as the battery gets depleted.
Andysea, Goal Zero User
Overall, the Goal Zero Yeti 1000 Lithium Portable Power Station does not seem worth it. At $1,200, a solar generator that will only last 500 cycles and takes ages to recharge is not the best option on the market.
Shop Solar Kits, Solar Energy Store
I'm basically satisfied with the product. It's a lot of money for what it will power, but I don't want to deal with the maintenance issues, noise, and fumes of a gas generator so I chose the lithium/solar option.
Leeonine, Goal Zero User
This power station with Goal Zero 100 folding solar panels ran my Alpicool C15 camping refrigerator/freezer at 4° centigrade for four days during a power outage, even on days when the smoke was so thick we couldn’t see across San Francisco Bay.
JipsyJudy, Goal Zero User
Overall, the reviews for this product are definitely a mixed bag.
A bigger battery can hold more power, but that advantage is pointless if the power station becomes too big and heavy to easily move around anywhere.
While some manufacturers might call a 40 lb battery a “portable power station,” it’s not exactly easy to move around, especially if you’re on your own with no one to help.
If you’re just using a portable power station as backup power for your home in the event of a blackout, then the size and weight won’t matter… but if you plan to take one of these things camping, you’d better start hitting the gym.
Even if they’re really well-built, some portable power station devices just take absolutely ages to charge up fully. 
While you can expect charging with solar panels to take a while depending on weather conditions, some units can take a FULL DAY to fully charge via wall outlet.
Now, you might not need a power station that charges up super quickly, which is fair enough. However, if you’re using the power very often, time may be of the essence to you.
If you can build your own portable power station by buying a separate AC inverter, lithium-ion battery, and the other parts, then it may be cheaper to do so.
Branded portable power stations don’t tend to be cheap, so bear that in mind. 
Believe it or not — portable power stations can get very hot.
After all, these are basically just huge batteries producing power. A lot of that energy gets converted to heat, so portable power stations often require cooling fans to keep them running.
These fans can be super loud and annoying.
As well as loud fans, you need to consider whether the battery can run in your climate. If you live in a very hot part of the country, there’s always the chance that the power station could overheat and stop working.
You can use Goal Zero Yeti products while charging, yes. The LCD screen will tell you how much power is going into the battery versus how much power is leaving the battery. This helps you to keep track of your power consumption while the device is charging.
If you need to reset your Zero Yeti Goal, simply press and hold the 3 “Units,” “Light,” and “Info” buttons below the display screen and hold them all in simultaneously for a few seconds. After a few seconds, the screen will go off and the Yeti will start to reset itself.
Goal Zero products are designed and engineered in Utah, USA, and then manufactured in a factory in China.
Any 200W solar panel kit that’s specifically designed to charge portable power stations with all the proper cables and inputs/outputs are compatible with Goal Zero.
No, you cannot use a Goal Zero battery to jumpstart a car — the power needed is just too much. Ideally, you need jumper cables and another vehicle to get the battery going again.
So, should you buy the Goal Zero Yeti 1000 Lithium? In my opinion, no.
Yes, it might be able to run power tools and fridges for a while, and yes it might have a pure sine wave inverter… but it’s expensive, heavy, and requires a bunch of add-ons that Goal Zero rips you off for.
Instead, I would recommend the Jackery Explorer 500, especially if you’re using it for camping and outdoor trips. While it has less power, it’s much lighter and smaller (17 lbs), coming with a carry handle and built-in LED flashlight that are perfect for camping trips.
If you need more power or you’re in the market for a backup generator, I’d suggest trying the 500’s bigger brother — the Jackery Explorer 1000 instead.
Not only are these power stations quiet and light, but they come with the features you need and Jackery doesn’t charge you a fortune for its accessories like Goal Zero does.
THE JACKERY EXPLORER 500
The Jackerys can also operate in high heat, so they’re brilliant for stuffy tents and hotter climates too.
If I didn’t know anything about you (which I don’t) I’d recommend a Jackery Explorer every time.
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