When it comes to portable power for use in the outdoors, there is one brand that sticks out in my mind. Sure there are other companies that make decent solar panels and power stations, but Goal Zero has set the standard by which all others are measured.
The company nearly single-handily launched this gear segment more than a decade ago, and while numerous others have followed in their footsteps since then, few have truly been able to match GZ’s blend of outstanding build quality, durability, and features. Something that is evident once again with the release of the new Yeti 500X portable power station, which is head and shoulders above the competition in pretty much every way possible.
505-watt Lithium-ion Battery Pack
At its core, the Yeti 500X sports a 505-watt lithium-ion battery pack capable of keeping your mobile devices, electronic gear, and other gadgets charged just about anywhere you might happen to go. That is more important now than ever when we rarely leave home without at least one or two battery-operated devices.
Whether we’re going on a car camping trip or headed to a remote base camp, we typically bring a smartphone and a tablet or laptop along with us. You might also have a rechargeable headlamp, a camp lighting system, GPS devices, walkie-talkies, camera gear, a drone, and a variety of other devices. Having a way to keep all of that stuff functioning while off the grid could be mission-critical depending on what your goal is.
Plenty of Charging Ports
Thankfully, Goal Zero has given the Yeti 500X plenty of charging ports. The power station comes equipped with a 12-volt car port, a 6mm port, and two AC inviters, which are essentially the same as the wall outlets that you have at home. It also features two standard USB-A (12W max) ports, a standard USB-C port (18W max), and a USB-C PD port (60W max).
All told, that means you could potentially charge as many 8 items at once, depending on the gadgets you need to plug in.
Goal Zero Battery Packs Plenty of Power
With its large onboard battery, this power station is capable of recharging a typical smartphone (think iPhone or Samsung Galaxy) as many as 40 times. Laptops and tablets can be recharged as many as 8-10 times depending on the model, while a camera battery can be powered up as many as 70 times. The Yeti 500X is also capable of running a small LCD TV for 3 hours or a CPAP machine for as many as 10 hours.
Recharging the Yeti 500X
Recharging the Yeti 500X’s sizable battery takes about 8.5 hours using the included wall charger or roughly 4.5 hours when plugged into a car charger.
Of course, this being a Goal Zero product, it can also be charged using one of the company’s solar panels. Exactly how long that takes is dependent on a lot of variables, such as how much direct sunlight is available, cloud cover and shade, and so on.
Using a Goal Zero Nomad 50 solar panel (full review coming) in direct sunlight, however, I was able to charge the Yeti in about 14 hours. That’s not bad all things considered, and potentially means a steady resupply of clean, efficient energy, even while in a remote location.
Well Built, Well Designed
Compact, well-built, and designed to take a beating, the Yeti 500X lives up to Goal Zero’s reputation of making well-crafted products. An integrated handle makes it easy to lug the power station around, while a durable outer shell keeps its electronic components and battery well protected.
The unit is a bit on the heavy side, however, tipping the scales at 12.9 pounds (5.85 kg). That makes the device well suited for use while car camping, attesting festivals, in the backyard, or in a base camp setting. Due to its weight, this probably not the best option for backpackers, however.
Yeti Goal Zero Cost
With its $699.95 price tag, the Yeti 500X is pricer than most other 500-watt portable power stations that you’ll find on the market. There is a good reason for that, however, as the technology and construction that goes into the Goal Zero model is truly top-notch and above anything else on the market. In designing this product, the company didn’t cut any corners either.
My Thoughts on the Yeti Goal Zero
Typically when I review a power station like this one, I find that it doesn’t have enough ports, is missing a crucial component, or doesn’t deliver on its promised performance. That simply isn’t what you get with the Yeti 500X, as it is a professional grade product for those who need reliable power on the go. Consumers who don’t require that high standard from their equipment can probably get away with using a lesser, more compromised model. But if you absolutely need to keep everything running in a remote location, I’d only trust Goal Zero with my electronic equipment.
For my money, this is the best all-around medium-sized portable power station available today and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to anyone. To find out more, visit the Goal Zero Yeti 500X webpage.