Goal Zero Yeti 1000 Review and Why it May Not be What You Want

“From lights to laptops, refrigerators to power tools, run all your devices with the clean and quiet Goal Zero Yeti 1000 Portable Power Station. Designed to be the most versatile and innovative power station on the market, the Goal Zero Yeti 1000 features a patent-pending 1,500W AC inverter designed to tackle any job, both indoors and out.”

This is the description on Goal Zero’s website of the Yeti 1000. They make some bold claims. Refrigerators to power tools? Seems a lot for a solar generator of this size. The Yeti 1000 is one of many models that Goal Zero offers. The Yeti 1000 is about in the middle of their sizes, as they also offer a Yeti 1500 and Yeti 3000, and some smaller offerings like the 500, 200, and others.

Today, I am going to do a thorough breakdown of the Yeti 1000 and look over its specs and features. We will see how much can it really power, and if it can live up to these claims. I will also compare it to similar solar generators and see how it stacks up.

Battery Capacity

The size of the battery doesn’t determine what size of equipment I can run, but for how long I can run it. It is the gas tank of the solar generator. The type of battery used makes a big difference. There are essentially 3 battery types used for solar generators. Lead acid, lithium-ion, and lithium-iron, in order of oldest to newest.

Click Here for the Best Price on the Goal Zero Yeti 1000

The Yeti 1000 uses a 1045Wh, 96.8Ah (10.8V) lithium-ion battery. 1,000Wh is a pretty typical size of solar generators, although companies are continually pushing the envelope and making bigger and better batteries.

When I got into solar generators, I struggled with understanding what all this meant. I hope to help make this easier for you to understand. To figure out how long a 1,000Wh battery will last, you have to look at what you are going to run. Let’s look at power tools, since Goal Zero used that as an example of what the Yeti 1000 is good for.

A ½” Drill needs about 900W to start and 600W to stay running. I’ll talk more about the difference later. Using 600W then, if I was running the drill for an hour straight it would use 600Wh in an hour. 600Wh/1045Wh = 57%, meaning I have 43% battery life left. If I only used the drill for ten minutes, 1/6th of an hour, then my math would look like 600W x 1/6 hour = 100Wh. That would use roughly 10% of my battery.

What about a bigger power tool, say a disc sander that uses 1200W. In an hour of time that disc sander would use 1,200Wh, but the battery is only 1,045Wh, meaning the battery would only last about 52 minutes. 1,045Wh/1,200Wh = 87%. 87% x 60 minutes = 52 minutes. So, on paper it should be able to run a disc sander fine, but not for very long. It should be noted also that a lot of companies list nominal battery capacity instead of actual. Meaning that the battery might be rated for 1045Wh, but due to inefficiencies there might only be 1,000Wh that is usable.

What about a Miller Millermatic 141 mig welder for home use? According to their specs, it uses 90 amps at 18.5 Volts = 1,665 watts. That means that the Yeti 1000 couldn’t even run it, because it is 165W over the 1,500W inverter. Probably the same case for a chop saw also.

For big equipment the Yeti 1000 is a no go, not because of the battery but due to the inverter size. If using something like the EcoFlow Delta that has an 1,800W inverter, it could power it. The EcoFlow Delta is similar in price and battery size but outperforms the Yeti 1000. But if I really wanted a beast of a solar generator big enough to handle big equipment well, I would look at the Point Zero Titan. You can read my review of it here.

Inverter Size

The inverter is the engine of the solar generator, and its watt rating can be thought of as how big that engine is. Just like in a truck with a big engine can pull heavy equipment, a solar generator with a big inverter can run bigger appliances. The inverter’s role is to take the solar energy input that is in Direct Current (DC) form, and convert it to usable Alternating Current (AC) form.

The Yeti 1000 uses a 1,500W continuous Pure Sine Wave inverter, continuous meaning it can maintain 1,500 continuously until the battery runs out. At least that’s what it means on paper. Usually when the battery gets down to around 20% the inverter won’t be able to get the full 1,500W draw. Pure Sine Wave just means it can run all types of appliances, so that’s great.

It has a 3,000W surge capacity. If you remember in my ½” drill example, it uses 900W to start and 600W to stay running. A lot of electrical appliances are like this, requiring more energy to start up and then can use less to stay running. Because the Yeti 1000 has a 3,000W surge capacity and a 1,500W continuous capacity, it can run appliances up to 1,500W that might require more than that to start.

Weight/Portability

What’s great about solar generators is how easy they are to use. I don’t have to worry about gasoline/propane, fumes, maintenance, etc. I can bring it inside my house, or use it outside. Because of that, I want my system to be portable and easy to move around.

The heaviest component of a solar generator system is the battery. A big benefit of lithium-ion batteries is how much lighter they are than lead-acid. The Yeti 1000 comes in at 40 pounds. It’s a tad on the heavy side for its size, seeing as the Jackery 1000 comes in at 22 pounds. But 40 pounds isn’t bad at all and has easy carry handles built into it.

Charge Speed

The Yeti 1000 uses a PWM charge controller instead of the better MPPT charge controller. To keep it simple, an MPPT charge controller is considered a “smart” charge controller and can charge up to 25% faster than a PWM charge controller. It’s unfortunate they didn’t use the nicer MPPT charge controller.

There are typically 3 ways to charge a solar generator. Obviously, the first and main method is with solar panels. That is really the main reason to get a solar generator. But it’s also nice when a solar generator can be charged with a wall outlet or with a car charger, which the Yeti allows.

The Yeti 1000 can allow up to 360W of solar input via solar panels. That means it could charge the 1045Wh battery in a little under 3 hours. 3 hours is well under the 5-6 hour window that I shoot for. Where do I get 5-6 hours? That is the amount of optimal sunlight in a day. If a generator can charge within that window, then I can go into the evening hours every day with a fully charged battery. It works perfect on paper, but it should be said that if there is cloud cover or bad weather, it might not be possible to get good enough sunlight to recharge my system.

If I’m using a wall charger to charge the Yeti 1000, I can expect it to take about 18 hours to charge. That’s pretty slow, especially for only being a 1045Wh battery. They do offer a fast wall charger that is sold separately. It can charge in about 4 hours, and costs $150. Comparing it again to the EcoFlow Delta, the Delta can charge from a wall outlet in as fast as 2 hours. That is insanely fast, and for around the same price of the Yeti 1000.

If charging with a car charger, the Yeti 1000 can be charged in about 8 hours give or take. I really like the car charging option. It makes it very nice while traveling, camping, RVing, etc. Unfortunately, the car charger is sold separately.

Expandability

If more battery capacity is needed, the Yeti 1000 does allow a battery expansion to be added using the Goal Zero Tank Expansion Battery. Goal Zero has a 1,200Wh lead-acid battery that can be connected using the Yeti Link Expansion Module. The battery costs $400 and the Expansion Module costs another $400. Being lead acid, it doesn’t have the performance features of a lithium-ion, but it does work. It weighs 77 pounds, so moving it around might be a little challenging for some. There is no limit to how many batteries can be added.

The best system on the market right now for battery expansion is the Point Zero Titan. Although it isn’t really fair to compare the Yeti 1000 to the Titan because the Titan is so much bigger, I just wanted to highlight the Titan for its exceptional battery expansion feature. The main battery on the Titan is the exact same as the expandable battery, all lithium-ion, and they stack on top of each other. It is a really well thought out system.

Life Cycle

A life cycle is essentially how to determine how long a battery will last before the battery starts to deplete. As great as they are, they do have limitations and a life expectancy. A cycle is when a battery goes from 100% to 0% back to 100%.

The Yeti 1000 has a life cycle rating of 500 cycles. After that, the battery will deplete down to about 80% capacity. Every 500 cycles it will deplete a little more. 500 cycles is pretty typical of most solar generators. Around 2,000 cycles it’s probably time to have the battery replaced, which means sending the unit back into Goal Zero.

Number of plugin ports

The plugin ports are how the energy gets from the solar generator to your appliances. The more, the better. I prefer not to have to use a power strip on my solar generators just so I can get my stuff plugged in.

The front panel of the Yeti 1000 houses 2 110/120V wall outlets, 4 USB outlets, a 12V DC car port, a 6mm port, and a 12V Power Pole port. While there is a good amount of ports, I find it could use more wall outlets. I also don’t like how close the wall outlets are to each other. One boxy plug will block the other one, making it useless.

RV Connectivity

A 30-amp style RV plug is an incredibly convenient feature. When using an RV, I can just directly into the RV and use all the outlets, lights, and appliances in my RV without running power cords everywhere. Unfortunately, the Yeti 1000 doesn’t have this feature.

Click Here for the Best Price on the Goal Zero Yeti 1000

Customer Support and Warranty

Goal Zero is really a great company to work with. They are very responsive to their customers with hundreds of questions answered on their website. I love to see that in a company. It gives me confidence in opening up my wallet to buy their equipment.

They warranty their products for 2 years. Most companies only warranty their products for a year, so 2 years is great. It is a good idea to test out your equipment as much as possible while under warranty so if there any issues they can be resolved by the manufacturer.

Final Thoughts

It is a great option for RVing, vanlifing, camping, etc, but in its price range and size I think there are better options. For example, The EcoFlow Delta costs $1400 while the Yeti 1000 is $1200. For $200 more you can get a unit that has a 1,260Wh battery, a 1,800W continuous inverter, more lifetime cycles, and weighs 9 pounds less.

Although I like Goal Zero, I don’t think I can really recommend this product. It doesn’t have very many outlets, no RV plug, and you can only expand the battery with lead-acid batteries. It also doesn’t have the Wifi capability of the other Goal Zero models that really gave it an edge.

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