You’re probably asking, “why would you compare the older Kodiak to the new Apex?” That is a very fair question. The reason is that the Apex was designed to be a far better system than the Kodiak and that’s why the Kodiak was done away with. But is it better?
When the Kodiak came out it literally revolutionized the portable solar generator industry. There was nothing like it at all on the market. It was super lightweight, very powerful for its size and charged very quickly in a single day. It was by far the #1 solar generator of its day. There was nothing that rivaled it, in my opinion, when it was first released. Not even the Goal Zero Yeti 1250 got close to the Kodiak which was the most powerful solar generator until the Kodiak.
A Little History
When the Kodiak was released there were supposed to be other items that released soon after to upgrade the Kodiak. The biggest one was an external lithium-ion battery pack to expand the battery capacity of the Kodiak. It used a 1,100wh battery pack that is a fairly decent size for outdoor activities, RVing, emergencies or just using around the property.
Sadly, the lithium-ion battery pack never came out. I was lucky enough to work with Inergy on that project in testing out the unit. The biggest issue was that for some reason when an external lithium-ion battery was connected the screen on the Kodiak would not read out properly. For example, the external battery pack would be connected to the Kodiak, and the screen would say it was drawing 500 watts of power when in reality it wasn’t drawing any power. This made it really hard to see power usage on items and get a real idea of how well everything was working.
This is something that was fixed in the Apex. Now they say that it is possible to add an external lithium-ion or lithium-iron (LiFePo4) battery and that it will work just fine. They have also said that they will be releasing an external battery pack that can be added to the Apex. They say the Apex is designed to work with Inergy external batteries yet they still have not released any at this time. I also haven’t seen anyone else attach their own lithium batteries externally.
Hopefully, they will release the external lithium battery pack for the Apex in the near future. For over three years they said there would be one for the Kodiak and it never came out. Hopefully, it doesn’t take that long.
#1: Battery Output Capacity – This is by far the BIGGEST difference but isn’t one that you can see written in a spec sheet or reported widely online. I have owned three Kodiaks over the years and have used them extensively. I found that I could run about 900 watts non-stop until the battery reached about 15 to 20%. Basically, it would run until the voltage was too low and couldn’t make 900 watts of power. So even though the inverter was rated to 1,500 watts I couldn’t run it that high for over a few minutes.
The Apex has the same inverter in it of 1,500 watts pure sine wave power. But the battery is limited to 550 watts of continuous output. Basically, if I need to run something at 900 watts for an hour it won’t do it even though the Kodiak could. After about 3 minutes the inverter will shut off and stop delivering power to the outlets until it cools off and resets. So what’s the point in having a 1,500-watt inverter if the battery can only to 1/3 of that power?
In the video above they recommend getting a gas generator for items that use more power which to me defeats the whole purpose of getting a solar generator at all. This is why I prefer stronger solar generators. I’ll talk a bit more on those below.
#2: Charge Controller – The Kodiak used PWM charge controllers and the Apex uses MPPT. MPPT charge controllers are far better than PWM but cost more and are heavier. An MPPT charge controller will get better power production out of the panels than a PWM charge controller.
An MPPT charge controller is truly designed around making more power in non-ideal conditions which is great. A PWM charge controller which get much less power from the panels on cloudy days than an MPPT.
#3: Weight – The third main difference is weight. The Kodiak was 20lbs and the Apex is 25lbs. The biggest reason for the bump in weight is the MPPT charge controller. This is a fair exchange. 5lbs more for better charging is no sacrifice at all.
#4: Connector Type – The next difference is the charging port. Both the Kodiak and Apex use proprietary charging connections so that consumers will be more likely to use Inergy branded panels and equipment. The Kodiak used the Neutrik connector which is a very large barrel connector. It had a twist-lock set up where cable adapter could be plugged in and power would not go into the Kodiak until locked into place. This was nice because it would not unplug easy. There was comfort in knowing it would be charging and not come unlocked. This was fairly easy to use and there was a Neutrik to MC4 adapter readily available even though it went through many versions and generations. The Neutrik adapter was rated to 30 amps which was the max solar input for the Kodiak. It would get very warm at 30 amps.
The Apex uses an EC8 connector which is not used in any other system I’ve seen. It is rated to 50 amps so it doesn’t have the heating issues as the Neutrik cable did. Up until very recently, there was no EC8 to MC4 adapter available. There was an eBay seller who was making them and selling them but now Inergy also makes them. I think they finally got enough feedback from people saying that they didn’t like being forced to use Inergy panels and wanted to use their own panels and so Inergy changed that.
The reason this happened is that when the Kodiak came out it was rated to 600 watts of input power from solar. The only issue is that it was actually truly rated to 30amps because of the Neutrik adapter being limited to 30amps. People would connect six 100 watt panels to the Kodiak since it was rated for 600 watts and then their adapters would burn out. This happened because 100-watt solar panels are generally rated to 5 or 6 amps each. On really clear sunny days the panels can make up to 6 amps. So when you take 6 panels, each making 6 amps, in a parallel panel connection, you get 36 amps. That is more than the max 30 amps it could handle therefore it would cause too much heat and would ruin the adapter.
Inergy wanted to fix this so they used the EC8 connector which is higher rated and then told people you can only go up to 500 watts in panels. Originally they specified that if solar panels were used that were not the Inergy brand that it would void the warranty on the Apex. I don’t know if that’s now the case since they are now making their own EC8 to MC4 adapter. I would imagine they lifted that ban since they are now supplying the means by which people can use their own panels.
When they released the Apex there was a choice between either the Storm (rigid) or Linx (flexible) panels. The Inergy panels would use the EC8 connector which presented its own problems because it was not UV proof or waterproof. That is a big issue when it rains, and connectors are not rated for that. It can short out a system very quickly. It also meant that if you needed to leave the panels out for an extended period of time, eventually the connectors would break and fall apart, rendering the panels and system useless.
I’m glad to see Inergy trying to fix that by allowing people to use their own panels. But I can’t confirm that it won’t void the warranty. The way Inergy said to make the EC8 connectors waterproof and UV proof was to purchase a third party extension cord plug cover.
#5: USB Ports – Another difference is that on the Kodiak they had 4 USB-A slots whereas on the Apex they now have two USB-A and two USB-C ports. This is nice to see an upgrade in tech since USB-C provides much more power.
#6: Display & Switch – The display on the Apex was upgraded from the Kodiak so it reads out more accurately and looks a little nicer. The power switch on the Apex is now a twist switch. This makes it very easy to choose between running AC/DC power or just DC power. Running on just DC power saves a little bit of energy since the inverter isn’t required to be turned on. DC power is more efficient so running DC items while camping and during emergencies will make the battery last a tiny bit longer.
There have been people having issues with the power switch falling off like seen in the video below but I don’t know if that’s a common issue or not and if it has been fixed or not.
People’s Point of View
It doesn’t take very long looking around online to see that the Apex was highly anticipated and greatly under-delivered in most people’s opinions. In my opinion, the Apex can still serve a purpose. Most people don’t need to run 1,500 watts continuously for 45 minutes. During power outages, most people will run fridges, freezers, fans, lights, CPAP machines, TVs, chargers, and laptops. All of those things can easily run on the Apex.
It does have its drawbacks of not running 1,500 watts, not having UV and waterproof connectors and not having an expandable lithium battery option yet. For those reasons, it’s not a fit for me.
The Apex has six 110/120v outlets just like the Kodiak which is wonderful. It makes it easy to connect a lot of items at once and run them without having to use power strips. This is a feature that is highly sought after and in my opinion a big win. It’s just important to remember not to go over the 550-watt draw mark for very long. It is limited so that the battery lifecycles don’t get damaged and the battery will last longer.
I wish the inverter was matched to the battery capacity. It’s great to have a 1,500-watt inverter but if I can’t truly use it does that mean I’m just paying for something I can’t use? I like the fact that MAXOAK Bluetti uses an inverter that is matched to their battery. The MAXOAK Bluetti only has a 1,000-watt pure sine wave inverter but the battery can put out 1,000 watts nonstop until the battery is depleted. The MAXOAK Bluetti uses a 1,500wh battery so it’s 400wh larger than the Apex. The ExpertPower Alpha is identical to the Bluetti and it too can push out 1,000 watts non-stop.
When I use my Bluetti or Alpha I wish it had a larger inverter like the Apex but seeing as how I can use twice the amount of power from the Bluetti and Alpha as the Apex I don’t feel so bad anymore. It would be perfect if those two units could push out 1,500 watts though.
Another option is the Goal Zero Lithium 1400. This seems to be the blend between the Bluetti/Alpha and the Apex. The reason is that the GZ Lithium 1400 has a 1,500w inverter and a 1,425wh battery. Basically it has the same inverter size as the Apex and almost the same battery size as the Bluetti/Alpha. This is definitely a top choice when it comes to solar generators on the market. The reason is that the GZ Lithium 1400 will continuously output 1,500 watts until the battery is low and can’t make 1,500w, generally about 15% battery level. The only downside is it tends to be a bit more pricey than the Apex and Bluetti/Alpha generators.
The Goal Zero Lithium 1400 uses a battery and inverter that are sized to each other which is great. It’s just like the Bluetti/Alpha generators but has a larger capacity and draw ability. The second downside to the GZ 1400 is that it only has a max solar input of 360 watts. It’s like where one generator is good in one thing, it can’t be good in another thing. The way to get around this is to upgrade the Goal Zero 1400 Lithium with a Goal Zero MPPT charge controller. It’s very easy to add and doesn’t cost much.
Hopefully, Inergy keeps listening to their customers and realizes that going the route of proprietary connectors and limited batteries doesn’t make us as happy as we’d like to be.
I personally still have two of my Kodiaks and find uses for them all the time. The Kodiak is sadly no longer available as it was discontinued with the launch of the Apex. I prefer my Kodiak over an Apex though.
My main solar generator is the Titan solar generator which has a 3,000-watt pure sine wave inverter and a 2,000wh battery. Essentially, it’s two Apex generators put together. However, even with one battery on the Titan, I can pull all 3,000 watts until the battery is empty. It is a little rough to draw that much power off the battery though so it’s recommended for the Titan to have two batteries to draw 3,000 watts continuously, so it doesn’t damage the lifecycles of the battery.
The Titan is wonderful in the sense that it has expandable lithium-ion batteries that are more affordable than buying other lithium-ion or lithium iron batteries. It seems like the Titan did what people wanted and has expandability easily built into it.
The Titan uses a stacking battery method so it’s easy to add batteries. Each battery is 2,000wh which is near twice the size of the Apex battery. Plus it also has expandable solar input. With one battery the Titan will input up to 1,000 watts of solar power, twice that of the Apex. But then when a second battery is added the solar input goes up to 2,000 watts!
If the Apex has a max battery draw capacity of 550 watts and the Titan has a max battery draw capacity of 3,000 watts is it really 6x better? That’s for each person to decide for themselves.
I love my Kodiaks and will definitely keep one on hand forever, I may eventually get rid of my second one. My Titan though is what helps me sleep easy at night knowing I can power anything I need to and for a very long time.
If an Apex sounds like it would work for you then click the link to get the best pricing available.