Read Before You Buy! – Full Review of the Inergy Apex Solar Generator
The Inergy Apex solar generator, or as some would prefer it said “power station,” was one of the most anticipated solar generators to come out. Since the Kodiak was such a big hit when it first came out because it was vastly better than the Goal Zero, the Apex was thought to be quite amazing. But when it finally launched, did it live up to the hype?
The Apex is essentially a slightly modified Kodiak for all intents and purposes. One of the biggest differences was that the Kodiak had a PWM charge controller and the Apex has an MPPT charge controller. Having an MPPT charge controller is a must-have feature now-a-days. The reason is that solar generators have come a long way and using old tech like a PWM charge controller is just a symbol of low quality.
Since the Apex has the MPPT charge controller it gained a little bit of weight from the Kodiak. The Kodiak was only 20lbs and the Apex is now 25lbs which is still very lightweight. This allows the Apex to put in up to 500 watts of solar panels connected in parallel.
The lithium nmc (lithium-ion) battery inside of the Inergy Apex is a 12-volt, 90 amp-hour battery. That gives it a total of 1,100wh of capacity. The battery is a fair size especially since one of the main focuses of the Apex is to remain lightweight. When looking at something like the MAXOAK Bluetti and seeing that it weighs nearly 40lbs and has a 1,500wh battery it makes sense why Inergy didn’t put in a large battery.
More battery just means that it will last longer without a charge. This is great, especially when powering things through the night or if there is a string of cloudy days. But it also means more weight. The battery, even a lithium-ion battery, is by far the heaviest part of any portable solar generator kit.
According to Inergy, the battery is rated to a 550-watt continuous draw for 2 hours. By not using more than 550 watts continuously the battery is more likely to reach it’s 2,000 rated lifecycles. In the extreme testing that I did with the Apex I found that the battery could push out up to 850 watts continuously and still run all the way down to 0%. But if anything more was put on the Apex it would quit working before reaching 0%.
For example, with just a 950-watt load the Apex will stop working after about 40 minutes. With a 1,500-watt continuous load it will shut off the inverter after just 3.5 minutes. This is one of the problems with the Apex.
The inverter is great. It’s a 1,500-watt pure sine wave inverter that has a peak of 3,000 watts. For almost anything during an emergency situation, blackout, RV or camping the 1,500-watt inverter is plenty big. The downside is that it is limited by the batteryconnected to it. Since the battery can only draw 850 watts continuously there’s not really a point to having a 1,500w inverter. This works well for people who need to run less than 1,000-watts continuously. The question at that point would be “wouldn’t it be better to get something like a MAXOAK Bluetti or an ExpertPower Alpha for the same price but get more battery?”
I simply wish that I could either run the 1,500-watt inverter longer than 3.5 minutes or that Inergy would’ve put in an inverter that matches the battery. Placing an inverter larger than what can be used makes me feel like I am paying for something that I can’t use, at least most of the time. I can still use the 1,500-watts just not for long.
The fastest way to charge the Apex is to use solar panels. Since it has an MPPT charge controller it is a good idea to get a good set of solar panels to optimize how fast it can charge. It will allow up to 500 watts of solar panels to be connected as long as it stays within the 12v range and nothing higher than 30 amps. Using five 100-watt solar panels is the best way to achieve that. Connecting them in parallel will make lots of power for the Apex and can charge it in as little as 2.2 hours in perfect conditions.
It is rare to have perfect conditions. There are about 5 or 6 hours a day that can be used to make full power from solar panels. The fact that the Apex can input up to 500 watts is one of my favorite features about it. It can be fully drained, then recharged, fully drained and recharged again all within one day. That’s a lot of power going in and out which means it can run quite a few things and still be charged up for the night.
Using the wall charger can be a bit hard if the Apex is being used. The AC wall charger that comes with the Apex will only put in a max of 80 watts at a time into the battery. With a 1,100wh battery that means it takes up to 14 hours to charge it all the way up. The nice thing of having it charge slowly is that it will not cause problems with the battery. Lithium likes to be charged slowly so that it doesn’t have any problems in the future with how many lifecycles it has.
There is an optional “Quick Wall Charger” for the Apex that will charge about twice as fast as the standard wall charger. Coming down from 14 hours to 7 hours isn’t great but it’s better than taking more than half a day.
There is no car charger for the Apex. I thought this was a bit sad since there was a car charger for the Kodiak. A car charger is never really that fast on a solar generator, but it is a nice comfort to have. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a power outage, fire, hurricane, flood, RVing or whatever, it is nice to have the option to charge on the go. The way Inergy gets around this is they now suggest a small 300-watt inverter that can be easily plugged into the cigarette lighter ports in a car. Then the AC wall charger is plugged into the inverter and can charge on the go.
It is becoming much more common with solar generators to allow for simultaneous charging or multiple charging inputs. Meaning that a unit can be charged by solar while simultaneously being charged by a wall outlet, wind turbine, car charger, hydro turbine or other option. The Apex sadly does not allow for that. Only solar or AC charger and only one at a time. It does allow for charging and discharging at the same time though. Meaning that it can have a charge coming in from solar panels while being used and running other equipment. That is the best way to use it generally.
In my opinion, the best thing that can be done for the Apex is to use it to its full extent. This means getting five solar panels, using high-quality 8-gauge cables, and other accessories so it can be charged quickly and used easily.
These are the specific items I have tested and found to be extremely good to use with the Apex. It matches what is called the “Apex Gold Kit”:
One Inergy Apex
Five 100w Solar Panels (option 1)
Five 100w Solar Panels (option 2)
One Set 70ft 8 AWG Panel Cables
Two Sets 5ft 8 AWG Panel Cables
One EC8 to PV Connector Adapter
One 5 to 1 PV Connector Branch Adapter
One 30amp to 15amp Adapter
Panel Cord Cover (1/Inergy Panel)
The Inergy Apex solar generator uses the uncommon EC8 connector. EC8 connectors are most commonly used with remote control cars or RC toys. They are great for that purpose because they can handle a large load of amps which helps the RC cars and toys to run fast and hard for short periods of time.
There are some drawbacks to the EC8 connector though. The first is that they are not common or easy to work with. If for some reason an EC8 connector were to break it is very hard to replace it or repair it since it is not a commonly carried connector at electronic or RV stores. But what would cause them to break? The sun does a number on them because they are not UV proof. This can cause them to become brittle. The good news is that the Apex is not likely to be in the sun very often since 99% of users have it indoors when using it for long periods of time.
However, using the Linx 100w Flexible Solar Panels can be a bit risky since they have EC8 connectors and obviously would be outside in the sun and weather. EC8 connectors are also not waterproof. Inergy has recommended a couple of things to help with the lack of UV protection and water getting into connectors. The first is to use an outdoor extension cord connector box because it is UV rated and water-resistant. The second option is to use silicone glue and heat shrink to help cover the EC8 connectors to keep the sun and water out.
This is why I prefer to use my own solar panels with PV Connector connectors. PV Connector connectors are the most common solar panel connection worldwide. They are both UV proof as well as waterproof so it’s a tried and true method of getting reliable use out of solar panels. Just make sure to use flexible solar panels with an ETFE finish. Any flexible solar panel that has a PET finish will not last a year outside before it begins to discolor, crack, fade or break.
The Inergy Apex has six 110/120v wall socket styled outlets. This is tied for the highest number of plugs in the industry when compared to other solar generators. It is tied with other units like the Titan solar generator which has six outlets too, but the Titan has them split into two banks where each row can run up to 15 amps for a total of 30 amps at once. The Apex has a 15-amp limit on all six outlets together. It is very nice having lots of outlets that are fairly well spaced out so lots of things can be connected at once.
It has two cigarette lighter DC ports which are rated to 15 amps. They allow for a total of up to 180 watts load on them. It also has two 5.5×2.5mm DC ports which are perfect for their Chainable Basecamp Lights. The total DC output is rated to 15 amps or 180 watts.
There two types of USB ports on the Apex. There are two new USB-C ports provided on the Apex. Unfortunately, they are not high wattage 45w or 60w plugs so they will only work to charge cell phones and tablets not laptops. According to the Apex User Manual, each one is rated to 5 volts and 3 amps. and two traditional USB-A ports. This is nice to have the traditional ports as well so that everyday electronics that use traditional USB cords can be used to charge up. They are also rated to 3 amps which will usually provide “fast charging” speeds on phones.
The three-prong 30-amp RV plug is a great feature to have on the Apex. This is the easiest way to connect to a travel trailer, RV or van to provide easy power. The user manual says it can pull a max of 12.5 amps or 1,500 watts continuously. Keep in mind that it cannot push out more than what the normal AC outlets can do but will make it easy to connect to power your rig.
Inergy provides a full 1-year warranty on their workmanship. If there are any flaws, defects or if anything is broken that is not the fault of the customer, they will fix it. It’s always good to have at least a 1-year warranty on a solar generator so it can be taken care of what’s needed. It is very important to actually test, use and experiment with the Apex though. Don’t make the mistake of purchasing an Apex, not using it for a year, pulling it out for a power outage only to find out something is either missing or doesn’t work. It’s surprising how many emails and phone calls I have received from people saying that they just barely opened it after over a year and there’s an issue. Don’t be like that.
It’s not a solar generator I can fully get behind since I feel it has a few problems with the output. I love that it can handle 500 watts of solar input but dislike that it can’t run 1,500 watts for more than a few minutes. The bottom line is if you don’t need to run more than 850 watts very often then it is a pretty good option. I have seen prices vary quite a bit but they are very constant and the lowest on Amazon. If you’re interested in getting an Inergy Apex solar generator then I recommend getting if from Amazon for the best price.
The Kodiak used to be my “go-to” solar generator and thought the Apex would be what replaced it. That is not the case. My “go-to” solar generator is hands down the Titan.