TABLE OF CONTENTS
- What are Portable Power Stations?
- Jackery Vs. Goal Zero Yeti – How They Compare On Specific Attributes
- Jackery Vs. Goal Zero Yeti – The 6 Top Portable Power Stations
- 1. Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 160
- 2. Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 500
- 3. Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 240
- 4. Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 1000
- 5. Goal Zero Yeti 1500X Portable Power Station
- 6. Yeti 6000X Portable Power Station
- A Brief History of the Jackery and Goal Zero Yeti Portable Power Station Brands
- Final Word
Shopping for a portable power station often boils down to a Jackery vs. Goal Zero Yeti comparison. This article seeks to put that debate to bed.
Knowing you don’t entirely depend on the grid for your electricity needs is incredibly liberating. Even more empowering is if your alternative power source is portable (and solar rechargeable). The most viable alternative in most situations is a portable power station.
What you will realize when you pull out your iPad to research the best portable power station for your needs is that you’re spoilt for choice. That wouldn’t be a problem if it didn’t make your shopping task harder. As you know, too much choice can be paralyzing. Not to mention the real possibility of ending up with a dud.
If you drill down into your research, you will also note that two names keep popping up. That’s Jackery and Goal Zero, the two leading portable power station brands. Before you know it, you’re thick in the throes of the Jackery vs. Goal Zero Yeti debate.
In this article, we have decided to just let these powerhouse portable power station brands battle it out. It’s a head-to-head comparison between Goal Zero and Jackery power stations to see which between them is better and at what specifically.
What are Portable Power Stations?
Portable power stations are rechargeable power storage devices. They can be charged multiple ways and have AC, DC, and USB output ports through which you can power and charge your devices, tools, and appliances. Because modern models can be solar charged, you will also find portable power stations referred to as solar generators.
These convenient devices come in different sizes, all with varying capacities. The smallest, which can fit in a backpack, can store 150 watts of portable power. These are good for charging your phones and small devices on camping trips and when traveling.
As you go up the scale, you will find portable power stations that can run power tools, others that store enough juice to run large AC units, and proper standby models that can power an entire home in the event of an outage.
Like-for-like in terms of capacity, features, and attributes, Jackery and Goal Zero are likely the most evenly matched portable power station brands. For each Jackery portable power station, there is likely a Goal Zero alternative.
We will explore which of the different models from both the two brands is better. We will look at how competing models fare in terms of portability, input and output options, build quality, and value. We will also review the portable power stations on some of the most desired specifications, like fast charging ports and battery capacity.
Before we get into the nitty-gritty, here’s a brief history of the Jackery and Goal Zero Yeti brands.
Jackery Vs. Goal Zero Yeti – How They Compare On Specific Attributes
The most practical way to separate the Jackery and Goal Zero portable power station brands is to compare how they fare on specific attributes. These attributes derive from features that you should consider as ‘must-haves’. Without these, a portable power station isn’t as functional.
A portable power station is essentially a battery pack. What we see on the outside – with the stylish design and all the bells and whistles – counts for nothing if the battery does not hold enough power and drains up too quickly. The battery standard these days is lithium-ion.
Lithium-ion batteries are significantly lighter than lead-acid batteries and store more power. That gives you more watt-hours, which translates to longer run times for your appliances and tools and more charges for your phones, laptops, and other small devices.
Jackery pioneered the use of lithium-ion batteries on portable power stations, so all their power stations use them. Goal Zero has now fully embraced li-ion battery technology with their Yeti X line, but some of its smaller Yeti power stations still use lead-acid batteries.
So if you were looking for a small portable power station for charging your mobile devices, GoPro, and rechargeable lights on your camping and hiking trips, we would recommend the Jackery Explorer 150 over the Goal Zero Yeti 150. The Yeti 150’s biggest weakness is the lead-acid battery it uses that is heavy and not as powerful or as efficient.
Verdict: Jackery power stations have better batteries than Goal Zero Yeti
The battery technology used on a portable power station has important implications for portability. Lithium-ion batteries are lighter and, therefore, make a power station more portable than it would be were a lead-acid battery used.
Of course, there are other factors that impact the portability of a power station. The materials used and the actual design are just but a few of them. To be portable, an item needs to be both light enough to pick up and carry and compact enough to hold comfortably. So the power station’s bulk also has an effect on how portable it is.
Goal Zero’s power stations are generally heavier and, thus, less portable. That said, both brands are fairly compact. Some Goal Zero power stations are as much as 10 pounds heavier than their Goal Zero alternatives, which is quite significant. We, however, like Goal Zero’s pull-up handles that lie perfectly flat when not in use.
Pull-up handles are great for storage as they allow you to stake light items on top, for example, in a tight car trunk when traveling. Jackery power stations, while they have a sturdy integrated handle, have a ‘dome’ shape that makes staking other items on top rather tricky.
Goal Zero perhaps recognizes that some of their power stations were stretching the limit on what can be termed ‘portable’ and added wheels on its larger models.
Verdict: Jackery portable power stations win the portability contest
Input options on a portable power station are the ports through which you charge the device. Although there are some that charge only using a USB cable, almost all portable power stations from Jackery and Goal Zero can charge through a wall outlet, car charger, and solar panel.
The car and solar charging adapters are usually provided, but the solar panels have to be bought separately. So there isn’t much to choose between the two brands on this front.
Verdict: Jackery and Goal Zero are evenly matched for input options
Oftentimes, this is where the rubber meets the road for portable power stations. Output options adapt a power station for specific uses. It can have all the power and build quality, but without multiple ways to access that power, the power station is severely limited in terms of its potential uses.
If the power station’s capacity allows, users want to be able to power and charge multiple items at the same time. This entails a couple of AC ports, a 12V car output, and multiple USB options.
USB output options are particularly important for the markets both Jackery and Goal Zero target. These people have multiple small devices to charge, and some of these take different USB types. So the perfect portable power station for them will have a couple of USB-A ports, several Quick Charge 3.0 Outputs, and some USB-C outputs.
A new standard of USB-C output that you will find on modern portable power stations is what’s called a USB-C PD (Power Delivery) port. This 60W port is a charging technology that delivers up to 70 percent faster charges than standard 5W USB-C ports. The higher-end iOS and Android devices now support USB-C PD charging.
Goal Zero has set the pace for USB-C PD ports on portable power stations, with most of its power stations supporting this fast-charging standard. Only a select few Jackery Explorer portable power stations have a USB-C PD port.
Verdict: Goal Zero portable power stations have better output options
Solar charging speed
The time it takes for your power station to charge is a critical factor when choosing one that works for your needs. It can be the difference between a power station that can get you through the night and one that drains out before the sun is out again because it never fully charged in the first place.
From our conclusions and borrowing from research done by other editorial review sites, Goal Zero power stations charge faster from solar than those from Jackery. Note, however, that solar charging times depend on the size of the solar panel. Generally, the larger the capacity of the solar panel the faster the power station can recharge.
Verdict: Goal Zero delivers faster solar charging times than Jackery.
Other Factors to Consider
When reviewing portable power stations we try to be as comprehensive as possible and consider other factors than the ones we have covered above. One that we have found users to care about a lot is build quality:
For a device that will likely see repeated use, potentially in outdoor environments, the portable power station must be built to last. It has to be able to take a few bangs and scratches without breaking apart or getting too disfigured.
Perhaps also a measure of build quality, we also pay attention to how a portable power station looks and feels. The dimensions have to look right, with an ergonomic handle that makes for easy and safe carrying.
Look and feel
For something that you will use a lot and will be seen with, you want the power station to be nice-looking. It has to show your taste in well-made products and match the quality of whatever you are charging. Goal Zero Yeti X portable power stations look particularly sleek.
We also consider social proof – what other people feel about a specific portable power station. For this, we read reviews by verified buyers on Amazon. These are people who have tested the product and can testify to its strengths and weaknesses. Their opinions matter a great deal.
Form crunching the numbers for both the average star ratings and the total number of reviews for every portable power station, we can tell you that Jackery portable power stations are wildly popular with buyers.
Jackery power stations have a lot more reviews and an average star rating of 4.77 stars out of a possible 5 against Goal Zero’s 4.51 average stars. This solid stamp of approval may also be a sign of the perceived value.
Jackery portable power stations are on average 20 percent cheaper than those from Goal Zero. With very little to separate the two brands in terms of quality and features, such savings are always going to sway the opinions of buyers. So, if you are price-sensitive, Jackery is the brand to choose.
Now that we know how both brands fare on specific attributes, it’s time to compare models:
Jackery Vs. Goal Zero Yeti – The 6 Top Portable Power Stations
Goal Zero markets more portable power stations than Jackery, which has no direct substitutes for the Yeti 3000X and Yeti 6000X. That’s an obvious feather in Goal Zero’s cap that some buyers may also appreciate.
For this review, we will mostly focus on competing models, meaning those that have the same power ratings. Here are our picks, starting from the smallest models.
The Jackery Explorer 160 beats the Goal Zero Yeti 150 on almost every important measure. While they are both quite compact and won’t take up much space in your luggage, the Jackery Explorer power station still wins by a landslide in terms of portability.
The secret behind the Jackery 150’s excellent portability lies in the lithium-ion battery it uses, which is lighter. In fact, the Yeti 150 is three times heavier than the Jackery Explorer 160. The lead-acid battery the Yeti 150 uses isn’t only heavy but it is less efficient, too.
The two portable power stations have roughly the same battery capacity but, crucially, the Explorer 160 can deliver 100W of continuous power compared to the Yeti 150’s 80W, thanks to a more powerful inverter.
The Jackery Explorer 150 is a clear choice in terms of output options. The main handicap for the Goal Zero Yeti 160 is that it has no USB-C port. It has just the two standard 10W max USB-A ports. In comparison, the Jackery 150 has two 12W max USB-A output ports and a 15W capacity USB-C port.
Where the Jackery 150 lags behind is its 6.5mm x 1.4mm, 12V DC car port that is no match for the Yeti 160’s 120W max 6mm DC port. The only other area where the Jackery 150 struggles against the Yeti 160 is its solar charging speed.
The Jackery 150 only accepts 60W of solar energy, which means using a larger capacity solar panel isn’t going to make a difference. On the other hand, the Goal Zero Yeti 160 can accept as much as 100W of power when solar charging, which gives you a faster charging rate.
The Jackery Explorer 150 is overall the best portable power station in the sub-160W class, easily beating out the Goal Zero Yeti 160. It is more portable and, crucially for budget-conscious shoppers, costs less.
We are big fans of the Goal Zero Yeti 500X. But, like many people who have compared it side-by-side with the Jackery Explorer 500, we are not convinced it is totally justifiable to pay $200 extra for it. The portable power station will have to beat the Jackery 500 at most of the attributes we look for. Sadly, it doesn’t.
Typical for Yeti power stations, the 500X set the bar really high in terms of output options. It’s a no-contest with the Jackery 500 on that score. The Yeti has a second AC port to connect an extra power-hungry appliance or tool.
As we have come to expect of the brand, the Goal Zero yeti 500X goes for the jugular on the USB options. Unlike the Jackery 500 that has just three USB-A ports, the Yeti 500X has four two USB-A ports and two USB-C, including a 60W max USB-C PD that doubles as an input port.
Those USB-C ports make a world of difference if you have several newer mobile devices. Not only can you charge more of them at the same time, but you also get faster charges. Beyond those output options, however, the Jackery is a better proposition.
The Jackery 500 has a better running watts capacity at 500W, much higher than the Yeti 500X at 300W. The Yeti, however, has a 200W surge watts advantage over the Jackery. Charging speed is faster with the Jackery 500 when charging from a wall outlet, while the Yeti charges faster from the sun.
It’s a much closer contest between the Goal Zero Yeti 500X and the Jackery Explorer 500. In the end, the Jackery power station’s low price and higher power output are hard to ignore.
The Goal Zero Yeti 200X is a massive upgrade on the Yeti 160. And by that, we don’t mean the larger battery capacity. It has better specs (and looks), too. Crucially, it uses a lithium-ion battery that is more powerful and is much lighter. Despite all that, it still doesn’t quite match up to its closest Jackery competitor, the Jackery Explorer 240.
Thanks to the Li-ion batteries both power stations use, there’s not much between them in terms of portability. In fact, the Goal Zero Yeti is lighter than the Jackery 240. But that’s about as good as it gets for the Yeti 200X. For the rest of the specs, the Jackery 240 is ahead.
Inverter capacity is a big factor when choosing portable power stations. It determines how much power you can draw from the power station at the same time without triggering the auto shut-off. The Jackery 240 maxes out at 200W, while the Yeti 200X has a battery capacity of only 120W. The theme is the same with the surge capacity where Jackery 240’s twice the Yeti 200X’s 200W.
One area where Yeti power stations have traditionally been very strong is the USB output options. It’s no different here as the Yeti 200X has better options than the Jackery 240.
Where the Jackery 240 is severely handicapped with just two 12W max USB-A output ports, the Yeti 200X blows out with four USB ports. Two of those are USB-A, one is a USB-C type, while the other one is a 60W max USB-C PD.
It’s a close contest between the Jackery 240 and the Goal Zero Yeti 200X. But the Jackery power station delivers more value thanks to its higher capacity and excellent price.
That many editorial review sites, including The Wirecutter, consider the Jackery Explorer 1000 to be the most well-rounded portable power station says enough. This portable power station is so good that it has a near-perfect 4.8/5 stars out of over 3,000 Amazon reviews.
In comparison, the Goal Zero Yeti 1000X pales out at a still decent 4.6/5 stars from slightly over 100 Amazon reviews. People have literally voted for the Jackery 1000 with their wallets. Many of these people simply like that the Jackery 1000 is well made and does what it’s supposed to do without any surprises.
Looking at the spec sheet, it is clear to see why the Jackery power station stands out. The Yeti 1000X, which isn’t a dud by any means, has a lower battery capacity of 983Wh compared to the Jackery 1000’s 1002Wh. The Jackery’s powerful inverter delivers a running/surge capacity of 1500/3000W while the Yeti 1000 can only manage 1000/2000W.
There are no surprises with the charging speeds, where the Jackery 1000 will give you a full charge in less time than the Yeti 100X when plugged into a wall outlet. The script is flipped when charging from a solar panel.
The Jackery 1000 does better than its lower capacity stablemates in terms of its output options, even though they’re still not good enough to beat the Yeti 1000X. It has three standard AC Pure Sine Wave ports that produce a clean, stable current that protects your sensitive equipment. There are also two USB-C outputs and one Quick Charge 3.0 port. The Goal Zero Yeti 1000X crucially adds a 60W max USB-C PD port.
The Goal Zero Yeti 1000X compares favorably even though it delivers less power, but the price again tips the scales in favor of the Jackery Explorer 1000.
Goal Zero has positioned its portable power stations as high-end devices that attract a suitably high price. Unfortunately, the quality and features haven’t always matched the buyers’ expectations on value. At least where the power stations are compared with a Jackery model.
With the Yeti 1500X, however, we feel the price more closely matches the product’s bundle of attributes. We even feel when you consider the overall Goal Zero ecosystem and the power savings it promises, the Yeti 1500W is a slightly better buy than the Jackery 1500.
Let’s talk about that Goal Zero ecosystem. While you have to buy it separately, the Yeti Home Integration Kit makes the Yeti 1500X a more seamless backup power solution for home.
The Yeti app, on the other hand, optimizes your power usage. With the app, you can control the inputs and outputs remotely, which adds a level of convenience some buyers may find very appealing. Using the app, you can check the battery level and access other useful battery information. It needs no mention that the Yeti 1500X has a wireless receiver that allows it to connect to WiFi.
In terms of battery capacity, there isn’t much between the Yeti 1500X and the Jackery 1500. The Yeti just edges it with a 28W difference. Slightly more noticeable is the inverter capacity where the Yeti 1500X’s continuous power capacity is 200W higher than the Jackery 1500’s 1800W.
If you have more devices with 12V inputs, you will like that the Yeti 1500X has more DC outputs than the Jackery 1500. The Yeti, of course, has that USB-C PD port that’s become standard on the Yeti X platform. The two power stations are, however, fairly matched for portability and charging speeds.
Both power stations accept 600W input. The Jackery comes with a second charger that delivers a full charge in a blazingly fast two hours. The fastest the Yeti can charge is three hours, but you have to buy the 600W charger separately.
The Goal Zero Yeti 1500X is a technologically superior option to the Jackery Explorer 1500, even if you have to pay more for it. It has practical features that will appeal to a lot of users.
Jackery has no power stations in the 6000W category. The closest it gets to the beastly Goal Zero Yeti 6000X is the Jackery Explorer 2000, which doesn’t quite compare. So we are not going to compare the two. Instead, we will highlight the Yeti 6000X’s standout features.
If you ever needed a standby portable power station for when your home loses power, we would put our money on the Yeti 6000X to get the job done. The 6000W of lithium power is enough to run your major household appliances, including your microwave and full size fridge. It can store enough juice to power an entire RV.
That much power means more output ports are required if you are going to put it all to use. Thankfully, that’s one of Yeti power stations’ strongest suits. There are as many as seven output ports, including the industry-leading 2000W AC ports and a 60W USB-C PD port. So you can power and charge pretty much any appliance, tool, or device.
How about the input options? Well, you can charge the Yeti 6000W in a variety of ways – from a wall outlet, using a car charger, as well as from solar energy. Note, though, that the power station takes a while to charge – 12 hours from a wall outlet and 18 hours using solar, even with the MPPT charge controller.
As you can expect for a power station that outputs as much as 3500W of surge power, the Yeti 6000X is on the heavy side. Goal Zero fixes this portability challenge by adding wheels and handles that make it easy to move the power station in and out of storage.
As far as power capacity goes, the Goal Zero Yeti 6000W has no competition, literally speaking. Until Jackery introduces a model of similar capacity, this is your best option if you have more than a few power-hungry appliances and tools to run.
A Brief History of the Jackery and Goal Zero Yeti Portable Power Station Brands
Jackery and Goal Zero had somewhat similar beginnings. They are both technology ‘startups’. We use the term startups loosely as the two companies, though still fairly small, are now well-established.
Both companies also committed pretty early on to focus on providing clean, sustainable portable power solutions for outdoor enthusiasts. As far as identifying as ‘technology companies’, Jackery had a more straightforward path:
Building a company on the idea of a lighter, more powerful battery
Jackery was started in Silicon Valley in 2012 by a former Apple battery engineer. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Jackery pioneered the use of lithium-ion batteries on portable power stations, with the first units of the Explorer Series hitting the market in 2015.
Using lithium-ion batteries on power stations was a market-shifting innovation that made power stations a lot more portable and efficient. Lithium-ion batteries are lighter and more power-dense when compared to the lead-acid batteries in use until then.
Jackery had still to deliver on its promise to deliver truly green portable power. It did that in 2018 with the launch of its SolarSaga solar panels. The solar panels would be available in different sizes.
Foldable and lightweight, the solar panels had a rugged build and integrated handles for ease of carrying. With a SolarSaga solar panel of the right size your Jackery portable power station could now be a truly green, off-grid power solution. Or, if you like, a clean energy backup power source for your home.
Turning an indefatigable humanitarian spirit into a growth business
Jackery placed a strong focus on the battery technology behind its portable power stations. Goal Zero, on the other hand, was more concerned with touching lives. The company’s humanitarian heart can be traced right to where it started back in 2007.
The seed for the Goal Zero company was planted when Founder Robert Workman visited DR Congo and witnessed first-hand how much the people there needed a helping hand to lift themselves out of poverty.
Workman then launched the TIFIE Humanitarian (Teaching Individuals and Families Independence through Enterprise). Building on that idea and seeing the acute shortage of power in rural Congo, Workman and his team came up with the idea of a solar power pack.
Known then under the brand name GoBe, the solar power pack that consisted of a battery, solar panel, and LED light would become the very first Goal Zero product.
In 2009, Goal Zero formally launched as a business, with the mission ‘to empower people by putting a reliable source of power in the hands of every human being’. The following year, the company launched its first portable power station, the Goal Zero Extreme Ranger 350.
The Extreme Range 350 portable power station used a bolt-on AC inverter and lead-acid battery. Goal Zero Yeti branded power stations hit the market with the Yeti 1250 in 2012 as demand for a larger capacity portable power station grew.
The Yeti X line of high-tech, lithium-ion battery-powered power stations is the latest iteration of Goal Zero’s storied Yeti brand. It’s also worth mentioning that right through its history, Goal Zero has shown tremendous humanitarian spirit through its numerous donations of solar lights and portable power packs in the wake of natural disasters that hit countries across the world.
Predictably, people struggling with the Jackery vs. Goal Zero Yeti comparison will have a lot of questions. We will try to answer the most frequently asked below:
The consensus is Jackery portable power stations deliver more bang for your buck. Compared to Yeti power stations of the same size, Jackery power stations have more battery capacity and more powerful AC inverters. Yetis, however, have better output options.
On average lithium-ion power stations last 500 charging cycles at 80% battery capacity. However, you will need to make sure that your Yeti doesn’t go more than 6 months without a charge. In short, your power station will last longer with more regular use.
It is safe to use your Jackery and any Yeti for that matter while it is on charge. However, you have to let the battery drain out at least once every 6 months to keep it in the best shape.
Besides being some of the most functional, well-rounded portable power storage devices, Jackery power stations represent great value for money. Their prices are often very affordable.
Jackery is an American company that was founded in Silicon Valley by a former Apple battery engineer and CEO. The company’s power stations are designed in the USA, but most of the production takes place in China.
Jackery portable power stations are popular for a reason. They are well-made devices that are reasonably priced. That’s not to say that Goal Zero Yeti power stations aren’t good enough. They are but sell at prices that are often too high. If you have the money, a Yeti power station wouldn’t be a terribly bad choice. Otherwise, choose a Jackery.