Is The Yeti 200X A Sign Of What We Should Expect From Goal Zero In 2020?
The Yeti 200X was Goal Zero’s first new power station release this year. It’s a lithium power station, also known as a solar generator, that is very similar in size and battery capacity to some other Yeti models. It does have a couple of new neat features though, like USB-C PD that lets you quickly charge newer laptops, gaming consoles, tablets, and phones.
At CES in January, Goal Zero revealed their new Yeti power stations, and while we don’t have all the information on most of the new models except for their names, I believe the Yeti 200X is a sign of where Goal Zero wants to take the Yeti this year.
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As of today, there are four Yeti lithium power stations available. Throughout this year, we’re going to see six new ones: Yeti 6000X, 3000X, 1500X, 1000X, 500X, and 200X.
Goal Zero is obviously trying to grab more market shares when it comes to lithium power stations. With six models, from the smallest to the possibly largest battery capacity I have seen in a power station with the 6000X (assuming it will have 6000Wh), they’re going to have a solar generator for every type of customer.
A welcome upgrade to every new Yeti is going to be the USB-C PD port, which is capable of outputting up to 60W even on the smallest 200X. In addition, the Wifi features will be brought to the 1000Wh model, which is the 1000X. A new app release will also bring better monitoring and ways to control how your battery and inverter behaves.
Today I am going to review the new Yeti 200X. How does it stand up against other products on the market, and is it the best power station in the 200Wh category?
Features Of The Goal Zero Yeti 200X
Let’s start by listing the specifications of the Yeti 200X, so we get a clear picture of its main specs.
The Good And The Okay Things About The Yeti 200X
5 pounds is lightweight for a power station. This is a very portable solar generator and you won’t find a lot of other products on the market with these features in a package this lightweight.
You can use this at home, in an RV, in a van, in a car, or even on the beach. The portability aspect of it makes it a very good product for a lot of users. Lithium power stations do a great job of bringing portable power to the masses, and that’s their biggest selling point.
Pair it with a portable solar panel, and you won’t have to worry about how you’re going to keep your phone, tablet, and laptop charged on an outdoor trip.
MPPT solar charge controller
The Yeti 200X is a modern take on a portable power station, with a couple of exceptions. I have to start with my favorite feature of the 200X, and that is the fact that it comes with an MPPT solar charge controller instead of a PWM charge controller.
MPPT is much more efficient than PWM when you recharge a solar generator with solar panels. It also speeds up the charging time when using the included wall charger.
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If you’re charging the Yeti 200X with a 100W solar panel (which is its max input) you will be seeing 70-80 watts, instead of the 50-70 watts it would input to the battery if it had to go through a PWM charge controller.
Now, during the peak hours of the day, that might not seem like a big increase, but you’ll notice a big difference in the morning, the evening, and on cloudy days. The MPPT charger will generate watts when the PWM would be struggling to generate anything at all.
This MPPT charge controller accepts a max input of 100W, which is unheard of in a power station this size. Being able to quickly charge the battery is a huge selling point.
Although the screen doesn’t show much, it shows one very important thing
The Yeti 200X has a small screen with not so much info, but it has something that I believe is a necessary feature in a solar generator, and that is the battery percentage. Being able to easily see the state of charge of a power station is a feature I wish every manufacturer would put in their products.
Every new portable solar generator released on the market should have at least three things: a USB C PD port, a regulated 12V output, and an AC outlet.
Goal Zero hits three out of three with the Yeti 200X, and there is finally a Yeti with a regulated 12V output. The 12V outlet is the car port/cigarette port, and the fact that it’s regulated matters if you plan on using 12V appliances like a fridge, freezer, or lights. A regulated 12V port makes sure it delivers a constant correct voltage for your devices and a non-regulated 12V port outputs voltage based on the battery’s state of charge.
All USB ports are good ports to have in 2020, with a regular USB A port rated at 5V 2.4A, meaning it’s capable of charging phones and tablets fast at up to 12 watts. The USB C port can output up to 18 watts, and the USB C PD port can do up to 60 watts, in or out. This makes it compatible with the new 16-inch Macbook, so you can charge your laptop without using an AC adapter.
The AC output is run by the small inverter in the Yeti 200X, and with 187 watt-hours you would be able to charge a 60W device for almost three hours before the Yeti is empty.
There is also a 6mm output port that you would use for devices like the Goal Zero Light-A-Life LED light.
When it comes to inputs, there is the 8mm input and the USB C PD that functions as both in and output.
Overall, the ports on the 200X get a big thumbs up from me. Goal Zero is ahead of a lot of its competitors when it comes to choosing relevant and modern ports.
Low battery voltage protection
Safety features like the low battery voltage protection are standard on solar generators nowadays, but I still have to give Goal Zero a thumbs up for making it a feature. Being able to use a power station on the go and not have to worry about damaging the battery by running it too low (like RVers have to do with lead-acid batteries) is one of the reasons lithium power stations are so great for every type of customer, even the non-techies.
Usually, solar generators are given a number in their name that tells us how much battery capacity it has or the inverter rating. What I see more than not is when the name has to do with the battery capacity, it’s actually underplaying how much capacity it has. With the Yeti 200X, this is not the case.
The Yeti 200X has a 187 watt-hour battery, so it’s smaller than what the name implies. I know, it might seem like nitpicking, and maybe it is, I am just sharing my observations.
As I’ll show in down below where I share alternatives to the Yeti 200X, there are other power stations on the market that competes with the Yeti in terms of size and features, but with almost 25% more battery capacity.
That’s the reason I call the battery capacity okay and not great because there are other similar products with a much higher watt-hour capacity.
Goal Zero advertises 500 cycles to 80%. This means that if you would drain the 200X from fully charged to empty 500 times, the battery capacity would be down to 80% of its original capacity, meaning that you would have about 150 watt-hours to use instead of the 187 watt-hours it had out of the box.
This is a problem with most solar generators on the market today, or lithium batteries in general. There are some high-quality lithium batteries out there, but we haven’t seen any in a portable solar generator yet.
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What you can do to make the battery last longer is to not discharge it under 20%, and don’t charge it over 80%. The more important of the two is not going under 20%, but if possible, think about both when using the battery and you won’t lose as much battery capacity with each cycle.
It’s very possible that you won’t even see a 10% decrease in battery capacity after two years if you take care of the battery.
Battery charging speed
Plug an empty Yeti 200X into the wall and it will be fully charged in two hours. Use solar panels and it will be fully charged in 3-4 hours.
Goal Zero has improved the charging speed compared to their older Yeti models, but I still wish you had an option to charge it faster than in two hours when you needed to. The slower charging is to protect the battery and make it last longer, but the option to fast-charge would’ve been nice.
The larger Yeti power stations can be charged faster with Goal Zero's 25A fast charger, and if the 200X had support for it, it would be fully charged in less than an hour. Unfortunately, it’s not supported.
What saves the Yeti 200X from getting harsher treatment from me is the 100W max input. If you max the input with two 100W panels wired in parallel, it will charge fast.
The LCD screen
The other Yeti lithium power stations (and most power stations on the market today) are capable of telling you how many watts it’s bringing in and out. The Yeti 200X doesn’t tell you this.
It can only tell you the state of charge percentage in large digits. Again, as we’ll see below on similar solar generators, it’s possible to do but Goal Zero decided not to.
A solar generator has a 12V battery but usually a 120V outlet, this is possible thanks to the inverter. The inverter changes the 12V DC power into 120V AC power, and powers outlets that look like the outlets in your home.
There are three different types of inverters that do this, a modified sine wave inverter, a pure sine wave inverter, and a square wave inverter. Most solar generators use pure sine wave inverters because they produce a more clean and better current compatible with all devices, even sensitive devices like fridges, ACs, printers, microwaves, and compressors.
If you’re buying a power station to run your CPAP machine, I don’t recommend the Yeti 200X. I recommend scrolling down to the alternatives I share at the bottom of this post.
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The modified sine wave inverter is not as compatible with such devices, and while some might run, they’ll be less efficient. Most TVs, tablets, laptops and other small devices with power bricks will run, but some manufacturers advise against their power bricks with anything but a pure sine wave inverter.
So why did Goal Zero put a modified sine wave inverter in the Yeti 200X?
I think it’s because the inverter is so small anyway since it can only output up to 120 watts, that Goal Zero’s thinking is that nobody is going to plug any sensitive electronics into it.
In my opinion, it was a mistake, since it doesn’t look good and it might even cause warranty issues if your computer stops working and you have to answer what you plugged it into.
Okay, a lot of rambling going on here. But the conclusion is that 95% of the devices that the 120W inverter can power are going to be ok, but in 2020, it’s close to unacceptable to put a modified sine wave inverter in a portable power station like this.
Goal Zero has done a good job with the Yeti 200X. It checks a lot of the boxes that are required to be a great power station. Unless you’re planning on using the AC outlet for anything other than a laptop or a small TV, the 200X will be an awesome camping-buddy.
It supports fast solar charging, relatively fast wall charging, has a regulated 12V cigarette lighter port so you can run 12V fridges properly, and is compatible with a lot of different solar panels on the market. It’s better than average when compared to other similar products on the market.
Sure, I wish the screen had more information, slightly more watt-hours, and that it had a pure sine wave inverter, but maybe that’s what we’ll see next year? Overall, it’s a huge upgrade from the older Yeti 150, and that’s the important part here.
I recommend the Yeti 200X for people that want to go camping and be able to charge their laptops, tablets, and phones. It’s not quite powerful enough to plug a travel trailer into or run a coffee maker, but that’s not what it’s for.
It’s for the RV, car, or van travelers that don’t have a lot of power needs but are looking for ways to power their smaller devices on the go. The fact that you can recharge it with solar panels (sold separately) just makes the whole thing even better.
Is it a good option to keep at home in case of emergencies? Sure, I believe any battery is good to have as a backup at home, but I would definitely recommend pairing it with solar panels for that, and I will talk about solar panels compatible with the Yeti 200X down below.
Solar Panels Compatible With The Yeti 200X
A big selling point of the Yeti 200X is being able to recharge it with solar panels. As somebody that travels fulltime in an RV, I know how freeing it feels to be able to use all of my electronics far from the power grid.
Since the Yeti 200X has an 8mm input and an MPPT charge controller with a 100-watt max input, you have a couple of options when it comes to portable solar panels.
Goal Zero Boulder 100 briefcase – The boulder 100 briefcase is a portable panel consisting of two 50 watt panels that fold together and go into an included carrying case. It’s weatherproof, so you can leave it out overnight and when it’s raining. It has an 8mm output and is compatible with the 200X out of the box. A built-in handle also makes it easy to handle and transport. The Boulder 100 would charge the 200X in less than three hours of peak sun.
Goal Zero Nomad 28 Plus – One of the most portable solar panels made by Goal Zero is the Nomad 28. It’s a 28 watt foldable monocrystalline solar panel that weighs three pounds. While it’s compatible, I don’t recommend charging the Yeti 200X with the Nomad 28 Plus. It would just take too long.
Rockpals 100W – If you need a portable foldable solar panel, the Rockpals 100W is a great choice. It has several connectors to choose from, and one is the 8mm adapter. This makes it compatible with the Yeti 200X out of the box. It’s a more portable choice than Boulder 100, and a more efficient choice than the Nomad 28 Plus. The Rockpals panel would charge the 200X in less than three hours of peak sun.Rockpals also makes a smaller 60W folding solar panel that would recharge the 200X in less than five hours of peak sun.
Renogy 100W solar panel – You can also use a solid panel if you would like. These are popular panels to install more permanently on top of RVs and vans. Since it has MC4 connectors, you’ll need a SolarEnz MC4 to 8mm adapter to make the connection.
Renogy 100W suitcase solar panel – Another way to go that is very similar to the Boulder 100 briefcase is the Renogy suitcase. I own two of these that I use with my Yeti 1000. You would need a SolarEnz MC4 to 8mm adapter to plug this into the Yeti 200X.
What Can The Yeti 200X Power?
Goal Zero has put a 120W/200W surge watt inverter in the Yeti 200X. What this means is that you can power electronics that use up to 120 watts. You could plug a power strip into it and use several devices at the same time, as long as they don’t exceed 120 watts in total.
If you don’t know how many watts your devices are using, you can check their power bricks, or use a Kill-A-Watt that will tell you exactly.
Here are a couple of common devices and their power needs:
|PS4/Xbone/Nintendo Switch||150/115/40W (while gaming)|
|George Foreman Grill||700-1500W|
|Maxxair fan||50W (on high)|
Basically, any device that requires more than 120W will not run on the Yeti 200X. The 200W surge means that it can handle it but for less than 30 seconds, and I don’t recommend plugging in a device that you know will use more than 120 watts.
How Long Can The Yeti 200X Power X Device?
To know how long the 200X can power a specific device, we need to know how many watts the device uses. If you’re going to use the AC outlet to power this device, we also need to take into account that the inverter is not 100% efficient, but about 90%.
So for example, if we have a laptop that uses 60W, this is the calculation we need to make to find the correct answer: 187Wh*0.9/60W=2.81 hours.
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If you need to charge your phone with the USB or USB C port, the charging efficiency will be higher than 90%. So using a 10W phone charger the math is 187/10=18.7 hours. Round it down to 18 hours and you have your answer
How Do I Make The Yeti 200X Battery Last Longer?
If we’re talking about lifecycles, you can do a couple of things to take care of the lithium battery inside the Yeti 200X.
One thing you can do is try to keep the battery state of charge between 20-80%. So you don’t let it go lower than 20%, and not higher than 80%.
Another thing you should do is turn off the outlets or ports you’re not using. Turn them on when you’re going to plug devices in, but turn them off as soon as you’re done.
It’s also good for the lithium battery to be plugged in if you’re not going to use it for months. Or at least take it out once a month and plug it in with the wall charger.
Can You Use The Goal Zero Yeti 200X In Freezing Temperatures?
The operating usage temp of the 200X is 32-104F or 0-40C, so the answer is no.
A lithium battery should never be charged in temperatures below freezing, this will result in a permanent capacity loss.
Best Accessories To The Yeti 200X
There are a couple of accessories for the Yeti 200X. The main one is solar panels that we’ve already gone through, but there are a couple more accessories.
Goal Zero Light-A-Life 350 LED Light – A simple LED light great for camping. It’s chainable and uses 5W on high and 1W on low.
Goal Zero 8mm extension cable – If you’re going to use solar panels or LED lights and want to be able to have the Yeti 200X in your RV, van, or car while the solar panel is generating power outside, this 30 feet extension cable will make it easier.
Goal Zero Yeti 12V Car Charger – You can charge the Yeti 200X in the car with this car charger. It only supports the 5A setting, but it would still charge the 200X in a little over three hours.
Best Alternatives To The Goal Zero Yeti 200X
Jackery Explorer 240 – The Explorer 240 by Jackery is very similar to the 200X, but it has more battery capacity at 240Wh, a larger pure sine wave inverter with a 200W rating, and an 8mm input which makes it compatible with the same panels as I talked about above. The Jackery Explorer 240 has a better screen than the Yeti that shows input/output watts and the state of charge as a percentage. The downside is the fact that it doesn’t have an MPPT charge controller or any USB C ports.
Jackery also makes the larger Explorer 500 which has more battery capacity.
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Suaoki G500 – If you would like a larger inverter and more battery capacity, the G500 might be the one. It has a 300W pure sine wave inverter that powers two AC outlets, 500 watt-hour battery capacity, a regulated 12V cigarette lighter port, a USB C port, two USB ports, and can handle up to 150W of solar panels.
Rockpals 300W – One popular choice on the market is the Rockpals 300W. I’ll start with a problem with this one and that is that the 12V cigarette port is not regulated, so if you need a power station to run a 12V fridge or want to use the cigarette port at all, don’t go with this one. Other than that, it’s a very powerful portable solar generator with 280Wh battery capacity, four USB ports, lights built-in, and a 300W pure sine wave inverter. That is large enough to run a TV and a gaming console.
Maxoak Bluetti 200Wh – Another very portable choice with 200Wh but without a regulated 12V DC output. Has a 120W pure sine wave inverter, USB C PD port rated up to 40W, MPPT charge controller, DC output, and two USB ports. A great choice unless you need to use a regulated 12V cigarette lighter port.
If you have any questions, please leave a comment down below.