The Power Station Battle Continues – Goal Zero Yeti 200X Vs Jackery Explorer 240
Power stations, also known as solar generators, are getting more and more popular. Goal Zero and Jackery are two of the companies competing for market shares. These power stations are great since it’s basically portable power.
In 2020, it’s all about the lithium power stations, since they’re so much more lightweight than the older lead-acid battery power stations. They’re not only for emergency uses and preppers but perfect for RV travelers, camping, and vandwellers that need to charge their electronics even when they’re far from the power grid.
Related Post: Goal Zero Yeti 400 Vs Jackery Explorer 500
A popular portable power station is the Jackery Explorer 240. Recently, Goal Zero released their answer: the Yeti 200X. I have already reviewed the 200X in a separate post but figured it would be helpful to some to get a straight-up comparison between the two.
So, let’s get going. I’m going to start by comparing the specifications of the two in a table, then I’ll talk a bit about what each difference means and how it makes a difference to you as a user. You can use the table of contents below to quickly move between headings in the article, and as always, please leave a comment if you have any questions about either these solar generators or something else.
Yeti 200X Vs Explorer 240 – Specifications
Differences Between The Goal Zero Yeti 200X And Jackery Explorer 240
Weight And Size
Let’s start with what might be the most important feature of a portable lithium power station, the weight. Both are relatively lightweight batteries for what they are, but the Yeti is 1.6 pounds lighter than the Explorer 240.
The Jackery is also slightly larger in terms of size, and a big reason for that is the large built-in handle that you can’t fold down or move in any way.
The Yeti 200X has 187 watt-hours of battery capacity, the Explorer 240 has 240 watt-hours.
So what does this mean, except for the fact that the Explorer has almost 28% more battery capacity?
It means that you have 53 more watt-hours to use. So if you have a device that uses 50W, which is 50 watt-hours per hour, you could run it for about an hour longer with the Explorer 240.
We can calculate how long a specific device will last with some simple math. We’ll take the power station’s battery capacity (watt-hours) split with our device’s energy use (watts). So if we use a 50W device, it’s 240Wh/50W=4.8 hours.
For a more realistic answer, we’ll also need to count in that an inverter is not 100% efficient, but usually around 90%. So we’ll take 4.8 hours and multiply it with 0.9 (90%) which is 4.8*0.9=4.32 hours.
So, the 50W device would run for over four hours with the Explorer 240. If we use the same device with the Yeti 200X, it would run for 3.37 hours (187Wh/50W*0.9=3.37 hours).
It’s up to you whether the 28% more battery capacity is more important than other factors like faster charging on the Yeti 200X and more modern USB ports. Hopefully, I can help you make the decision down below where I go through what each power station does better than the other.
Inverter (the device that changes 12V DC battery power into 120V AC to power the outlet)
Both of them have one AC outlet, but the difference between them is the power they can output. The Yeti 200X has a 120W/200W surge watt inverter, while the Jackery Explorer 240 has a 200W/400W surge watt inverter.
The first number in the rating is how much the AC outlet can output continuously (Yeti: 120W vs Explorer: 200W). Surge watts is how much it can output for a shorter time, usually less than 30 seconds.
So when you’re trying to figure out whether the power station can run a specific device or not, it’s the first number that is more relevant.
Another difference between the two is the type of inverter used. Jackery has put a pure sine wave inverter in the Explorer 240, while Goal Zero uses a modified sine wave inverter in the Yeti 200X.
The pure sine wave inverter is the better choice of the two because it produces a more clean current that is friendlier to more sensitive electronics like printers, fridges, freezers, etc.
Since those kinds of electronics use more wattage than what the AC outlet can handle in the first place, it might’ve been smart by Goal Zero to use a modified sine wave inverter since they’re more affordable.
It’s not going to make a big difference to you if you only plan on using the AC outlet to charge laptops, tablets, watch TV, or use other small devices.
If you need to use a CPAP machine, the pure sine wave inverter is better so I recommend the Jackery Explorer 240 for CPAP use.
The Goal Zero 200X has a big advantage when it comes to the USB ports, and it’s not only that it has more ports, but the kind of ports it has. It has two 5V 2.4A USB A ports, just like the Explorer 240, but it also has two USB C ports.
The first USB C port on the Yeti 200X can output up to 18W, and the second one is a USB C PD that can input or output up to 60W. This makes it compatible with the latest Nintendo Switch, and Macbooks, or other laptops that charge via USB C.
If your laptop or tablets don’t have a USB C port, it won’t make a big difference to you since you could just use the wall charger with the AC outlet. The Explorer 240 can handle 80 more watts continuously than the Yeti 200X through the AC outlet, so you could charge more power-hungry device or several devices at the same time with a power strip.
A screen with relevant information is an important feature of a solar generator. Jackery has done a better job here with a screen that shows input/output watts and state of charge in percentage.
Goal Zero has put a screen on the Yeti 200X, but it only shows the state of charge in percentage, so you have no idea how fast your Yeti is charging through the wall or with solar panels. You’ll just have to watch the percentage go up and down.
The Jackery Explorer 240 screen also has a button to turn on or off the backlit screen.
While both have an 8mm input for solar and wall charging, the Jackery Explorer 240 is more limited and won’t be able to charge very fast.
With a 42W input rating from the built-in PWM solar charge controller, it will take much longer to charge compared to the Yeti 200X which has a 100W max solar input and an MPPT charge controller.
The MPPT solar charge controller is a more modern, high-efficiency charger, capable of using more of the electricity the solar panel produces even if it’s early, late, cloudy, or rainy. Neither is 100% efficient, but the MPPT charge controller is a big improvement. Since it’s a solar generator, this is an important feature that makes a big difference between the two.
You could use a 100W solar panel with the Yeti 200X, but with the Explorer 240, there is no reason to go above 60W. A bit further down, I will share my solar panel recommendations for both these solar generators.
Maxing out the Explorer 240, it could go from empty to full in less than six hours. The Yeti 200X could do it in less than two hours. Note that the Yeti 200X has less battery capacity though at 187 watt-hours vs Explorer’s 240 watt-hours. Still, even if the Yeti 200X had the same battery capacity as the Explorer, it would fast almost twice as fast when using a 100W solar panel.
Note that you can charge both these power stations with third-party panels that have MC4 connectors. You’ll just need a SolarEnz MC4 to 8mm adapter cable. I’ll talk more about compatible third-party panels down below.
Neither power station include a solar panel, so that is something you have to buy separately if you wish to recharge it with the sun.
Jackery includes a wall charger and a car charger. Goal Zero includes the wall charger but no car charger, which is available for purchase separately on Amazon.
Related Post: Can you recharge a Goal Zero Yeti in an RV/car/van?
Regulated 12V Output
Both power stations have a regulated 12V port which is great news. This means that they can run 12V devices like vacuums, fridge/freezer, and other electronics you would usually plug into the 12V cigarette lighter port in a vehicle.
What The Jackery Explorer 240 Does Better
After taking an in-depth look at the differences between these two portable power stations above, let’s talk about what the Jackery Explorer 240 does better than the Yeti 200X.
The biggest advantage it has over the Yeti 200X is the pure sine wave inverter and its rating. It produces a cleaner current compatible with more devices and can output up to 200W continuously, compared to the Yeti’s 120W.
Related Post: Can you take a Jackery power station on an airplane?
If you’re only going to use the power station with phones, tablets, laptops, and TVs, it’s not that important that it’s a pure sine wave inverter. But if you’re a CPAP user, the Explorer 240 will be a better choice for efficiency reasons.
The Jackery Explorer 240 has almost 28% more battery capacity and has a screen with more information like input/output watts. Jackery also includes the car charger cable.
What The Goal Zero Yeti 200X Does Better
The Goal Zero Yeti 200X is 1.6 pounds lighter than the Explorer 240 (5 vs 6.6 lbs). It’s also smaller in size, most likely due to the smaller battery capacity.
It has four USB ports, two USB A and two USB C, where one of the USB C ports are PD, and compatible with USB C devices like the Nintendo Switch and the latest Macbook laptops.
The solar charge controller in the Yeti 200X makes it a much better solar generator with a max input rating of 100 watts, versus Explorer’s 42 watts. This means that you can charge it more than twice as fast. The MPPT charge controller in the Yeti also makes it much more reliable when charging up the battery during early/late sun hours and on cloudy or rainy days.
Related Post: Can you replace the batteries in a Goal Zero Yeti?
Shown below is the difference between the PWM and MPPT charger (sold separately) on my Yeti 1000. This was during an extremely cloudy day.
It’s hard to decide a winner between the two since both are very capable and portable power stations.
In my opinion, though, the MPPT charge controller on the Yeti 200X is what makes it the winner. With a 100W max solar input versus 42W, and a more efficient charge during the morning, evening, cloudy/rainy days, it’s a more complete solar generator that you’re going to like more if you go camping and need to rely on this power station for all your power needs.
A lot of devices nowadays can be charged via USB C, and Goal Zero has realized this and put not only one but two USB C ports on the Yeti 200X. One is a USB C PD port, which means that it’s capable of outputting up to 60W. So you can charge modern laptops and gaming consoles through USB.
Sure, the Yeti 200X has a modified sine wave inverter, but since the inverter can only output 120W you won’t be using anything larger than a TV or laptop with it anyway, and it will run that fine.
The Explorer 240 has 28% more battery capacity and can output more power (200W vs 120W). It can be the better choice for you if you’re okay with the slower charging and are willing to leave it out all day for it to recharge to use it at night.
Also, if you’re a CPAP user and can’t power it with the 12V output, the AC outlet on the Explorer 240 will be better.
Best Solar Panels To Pair With The Goal Zero Yeti 200X And/Or Jackery Explorer 240
The Yeti supports up to 100 watts of solar input, while the Explorer supports up to 42 watts. So using a 100 watt panel with the Yeti is a good idea, but it would be a waste with the Explorer.
Here are the solar panels I recommend for the Yeti (the ones I recommend for the Explorer are also compatible with the Yeti and vice versa):
Permanent installation on RV/van/home/car roof – Renogy 100W solar panel – Renogy panels are great durable solar panels and these can be mounted and left outside. They come with MC4 connectors, so you’ll need a SolarEnz MC4 to 8mm adapter cable to connect it to the Yeti power station.
Portable solution – Goal Zero Boulder 100 Briefcase – The Boulder 100 Briefcase is a great solar panel kit for any Yeti power station. You can set these up and leave them out. They have an 8mm connector, so they’re compatible with the Yeti out of the box. There is also a Boulder 50.
Foldable solution – Rockpals 100W Foldable Solar Panel – The Rockpals 100W is a foldable solar panel that comes with an 8mm connector, making it ready for both the Yeti and the Explorer 240 out of the box. It’s 100W in a very compact package.
Here are the solar panels I recommend for the Explorer 240:
Permanent installation on RV/van/home/car roof – Sungoldpower 60W 12V Solar Panel – If you want to mount a solar panel onto your RV or van roof, I suggest using a solid monocrystalline panel like this. It comes with MC4 connectors, so you’re going to need the SolarEnz MC4 to 8mm adapter cable to connect it to the Explorer 240.
Portable/foldable solution – Jackery SolarSaga 60W – This 60W solar panel made by Jackery is compatible with the Explorer 240 and very lightweight at 3.3 pounds. It folds and is easy to handle due to its size and weight. You can also hang it up and charge other devices than your Explorer with it.
Foldable solution – Rockpals 60W Foldable Solar Panel – Fortunately, there is a 60W version of the Rockpals foldable panel. It comes with several connectors, one being the 8mm output, making it a solar panel compatible with the Explorer 240 out of the box.
Best Alternative Power Stations/Solar Generators To The Yeti 200X And Explorer 240
There are a lot of solar generators on the market. Unfortunately, most of them are of low quality and unreliable. I do my best to help you find one that you can bring camping and use with confidence. Both the Yeti 200X and the Explorer 240 are two of those that I recommend, and here are some other alternatives.
Jackery Explorer 500 – The Explorer 240’s bigger brother. With more battery capacity, a larger inverter, and more ports. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have an MPPT charge controller, but it supports up to 100W of solar panels at least. Could be plugged straight into a smaller travel trailer camper as long as you don’t use the microwave or AC. If you have a 30A cable that you use with the trailer, you’d need a Camco 15A to 30A electrical adapter.
Rockpals 250W – If you only want to use AC outlets and USB ports, the Rockpals 250W is a good choice. The DC ports aren’t regulated so I wouldn’t buy it to use with 12V devices. It has a 250W pure sine wave inverter with two AC outlets, 240 watt-hour battery capacity, two USB ports, and an MPPT charge controller. Note that it doesn’t support pass-through charging so the outlets can’t be used while charging.
Maxoak Bluetti 500Wh – Similar to the Jackery Explorer 500 in terms of battery capacity and size. It doesn’t have a regulated 12V output, but it has a 300W pure sine wave inverter that powers two AC outlets. It also has several USB ports, with a USB C PD port capable of outputting 45W. The most modern feature with the Bluetti 500Wh is the fact that it has a wireless charging pad on top so you can place Qi-supported devices on the top and it will start charging.
The Bluetti 500Wh has an MPPT solar charge controller and supports up to 120W of solar panels. An adapter is included that makes it compatible with solar panels with MC4 connectors. A 100W panel like the Renogy 100W Solar Panel Briefcase would recharge the Bluetti 500Wh in a little over 7 hours of good sun.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use the Yeti 200X/Explorer 240 solar generator while it’s charging?
Yes, both power stations/solar generators support pass-through charging, so you can use the output ports while the battery is charging.
Can I use third-party panels?
Yes, you can, as long as they don’t exceed the max voltage of the input. With the Yeti, this max rating is 22V VOC, and the Jackery supports up to 30V VOC. The VOC rating of a solar panel is usually found on the product page of a solar panel.
You can either find a solar panel that has an 8mm output or use a solar panel with MC4 connectors. If the latter, you’re going to need a SolarEnz MC4 to 8mm adapter cable.
Note that the Yeti supports up to 100W input, and the Explorer supports up to 42W input.
How long does the Goal Zero Yeti 200X/Jackery Explorer 240 last?
How long the battery will last will depend on what devices you are using and for how long. If you know how many watts a device is using, take the battery capacity in watt-hours (Yeti: 187, Explorer: 240) and divide it with the device wattage. For example, if you have a TV that uses 60W: 187/60=3.12 hours.
Here are some other examples and how long some common devices would last.
A 5W phone charger would last 37 hours with the Yeti, and 48 hours with the Explorer.
A 60W CPAP machine would last 3 hours with the Yeti, and 4 hours with the Explorer
A Nintendo Switch would last almost 5 hours with the Yeti, and 6 hours with the Explorer.
A 60W laptop would last 3 hours with the Yeti, and 4 hours with the Explorer
A 6W speaker would last 31 hours with the Yeti, and 40 hours with the Explorer.
How do you connect solar panels to a solar generator?
It’s very easy to connect solar panels to the Yeti 200X and the Explorer 240. All you have to do is plug the cable into the input port. The inputs on both are 8mm, so you can either get a solar panel with an 8mm output or use a SolarEnz MC4 to 8mm adapter cable with panels that have MC4 connectors.
If you don’t want to leave the solar generator near the panels while it’s charging, you can use an 8mm extension cord. Goal Zero makes a 30ft extension cable that can be found on Amazon. You will lose a couple of watts when using an extension cable.
Can I run X device with the Yeti/Explorer?
Whether you can run a device or not depends on how many watts it requires. The Yeti can output up to 120 watts continuously, and the Explorer 200 watts continuously.
You can often find the wattage requirement of a device on its power brick or a sticker on the device itself. You can also use a device like the Kill-A-Watt to find out how many watts a device is using exactly.
To power several devices at once, you can use a power strip. Note that the inverter rating is wattage combined. So if you have the Yeti 200X with its 120W inverter and plug in a 50W device, you’ll have 70W left to use for other devices.
A 200W inverter can’t run things like a microwave, coffee maker, toaster, AC, or other power-hungry devices. To run something like a microwave you’re going to need a power station with at least a 1500W
How fast can I charge the Yeti/Explorer with solar panels?
The Yeti supports up to 100W solar input. A 100W solar panel is not 100% efficient but can generate about 70-80 watts during peak sun hours of the day if it’s sunny. So the Yeti could go from 0 to 100% in less than three hours (187Wh/70W=2.67 hours).
Jackery recommends using a 60W solar panel with the Explorer 240 to get close to that 42W max input. If you manage to reach the full 42W input, it would take less than six hours to recharge the Explorer 240 from empty to full (240Wh/42W=5.71 hours).
How fast does the Yeti/Explorer charge in a car?
Jackery includes the car charger with the Explorer 240, and it outputs between 38-42 watts when used in a running vehicle. This means that it would be fully charged in less than six hours. Jackery advertises 7-8 hours.
Goal Zero does not include the car charger but makes one that is available on Amazon. Goal Zero recommends using the 5A setting with the Yeti 200X which outputs 60W, and that would recharge the Yeti 0 to 100% in a little more than three hours.
Can you jump start an RV/car/van with a Yeti/Explorer?
No, these power stations can not output the required amperage you would need to jump-start a car battery.
Can I plug my RV/travel trailer/camper directly into the solar generator?
I have written a post that answers this question, click here to view it.
Are there 8mm extension cables so I can place my solar panels further away?
Let me know down below if you have any questions.