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In some cases, improper use and installation may result in a breach of insurance. Even worse, you could be putting yourself or your family at risk as an incorrectly installed electrical device could start a fire. So, don’t risk it - seek the services of a fully licensed electrician instead.
The Yeti 400: Is it Worth Your Hard Earned Cash?
Goal Zero has been changing the world of portable power for nigh on a decade now with their eco-friendly products, one of which I’m going to be reviewing today: the Yeti 400 Portable Power Station.
The Yeti 400 at a Glance
The Yeti 400 is Goal Zero’s take on a mid-sized power station that can keep all the essentials and, if need be, some larger, more demanding electronics charged up and ready for action.
It arrives at an intersection between portability and power, allowing us to carry some home comforts with us when we decide to stray off the beaten path.
Yeti 400 - Essential Specs
- Dimensions: 8” x 10.25” x 8”
- Weight: 29lbs (13.15kg)
- Watt Hours: 396
- Ports: 7
- Battery: Lead-acid
Yeti 400 - Pros & Cons
- Can power 7 devices simultaneously
- Zero emissions
- Chainable with other 33Ah lead acid batteries for longer runtimes
- Not weatherproof
- Solar panels and 12V charger sold separately
Where Can I Buy a Goal Zero Yeti 400 Portable Power Station?
If the Yeti 400 sounds like the perfect power supply for your next adventure, you can buy one
Having already spent some time with a couple of Goal Zero’s smaller Yeti units, I know how amazing their build quality can be, and thankfully, the 400 is every bit as tough as its smaller siblings.
Durability is absolutely essential in a portable power supply, so Goal Zero has really nailed it with the 400. I’m not exactly trying to test just how much abuse it can take, but it seems like it could survive a bomb blast.
Supported by shock-reducing, pillar-style corners, and reinforced by corrugated lateral panels, the enclosure is solid as a rock.
The only shortcoming I can find on this front is a lack of waterproofing, so keep it covered, folks.
Verdict - 5/5: It’s a veritable Fort Knox.
Weighing about 29 lbs., the Yeti 400 is pushing the boundaries of what I’d consider a portable device. For context, that’s more than a gallon of paint.
Still, when we consider just how much energy Goal Zero has managed to stuff into to this small unit, it’s incredible that it doesn’t weigh twice as much.
There is another model of this generator that uses a lithium-ion battery as opposed to lead-acid which brings down the weight by almost half! However, the lead-acid setup in the model in this review will save you around $200 which certainly sounds good to me. Depending on who will be setting this generator up, it might be something worth factoring in though.
The unit features a comfortable fold-out handle, however, which makes it a little easier to lug around.
Verdict - 4/5: The 400 is difficult to walk long distances with, but doesn’t take up much space in your vehicle.
I was skeptical of some of Goal Zero’s claims about the 400’s capacity. The idea of a power supply of this size being able to recharge a smartphone 30 times in a single battery cycle, or a laptop 5 times, just seemed unrealistic.
However, lo and behold, the Yeti 400 does seem to perform to spec. I haven’t tested it with tons of different items, nor did I have the patience to wait until my phone ran out of battery 30 times to write this article, but my calculations based on the remaining power after 10 phone charges places the 400 right on track to hit 30 in one cycle.
So, that’s the small things covered, but where the 400 really shines is its ability to shoulder heavier loads like that of a portable fridge (it powered mine for close to 6 hours) or an LCD television (2 hours of viewing on a 32-inch).
Verdict - 5/5: It sure packs a punch for its size
If you’ve got 5 hours to spare, you can use a standard AC wall outlet to charge the Yeti 400, or if you can afford Goal Zero’s Goal Zero’s monocrystalline solar panels, you can charge it in 8 hours using only the sun's lovely (and free) rays.
While 5 hours doesn’t seem that bad considering the 400’s expansive power reserve, with some of the smaller solar options, you’re looking at some straight-up unreasonable charge times.
Verdict - 4/5: 5 hours isn’t bad, but unless your willing to fork out for the larger more expensive panels, solar isn’t really an option.
Featuring two 5V USB ports, you can easily hook your phones and tablets up to the 400 even if you forgot to bring your plug ends.
The interface also includes two 110V AC outlets, which is why it can power sensitive electronics such as laptops and LCD TVs without damaging them.
Putting the icing on the compatibility cake, you get the 12V outlet that can accommodate any electrics that can be hooked up to your car’s cigarette lighter. We’re talking electric heaters, fans, coolers, portable vacuums...you name it.
Verdict - 5/5: It’s not the most versatile array of outlets, but it’s exactly the right spread for the 400’s power and intended applications.
The lead-acid variant of the 400 can be chained with other 33Ah lead acid batteries for longer runtimes.
The LCD is also absolutely amazing! Not only does it display power reserves with clarity, it also provides you with an exact time until empty based on present usage, as well as the wattage output.
Also, remember when I mentioned that it can work harmoniously with sensitive electronics? Well, that’s due to an integrated pure sine-wave inverter — pretty neat, huh?
Value for Money
It’s all been going pretty well for the 400 so far, hasn’t it? However, I’m afraid to say we’ve just arrived at the dreaded…“but”...segment of the review, and it is, of course, the price tag.
The Yeti 400 isn't cheap. In fact, none of the power supplies in the Yeti line are, and that’s because they’re high-quality, high-tech devices.
Verdict - 3/5: I get why it costs so much, but I can still be mad about it.
Yeti 400 Portable Power Station - The Final Verdict
I’m perfectly happy with my Yeti 400, and I would absolutely recommend it to anyone who likes a lovely, long camping trip or RV vacation.
It may not be the most popular unit in the Yeti lineup, but I feel that’s just because it exists in an awkward spot between low and high power stations, not due to any inherent flaw. If weight is an issue, but money is not, it might be worth checking out it's lithium-ion based cousin.
All things considered, I’d give the Yeti 400 a 4/5.