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The Goal Zero Yeti 400, with its standard lead battery, has become a highly popular portable solar power generator – in fact, it’s the most popular product to date in the Yeti range. But now there’s a version of the Yeti 400 with a lithium ion battery, the Yeti 400 Lithium, which of course is more lightweight than the older lead-battery version.
Let’s take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of each side by side, and find out which of the Yetis is right for you.
Goal Zero Yeti 400 Lithium Vs Yeti 400
So what are the differences between the Yeti variants? Is one genuinely better for your purposes than the other? Is there anything apart from the lighter weight of the lithium battery that can help you tell the pair apart? Let’s find out.
Goal Zero Yeti 400 Lithium Vs Yeti 400: What to Buy of the Lithium and AGM Yeti 400 - Comparison Table
Goal Zero Yeti 400 Lithium Vs Yeti 400: What to Buy of the Lithium and AGM Yeti 400 – Face-off
Naturally of course the Goal Zero Yeti 400 AGM, being the older model, is available for a significantly smaller price. That adds to its value for money and there are still plenty of takers for the older model, because it’s a solid option for those who want a smaller solar power station. Apart from its more traditional battery, the Yeti 400 has lots of features to recommend it, whether you’re a hardcore camper or are prepping for an emergency in which on-grid power becomes an uncertain prospect.
Equally naturally, in terms of its design, it’s a little clunkier than the new model, and a little dated in its look – though the question of how important design is when you’re needing a portable solar power station does raise its head. Obviously, there’s the issue we mentioned at first – an AGM battery will always be heavier than a lithium ion battery of the same output, and the weight difference is something to consider – the AGM version weighs 29 pounds, compared to the lithium version’s 16, so the newer model is only half as heavy. That said, 29 pounds is hardly back-breaking, and both models come with a carry handle, so again, you have to ask yourself how important the weight differential will be to you, depending on what you intend to use your Yeti for. On any occasion where you’re likely to be hauling your portable solar power generator by hand, like a hike into the woods for instance, the weight will be a significant factor. For other types of camping and prepping, will the weight be a deal-breaker?
The Yeti 400 has been popular since it first leapt onto the market. The question is whether the lithium model offers enough of an advancement on the original to overbalance the lighter weight price for the heavier original model. The Yeti 400 of course remains a great power station, capable of powering even your bigger appliances for a good amount of time, while for smaller electronics, the numbers get obviously more impressive – it can charge 5 laptops, or more than 10 tablets, or over 30 smartphones before needing to be recharged itself, which is either a lot of activity by several people, or a long-term device recharging strategy for a camping trip. Two people in the woods, two phones, 14 days and maybe longer, no recharging drama, no worry that the phones are going to run out of power and die. That’s a lot of juice from your 29 pound unit.
So what is it that the new lithium version can bring that makes it worth buying either instead of or on top of, the trusty original?
The Goal Zero Yeti 400 Lithium has had a makeover, so it looks like a sleeker, more functional unit than its predecessor. It’s arguable though that in tweaking the handle and removing some of the ‘80s-sci-fi-prop’ look of the front face, it’s been made to look more like a humorless, functional piece of equipment, rather than the quirky piece of design the AGM version was. It’s lost its ‘mouth-grille’ and the clarity of its red, green and white differentiators between the 12V, USB and AC charging points, and now looks more serious, functional and purposeful than its quirky forbear.
While the original took the market by storm on its initial release, it’s fair to say that the new version with its lighter battery and therefore its lighter carrying weight overall is repeating the pattern of success, and has quickly established itself as one of the most popular solar power stations on the market, and certainly within its power level. Campers, outdoor enthusiasts and disaster preppers at home are all using it, and while at home the lighter weight makes little practical difference, for those on hardcore camping trips, that lighter weight is a boon.
The introduction of the lithium model also coincided with a dramatic expansion of the range – when it was launched, Goal Zero also unveiled a Yeti 1000 Lithium, Yeti 1400 Lithium, and finally, the colossally powerful Yeti 3000 Lithium. So the new lithium version has value over the older AGM version as an introduction to a new family of products, all of which are lithium-powered and therefore lighter than their AGM equivalents would be. But what about a point-for-point comparison between the old and the new?
Goal Zero Yeti 400 Lithium Vs Yeti 400: What to Buy of the Lithium and AGM Yeti 400 - Buyers Guide
Design and Form Factor
There are significant differences in the look and feel of the two Goal Zero Yeti 400 variants. The Yeti 400 Lithium is smaller in both height and width than the AGM version, but also longer – a combination when makes for a very different look overall.
Yeti 400 Lithium: 7.5 x 11.25 x 7.0 in.
Yeti 400 AGM: 10.25 x 8 x 8 in.
The new dimensions make the lithium version rather easier to transport, along with being lighter, so it has an advantage on the old version based entirely in its shape.
Add that to the weight difference (29 pounds in the original, compared to just 16 in the lithium version) and you start to get an idea that of the two, it’s not only more forward-looking to go for the lithium version as part of the new product family, but more easy to use and carry too.
The Goal Zero Yeti 400 lithium’s redesign takes in its aesthetics too, as we mentioned above, with a new arrangement of outlets, inlets, screens and switches, and the grouping of the outlets on the front rather rearranged to look easy and functional, rather than quirky and friendly like the original.
Performance and Storage Capacity
Looks are one thing. Performance is something quite different. That said, the introduction of a lithium battery doesn’t make an earth-shattering difference to the levels of power produced, so whereas the AGM version of the Yeti 400 has a capacity of 400Wh, the new lithium version clocks in a capacity of 428Wh.
Not perhaps a deal-maker or breaker in itself, but that’s still a full Watt-day of additional power capacity from the lighter, newer model, and as such it’s not something we can equalize or ignore.
There’s an equally slight but genuinely noticeable difference when it comes to storage capacity. The old Yeti 400 has a 33Ah @ 12V lead-acid battery, the new version a 39.6Ah @ 10.8V lithium battery while. The difference is not enough to push the new version into a different segment in terms of output or capacity, but of course, again the weight issue comes into play, and a lithium battery also charges faster than its lead-acid alternative, as well as having a higher number of recharging cycles.
The screen of the new Yeti 400 Lithium has had an upgrade too, so you can now get real-time performance data on a single large display. Helpfully, it also includes a recharge time estimator to help you plan your days, and an input/output meter, so you can tell what’s happening in your Yeti with greater precision than was previously possible.
Power and Output
Technically, the old and new versions of the Yeti 400 are neck and neck with a 300W pure sine inverter. But the surge on the old version is 600W, compared to the 1200W of the lithium variant. Both options carry two AC sockets.
The new Yeti has three 2.4A USB ports, compared to just two on the old version, and a pair of 12-volt DC sockets carried over from the original. That means the lithium version gives you seven charging options simultaneously. It’s not a huge difference, but one extra USB charging port is one extra USB charging port, which if there are three or more of you in your camping party becomes deeply significant in terms of either not having to wait to get your phone charged, or at the very least, having to wait a shorter time in the lithium-powered future.
Input and Output Options
Solar power is the most appealing option for recharging both the old and the new model of the Yeti 400. After all, given that they’re both solar power generators, it would actually seem to be defeating the point if this wasn’t the case.
In the absence of enough solar power though, or in the need to force more juice into the chargers in a hurry, any wall outlet will recharge both versions, and so will any car charger, to ensure that whether you’re using it at home in the event of an emergency, or on a camping trip, when things start to get interesting both versions of your Yeti 400 can be powered up and ready to go. Once it’s charged, you can top up the charger’s power with solar energy.
Compatible Solar Chargers
Goal Zero produces a range of solar chargers to work especially with its power stations. When charging both versions of the Yeti 400, the best option is the Boulder 50, which is a single-sheet panel built of glass and metal, and which has its own kickstands to help it angle to pull in the most sunlight for fast, efficient recharging of your power station.
The Boulder 50 could well offer a faster solar conversion rate to charge your Yeti 400, whichever version you choose. Higher powered versions like the Boulder 100, Boulder 100 Briefcase, and Boulder 200 Briefcase are also available.
The briefcase Boulder chargers are especially suited for outdoor use, combining high output with handy, ultra-portable suitcase-style design, so if you have the budget, and you’re going to be using the power stations for outdoor use, make your life easier and better, and grab a briefcase.
We hope we’ve clarified the choice between a lead-acid battery-powered original Yeti 400 and a Yeti 400 Lithium for you. The original Yeti 400 has long been a favorite among campers and preppers, and in the wake of the launch of the lithium version, the lower price makes it even more attractive, especially for home and emergency-prep use, where, for instance, the heavier weight is less of an issue.
The new Goal Zero Yeti Lithium 400 though has streamlined designed, an extra USB charging port, a much lighter lithium battery and a significantly lighter unit weight overall, along with slightly more Watt-hours of power, meaning if you’re going on longer camping trips, or if you’re going on trips which involve carrying your belongings with you, the Yeti Lithium 400 gives you more power for less weight, and teamed with a briefcase charger, it will give you everything you need to meet your camping power requirements.