Goal Zero Yeti 1000 Core Review: A Powerful Backup Battery

Goal Zero Yeti 1000 Core
The Goal Zero Yeti 1000 Core features a 1,200-watt inverter with two 120-volt AC ports. TYLER HAYES

There are backup batteries and then there are serious backup batteries. The Goal Zero Yeti 1000 Core is the latter. While there's no specific line differentiating any two classes of batteries used for powering up electronics, this one features a 1,200-watt inverter and two 120-volt AC ports. It's just over 30 pounds and promises to keep plenty of gear working, either during an emergency or over a fun camping weekend. This battery, also known as an electric generator, is capable of powering computers, mini-fridges, medical equipment and most other demanding devices.

Beyond the ability to run a wide range of devices, the Yeti 1000 Core is clean and quiet. It has the ability to recharge itself via renewable energy with compatible solar panels. All around, it's an attractive device, but it is an investment. Stepping up to the Goal Zero Yeti 1000 Core costs around $1,000. Is this a solid choice for a portable, battery generator?

Setting Up the Yeti 1000 Core

The unit I tested arrived with about a 70 percent charge. Since it had power, it was ready to go out of the box. I've used batteries from Jackery and Goal Zero in the past, so I felt comfortable haphazardly pressing the few buttons on the front of the device to confirm everything worked like it looked like it did. Even if you've never used a battery generator, anyone vaguely familiar with ports for power should have no trouble getting their bearings with the Yeti 1000 Core.

Goal Zero Yeti 1000 Core
The ports on the front of the battery are grouped together around a small screen displaying input and output information. TYLER HAYES

There are dedicated sections for each plug type, and inputs are labeled. The small LED screen on the front provides only basic information, but it does it in a way that's easy to understand. By default, it will show a readout for how many watts are being input and how many are being output. It shows the percentage of battery charge it has itself, along with an accompanying number to estimate how many hours that is—at the current discharge rate. There's a button to cycle through different units displayed, such as volts or watt-hours if you prefer to view those.

Each section of power ports includes a button to turn it on. There's a button to turn the screen light on and off, and there's also a button to display power information on the screen, even if it is not being used. But other than those few buttons, there's not much more to the unit itself.

There's no Wi-Fi, no Bluetooth, no apps or anything like that here—just raw power. So, after a brief skim through the included instructions, I feel comfortable saying anyone, regardless of their technical know-how, is capable of operating the battery and getting their devices charged up. It's truly not something you should have to fiddle with in an emergency situation—and you won't with the Yeti 1000 Core. There are a few quirks in practice, but this unit from Goal Zero does not require a learning curve.

Features of the Battery Generator

Smaller backup batteries not only have less capacity, but they usually are unable to handle more powerful devices with higher wattage requirements. The Yeti 1000 Core has a 1,200-watt inverter, with a 2,400-watt surge rating, which is able to handle a lot more devices than smaller units. Not everyone will need a backup battery to power every type of device, so you'll want to evaluate what you might need it to power.

The examples of devices Goal Zero says it can handle are small appliances like laptops, portable fridges, pellet grills, LED TVs, coffee makers and certain medical devices like C-PAP machines.

This battery features seven ports, including two USB-C ports, one of which is a fast-charging 60-watt PD port, two USB-A ports, a regulated 12-volt port and two 120-volt AC ports.

Devices plugged into the AC ports should get a very clean signal of power, thanks to the pure sine wave inverter. It keeps the power continuous and from potentially damaging, uneven output.

I love the design choice Goal Zero made by having the top of the unit flip up to uncover a spot to carry the power adapter. It's inconspicuous and provides a great deal of utility. The side handles work well, but this battery is heavy no matter how you slice it. It will be a noticeable addition to any camping trip that doesn't include a car at the campsite.

Goal Zero Yeti 1000 Core
The top of the Yeti 1000 Core flips up to reveal redundant power inputs and a cavity with enough room to carry the included power adapter and cord. TYLER HAYES

There are a few quirks with using the Yeti 1000 Core in practice. While the button interface to turn on different port sections is as simple as possible, that also means it can accidentally be turned or left on by mistake. If you're lugging the battery around, or packing gear around it, something could easily bump a button.

Also, there's nothing automatic about plugging in a device to give it power. You will still need to press the specific button to power on that section. The section is not turned off or deactivated, either, once you unplug a device. It's easy to accidentally leave a section on.

Recharging the Yeti 1000 Core

Using the Yeti 1000 Core's power is easy. There are plenty of things that always need to be plugged in and powered. Getting the battery recharged is a different adventure. To keep things simple, you can use the included AC power adapter and plug the Goal Zero battery into any standard outlet in your home. It will take about 9 hours to recharge the battery to 100 percent.

You can also use a 12-volt car charger or a solar panel, both of which are accessories sold separately. Fully recharging this battery in your home could get costly after a while, however. In a perfect scenario, you would use a solar panel to recharge the battery for free. Or, to keep the battery charging while you're using it and keep it going for even longer.

Goal Zero Yeti 1000 Core
I recharged the Yeti 1000 Core battery with a Goal Zero Nomad 50 solar panel, and it was able to add about 25 percent power sitting in the sun for a full day. TYLER HAYES

I used a Goal Zero Nomad 50 solar panel to recharge the Yeti 1000 Core several times, and it worked great. The instant the panel is plugged in, it is providing power to the battery. Goal Zero advertises the Nomad 50 being able to give the battery a 20 to 30 percent charge with a full day of good sun. This is about the result I saw, tending toward the top of that range during a strong summer day in Southern California. And it's not only Goal Zero branded solar panels that are compatible, so shopping around and checking compatibility could save you a little bit of money.

Should You Buy the Goal Zero Yeti 1000 Core?

Goal Zero positions itself as a premium brand and, as such, it's typically a bit more expensive compared with other similar product options. That doesn't mean the extra money is wasted. Goal Zero products, specifically this one, use premium parts. There are LG batteries inside that have been considered among the best in the industry, typically used by Apple and other electronics makers. The outer casing also features metal to protect it from being damaged and thus exposing people to a volatile battery.

I am impressed with the Yeti 1000 Core's performance and overall design. It makes a solid battery to load up in the car and have power accessible, but it should also work great in the midst of an emergency.

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