Designed as an alternative to noisy gas generators, the Goal Zero Yeti 1400 Lithium Power Station With Wi-Fi is a portable power solution you can use to power things like TVs, power tools, kitchen appliances, RVs, and nearly all of your tech equipment. It’s free of noise and fumes and can be used indoors or taken on the road, and it offers several types of power plugs. You can recharge the Yeti at home or let the sun do it for you with one of Goal Zero’s optional solar panels, and you can monitor everything from your phone with the Goal Zero mobile app. At $ 1799.95 it doesn’t come cheap, but if you live in an area that is prone to power outages or simply want to bring a quiet power source with you wherever you go, the Yeti 1400 is a solid investment and worthy of our Editors’ Choice distinction.
Design and Features
The Yeti 1400 looks like a cross between a high-tech car battery and a small guitar amp. It measures 10.4 by 15.3 by 10.1 inches (HWD) and weighs in at a hefty 43.7 pounds. Inside the black-and-gray enclosure is a lithium ion battery pack with a 1,425Wh (10.8V) capacity that is rated to last 500 full-charge life cycles, after which it will lose around 20 percent capacity. According to Goal Zero, you should get around seven years of use before having to replace the battery pack. It suggests discharging and recharging the Yeti every three to six months for maximum longevity. It takes around 25 hours to go from empty to a full charge.
The top of the Yeti enclosure sports two green carrying handles and a lid that opens to reveal a power input adapter and power port, a Wi-Fi button, a reset button, and a Wi-Fi indicator. On the outside face are multiple power ports including an input for AC charging, two three-prong 120V AC power outlets, a 60W USB-C port, a 15W USB-C port, two USB Type A ports (2.4 amp), two inputs for charging with solar panels, and three 12V power outlets, including a car (cigarette lighter) outlet. Each group of power output ports have buttons to turn them on and off.
To charge the Yeti, simply plug it into a wall outlet using the included AC cord. Although the enclosure is designed for travel, it doesn’t have an IP weatherproof rating and shouldn’t be left out in the elements. However, it does have an 802.11n Wi-Fi radio that lets you connect the Yeti to your home network and view its status on your phone.
A 3-inch LCD monochrome panel on the face of the device tells you what percentage of power is left, how many hours to empty, how many hours to fully charged, the average power input while charging, and the average power output when devices are plugged in. You can also view this information on the Goal Zero mobile app for Android and iOS devices.
The app opens to a screen that displays the Yeti name, its connection status, and the last time it was synced with the app. The center of the screen contains a Battery Charge Level indicator that tells you the percentage of battery life and the estimated available watt hours. Below the indicator are tabs that display power input (in amps and watts), power output (in amps, watts, and volts), and the time to full. Tap the Time to Full tab to see the battery temperature. At the very bottom of the screen are buttons to turn the 12V, USB, and 120V AC power ports on or off. Missing are power usage and charging history reports that would help you manage power usage over time.
Tap the gear icon in the upper left corner to enable Notifications and to configure Temperature (Celsius or Fahrenheit) and AC Voltage (120V or 230V) readouts and update the firmware. When Notifications are enabled, you’ll receive push alerts when the Yeti is fully charged and when it is getting close to empty, but it doesn’t tell you when the battery is completely discharged and you can’t set a threshold for when notifications are sent. Also missing is some sort of audible alarm that lets you know that the Yeti is out of juice.
In addition to the Yeti 1400 Power station, the folks at Goal Zero sent along a Yeti Home Integration Kit ($ 249.95), a Boulder 100 Solar Panel Briefcase ($ 299.95), a 30-foot solar panel extension cable ($ 24.95), and a Lithium Roll Cart ($ 69.95). The Integration Kit is actually a transfer switch that can be wired to four separate circuits in your home’s breaker panel and is connected to the Yeti via a special power cord. If you experience a power outage, simply flip the four switches on the integration panel and the Yeti will power all of the devices on those circuits.
The Boulder 100 Briefcase weighs 25.9 pounds and contains two foldable solar panels with adjustable kickstands, a carrying handle, and a black canvas carry case. When folded for carrying it measures 21.7 by 26.7 by 3.7 inches (HWD), and when unfolded it measures 21.7 by 43.5 by 1.7 inches. The panels use monocrystalline cells and have a combined 100-watt power rating (50 watts per panel) that will charge the Yeti in 28 to 56 hours.
The Roll Cart is ideal for transporting the Yeti around inside the house or outside. It has a telescoping handle and 7-inch wheels. Other available accessories include a Boulder 200 Solar Panel Briefcase ($ 574.95), a Yeti Tank Lead Acid Expansion Battery ($ 399.95), a Light-A-Life 350 LED Light ($ 39.95), and an assortment of USB and power cables.
Installation and Performance
The Yeti power supply is very easy to set up, but you should have a professional electrician install the optional transfer switch as it requires wiring to your home’s circuit breaker box. I had an electrician wire the switch to the four circuits that supply power to my refrigerators and freezers, gas furnace, kitchen lights, and my office, which is where my modem is located. These were the devices that I powered with my gas generator when I lost power due to Hurricane Sandy back in 2012.
Once the transfer switch installation was completed (it took around 2 hours), I plugged the Yeti into a regular wall outlet to begin charging, connected the Yeti to the transfer switch using the included 10-foot cable, and downloaded the mobile app. I tapped Add Yeti, pressed the Wi-Fi button on the Yeti, and tapped Find Yeti. This step had me connect to the Yeti’s SSID using my phone’s Wi-Fi settings, return to the app, and connect to my home Wi-Fi. Once connected, the app needed around 17 seconds to sync with the Yeti, and the installation was complete.
I used the Yeti to power a 50-inch TV and cable box, which according to the app drew around 100 watts, although that number fluctuated between 96 watts and 110 watts. It lasted 11 hours before I received a push notification that the Yeti was close to empty with 19 percent power remaining. After another 3 hours the Yeti was completely drained. I also used the Yeti to power an older 21-cubic foot refrigerator in my basement and it supplied just under 24 hours of juice before needing a recharge. It’s worth noting the Yeti is completely silent in operation, and doesn’t give off fumes as it doesn’t use gas.
I took the Yeti on a camping trip and used it to power the appliances in my 21-foot travel trailer, including a small refrigerator, assorted interior and exterior lights, a 27-inch TV, a DVD player, a circulation fan, a stereo system, and a microwave oven. While it was rare that all of the appliances were on at the same time, the TV, DVD player, stereo, and lights were on for several hours and the circulation fan ran all night. I managed to get two days of power before the Yeti was drained, but your mileage will vary depending on how many lights and appliances are running and for how long.
Although I always received a push notification when the battery was fully charged, I only received one alert when it was getting close to empty and no alerts when it was completely drained. A final alert and/or a buzzer would be welcome here. That said, the transfer switch worked wonderfully: Once I flipped the four breakers on the switch, the Yeti provided instant power to the circuits that I designated. There was no need to run extension cords to the Yeti or turn off my main circuit breaker.
To test the optional Boulder 100 solar panel, I placed it in an area of my backyard where it would be exposed to direct sunlight for around five hours a day. I placed the Yeti in a waterproof bin and ran a 30-foot extension cable to the solar panel. At high noon the app showed around 61 watts of input coming from the panel, but that number varied from hour to hour. The panel needed a little more than 5 days to charge the Yeti fully, but if you can place the panel in a location with more direct sunlight you’ll likely see faster charge times.
With Goal Zero’s Yeti 1400 Lithium Power Station With Wi-Fi, there’s no reason to be left in the dark if you suddenly lose power. You’ll pay premium bucks for this connected power supply, but in addition to peace of mind, it gives you enough power to keep freezers frozen, routers routing, and all of your phones, tablets, and PCs up and running. Granted, gas generators will provide uninterrupted power for as long as you keep the tank filled, but they’re noisy and must be kept outside in a well-ventilated area. The Yeti, on the other hand, is completely silent and gives off no fumes whatsoever. And, because it can be recharged using one of Goal Zero’s portable solar panels, it’s ideal for camping, boating, construction sites, or any other outdoor activity where power is needed. We’d love to see power usage and charging history charts added to the app, as well as a few customizable alert notifications, but this doesn’t prevent the Yeti 1400 from earning an Editors’ Choice award.