Goal Zero Yeti 500x Portable Power Station Review

The Goal Zero Yeti 500x is a versatile power station.

We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs. Learn more ›

Goal Zero has solidified itself as one of the key players in the portable power station world—and the Yeti 500x lives up to the brand’s reputation. While I like to get away from it all in nature as much as possible, I can’t deny having a portable power source is handy for outdoor adventures or as an affordable backup power source. Not only are solar generators much cheaper than a traditional gas-powered generator, they have none of the noise.

I’ve owned the Goal Zero Yeti 500x portable power station for years and have found it an incredibly useful device for my off-grid camping trips. It has effectively allowed me to go on the road while working without worrying about needing to find an external power source. It’s become a vital part of my van conversion, powering my lights, fans, Dometic fridge, and more.

While I’ve used a few other power station brands since I first bought this one, the Yeti remains my favorite. Here’s my honest review of the Goal Zero Yeti 500x, including everything it can do and how it stacks up to the competition.

Goal Zero Yeti 500x Overview

Goal Zero Yeti 500x


Weight: 12.9 lbs

Battery Capacity: 505 watt hours, 10.8 volts, 46.8 amp hours

Chemistry: Lithium Ion NMC

Ports: 12-volt car port, 15W USB-C PD port, USB-A port (x2), 18W USB-C port, 120-volt AC inverter (x2), 8mm charge port, 6mm output

Dimensions: 7.5 x 11.25 x 5.8 inches


Incredibly versatile

Easy to activate port buttons

Simple display

Manageable weight

Charges quickly

Great handle


Accessories are expensive

Display is hard to read in bright sun

The Goal Zero Yeti 500x is arguably the brand’s most popular portable power station, and at $550, it’s a great midway price point for a portable power station. It’s essentially a giant lithium-ion battery with 505 watt hours of power in a relatively compact package. The low profile makes it easy to store just about anywhere. It weighs just a hair under 13 pounds, which makes it the easiest to move of all my power stations.

Goal Zero gave this power station a ton of ports. For output, you have your choice of three USB ports including a USB-C and a USB-C PD. I regularly use these to charge my cell phone and work laptop. There’s a 6mm output port, a 12-volt car port, and two 120-volt AC inverters or standard wall outlets. Those regular wall outlets can handle 300 watts with a 1,200-watt surge. While it won’t run heavy draw stuff like a hair dryer, heater, or toaster, it will handle, fans, lights, and small screens with ease.

What I Like About the Goal Zero Yeti 500x

The Yeti fits rather snugly in my van’s homemade cabinet. Travis Smola

The Goal Zero Yeti has become one of my favorite pieces of camping gear. I have used this device to charge laptops, run a 12-volt TV, a Dometic fridge, the 12-volt water pump in my van, the LED puck lights, a water percolator, an Internet hotspot, and more. I’m constantly making use of the USB-A ports to charge my mobile devices, and my camera. Simply put, I’ve used every single port on this thing multiple times and I continue to be impressed every time I find a new use for the station.

The Yeti has a rather simple, blocky design, but I like that better than some of the other stations I own. The folding handle lays down flush along the top when not in use, which allowed me to make a smaller shelf to hold it in the cabinet of my van build. I’ll take that compact profile over something with a molded, fixed handle like the Jackery. With another station I own, you must press and hold the port buttons to turn them on. The Yeti starts each port with a simple tap, and a white light clearly indicates the status of each port.

Used in conjunction with a car charger and 100-watt solar panel setup, I have been able to go on the road in my van for days at a time running my Dometic, my work laptop, my hotspot, phone, and other electronics—all without needing to stop and plug my van into shore power. The Goal Zero has probably saved me close to $1,000 this year alone in camping/hotel fees. Instead I’ve been able to utilize truck stops, casinos, and dispersed camping areas for free overnight stays. The fact that it has an internal charge controller also saved me a lot of money in wiring up my van by simplifying the setup.

Power Use

I’ve used the Goal Zero to run this 45l Dometic fridge. Travis Smola

The Yeti represents one of those rare products where I found the advertised run times are mostly spot-on for what I’ve experienced in the field. Goal Zero says you can charge a laptop 10 times or run a portable fridge for 20 hours. In my own testing with a Dometic fridge, I was easily able to run it for about 25 hours before the charge. I don’t own a C-pap or other medical device, but I feel confident in saying the Yeti would operate those over the course of a full night’s sleep.

I have found I’m able to conserve the charge on my Goal Zero simply by utilizing ports other than the wall outlets. For instance, the Dometic uses far less power when plugged into the 12V port. Consequently, I bought a small 12V outlet TV that only uses about 7 to 9 watts when charging through that port. It has an AC outlet, but that option uses 15 to 17 watts to charge. It’s small, but the difference adds up over time. I’ve since made it a point to buy devices with an optional 12V car plug style outlet option to make things even more efficient.

If you are offsetting power consumption with a solar panel or car charger throughout the day, you’re not likely to run out of juice. Especially if you’re only using it for phones, LED headlamps, and other small electronics. Warmer weather will cut down those advertised run times a little, although I expect that with any lithium battery.

What I Don’t Like About the Goal Zero Yeti 500x

The Goal Zero is just a bit more efficient with off-brand solar panels. Travis Smola

Honestly, there isn’t much I haven’t liked about the Goal Zero Yeti 500x in the two years I’ve owned it. My biggest issue is the price of the accessories. For instance, there’s an excellent 12-volt car charging cable that tops off the battery while I’m driving. However, it’s sold separately from the power station, and the $40 price tag seems a little high.

Additionally, I believe that most people who pick up a Goal Zero are looking to use it off grid with a solar panel. I bought the Goal Zero Boulder 100 Briefcase solar panel for $300 to use with it. The cord is way too short, necessitating a 15- or 30-foot solar panel extension cable, which can cost up to $40 depending on length.

The accessory car changing cable is effective, but expensive. Travis Smola

Oddly enough, I’ve also noted the Yeti is about 10 watts more efficient on solar charge with an off-brand Bouge RV solar panel than it is with the Boulder. I get around 60 watts consistently with the Bouge RV panel, and 40 to 50 with the Goal Zero panel. Honestly, this is a small gripe. I don’t regret the purchase of the Boulder solar panel since it is extremely rugged, but it’s odd the branded panels don’t work as well.

The only other downside to the Yeti is that the 3-inch LCD monochrome panel display can sometimes be hard to read in direct sunlight. It’s not the worst display I’ve seen on a portable power station, but it’s certainly not the best either. The light blue can be difficult to see outdoors unless it’s cloudy, so be prepared to shield the screen with your hand.


Q: Can I leave my Goal Zero Yeti plugged in?

Yes. I have left my Goal Zero plugged in most of the time for the last two years. The manufacturer recommends doing this to help keep the battery topped off. Many other power stations are not designed to be plugged in continuously, but I’ve yet to have an issue with the 500x. It’s been especially handy when I’ve had a power outage because the Goal Zero is ready to go immediately.  

Q: How long will a Goal Zero Yeti last?

It really depends on how you use the station and if you are simultaneously re-charging it with either a power cable in your vehicle or a solar panel. On my most recent camping trip, my Dometic electronic cooler drained down to about a 60% charge overnight in my van. That was without being topped off with any other source during the night.

Q: Can you charge a Goal Zero Yeti while using it?

Yes, this is something I do all the time while using mine. On one occasion, I was able to work out of the back of my Jeep for an entire day in northern Michigan with the station plugged into a solar panel. The Yeti was running my 17-inch work laptop and my Dometic fridge simultaneously. At the end of the day, I still had a 98% charge thanks to strong sunlight the entire day.

Q: Can I charge my Goal Zero in my car?

Yes, if you purchase the car charging accessory. Depending on how much it has drained, I’ve found it can top the Yeti’s battery back to 100 percent after about two hours. I only do this while I’m driving, but it’s a good way to keep powered while on a road trip.

Goal Zero Yeti 500x: Final Thoughts

The Yeti has proven quite useful in scenarios I didn’t anticipate when I bought it. Travis Smola

The Goal Zero Yeti is one of those rare products that lives up to almost all of the hype. The possibilities for this power station are nearly endless. Whether you just need a power bank to keep the cooler going in the backcountry, or you need to power your laptop at the campground, it will do the job. And the fact that it does it in a green way with a solar panel is just a bonus.

Last year I had a summer power outage that normally would have knocked me offline and cost at least a day’s worth of writing work. But with the Goal Zero, I was able to keep to my schedule without needing to make it up later. It’s a nice extra peace of mind when bad weather is in the forecast.

Aside from helping me work on the road, I’ve found dozens of uses for this station around the home too. Even if it’s something as simple as serving as a hub for charging all my handheld electronics. It’s super handy when you need a drill or saw in a place that doesn’t have an outlet handy. For $550, I’d say this is easily one of the best investments I’ve made in the past five years.

Why Trust Us

For more than 125 years, Field & Stream has been providing readers with honest and authentic coverage of outdoor gear. Our writers and editors eat, sleep, and breathe the outdoors, and that passion comes through in our product reviews. You can count on F&S to keep you up to date on the best new gear. And when we write about a product—whether it’s a bass lure or a backpack—we cover the good and the bad, so you know exactly what to expect before you decide to make a purchase.

The post Goal Zero Yeti 500x Portable Power Station Review appeared first on Field & Stream.

Articles may contain affiliate links which enable us to share in the revenue of any purchases made.