Popular Mechanics: The Best Portable Generators to Bring the Power With You

Popular Mechanics: The Best Portable Generators to Bring the Power With You


Goal Zero Yeti 3000x

Power stations like this one keep getting better. As tech improves and costs come down, they’ve become a reliable source of portable electricity. We’ve used smaller versions from Goal Zero to power lights and electronics on weekend boondocking camping trips and to recharge computers and phones in makeshift work-at-home offices. But this 3000x adds a new level of capability and promise. With a huge lithium-ion battery and 2000-watt AC inverter (with 3500-watt surge capability), it can juice major appliances and a bunch of smaller ones for a weekend. That makes it a real option for emergency backup power. We ran a full-size, energy-hungry fridge, 60-watt light, and radio constantly for 38 hours. In that time, we also ran four cycles of a toaster, and recharged a laptop once and iPhone twice. Basically, the essentials you’d need to comfortably get through a short power outage. Plugging it into a wall outlet repowered the station in just under 13 hours, and Goal Zero sells 200-watt solar panels that will recharge the thing in about a day, depending on conditions. It’s more expensive than most gas-powered portable generators, but it makes no noise, and there are zero emissions, so you can safely use it in your garage or even your living room. The compact, sturdy body and wheeled frame make it portable, conducive to use when overlanding, taking it to a worksite, and wheeling it anywhere you need a lot of power. Goal Zero also offers a home integration kit, so you can connect it right into as many as three of your house’s electrical circuits for always-on backup power.

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