Goal Zero Nomad 14 Plus Review
Cons: Did not deliver charge effectively, lots of extra cordage, lacks portability, expensive
Manufacturer: Goal Zero
Compare to Similar Products
Goal Zero Nomad 14 Plus
|Price||$150 List||$69.96 at Amazon||$49.99 at Amazon||$69.99 at Amazon||$39.99 at Amazon|
|Pros||Durable, weather-resistant, thoughtful overall design||Inexpensive, efficient, user-friendly, excels in partly cloudy conditions||Quick to charge, portable size, panel actually works despite small wattage||Efficient, powerful, great value for its size, lightweight||Inexpensive, lightweight, portable, charges quickly|
|Cons||Did not deliver charge effectively, lots of extra cordage, lacks portability, expensive||Bulky, heaviest weight||Heavy, slow to replenish battery via solar||Pocket too small to hold extra cords and accessories||Low output power, cannot charge multiple devices at once|
|Bottom Line||We were a bit disappointed by its ability to deliver a consistent charge to our electronics||For an inexpensive, easy-to-use and efficient panel, the BigBlue is a no-brainer||For a small battery pack with solar capabilities, this is an impressive product||This panel is efficient in varying conditions and can charge multiple devices||This lightweight 13W panel is able to deliver a steady charge to a single device, but lacks in its ability to charge multiple devices at once|
|Rating Categories||Goal Zero Nomad 14 Plus||BigBlue 28W||Goertek 25,000mAh||Anker PowerPort 21W||ECEEN 13W|
|Charging Speed (30%)|
|Charge Interruption Recovery (20%)|
|Multiple Device Charging Speed (20%)|
|Weight & Portability (20%)|
|Specs||Goal Zero Nomad 14...||BigBlue 28W||Goertek 25,000mAh||Anker PowerPort 21W||ECEEN 13W|
|Panel Size (watts)||14W||28W||5W||21W||13W|
|Weight (measured)||32.2 oz||23.5 oz||19 oz||17.6 oz||12 oz|
|# of USB outlets||2||2||3||2||2|
|Max USB Output Current (amps per port)||2.4 amp||2 amp||1 amp||2 amp||2 amp|
|Size folded||12.1" x 7.8" x 0.5"||11.1" x 6.3" x 1.3"||7" x 3.75" x 1.25"||11" x 6.3" x .75"||11.4" x 6.1" x 0.6"|
|Panel Type||Mono-crystalline||PET Polymer||Mono-crystalline||Mono-crystalline||Mono-crystalline|
|Size opened||12.1" x 15.8" x 0.1"||33.1" x 11.1" x 0.2"||7" x 3.75" x 1.25"||26.3" x 11.1" x 0.2"||11.4" x 14.3 x .15"|
|Battery input (Volts / Amps)||N/a||N/a||5V 2A||N/a||N/a|
|Charge capacity (mAh)||N/a||N/a||25,000mAh||N/a||N/a|
|Direct USB Plug?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Warranty||6 months||2 years||1 year||18 months||30 day return|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Goal Zero Nomad 14+ receives low scores across the board, from overall performance to weight and portability.
Charge Interruption Recovery
We tested the Nomad 14+'s ability to re-establish a charge after shading by covering it from the sun and then removing the shade to see how well the panel performed after this interruption. The Nomad comes with an LED indicator to show how much power you're receiving from the sun. Our first red flag with this product was that it never got past one LED light in full sun, making it difficult to tell how it did in terms of interruption recovery - since it was never receiving a solid charge in the first place. That said, we found that the panel went from barely charging our device to completely disconnecting after an interruption.
Here, the Nomad also fell short. We plugged in our 10,000mAh battery pack and left it in full sun for 30 minutes. During this time, the panel showed no signs of charging the battery pack. Compared to most other models, this was a fairly disappointing performance, especially for a 14W panel. We also plugged in a Pixel 3 to this panel and left it in the sun for an hour. Our phone charged 7% during this time, which was not a remarkable amount in comparison to other panels.
Multiple Device Charging Speed
The Nomad, though it comes with what seemed like miles of extra cord (which drove us crazy), does not have the capability to charge multiple devices at once. This is probably for the best, considering the challenges this panel faced charging one small battery pack.
One thing the Nomad has going for it is durability. This panel is built to last, at least on the outside. The cells themselves are coated in a durable finish, allowing the panel to withstand rain, heat, and dirt. The stretchy mesh pocket is also very durable and protects gadgets with ease.
Weight and Portability
The Goal Zero panels we have tested in the past tend to be hefty in size and weight. The Nomad is no exception. This panel weighs 32.2 ounces, which is just over two pounds; this is significant for a panel that provides no extra features beyond a somewhat underwhelming charging ability.
Another downside to the Nomad+ is its price tag. Goal Zero panels tend to be fairly expensive, and the Nomad is no exception. We found that many panels that cost half the amount performed better than the Nomad. The panel is durable, but since it doesn't work very well in terms of charging speed, its overbuilt design seems like an extra benefit that doesn't end up helping the panel out very much.
The Goal Zero Nomad 14+ did not meet our expectations during our testing period. Perhaps we got a panel that didn't meet the standards of other Goal Zero products, but after our three-month testing period, we were unsatisfied with how the Nomad did, especially compared to models from lesser-known brands. On the plus side, the Nomad is built well and has been designed with durability in mind.
— Jane Jackson