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Goal Zero Nomad 20 Review

This solar panel seems like it should be a good option but after testing, The Nomad 20 failed to live up to its solid design
goal zero nomad 20 solar charger review
Credit: Goal Zero
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Price:  $150 List
Manufacturer:   Goal Zero
By James Lucas, Matt Spencer  ⋅  Nov 4, 2022
41
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#6 of 10
  • Direct Solar Charging Speed - 35% 5.0
  • Indirect Solar Charging Speed - 35% 3.5
  • Portability - 15% 3.5
  • Multiple Device Charging - 15% 4.0

Our Verdict

This well-designed solar charger seemed like a good choice but when we put it to the test, it failed to perform well especially given its high price tag. It performed mediocrely in the charging tests as well as in portability and multiple device charging. Though it performed ok, the juice from this solar charger isn't worth the squeeze from the wallet.
REASONS TO BUY
Rugged design
Has a built-in stand
REASONS TO AVOID
Doesn't like to stay unfolded/folded after being in one of those states and then changing
Heavy for the size
Rigid design makes it hard to pack

Compare to Similar Products

 
goal zero nomad 20 solar charger review
This Product
Goal Zero Nomad 20
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award  Top Pick Award 
Price $150 List
$149.95 at REI
$100 List
$72.96 at Amazon
$65 List
$64.98 at Amazon
$63 List
$62.99 at Amazon
$42 List
Overall Score Sort Icon
41
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31
Star Rating
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Pros Rugged design, has a built-in standInexpensive, efficient, user-friendly, great charging speed, excels in partly cloudy conditionsGood charging speed, lots of places to clip carabiners, highly affordableImpressive charging speeds, can charge multiple devices simultaneously, affordableLarge battery capacity, LED back panel
Cons Doesn't like to stay unfolded/folded after being in one of those states and then changing, heavy for the size, rigid design makes it hard to packBulky, lacks portability, and the storage pouch is only semi-secureHard to reach pouch makes the panel lay crooked, just a solar panel with no battery pack,Poor interruption recoveryThe small solar panel makes charging hard
Bottom Line This solar panel seems like it should be a good option but after testing, The Nomad 20 failed to live up to its solid designThis speedy solar charger handles multiple devices and offers reliability at a reasonable priceThis low-priced, incredibly efficient solar panel converts the sun into charges while saving on costsA powerful, fast charging machine, capable of charging multiple devices, complete with a reasonable price tagWhere this device lacks in its ability as a solar charger, it makes up for as an affordable battery pack
Rating Categories Goal Zero Nomad 20 BigBlue 3 X-Dragon 20W Ryno-Tuff 21W OEUUDD 25000mAh
Direct Solar Charging Speed (35%)
5.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
1
Indirect Solar Charging Speed (35%)
3.5
10.0
8.5
6.5
1.5
Portability (15%)
3.5
5.5
5.5
6.5
7.5
Multiple Device Charging (15%)
4.0
9.5
7.5
8.0
7.5
Specs Goal Zero Nomad 20 BigBlue 3 X-Dragon 20W Ryno-Tuff 21W OEUUDD 25000mAh
Panel Size (watts) Power Output? 20W 28W 20W 21W <5W
Weight (measured) 41.8oz 21.8oz 21.1oz 17.5oz 18.6oz
# of USB outlets 1 3 2 2 3
Max USB Output Current (amps per port) 2.1 amp 2.4 amp 3 amp 2.1 amp 2 amp
Size folded 11.5" x 7.4" x 1.25" 11.1" x 6.3" x 1.3" 12.1" x 7.2" x .51" 5.9" x 11.8" x 0.8" N/A
Size opened 11.5" x 21.75" x 0.75" 33.1" x 11.1" x 0.2" 23.3" x 12.1" x .12" 18" x 11.8" x 0.1" 7" x 3.75" x 1.25"
Battery? No No No No Yes
Charge capacity (mAh) N/A N/A N/A N/A 25,000mAh
Charge tablet? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Charge laptop? Yes No No No No
Charge iPhone/Smartphone Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Panel outside material Plastic case PET Polymer Fabric PTFE PET Polymer Fabric PET Polymer Fabric
Panel type Mono-crystalline Mono-crystalline Mono-crystalline Mono-crystalline Mono-crystalline
Battery input (Volts / Amps) N/A N/A N/A N/A 5V/2A
Direct USB Plug? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Daisy Chain? Yes No No No No
12-Volt connection No No No No No
DC Output Yes No No No No

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Goal Zero Nomad 20 offers a durable panel that ranked in the middle of the class in terms of its ability to charge in the direct and indirect sun, it has the ability to charge multiple devices but not rapidly, and is a reasonable sized, though not excessively portable, solar panel. Overall this panel does the job.

Performance Comparison


goal zero nomad 20 solar charger review - though it&#039;s designed as a foldable travel panel, the nomad 50 is...
Though it's designed as a foldable travel panel, the Nomad 50 is bulky and large.
Credit: Jane Jackson

Direct Solar Charging Speed


The Nomad 20 did just ok at charging speed. The three mono-crystalline panels received 1096 mAh while in direct sunlight making the Nomad 20 a mediocre choice for collecting sun.


Indirect Charging Speed


The Nomad 20 did well, producing 108 mAh. This was the second-highest output we observed in our tests. In partial coverage, it produced a mere 443 mAh. However, this was far from ideal. We wanted to see a bit more in the solar panel's ability to capture light.


While it performed slightly better in partial shade, it still didn't do that well compared with the other panels.

goal zero nomad 20 solar charger review - the kickstand on the nomad 50 increases efficiency, but we were...
The kickstand on the Nomad 50 increases efficiency, but we were still underwhelmed by the charging speed.
Credit: Jane Jackson

Multiple Device Charging Speed


The Nomad 20 has two USB ports and delivers 2.1 amps through each of them. The ports offered mediocre charge performance. With multiple devices plugged in, the rates decreased from 471 mAh in the first port to 447 mAh in the second port. In terms of multiple device charging, the Nomad 20 faired below average.

goal zero nomad 20 solar charger review - our testing grounds were a great place to subject these panels to...
Our testing grounds were a great place to subject these panels to daily wear and tear. With its coated cells and reinforced canvas exteroir, the Goal Zero excels in this metric.
Credit: Jane Jackson

Portability


This panel weighs in at 41.8 ounces. Folded this panel comes in at 11.63" x 7.25" x 1.35." Unfolded it's 22" x 11.63." This panel would be significantly nicer if it was substantially lighter and more portable.

goal zero nomad 20 solar charger review - with so much surface area, it&#039;s no surprise that this panel excels...
With so much surface area, it's no surprise that this panel excels in this metric.
Credit: Jane Jackson

Should You Buy The Nomad 20?


This panel is heavy and expensive. While it can be daisy-chained, it can be linked with other solar panels to increase the wattage, the actual value of the panel is a bit off. Consider looking at a few of the other reviewed models that perform a bit better given their price.

goal zero nomad 20 solar charger review - with a standard panel design, but in a super-sized package, the...
With a standard panel design, but in a super-sized package, the Nomad 50 is a niche item. We appreciated the materials used in its construction, like the reinforced pocket shown above. That said, it's a serious investment.
Credit: Jane Jackson

Conclusion


The What Other Solar Chargers Should You Consider? is an expensive solar charging set-up that didn't blow our minds when it came to charging speed, portability, or multiple devices charging speed. Though durable and well made, this charger may be best suited for just when you need to connect multiple solar panels together to make a large wattage system.

If you're looking for a simpler solar charger try the Big Blue 28W which charges better, is significantly less expensive, and is far more portable.

James Lucas, Matt Spencer
 
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