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Goal Zero Nomad 50 Review

A massive panel with an expensive price tag and a large capacity
Goal Zero Nomad 50
Photo: Goal Zero
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Price:  $250 List | Check Price at REI
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Pros:  Durable, works well in all kinds of conditions, large capacity
Cons:  Expensive, heavy, lacks portability
Manufacturer:   Goal Zero
By Jane Jackson ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  May 7, 2021
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49
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#15 of 16
  • Charging Speed - 30% 7
  • Charge Interruption Recovery - 20% 9
  • Multiple Device Charging Speed - 20% 0
  • Weight & Portability - 20% 1
  • Durability - 10% 8

Our Verdict

The Goal Zero Nomad 50 is best used in conjunction with a Goal Zero battery pack. Otherwise, it is simply a gigantic panel with a single USB port, which makes it feel a little overkill for charging small electronics like cell phones. That said, this 50W panel is highly efficient and works well in marginal conditions. It's durable and uses excellent materials, resulting in a decent overall construction — like most Goal Zero products. With a storage pocket and attachment points, it feels like an oversized version of the mid-range panels in this review. We would recommend this product to folks planning on setting up a remote base camp, where weight is not a concern; otherwise, the lack of portability makes the Nomad 50W feel a little obsolete.

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Goal Zero Nomad 50
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Goal Zero Nomad 50
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$69.99 at Amazon$39.99 at Amazon$69.99 at Amazon$29.99 at Amazon
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Pros Durable, works well in all kinds of conditions, large capacityInexpensive, efficient, user-friendly, excels in partly cloudy conditionsQuick to charge, portable size, panel actually works despite small wattageEfficient, powerful, great value for its size, lightweightLightweight, durable, lots of charging options
Cons Expensive, heavy, lacks portabilityBulky, lacks portabilityHeavy, slow to replenish battery via solarPocket too small to hold extra cords and accessoriesA bit bulky, slow charging speeds considering battery capacity
Bottom Line A massive panel with an expensive price tag and a large capacityWe were impressed by its ability to charge our gadgets quickly and reliably and its reasonable price is the cherry on topThis exceptionally priced battery pack quickly charges devices, and if left in the sun for hours, can replenish via solarA compact, lightweight panel with exceptional efficiency and charging capabilitiesA relatively lightweight battery pack with multiple charging options, this small model has a USB-C and wireless charging port
Rating Categories Goal Zero Nomad 50 BigBlue 3 Goertek 25,000mAh Anker PowerPort 21W Blavor Qi 10,000mAh
Charging Speed (30%)
7.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
Charge Interruption Recovery (20%)
9.0
9.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
Multiple Device Charging Speed (20%)
0.0
9.0
9.0
9.0
4.0
Weight & Portability (20%)
1.0
6.0
7.0
7.0
10.0
Durability (10%)
8.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
9.0
Specs Goal Zero Nomad 50 BigBlue 3 Goertek 25,000mAh Anker PowerPort 21W Blavor Qi 10,000mAh
Panel Size (watts) 50W 28W 5W 21W <5W
Weight (measured) 115.2 oz 23.5 oz 19 oz 17.6 oz 8.3 oz
# of USB outlets 1 3 3 2 2
Max USB Output Current (amps per port) 2.4 amp 2 amp 1 amp 2 amp 2 amp
Battery kit? No No Yes No Yes
Size folded 17" x 11.25" x 2.5" 11.1" x 6.3" x 1.3" 7" x 3.75" x 1.25" 11" x 6.3" x 0.75" 6" x 3" x 0.5"
Battery? No No Yes No Yes
Charge tablet? Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Charge laptop? Yes Yes No Yes No
Panel Type Mono-crystalline PET Polymer Mono-crystalline Mono-crystalline Mono-crystalline
Size opened 17" x 53" x 1.5" 33.1" x 11.1" x 0.2" 7" x 3.75" x 1.25" 26.3" x 11.1" x 0.2" 6" x 3" x 0.5"
Battery input (Volts / Amps) N/a N/a 5V 2A N/a 5V 2A
Charge capacity (mAh) N/a N/a 25,000mAh N/a 10,000mAh
Charge iPhone/Smartphone Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Direct USB Plug? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Daisy Chain? Yes No No No Yes
12-Volt connection No No No No No

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Goal Zero Nomad 50 boasts excellent charge interruption recovery and charging speed, but is by far the heaviest in our fleet.

Performance Comparison


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.
Photo: Jane Jackson

Charge Interruption Recovery


As you may guess, a panel of this size excels in this metric. With so much surface area, a small period of shade or the occasional passing cloud are not that big of an issue. We were pleased to see that the Nomad 50 easily maintained a charge to our devices through periods of intermittent sun. The results from our testing showed our phone charging 11% over the course of 30 minutes when subjected to periods of shade and sun.

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.
Photo: Jane Jackson

Charging Speed


Here, we expected lightning-speed results from the Nomad 50. Unfortunately, we were a bit underwhelmed by the panel's performance in this metric. This is our first time adding a 50W panel into this review, and we expected numbers that were far and beyond the rest of the fleet when it came to charging speed. It turns out, this panel is not much more efficient than some of the 28 or 40-watt options in this review. Throughout our 30-minute test period, the Nomad 50 charged our phone to 16% in full sun conditions. These results are a bit lackluster, seeing as panels with half the capacity managed to charge our phones more during the same amount of time. That said, we didn't use this panel in conjunction with a Goal Zero battery pack; perhaps it is more designed for that use as opposed to simple charging tasks using a USB port.

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.
Photo: Jane Jackson

Multiple Device Charging Speed


Since we didn't use the panel alongside a battery pack, we weren't able to test its ability to charge multiple devices simultaneously, as it only has one USB port. To make this test standardized across all the panels, we only performed it when multiple USB ports were present. This panel has a single USB port alongside an AC power port, which is meant to plug into a Goal Zero power bank. This design makes the Nomad 50 highly specific.

With only one USB port, this panel is likely designed to be used...
With only one USB port, this panel is likely designed to be used with a battery pack, rather than as a way to directly charge small gadgets.
Photo: Jane Jackson

Durability


Like most Goal Zero products, the Nomad 50 inspires confidence. Its design is burly and substantial, and it's meant to endure a beat-down from the elements, with a coated canvas upper and laminated monocrystalline solar cells. The pocket is also reinforced and canvas, providing a secure place to store cords and other sensitive electronic items.

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.
Photo: Jane Jackson

Weight and Portability


A burly 50-watt panel naturally lacks the portability of a smaller capacity model. The Nomad 50 is not a lightweight product and isn't really designed for backcountry use unless weight is not a concern. This panel weighs in at 7.2 pounds or 115 ounces. This is far and beyond any other product in this review and kind of sets the Goal Zero in a class of its own in terms of what it is designed for. Car camping and other backcountry trips where weight isn't a concern are the great uses for this large panel.

Value


Along with its substantial weight, the Nomad 50 also has a substantial price tag. This panel is a serious investment. Before purchasing, we would recommend you do research to ensure this is the setup that will best suit your needs and your next adventure. The fact that it is designed to work with a battery pack also means that you will want to look into the options in that realm as well — an added expense. Though it comes at a cost, this may be the best option for your next adventure.

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.
Photo: Jane Jackson

Conclusion


The Goal Zero Nomad 50 is an expensive solar charging set-up that is designed for a specific use. It didn't blow our minds when it came to charging speed, but it certainly has a large capacity and the ability to charge devices in marginal conditions. It is also very durable and well-made. That said, its heft, both in shape and weight, made it hard to imagine using in most situations — unless weight is not a concern. For specific trips, this may be the best option, but most folks will be able to charge their devices using smaller, more affordable panels.

Jane Jackson