Goal Zero Boulder 100 Review
- Integrated kickstand
- Strong tempered glass
- Anodized aluminum frame
- Reinforced corners
Goal Zero’s Boulder 100 is a portable 100W solar panel. It sports a robust, lightweight, corner-protected frame and minimal wiring. It also comes with a handy kickstand that allows you to easily set it up at the required angle. At close to 10kg (22 lbs), it’s portability is not entirely a highlight. For the quality and features, it should be worth buying for most users.
Easy setup and connections with Goal Zero power packs make it practical and one of the best portable solar panels. The only drawbacks, similar to the Boulder 50, are the relatively higher price and a relatively average kickstand. But if you don’t mind those drawbacks, the Boulder 100 is a great buy. Let us find out a bit more about this Goal Zero Boulder 100 in the review.
The 14-22V port of the Boulder 100 means most 12V devices or batteries can be connected to it. The panel can be directly connected, without the need of a charge controller, to Goal Zero’s power packs or power stations. These include the Sherpa 100 and all of the Yeti series power stations. It is easy to connect with a single pin and no multiple ports that create confusion for beginners. This also adds safety from high voltage series connections.
Despite its extra 2-3kg with respect to a standard 100W panel, the Boulder 100 is stronger. The protected corners play a superb role in protecting the panel from any possible shocks. The kickstand on the rear, though intended for mounting, also serves some protection, especially to the plastic junction box. While standard panels can sustain a drop of an inch or two at the most, the Boulder 100 goes farther in that aspect. The tempered glass also gives much needed front-side protection from the elements or minor accidents.
Ease of Use
The most important factor that maximizes usability of this panel is its metallic stand. Made of simple L-angles welded together and clamped to the aluminum frame, it is a basic but useful structure. There is no need of supporting panels by rocks and chairs anymore, as it takes a mere few seconds to swing the kickstand out to the desired degree and set it up. The use of single pin barrel jack is a unique choice, which makes connecting and disconnecting power stations simpler and safer.
The Boulder 100 comes with the standard Boulder series features such as foldable kickstand and protected corners. The panel is made from laser-cut monocrystalline cells that promise higher efficiency, thus making the panel more compact. It is weather-resistant, meaning it is water-proof, and to some extent, it’s shock-proof as well.
In the first glance, this solar product is a large black rectangle with ‘Boulder 100’ and ‘Goal Zero’ written at the bottom side of the frame. The black mono-cells add to the sleek look of it, while the protected corners add a hint of green, making it look slightly youthful and sporty. The kickstand could have been more aesthetically pleasing, and rubber stoppers at the stand ends could help prevent foot injuries, but the stand does not provide those.
What We Like
A portable panel is supposed to sustain more than a regular, permanently mounted panel. On this front, the Goal Zero Boulder 100 is a clear winner. Performance-wise, the mono Si cells deliver the amount of energy as specified by Goal Zero. The standout features certainly are the kickstand and corner protection, guaranteeing ease and safety. Though the costs could have been lower, the product is worth the money.
- Integrated kickstand allows easy setup
- Excellent build quality with premium components (frame, glass)
- Higher strength and durability due to corner protection
- 20-30% heavier than a regular 100W panel
- Costs significantly higher than other non-portable modules