Goal Zero Boulder 50 Review
The Boulder 50 is a rugged looking 50-watt solar panel with useful features such as protected corners and an integrated stand. If you are looking to buy a panel to charge one of Goal Zero’s battery units such as the Sherpa or Yeti, it is a perfect choice. A sturdy frame and high efficiency cells bring more power.
It can be used easily by placing it on your truck’s hood or beside your tents. It can even be utilized in your backyard. Besides a couple of acceptable drawbacks, the Boulder 50 turns out to be an impressive performer, as we will find out in more detail in this Goal Zero Boulder 50 review. If you have a considerable outing frequency with moderate power requirements, the Boulder 50 might be the perfect fit.
The Boulder 50 comes with a rated open circuit voltage of 18-22V, meaning it should be compatible with any device or battery that runs on 12V DC. Depending on the battery/power pack’s charge capacity, it may take a few hours to fully charge it. As far as Goal Zero products are concerned, all power packs and power stations are perfectly compatible with the Boulder 50. The connecting jack is designed to be specifically compatible to Goal Zero’s power packs, but can be used with other brands too.
Goal Zero describes the Boulder 50 as rugged, durable and rigid, and the product does stand true to the description. A solid anodized aluminum frame with corner protection sets Boulder 50 apart from standard, non-portable panels. The junction box at the back sits nicely below the frame level and the glass in front is termed ‘strong, tempered glass’. For starters, tempered glass is toughened thermally treated glass which either does not break or breaks without dispersing shards. It is difficult to achieve an optimum balance between durability and weight, and this product succeeds in doing so.
Ease of Use
This solar panel can be easily carried in one hand, especially with the travel case. Setting up the panel is equally easy. It takes only a few seconds to pull out the stand and place it in the desired direction at the desired angle. There is an easy to plug 8mm barrel jack pin that can be plugged into the power pack or another 50W panel. The replacement of MC4 connectors by barrel jacks ensures parallel connection at all times, eliminating chances of battery damage from high voltage series connection.
The most distinguishing features of the Boulder 50 are certainly the availability of the kickstand and reinforced corners. Easy plugging pins mean no more confusion with circuit diagrams and inaccurate polarity connections.
On the design front, the panel looks sleek with its monocrystalline cell matrix and a black anodized aluminum frame. The mounting kickstand is clamped neatly into the frame and swings in and out easily. A better-quality kickstand with rubber or plastic protection on ends could have been a plus. The wires are optimum length and the corner guards sport a lime color in a black border. Overall, the panel looks modern and robust.
What We Like
The unique features of the Boulder 50 make it a true portable panel, as easy as transporting and setting up a foldable chair. The performance is also promising, thanks to the dark monocrystalline cells. Although it does go considerably higher on the pricing part than standard panels, the features surely make up for it. In case you are eager to explore other options of portable panels, this post will be of help.
The Boulder 50, though, is a worthy upgrade on the previous Boulder 30, and promises real portability and ease of use.
- Excellent build quality with durable components
- Easy installation, thanks to integrated kickstand
- Corner protection for added strength and rigidity
- No rubber/plastic stoppers on the kickstand makes it slightly unsafe on the ends
- Costlier than standard solar panels