Inergy FLEX 1500 Portable Power Station Review – Everything You Need to Know
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We are big advocates of solar generators. Whether you are new to solar and you are just looking for a small-scale, beginner-friendly piece of solar equipment, or you are looking to build a large-scale solar power system for your entire home, it is possible to find a solar generator that can perfectly satisfy your exact needs.
This is because solar generators are true all-in-one solar power stations. They contain a deep cycle solar battery, a power inverter, and a charge controller. This means you can simply connect your solar generator to one or more solar panels and you can immediately start storing and using solar electricity.
How Can We Help?
While you can certainly find a solar generator that will fit your specific budget and power needs by shopping around, there are now more options available than ever before, which can make it difficult to know where to start. Luckily, we have done the hard work for you by testing and reviewing just about every solar generator that is on the market today.
To help you understand your options, we are going to take an in-depth look at Inergy’s highly anticipated FLEX 1500 Portable Power Station. We will break down the specifications and help you determine whether or not this powerful little unit is the right solar generator for you. We will also take a look at the Inergy brand, which will give you more background on their reputation within the solar industry.
From there, we will offer some comparable alternatives, so you are aware of multiple options!
The Inergy Brand
From the very beginning, Inergy has had a simple goal – to deliver affordable solar power to people all around the world. While this may sound like a fairly cliché slogan, there is serious authenticity and intent behind it. This is because the founder and current CEO spent his formative years in a Thai refugee camp with very little access to electricity. This experience really impressed on him the importance of power for modern-day life.
With this motivation, Inergy was launched. Shortly after it was founded, Inergy became one of the first specialized solar companies to enter the solar generator market. While their most recent models, like the FLEX 1500, are significantly more advanced than Inergy’s first few releases, like the Inergy Kodiak and Apex Power Stations, these early solar generators made a significant impact on the entire solar industry. This is because they focused on portability, quality, and affordability.
Current Reputation for Innovation & Quality:
Today, Inergy continues to enjoy a well-earned reputation for offering high-quality solar generators at affordable prices. They also continue to be one of the most innovative brands in the industry, which explains why they have won so many awards related to clean tech development.
While we will certainly spend some time dissecting the FLEX 1500, it is safe to say that Inergy is considered to be one of the more trustworthy brands out there. With that being said, Inergy has been known to struggle with supply chain issues, which, unfortunately, has led to some of their launches being delayed and their products being left on back-order for months at a time.
Review of the FLEX 1500 Portable Power Station
Now that you know a little bit more about the Inergy brand, we can take a look at the FLEX 1500 to determine if it is worthy of the hype it has created.
What is the Inergy FLEX 1500?
Inergy designed the Flex 1500 Power Station to act as a highly versatile, modular solar generator. Inergy also placed a strong importance on ensuring that the FLEX 1500 would be incredibly portable, which is why it features a top-mounted carrying handle and only weighs 29 lbs.
Like other solar generators, the FLEX 1500 contains a rechargeable, deep cycle solar battery, a built-in power inverter, an integrated and efficient charge controller, and a variety of output and input ports.
Essentially, it was designed so users could access reliable, renewable power, no matter where they were. While the lightweight and compact design certainly helps in this regard, what really sets the FLEX 1500 apart is its modular design, which means the main console can be detached from the battery.
The FLEX 1500 Power Console & Primary Components:
One of the first things we noticed about the FLEX 1500 is its robust 1,500W (3,000W surge) power inverter, which is what gives the FLEX 1500 its name. This efficient and powerful pure sine wave inverter ensures that the FLEX 1500 is compatible with a wide range of 110-120VAC and 12V electronic devices and appliances.
For such a compact and lightweight solar generator, a 1,500W power inverter is fairly impressive. Many of the solar generators we see that are under 50 lbs will only feature a 1,000W inverter. In simple words, a more powerful inverter means that you can power more demanding electronics without having to worry that the FLEX 1500 will be underpowered.
With that being said, those that are looking to run electronic appliances with a higher wattage and voltage rating, like a washing machine, full-sized refrigerator, or convection oven, may need to opt for a more powerful solar generator.
The FLEX 1500’s main console also contains an efficient MPPT charge controller that offers a 90V solar input rating. The addition of an efficient charge controller means that the FLEX 1500 will store more of the solar electricity your solar panels are able to generate. It also means that the 1500’s internal battery will charge much faster. In fact, with the right number of solar panels, you could potentially charge the internal battery in as little as 3.5 hours with solar power alone!
The FLEX 1500’s Battery Specifications:
Out of the box, the FLEX 1500 features a 1,000Wh lithium-ion battery. The battery contains high-quality Samsung cells, which is impressive for a solar generator at this price point. As mentioned above, the battery module is actually detachable from the main console, which can be helpful for storage purposes and any time you need to transport your FLEX 1500. For example, if you were hiking to a remote, off-grid camping location, you could detach the battery and console and divide the weight amongst two people.
While the 1,000Wh battery does not really get us too excited, one of the most appealing features of the FLEX 1500 is the fact that it is expandable! This means you can add as many FLEX batteries as you need. In fact, the FLEX 1500 can potentially support up to 96 expansion batteries, although this number wouldn’t be very practical.
While few people are going to take things that far, the fact you could easily double or triple your solar generator’s storage capacity by purchasing one or two expansion batteries is hugely appealing.
The Design and Features:
The modular design is one of the most unique things about the FLEX 1500, and it also happens to be one of its most appealing design features. Whether you want to expand or replace the battery, the simple latched design makes it incredibly easy to make upgrades and repairs.
We also like that it features a clear LCD display screen, which offers input and output information at the touch of a button. The battery also features a second display screen, which makes it easy to check how much power you have left.
In terms of output ports, the FLEX 1500 features the following:
- 2x 60W USB-C ports with PD and QC 3.0
- 2x USB-A ports with QC 2.0
- 2x 5.5mm x 2.5mm DC outputs (Compatible with Inergy Basecamp LED lights and other branded accessories)
- 2x 15A 13.8V cigarette-style DC ports
- 6x 110-120V AC wall-style grounded outlets
You can also easily toggle between DC and AC output power with the touch of a button. Another feature we like is the option to add the Inergy FLEX MPPT Super Charger, which triples the solar input rating.
For added convenience, the battery can be charged in four unique ways. Aside from solar charging the battery using your choice of solar panels, you can also DC charge the battery with a car charger, or charge the battery with AC power using the included wall adapter. As a fourth option, you can dual-charge with AC power and solar power, which means you can plug the FLEX 1500 into a wall outlet and a solar panel simultaneously for an even faster charging speed.
Our Overall Impression of the FLEX 1500
The Inergy FLEX 1500 Power Station is certainly an impressive solar generator, especially when you consider its relatively inexpensive price and lightweight design. While there are plenty of solar generators out there that offer more impressive specifications, the FLEX 1500 is very affordable and offers some really unique features.
We really like the modular design and think it could be a great option for outdoor enthusiasts, or anyone else that values portability. The ability to easily upgrade the storage capacity by adding expansion batteries is also really useful.
While we really like what we see from the FLEX 1500 and would feel comfortable recommending it to our readers, there is a catch. Unfortunately, Ingergy’s ongoing supply issues are becoming a serious concern. Put simply, few people are actually able to order a FLEX 1500. Even if you are able to place an order, there is no guarantee when you will actually receive it.
On top of that, it does not pack a powerful enough inverter for some of the larger appliances, which means it is not exactly the most practical option for anyone interested in emergency preparedness. We would really prefer if they offered an option to upgrade the inverter to one with a higher voltage rating, so it could be used to power 240V appliances.
Unfortunately, this combination of issues is a real problem for consumers. However, if Inergy can ever address their supply issues and possibly add the option to upgrade the inverter to one with a higher voltage rating, we would happily consider it to be a serious option.
Inergy FLEX 1500 Alternatives
Given that the FLEX 1500 has a few faults and Inergy’s continued struggles to keep up with demand, we are going to offer some solar generator alternatives that we feel could be a superior option for certain consumers:
Although it has a slightly higher price tag than the Inergy FLEX 1500, the EcoFlow Delta MAX delivers over twice the storage capacity and a significantly more powerful inverter. The Delta MAX’s 2,016Wh lithium-ion battery dwarfs the 1,000Wh battery you get with the FLEX 1500. The Delta MAX’s powerful 2,400W inverter can also handle significantly more demanding loads than the FLEX 1500’s 1,500W inverter, so you can use all of that extra stored power to run a greater range of electronics.
The Delta MAX’s larger battery also recharges at a much faster rate than the FLEX 1500. While they both contain MPPT charge controllers, the Delta MAX features EcoFlow’s X-Stream technology, which increases the charge rate.
Like the FLEX 1500, the Delta MAX is also expandable, so you have the option to increase the storage capacity to 6,026Wh by connecting it to EcoFlow’s Smart Batteries. Where the FLEX 1500 was primarily designed for portability and to be a practical option for outdoor enthusiasts, EcoFlow designed the Delta MAX for versatility. It is still portable enough to be a practical option for RVing and camping, but it also works extremely well as an emergency power source.
This is because it features a unique Emergency Supply Power Mode, which means it will kick in and supply power to your appliances as soon as it detects a power outage. When you consider some of the other convenient features, like Wi-Fi connectivity, a greater number and variety of output ports, and a lightning-fast 800W charge rate, the Delta MAX certainly presents itself as an interesting alternative to the Inergy FLEX 1500.
Where to Buy
For those with power requirements that far exceed the capabilities of a FLEX 1500, the Delta PRO is a significantly upgrade alternative This powerful solar generator was designed to be a true home battery backup system, which explains why it features an enormous and expandable 3,600Wh LiFePO4 battery.
The Delta PRO’s storage capacity can be increased far beyond anything we have ever seen from a solar generator. You can quickly and easily connect it to multiple 3,600Wh expansion batteries until you reach a total battery capacity of 25,000Wh / 25kWh! This puts the Delta PRO in the same category as the Tesla Powerwall 2 and authentically qualifies it as a full home battery system.
With an input rating of 6,500W, it also features industry-leading charging capabilities. The powerful 3,600W inverter also means you can use the Delta PRO to run large-scale appliances, like fridges, ovens, and even power tools. When two Delta PROs are paired together, the output power rating can increase to 7,200W/240V. This is some serious output power!
Even if you purchased 25 expansion batteries for your FLEX 1500, the performance capabilities would be way behind what you could achieve with two Delta PROs! While the Delta PRO is more expensive than the FLEX 1500, it is in a completely different solar generator class and it certainly justifies the added expense. Not only that, EcoFlow’s more robust manufacturing capabilities mean that you will receive your Delta PRO when you order it, rather than having to wait for months or more.
Where to Buy
Like the Delta MAX, the Bluetti AC200 MAX also delivers a much larger battery and a more powerful inverter than the FLEX 1500. While it is a bit more expensive than the FLEX 1500, it more than justifies the price. In fact, nearly every component within the AC200 doubles the performance specs of those found in the FLEX 1500.
You can also upgrade the 2,048Wh battery to a maximum storage capacity of 8,192Wh by connecting the AC200 MAX to Bluetti’s B300 expansion batteries. The AC200’s battery also has a truly impressive life cycle rating of 3,500+ cycles, which means it will outlast the battery contained within a FLEX 1500.
A robust 2,200W pure sine wave inverter means the AC200 MAX offers significantly more output power than the FLEX 1500. It also has a 900W solar input rating, which means that you can charge the much larger battery surprisingly quickly. Like the FLEX 1500, you can also multi-charge the AC200, meaning you can plug it into solar panels and an AC wall outlet at the same time to achieve an input rating of 1,400W. This means the massive battery can be charged in as little as two hours!
Overall, it is a versatile solar generator that offers some really appealing upgrades over the FLEX 1500. While it is more expensive and weighs a bit more, we believe it is certainly worth your consideration if you are looking into the FLEX 1500.
Where to Buy
The Quad Kit packages the EB200 with four 100W highly efficient suitcase-style solar panels. It also comes with a carrying case and all of the solar cables and connectors you would need to power your new EB200 with solar energy.
This is an ideal option for anyone that spends time off-grid, or is just looking for a way to charge their EB200 without increasing the cost of their monthly electricity bills. It offers outstanding value and really is a great place to start for anyone that is interested in getting into solar.