ACOPOWER Top performer in side-by-side portable solar panel tests
With a need for lightweight portable Solar I purchased three highly rated "foldable" Solar Panel kits from three different companies on Amazon to test, compare and attempt to find the best. I tested the ACOPOWER 105W alongside a Goal Zero Nomad 100W and an ALLPOWERS 80W in mid-morning, midday and afternoon sun in late March in Arizona for several days. While each panel had different features I liked, the goal of the testing was to find efficiency: which panel would capture the most solar energy under the same conditions in side-by-side tests.
The ACOPOWER 105W consistently held the highest percentage efficiency of 70%, averaging 73 Watts out of 105.
The Goal Zero Nomad 100W came in second at 59%, averaging 59 Watts out of 100.
The ALLPOWERS 80W ranked third not because it was the smallest, but because it consistently pulled in only 49% efficiency, averaging just 39 Watts out of 80.
This is particularly impressive when comparing price, as the ACOPOWER kit was roughly one-third the cost of the Goal Zero Nomad. Both ACOPOWER and ALLPOWERS cost me about $2.38 per Watt while the Goal Zero cost $7.49 per Watt.
All three products had a built-in means of either hanging or attaching the panels, ACOPOWER with grommets while both Goal Zero and ALLPOWERS included sewn in cording. The ACOPOWER 105W was the only unit with attached legs which enabled the panel to stand on its own and achieve several angles on its own. I had to use chairs and boards to get the other panels to angle toward the sun.
Both the ACOPOWER 105W and the Goal Zero Nomad 100W included industry standard MC4 connectors making them easier to test and more flexible for future use. I had to purchase a special cable to connect the ALLPOWERS 80W using its supplied 12V adapter. I received excellent support from both ACOPOWER and Goal Zero, while ALLPOWERS was not available.
ALLPOWERS 80W kit was the lightest at 4 pounds, ACOPOWER second at 6 pounds and Goal Zero the heaviest at just over 10 pounds.
Finally, if warranty is important to your decision making process, both ACOPOWER and ALLPOWERS list 18 month warranty while Goal Zero states 12 months.