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Tool Review


Power Off the Grid – The Goal Zero Guide 10 Plus Recharger (continued)

Once charged the Guide 10 offers plenty of pocket power for just about every USB device you can think of. I fueled my GoPro camera, provided a complete charge for my smartphone and boosted my iPad Air in the field. While it will not fully charge your iPad it can extend your usage by almost 50%. You can use the Guide 10 Plus as a charger of your devices or pull the batteries out and plug them directly into a flashlight, headlamp or handheld radio. Goal Zero bundles an AAA adapter so you can charge other NiMH batteries for smaller devices. Unfortunately when we plugged in third party Lithium Ion batteries the unit would not work with them.


I was surprised that the Guide 10 Plus was able to charge larger electronics like a full sized iPad Air

A nice bonus that the Guide 10 offers is the inclusion of a LED light into the connector end of the unit. When the switch is moved to the inward position the device will put out 100mW of light, which is plenty enough to tie knots before dawn or search for gear in your boat lockers. There is even a steel cable loop in the top of the unit that allows the Guide 10 to be hung in the top of a tent.


A steel cable on the top allows the Guide 10 Plus to be hung and used as a lamp

Price and Applications: The Goal Zero Guide 10 retails for $39.99 by itself and the complete adventure kit with both the Guide 10 Plus and the Nomad 7 solar panels retails for $99.99. If you are a weekend warrior or looking for that extra boost when traveling the standard Guide 10 will serve you well. If you are looking for a way to keep your electronics fueled in an emergency, going fishing in the backcountry or simply wish to get off the grid then you will want to get the complete kit.


The Guide 10 Plus charged up a GoPro camera nicely

While the Guide 10 provides plenty of juice in most applications what anglers on the go have to be willing to deal with is the extra weight. If you are simply looking for a power supply for compact electronics you can opt for the even more compact self-contained Goal Zero Switch 8 recharger that weighs half of what the Guide 10 does at only .2lbs. (91g).


On the long haul flight the Guide 10 Plus provided a great boost to the iPad

What the Guide 10 offers anglers is flexibility. This is a single device that can help you charge your AA or AAA batteries and even provide that extra boost of power when you are on that long haul flight or are in need of a cell phone charge. I plugged a large variety of devices into the Guide 10 plus, and as long as they were charged via a USB cable they all worked.


One of the nice things about this unit is the ability to take the batteries out and use them in other devices directly. The unit also comes with an adapter to charge AAA NiMH batteries as well

My biggest gripes with the Guide 10 Plus are the overall weight of the unit and the lack of a bundled plug in charger. The unit also doesn’t charge as fast as some competing rechargers but on the flip side it is also priced more aggressively than many of the self-contained units you will find at your local Apple store. While those units will start to lose the ability to maintain the same level of charge over time owners of the Guide 10 Plus need only change out the batteries, which Goal Zero does sell separately as well.


A chart describing charge times and LED readouts can be found on the back of the unit

Over the span of our tests the Guide 10 Plus performed as advertised and is rated for hundreds of cycles as long as you charge it once every 3-6 months. Goal Zero warrants the product for 6 months which is also shorter than many of the rechargers that are sold in retail and come with a one year warranty.

Ratings: (We've re-calibrated our ratings standard for 2008 and have included a key at the bottom of the following matrix as a guide):

Goal Zero Guide 10 Plus Ratings  (?/10)

Construction/Quality Great overall construction. Though there are plastic components on the Guide 10 Plus they hold together well even when the unit is dropped on the ground 8
Performance The Guide 10 Plus performed exactly as advertised and provides a complete charge to small devices like an iPhone or GoPro and a boost to larger devices like an iPad 9
Price A reasonable price that is lower than many competing self contained units 8.5
Features Good overall features. A battery meter would be better than the colored LED indicator and we wish the unit was a little lighter and came with a wall outlet charger but the included LED light is a very useful bonus 7
Design (Ergonomics) Compact and easy to put in a travel bag or backpack but a bit heavy to put in a jacket pocket 7
Application This is a great device for having around the house as emergency equipment or to provide portable power when travelling on a plane or in the backcountry 8

Total Score

7.91
Ratings Key: 1 = terrible : 2 = poor : 3 = lacking : 4 = sub par : 5 = mediocre : 6 = fair : 7 = good : 8 = great : 9 = excellent : 10 = unbelievable!
For More Details of the updated rating system visit our explanation here

 

Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

+ Good overall quality - Does not come bundled with a traditional outlet charger
+ Flexible usages - Heavier than some competing rechargers
+ Good power output  
+ Ability to be charged via solar  
+ LED light is a useful addition  
+ Reasonably priced  

Conclusion: The Guide 10 Plus is undoubtedly a quality piece of kit. Though it may not be the flashiest or most refined recharger it gets the job done by offering anglers and outdoor enthusiasts plenty of flexibility. While other competing rechargers require you to charge the unit and then use it the Guide 10 Plus can charge your batteries which can be deployed in your devices and charge a second set of batteries at the same time, allowing for maximum efficiency. The fact it can charge your devices via USB enables it to be used with countless portable devices, and the flashlight option makes this an excellent piece of emergency equipment.


The Guide 10 Plus provides a nice power boost to all your USB and AA powered electronics in the field

I found the Guide 10 Plus just as useful on a hike between fishing holes as the last time I was stuck on a plane across the country and needed an extra boost to finish watching the most recent episode of the Walking Dead on my iPad. Wherever power is in short supply this affordable battery backup provides plenty of reliable output for handheld electronics and there is something so “cool” about being self-sustainable and charging up the Guide 10 Plus via the Nomad 7 solar panels. If you are always on the go in the backcountry the entire Adventure kit for 99 dollars is a worthy investment, but if you are a weekend warrior or just looking for that extra portable electronics boost the reasonably priced Guide 10 Plus standalone unit is the more practical choice for the money. Whether you are looking to charge your smartphone on the water or preparing for a zombie apocalypse the Guide 10 Plus is sure to keep you powered when you don’t have access to the grid.  

Looking for Goal Zero Guide 10 Plus? Try Tackle Warehouse

 

 

 

 

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