There is no doubt as to the importance of electricity to human lives around the world. From business transactions to feeding and even recreation, electricity is a major cornerstone of our daily activities. It is also no surprise that many people make adequate provisions for blackouts or power outages.
There is a solution, however. Solar generators produce clean, safe, and efficient electricity by converting solar energy into electrical energy. As a result of the patronage, the solar energy industry has grown over the years, leading to the influx of more names and manufacturers. While some of these manufacturers are trying to catch up with the industry standards, others are well aware of the standards and continue to raise the bar.
An example of this type of manufacturer is Inergy. Inergy produces many solar energy products, including the Inergy Flex and the Inergy Apex generators. These two classes of power stations are quality solar generators with impressive features and capabilities.
This article will compare the two brands of solar generators, discussing their features thoroughly and helping you select the better of the two power stations.
Between the Inergy Apex and Flex solar generators, the better of the two is the Flex. This is due to the Flex’s scaleable battery capacity and solar input. Up to 96 Flex batteries can be connected to one Flex power module. With one Flex MPPT Supercharger, the maximum solar charge input is 1,200W.
|Generator||Inergy Apex||Inergy Flex|
|Charging Management System||MPPT||MPPT|
|Power Output||550W continuous, 850W surge||1,500W continuous, 3,000W surge|
|Weight||25 lbs||30 lbs|
|Size||14" x 7" x 8"||14” x 8” x 9.4”|
|Max Lifecycles||2,000 cycles||2,000 cycles|
An Overview of the Inergy Apex Solar Generator
The Inergy Apex is a step-up of its predecessor, the Inergy Kodiak power station. In fact, there are slight differences between the Inergy Kodiak and the Inergy Apex. One of these differences is the fact that the Apex uses an MPPT charging technology while the Kodiak uses a PWM charging technology.
The Inergy Apex has a battery rated at 12V and 90 amp-hours with 1,100Wh of battery capacity. This is an appreciable amount of electricity for a household/user that needs to power small and medium-sized gadgets. This battery can allow as much as 550 watts continuous draw, but it can allow up to 850 watts of surge power in extreme cases.
Moreover, it has a 1,500W pure sine wave inverter with a peak power of 3,000W. This would normally mean that the inverter can cater to your power-hungry devices, however, the battery is not able to meet the specifications of the inverter, rendering the inverter to only be able to use about one-third of its rated output power.
There is a bit of a change in the Inergy Apex as it only has three charging methods: wall, car, and solar charging. The Apex comes with a pre-installed MPPT charge controller. This technology allows the solar generator to optimize its charging process, especially solar charging. It makes the charging process faster and more efficient.
An Overview of the Inergy Flex Power Station
The Inergy Flex is the third solar generator that Inergy produced after the Apex. While some people believe that the Inergy Flex is a better product than its predecessor, others disagreed. This article will do justice to the argument later.
The battery of the Inergy Flex is rated at 12V. It uses a lithium-ion battery with a capacity of 1,069Wh. This battery capacity is supported with an inverter rated 1,500W continuous and 3,000W peak power. This combination means that several of your high-powered appliances will be powered without worry. For example, you can use it to run your refrigerator, microwave, and several types of power tools.
In line with most solar generators’ tradition, this power station allows for car charging in conjunction with solar and wall charging.
While comparing two products, it is important to do this based on the features and benefits associated with the use of those products. When dealing with products like solar generators, comparing these features is more important. The reason being that the features determine how well the users will enjoy the solar generators. Thus, as a rule of thumb, the product with better features is almost always the better product.
The following are vital features that should be considered when comparing two solar power stations:
- Battery capacity
- Size and portability
- Battery type
- Charging mechanism and duration
- Durability and warranty
- Size of inverter
- RV connectivity (not as vital due to rarity amongst solar generators)
- Number of ports
- Customer Support
Let’s compare the two power stations and see their performances based on these features.
Battery Capacity – Inergy Apex vs Flex
As expected, this feature is the most essential among all features. The reason is that this feature determines how well and how long the power station can power some appliances. It also (in most cases) determines the type of appliances the solar generator can power.
The Inergy Apex has a battery capacity of 1,100Wh. This is a sizable amount of stored power as it can power your 50″ LCD television for 16 hours. You can power a 19 cubic foot refrigerator and a nine cubic foot chest freezer with this power station for 33 and 50 hours, respectively.
Apart from these larger appliances, small gadgets like phones, tablets, and camp lamps will get 100+, 40+, and 183 hours of power, respectively. Without a doubt, this power station has impressive battery capabilities.
On the other hand, the Inergy Flex power station has a 1,069Wh capacity. Naturally, it is less than that of the Inergy Apex. However, the Flex features a modular design, allowing it to house as many as 96 Flex batteries to its power module. This allows the Flex to be much more versatile and powerful than the Apex as more batteries are added to the system.
Some of the gadgets it powers include smartphones, which will get over 120 full recharges from this power station. The power station can also adequately power a 7.1 cubic feet freezer for 32 hours and a 20 cubic feet freezer for 22 hours. Your 50″ LCD television will get 12 hours of power, and your laptop can get 20 full recharges with this power station. All of the previous run times are calculated using one Flex battery. As you add more batteries to the generator, the run times get exponentially higher.
Verdict: The Inergy Apex has a slightly higher initial battery capacity than the Inergy Flex. However, with two or more batteries attached to the Flex, you’ll be able to run appliances for much longer periods than the Apex. The Flex is the clear winner in terms of battery capacity.
Size and Portability of Inergy’s Apex and Flex Power Stations
This is another feature that you should pay adequate attention to. While it may not matter if you intend to use the power station within the house, it matters a lot if you are to use it for outdoor or camping purposes.
The Inergy Apex measures 14 x 9 x 8.9 inches and weighs about 25 pounds. While 25 pounds is a sizable weight in itself, in the solar generator world, with these dimensions, this is a very light system.
A power station at this weight is relatively easy to move around and handle. You should not have a problem using it for outdoor/camping purposes.
The Inergy Flex measures and weighs almost the same as the Inergy Apex. The power station measures 14 x 8 x 8.9 inches in size and weighs 30 pounds.
Verdict: With one battery attached to the Flex, the Apex is five pounds lighter. The Apex is slightly lighter than the Flex, making it more portable.
Inergy Apex vs Flex – Battery Type
In tandem with technological advancement, the solar energy industry adopts the use of different types of batteries for their solar generators. These battery types include Lead-Acid, Lithium-Ion, and Lithium-Iron-Phosphate (LiFePO4). Of these types, Lithium-Iron-Phosphate is the best and most efficient.
Both of the solar generators under review use the Lithium-Ion battery type. This battery type is efficient, reliable, and long-lasting. However, it is a step below the lithium-iron-phosphate in terms of efficiency and longevity.
The one major difference is in the Flex’s battery, where it can utilize the full capabilities of the inverter, outputting 1,500W continuous and 3,000W surge. The Apex has the same exact inverter rating, but can only produce one-third of those numbers.
Verdict: The two power stations use Lithium-Ion batteries. But the Flex’s battery can utilize all of the inverter’s specifications when the Apex’s cannot. The Flex wins this category.
Charging Mechanism and Duration of the Apex & Flex
It is important to understand how your power stations charge, and the time it takes. Having this information will help you know when and how to charge them. The information also helps you prepare for an outdoor event where you intend to use the power station.
The Inergy Apex’s three charging approaches take different durations. The fastest way to charge the Inergy Apex is through the use of solar panels.
The power station allows for as much as 500W of solar input, which means that if you combine five 100W solar panels, you can fully charge the power station in as little as 2.2 hours.
However, this duration is only attainable in perfect weather conditions. And as perfect conditions are rare in most cases, the realistic duration for fully charging the power station with 500W of solar is five to six hours.
This duration is still the fastest as the wall charging takes about 14 hours to fully charge the power station. The use of a wall charger only inputs 80W of electricity, thus the 14-hour timeframe. However, there is a Quick Wall Charger for the power station, and this charger doubles the charging speed, so it takes seven hours to fully charge the power station.
It is important to state that the solar generator has an MPPT charge controller. This technology ensures the highest efficiency of the charging process.
The Inergy Flex has the same three charging methods as well. One of the amazing charging features of the Inergy Flex is the fact that you can combine the three methods of charging at the same time. This combination will fully charge your power station in one hour with one battery.
Moreover, there is a Flex Supercharger which adds additional MPPT charging technology with this power station. The Supercharger drastically improves charging times and allows the Flex to charge with up to 1,200W of solar panels as opposed to its standard input rating of 400W.
Verdict: The Flex outshines the Apex in this regard. The Flex has more charging methods and a shorter charging duration, enabled by combining the three charging methods together.
Inergy’s Durability & Warranty Guidelines – Apex vs Flex
The durability and warranty of a power station is another important consideration. Everyone buying a solar generator hopes to use it for the longest possible time and get the most out of it. The durability and warranty on the power station ensure this.
The Inergy Apex has a 12-month limited warranty. This means that you are eligible for a replacement or technical support on the power station for any fault caused by the manufacturer for one year.
On the other hand, Inergy Flex has a 24-month warranty.
Verdict: The Inergy Flex beats the Inergy Apex power station in this department as the Inergy Flex has a 24-month warranty, while the Inergy Apex has a 12-month limited warranty.
Inverter Size – Is the Inergy Apex or Flex More Powerful?
This is another important feature you should look out for. The inverter flows power from the battery to the AC ports and is essential to a solar generator.
Both power stations have an inverter of the same continuous and peak power. Their powerful, pure sine wave inverters are rated at 1,500W continuous with a peak power of 3,000W. However, as stated before, the Apex is only capable of utilizing one-third of the inverter’s capabilities. Although this is the battery’s issue, it is still extremely important to understand this fact.
Verdict: There is no difference between the inverters of the two power stations as they have the same ratings and capacity.
Does the Inergy Apex or Flex Have RV Connectivity?
If you are a lover of camping and outdoor life, then you know how important the RV connectivity feature is on a power station. It allows for the easy connection and powering of appliances while camping or enjoying the RV life.
The Inergy Apex has a 30-amp RV port. This port allows users to connect the power station to a travel van, RV, or trailer. The Flex does not have this feature.
Verdict: The Apex is the clear winner here by default.
Number of Ports on the Apex and Flex Solar Generators
The two power stations share a similarity in the number of ports available on the power stations. Both power stations have six AC outlets, two cigarette outlets, two Type-A USB ports, two Type-C USB ports, and two 5.5mm x 2.5mm outputs for Inergy accessories.
However, there are two differences in ports to consider. The first is that the Apex can connect to third-party external batteries when the Flex is only designed to be able to connect to its proprietary ones. The second difference is that Inergy has a second Flex solar generator called the Flex 1500 DC.
This system has twice as many DC ports as the Flex AC unit, with four USB-A, four USB-C, four 5.5mm x 2.5mm ports, and four cigarette ports. It also has two Anderson PowerPole output ports. However, all of the AC ports are removed, hence the Flex “DC” title.
Verdict: The Flex comes out on top in this comparison due to its AC and DC versions, allowing the generator to cater to customer needs.
The extent and type of technical support you get if the power station gets faulty depends on the customer support service rendered by the power station’s manufacturer. The two power stations are from the same manufacturer, Inergy. As a result, there is no difference or distinction between the types of customer support service provided for both power stations.
Verdict: No available distinction.
Having compared these two power stations, it is safe to say that they are both quality products and a wise purchase for anyone looking to invest in a solar generator. The difference between them is minimal unless you decide to expand the Flex generator with more batteries and/or the MPPT Supercharger.
The Flex DC version is drastically different when comparing ports. But one of the most distinguishable attributes that sets the Flex on top over the Apex as the winner is its ability to use the inverter to its full capacity.
You can find the Flex generator here on shopsolarkits.com (I make a small commission for every sale).