It’s no surprise that Goal Zero produces products with similar model names. One significant example of that can be seen in the Goal Zero Yeti X series. Interestingly, they have also brought this to the production of solar panels. Undoubtedly, the similarity never implies they are duplicates. Hence, we will differentiate between two of their similar solar panels; the Nomad 7 and the Nomad 7 Plus.
Before picking a solar panel for use alongside a solar generator or any other purpose, it’s imperative to look into their technical specifications. If you plan to use the solar panel outdoors for any activity, you should consider the weight and dimensions of the device you are about to purchase.
The Goal Zero Nomad 7 Plus solar panel is the better option compared to the Nomad 7 due to the following features:
- Kickstand – The Nomad 7 Plus has a kickstand, whereas the Nomad 7 does not
- More USB power – The Nomad 7 Plus can emit 7W of power when the Nomad 7 has a 5W maximum
There’s so much more to uncover about these two solar panels. This article explains all the common, but also the specific aspects to consider before making a choice that works best for you.
Goal Zero Nomad 7 – Overview
The Nomad 7 is an impressively lightweight panel, with an overall weight of 16.2 oz. Regarding compactness, when unfolded, the dimensions are 9 x 1.5 x 17 in. When unfolded, you will discover that the solar panel’s surface area is not very large, but it’s still very impressive for its functions. When folded, it fits perfectly into a backpack.
The charge times when using this solar panel vary depending on the kind of charger in use. For the Switch 10 power bank, it takes four hours to charge with the panel. When using the Flip 10, it takes between two and a half hours to five hours.
Individuals that use the Guide 10 Plus power bank can enjoy full charge in between three to six hours. With the Flip 20, it takes between five to ten hours for a full charge. Lastly, those who charge the Venture 30 will wait for the longest for a full charge (eight to sixteen hours).
Regarding the available ports, Goal Zero provides a USB port of 5V up to 1A and 5W max, regulated. Also, there’s a mini solar port (2.5mm) of 6.5V up to 1.1A (7W max). The solar panel features the standard solar port (8mm) of 15V up to 0.3A (5W max), regulated.
Here’s what is included in the box:
- The Nomad 7 solar panel
- One 12V adapter
Goal Zero Nomad 7 Plus – Overview
The Nomad 7 Plus is a very portable solar panel as it only weighs 17.0 oz, which makes it incredibly lightweight. You can fit this device into your backpack easily, as its dimension is 13 x 8.75 x 0.5 in. when unfolded and 6.5 x 8.75 x 0.75 in. when folded. When performing outdoor activities, this solar panel will come in very handy.
Using the different Goal Zero power banks, the solar panel has various charge times. It takes between four to six hours to charge the Switch 10 power bank with the Nomad 7 Plus. Charging the Flip ten takes between two and a half hours to five hours. For Guide 10, it takes between three to six hours for a full charge.
Other power stations like the Flip 20 take five to ten hours, and the Venture 30 takes eight to sixteen hours. Undoubtedly, the Nomad 7 Plus has a solid and durable design and structure. It is suitable for anyone who wants to charge small devices outdoors.
For optimum angle placement, the Nomad 7 Plus has a detachable kickstand with natural shade for charging devices and a vented pocket intended for temperature regulation. The panel also features an auto restart.
The 7 Plus can track power flow history and knows the difference between fully charged devices and those that disconnect due to environmental factors like lack of sunlight and shadows. When the disconnection is due to environmental factors, it automatically reconnects the charging device without any additional work.
Here’s what’s included in the box:
- One Nomad 7 Plus solar panel
- Removable kickstand / Zippered Pouch
|Solar Panel||Nomad 7||Nomad 7 Plus|
|Charge Speed with Switch 10 Core||4-6 hours||4-6 hours|
|Size||16.2oz||12.05oz (w/o kickstand); 17oz (w/ kickstand)|
|Dimensions (Open)||9 x 1.5 x 17.0 in||13 x 8.75 x 0.5 in|
|Dimensions (Closed)||9 x 1.5 x 6.5 in||6.5 x 8.75 x 0.75 in|
|Ports||USB port rated 5V, up to 1A (5W max), Solar port (blue, 8mm) rated 15V, up to 0.3A (5W max), Mini solar port (2.5mm): 6.5V, up to 1.1A (7W)||USB port rated 5V, up to 1.4A (1,400 mA) (7W max) and 2.5mm (super, guide 10 charge port): 8-9V, up to 0.8A (800mA) (7W max)|
Nomad 7 vs 7 Plus – Key Features Overview
There are several factors to consider before purchasing a solar panel like the ones I am writing about today. As basic as they look, there are certain technical specifications and features that you should comprehend. For instance, you should know what type of panel you plan to get (monocrystalline, polycrystalline, or thin-film).
Solar panels differ in size, so one of the essential factors to consider is the weight and the compactness of the panel. Since small portable solar panels are usually used outdoors and while on the go, their weight and dimensions are essential. Aside from these factors, there are other key features to look into. Here are some of the significant ones.
- Cell Type
- Charge Speed
- Weight and Portability
Cell Type of the Nomad 7 & 7 Plus
There are three different types of PV cells available in the market. Examples are monocrystalline, polycrystalline, and thin-film.
Monocrystalline panels have an impressively high level of efficiency (15% – 20%), and they don’t demand lots of space, unlike other types due to their efficiency level. Polycrystalline solar panels have lower heat tolerance and usually cost less. Thin-film is also known to be much cheaper than crystalline panels.
The Nomad 7 solar panel is a monocrystalline cell type. These cells are made from a cylindrical silicon ingot grown from a silicon crystal of high purity as a semiconductor. Currently, the life expectancy of these panels is set to half a century.
The Nomad 7 Plus is also made up of monocrystalline cells, which have better-embedded energy than thin-film solar panels. The cells are generally highly reliable, thanks to their durability level and longevity.
Verdict: Both the Nomad 7 and 7 Plus use the same solar panel cell type (monocrystalline cells). These cells are known to have incredibly high efficiencies and heat resistance when exposed to sunlight. You can be assured that the Nomad 7 and Nomad 7 Plus will last for years without significant damages to the cells.
In this section, we are considering the performance of the solar panels under standard conditions. Please note that the charge speed may change when subject to different weather conditions.
The Nomad 7 solar panel has an impressive charge time. However, it would be much better if the charge time with power banks were a little lower. However, with only a seven-watt panel, the main idea is size vs output, and clearly, the small size of the panel was taken over the overall output for versatility purposes. When the panel is used to charge the Switch 10 Core, it takes four to six hours. For the Flip 30, it takes between eight to sixteen hours.
The Nomad 7 Plus has a relatively long charge time. You can decide to plug your mobile phone into it or use a power bank. The Switch 10 Core takes around four to six hours to charge, the Flip 10 takes two and a half hours to five hours, and the Lighthouse Lantern from Goal Zero takes seven to fourteen hours to attain a full charge.
Verdict: Both the Nomad 7 and the Nomad 7 Plus have similar charge times, however, the Nomad 7 Plus’ USB port gets up to 7W of power when the Nomad 7 gets a maximum of 5W from the same port. For you, the charge time may be slower or faster because of different operating conditions. But overall, the Nomad 7 Plus wins this category.
The durability of a solar panel is essential. In most cases, users decide how durable a panel is by the brand that produces them. For instance, a well-known brand for proper design and construction is preferred over a brand or company that is new to the market. Goal Zero is a reputable company; hence, it’s not difficult to trust their product.
The Nomad 7 solar panel is highly durable with good longevity. The solar panel is monocrystalline, and usually, they have a longevity of up to 30 years in total. Like the Nomad 7 solar panel, the Nomad 7 Plus also has a tendency to last a very long time. They are both made from the same material with little changes in technical specifications.
Verdict: Both the Nomad 7 and the Nomad 7 Plus are durable solar panels. It’s no surprise that these panels do a good job for all types of users. Goal Zero has always been known to produce top-notch panels for outdoor use. Hence, they can be trusted for their reputation for delivering quality devices.
Weight and Portability of the Nomad 7 and 7 Plus
Portable solar panels should be lightweight and easy to transport. Additionally, most portable solar panels are foldable due to their relatively large surface areas.
The Nomad 7 solar panel has a total weight of 16.2 oz., which is similar to the total weight of a baseball. With this weight, it is easy to move the solar panel and use it in different locations or landscapes. The full dimension of the Nomad 7 is 9 x 1.5 x 6.5 in. when folded and 9 x 1.5 x 17.0 in. when unfolded, which makes it very compact for transportation.
The Nomad 7 Plus solar panel has an overall weight of 12.05 oz., making it incredibly lightweight and very portable. Its overall dimension is 6.5 x 8.75 x 0.75 in. when folded, and it has a dimension of 13 x 8.75 x 0.5 in. when unfolded.
Verdict: Both the Nomad 7 and the Nomad 7 Plus are lightweight and can be used for outdoor activities. However, the Nomad 7 Plus is slightly lighter in weight than the Nomad 7. Please note that the weight differences may be insignificant since it’s only approximately a 4 oz. difference. But if you’re using one of these on a long backpacking trip, every ounce matters.
Nomad 7 vs 7 Plus – Available Ports
In the portable solar panel industry, ports are essential. In recent times, many devices make use of USB ports. There are hardly any new devices that don’t use USB ports or any form of outlets. Goal Zero is known for providing several outlets in their products, including their solar portable panels.
The Nomad 7 comes with three outlets, but only one USB port rated at 5W max. It includes a solar port (blue, 8mm) rated 15V, up to 0.3A (5W max), regulated. Besides those two different ports, you can enjoy the mini solar port (2.5mm): 6.5V, up to 1.1A (7W).
The Nomad 7 Plus comes with two significant outlets for outdoor use. It has a USB port rated 5V, up to 1.4A (1,400 mA) (7W max) and 2.5mm (super, guide 10 charge port): 8-9V, up to 0.8A (800mA, 7W max). The Nomad 7 plus doesn’t come with adaptors, which makes it easy to use. However, the disadvantage of this feature is that you cannot enjoy charging multiple devices simultaneously. The panel is simply too small to be able to charge more than one device.
Verdict: The Nomad 7 solar panel has a total of three ports, including one USB port for a direct charge. On the other hand, the Nomad 7 Plus has only two ports, including a USB port and a Guide 10 charge port. In terms of number, the Nomad 7 has more ports than the Nomad 7 Plus.
The price of what you’re purchasing is crucial. As a buyer, you shouldn’t exceed your budget. Generally, solar panels are not overpriced. Most panels are highly affordable. However, this depends on technical specifications like the charge speed, durability, and the panel’s overall dimension or surface area.
The Nomad 7 costs $169.99 on Amazon and $59.95 on Goal Zero’s site, but it’s not available on Goal Zero’s site. However, what’s very odd is that it will cost less when purchased alongside a Switch 10 recharger and other optional accessories in what they call a “Multi-Tool Kit” on Amazon. This costs exactly $100 on Amazon.
The Nomad 7 Plus currently costs $184 on Amazon and $99.95 on Goal Zero’s website. However, like the standard Nomad 7, it is no longer available on Goal Zero’s site, which may be the reason why it is so much more expensive on Amazon.
But what’s also strange is the same idea with the Nomad 7 kit, as the Nomad 7 Plus kit, which comes with the exact same accessories as the standard Nomad 7 “Multi-Tool Kit”, costs less yet again. The price for this kit is currently $118.44 on Amazon. Looking at these prices, it looks like Goal Zero has made a pricing mistake on their Amazon storefront. Please note that these solar panels’ prices may be higher with shipping and taxes.
Verdict: The Nomad 7 Plus is clearly costlier than the Nomad 7 solar panel if you were to get them from Amazon as a single panel. But looking only at the “Multi-Tool Kit” options on Amazon, the price difference drops as well as the overall price.
Disregarding the oddities of the pricing, the Nomad 7 kit is the lesser of the two kit options, but only by about $20. You’d probably be better off with the 7 Plus, though, since it’s a newer model panel and is not that much more expensive than the standard version. However, if you’re on a budget, the standard Nomad 7 kit will be your best option.
Conclusion – Which Panel Is the Better Overall Option?
From this article, it is evident that both the Nomad 7 and the Nomad 7 Plus have fundamental similarities, with only a few differences between the two of them.
For instance, the Nomad 7 Plus is a lighter solar panel; with an overall weight of 12.5 oz. On the other hand, the Nomad 7 is a little heavier, with a total weight of 16.2 oz. Both solar panels have equal charge times for the various Goal Zero power banks mentioned.
Overall, the weight savings, updated features, and the simple fact that the Nomad 7 Plus is the second generation of the Nomad 7 make it the clear winner in this comparison. Judging by the “Multi-Tool Kit” available for each model on Amazon, the price difference of the two models is not enough to reverse the overall value of the Nomad 7 Plus’ updated features. Check out the Nomad 7 Plus kit here on Amazon (This is an affiliate link – I make a small commission on every sale).