If you want to make me happy, tell me you have a new battery you’d like me to review.
I seem to collect batteries like other people collect Beanie Babies or baseball cards.
I have dreams about having enough power to keep my gadgets going during a power outage or camping trip or even a picnic by the lake.
I’ve reviewed all types of batteries, and, believe it or not, I have a few more in my pipeline for future reviews.
Today we are looking at the Goal Zero Sherpa 100AC Power Bank ($299.95), which I’m tempted to describe as “sexy.”
Goal Zero’s Sherpa line of power banks has been around for years, and this new model is a huge evolution in design.
The Sherpa 100AC is all about the outputs.
The power bank can charge up to six items at a time with two USB-C ports, two USB-A ports, one AC plug and one Qi wireless charging pad.
Let’s talk about each output.
Like the previous Sherpa 100, the 100AC has two USB-A ports that each output 2.4 amps for charging any device that takes USB power.
The 110-volt AC plug has an integrated 100-watt inverter for powering things that plug into the wall like fans or CPAP machines.
The two USB-C Power Delivery ports have an output capacity of up to 60 watts, which means you can use them to power gadgets as large as laptops.
My 13-inch MacBook Pro charges nicely from the 100AC.
Lastly, on top of the power bank is a Qi wireless charger that can power up any phone or device (like AirPods) that can be charged wirelessly.
The 100AC includes three short cables for charging your stuff, including microUSB, Lightning and USB-C. You can store two of the three cables on either side of the battery.
Capacity and charging
There is a reason the 100AC has a battery capacity of 94.7 watt-hours, which is the equivalent of 25,600 milliamp-hours at 3.7 volts. This is just under the limit so you can carry it on an airplane.
The 100AC has enough juice to charge up my laptop two times. It can charge an average smartphone eight times and charge up a tablet four times.
Those two USB-C ports also act as inputs, allowing the user to power up the 100AC’s internal batteries from a USB-C wall charger.
Goal Zero does not include a charger in the box, but it does include a 30-inch USB-C to USB-C cable that you can use with your own charger.
Goal Zero also sells a 45-watt USB-C charger ($34.95) that can be used to fast-charge the 100AC.
There is an optional Sherpa Power Supply ($29.95) that can power up the 100AC in three hours.
The 100AC has an 8mm input so it can be charged from solar panels (in 7 to 14 hours) or from your car’s 12-volt accessory port (in 3 to 5 hours) if you have the right cable — it’s not included.
The Sherpa 100AC measures 7.5 by 1 by 5.68 inches, and it weighs 2 pounds.
Besides the obvious benefit of providing power, the star feature of the 100AC is the tiny OLED screen that provides a wealth of information about everything that’s happening when you plug things into any port.
Goal Zero has always been great at giving the user precise information about the inputs and outputs, and the 100AC is no exception.
Aside from the overall load in and out, you can scroll through screens showing a dashboard-like setup of all the ports at once, or view the status of all the individual ports to see how much power is being used. You can also access status screens showing battery health and how many times the battery has cycled (charged and depleted).
You can use all six outputs at once.
As I write this, I’m powering two MacBook Pros, my iPhone (wirelessly) and a desk lamp via AC plug. While the power flows to everything, the display is telling me that I’m going to empty the battery in well less than an hour, and the small fan inside the 100AC is running under the load.
The 100AC is just great. It does exactly what it says it’ll do without complaint. It gives all its power until it’s dead, then it just shuts off.
The input/output USB-C ports and the Qi charger are very welcome additions. I wish it had a 12-volt output, like the previous model, but that’s not something I’d use all that often, so I understand why it went away.
If you travel a lot, or just need power where there isn’t a convenient outlet, the Sherpa 100AC will make you happy.
Pros: Numerous outputs, fast USB-C charging, small and reasonably light.
Cons: No 12-volt output, no wall charger in the box.
Bottom line: It’s a worthy upgrade from the last version.