Review: Goal Zero Guide 10

I look at the Goal Zero Guide 10 and wonder why I did not buy one of these sooner. It is a simple, relatively inexpensive, and multi-use battery charger and power block. The Guide 10 is a two-way battery charger: (1) connect it to a USB port to charge its AA or AAA batteries, or (2) draw power from the Guide 10 to charge your USB device (mobile phone, tablet, etc). You can connect the Guide 10 to a solar panel for off-grid charging. The Guide 10 is small and with high-capacity NiHd batteries (2300 mAHr) will hold 9200 mAHrs of power).

My lanterns and camera strobes use AA batteries and my headlamp and backup flashlight use AAAs. The Guide 10 can keep these batteries charged and the USB port can charge my phone. If the batteries lose capacity then I can replace them without having to replace the entire battery pack. I can also charge multiple sets of batteries and keep those batteries in reserve. The Guide 10 also includes a small flashlight which could be useful. An inset (included) allows charging of AAA batteries.

  • Weight: 6.4 oz (181 g) with batteries
  • Dimensions: 2.5 x 4 x 0.75 in (6.4 x 10.2 x 1.9 cm)
  • Operating Temperature: 32-104°F (0-40°C)
  • Certifications: CE, FCC, ROHS
  • Warranty: 6 months
  • Charge Times:
    USB Power Source: 6-10 hours
    Nomad 7 Solar Panel: 3-6 Hours
    Nomad 13 Solar Panel: 2.5-5 Hours
  • Ports:
    USB Port (output): 5V, up to 1A (5W max), regulated
    USB Port (input): 5V, up to 0.8A (4W max), regulated
    Mini solar port (input): 6.5V, up to 1.1A
  • Battery Details:
    Battery Type: NiMH only!
    Battery Size: 11Wh (included batteries are 4.8V at 2300mAh)
    Lifecycles: 500 cycles
    Shelf-life: Keep plugged in, or charge every 3-6 months
    Power Management: Built-in charging and low-battery protection

When using non-Goal Zero batteries be sure to choose only NiMH batteries. Batteries are rated in milliamp hours (mAHr) and this is the capacity of the battery, or, the amount of power that the battery can store. If a battery was a car then the mAHr rating would be the size of the gas tank. Look for batteries with a high mAHr rating. You may see two brands next to each other and one may be more expensive. The more expensive batteries probably have a higher mAHr rating or greater capacity for storing electricity. Each battery included with the Guide 10 is 2300 mAHr.


Goal Zero makes good stuff. Goal Zero provides an array of modular products that work together. They have a variety of solar panels, large battery systems, and several devices with bi-directional USB ports. These bi-directional devices include the Guide 10, lanterns, power blocks, flashlights, etc. These devices can be charged using the USB port and can also supply power to charge external devices such as mobile phones.

I purchased a Guide 10 and Nomad 7 Plus solar panel. The Nomad 7+ can charge the batteries in the Guide 10 as well as connect to a mobile device and charge it directly. The Nomad 7+ is rugged, lightweight, small, and I can carry it my emergency pack along with spare batteries and the Guide 10. Here is what I did to create a modular power system:

  • Guide 10 battery charger and power block.
  • Nomad 7 Plus to charge Guide 10 batteries and mobile devices directly.
  • Use devices powered by AA and AAA batteries. For example, my devices include: Stramlight 1L-1AA tactical flashlight (AA or CR-123), Stylus Pro backup flashlight with long runtime (2 AAAs), Streamlight Siege AAlantern, and Black Diamond Spot headlamp (3 AAAs).
  • Create a power kit with at least two sets of disposable and rechargeable AA and AAA batteries. Store the batteries in tiny poly zip bags to limit damage if (or when) a battery leaks.(
  • The Nomad 7+ includes a standard and mini USB plug and you will probably need other types of USB connects for your devices.

Before Using

These details were taken from the page included with my Guide 10.

  • Ensure that the batteries are correctly oriented (negative towards top of Guide 10)
  • Use only rechargeable Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) batteries
  • Never use less than 4 batteries (batteries need not all be at the same charge level when inserted)
  • It is normal for the unit to get hot during operation — when solar charging try to place the Guide 10 in shade or behind the solar panel