Is the Inergy Apex actually worth it? The short answer to this question is maybe. It really comes down to how you plan on using it. In this article we will be going over the most recent concerns with the Apex generator to determine if this is actually a product that’s worth purchasing. So let’s jump right into it.
Quality / craftsmanship:
Recently, a concern that many people have voiced about the Apex is the overall craftsmanship or the quality of the unit itself. The predecessor to the Apex was the Kodiak which was widely considered to be one of the best Solar Generators on the market with impeccable build standards. After testing out the Apex ourselves, speaking with the many customers who have received their Apex and scouring the internet searching for quality control problems, it's our belief that the craftmaship and quality of the Apex is exactly the same as the Kodiak. Recently, a viral Youtube video on the Apex showed in real time how a piece of the dial on the front of the Apex actually falls off. In our experience, this is very much an outlier situation and extremely rare. In fact, the process of testing and quality inspection that each Apex goes through before it arrives at your door would blow your mind. The amount of testing that goes into an Apex before it gets put into the box for shipping makes the odds of the Apex having quality control issues very small. It's much more likely to be damaged in transit to you than have a factory defect. While mistakes and issues are never impossible, actual quality issues are extremely rare.
Another issue that has come up recently has been the continuous output of the Apex as it has been marketed with a 1500 watt inverter and a 3000 watt surge. There has been debate as to whether or not this is false advertising because the Apex is not able to sustain this amount of output for prolonged periods of time. We believe this to be somewhat true.
In the user manual for the Kodiak and the Apex all of this information is available, so it hasn't necessarily been hidden. Though, all of the marketing for the Apex talks about a 1500 watt inverter with a 3000 watt surge even though its not meant to be used at that high a discharge rate for long. In reality you can safely and consistently discharge the Apex at 550 watts in order to get the full battery life (1.1kwh) out of the unit. The Apex is still capable of outputting 1500 watts with a 3000 watt surge, but thanks to the BMS (battery management system) in the Apex, it will turn the unit off after only a few minutes. Discharging a lithium battery too quickly can cause damage and lower the battery’s life.
Running things like space heaters, heat guns, AC units or any resistive load is very difficult for the Apex. It has been designed for applications like running your fridge, LED lights, CPAP machines, TV's etc. It can even run larger loads but for shorter amounts of time, like how you would use a kettle, coffee machine or blenders. Heating things or running any resistive loads are not what the Apex is designed to do. If you were hoping to do that, or run the Apex at 1000-15000 watts for prolonged periods of time, then the Apex is definitely not a smart choice for your needs.
Battery capacity / BMS:
The BMS or Battery Management System in the Apex is both a positive and a negative. We touched on the BMS a bit in the paragraph above, but essentially what it is meant to do is to protect the health and longevity of the battery. With lithium batteries, there is a certain discharge rate that is optimal. This means that there is a certain pace that is ideal for you to use the stored power out of your battery. Panasonic and Samsung, the world’s top two Lithium ion battery manufacturers, state their batteries experience less overall battery capacity when discharged at faster rates.
So, the BMS that Inergy has put into the Apex is designed to not allow you the ability to discharge the battery too quickly which would damage the battery and lead to lower life cycles. What this means for real world use is that the Apex will shut itself off after a few minutes of high usage from the unit. If you are using the Apex around 1500 watts, you might only get 3 or so minutes of usage before it powers down to cool off and save the battery. You can choose to see this as a positive or a negative.
Most people will not need to run their Apex between 1000-1500 watts continuously very often. Recharging multiple cellphones, laptops, running an efficient fridge and powering some LED lights might only use 300-500 watts total. You’ll be able to do that with your Apex no problem. You can also run larger loads for shorter times which is actually perfect for real world use. In this review here for example, our customer is able to run his coffee maker with the Apex no problem since it doesn’t take more than a few minutes to brew his coffee. The Apex can sustain a high wattage draw for long enough to do what most people need, i.e run microwaves, coffee makers, blenders etc.
What all of this means for the longevity of the battery in your Apex is that it will last a VERY long time. It has the longest life of all similar units on the market; around 10 years or 2000 cycles. By comparison, the Yeti’s from Goal Zero are only rated to last around 800 cycles. The trade off being that with Goal Zero you are able to run them at their max power draw until the unit runs out of power BECAUSE they do not have the same BMS as the Apex. Whether you choose to see this as a positive or a negative really depends on what you plan on using your Apex for.
Pricing on solar products, especially products that combine multiples pieces (inverter, battery, charge controller etc) like the Apex always generate lots of debate. The argument being that if you purchased the individual pieces and put it together yourself, it would only cost a fraction of the price. This is 100% accurate. The individual parts and pieces if you purchased them yourself would be significantly cheaper, there is no debate about that. Built into the price of the Apex is the company’s profit, the marketing budget, R&D budget etc. This is a similar situation to a laptop or computer; the components of a computer, if you purchased them individually and put it together yourself would be MUCH cheaper. However, there are very few people who actually know how to do this, and if you are one of the few people with the tools and knowledge to do so you’ll be able to save yourself a lot of money!
As of the writing of this article, the Apex is on pre-sale for $1449.99 and the pre-sale price will finish August 5th, 2019. Meaning that in early August the price of the unit should rise to around 2k USD. The Apex if used properly will last most customers around 10 years or 2000 cycles. After that time you will still be able to use the Apex perfectly, only the battery will only be able to retain about 80% of its capacity. For a unit that you are able to use almost every single day and recharge for free via the sun for over a decade of consistent use, a $2000 investment in our estimation is actually quite reasonable.
The main competitor to the Apex for price had been Goal Zero’s Yeti 1000. However, as of July 2019, the unit has been discontinued. This means that the only other competitor on the market for the Apex is the Yeti 1400, which when you add in the MPPT charge controller is an identical price to the Apex. You can watch this Youtube video comparing the Yeti 1400 and the Inergy Apex.
Whether or not you like Inergy’s products or think they are worthwhile, something that is not up for debate is their customer support. As an on-line retailer for many years, you get to know what is important in a manufacturer or a dealer. You get a feel for which companies will be god to work with and which wont. This factors into what products we recommend to customers since we have an idea of what the after purchase support will be like.
I have no hesitation in saying that Inergy is one of the best companies that we work with. They have extremely prompt response times, helpful customer support and unwavering belief in their products. If after you've purchased your product you have an issue that goes beyond the scope of what Shop Solar Kits can help with, customers only need to call the support phone line for Inergy to get help right away. The reason we promote Inergy as much as we do is because of the belief we have in their company as much as their products.
Who is the Apex meant for?
Finally we have come down to who is the Apex actually going to be useful for. Who should be the people actually making a purchase.
- - Introductory Vanlife
- - Weekend warriors
- - Backup for medical devices like CPAP machine
- - Backup for short term power outages
- - Natural disaster scenarios
- - Preppers
- If you are new to the #vanlife and want a plug and play power source, an Apex kit will be great for you; you can learn more about what we call the introductory vanlife solar kit here.
- If you frequently take weekend trips to go hiking or camping and need a source of power for your 12V fridge, or to recharge your camera gear or run some lighting the Apex is a unit you will absolutely love. If you were to purchase an Apex alone for example, maybe with a car charger, you would have the perfect set up to be a “weekend warrior”.
- If you want a backup generator for piece of mind that will run your medical equipment like CPAP machines in case of power outages, then the Apex is a great choice. Especially as part of a Silver or Gold kit because you would be able to fully recharge your Apex during the day, and run your CPAP machines all night, which also makes it a perfect option for short term power outages.
- If you are in an area where the power is unreliable then an Apex, especially as part of a kit, will help to keep your essentials running. Moreover, if you are in a disaster prone area, a solar generator period is a great option. This article here goes into depth about the reasons a solar generator is a fantastic option in the case of natural disasters like floods, hurricanes, tornado’s, wild fires etc.
- Preppers also love the Apex as well as the predecessor the Kodiak because of its portability and the fact that it makes very little noise. You can be recharging your Apex via solar panels and using it to run and recharge your essentials and nobody would hear you. We have put together the ultimate SHTF kit here if you want to get an idea of what total preparation with Inergy could be.
Should Not Purchase:
- - Full time RV residents
- - High use Vanlife
- - Anyone considering the Apex as a whole home backup
- Similarly, there are people for whom an Apex does not make sense. If you plan on using the Apex as a complete home backup where you can run your main home systems, the Apex is not a good idea for you. You will be disappointed when it shuts off or runs out of battery too quickly.
- This is a similar situation as a full time RV’ers. If you are planning to use the Apex as a full time generator for your RV you will definitely have some problems. You can run your lights, charge some phones and keep the fridge on, but one charge of the Apex won’t last you too long if you want to run more than that.
- This is a similar situation to a high use vanlifer in terms of the energy draw. If you want to be able to run a microwave, blender, kettle, coffee machine, charge your laptops, camera gear, phones, run LED lights etc then a more permanent install is definitely something that will be a better fit for you.
The Apex has been at the centre of controversy lately and its our belief that this is mostly due to a misunderstanding from most customers. Inergy has not had any bad press until recently, which meant that once bad press got out, it went viral helping to amplify the fear and misunderstanding about the product. If you purchase an Apex intended for the right applications its our belief that you will absolutely LOVE your solar generator or kit. The Apex is designed to be used for specific applications and it does that very well. It won’t satisfy every need, and its not meant to.
If you have any questions as to whether or not an Apex is right for you, or if you just want to agree to disagree with what was written here, feel free to comment on this article or message us directly. Our e-mail is email@example.com and out phone line is 877-242-2792.