HomeTechnologyNewsHeavy, expensive and worth it

Heavy, expensive and worth it

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Ratings:
9/10
?

  • 1 – Doesn’t work
  • 2 – Barely functional
  • 3 – Very poor in most areas
  • 4 – It works, but has numerous problems
  • 5 – Good but leaves a lot to be desired
  • 6 – Good enough to buy on sale
  • 7 – Great and worth buying
  • 8 – Fantastic, approaching the best of its class
  • 9 – Top of his class
  • 10 – Borderline perfection

Price: $1,999

Mark LoProto / Instruction Geek

Whether you’re looking for a reliable temporary power source or the ultimate off-grid solution, BLUETTI’s AC200MAX Expandable Power Station is a fantastic option with two main caveats: price and size.

I didn’t expect the weight of the AC200MAX when I first moved it, but the 28.1kg (61.9lbs) is worth the space it takes up. There were no major weather disasters or power outages during my time with the major power station, but I still found many uses for it. Five AC outlets, five different USB ports, two wireless charging pads, and five DC outlets gave me a lot to play with, and with an office and garage full of devices that constantly need charging, I was delighted at how much I could keep powered up. at once.

As a stationary unit for emergency situations, the AC200MAX stands out for its efficiency and multiple input and output connections. However, the space it takes up and how cumbersome it is to travel with make it less appealing as a casual unit for camping or on long trips to isolated locations.

This is what we like

  • large capacity battery
  • Fast and efficient charging
  • Handles multiple inputs well
  • It can be enhanced with solar panels and batteries.

And what we don’t do

  • Very heavy and cumbersome
  • Really expensive
  • Wireless charging was a bit fickle

How-To Geek’s expert reviewers get right down to business with every product we review. We put each piece of hardware through hours of real-world testing and benchmark it in our lab. We never accept payments to endorse or review a product and we never add other people’s reviews. Read more >>

Overall design: slim and premium

BLUETTI AC200MAX portable power station on
Mark LoProto / Instruction Geek

As I unpacked the AC200MAX from its cargo crate, I expected to unravel something very industrial looking, like an old-school metal gas generator. I’d forgotten that we’d traded in those gas-powered clunkers for fancy power units that you really wouldn’t mind having on display in your home if need be.

The AC200MAX is a sizeable and, if you’re unfamiliar with powerhouses, an intimidating unit marked by striking simplicity. There is a small metal power button on the front, 14 rubber port covers and a plastic cover. Everything is clearly labeled, so there’s no guessing when the lights go out, and the small 2.75 x 3.75-inch LED touchscreen is easy to read in low-light situations.

Admittedly, I was a little scared at first with the AC200MAX because it looks and feels as expensive as it is.

A little too strong to travel

  • Ability: 2048Wh (51.2V/40Ah)
  • Weight: 61.9 lbs (28.1 kg)
  • Dimensions: 16.5 x 11 x 15.2 inches (42 x 28 x 38.65 cm)

The biggest problem you can run into with the AC200MAX is its impressive height. It’s not exactly lightweight, weighing in at just over 60lbs (28kg). That’s far from too heavy, but if you’re taking it on the road and planning to stop often, lugging it in and out of storage can get tedious. And that’s if you can find a storage spot for the portable generator, since its 16.5 x 11 x 15.2-inch frame is anything but compact.

One thing you can take comfort in is that it’s durable. I didn’t put it through a durability test, but I would imagine the hard plastic case would hold up to being thrown over a trunk if you hit the road.

Efficiency and charging ports

  • AC outlets: 1 x 120V/30A, 4 x 120V/20A
  • DC outputs: 1 x 12V/30A (caravan), 1 x 12V/10A (car), 2 x 12V/10A (5.5mm)
  • USB-A ports: 2x5V/3A, 2x18W
  • USB-C port: 1x100W
  • Wireless charging: 2x15W

As impressive as the physical appearance of the Power Station is, the real draw is what you can do with it. I didn’t find myself in any survival scenarios or camping in the middle of the desert, so my testing of the AC200MAX was strictly at home. Regardless, I still found myself loving what I could do with it.

There are 13 different output ports, including two 12V/10A DC ports and one 12V/30A DC port, one 100W USB-C port, two 5V/DC USB-A ports, and two 18W USB-A ports, two wireless charging pads, and five 100 ports to 110V/2000W AC outlets. While each plug works as you’d expect, wireless charging can be erratic. Even without a case, both iPhones I tested stopped and started charging two or three times before settling in. Testing the pads the next night, only one side gave me trouble.

I posted the BLUETTI AC200MAX in my office for a week and did my best to power it up and use every outlet, but I didn’t have enough mice, smartphones, computers, and portable battery packs to stress it out. In fact, each peripheral, despite being plugged in all at once, charged twice the fee as when plugged into the outlet. So, to see how far I could push the still almost fully charged portable station, I started to integrate some heavier hitters.

48V 13Ah lithium electric bike battery, two desktops, one laptop and one 55-inch TV increased power output, but still wore down the LiFePO4 (lithium iron phosphate) battery very slowly from the power plant.

I thought about including an appliance in the equation, but that seemed like an exaggeration just to satisfy my giddy childish need to prove that the 2048 Wh (5.2V, 40Ah) capacity that BLUETTI advertised was not an exaggeration.

The battery held up well against my barrage of gadgets. And even though it only draws a maximum of about 500W at a time, I’m sure a fully charged BLUETTI power station would make a decent backup power source whether you’re stuck in a storm or escaping the world for a time. Due to its size, you probably won’t be taking it to the park if you decide to work outdoors with your laptop, as some of the BLUETTI marketing suggests, but the option is there if you need that portable power source.

Getting the most out of your AC200MAX

  • AC inputs: 500W
  • solar inputs: 900W max
  • driveway: 12/24v from cigarette lighter port
  • maximum HEinput: 1400W

After playing around with everything I could, I can confidently say that the AC200MAX is something I would want to have in an emergency situation. Via the included AC adapter, it only took two hours to charge the pack from 50% charge when I received it, and there are plenty of other ways to keep it going. If you’re exploring the great outdoors and need to give the station some juice, a standard car outlet will give you enough to run the essentials in 10+ hours.

However, if you opt for some of the extras, you can reduce the recharging time to just a couple of hours. If you need a little more than the AC200MAX, the BLUETTI PV350 solar panel can be connected directly to the station and deliver 350W of power. Connect up to three panels together for even more efficient charging.

The BLUETTI AC200MAX also allows you to connect two additional expansion batteries, such as the B300 3072 Wh and B230 2048 Wh models. While more power isn’t a bad thing, like the AC200MAX, none of these accessories and expansions are as convenient to transport or inexpensive. Unless you’re bringing a large RV or truck, even the AC200MAX might be too big for an extended trip.

The BLUETTI app

Adding another layer of convenience is the official BLUETTI app (available on iPhone and Android). It’s about as simple an app can be, giving you access to the main reading on the screen. You can turn DC and AC output on and off, check the power station’s battery level, and see how your external batteries are holding up.

Connecting to the app takes just a few seconds and it’s all done via Bluetooth, so there’s no need to connect via a home network. It doesn’t change the experience too much, but it’s nice to have the option to control the station remotely in case it’s out of range.

Should you buy the BLUETTI AC200MAX expandable power station?

As a stationary home backup power source, BLUETTI’s AC200MAX Expandable Power Station excels. Its many outlet ports and charging options should be enough to power or charge your essentials in an emergency. It’s big and cumbersome to move around, but moving from home storage to a central location is certainly doable.

If you’re looking to take it on a trip, take it on a hike, or use it to power an outdoor event, you may need to consider whether you have the space for it. It is quite a large device and its weight can be an impediment. Fortunately, if you take it with you, especially with some of its add-ons like solar panels, you can get a lot of use out of it. In fact, if you use solar panels and external batteries, you could stay off the grid for quite some time, as the power plant is rated for over 3,500 life cycles.

I feel like everyone, especially if you are in a region at risk of inclement weather, should have the AC200MAX at home, charged up and ready to go. It’s a great backup system to keep your home running during a blackout until power is restored and can help mitigate things like food loss when the refrigerator stops working.

Despite looking and feeling like advanced equipment, the AC200MAX is very easy to use. The LED display is easy to use and doesn’t throw you too much. You can view DC and AC output reports, check for any system alarms that may have sounded, and adjust visual and display settings.

The AC200MAX is a large and incredibly useful device with amenities that further enhance its functionality and appeal. It’s expensive, but if you’ve ever been without power for any length of time, you know the price is worth it.

Ratings: 9/10

Price: $1,999

This is what we like

  • large capacity battery
  • Fast and efficient charging
  • Handles multiple inputs well
  • It can be enhanced with solar panels and batteries.

And what we don’t do

  • Very heavy and cumbersome
  • Really expensive
  • Wireless charging was a bit fickle

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