A Review of the BLUETTI AC180
A quick recharge for a full day’s power supply has been a bit of a mission to find among the offerings of portable power stations… Until now. That’s right, we’ve been searching for a mobile power supply for the great outdoors, whether it’s camping, long road trips or even garden parties, that actually has the capacity to power all of our essential appliances yet not take hours to recharge, and we think we might have found it. In this review, we’ll be checking out the BLUETTI AC180 power station to see if this latest fast-charging power station meets all of our outdoor power needs.
BLUETTI AC180 at a Glance
So, what are the main things you need to know about the BLUETTI AC180? Here are seven specs that we feel are the most important for this portable power station:
- A 1,800 W and 2,700 W (in power-lifting mode) inverter to cover most power needs even for high-power devices
- 1,440 W max input and 0-80% charging only takes 45 minutes
- 9 charging inputs are available
- Built-in advanced LiFePO4 battery for higher security and longer lifespan
- Monitor and control at your fingertips with BLUETTI App
- Includes “Silent Charging Mode” with a near noiseless 45 dB while charging
- Weight/Dimensions: 17 kg/340×247×317 mm.
What to Use the AC180 For (and Why it is the Best Power Station for the Outdoors)
Now that you have seen the specifications for the AC180, what does it all mean? In other words, why is the AC180 a good power station for outdoor adventures?
The AC180 isn’t just a power station to power your basic outdoors off-the-grid needs, whether it’s charging phones and laptops or maintaining the power of a fan or refrigerator in your campervan, but this is a power station you can rely on for even those high-powered living needs, including electric blankets, water heaters and even mini-ovens! Glamping trip, anyone? Beyond that, the seamless UPS function enables the power to convert in the blink of an eye, which helps avoid data loss or hardware damage to the computer.
The AC180 unit has an already impressive 1,152 Wh battery capacity, but it’s the fast-charging feature that gets outdoor enthusiasts the most excited! With only one single charge of up to 1,440 W input, recharging this unit from 0 to 80% only takes 45 minutes (or to 100% in around 1.3-1.8 hours)! What’s more, we find it a no-brainer to invest a little extra in compatible solar panels for full power independence (and clean energy) while you’re on the go.
Despite all of this power, the innovative bi-directional inverter and small battery pack make the AC180 much lighter than its predecessors – more on that in the “How Does BLUETTI AC180 Compare to Other Portable Power Stations?” section below.
We have guides on how to research your power needs for the outdoors, especially for camping, so take a look at How to Choose a Generator for Your Motorhome, Campervan or Tent.
Fast Recharging and Solar Input
As mentioned, perhaps the most impressive feature to note about the BLUETTI AC180 is that it charges much faster than other portable power stations in its category. With a 1,440 W super-fast charging rate, 1,800 W continuous AC power, and up to 2,700 W lifting power, the AC180 meets all your power needs, whether being used as an emergency backup during sudden power outages at home or as a power supply for outdoor travels.
When you’re on the road, the AC180 also allows you to benefit from free clean energy thanks to its 500 W solar input. Remember, you need to purchase the add-on of the PV200 or PV350 if you want to be able to charge this portable power station with solar energy.
How Long Does it Take to Recharge the AC180?
While the solar charging time is the cleanest and cheapest way to recharge the AC180, it’s not like we always have optimum sun energy available at all times. A full charge takes about 2.8-3.3 hours in full sun.
However, the recharge time through your wall socket is pretty impressive, with the AC charging taking approximately 1.3-1.8 hours; just one charging session for most users.
Another charging input in the equation is the power you generate on the road. Expect car inputs (cigarette lighter) of 12/24 V to take approximately 12.3-12.8 hours/6.4-6.9 hours). While slow on its own, it could provide the additional boost your unit needs to reach 100%.
Battery Specifications: Why LiFePO4?
Any power station specifications will boast a highly efficient battery with the best possible battery chemistry and the specs for the BLUETTI AC180 are no different. But with a little bit of research, it’s easy to discover that the lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) battery that the AC180 uses presents a more efficient and better-performing battery than lithium-ion or lithium-polymer batteries.
Some of the advantages of LiFePO4 batteries include:
- LiFePO4 has a long life cycle compared to other batteries thanks to its excellent discharge rate and the fact that it has less degradation at high temperatures. For example, BLUETTI claims its AC180 system has more than 3,500 charging cycles to 80% of its original capacity and will last for more than 10 years
- They are more eco-friendly by not containing harmful metals. They are also less costly than other types of lithium batteries
- No downtime and fast charging make LiFePO4 more efficient and safe to use; the chemical and thermal stability make these batteries more reliable and safe
- LiFePO4 batteries are better at remaining cool at high temperatures. They don’t have thermal runaways and don’t explode when they overheat or overcharge.
What about the disadvantages of LiFePO4?
- These batteries have a low nominal voltage that reduces energy
- LiFePO4 batteries have a low energy density so more protection is required
- These batteries don’t perform well at low temperatures.
Other Useful Specifications
While the power rating, battery capacity and recharge capabilities are all the most important factors when looking for a fast-charging portable power station for the outdoors, there are a few nifty features of the BLUETTI AC180 that are also worth mentioning.
All of the Outlets You Need
There’s no doubt that the AC180 is compatible with charging and powering the devices that most of us use and then some. The AC180 can provide power through its different ports simultaneously, so you don’t have to turn the lights off to power your fridge while charging your phone or vice versa.
So what ports are we talking about here? Not only does the AC180 has two of your classic AC ports but you also have two 100 W USB-C ports, four USB-A ports, one 12 V DC outlet (car cigarette lighter socket) and even a wireless charging pad.
Intuitive Display and App
The BLUETTI AC180 includes a handy display of the power input, output, battery capacity, etc. This is especially useful to understand how much power devices and appliances are using so that you can manage your power intake much more efficiently and make adjustments when needed. The display can also help with troubleshooting, giving you a warning display if the unit is overloaded, for example.
The AC180 also introduces a new “ECO mode” that allows automatic on/off to conserve power.
What’s more, your power consumption can also be tracked using the BLUETTI App. The app connects to the power station through Bluetooth within a 10 m radius, allowing you to not only control the unit (turning it on/off, for example, or switching between AC and DC) but also protect the unit and your devices from risks like short-circuiting, over-current, overheating and more.
How Does BLUETTI AC180 Compare to Other Portable Power Stations?
BLUETTI’s plethora of portable power stations is a little overwhelming, to say the least. Perhaps the easiest way to differentiate between the AC180 and its predecessors is with a nifty comparison table:
|Capacity||1,152 Wh||2,048 Wh||2,000 Wh|
|Rated Power||1,800 W||2,200 W||2,000 W|
|Lifting Power||2,700 W||–||–|
|Max. AC Input||1,440 W (by cable)||500 W (by adapter)||500 W (by adapter)|
|Max. Solar Input||500 W||900 W||700 W|
|UPS Transfer Time||≤20 ms||–||–|
|Smart App Control||√||√||–|
(Limited Debut Price)
|Warranty||5 years||2+2 years||2+2 years|
One last thing to add is that the AC180 is designed to be more portable, as it is not only lighter but has a handle for easy carrying.
Considering the impressive specifications, from the super-fast charging to the favourable power-to-portability ratio, the BLUETTI AC180 is easily one of the industry leaders in fast-charging portable power stations. The unit is a good in-between in terms of power, price and portability. It’s not quite the powerhouse as other power stations, like the BLUETTI AC500 yet not as compact and affordable as the BLUETTI EB3A. (We have reviews on both, by the way; check out the AC500 review here and the EB3A here). Finally, the AC180 is the solution if you are in doubt about how much power you’ll need in the great outdoors yet don’t want to overspend.
Check out the BLUETTI AC180 over at www.bluettipower.com.au, available from 31 May with a special debut price!
More About Fast-Charging Power Stations for the Outdoors
That’s it for our review of the BLUETTI AC180. For more advice on choosing a portable power station for the outdoors, take a look at the following guides:
- 10 Best Accessories for Your Campervan
- 5 Best Power Stations for Camping
- 10 Best Ways to Save Money on Camping Power Stations
Finally, if there’s anything we’ve missed, you’re likely to find it in How to Get Electricity When Camping.