A Review of the BLUETTI EB3A
There’s one thing that has been pretty consistent in portable power station technology: big power doesn’t come in small packages… Until now. That’s right, we’ve been searching for a portable power supply that actually has an emphasis on “portable” and we think we might have found it. In this review, we’ll be checking out the BLUETTI EB3A to see if a power unit this small really can power the everyday items we use for camping and travelling in a campervan.
4 Ways to Use the BLUETTI EB3A
First things first, it’s important to understand what BLUETTI EB3A is used for. The portable power station is a handy unit for your most basic needs while camping, for example, but it’s not something you can rely on for powering your heavy appliances all day. Here are the four main uses we’ve found for the BLUETTI EB3A:
- Powering and charging devices like cameras, drones, smartphones, laptops and GPS devices (over and over again, might we add!)
- The EB3A will keep small appliances like a mini fridge in a campervan running for approximately four hours, keeping things cool before you get to your next power supply
- Powering lights, projectors, some sound systems or other devices for throwing a garden party or any small gathering outdoors (mini festival, anyone?)
- For power outages, it’s handy as a standby emergency power source. Although it can’t power high drain appliances like ovens or freezers, the EB3A will hold enough juice to keep essentials (such as your phone, lights and fridge) running until the power comes back on.
Fast Recharging and Solar Input
The first innovation to note about the BLUETTI EB3A is that it charges much faster than other small portable power stations in its category. For example, the EB3A recharges from 0 to 80% in an impressive 30 minutes by both AC and solar input simultaneously! Remember, you need to purchase the add-on of the PV120 (a good number of solar cells) or PV200 (a better number of solar cells for even faster charging) if you want to be able to charge this portable power station with solar energy.
How Long Does it Take to Recharge the EB3A?
While AC and solar input is the most optimum way to recharge the EB3A, it’s not like we always have these two options available simultaneously. However, the recharge time through other inputs is also pretty reasonable, with the AC charging (via wall socket) taking approximately 1h20mins through the unit’s “Turbo Charging Mode” or 1h30mins through the “Standard Mode”. For solar panels, expect it to take 3 hours to fully recharge in direct sunlight with the PV120 solar panels or 2 hours with the upgraded PV200. With a 12V car cigarette lighter, it takes significantly longer; about 3h45mins, which is acceptable for longer car journeys.
Given it’s a good day and the conditions are right, the solar panels are the best way to keep the power station going while out camping. Plus, it’s clean green energy ensuring a more sustainable source of power while you’re out exploring! However, you’ll be thankful that the EB3A has the alternatives of AC, car cigarette lighter ports and even a generator port for those days when the weather isn’t playing ball.
All of the Outlets You Need
There’s no doubt that BLUETTI EB3A is compatible with charging and powering the devices that most of us use and then some. One of the most important aspects to mention is that the EB3A can provide power through its different ports simultaneously, so you don’t have to turn the lights off to charge your phone or vice versa.
So what ports are we talking about here? Not only does the EB3A have your classic AC and two DC ports but you also have a 100W USB-C PD port, two 15W USB-A ports, a car cigarette lighter socket and even a wireless charging pad.
Although we only tend to use the AC and USB-C and A ports, it’s good to know the versatility of the unit, should we get any new devices or appliances.
Intuitive Display and App
The BLUETTI EB3A 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.
A new addition to BLUETTI’s power stations, and compatible with the BLUETTI EB3A, is the BLUETTI app. The app connects to the power station through Bluetooth within a 10m 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. The app is available on both Google Play and the App Store.
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 EB3A are no different. But with a little bit of research, it’s easy to discover that the lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) battery that the EB3A 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
- 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.
Knowing what the BLUETTI EB3A is designed for, this portable power station really is a reliable source of power for your basic essentials while camping – mostly for charging devices and powering small appliances when there’s otherwise no power source. We also like the fact that it’s one of the lightest portable power stations we know, weighing in at 4.6kg (10.14lbs). Finally, a portable power station that can actually be classed as “portable”!
However, it’s important to know what this power station is not good for. We wouldn’t recommend this for powering multiple appliances in motorhomes or RVs, like heaters and electric ovens, for example. You’re best to look at How to Get Electricity When Camping in New Zealand or BLUETTI’s alternative power stations and battery expansion packs for alternative solutions there.
Considering its low price (starting at A$629 retail) and knowing that BLUETTI has regular sales, we find it’s one of the most cost-effective power stations on the market.
Check out the BLUETTI EB3A over at www.bluettipower.com.au.
More About Portable Power Stations
That’s it for our review of the Bluetti EB3A. For more advice on choosing a portable power station, take a look at the following guides:
- How to Choose a Generator for Your Motorhome, Campervan or Tent
- 6 Best Power Stations for Camping
- How to Get the Best Deal on a Portable Power Station
Finally, if there’s anything we’ve missed, you’re likely to find it in How to Get Electricity When Camping in New Zealand.