Bluetti solar generator expert review: choose the right one for you

Updated

Bluetti solar generator charging a PV120 solar panel
The Bluetti EB55 and PV120 solar panels make a great pair.

Bluetti is a 3-year-old brand that primarily makes portable solar generators, battery backup systems, and foldable solar panels. Their products use LiFePO4 battery technology, which is currently regarded as the best kind of lithium battery on the market and has proven quite popular in the DIY and "van life" communities, allowing people to power important devices and appliances in off-grid situations.

We recently tested some Bluetti products to see how well they use solar power to keep the batteries charged and ready to deliver power to all sorts of energy-hungry devices. We found our Bluetti power bank and solar panel to be up to many important jobs around the yard, the house, and even in the wilderness.

Here’s a full review of Bluetti products and more information on all their uses.

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Key takeaways

  • Bluetti solar generators use lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) battery technology that is safer and longer lasting than other designs of lithium batteries.
  • The company offers many battery products in capacities ranging from 268 watt-hours to 12.3 kilowatt-hours.
  • Most Bluetti batteries are portable and all come with the ability to charge from solar panels, which the company also makes.
  • The company offers warranties of 24 months for its smaller portable solar generators and up to five years for its large home backup solutions.
  • With the wide range of options available, robust build quality, and great technology behind it all, SolarReviews recommends Bluetti products.

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    Bluetti’s technology

    Bluetti’s key value proposition comes from its use of Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries. This combination of chemicals (LiFePO4, or LFP for short) makes Bluetti’s batteries more stable, longer lasting, and less environmentally harmful than typical lithium nickel manganese cobalt (NMC) batteries used by other popular solar generators. Bluetti says its LFP batteries can be cycled 2,500 (EB series) to 3,500 (AC and B series) times before being reduced to 80% of their original capacity, compared to other brands’ 500-cycle lifespan.

    The next feature common to Bluetti's Portable Power Stations is solar input. From the entry-level EB3A to the flagship AC200P, comes with an MPPT solar charge controller built-in, allowing the battery to get the most from solar panels. Bluetti makes its own foldable solar panel, but also provides standard MC4 connections so any compatible solar array can be used to charge its batteries (with allowable input wattage that differs for each of its products).

    Finally, Bluetti includes a pure sine wave inverter in each of its batteries and provides multiple DC and AC outlets to provide options for powering devices. Typical outlets include USB-A, USB-C, 120V AC, and 12V DC. In addition, all Bluetti Portable Power Stations come with 15W wireless charging pads built into the top of the unit.

    How a Bluetti Solar generator works

    In order to provide a good review of Bluetti’s Portable Power Stations, we purchased a Bluetti EB55 along with a PV120 foldable solar panel. With this pair of products, you can provide power to numerous devices away from home, and even provide yourself some peace of mind in the event of a power outage.

    We found the EB55 to be a well-built, capable and versatile piece of equipment. It is an excellent option for people who need power on the go, whether it's in an off-grid camping setting, as an RV accessory, or even just a fun day at the park or beach.

    Bluetti EB55 Details

    The EB55 has 537 watt-hours (Wh) of storage capacity and can output 700W of continuous power (1,400W surge). That’s not enough power to start an air conditioner, but it is enough to run a full-sized refrigerator for a few hours during a power outage, or several smaller appliances for a full day, even without recharging.

    Bluetti EB55 (L to R): solar charging cable, DC charging cable, AC cord, velcro strap, and power brick

    Accessories that come with the Bluetti EB55 (L to R): solar charging cable, DC charging cable, AC cord, velcro strap, and power brick.

    Inside the box, the EB55 comes with an AC power supply, a cable for charging from a vehicle’s DC outlet, and a cable for charging from solar panels. The EB55 has 12 outlets:

    • Four USB-A
    • One USB-C
    • Two grounded and two ungrounded 120V AC outputs
    • Two 12V/10A DC
    • One 12V DC "cigarette lighter" outlet

    The unit is a compact 10.94 x 7.87 x 7.79 inches and weighs in at 16.5 lbs, with a foldable carrying handle on top. There is a built-in cooling fan with vents on the side of the unit, and a small backlit LCD screen on the front that displays the state of charge and input/output wattage using two shades of blue.

    Charging

    The Bluetti EB55 can charge from AC power with the included power brick, DC power from the solar panels, or both at the same time. It can also be charged using a 12V DC output from a vehicle or from a generator. Charging power is up to 200W from AC or solar, or 400W from both AC and solar at the same time.

    In our tests, Bluetti’s 120W solar panel delivered its maximum power to the EB55 effortlessly under full sun on a warm day. The solar panel is about 2 feet high by 6 feet wide, with four sections that fold out from the stored position. On the back of these sections are thin “legs” that fold away from the main body and allow the user to adjust the angle at which the panel is placed relative to the ground, between 40° and 50°.

     Bluetti PV120 solar panel

    Features of the Bluetti PV120 solar panel: fully folded, zippered pouch with wires, adjustable leg.

    The whole solar panel is clad in ripstop-style polyester fabric, with a hard plastic handle at one end that is used for carrying the panel when it’s folded up. The solar sections themselves are laminated inside Ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE) sheets, which allows them to be flexible and resist fading and cracking due to high temperatures and UV radiation. A zippered pouch on the back of one section contains the cables and a list of specifications.

    The fully-extended PV120 solar panel

    The fully-extended PV120 solar panel.

    We’d recommend keeping the battery out of full sun because it heats up when charging.

    Thankfully, the EB55 comes with a 5.5-foot solar charging cable with MC4 connectors, and the PV120 panel comes with its own 9.5-foot cable, making it easy to place the panel in the sun and the battery somewhere nearby in the shade. And because Bluetti uses standard solar connectors, additional cables can be purchased online from a variety of sources if you need more than 15 feet between the panel and the battery.

    A word of caution: Bluetti solar panels are IP65 rated, meaning they can handle a little splash of water, but can’t withstand rain and snow. Only put them out on a dry day.

    In testing the AC charging, we easily got the promised 200W from the charger, although it should be noted that the charging brick has its own internal cooling fan that can get a little noisy, so it’s best to charge it out of earshot. Either the AC adapter or the solar input is capable of filling the EB55’s 537 Wh of storage in about 3 hours from empty, and combining solar and AC together can increase the power to 400W, decreasing charging time down to just 1.8 hours.

    Using Power

    In our tests, the EB55 was capable of powering many important appliances and devices, and we recommend it for medium-light duty applications like phone and laptop charging, camping, or even for short-duration events like small concerts in the park where no power is available.

    We tested our EB55 in a few ways: powering a small outdoor pool pump, running live sound through a PA speaker, and running a full-size refrigerator. In all these tests, the EB55 performed very well.

    The Bluetti EB55 running a pool pump

    The Bluetti EB55 running a pool pump.

    With its 537 Wh of battery capacity, it could theoretically run the 33W pool pump for 16 hours, even without solar recharging. At medium volumes, the PA speaker and some guitar pedals used 25W. Imagine an afternoon pool party with a rock band at a remote location run entirely by one Bluetti EB55 battery. All you’d need is transportation and a water source.

    Closer to home, the refrigerator drew between 105W and 220W, depending on the cycle it was running, so it could be kept running for 3 hours or more during a power outage. If you add 4 hours of solar charging at an average of around 100W, you could extend that time to six hours or more. By plugging in the fridge only sporadically, you could theoretically keep food cold for days during a power outage using a single EB55 and solar panel, and probably have enough energy left over to keep your phone topped off.

    Because of its LiFePO4 battery cell chemistry, the Bluetti should be able to fully charge and discharge 2,500 times, which could mean several years of power even with twice daily cycling. That many cycles should still leave the battery at 80% of its original capacity.

    It’s a pretty remarkable little battery, and well worth its $499 MSRP. But the EB55 is one of the smallest capacity batteries Bluetti offers, and some of the company’s products can do much more than keep your food cold for a few hours.

    Bluetti product comparison

    Now let's look at some of the key specifications of Bluetti's product lineup. The company has offerings as small as the entry-level EB3A with a 268 Wh battery pack and as large as the expandable AC300 inverter module, which doesn't come with its own battery but can instead be paired with up to four B300 expansion batteries for 12.3 kWh of storage. That's nearly as large as a Tesla Powerwall.

    The smaller, more portable power stations (basically anything that will fit in Bluetti's carrying case) are fairly simple; just boxes with batteries, inputs, and output ports, while the larger offerings like the Bluetti AC200MAX and AC300 come with Bluetooth and can be controlled via the Bluetti smartphone app (the newer, small EB3A is also app-enabled). For very large battery backup needs, two AC300 inverter modules can be paired with Bluetti's AC300 Fusion Box for a 240V system with up to 24.5 kWh of storage.

    Here’s a rundown of Bluetti’s portable models and their key specs:

    Product Capacity Output (surge) Max input W # of outlets Expandable Max capacity
    EB3A 268 Wh 600W (1,200W) 430W Solar+AC 9 N N/A
    EB55 537 Wh 700W (1,400W) 400W Solar+AC 12 N N/A
    EB70S 716 Wh 800W (1,400W) 200W Solar/AC 12 N N/A
    AC200P 2,000 Wh 2,000W (4,800W) 1,200W Solar+AC 17 N N/A
    AC300 inverter module N/A 3,000W (6,000W) 5,400W Solar+AC 16 Y 12,288 Wh
    AC200MAX 2,048 Wh 2,200W (4,800W) 1,300W Solar+AC 15 Y 8,192 Wh
    B230 expansion battery 2,048 Wh N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
    B300 expansion battery 3,071 Wh N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A

    Cost

    Like a lot of technology products you can find on Amazon, Bluetti products often go on sale, and people looking for the company’s products can often find coupons and discount codes online. For reference, here are the MSRPs of the most popular Bluetti products:

    • EB3A: $299
    • EB55: $499
    • EB70S: $599
    • AC200P: $1,699
    • AC300 inverter module: $1,899
    • AC200MAX: $1,899
    • B230 expansion battery: $1,399
    • B300 expansion battery: $2,199
    • PV120 solar panel: $299
    • PV200 solar panel: $499
    • PV350 solar panel: $849

    Bluetti battery warranties

    The warranty is where portable batteries like Bluetti falter a bit compared to purpose-built home solar batteries. The warranty for most Bluetti products covers just 24 months of defects due to materials and workmanship. These products are designed to last for a long time, but the manufacturer doesn’t offer long-term coverage for most of its products.

    That said, if you spring for the AC300 with one or more B300 expansion batteries, Bluetti offers 48 months of warranty coverage. Larger home battery backup systems like the EP500Pro come with 5-year warranties. These don't quite match the 10-year warranties offered by companies like Generac and LG, so if you're concerned about long-term coverage, one of those battery solutions might be better for you.

    Ironically, Generac and LG use lithium NMC batteries, so the Bluetti should theoretically outlast them. Bluetti says its EB-series batteries will last for 2,500 cycles before being reduced to 80% of their original capacity, and its AC- and B-series batteries get estimates of 3,500 cycles before hitting 80%. Assuming one full cycle per day, that’s over 9 years.

    How does Bluetti compare to the competition?

    When it comes to the best solar generators, Bluetti is among the top contenders. Its LFP battery cells are rated to last five times as long as products from main competitors Jackery and GoalZero, and its products are every bit as durable and easy to use.

    With 48-60 month warranties on its flagship products, Bluetti exceeds the standards set by its competitors, which almost all offer only 24 months of coverage. To be fair, their 500-cycle lifespans will almost certainly be up within those 24 months of regular usage, so Bluetti has a chance to extend its warranties and further set itself apart from Jackery, GoalZero, and others. We hope to see that as Bluetti products spend more time in the wild and prove their durability.

    If you're on the go and need to keep small appliances powered in an off-grid situation, the EB55 is an excellent choice. If you just want to keep your phone charged in the wilderness, the new EB3A is a great, inexpensive option.

    For longer trips and cabin stays, the AC200P provides a robust amount of energy storage and power output that could keep an off-grid cabin very comfortable, especially when paired with a few Bluetti solar panels wired in series.

    For home backup applications, we recommend the EP500 Pro over the AC300 with expansion batteries, simply because of the form factor and the 5-year warranty. If Bluetti ever increases its warranty protection for its modular batteries, we'll update that recommendation accordingly.

    Bottom line: are Bluetti products good?

    Bluetti's batteries and solar panels compare favorably with the majority of other portable solutions on the market. The LFP batteries and ETFE-clad solar panels are powerful and well-built products designed for a life lived outside of the boundaries of the electric grid. On top of that, Bluetti meets or exceeds industry standards for portable devices with 2-5 year warranties on its products.

    One caveat here is that the company is still only a few years old, and it remains to be seen whether its batteries will match the estimated 2,500-cycle lifespans, and whether the company will prove adept at handling customer complaints if they don't. But the tech is solid, the products are proving popular and well-liked, and Bluetti reps actively engage customers through multiple channels, including an owners' Facebook group. The company seems to be doing things right.

    Another caveat is that Bluetti's solar panels aren't as robust as actual home solar panels. For example, they aren't designed to be outside in the rain and snow. If you're looking for something to act as a fixture on your home or even off-grid cabin, real roof- or ground-mounted solar panels are much more robust, and can survive the weather for decades. And you can still use Bluetti battery backup with a well-designed solar installation.

    Bowie and Bluetti

    The Bluetti PV120; SolarReviews and Bowie-approved.

    Regardless of the caveats, Bluetti is making some great products. If you’re looking for a way to keep important devices powered up while in the wilderness, Bluetti batteries and solar panels have our recommendation.

    Find out how much you can save by switching to solar
     - Author of Solar Reviews

    Ben Zientara

    Solar Policy Analyst and Researcher

    Ben is a writer, researcher, and data analysis expert who has worked for clients in the sustainability, public administration, and clean energy sectors.

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