When looking at solar generators it can be very hard to compare them all and know which one is the best to get. This is what happened to me when I was looking at the MAXOAK Bluetti and the ExpertPower Alpha. They looked to be very similar, but one was a little cheaper than the other. What are their differences and is one better than the other?
Since they were so similar, I decided to make a detailed spec sheet about each one to see what the differences were. I was extremely surprised by the results to see their exact specs.
Here is a picture of the detailed spec sheet I made of the Bluetti vs Alpha:
The short story is that they are 97% identical. The two differences are the price and branding on the outside.
Here’s the research:
They both use the same LG batteries which are great quality. Both the Alpha and Bluetti have the same battery capacity of 1,500wh. This is large enough to run a fridge and freezer all night long. Or perhaps a CPAP machine, fridge, and freezer if you use an outlet timer and power strip.
Because they use lithium-ion battery packs they are lighter and still portable. The batteries have a battery draw limit of 1,000 watts. Even though the batteries are 1,500wh they can only handle 1,000 watts being pulled off of them continuously.
The battery size and draw capacity is quite good because the inverter is rated to 1,000 watts as well. Both MAXOAK and ExpertPower use the same idea of not putting in a larger inverter than what the battery can handle.
There are some companies that make solar generators that have larger inverters than what the battery inside the generator can handle. For example, there’s one solar generator that has a 1,500-watt inverter but the battery can only draw 550 watts continuously. If more than 550 watts are drawn for more than just a few minutes then the unit goes into safety mode and stops giving out power. This is really sad because as a consumer I have to pay more money for a 1,500-watt inverter when I can only use 550 watts non stop. I don’t like paying for features I can’t use.
MAXOAK and ExpertPower didn’t go down that road of trying to make their generators look like more than what they really are. They also use Pure Sine Wave. This makes it easy to run anything that you’d need to under the 1,000-watt mark.
The Bluetti and Alpha inverters both peak at 1,200 watts though which to me is a bit low. Although, items that use less than 1,000 watts don’t often have a large peak. Most items that have large peaks either have large condensers or heating elements in them that surge really high. Since the inverter is rated to 1000 watts continuous power that eliminates the worry for the most part of using items with a higher surge than 1,200 watts.
The Bluetti is rated to have 1,000 lifecycles. Guess how many the Alpha is rated to? That’s right, 1,000 lifecycles. That rating based on a 60% draw. Meaning that the battery is drained to 60% then recharged.
After draining them to 60% and recharging them 1,000 times the battery is at about an 80% efficiency rating. So, if I use my Bluetti or Alpha every single day and drain it to 60% each time before recharging them then I can do that for 3 years before seeing the battery inefficiency. The point is I’m most likely not going to reach 1,000 cycles in three years because I don’t use them THAT much. They will both last plenty long.
Both of them can input 500 watts of solar according to their user manuals and what the manufacturers claim. The hard part with that is I simply can’t just plug 5 solar panels in series together to do that.
When solar panels are connected in series (panel to panel to panel) it increases the voltage output but keeps the amperage output the same. This is great because voltage is really easy to send over long distances, but amps are hard to send over long distances. So keeping amps lower is better in almost every situation.
If I put five 100-watt panels together and each panel makes 18v of power that means I’ll have 90 volts of power. Each panel makes about 5 to 6 amps so I would have a panel array of 90v and 5a. The problem though is that both the Bluetti and Alpha can only input 60v and 10a at a max.
What is needed is a series/parallel combo where we have two arrays of panels that combine together. To get the full 500 watts it’s necessary to put either one array with two 100-watt panels and the other array with three 100-watt panels for a total of 500 watts. Or, both arrays have two 100-watt panels and one 50-watt panel for a total of 250 watts in each array/ 500 watts total.
This is still a hard thing to do because the panels could technically make more than 10 amps combined together which would exceed the limit on the charge port. It would’ve been nice if either MAXOAK or ExpertPower had fixed this to be a 12 or 15 amp max input. Both have the same limit though of 60v and 10a.
Ideally, it’s best to use two arrays of 200 watts each for a total of 400 watts so that nothing gets damaged or turned off.
The fastest charge speed with these systems is 3 hours in full perfect sun if 500 watts in panels are connected.
Both the Alpha and Bluetti use the DC7909 barrel connector for their charge port. Each has two 110/120v house outlet plugs, four 5v USB ports, one USB-C 45w port, and one 12v DC port rated to 9 amps.
To connect the wall charger you simply plug the ac adapter into a wall outlet at home and then plug the barrel connector into the charge port. The charger pushes out about 160 watts of power. With a 1,500wh battery that means it takes about 9 hours to charge up completely. In reality, it takes about 10 hours because as the Alpha and Bluetti get close to being full they don’t draw the full 160 watts of power. When it hits about 90% the charging slows down gradually until it’s at 100%
They both weigh 38lbs which is a tiny bit on the heavy side but still portable and light enough to take places semi-easily. They measure exactly the same at 14.6” long x 6.5” wide x 14.4” tall. They are 100% identical in shape, size, and weight. They are the exact same system if you haven’t guessed by now. They likely come out of the exact same manufacturing warehouse.
The biggest thing that gives it away that they are the exact same unit is obviously their looks. They look 100% the same except for the names on them. They weigh the same, look the same, measure the same, work the same and everything is the same.
When I opened up the user manual in both the Bluetti and Alpha it was surprising to me that they even had the exact same user manual. Both said EB150 Solar Generator on it. I was surprised to see that these truly were the exact same product with just two different brands on them. So, in the end, does it really matter which one I buy? No. They both have the same warranty, same customer support, and everything. The only thing that really matters is which one is more cost-effective?
Prices vary here and there but generally the Alpha is slightly more cost-effective than the Bluetti. But that doesn’t mean that MAXOAK won’t eventually catch on and lower the price of the Bluetti. And it also doesn’t mean that ExpertPower doesn’t catch on and raise their price of the Alpha.
In the end, I think both are good units. They have excellent reviews on Amazon and people really like them. They will work when the power is out to run basics around the house and charge up fast enough to use for extended periods of time.
I like them both equally and would just recommend purchasing the one that is lower priced.