The Bluetti EB70S is a good portable solar generator for travel, portability, and on-the-go use. However, it is not ideal for running a home or emergency prep for the long term.
While the other comparable solar generators of its size have Lithium NMC batteries, the Bluetti EB70S power station has a LiFePO4 battery. While a heavier battery than the Lithium NMCs, the LiFePO4 battery will last significantly longer than its competitors, meaning that were this unit to be drained every day down to nothing, it would last for almost ten years before going down to 80% efficiency, as it is rated for over 3,000 cycles.
While this is a nice feature to have, it is debatable whether this is necessary, as it cannot power a full house, and is more useful for travel than home or emergency prep use. In the event of an emergency, despite its long life, the Bluetti EB70S solar generator would be unable to power a house simply because it doesn’t have the output ability or battery size. Despite this, however, it remains a good solar generator for travel and portable use.
The Bluetti EB70S solar power station comes with multiple ways to recharge. It comes with a wall plug that will charge it in roughly three to four hours, as well as a 12v car adapter that will allow it to charge in roughly seven to eight hours, convenient for long trips where power will be needed, adding to its portable functionality. Having the car charger is another great way to be charging the unit while it’s running a DC fridge while on the road trip.
It has a max input of 200 W from solar panels, and with advanced MPPT technology that ensures faster solar recharge rates, this power station can be fully recharged via solar in three to four hours with the full amount of solar panels, though that can be affected by cloud cover.
At 12.6 x 8.5 x 8.7 inches, the Bluetti EB70S is a convenient size for transportation, featuring a sturdy handle that folds down into the top for easy portability. Though it does weigh more than some of the comparative generators such as the Ecoflow River Max and the Jackery, which are both slightly smaller, the battery life makes up for the extra weight, and even though it weighs more than the other units, it is still light, weighing only 21.4 pounds, which is still a convenient weight for carrying when needed. The weight is well worth it for the LiFePo4 battery, compared to Jackery and River Max’s Lithium NMC/Lithium-ion batteries, which are lighter but will not last as long.
It has a 12-month warranty, allowing plenty of time for testing before the warranty expires. It comes with a corded wall charger, a car charger, a USB-c to USB-c cable for fast charging small devices, a solar panel connector, and a simple, easy-to-read and understand user’s manual.
For a smaller unit, the Bluetti EB70S has a lot of ports, adding to its functionality. It comes with four 120 V AC outputs that can supply 700 W. These AC ports also have a peak output capacity of up to 1400 W, which is a nice added safety feature.
The Bluetti EB70S also has one DC, 12 V, 10A car port. It also comes with two DC, 12 V, 10 A, outports that measure 5.5 mm x 2.1 mm. There are two USB-A outputs with 5 V and 3 A capabilities, which are convenient for charging phones. A unique feature that the Bluetti EB70S has is two 100 W type-C PD outputs.
Most similar models don’t feature a 100 W type-c charger. The closest comparison is the EcoFlow River Max, which only has one, whereas the Bluetti EB70S has two, adding functionality for charging rechargeable batteries. The Bluetti EB70S has a 15 W wireless charging pad, which can be used to charge compatible phones if the other USB-A ports are being used, something which is both convenient and unique to this solar generator and the BougeRV 716wh solar generator (which is identical to the Bluetti EB70S). The Bluetti EB70S also has LED lighting that can be set to full bright or SOS flash mode for emergency use. The input port is a 12-18v, 8 A, 200 W Max port, which can be charged in a variety of ways (see Recharge).
The 200 watts of solar input is impressive for a solar generator of this size. The Ecoflow River and Bluetti EB55 are the only comparable solar generators that have the capacity for equal solar input. The Jackery and other comparable solar generators have only 100 watts of solar input, allowing the Bluetti EB70S solar generator to charge far faster than its competitors.
Another strength of the Bluetti EB70S is that it can both charge and discharge at the same time. Allowing you to charge the solar generator at the same time it’s plugged into and charging from solar panels, the wall, or a car. This means that the Bluetti EB70S can be running non-stop, not needing to stop to charge as long as whatever is running is taking less from the power station than what is being input.
After fully discharging, the Bluetti EB70S remains surprisingly cool, not even feeling warm to the touch on any portion of the surface. The fans are quiet and not annoying at all, an important feature of any generator that will be used for portability or travel, particularly if it will be used when camping or in an RV or trailer.
The 200 W of the Bluetti EB70S solar generator is capable of running a laptop, a USB charger, a fan, LED lights, and other small appliances, making this convenient for travel and adventuring.
The Bluetti EB70S can run a fridge, but only for about six to eight hours. Helpful in a pinch, but long term, it’s not strong enough to run a house or major appliances for long. A minor annoyance, though it doesn’t affect the function of the solar power station very much, is that of the display screen.
The display screen doesn’t stay on, and there is no button to turn it on. This is a common complaint on many solar generators. Though they have nice display screens, they won’t stay turned on, and it makes it very difficult for the user to see what’s going on with their generator.
The inverter is not quite as efficient as desired, running a little low at about 75% efficiency at a 1c rate (1c rate meaning it is running at the capacity that it is rated as, or full capacity). Were it to be run with a lighter load it would be more efficient, but it’s important to know just how much a generator can handle before you decide what to buy (or what not to buy).
Two other units that are similar in size and capability to the Bluetti EB70S are the EcoFlow River Max and the Jackery 500. Both are midsize solar generators, good for portability like the Bluetti EB70S, but neither has the charging speed, number of ports, or lifespan of the Bluetti EB70S.
With a 200 W solar input capacity, the Bluetti EB70S has the same solar input capacity as the EcoFlow River Max (which can take 200 W), but more than the Jackery 500 and most other solar generators similar in size and capacity. The two 100 W type-C PD ports are unique to this solar generator, with the only comparable being the EcoFlow River Max, which has one, and the identical BougeRV 716wh, which has two.
The two ports allow the Bluetti EB70S to be more efficient in charging small devices, whereas the other comparable solar generators have both less charging speed and less capacity for charging things like cell phones and other small devices.
The Bluetti EB70S is currently available and in stock ready to ship. Though it is similar to the EcoFlow River Max and the Jackery, the Bluetti EB70S will last significantly longer due to the LiFePO4 battery, rather than the Lithium NMC batteries of the EcoFlow River Max and the Jackery.
For a comparative price, the Bluetti EB70S will last 2,500 cycles more than the EcoFlow River Max (rated at 500 cycles), and 2,500 more cycles than the Jackery 500 (also rated at 500 cycles), which is particularly useful if you are an avid traveler in need of constant portable energy, as this means you will not have to replace your solar generator for quite some time, making it a more cost-efficient choice.
Though the EcoFlow River Max has the capability to take the same amount of solar power at 200 W, the Bluetti EB70S has a battery that will long outlast it. With more ports and more cycles, the Bluetti EB70S seems to be a more utilitarian choice, allowing for longer life and more versatile use than the competition for a portable solar generator. While not ideal for powering a house or being the sole source of power in an emergency, the Bluetti EB70S is a great choice for on-the-go and portable use.
The Bluetti AC200Max is one of the best medium-sized solar generators to come out to date. But is it enough to be the absolute best option? Does it offer the best efficiency, power, expandability, rechargeability, and all the other necessary components to be the best option?
The top competitors to the Bluetti AC200Max are the EcoFlow Delta Max and the Inergy Flex. There are many similarities between these systems including expandable battery packs, portability, and how many items can be run off of them at the same time.
Midweight Sized Solar Generators
What are midweight-sized solar generators? They are units that are too big for simple camping or day trips but not large enough to permanently run an off-grid cabin or have 240v power capability. They generally have inverter capacities from 1,500w to 2,500w and battery sizes from 1,500wh to 6,000wh.
The inverter on the AC200Max is a very efficient and powerful setup. It is a pure sine wave, which is to be expected from modern solar generators, and will run any AC-powered device that you can run at home very easily. With a continuous output rating of 2,200w, it is less than the EcoFlow Delta Max at 2,400w but much larger than the Inergy Flex at 1,500w. This means it will easily run any household device that you would normally plug into the wall outlet. And if there is any heavy load such as a hairdryer, chop saw, or even some air compressors, it can peak all the way up to 4,800w which is 220% higher than the continuous output capacity of the Bluetti AC200Max.
It may not have the highest continuous output of all the midweight solar generators currently available but 2,200w is still plenty of power for the standard backup power setup for most people. This means it’s easily capable of running a fridge, freezer, lights, fans, CPAP, toaster, coffee maker, hairdryer and so much more without any trouble.
But one thing that is very impressive about the Bluetti AC200Max is its inverter efficiency. It is typical for a good solar generator to have about 85% efficiency out of the inverter. Meaning for every 1 watt-hour of battery capacity you’ll get out .85 watt-hours of actual power through the inverter. This inefficiency is normal and happens because the inverter is converting battery power which is 51v DC power in the Bluetti AC200Max to 120v AC power for devices. But the Bluetti AC200Max pushes out a solid 88% efficiency which is much higher than a typical good system. This means you’ll get more power out of the battery than another system like the Inergy Flex which only has about an 80% efficient inverter. The Delta Max has an 89% efficient inverter so basically the same as the Bluetti AC200Max, both are very good.
The 2,200w inverter runs four 18amp house style outlets (NEMA 15) and one 30amp RV (TT-30) outlet. But you have to keep in mind that the 30amp RV plug can only push out 18 amps of continuous power because the inverter is rated to 2,220 watts (2,200 watts ÷ 120 volts = 18.34amps). Meaning it is not a true 30amp plug but can connect to 30amp service plugs on RVs which is a nice feature.
The Bluetti AC200Max uses the heavy but very reliable LiFePo4 (Lithium Iron Phosphate) battery that is tried and true. With up to 3,500 cycles on the battery before it reaches 80% efficiency, this unit will last for many years without any noticeable decay in battery capacity. If the battery were used 3,500 times by doing a cycle once per day it would take nearly 10 years for the battery to get to 3,500 cycles. That’s incredible!
Although cycles are an important feature for solar generators it is very important to understand that it is not one of the most important features. You have to consider that unless you’re literally living off-grid with this unit and using a lot of power off of it daily that you’re not likely going to reach that 3,500 cycle mark. The reality is most people need these types of units during emergencies, or for RVing for a few weeks each summer. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. But if you consider that you are using this fairly heavily then you’re looking closer to 100 cycles per year. This means you’re looking at over 30 years before you reach 3,500 cycles.
That is why it is important to have a good amount of cycles on the batteries but it is not a deal-breaker or a deal decider. It is more important to have a larger battery capacity, larger inverter, and fast solar recharge than to have a high number of cycles.
But one of the best features of the Bluetti AC200Max is its ability to use expandable batteries. Using the Bluetti B230 and B300 batteries you can expand the AC200Max to be up to 6,144wh with B230s and up to 8,194wh with the B300 batteries.
The B230 battery is the same battery that is in the Bluetti AC200Max of 2,048wh. It is just the battery packaged into another case and has external connectors to link up with the AC200Max. The B300 battery however is 3,072wh in capacity. And you can use either two B230s or two B300s attached to the AC300Max.
There doesn’t seem to be a way to use any other kind of battery with the AC200Max so you are limited to only using Bluetti batteries. But they are fairly priced and are LiFePo4 cells as well so they will last forever and are very high quality.
The downside though to using these LiFePo4 cells inside the AC200Max as well as in the B230 and B300 is that they are very heavy. The AC200Max alone without external batteries is 61lbs which is definitely quite heavy. Just by adding a single B230 battery, you’re looking right about 100lbs to handle. With a couple of B300 batteries, you’re well over 150lbs which makes it much more difficult to keep it portable, but they are expansion batteries that are externally mounted so it is easier to move them around than having a single system that is all linked together as one unit.
The batteries are not without their major flaws which I’ll talk about below in the weaknesses section.
There are multiple ways to charge up the Bluetti AC200Max. The one that is most important is the solar recharge but it can also be charged with a wall charger, car charger, and even a lead-acid battery. It is unclear why Bluetti thought that it would be an important feature to be able to recharge the AC200Max from a lead-acid battery. But, it’s capable of doing that and that is a unique feature that is not common in other solar generators.
The AC200Max comes with a 500w AC power charging brick that is a bit heavy but does charge fairly quickly in just about 4 hours for just the base unit with no external batteries. The car charger puts in a little bit more than 100w into the battery at a time so it’s a very slow way to charge but nonetheless has that option. For midweight systems like this, car charging is very uncommon because it takes so long but is a nice feature for anyone using this system in a Van setup. At least while driving it can get a little extra charge.
The AC200Max has a high input of 900w input directly from solar. And with a special adapter that you can buy as an extra, you can get an extra 500w solar input into each expansion battery that is added. If you had two external batteries added you can have a total of 1,900w of solar input going into the whole system which is very impressive. That is only beat by the Titan solar generator which has a standard solar input of 2,000w, 3,000w inverter, and 10’s of thousands of watt-hours in battery capacity can be added to the Titan.
The AC200Max’s standard solar input of 900 watts beats the EcoFlow Deltas 800w max solar input and the Inergy Flex’s 400w solar input. The Flex is capable of adding more charge controllers as well just like the AC200Max but the Flex’s extra charge controllers are two years behind production so don’t hold your breath on getting those.
The AC200Max with no extra batteries can be charged in as fast as 2hrs and 20mins with its 900w solar input. It can be easily over-paneled which is a very nice feature to have on solar generators. With a solar input of 10-145v and up to 15amps it’s easy to get upwards of 1,500 watts in solar panels connected to the AC200Max.
Why over-panel? If the sun comes up at 8 am, but isn’t near its peak height in the sky until 10 am, that means from 8 am until 10 am you won’t be making the full power of your solar panels. As an example, if you can only get 60% of your solar panel-rated power into the AC200Max then in the early morning you’re not charging at the highest capacity. So if you had 1,000 watts in panels connected at 8 am you’d get 600 watts to go into the AC200Max. But if you had 1,500 watts in panels connected at 8 am, at 60% power input, you’d actually be getting 900 watts of solar input at the very beginning of the day.
This allows you to get more charging hours of full capacity throughout the day and makes it much easier to fully recharge the system on cloudy days or in adverse weather.
Over-paneling is one of the best features any solar generator can have and between the AC200Max, Delta Max, and Flex, only the AC200Max is capable of doing it. The Titan beats the AC200Max with up to 4,000w of solar panels being able to connect to it in over-paneling capability. But the Titan is considered a heavyweight solar generator, a different caliber, and more capable so it’s not a fair comparison.
The Bluetti AC200Max has many great features such as a very interactive and informative touch screen. It shows plenty of information from the load output, the recharging input, battery percentage, battery cell balances, and much more. Some people have reported that their touch screens have frozen and were not usable for many hours at some times. It is likely a bug that is no longer an issue but was most likely just an issue in early models.
The AC200Max as well as all of Bluetti’s power stations come with a 24 months warranty which is the current industry standard.
It has a very sleek and interactive Bluetooth app that allows you to connect to the unit, monitor, control, and adjust settings all from your smartphone. This is becoming more and more popular with solar generators and power stations today and works very well. As long as you’re within the short range of about 30ft from the unit you can see everything from your phone through the Bluettiapp.
The biggest concern besides the touch screen locking up and not being used are the external batteries. The issue is that if for any reason the total battery capacity on the AC200Max drops all the way down to zero, only the onboard battery inside the AC200Max will recharge when the sun comes back up and hits the solar panels. For some reason, the external batteries do not get any charge at all after hitting 0%. They have to be jump-started using the AC wall charger. Once they’ve been jump-started they will then begin charging from the solar panels.
That means if this was to be used at an off-grid cabin, van, RV, home, or anywhere, and you drained the battery down to zero which can definitely happen, you have to manually reset the external batteries. That is nearly a deal-breaker if this is to be used for emergency backup power, off-griding, or boondocking. At our off-grid cabin, there are times we are not there for weeks, or there is bad weather for weeks. On the one good day there’s sun in the midst of bad weather I can’t afford to be wondering if my system was fully drained and not charging the extra batteries.
The cable management. This is a big issue if you have expendable batteries. Each battery has a very heavy-duty cable that connects it to the AC200Max. Then if each battery has an additional solar charger connected to it plus the solar cables themselves, it can become quite the rat’s nest of cables. It simply requires a lot of cable management which for many people is not a strong suit or is not wanted to be dealt with in the middle of an emergency.
Also, the weight of the entire system is necessary to address. With the base unit alone being 61lbs it’s not going to be easy for many people to move it around. Having a furniture dolly may help but in the end that will only work on flat surfaces. Even the Titan which is considered a heavyweight system can be broken down into smaller parts and have a max weight of 35lbs per piece making it very easy to transport and setup again. Especially since the Titan doesn’t use external cabling to connect to extra batteries, they simply stack on top of each other. And because the Titan already has 2,000w of solar input built into the unit itself there are no external charge controllers to have more of a mess of cables.
Factoring in the inverter size, battery capacity, and solar input which are the three most important features of any solar generator system, the Bluetti AC200Max is well priced. At about $2,099 for the average price you’ll only end up paying around $1.44 per “unit wattage.” That is very close to the Titan’s $1.42 per unit wattage which has been considered the “best bang for the buck” for years now.
The Bluetti AC200Max is a very good system. It’s efficient, expandable, quickly rechargeable can be over-paneled, and has a good price per unit wattage. It’s nearly tied in capability with the EcoFlow Delta Max. The AC200Max has a slightly smaller inverter at 2,200w whereas the Delta Max has a 2,400w inverter. But the AC200Max has a max battery capacity of over 8,000wh and the Delta Max can only go up to just over 6,000wh. And the Delta Max has 800w max solar input without the ability to over panel. And the AC200Max has 900w of max solar input and can be over paneled. The AC200Max has 3,500 cycles and the Delta Max 800 cycles. So nearly in every way that matters the AC200Max beats the Delta Max.
As far as midweight solar generators are concerned, it would appear that the Bluetti AC200Max is currently the very best option available. The Inergy Flex doesn’t hold a candle to the AC200Max.
If you find you want a little more inverter power, more than twice the solar input for the base unit, and more expandable battery capacity than any other unit currently in existence, then the Titan solar generator would be the next best option.
But the Bluetti AC200Max can absolutely stand on its own as the best midweight system.
Typically, it is preferred to have a larger solar generator or power station as an emergency backup power source. Or it can be used for camping, RVing, off-grid locations and so on. But especially for camping and traveling the larger solar generators can be too big. That is why it is also nice to keep on hand a very small and simple solar generator or power station. It should still be able to be charged by solar in at least one day.
The MAXOAK Bluetti AC50 is a very good option and generally my #1 choice for a very lightweight option. It weighs in exactly at 13lbs 7oz. It is a very affordable, lightweight and easy to use system that is very handy when doing some light camping. It’s definitely not big enough to run a fridge, freezer, or TV for very long. But it does work well for CPAP machines, inflatable beds/air pumps, laptops, and other smaller items.
The Bluetti AC50 has a pure sine wave inverter that allows up to a 300-watt continuous draw. The peak draw on it is 450 watts. On most solar generators the peak draw can be run for a couple of seconds. On the AC50 though it can run 450 watts for up to 2.5 minutes! If a little extra power is needed for a short burst, it will be able to handle it no problem.
It has a 500wh Lithium NMC (Lithium-Ion) battery that is capable of a 90% capacity draw. What that means is that 90% of the battery is usable. 500wh x 90% = 450wh usable capacity. I find that I can get more than that depending on what I am using. If I am using a small draw like a phone, camera or laptop I can get a bit more draw out of the battery. But, 450wh is what should be considered the usable amount of battery.
It does allow for the full 300 watts from the inverter to be used until that 450wh is used up which is nice.
It is very normal for a Lithium-Ion battery to have about 500 cycles on it. That is how many times it can be drained and recharged fully. After 500 cycles the battery efficiency is about 80%. The best way of extending the lifecycles is to not use the 300-watt draw every single time it’s used and to charge it slower.
The AC50 actually has 1,000 cycles. So it’s twice the standard. The best way to reach that 1,000 cycles is to charge it slowly and discharge it slowly.
The easiest way to charge the Bluetti AC50 is by using the wall AC adapter but it charges pretty slow. That may be good for the battery to charge slow but it can be a bit of an annoyance to have to wait hours for it to charge all the way up.
It also can be charged by solar. The solar input rating is 14v-40v and 10 amps. It says it’s capable of using one 120w panel to charge. I almost always use 100w solar panels because they are lighter, easier to move and are affordable.Stringing two 100w solar panels together in series will make about 38v and 6 amps of power which is within the safe limit of the Bluetti AC50. I find this is the fastest way of charging it on bright sunny days because it creates much more power than the wall charger.
Charging it from a car really isn’t possible since it uses a 24v battery internally and cars use 12v batteries. You can technically get it to work but it won’t charge the battery fully which makes it pointless in my mind. The best thing to do if it needs to be charged on the go is to have a small 300-watt 12v car inverter and use that with the DC cigarette lighter port in the car.
It can be charged and used at the same time. It does have an MPPT charge controller in it though which is great. An MPPT charge controller makes it charge much more efficiently than a PWM. I am glad MAXOAK is putting quality parts into their units.
One neat feature is that it does have a wireless charging pad on the top of the AC50 which is nice to use when outdoors. It makes it easy not to worry about forgetting a charging cord for a phone or tablet and it can be placed right on top for charging.
It also includes two 120v AC outlets which can be used up to 300w continuous draw. The 4 USB A ports are rated to 3 amps which means they will do “fast charging.” The single USB C port is rated to 45 watts and will charge much faster for anything that has a USB C charging port such as a laptop.
One of my favorite features of the Bluetti AC50 is that it has two 5.5×2.1mm barrel ports. To most people, these ports rarely ever get used. But when camping I love to bring the MAXOAK AC50 and a few Inergy Basecamp lights. The lights are extremely bright, lightweight and string together to easily light up the entire campsite. Since the AC50 has two of these ports I can easily string up to 6 or even 12 lights around my campsite and make it extremely bright.
The MAXOAK Bluetti AC50 also has a standard DC cigarette lighter port that is rated to 10 amps. Which means it will pull a maximum of 120 watts from it. The downside of the AC50 is that the DC ports are not regulated. Meaning that as the battery gets drawn lower the output voltage of the DC ports goes down. At 100% the voltage is at 12.4v but as the battery gets drained that voltage will drop. This means at 100% it can make 12.4v x 10a = 124 watts. But at 50% when the voltage is at 10.8v it can only make 10.8v x 10a = 108 watts. This is why it’s nice to have a regulated DC port like the MAXOAK Bluetti EB150 which is the big brother to the AC50.
As mentioned above it does have a wireless charger which is really nice for phones. But it also has another unique feature in that it has a nice light built into the back of it. This is helpful when at a cabin, in a tent, in the back of the truck or wherever. It has a high, low and SOS setting. It can be a little bright in the eyes when pointing outwards but I typically point it at a wall, tent wall or away from me and lights things up very well.
All-in-all I like the Bluetti AC50. I don’t know why MAXOAK decided to name all of their solar generators or power stations “Bluetti” and then change the letters that come after that. It makes it a little confusing. But I do like taking the AC50 with me on camping trips with my family to power the small things in the tent. I typically use it for the air pump for the air mattresses, phones, laptop, speaker, tablets, lights, cameras and so on. If I am going camping for a few days I will bring my two solar panels with me and keep it charged up all day long so it’s ready by the evening.
It comes with everything in the box to connect to wall outlets, solar panels and so on. It also comes with a small bright colored carry case which I find a bit cheesy but is quite helpful. The colors are straight from the ’80s but makes it nice to keep everything together in a nice tight bag.
I always get excited when I receive a new solar generator and get to try it out. I purchased the ExpertPower Alpha and put it through its paces to see how well it would do. I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was right up there with the few good solar generators on the market.
It is often compared to the Bluetti solar generator made by MAXOAK. For more info on the direct comparison between the two click here.
The ExpertPower Alpha has a nice sized 1,500 watt-hour lithium-ion battery. The battery is big enough to run important items through the night since that is when the battery is mostly used. The solar input offsets the battery capacity as I’ll talk about down below. It uses LG batteries which are considered very high quality. The 1,500wh capacity is enough to run plenty of items once the sun has gone down.
Commonly run items during the night are things like TVs, phone chargers, laptop chargers, humidifiers, de-humidifiers, CPAP machines, fridges, freezers, fans and so on. It all depends on the application. If I am using the Alpha while camping then I just need to run an air pump shortly, charge phones, maybe my walkie talkies depending on the type of camping trip.
If I were using the Alpha for RVing then I’d want to run a blender, lights, fans, chargers, TV, and so on. There are so many different applications for the Alpha because it’s not a large generator. It is quite portable and easy to store.
It has a 1,000-watt pure sine wave inverter. I was sad to see that it was only 1,000 watts of continuous power because some appliances such as coffee makers, electric cooktops, and microwaves will use more than 1,000 watts continuously. It would’ve been nice to have a 1,500-watt inverter but there’s a good reason as to why it only has a 1,000-watt inverter which I’ll get into in just a second.
The inverter is a pure sine wave that will allow it to run all appliances normally just like at home. I was surprised to see that even at the low price point that it wasn’t a modified sine wave since those are more affordable and the Alpha is for sure on the more affordable side when it comes to solar generators. It will easily run older non-energy-efficient items to brand new LEDs and other energy-efficient items.
The peak power that the ExpertPower inverter can give out is only 1,200 watts. That really should be higher too but for the most part, I am not running equipment that has a huge start-up. Since I can’t run things like a toaster oven, microwave or hot plate then I don’t have to worry about high surges. I do like that they sized the inverter and battery properly together.
My understanding of the solar generator market is that companies understand solar, electricity, volts, amps, watts, loads, and all of those things very well. People on the other hand generally have no idea how that works. Sadly, MOST solar generator companies take advantage of people’s lack of understanding and will use that against them. I obviously don’t think that is right at all.
ExpertPower has not done this though which is one of the reasons I like them. They have a 1,500-watt-hour battery, with a 1,000-watt inverter and the battery can use 1,000 watts until the battery is dead. This is important for one major reason:
Other solar generators will have a 1,500-watt inverter, a 1,100-watt-hour battery and a draw capacity/battery can only use 550 watts continuously for more than a few minutes. What this means is that other companies use batteries that are not sized to the inverter. Or the inverter is too large for the battery since the battery can only do 1/3 of what the inverter can do. This to me is very misleading and can cause some serious buyer remorse.
The Alpha is different. It has a large battery which is nice, and the inverter is 1,000 watts and the battery is matched to what the inverter can do. This means I don’t have to overpay for a feature I can’t use. If the Alpha had a 1,500-watt inverter and the battery can only put out 1,000 watts continuously then that would mean I would be paying a higher price for the 1,500-watt inverter but couldn’t use 1,500 watts. Nice going ExpertPower.
The Alpha is rated to 1,000 lifecycles at a 60% draw. What this means is that if I use the Alpha every day and drain it down to 60% before charging it, I will be able to do that 1,000 times before the battery has degraded. This is less than 2,000 which is the max lifecycle capability of a large lithium-ion battery.
Most of the time I use my Alpha I don’t drain it much farther than 60% because I don’t have a ton of things to run. This means I could do that every single day for 3 years before I must worry about my battery being degraded. For most users, they will never reach 1,000 cycles on the battery. Therefore, I am okay with the 1,000-lifecycle rating.
The first time I turned on my Alpha it took me a second to figure it out. I pressed the power button, and nothing happened. Naturally, I held the button down and that did the trick. I had to hold it down for about 2 to 3 seconds for it to power on. After doing that there was still no power in the plugs.
The Alpha has three buttons on the front of it: Power, DC Power and AC Power. To see battery level, input power and screen info all I have to do is turn it on.
If I want to run the DC plugs on it then I hold the DC Power button for 2 to 3 seconds and it will turn that on. Then if I want to use any AC power from the house outlets, I turn on the AC power by holding that button for 2 to 3 seconds.
Pretty self-explanatory when it’s in front of you but it definitely confused me at first since I didn’t know I needed to hold the buttons down.
The Alpha allows up to 500 watts of solar panels to be used for charging. I love that! The reason is that 500 watts of power from the sun is quite a bit when the battery is 1,500wh. That means I could charge it from 0% to 100% in 3 hours in ideal conditions. There are about 5 hours a day that can be counted on in the USA where the sun is bright enough that the panels can make their full potential.
Effectively what this means is that I can make 2,500 watts of power in a clear ideal day. 500 watts of panels x 5 hours max charging power = 2,500 watts. Realistically though it’s not going to be ideal conditions every single day. I will be able to make power outside of that 5-hour window though because the sun is obviously out and shining for more than 5 hours a day in the USA.
That means even in non-ideal conditions I will likely be able to make anywhere from 2,000 to 3,000 watts of power a day from those panels. When the battery is 1,500wh that means I can fully charge the Alpha each day while still running important equipment such as a fridge, freezer, fans, computer or whatever.
One point to understand though is that it cannot exceed 60 volts or 10 amps going into the power plug or it will shut off the input charge ability. ExpertPower says it’s best to chain five 100-watt solar panels together to achieve the 500 watts wanted. The problem is that often 100-watt solar panels will make about 18 volts of power each. When I chain solar panels together that increases the voltage but keeps the amperage the same.
This means if I have five 100-watt solar panels it would be 18v x 5 panels = 90 volts! That’s way too much and would definitely not work.
If I connect the solar panels in parallel, then the volts stay the same and the amps go up. Each panel makes about 5 to 6 amps each. 5 amps x 5 panels = 25 amps! That is more than the allotted 10-amp max. So how on earth can I connect my panels to make this work?
Because of the voltage and amperage range that is allowed to go into the Alpha it’s really only possible to get a max of 400 watts in panels to go into the Alpha. The way that is done is by making two sets of two panels for a total of four 100w panels. See this diagram on how that connects together.
The Alpha uses a semi-common DC7909 barrel connector. In the world of barrel connectors, it’s fairly common however in the world of solar it’s not used very often. The only other solar generator I am aware of that uses that same DC7909 connection type is the Bluetti.
This means it’s very important to not misplace the DC7909 to PV Connector adapter cable. The adapter allows me to use any solar panel that uses PV Connector connectors, which is about 95%+, and use it with the Alpha. If I lose it, I will have to get ahold of ExpertPower and order another one since it is not a common cable.
Because it only has one charging port for both AC wall charging and solar charging, this means I cannot simultaneously charge from two sources. For me, it’s fine since I never charge from two types of power sources, but some people like to do that.
There is no car charger. This is the biggest let down of the system. It’s nice when I’m on the road on the way to my camping location or wherever and I want to top off the unit before arriving. Or even when I’m coming home from a trip, I like to have my equipment ready for use again. If I were able to charge it while driving, then I could to it off and have a ready unit when I arrive.
There is a way around this though. The simplest way to do it is to simply buy a car DC inverter and plug the wall outlet into that. This is an easy solution that I like but it’s sad that it doesn’t come with the ability to charge from a car. I have to get a third-party item to make it work.
MPPT or PWM
The Alpha comes with an MPPT charge controller which is very nice. This means that even on cloudy days I will have a far better chance of being able to charge my Alpha faster. The MPPT charge controller is essentially a computer that figures out how to work the solar panels so that they make more power with the amount of light that they are receiving. This makes charging a lot more consistent and faster.
Weight and Size
The ExpertPower Alpha weighs in right at 38lbs which can be a bit hefty for some people. For me my comfort zone is 35lbs and under. This is just outside of my comfort zone but is still absolutely manageable. I don’t know if they could’ve shaved off a few pounds on the internal components in order to have a lower weight but in the end is probably not necessary.
It measures 14.4” tall x 6.5” wide x 14.6” long.
Plugs and Ports
It is quite simple when it comes to ports and plugs on the Alpha. It has two 110/120v house plugs on the backside of it. Four 5v USB ports. One USB-C 45W port. One DC cigarette lighter style port rated to 9 amps. The charge port is rated to 60v and 10a.
As far as the ports go, I really wish they would’ve added at least two more 110/120v house plugs because that is what I use the most. I don’t use the USB ports very much so I would’ve preferred more house plugs so I can plug more things in at one time.
There is also no 30amp RV plug which is too bad because that makes life so much easier when camping with an RV or camper. However, this system would be a bit light to run a lot of RV type items since the inverter is rated to 1000-watts. I’m glad they didn’t put an RV plug on there and then limit it to 10 amps or something like that because that would make it pointless.
The user manual says that it should be used and charged every three months. I have never had an issue though that if I leave the unit charged at 100% and then come back to it in one year it still works perfectly fine and the battery is full.
It comes with a complete 1-year manufacturer warranty. This is nice because since I use my solar generators often if there is an issue it will usually present itself in the first few uses. I think it is important that once people receive this item, they put it through its paces and see how well it works. If there are any manufacturer defects they will come up and it will be fixed quite easily.
Do I think that ExpertPower Alpha is worth having around? Yes. I think it’s a well put together product. There are just a couple things I would change but they are not big deals as previously mentioned.
I like that it will also fit easily into an XXL EMP Faraday Bag for protecting from an EMP attack as well as water, dust, and abrasion.
It is very competitively priced and seems to be worth every penny.
There’s a new solar generator that has come out that has caught my eye. It’s doing as well or better than most well-known solar generators on the market. It’s called the “Bluetti” made by MAXOAK.
Testing it has been fun and I have been pretty blown away by how well it works. I have used MAXOAK items in the past and they have always worked well. The Bluetti is right up there with the Goal Zero Lithium 1000 as well as the Inergy Apex and Kodiak (Kodiak no longer in production).
The Bluetti boasts a surprising 1,500wh lithium ion battery. That’s a really good size battery for what most people need to run during power outages. I always like to look at solar generators from the standpoint of a power outage because that’s when I use mine the most. I always find ways to use my solar generators for little things here and there, but a power outage is when I truly need it to work and work hard for me.
The most common items to run during a power outage are fridge, freezer, laptops/computers, fans, lights, and microwaves. Of course, there are plenty of other things that people run but these I have found to be the most consistent things people run during power outages. So, the question is can the Bluetti run all of those things? For the most part yes.
Running all of those items except for the microwave are easily doable for the Bluetti. The only way to run a microwave from the Bluetti would be to get a smaller or “weaker” microwave when it comes to power draw. I personally also like to use my toaster oven as well an electric cooktop off my solar generators. Being able to run all 3 of these items (not at the same time) is a true test to me that it’s a solid solar generator. Simply because a solar generator should be able to do the light work and some of the hard work, like running small cooking appliances.
1,500wh battery is generally enough power to run necessary items and still have enough power at the end of the day to get through the night and chargeback up the next day.
One thing that I have truly come to realize is that a battery is only as good as how much power can actually be drawn from it. This was the major lesson learned about the Inergy Apex. The Apex has a 1,500w inverter but can only draw 550w of power non-stop. Anything over that will put the Apex into safety mode. This is for good reason because if more power is drawn for an extended period of time then the Apex battery can get damaged. BUT, 550w of continuous power is not a lot especially when the inverter is 1,500w.
With the Bluetti it is able to draw about 900+ watts of continuous power without having any issues on the battery. At that rate it will also completely drain to empty. The inverter is only 1,000 watts which for me is a little light duty but since the battery draw is truly only 900 or so watts then it makes sense to not put in a larger inverter. Basically, they went ahead and put in an inverter that matches the battery capability.
I think this is a smart move rather than putting in a more expensive 1,500w inverter but then not being able to use all 1,500w. Instead they went with the 1,000w inverter to match the battery they have, and I think that makes a lot of sense.
It does have a Lithium Ion battery which to me is great. I think too many people have jumped on the band wagon that “lithium ion is evil and will explode and burn your house down.” All of these people say the ONLY way to go is to use Lithium Iron Phosphate. Now to a degree they’re right, but not really. There haven’t been hundreds of people’s houses burning down from lithium ion solar generators. There haven’t even been dozens of fires burning people’s houses down from solar generators. The #1 items that causes fires that are related to solar, are solar panels.
For me, Lithium Ion batteries are perfectly safe. Basically, as long as you don’t drop it from up high and then throw it in the pool or the lake then the batteries will not likely cause any fire issues ever. I have had multiple lithium ion solar generators for about 5 years now and still have never had an overheating, fire or other related problem on any of them. I like Lithium Ion because it’s so much lighter than the Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries. Yes, a Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePo4) battery will last much longer and that’s great, but we’re talking terms of portability. If you get a LiFePo4 battery of decent capacity it weighs a ton.
The inverter only has a 1,000w continuous draw rating but as previously mentioned that’s largely due to the fact that the battery can only put out a little less than that nonstop. As much as I wish it were a 1,500w or larger inverter there’s no point since the battery wouldn’t be able to handle it.
I like a little larger inverter, so it allows me to run items like my toaster oven, microwave and electric cook top. Each of those use just a little less than 1,500w on average. It’s pointless though to try and cook breakfast on the electric stove top when the power is out if I can’t get the battery push out enough power to continuously cook nonstop. I don’t like runny eggs like that.
The good news is that it is a Pure Sine Wave inverter so it will easily run all my gadgets that use less than 1,000w of power. This makes it easy to run my TV, fridge, freezer, laptop, fans or whatever I feel like or need.
The saddest thing about the inverter, and one of my major gripes about the Bluetti, is that the Peak output capacity is only 1,200w. Really, that’s it? It can only muster up enough power to jump from 1,000w to 1,200w? I guess this is fine if not a lot of power is being drawn anyway which for most people is the case. Normally people don’t use items that have a huge jump, at least not when it comes to necessary electronics for power outages. There are always exceptions and every single person’s situation varies of course.
To me I really wish that the peak capacity was at least 2,000w. It’s pretty standard across the board that the peak capacity be double of the continuous capacity rating. Oh well, definitely not a deal breaker but kind of sad.
One of the big arguments people have for why Lithium Ion is not as good as Lithium Iron is that Lithium Ion has lower lifecycles, and they’re right. Now that being said this is where math really comes in handy.
A lithium ion battery is generally rated to 2,000 cycles. And that is correct. But only if the battery is not used in harsh conditions. If it were used in harsh conditions where the battery is being drained quickly, charged quickly, and happening very often then it really has about 500 lifecycles. The Bluetti is rated to 1,000 lifecycles. Now I don’t know if they just took that from the average of a normal lithium ion battery or if they actually did the math and figured that out. Either way, it’s rated to 1,000 lifecycles. Which means after using it fully 1,000 times the battery will be at about 80% efficient. Meaning rather than being 1,500wh it would be more like 1,200wh.
A lifecycle is when the battery cycles from being drained to refilled. Technically a 20% drain and then recharge is one cycle. So is a 95% drain and then recharge. A cycle just means it’s been drained and then recharged. So, this is why it can be 500 to 2,000 lifecycles out of a lithium ion battery. A LiFePo4 battery rated generally to 3,000+ lifecycles. But they weigh a ton which makes them not portable.
Now here’s the math that’s the most important part. Let’s say every year I go through one major hurricane that knocks out my power for 2 weeks. Pretty serious power outages, really I think it would be time to move. 2 weeks is 14 days. 1,000 lifecycles ÷ 14 days = 71.4 years of going through a 2-week power outage every year. See the point? Do I really need 3,000 lifecycles? No. It would be nice if it were rated to 2,000 lifecycles instead but it’s not a deal breaker by any means.
Even if we look at it from an EMP standpoint where there’s no power period it’s not bad at all. It’s essentially 2-3 years of power before the battery reaches that 80% mark. That doesn’t mean it’s now dead and no longer works at all, it just means it doesn’t work as well. The same as any motorized vehicle or gas generator, after being used for many years starts to have efficiency losses.
The Bluetti can handle up to a max of 500 watts of solar power input according to the user manual. That’s great! 500 watts into a 1,500wh battery means it can charge in 3 hours. Since I can account for an average of 5 hours per day of maximum power producing sunlight, on bright sunny days, that means I can make enough power to charge the Bluetti completely full while still running items like my fridge and freezer.
The hard part is actually getting to 500 watts. The way to calculate watts is by taking volts and multiplying it by amps. Volts x Amps = Watts. What the real solar input value is on the Bluetti is 60v and 10 amps. But wait, 60v x 10a = 600 watts. So, couldn’t I get 600 watts into it? No not really, not easily at least.
The issue comes in when it comes to connecting the solar panels. For example, a 20v solar panel will make about 5 amps and that is an average 100w solar panel. When panels are connected in series (panel to panel to panel) then the volts will increase, and the amps will stay the same. When panels are connected in parallel (all positive panel cables combine, and all negative panel cables combine into the generator) then the volts stay the same, but the amps go up.
So, if I take a 20v panel and put 3 of them together I’d be at 20v x 3 = 60volts. Which is the maximum allotted volts that can go into the Bluetti. The amps are only about 5 amps so I’m well below the 10-amp mark. The difficulty is that the panels can go up to 21 volts per panel and if that happens that having all three of them combined will go up to 63 volts which is more than the Bluetti can handle.
The best thing to do is have two sets of panels and each set have two 100 watt panels. This will keep the volts at a usable level and when combined together as seen in the picture below it will be combined into a parallel connection. This will make the volts be about 40 volts and the amps about 10 amps.
The charging plug is what is called a DC7909 plug. It’s not a very common one but MAXOAK provides the necessary adapters to connect easily to the PV Connector connectors on solar panels. Over 95% of solar panels use the common PV Connector connector so it’s really nice that the Bluetti comes with the right adapter.
So, if I can truly get 500 watts an hour on a perfectly sunny day then I’ll be able to make 2,500w of power for sure that day in a 5-hour period. That means during the day I can use 1,000w of energy running my fridge, freezer and other items and by the time the sun goes down have a battery that’s 100% full and still was able to run things throughout the day. For the most part, I stick with 400 watts in panels. Either way, it’s pretty good. I like those numbers.
Because there is only one charging port on the Bluetti it doesn’t allow for any kind of simultaneous charging. It can either use the supplied wall charger or solar panels. There is no car charging capability on it. Now there is a way to wire a small inverter to your car then attach cables to the charge port to actually charge from a car cigarette lighter port but it’s not super easy. It’s not super hard either but basically the Bluetti was not designed for charging from a car.
It comes with an MPPT charge controller which is wonderful! I still can’t believe there are some solar generator manufacturers that are putting PWM charge controllers in their generators. You don’t have to know what MPPT and PWM are, you just need to know that MPPT is better even though it weighs more and costs more.
Basically, the MPPT will allow the solar panels to make more power than a PWM charge controller. It’s a computer essentially, kind of like a tuner. It tunes the solar panels to be able to make more power. I’m glad they put an MPPT charge controller on the Bluetti. It’s absolutely worth it.
It’s not crazy heavy and it’s not crazy light. It’s 38lbs of solid power. Generally, for me once I hit the 35lb mark I begin seeing people have trouble moving things easily. It’s barely over that mark so it’s not a deal breaker and it’s not a back breaker either. It’s still easy enough to move around because it has a really nice large handle on the top.
The handle is very robust and doesn’t feel cheap. This gives me the confidence to move it around and not worry about dropping it on the floor and breaking it.
The Bluetti comes with a variety of output power plugs. Sadly, though it only has two 110/120v outlets. I personally feel that 4 should be the minimum for a solar generator of this size. When the power goes out the first things I plug in my fridge and then my freezer. Well, now what? Both plugs are full. So, this, of course, leads to using extension cords and power strips coming off of each plug. Well the problem is it becomes too easy to add too much stuff to those plugs and then pop a fuse. The fuses are inside the case too so I believe that would require a screwdriver and some digging around.
Now it’s not going to hurt it too bad as long as I keep it in mind to not overload the plugs. I’m not going to run my fridge, freezer, fans, lights and TV all off one plug that has a power strip in it. The load needs to be evenly distributed between the two plugs, but I will definitely need a power strip to run everything I would like.
It does have a 12v cigarette lighter port that makes it easy to use any 12v items. Rated to 10 amps it will run most things pretty well. It’s not a heavy-duty solar generator so it’s not going to run big heavy-duty communication devices that need 15 amps.
It does come with 4 USB ports which is much more than most solar generators on the market. This makes it the central hub for cell phone charging when the power is out. The good news is that everyone will be all together around the Bluetti because the phone charger ports are on it. I guess it brings people together more in that sense. It also has one USB-C port for people who have USB-C fast charging devices.
There is no 30amp RV plug which is too bad. Not surprising though since the inverter is rated to 1,000 watts of continuous power. The 30amp RV plug really gives a solar generator the ability to go farther. Usually, that plug is rated to a higher number of amps and so it makes it easy to get a 30amp to 15amp adapter and add a third wall outlet plug. But that’s not an option with the Bluetti.
According to the manufacturer it is recommended to give the Bluetti a charge once every 3 months. This is a good battery conditioning to make sure that the battery stays full and healthy. Letting it sit for years without ever touching it will reduce the lifecycles of the battery.
It does come with a complete 1-year manufacturer warranty. This is always nice to know that if I have a problem along the way that it will be fixed. That being said, the MAXOAK website and customer service line and have left me wanting for more. It doesn’t look well put together or anything but in my past dealings with MAXOAK I’ve always been able to get some help eventually.
There is zero expandability with the Bluetti. There is no way to add more batteries or solar panels to it. It is what it is and there’s no adding to it. I find this sad since I have grown accustomed to having that option of being able to add more batteries to a system.
Since the Bluetti can produce a solid 2,500 watts in a day from solar panels it’d be nice to be able to add another 1,000wh of battery to the built in 1,500wh battery so when there are days that I hardly use any power I can store more for later.
For many people EMP protection is of no concern. But for others it is, and I feel that since an EMP attack would directly affect people’s way to get power that it’s an important aspect to consider. The Bluetti is in no way EMP proof. The good news is that because it’s not too heavy and because it’s not overly big it is quite easy to fit into a Tech Protect XXL Faraday/EMP bag.
The EMP bags are tested and approved to be 100% EMP proof. And by putting one bag inside of another bag, called “nesting,” this will actually make it Super EMP proof. It’s easy to take in and out of the bag and use when needed as well as charge when needed.
For me the “X Factor” of the Bluetti is that the inverter and battery are properly sized together. They didn’t put on an inverter that was too big for the battery. They knew what the battery could do so they matched the right sized inverter. In the end this helps reduce weight and price which is nice they did that. No one likes to pay for a feature they can’t use.
By the same definition, the inverter is also the weakness of the Bluetti. Where they matched the battery and inverter properly, it would’ve been nice if they were able to get a 1,500w inverter since the battery is 1,500w. And it would have been great to be able to pull all 1,500w when needed from the battery.
The second weakness is that it only has two 110/120v plugs. It needs more. This is why I recommend getting two of the high amp 1ft extension cords because it will be able to handle higher power loads and will double the plugs from 2 to 4 total.
The Bluetti is easily and readily available on Amazon which is awesome. It normally sells for about $1,399 on Amazon which I feel is a very fair price. Being compared with the Goal Zero Lithium 1000 which sells for about $1,795, it’s about $400 cheaper and offers very similar results. Also, very similar to the Inergy Apex which generally sells for about $1,500 the Bluetti is $100 less. Definitely worth taking a look at with that price on it.
Pairing the Bluetti with four Flexx 100 solar panels would still be a perfect setup to make lots of power and have a full battery every day. Two additional 50 watt panels are not necessities.
There is a place in the market for the Bluetti. It has performed better than most solar generators on the market and deserves a spot near the top of the suggestion list. I can whole heartedly say that I can recommend it to people who are needing a solar generator in this price range. It’s no Titan Solar Generator but it will definitely get a lot of work done.