Bluetti AC180 Portable Power Station review | Vic B’Stard’s State of Play
Bluetti’s AC180 Portable Power Station is a 1152Wh, 1800W rechargeable portable battery unit that can double as an uninterruptible power supply.
Sliding the AC180 Portable Power Station out of its packaging, the first thing that struck me was how small it is. Measuring only 340mm × 250mm × 320mm, it’s not as imposing as I imagined. The AC180’s compact size is complemented by a relatively light 17kg weight. With two grips on the top, the unit is also very portable.
Included in the box, are several cables and a detailed user manual. The cables allow the unit to be charged via a power point, a 12/24V car cigarette lighter socket, or 12V-60V/10A max/500W max input solar panels.
Whilst I’d still recommend reading the instructions, I couldn’t resist pressing the on button. The LCD screen showed a charge from the factory in the high 90% range. I’d later test how long the power station held a change and it was still 100% after being idle for a week.
Plugging the AC180 into the wall socket with the standard “kettle lead” AC cable started the charge cycle. There are fans on both sides of the device which started up as charging began. During charging the fans would periodically start and stop. The fans are not loud, and barely noticeable. Next to the AC mains input socket is a 15 Amp circuit protector reset switch and a threaded port for an optional earth lead.
The LCD screen on the front of the AC180 provides a clear and comprehensive readout of the device’s current status. You are dealing with a battery capable of outputting 240 Volts at 1800 Watts so it’s good to be able to see what sort of input and draw you are getting.
The display shows input and charging status, output type, and frequencies as well as temperature, overload, short-circuit warnings, and predicted battery charge life. The detailed information on the screen means that anyone with an ounce of technical understanding should be able to operate the device without instruction.
To the left of the LCD screen is a 12–60 Volt/10 Amp DC input socket. This is for charging from solar panels or a 12V car “cigarette lighter” socket. Below this is a 12V/10A DC “cigarette lighter” output. Under the LCD are two pairs of USB Type-A sockets outputting 5V/3A up to 15W in total for each pair. There’s also a 100W USB Type-C socket.
To the right of the LCD screen are two 250V/7.5A AC power points that can supply 1800W in total. On the top of the AC180 is a 15W wireless charging pad. Compatible phones can just be placed on the top of the Power Station for charging. The AC180 Portable Power Station is a very versatile unit probably capable of energizing and charging all of your devices.
The heart of the AC180 Portable Power Station is a 1152Wh LiFePO? (Lithium Iron Phosphate) battery. Bluetti state that you should see 3,500+ cycles to 80% of the battery’s original capacity. For proper maintenance, it is recommended that the unit is charged to 80% every 3–6 months. Bluetti says that the lifespan is ten years, in any case, the AC180 has a five-year warranty, so you should get some good use out of it.
Practically speaking, the AC180 balances its size and portability with its capacity. For instance, running a 40W camping fridge that’s already cooled, you should get around 20 hours of charge from the unit. The AC180 can be connected to a B80 expansion battery(806Wh) expanding its capacity to 1958Wh. There is also the option of solar charging if you are camping, which for a 500W input takes around three hours to charge from 0%-100%. If you are travelling a long way, you could also consider charging from your car, which would about ten hours to 100% charge. The AC180 takes about an hour and a half to charge to 100% from an AC mains power supply (or a generator).
Aside from camping, the Bluetti AC180 Portable Power Station comes into its own as a mobile charging centre. If you use power tools in remote locations, you can charge your battery packs with the AC180. I found it great when taking out my DJI drones, as I could have multiple batteries charging for several drones all at once, enabling me to continuously have a drone in the air for hours.
When not in use as a portable power supply, the AC180 can be put into use as an uninterruptable power supply (UPS). If there is a blackout the AC180 will provide emergency power switching to the battery in 20ms. The unit’s small size means that it can sit under your desk, ready to keep your home office running. The power station’s aesthetics are pleasing enough that it wouldn’t look too out of place sitting on your desk, to be honest.
The Bluetti AC180 Portable Power Station is one of those devices that I didn’t know how much I needed until I tried it. To be able to have a day’s worth of AC power on standby that you can just throw in your car boot is rather liberating. Also, if the power goes out you are safe in the knowledge that you can still energise your essential devices. It’s certainly something that everyone should consider. As yet there’s no price on the AC180 for the ANZ market, but based on Bluetti’s other power station unit, I’d expect to see it retail around AUD$1500–2000/NZ$1700-$NZ2000.
With the AC180 Portable Power Station Bluetti has perfectly balanced the design for general consumer use. It’s so small and light, making it portable enough to be easily placed where it’s needed, but with the capacity to get a good day’s use. It’s also easy to operate with a clear and informative display and plenty of output options. With UPS functionality, as well, the AC180 is pretty easy to recommend.