Bluetti AC200Max expandable power station review: electric versatility

Bluetti AC200Max expandable power station review

We rely heavily on our modern-day electronic devices and appliances that make our lives just that little bit easier. However, to run this equipment, we need access to power, whether that be 240-volt mains power or 12 volts from your car. Further, a week does not go by when we read in the news of either a blackout now or predicted power shortages in the future. At the same time, we want to travel more and use these devices away from home or business. One product that can provide backup power, whether in the house, on the job site or camping, is the portable Bluetti AC200Max expandable power station.

Bluetti AC200Max expandable power station

Price (RRP)$2,799
WebsiteBluetti Australia
WarrantyFour years
Manual or Support pagesUser guide

What is a portable power station, and how would you use it?

Portable power stations like the AC200Max and the Bluetti EB3A can provide backup power for critical devices, such as a CPAP machine or refrigerator. Regardless of whether you’re home or out camping, portable power stations, sometimes referred to as solar generators, guarantee power supply in the event of a blackout or if mains power is simply unavailable where you are.

Bluetti AC200Max product shot

Essentially, a portable power station is a self-contained box with a battery, 240v inverter and various AC and DC outlets. An LCD screen enables management of the device, including current usage and remaining battery capacity.

The big benefit of this technology is portability, which is just as useful at home as on a camping trip. If you are a tradie who needs to power a 240-volt saw on a job site or recharge your batteries for your cordless drill with no mains power, you are good to go. In a remote camping spot, you can run a 12-volt fridge, recharge your phone or drone or perhaps power a TV, so you don’t miss that important game.

Other uses for the portable power station include powering a hair dryer, DJ or music setups, lighting, pumps, kettle, microwave, air fryer, coffee machine, blender, grinder, circular saw, PC, tablet or camera.

What are the alternatives to an AC200Max?

The traditional alternative to a portable power station is a petrol generator. A noisy petrol generator cannot be used indoors since it emits carbon monoxide. It requires you to carry flammable fuel and be regularly serviced. Unlike some gasoline generators, a portable power station produces a sine wave output, ensuring your electronic devices, such as computers, are kept safe. Depending on the brand for the equivalent wattage output, a petrol generator will set you back $700 to $2,500.

In the space of battery-powered solutions, you can purchase an all-in-one solution like the Bluetti or build your own from components. The Bluetti, from a value-for-money perspective, stands up well against the equivalent battery-sized Ecoflow Delta at $2,999 and the less-featured Redarc product at $3,199.

The build-your-own solution would normally be built into the rear of a 4WD or caravan. Depending on battery size and components, the equivalent can cost $2,000 to $6,000+ and involve multiple boxes, wires and fuses. If you want someone else to install this solution, you will likely pay around $1,000 extra.

I bought the Bluetti AC200MAX because I could use it in my house or my 4WD to run a portable fridge. I now have power security wherever I want to take the unit in a mobile, all-in-one solution.

What are the Bluetti AC200MAX features?

The Bluetti is powered by a Lithium LiFePO4 battery developed over the last decade to be a safe and reliable solution. This technology has benefits, including being lightweight, providing more power and recharging more than 3,500 times. The Bluetti has an internal brain called a BMS for further peace of mind. A BMS monitors environmental data and will ensure the battery stays safe in all circumstances or switch itself off.

The power output of the generator is measured in watts for capacity and output. The AC200Max has a battery capacity of 2,048Wh, equivalent to a 160 Amp 12.8-volt battery. The output wattage is 2,200 AC pure sine wave watts and up to 4,800 watts for a few seconds. For perspective, a home power point can supply up to 2,400 watts. Appliances are labelled with their maximum watts.

The lid of the AC200Max has two 15W wireless charging pads for your smartphone or earbuds. There are four 240-volt outlets, USB-C 100w, four USB-A, 12v RV 30A outlet, a 12v 10A car outlet (cig lighter) and two 12v 10A 5.5mm outlets.

You can charge the device using the included 500W 240-volt mains power supply, up to 900w of solar panels, or a 12/24v cigarette lighter (120/240w) port in a vehicle. Charging times will vary by the type and combination of chargers you use. This ranges anywhere from 2 to 20 hours.

The AC200MAX is portable but weighs 28.1kg, so best moved by two people and measures 39cm x 42 cm x 28cm. It also comes with a solar input cable and a car charging cable.

By expandable, the 200 Max supports two additional expansion batteries to be plugged into. Two expandable battery modules are available the B230 at 2,048Wh at $1,999 or the B300 at 3,073Wh at $2,899. Adding two B300 would take your total available battery capacity to a massive 8,192Wh.

Bluetti app screenshot
A snapshot of the Bluetti app

An LCD screen on the front of the AC200Max provides information about power coming in or out of the unit split by mains input, solar input, AC output and DC output. There is also a battery percentage meter. We would have liked to have seen a predictive indicator as previously reviewed on Bluetti’s entry-level EB3A model. This predicts the time to charge and the time left, given the current draw on the batteries. This could possibly be updated as a software update which the 200Max also supports. The input and output information is duplicated on the Bluetti App. We found it useful to see that the Bluetti was working and powering my portable fridge in the rear of my dual cab ute.

Bluetti has a slightly cheaper model, the AC200P $2,499. Whilst similar, it is not expandable, has a smaller 400W mains charger, is not software upgradeable, nor does it support Bluetooth connection to the Bluetti App.

Using the Bluetti AC200Max

I have learnt that to charge the 200MAX, you must have the unit turned on. A key consideration is if used in your car, how will you charge it? Those who install a DIY battery solution in their vehicle use a DC-to-DC charger connected to the car’s alternator. The DC-to-DC allows a lithium battery to be charged at rates between 300 to 600 watts an hour. A higher wattage will charge faster. Otherwise, the Bluetti can only be charged using a cigarette lighter plug, limited to charging at a rate of around 100 watts. From flat, it will take up to 20 hours of driving. Personally, I am overcoming this with a solar panel mounted to the roof, providing up to 365 watts an hour. Mine is an old house panel bought second-hand and can be found for as little as $20.

Bluetti sells portable foldable panels, but they cannot be permanently mounted. A 200-watt panel that can only be used whilst you are parked will cost $749. A portable panel can be angled at the sun, providing much higher wattage output than a flat-mounted panel on your roof.

Some of the things I’ve used the AC200Max for range from running my wife’s hair dryer, to our home deep freeze, to my portable car fridge. I have used it to wirelessly charge my phone and power my laptop via the USB-C port. Run times depend on what you have plugged in and if you can charge simultaneously.

I can run my portable 50-litre fridge for three days without charging. With the solar panel fixed to the roof of my car and charging from the 12-volt cig socket (which requires an added accessory to do both DO50S), I never run out of power, assuming my car is on the road and in the sun.

My home deep freeze uses 2000Wh a day to run. Even though the AC200Max has a 2048Wh capacity, you lose capacity from running the 200Max with its 240-volt inverter, so I can get around 2/3 of a day. My kitchen fridge uses half that, so in theory, with a second house solar panel, it could run indefinitely if every day was sunny.

Bluetti aviation plug

A last feature that sold me on the Bluetti is what they refer to as aviation plugs. These cables physically screw onto the unit for solar and car power input and 12v 30Amp output. Cables can easily bounce out if you intend to take a vehicle over corrugation on dirt tracks. With these screw-in connectors, you can have a piece of mind the Bluetti is charging, and the beers are cold in the fridge as the cables are still connected.

What are people doing to make it even better?

The following hacks come from forums to improve their AC200MAX:

  • The optional RV outlet screw-in cable can be hard-wired into a caravan or RV 12-volt electrical system to provide an all-in-one power source.
  • Two cig lighter sockets can be connected to the Max to double your charging input (200w) from the car connected directly to the main battery or alternator. This can be further enhanced by using a 12- to 24-volt step-up converter to increase charging to around 400 watts.
  • Some users have connected a 240-volt inverter directly to their alternator, allowing the supplied 240-volt 500Watt charger to be used in a vehicle to charge the unit.

GadgetGuy’s Take

A portable power station is a safe and environmentally-efficient way of supplying electricity from batteries, whether at home, camping or on a worksite. It may be for health, emergency or just ensuring you have the comforts of life. You can now power or charge your electronic devices or appliances anywhere.

The Bluetti AC200MAX can be charged from the sun, your car, and a power point and will power your devices needing AC 240 volts, DC 12 volts or USB.

The AC200MAX is a movable all-in-one boxed solution that can power almost any standard home appliance and can be expanded by adding additional batteries.

The reviewer bought this unit at full price. Bluetti is a sponsor of GadgetGuy.

Bluetti AC200Max expandable power station
Portable and versatile, the Bluetti AC200Max expandable power station is a reliable and eco-friendly power source at home or on the road.
Value for money
Ease of use
All-in-one power supply
Expandable battery capacity
Good value for money when compared to the competition
Basic data from LCD and App