Camping in Australia is best summed up by the poem “My Country” by Dorothea Mackellar. In it, the late poet encapsulates the local landscapes: “I love a sunburnt country… Of droughts and flooding rains… The wide brown land for me”. Whether it be a weekend camping trip, an outback adventure or simply on the tradie job site, we’re continually exposed to harsh elements.
This environment is not normally kind to electronics. Fortunately, the Bluetti AC60 power station is built to withstand tough Australian conditions.
Is the Bluetti AC60 weatherproof?
The AC60 is IP65 rated, meaning it is protected from dust ingress and low-pressure water jets (water resistant) from any direction. This is similar to ratings found on some smartphones today. Bluetti recommends not leaving it in the rain. Still, unlike Bluetti’s other models, the AC60 is protected by its design and several rubber plugs that fill each hole. To use the AC60, a plug must be removed, and this would reduce the resistance to water.
Water and electricity don’t mix so we don’t recommend using any electric appliance in the rain however when it comes to dust we would feel much more comfortable.
The AC60 should take pride in place in the back of a dual cab ute, barreling down a bull dust track, powering a camping fridge, or recharging cordless tool batteries. The AC60 will happily be left in the elements overnight on a camping trip and equally deal with the dust and dirt of a job site.
Bluetti AC60 specifications
AC Outlet: 2 × 230V/2.6A, 600W in total Inverter Type: Pure Sine Wave Surge Power: 1,200W USB-C Port: 1 × 100W Max. (Built-in eMark chip) USB-A Port: 2 × 5V/3A 12V DC Outlet: 1 × 12V/10A (Car outlet, regulated.) Wireless Charging Pad: 1 × 15W Max
AC Input: 600W Max. Solar Input: 200W Max., VOC 12-28V, 8A Car Input: 12/24V from Cigarette Lighter Port Max Input: 600W
The Bluetti AC60 is a portable power station able to run appliances up to 600 watts from a 403Wh battery. Its durable aluminium case construction includes a nicely recessed carry handle for convenience. Weighing 9.1kg, you can carry the AC60 with one hand, making it extremely portable. Measuring just 29 x 21 x 23cm, it easily fits into vehicles.
Included with the AC60 are two 240-volt AC power points, a USB-C port for charging laptops and tablets, two USB-A ports, and a 12-volt car outlet to power a camping fridge. The power points are rated to 600 watts in total.
If you look at the label on the underside of the appliance you want to run, the number must be less than 600W to work. A Makita battery charger at 240 watts is fine, but a Coffee pod machine at 1500 watts is not. However, Bluetti does have a trick up its sleeve called Power Lifting. This feature cannot be used for electronics but for element heating-based (resistive) products. In Power Lifting mode, selectable from the Bluetti App, an up to 1200-watt resistive appliance could be used. Unfortunately, my Aldi Coffee pod machine at 1480 watts is outside this range. I would have liked to have seen a bigger inverter.
You also get a wide range of accessories with the AC60. An AC mains charging cable enables charging the battery in less than an hour from a powerpoint. A car 12-volt cigarette charging cable is significantly slower, taking around five hours of driving. Finally, a solar charging cable with industry-standard MC4 connectors allows up to a 200W panel like the Bluetti PV200 to fully charge the unit in under three hours of full sun.
The Bluetti AC60 has a six-year warranty, more than many power stations from competing brands. Its batteries are LiFePO4 with 3,000+ Life Cycles to 80%. You would expect around 10 years of life if you charged the unit daily.
Using the AC60
My camping fridge, whilst running, uses around 40 watts. Still, once at temperature, this can easily drop to 20 watts an hour, depending on the outside temperature and how often you open the lid. The AC60, with its 403Wh battery, will have a usable capacity of around 330 watts due to operational losses. We could run my fridge for 16 hours without additional power input (like solar, for example). For comparison, previously reviewed models like the Bluetti AC180 (1152Wh) and the Bluetti AC200Max (2048Wh) run for 46 and 82 hours respectively. If you were to go away for a weekend, 16 hours is not quite long enough, as you may want a cold beer on the second night.
The good news is the AC60 is expandable with up to two Bluetti B80 expansion batteries rated at 806Wh each, meaning your AC60 can now match the AC180’s 46 hours and the AC200’s 82 hours by adding one or two batteries, respectively. Priced at $999, the B80 expansion battery is a standalone 12-volt power supply. It can be used separately or connected to the AC60 with a 94cm supplied pass-through charging cable. When attached, both batteries act as one, and the display will indicate the combined percentage of charge and any power input charging both units. You can have the input power to either the AC60 or B20, and when connected by the supplied cable, both units will charge. The display on the AC60 will only accurately estimate charge time when the charge comes directly into the AC60.
I ran some tests assuming a blackout and found that my deep freezer drew approximately 150 watts when connected to the AC60. If you assume a half-on, half-off cycle of the freezer, I should get a run time of around four hours. My 65-inch TV ran for approximately two hours.
The AC160 is also an uninterrupted power supply (UPS). A UPS allows your appliance to continue running during a mains power outage without power interruption. This is useful for sensitive equipment like computers or medical devices like a CPAP machine where a power interruption could lead to disaster.
The display screen indicates how long the expected charge time is when charging and the time to empty based on the current load. It’s a feature I would have liked available on the app too.
Speaking of the app, when combined with the AC60, it enables a few extra features. For starters, you have greater control over when the Bluetti switches itself off. The Bluetti uses power and drains the battery when running with no load. To minimise this, you can use the app to specify how long and what minimum power draw would trigger a shutdown to save battery power.
Who is the Bluetti AC60 for?
A niche product in the brand’s power station range, the Bluetti AC60 still has its place. It is great for an environment where the power station might get wet or dusty, and its relatively light weight makes for easy manoeuvrability. Plus, its ability to add up two expansion batteries can increase battery capacity five-fold to 2015Wh, making it a versatile unit.
For my needs, the Bluetti AC180 has a bigger inverter for supporting more electrical appliances. It is better value for money than combining an AC60 and a B80 expansion battery. It does, however, weigh more than 16kg, making it less portable than the AC60.
On the outside, the Bluetti AC60 is better equipped to withstand harsh environments. It will stand up to the Australian environment as we love a “sunburnt country”. It comes with an impressive 6-year warranty, and the batteries should give you a life of more than 10 years of life.
Bluetti is a sponsor of GadgetGuy. This review has no input from Bluetti and is purely the reviewer’s opinion.