Hands-on review: Bluetti AC200P Portable Power Station
Bluetti's AC200P provides up to 2,000W of portable AC and DC power for a mobile workshop, camping, and other outdoor activities away from mains electricity.
In my review of the AC180, I gave Bluetti the benefit of the doubt that the 17KG power station was reasonably portable. The AC200P Portable Power Station, at 27.5KG, is being a bit generous with the word "portable". Whilst yes, it's portable, as in you can lift it into the boot of your car and take it with you, but you are not going to want to be carrying it far.
As well as the increased weight, the AC200P, at 280mm x 420mm x 386mm, is a bit bigger than the newer Bluetti AC180. The AC200P does have two solid handles on the top of the unit, but it is really a two-man lift.
The LiFePO₄ (Lithium Iron Phosphate) battery has a capacity of 2000Wh (50V,40Ah). In real terms, you will get 1.5 hours of use with a 1100W electric grill, 20 hours with a 70W car fridge, and 19-20 hours with an 80W power tool. Bluetti states that the AC200P has a lifecycle of 3,500+ charge cycles to 80% of the original capacity.
The power station can be charged from the main supply via the included external power supply unit in 5-6 hours. Using the 700W max OCV 35-150V, 12A solar input, the power station can be charged in 3-5 hours at 700W in optimum conditions. Charging via a 12V/100W car outlet will take 10 hours, and a 24V/200W car outlet will take 20 hours. Using optional dual adapters for solar (1200W) or AC (1000W) can reduce the charge time to 3-3.5 hours. Using solar plus AC (1200W) will grant you a full charge in under 3 hours.
On the front of the unit, there is a silver button for switching it on. Once powered up, the colour LED touchscreen will display the current status of the charge and power input. To energise a plugged-in device, the DC or AC icon on the display must be pressed. The unit can power both AC and DC devices at the same time.
Pressing the corresponding output icon will display details of the power output. Should a device or device exceed the 2000W output capacity of the power station (for instance, an iron- which I used to test this), an alarm will sound. Faults are listed so that you can determine the exact nature of the issue.
The power station's LED touchscreen makes the unit intuitive and easy to use. The AC200P input and output status can be monitored at-a-glance. Unlike the AC180, the AC200P does not utilise the Bluetti app, for monitoring from your phone via Bluetooth.
The AC200P has all the outputs that you should need when on the go. All the power outputs have hinged rubber covers to protect them from dust and debris. There are two 220V-240V ANZ power points (2000W output in total). There are four 5V/3A USB-Type A ports and one 60W max USB-C port. For 12V DC outputs, there's one 12/25A RV outlet, One 12V/10A car outlet, and two 12V/3A 5.5mm outlets. The top of the AC200P has two mobile phone induction charging pads.
As well as being feature-packed, the AC200P's build quality feels equality uncompromising. The black and grey design looks a lot more stylish than it needs to be. It is plastic, but the chassis seems fairly robust and should be able to put up with a bit of punishment, even if you are thinking of using it on-site to power or charge your tools. It's a solid beast, with the various sockets all feeling very positive and the connections firm, as they should be.
The kit includes an external AC power supply unit and a pull-string bag with an MC4 to XT90 solar charging cable, a car charging cable, and an XT90 cable with an aviation plug. There's also a reasonably well-written user manual and a warranty card. A PDF version of the manual can also be downloaded from the Bluetti website.
Unlike the AC180, the AC200P does not function as a UPS. You can plug appliances into the power station, but power is not going through the device; you will be running them off the battery whilst it is charging. This is probably not that good for the battery in the long term, but more apparent will be the distracting hum of the AC200P's external power supply unit's fan- which is continuous. The actual power station does have two fans that engage when the unit is under load. The power station is silent when energising low-power devices.
At around AUD$2000, the AC200P is a bit more expensive than its smaller, newer sibling, the AC800. But for that extra cash, you get a few more outputs and the extra capacity to go from enough power for the AC800's day trip to an overnight stay with the AC200P's extra capacity.
The AC200P is a nice-looking and well-made device. Just as I found with the AC180, the AC200P it's something that you don't realise how much you need until you've had the opportunity to use one. With ten outputs, plus the two wireless phone charging pads, it should be enough for most overnight trips, longer when paired with solar panels.
I had the AC200P Portable Power Station charging all manner of devices, out the way, beyond the reach of a power point, using the AC USB ports and the regular DC power points. The unit was also handy for plugging in a light to check in the loft space without having to trail an extension lead to the nearest power point. In an emergency, having a charged Bluetti power station standing by is very reassuring and something that every household should consider as we become more and more dependent on our electrical devices and appliances.