Two minute review
Bluetti was one of the first to use the LiFePo4 battery type in portable power plants. With the number of charge cycles expanded from 500 to 3500, this type of battery can last an average of nine years. Such a power station can be seen as an investment against home damage. Blackouts during extreme temperature events such as harsh winters can be brutal to a home or its residents.
Bluetti renews their bestseller, the AC200P, with an improved version, the AC200MAX. From the outside, the two look similar, with the same form factor. On closer inspection, new things become more and more apparent. The output power has been increased and the station is now Bluetooth enabled. But the most exciting upgrade is the ability to increase battery capacity by adding additional battery packs to the station.
Bluetti AC200MAX: prices and availability
The AC200MAX is currently available at the special price of: $1899† The B230 expansion battery costs an extra $1399† The AC200MAX price includes a $100 discount off the MSRP. Both products come with a two-year warranty.
Bluetti AC200MAX: Design
The AC200MAX retains the same look and feel as its predecessor. The robust plastic housing has dark shades with the Bluetti logo on the front. It measures 42cm x 28cm x 38.7cm and weighs 28.1kg. Two handles on each side allow the device to be moved safely, while two fans on each side also help to cool it down. The AC200MAX comes with a large 500W block adapter and a plastic bag with cables for car and solar charging.
The AC200MAX is one of the few power plants with a full color touchscreen. The clear display provides information about the station’s charging and discharging activities. The hierarchical menu is well organized and provides easy access to settings, battery data logs and any alarm that may have been triggered. The screen backlight stays on for 30 seconds before turning off. Each press of the screen emits a beep that can be turned off.
Five AC outputs are available on the front panel and can deliver up to 2200W. A single phase NEMA TT-30 connection is provided to power RV devices. Four high-current 12V ports are included. Two DC 5521 for charging cameras or RC cars with a combined power of 120 W, a 120 W cigarette lighter and a 360 W output for various low voltage devices such as a small refrigerator.
Bluetti is generous with the number of USB sockets which consists of three groups covering different output currents. A unique 100W Type-C port that can power devices such as gaming laptops. There are also two 36W and two 15W Type-A sockets available to charge smaller devices such as older phones or tablets. The AC200MAX has two Wireless Charge surfaces on the top that can deliver 15W each.
Input jacks are located on the left side of the AC200MAX and include two battery expansion ports, a 900W 145V DC port for solar charging, and a 500W 58.8V DC input for mains charging through the AC block adapter. The fastest way to charge is with a combination of DC and AC sources, giving a full charge in just over five hours. As with other Bluetti products, rubber sleeves cover all output connections, while the input connections are protected by plastic caps.
Bluetti AC200MAX: in use
The unit is turned on by pressing the single button to the left of the display. A Bluetooth connection is established as soon as the device is turned on. The AC and DC outputs are activated by two soft buttons on the screen. Input/output power and remaining battery charge are all conveniently displayed. Four soft buttons on the left help to navigate to different submenus. The user can choose between viewing the settings, data, alarms or home.
The mobile app can be used to remotely enable outputs or update the station’s firmware. Under ideal conditions, a range of ten meters can be achieved, which will be reduced to five meters when the firmware is updated. There are fewer features available in the app compared to what is provided on the base.
Charging the AC200MAX can be done in different ways. Usually the 500W block adapter is used, resulting in a charging time of five hours. If that is too long, the control panel can charge with two parallel inputs. With a combined input power of 1300 W, the charging time is reduced to two hours. The AC200MAX includes an MPPT solar charger with an input voltage range of 10 to 145 VDC.
The biggest improvement is the ability to expand the battery capacity. With two additional B200 2048Wh expansion batteries, the maximum capacity can be increased from 2048Wh to 6144Wh. These battery systems use the same technology as the power plant, but without the AC inverter. They also have fewer DC outputs and come with a simple user interface. They can operate as a self-contained unit without a base.
Bluetti AC200MAX: Competition
The portable power plant scene is overcrowded due to the low battery price. Most manufacturers have solutions of 1000 Wh or less, and only a few have dared to dip their toes into high-capacity expandable units.
Among the competition is the Ecoflow Delta Pro series. Their 3600W station falls in the same category as the AC200MAX, albeit at a higher price for the extra power and battery capacity. Although they are the same dollar per Wh, the main advantage of the AC200MAX remains the battery technology which costs more than the LFP type used in the Delta Pro.
Goal Zero, another maker of portable power plants, recently introduced the concept of the home backup system. Their 6300Wh system costs $4649, which is lower in price compared to a bundle of one AC200MAX and two B200 batteries. That said, the Bluetti solution is more compact and has fewer drop points with three units instead of five for the Goal Zero system. In addition, their base unit, a 1500X, consists of Li-ion NMC cells with a lifespan of 500 cycles compared to the 3500 cycles offered by the AC200MAX.
Bluetti AC200MAX: verdict
Bluetti took an already great powerhouse, namely the AC200P, and made it even better. The AC200MAX includes new features such as Bluetooth connectivity, a NEMA TT-30 connection for RV enthusiasts and last but not least the ability to expand battery capacity with up to two additional batteries. With these new features, we have a system that can act as an emergency power source for a small home in the event of a power outage.
The AC200MAX can be further enhanced by using a smaller power adapter or by integrating it into the base unit. The device makes a lot of noise, which makes using it as an uninterruptible power source in an office painful. It is also heavy, but that can be explained by the use of LiFePo4 batteries.