Winter is coming: This backup power station could come in handy soon

Bluetti AC200MAX outside on the ground.

The Bluetti AC200MAX.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

Winter is coming. A time for storms and power outages. And it seems like blackouts are in the cards for us in the UK.

What better time to invest in a battery power station, the modern answer to the noisy, smelly, dangerous gasoline generator.

Think of a battery power station as a big power bank. You charge up your power station while the power is on (or use a solar panel if the weather permits), and then use that stored power when you need it.

The bigger your power station, the more power you can store.

The Bluetti AC200MAX offers a lot of power in a — sort of — portable package.

Bluetti AC200MAX

$1,799 at Amazon

Bluetti AC200MAX tech specs

  • Capacity: 2048Wh.
  • Battery Type: LiFePO4 (good for 3500+ recharge cycles).
  • AC Adapter Input: 400W Max.
  • Solar Input: Voc 10-145V / 900W Max / 15A Max.
  • AC Output: 4 x AC 100-120V, 1 x NEMA TT-30.
  • DC Output: 1 x 12V/30A DC, 1 x 12V Car, 2 x 12V DC5521.
  • USB Output: 1 x 100W PD, 2 x 18W, 2 x 5V/3A.
  • Wireless Charging Pad: 2 x 15W.
  • Charge Temperature: 32°F – 104°F.
  • Discharge Temperature : -4°F – 104°F.
  • Dimensions: 16.5 x 11.0 x 15.2 inches.
  • Weight: 62 lbs.

Note: I’m testing the UK version of the AC200MAX, which has different power outlets and supports 220V at 50Hz (as opposed to 110V at 60Hz found in the US). Other than those changes, the package is much the same as the US version.

OK, first things first — this is not your portable power bank sort of device. It’s big and heavy, coming in at 16.5 x 11.0 x 15.2 inches and weighing a hefty 62 lbs.

It’s portable, yes, but portable for long distances? Well, that depends on your strength and fitness. The handles and good weight distribution do make this package easier to handle (deliberate pun there), but it’s still a weight that you’re going to notice.

The handles are nice and smooth and comfortable and go some way to making the 62 lbs load not feel as heavy as it could!

On the front of the unit is much of how you’ll interface with this power station. There’s a very chunky, industrial power button for turning the unit on and off (the button is illuminated when the unit is on, which is a nice touch).

Chunky, industrial power button.

Notice how all the ports are covered by rubber seals. While these seals are not waterproof, they do add weatherproofing to the unit, resisting moisture and dust when the unit is being used outdoors.

These rubber covers for the ports fit well and aren’t going to fall off in a hurry — a nice touch.

On the front is a touchscreen panel that is the command center for the AC200MAX, handling everything from the data and time, power outputs, and controlling the many features of the unit.

The touchscreen is bright enough to be used in sunlight, can be dimmed if used at night or indoors, and is quite responsive to touch inputs.

Given the importance of the touch screen, it’s recessed to reduce the risk of it getting broken.

The touch screen is the command center of the AC200MAX.

Around the touch screen are a vast array of output ports, both AC and DC. Every port has its own rubber cover protecting it from dirt, dust, and moisture.

Output ports galore.

But there’s more! On the top of the unit are two 15W wireless charging pads for all your Qi charging needs. These can operate simultaneously, each delivering a full 15W to compatible hardware.

Wireless charging for convenient topping up of your smartphones.

On the side are all the inputs (as well as ports that allow you to connect the AC200MAX to up to two external B230 battery modules to give you even more power storage — up to a whopping 6144Wh).

These ports are, again, well-protected against moisture and dirt ingress.

The AC200MAX supports solar charging up to 900W (solar panels sold separately for those wanting a total off-grid solution), or a 400W DC charger. For the fastest charge possible you can combine solar and DC charging.

The AC200MAX comes with a chunky 400W charger.

You also get a bunch of cables.

Main cable for the charger, an XT90-MC4 solar panel cable, XT90-12V cable, and XT90 aviation cable.

For when the going gets a little hot, the cooling fans get going!

The build quality of the AC200MAX is second to none, designed for a tough life in the back of a truck or RV, as well as more gentle in-home use.

I’ve tested all the ports to see if they can handle what Bluetti claims they can, and I’m pleased to say that they do. Capacity is spot on, and a full charge takes some six hours using the 400W charger, and about 10 hours if charged from a 12V supply in a vehicle.

That’s respectable given the massive 2048Wh capacity.

The AC200MAX has no problem handling a constant 2,200W and surges up to 4,800W are handle gracefully. Go over this, and the unit powers down in a no-fuss fashion to protect itself from damage. When under heavy load, the fans kick in to keep the unit cooled off, and while the fans are certainly audible, they’re not overly loud or obnoxious in my opinion.

The Bluetti AC200MAX is an awesome power station. It’s big and powerful, yet portable. It’s rugged and durable, yet doesn’t look out of place in a home or office. It has huge capacity that’s expandable if you need it. And, so far, based on my testing, it delivers on everything it claims to offer.

If you want backup power for when the lights go out this winter, you want flexible charging options and massive power output to keep up with the heaviest loads, all packed into a rugged, durable package, the Bluetti AC200MAX should definitely be on your radar.

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