This week we had Bluetti reach out and ask if we wanted to review their new AC180 portable power station. We have never accepted a sponsored post nor have we ever even returned an email requesting a review, but this one really caught our nerdy battery, electrical system-loving hearts' attention.
These types of all-in-one solutions come up quite frequently in the solar groups and forums we read. People who use them seem to love them. After checking out the specs and watching a couple of reviews on the Bluetti AC180, we were pretty impressed and intrigued. It looked like a solid device that would be very interesting to play with.
We responded back to the email and indicated that we might be interested but had some reservations about what we were "allowed" to say or how we were allowed to use it. The Bluetti representative replied back and assured us that we could just use the product and give our 100% honest opinion of what we thought about it. After some discussion, we decided to give it a go.
One of our projects this summer has been to get Dominic everything he will need for his dorm room. He could really use some storage shelves for over his desk and "kitchen" cabinet (a small cabinet with a mini-frig and microwave). We couldn't find any shelves he really liked, and we thought it might be a fun project to build them ourselves. He liked the look of some heavy-looking metal shelves with thick wood planks. After studying a few designs, we decided on using some 2" angle iron for the main uprights, 1.5" angle iron for the shelf supports, and 2x12 planks for the shelves.
When the Bluetti AC180 showed up at our door for review, we thought- why not use it to power the tools we were going to use to build the shelves? It would be the perfect project with plenty of power-hungry tools to really put the power station to the test.
A really fun thing about building the shelves was that Dominic's future roommate was able to help us build them! Dominic and his roommate have known each other for just about their whole lives (they met at a gym for toddlers at age 2!). Over the years, Michelle and his mom have become great friends, so when our two boys were both going to attend ASU, it was the perfect fit for them to become roommates.
We made a video introducing the AC180 - a brief overview of the specs and features - and then got to work building the shelves. After charging up the AC180, the boys used it to sand the wood planks with a belt sander and a random orbital sander. The AC180 handled these with ease. We then moved on to the metalwork. For cutting the metal we used a fairly heavy-duty chop saw (the Makita Model 2414 with a 15 Amp motor). The power spike to get the motor going is significant but the AC180 powered right through. A pretty significant load can be seen when cutting the metal as well - as the motor would bog down, you could see the reading on the AC180 spike well into the 2400 Watt range! Surprisingly the AC180 powered through it without error. Next, we dressed up the metal with two grinders and a random orbital sander. Even with all three of these running and working hard on the metal, the AC180 didn't break a sweat.
Finally, we came to the biggest challenge of the project. We needed to weld the upright pieces. We use a small flux-core welder that we bring with us everywhere - the Century Flux Core 90 Wire Feed Welder. We love this thing, and it has really served us well. We hooked up the little welder and held our breath. The initial arc took a bit and it did weld for about 1/2 a second before shutting down and giving us the dreaded "Overload" error screen. We tried again with the same result and ended up putting the AC180 aside and just plugging the welder into the wall.
The next morning before we got back to work, we decided to make a cup of coffee using the AC180. Our coffee maker pulls about 1450 Watts to make a cup of coffee, so it should be well within the AC180's capabilities. As expected it handled it with ease. Two cups of coffee used about 8% of the battery capacity, so we estimate that you should be able to make about 25 cups of coffee on a single charge!
Reading through the manual the previous night we discovered that the AC180 has a "Power Lifting Mode" which will boost the AC output to 2700W. To be fair the description also read: "Ideal for pure-resistive heating devices like hair dryers, electric kettles, heaters, etc." It did not mention welders!
We enabled the "Power Lifting Mode" on the app, and we decided to try welding again. It did weld for slightly longer but again the load was just too much for the AC180. It was not a huge surprise because the welder pulls A LOT of power. In fact, when we were using it this time, it actually tripped the 20-Amp breaker we were plugged into.
In the end, we got the shelves built and Dominic and his roommate were happy with the results, and the AC180 performed extremely well.
In the video, We share some additional features of the Bluetti AC180 and detail our final thoughts about when, where, and why this power station would make a lot of sense. Overall, we were really impressed with it and would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a portable power solution with power needs in the 1800W range.
Starting July 13 you can use the code "Beginning180" to take an additional 3% off your AC180!
Watch the video:
Click here If you cannot see the video.