Jun 29, 2023

BLUETTI AC200MAX Expandable Power Station & PV350 350W Solar Panel review

REVIEW – As the focus on renewable energy becomes more urgent and mainstream, the technology of products like portable power stations and solar panels has advanced dramatically. Loud, expensive, pollution-spewing gas generators that annoy campsite neighbors and fellow beachgoers are now being replaced by silent, solar-powered portable power stations like the Bluetti AC200MAX, which I recently tested. Coupled with the Bluetti PV350 Solar Panel, the AC200MAX thoroughly impressed me with its performance, expandability, design, and reliability. The Bluetti setup doesn’t come cheap, with the AC200MAX priced at $1499 and the PV350 at $799, but it is absolutely worth the investment for the exceptional power and versatility it delivers.

The Bluetti AC200MAX is a high-capacity, portable power station equipped with Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries rated at 2,048 watt-hours (Wh) and a maximum continuous output of 2200W. It boasts 16 power outlets and has multiple recharging options, including 900W of solar capability. During my testing, I paired the AC200MAX with the Bluetti PV350 350W Solar Panel, a foldable, portable solar panel with MC4 connectors and a reported conversion efficiency of up to 23.4%.

Both the BLUETTI AC200MAX and PV350 are shipped in sturdy boxes adorned with basic illustrations of the contents. The units’ delicate components are packed safely in thick foam inserts.

As far as power stations go, the Bluetti AC200MAX isn’t as bare-boned and utilitarian as the Goal Zero Yeti 1000 Core I reviewed in September 2021, nor is it as sleek and modern as the Geneverse Solar Generator I tried out in September 2022. In fact, of all the portable power stations I’ve owned and reviewed, the Bluetti AC200MAX stands out for its highly efficient and practical design.

Every design feature of the AC200MAX, from the secure rubber port covers to the carrying handles integrated into the body, seems deliberate and well-considered. My only issue with the design is the weight; at close to 62 lbs., the AC200MAX is definitely on the high end of what most would consider portable.

Due to the hefty weight perhaps, every component on the AC200MAX is built to handle heavy use. I particularly like the clicky metal power button. Even though the rest of the AC200MAX’s exterior is mostly plastic, overall, the unit is quite durable.

The front of the AC200MAX holds 14 different output ports, including a female NEMA TT-30, which is a 30-amp, 125-volt port commonly used on RVs.

The top of the AC200MAX has two 15W charging pads, a great feature I have yet to see on many other power stations.

Both sides of the unit have powerful cooling fans and vents.

The power input ports for the AC200MAX are located on the lower left side. The two battery expansion ports on top allow the AC200MAX to connect to up to two Bluetti B230 (2048Wh each) or B300 (3072Wh each) battery modules, which boost the total capacity from 2,048Wh up to an impressive 8192Wh.

The back of the unit has a plate with technical info on it and textured plastic.

The T500 500W AC power adapter included with the AC200MAX is quite large and equipped with fans on either side. This powerful AC adapter can fully charge the AC200MAX in about 4.5 hours. To speed things up, you can use two adapters simultaneously, enabling you to charge the AC200MAX in about 2.5 hours. It’s important to note, though, that purchasing an extra T500 AC adapter is required.

The AC200MAX ships with three different cables to allow a few charging options. The XT90 to MC4 cable is for connecting to solar panels, the XT90 to Aviation Plug connects to the AC200MAX, and the XT90 to Cigarette Lighter Port is for connecting to 12V DC sources.

I tested the AC200MAX along with the 350W Bluetti PV350 Solar Panel. The panels of the PV350 fold up neatly into the attached case with an integrated carrying handle.

With four panels, a folded size of 35″ x 24″, and weighing in a little over 30lbs, the PV350 is easy to carry and pack up.

The cables for the PV350 are hardwired to the panel and fit easily into a zippered compartment on the back of the case.

The PV350 is a monocrystalline solar panel with a reported charging efficiency up to 23.4%.

There are four stands on the back of the solar panel attached with elastic fabric allowing the panel to be adjusted to optimum angles for charging.

The problem I had was that each time I pulled a stand out to the angle I wanted, the panel would fall over before I could get the other stands deployed. Eventually, I was able to get all four stands adjusted correctly, but it took a lot of flailing around before I figured it out.

The MC4 cables on the back of the panel connect securely to the included MC4 cable and then connect to the AC200MAX.

Along with setting up the solar panel in the sunniest, most efficient position and angle possible, connecting the panel to the AC200MAX correctly is vital.

The cables look confusing at first, but they only fit together one way, so with a little trial and error, you eventually stumble on the right connection order.

Once connected it’s important to check for loose plugs and find a good place out of the sun for the AC200MAX.

The next setup step is downloading and configuring the Bluetti app. It’s easy to create an account on the app and connect it to your AC200MAX.

With the connections made, the app configured, and the AC200MAX powered up I was ready to start the testing.

Once set up, charging the BLUETTI AC200MAX with the PV350 was a breeze. I lucked out and had a few perfect sunny days here in Seattle, so the full 350W of the solar panel went right into filling up the AC200MAX.

The PV350 cables connect easily to the MC4 cable, which then connects to the Aviation plug cable, which then connects to the AC200MAX.

The length of wire coming from the PV350 was just enough to keep the AC200MAX out of the sun when needed.

The large surface area of the PV350 made it easy to capture as much sun as possible.

Another great, versatile option of the AC200MAX is the ability to not only charge via multiple solar panels or multiple AC power adapters but to utilize both a solar panel and AC power adapter simultaneously as well.

The screen of the AC200MAX is a little difficult to see in direct sunlight, luckily the app provides all the info needed to run and monitor the power station.

The app is very easy to navigate and reports on everything you could possibly need to know about the AC200MAX’s charging, discharging, and operation.

From the app, you can also turn the different inputs and outputs off or on depending on the configuration you’re running.

Once fully charged, the AC200MAX was able to power every portable device I could plug into it, along with my laptop, fan, and a portable AC unit I am currently testing, for hours on end. Keeping the PV350 plugged in and pulling power from the sun while the AC200MAX powered my devices was a super efficient way to keep things totally portable without having to resort to AC power.

Overall, there’s little not to like about the AC200MAX and the PV350. The units work flawlessly together and provide an amazing amount of power, which can be expanded even more with additional Bluetti external batteries. The app is well-designed and works great to control and monitor the AC200MAX remotely. The power station might be a bit heavy, but that’s because it’s packed with a lot of charging capacity.

In my opinion, the Bluetti AC200MAX is the ultimate portable power station. It outshines other power stations I’ve reviewed in terms of capacity, design, functionality, and versatility. When combined with the Bluetti PV350 350W Solar Panel or additional Bluetti battery packs, the AC200MAX can handle virtually any portable power scenario. The battery packs alone increase the unit’s capacity from 2,048Wh to an impressive 8,192Wh. The price of $1499 for the AC200MAX and $799 for the PV350 Solar Panel is in line with similarly featured competitors and offers a great deal considering the power and dependability that Bluetti delivers. I do have some minor gripes with the weight of the AC200MAX and setting up the PV350, but these issues may not matter to most users. If you value reliability, charging options, capacity, and durability in your search for a portable power solution, the Bluetti AC200MAX and PV350 are a great choice.

Price: $1599.99 for AC200MAX Expandable Power Station, $799 for PV350 350W Solar PanelWhere to buy: Bluetti and AmazonSource: The sample of this product was provided by Bluetti.

REVIEWBluetti AC200MAX Power StationBluetti PV350 Solar PanelPriceWhere to buySource