Bluetti Solar Generator: Complete Review
The following article is in-depth review of one of the most well reviewed solar generators on the market, the Bluetti portable solar generator from MaxOak. We will dive into the pros and cons as well as the features and benefits of the unit in order to figure out and explain why this is one of the best reviewed solar generators out there. Before we get started, here is a list of what the Bluetti can power on a single charge to give you an idea of what you can expect from this unit:
One full Bluetti charge can power the following:
The Bluetti (pronounced Blue - Tee) from MaxOak has been getting a lot of press all over the internet, from in-depth articles to Youtube videos. The reviews are almost all positive, so when we attended this year's SPI (Solar Power International) in Salt Lake City we were thrilled to see that MaxOak would be attending. This gave us the perfect opportunity to both meet the company and test their products.
We were very impressed with the quality of the products as well as the people representing the company so we made arrangements to start carrying and selling their generators. But without further ado, let's dive into what we like and dislike about the Bluetti (don’t ask us why they named it that).
Bluetti Solar Generator Pros
The Bluetti solar generator has one of the largest batteries on the market for a solar generator of its size. The unit has 1500wH (watt hours) of lithium battery that comes from high quality LG cells. It’s closest competitor in terms of battery size would be the Goal Zero Yeti 1400 which actually has 100wH less of battery storage but costs over $500 more. This means that the Bluetti can power a lot of things for a really long time without needing to be recharged.
The Bluetti also has low and high temperature protection for its battery cells which is quite unique amongst portable solar generators. This means that you can rest easy knowing that in extreme climates the Bluetti will automatically protect its battery so you won't damage it.
We always recommend going with a little more battery capacity than you think you might need when it comes to portable power stations since you never need it until you NEED it.
Inverter / Charge Controller
The Bluetti has a 1000 watt pure sine wave inverter which is perfectly matched for the battery size. This means that you are able to run the unit at full capacity until the battery is depleted without damaging the unit. Other generators on the market have bigger inverters but won't run at full capacity for long before shutting themselves off because their inverter is not matched to the battery size.
In terms of charger controllers, there are two types available, MPPT and PWM charge controllers. We won’t get into the details in this article about the difference between the two, but MPPT charge controllers are much more efficient and modern.
The Bluetti has a true MPPT charge controller which means that it will get the most efficient possible charging. Paired with (4) 100 watt 12 volt solar panels, like you can see here, it can fully recharge the Bluetti in about 3.5 - 4 hours of ideal sunlight. It also has a max input of 60 volts which is significantly higher than most of the competitors on the market.
This size of an inverter will allow you to run things like fridges, fans, lights, TV’s etc, all directly off of the Bluetti. If you’re trying to figure out what sort of power loads you’re going to require, I would highly recommend checking out our Solar Load Calculator here.
One thing a lot of people seem to forget to consider when looking at solar generators is how long it takes to recharge them. The Bluetti has two ways of recharging; from its AC wall charger or from solar panels. With the wall charger you can expect to recharge your Bluetti in around 9-10 hours. Which is very decent when compared to other options out there. To give you an example, some Goal Zero generators can take 24+ hours to fully recharge.
The other method of charging the Bluetti is through Solar Panels. In the box that comes with your Bluetti you get an MC4 connector so that you are able to plug any solar panel into your generator (within the 60 volt input) as long as it has MC4 connectors.
If you plan on charging the Bluetti with solar panels, the max input is 500 watts, however we recommend 400 watts at 12 volts. We have made up a diagram for you to follow if you click here for the best way to recharge via Solar. With 400 watts going into your unit, you can expect to fully recharge the unit in 3.5 - 4 hours of ideal sunlight (1500 watt hour battery / 400 watts going in = 3.75 hours).
Lastly, some people may want the ability to charge the Bluetti from their car cigarette port, but unfortunately Bluetti doesn’t make an adapter for that. That is because the MPPT input is not current limited so you can actually end up damaging the unit by plugging it into your car.
However, if you want the ability to charge your Bluetti from a vehicle cigarette lighter, you could buy a cigarette inverter like this and then plug your normal AC wall charger into that.
Regulated 12V Port
This may seem like a small detail, but it is actually a very important one. Having a regulated 12V output means that the Bluetti keeps the voltage at the output constant. This is important because if you wanted to run a 12V fridge for example, no matter what the battery level in the Bluetti, the output from the 12V port wont drop.
Therefore you won’t have your fridge stop working just because the battery in the generator is getting low. Although it may seem hard to believe, there are options on the market currently that don’t have regulated 12 volt ports.
What is nice about the Bluetti is that with the purchase of the generator you get (2) super useful accessories - a quick charging AC wall charger and an MC4 adapter that allows you to plug any solar panel(s) right into the Bluetti.
The AC wall charger for the Bluetti is one of the fastest on the market. It can input an impressive 170 watts into the generator by plugging it into the wall. For comparison, Goal Zero’s Yeti wall charger can only input 80 watts (we don’t have all day!).
Another unique add-on with the Bluetti is that it comes with an MC4 adapter. This means that if you already have solar panels, you can plug them into the Bluetti without needing to buy brand specific panels. Or you can buy budget panels online elsewhere and use them with the generator.
The Bluetti still manages to be quite portable even with its massive battery capacity. The unit only weighs 37.9lbs. While this is not nearly as light as something like the Apex from Inergy or the Jackery Explorer 500, it still does a very good job of being portable thanks to its carrying handle on the top of the unit.
Bluetti Solar Generator Cons:
In our opinion it is a major bummer that MaxOak hasn’t come out with a car adapter to go with the Bluetti. Since the unit is perfect for Vanlifer’s or people living a mobile lifestyle, being able to charge from the cigarette port would be super helpful.
We have included information on a possible work around, but realistically MaxOak should offer the optional car charger for the Bluetti.
1000 watt Inverter
Another thing that can cause some concern would be the 1000 watt inverter. Most other solar generators in this category like the Apex from Inergy or the Goal Zero Yeti come with 1500 watt inverter. While that extra 500 watts might be important for some, it is our belief that the difference between 1000 watts and 1500 in real world use is so small that it’s probably a better trade off to go with a bigger battery and smaller inverter just like the Bluetti has done.
Another issue we have run into with the Bluetti is the lack of outlets. It has quick charging USB ports, standard USB ports, and (2) AC wall outlets as well as a regulated 12V port. However, when it comes to real world use, this might end up being too few for people. For context, the Apex has (6) AC wall outlets and (4) USB outlets to go along with (2) 12V plugs AND a 30AMP RV plug. Bluetti could definitely stand to add a few more plugs!
Who is the Bluetti Solar Generator For?
This portable solar generator is one of our favourite on the market for many reasons. However, it isn’t going to be a perfect option for everyone. We see two main groups of people who can benefit the most from a Bluetti and a third group who should consider it.
The first group of people who would really benefit from a Bluetti generator is anyone who is living a mobile lifestyle, specifically vanlifers. If you are considering a van conversion or have already done one, you wont regret having a Bluetti to power your adventures.
It has a sleek and tiny build so it won’t take up much room in your van and it has a massive battery meaning you won’t need to recharge it constantly. It also has the regulated 12V port so you can power DC fridge if you need to as well. It also comes with a MC4 adapter so you can use it with your current solar array if you want. All of this for $1147!
The second group of people who would really benefit from a Bluetti would be anybody who is an avid camper or “weekend warrior”. If you love to take off on Friday afternoon and head out for the weekend, then the Bluetti is a perfect unit to power your entire adventure.
It has a large and long lasting battery so if you charge it up before you leave, you probably won’t need to recharge it for your entire trip! If you do need to charge it, easily take it out and connect it to a solar panel and you're good to go!
Not to mention it is quite portable with the comfy carrying handle so you can easily pick it up, put it in your truck after work and take off. It’s not nearly as big or clunky as other generators on the market.
The last group of people who might consider getting a Bluetti is anybody who is on a budget and lives in an area that is prone to grid failure or natural disasters. You can read more about our top 5 solar generators for disaster scenarios here if you want. But this is also a great backup power option for anyone looking to be prepared for when the power goes out.
If you live in an area where the grid is unreliable and you want to keep your fridge and essential electronics running when the power is out, the Bluetti is an option worth considering. It is one of the most budget friendly options on the market and it has 1500 Watt Hour battery! This is the best bang for your buck around and something to seriously consider if you are worried about the grid.
The Bluetti is a very cost conscious and high quality product. It comes in at a price point lower than most other competitors on the market and has the largest battery life by far. After testing the units ourselves and meeting with the company, we are proud and happy to carry the Bluetti from MaxOak as we are confident it is one of the best options out there.