When it comes to reviewing the best portable power stations, one brand you simply can’t ignore is BLUETTI.
They come up time and time again in the groups and communities we are involved with, both in off-grid van life and boat life.
Which is why I was super excited to trial some of their kit for myself and see how well they do hold up in practice.
We’ve tested this unit for more than 2 months now, both on our boat and also when away camping, as our sole off-grid power source for us and 2 other friends.
I want to run through what I believe to be the pros, cons, and key features of the unit. As well as, ultimately, whether it’s worth buying and who it’s best suited to.
Let’s get stuck in …
Full Disclosure: We received courtesy product and compensation from BLUETTI in exchange for our honest review only. All opinions expressed here are our own.
They are easily one of the biggest and most recognizable brands in the portable power station world.
The market seems to be expanding every year, but BLUETTI is widely considered a top provider of all kinds of off-grid power solutions.
What’s impressive about them is the fact they are continually designing and launching new models of stations each year; making use of new advancements in battery technology.
But also developing many lines of product to suit different kinds of consumers.
In fact, if anything their range can at first seem a little TOO overwhelming (more clarity on this below, but don’t worry, you’re not alone if you feel that way!)
Below I’m reviewing the EB3A, a 268Wh model. Actually quite small when you compare it to some of their larger, home-powering solutions.
But certainly a top contender for those needing a weekend-getaway off-grid power solution.
I just wanted to quickly clarify that the only difference between a power station and a solar generator, is that one kit is sold with a solar panel.
At first it can seem even more daunting if you are new to this world and still trying to work out what on earth you need.
But simply put, if you buy a “solar generator” kit, it just means that you will be buying some sort of bundle of a power station + panel. Or even a power station, expansion bank, and 2 or 3 panels.
To work out exactly what you need you will need to decide first off how much power you need for your designed usage of the station and then a correspondingly useful amount of solar.
BLUETTI do have a specific solar generator sales page which helps make understanding this that little bit easier.
For the sake of this review, the EB3A + PV200 is a very popular and very useful solar generator kit. You could also opt for the EB3A + PV100 panel. More on that below.
Okay, the one thing I have found with BLUETTI is the need to take a bit of time to first get your head around the full range of models that they sell.
At the time of writing you have the:
When you make your way around their shop page you will realize that there are multiple variants within each of these as well as different combinations of power station + solar panel and sometimes + battery expansion as well.
The key here is to first off realize what sort of power level you need, and then to work through the options available for that sort of range.
For the sake of this review of the EB3A, we are more looking at the smaller units (certainly not the large EP500Pro which is actually a home power solution in case of blackouts, or even just living off-grid altogether).
So within the EB range we have:
And within the AC range we have:
Finally, within the B range we have the:
Note: The B range is only compatible with the AC range. To learn more about why this range is different and whether this could be the ideal solution for you check out my in-depth review of the AC60 + B80.
First off let’s quickly point out the difference between Watts (W) and Watt Hours (Wh).
As you can see from my handy comparison list in the previous section, the EB3A is the smallest of the EB range.
Smallest both in terms of
This doesn’t mean it's the worst by any stretch, all it simply means is that it’s primarily designed for a market of buyers who need it for less demanding usage.
To better clarify here are the average Watts of a number of common devices:
So the EB3A would be able to run any appliance up to a maximum of 600W.
Lets take for example the drone. At a 30W charge, you could charge for up to 8.9 hours (268Wh divided by 30W).
Or say we had a 600 Watt microwave. The unit is capable of running it (as it has a 600W) maximum, and you could do so for 0.9 hours (268Wh divided by 600W). So about 50 minutes.
The toaster and kettle wouldn’t work as their draw is too high and it would just trip the inverter inside of the unit.
If you think you need a larger model within the EB range then the rest of this review is still relevant and worthwhile, the only difference in the other modules will be its capacity, weight, and possibly the number of outlets it has on the front.
The fundamental features and how it works are all the same.
So let’s look more deeply at each of these features …
There are a total of 8 outlets on the unit, which is a heck of a lot packed into such a compact unit!
Sure, this isn’t unique, a lot of similarly sized units from other brands have this capability, but it certainly isn’t any worse.
A unit we have tested which has another plug outlet is the ALLPOWERS R600. However, one thing I found is that the increased outlet came at a cost, as it’s very hard to actually have two 240v plugged devices in at once due to the size of the sockets.
Larger BLUETTI models offer more outlets, but with the size of the battery itself, you would struggle to make use of many more.
When away camping we were typically charging 4 devices at a time (mostly our mobiles each). And all worked well.
I did find that you have to be very careful to make sure that your phone is in the right position over the wireless charging spot for it to work. Though I have found this to be pretty typical of most wireless chargers.
A useful feature on any decent power station is a light.
This station is no different. It's nothing special, but it's also no worse than any other light! So the light gets, well a green light here.
One thing about the EB3A is that it has a lot of tech packed inside, and even has the ability to rapidly fast charge with more than one method at a time.
So you can plug in at the mains at home and will typically be done in around 1.5 hours from 0 to 100% charge.
Then you have the ability to charge using the socket in a car while driving, but best of all you have solar power.
And I was genuinely shocked by how quickly you can recharge this thing with solid sunlight.
The marketing spec says that the 200W panel can recharge the unit completely in just 2 hours; and honestly it felt even faster than that!
When we stuck our panel directly at the sun, the unit was registering 144W going in and the charge went up by 10% in just 10 minutes.
It’s all well and good seeing numbers and calculations but when you can see it ticking up that fast it’s genuinely surprising and impressive.
Yes, the unit will rundown fairly quickly. For example, overnight charging our 4 phones and using the light intermittently took the unit down by around 40%.
But then all you need is an hour or two of sunlight and you're back up to full power.
Design-wise, the unit is spot on. For all of the tech packed inside, it’s surprisingly lightweight and about as compact as you could imagine it to be.
As discussed above, they pack a lot of outlets and inlets into the unit but I don’t feel like it’s too cluttered or confusing.
I can confirm that everything about the unit seems to be made of very high quality material and there’s no cracks or movement in the casing that makes me think it isn’t built to last.
The display screen is clear and easy to read, displaying everything you need to know at any given time. Notably how much power is going in and how much is coming out.
It also tells you how much time (under the current output rate) your unit has left to run for; which is handy!
I mean, I quite like the color scheme too. Not sure how important this is from a practical use standpoint, but, well it’s my review so there you are!
I've never properly tested a mobile app before for a power station, and honestly when I seen that the EB3A had compatibility with one, my thoughts were ...
"What's the point!?"
Sometimes companies have the idea to bring out an app with little fundamental need for one, maybe more to say that it has one.
How to I feel about the BLUETTI one?
Long story, it does indeed have a purpose, but yeah it's certainly not a reason to buy the unit.
The app allows some cool features, such as being able to:
I can see cases where this would be useful, but I also do think it has it's limitations. It's cool to have it but it shouldn't be a defining selling point of the station itself.
I figured it was worth giving the BLUETTI solar panel its own little section here, as we have had the chance to review a number of power station panels over the last couple of years.
There are a couple of panels out there that I’m not a fan of, and a couple that I really like.
The BLUETTI PV200 is right up there with the best. I’m not going to lie and say it's one of a kind or does anything special that others can’t.
But I can confirm that it ticks all the boxes you need for a power station solar panel.
Including the fact that it’s compact and easy to put up and down.
It’s streamlined so it slots away nicely when packing up your car; but also easy to set up with regards to plugging and unplugging cables. And the cables are well made from high quality materials.
If you’ve read my notes above on charging the EB3A via solar panel, then you’ll see that I was genuinely impressed by how fast this thing pumped charge into the EB3A; it really is the ideal combo.
A 200W Panel like this is more than enough for the EB3A, and honestly the 120W model of panel would also be more than enough for most as you only need to use it for a couple hours a day.
But for seriously rapid charging, the PV200 is a solid piece of kit and works excellently with the EB3A.
One final note about the panel is that it does have little poppers on the supports which allow you to alter the angle of the panel.
This is NOT standard on all panels like this and is a little way in which it does stand out.
To get maximum charge you do want the panel directly at the sun so this is surprisingly handy and worth a shout-out as a smart piece of engineering.
I can honestly say that, as a solar generator combo, this is an absolutely cracking set up.
I genuinely love the unit itself and have zero qualms with its build quality, outlets, charging capabilities and overall setup.
The mobile app is a cool addition I wasn’t expecting.
In terms of what is going on inside the station, it’s top of the line and stands out as one of the top smaller units I’ve so far been able to test.
I've also recently reviewed the BLUETTI AC60 (+B80) so I recommend giving that a read as a power station that is of similar power, but with a much larger battery capacity and more durable build.
It's a great comparison station for the AC60 as it costs significantly more. But demonstrates just how much the EB3A offers despite costing significantly less.
So, who do I think the EB3A is best suited to?
Those going camping and looking for a quick and easy way to keep devices topped up.
If there’s 2-4 of you and you want to keep your phones/iPad up to charge, then it’s absolutely spot on.
You can even plug in a camping toaster if need be and perhaps a small cool box that doesn’t draw too much power.
If you need to use more tech while away, and perhaps the weather isn’t looking too great, then perhaps a larger power station would be more suited. You really do need to take into consideration:
But yes, as an entry level camping set up the EB3A + PV200 combo will not steer you wrong and is priced fantastically well and comes from a tried and trusted brand with a big help and technical team behind them.
It gets a big fat thumbs up from me.
The two best ways to order would be directly from their website or through Amazon.
They regularly seem to run deals and promos on their site so keep your eyes peeled there. Here are the links if you’re from the US:
Or if you’re from the UK:
Honestly, I’m not sure if there is much else to cover!
To summarize I think this is a cracking combo and fantastic value for money; the ideal setup for most.
But perhaps you think I've missed something from my review?
Or maybe you have tested the BLUETTI EB3A yourself and want to share some feedback with me?
Just drop a comment below and let me know!
By the way, here are some other posts you may find useful: