Bluetti AC180: The Perfect Solution For Your Next RV Trip
As RVers, we understand that firing up a gas-powered generator is sometimes necessary when dry camping. Doing without our favorite electronics, kitchen appliances, and other camping gadgets is practically unthinkable. Even if we have a robust RV solar power system, cloudy days call for supplemental generator power.
But nobody goes RV camping to fill the air with generator noise. And now we don’t have to, thanks to powerful gear like the new Bluetti AC180 portable power station.
A groundbreaking portable power station
The super quiet gas generators that made their debut over 10 years ago seemed like the ultimate solution for portable power. I carried one too and thought that an RV generator couldn’t get any better than that. But it’s a new era for RV solar power. Clean, portable, and noise-free power for RVing is now a reality.
A few groundbreaking manufacturers are making these silent electric generators for camping. Bluetti is one of the biggest, always paving the way for hikers, tent campers, and RVers to carry quiet, zero emissions energy into nature. And just one month after launching their groundbreaking AC60 portable power station, Bluetti has done it again with the AC180.
When Bluetti gave us the chance to try out the Bluetti AC180 Power Station, I jumped at the opportunity to give it a go. According to the company, here’s what you can do with it:
For over a decade, BLUETTI has been committed to providing sustainable green energy storage solutions for both indoor and outdoor use. With a presence in over 70 countries and millions of satisfied customers worldwide, BLUETTI has become a trusted name in the portable power industry.
Could this portable electric generator power our device needs? Would it supplement our 500 watts of rooftop solar on cloudy days in the rainy Pacific Northwest? I wanted to find out.
My go-to source for overcast days has always been a Honda eu2000i quiet gas generator. We love the smaller size and quieter output that sets it apart from other gas-powered energy sources. But it’s still a heavy beast, emits noxious emissions, and fills campgrounds with an audible racket that intrudes on natural settings.
The Bluetti AC180 vs a quiet gas generator
While camping in southern Oregon, I set out on a mission to find out if the Bluetti AC180 specifications, power output, and portability claims are true or just hype.
The Bluetti AC180 specs:
- 1800W constant output power
- 1152Wh capacity
- 2700W “Power Lift” output for high draw devices like hair dryers and tea kettles
- 1400W AC input, allowing for an 80% SOC (about 920Wh) in just 45 minutes
- 1.7-inch LCD display
- Bluetooth connected smartphone app
- Low 40 dB noise rating (the sound of a normal conversation)
- 5 USB ports
- 4 20-amp ports
- Safe, durable LiFePO4 battery cells
- Worry-free 5-year warranty
- Weighs just 35 pounds
- Measures only 13h x 12.4w x 9.7d
First impressions of the Bluetti AC180
The positives of taking a Bluetti AC180 camping are many. But first, let’s get the one major AC180 downside out of the way.
Like any new portable power station, there’s always a little room for improvement. These issues are minor, but I feel are important to mention:
1. The AC180 lacks useful documentation and paper a quick start guide.
Sure, there’s the Bluetti smartphone app available for download. And there’s also a wordy user guide that doesn’t shed much light on how to get started.
The Bluetti tagline is “Just Power On,” and while saving a tree is great, I believe that a hard-copy quick start guide included in the box would be helpful.
2. The AC180 wireless cell phone charging feature was tricky for me to use.
Wirelessly charging my iPhone 14 from the top of the unit was hit-or-miss. It could have been my phone case, however, so I don’t have enough proof to blame the portable power station itself.
With these downsides of the AC180 out of the way, let’s get to the fun stuff.
Our favorite features
Ways to charge the portable power station
Since the AC180 is an electric generator, you can charge the battery bank in one of four different ways.
- Plug it into a regular wall outlet.
- Or, hook it up to your portable solar panels. It’s good with any brand of panels that comply with Bluetti’s specs outlined in the User Guide.
- Want to charge it on the go? Just plug it into your vehicle’s 12/24V cigarette lighter port.
- And as a last resort, you can charge the AC180 by plugging it into your stinky old gas-powered generator.
The big, audible benefit of the AC180
If you aren’t looking at the interface of the AC180, you might not even realize that it’s working! This unit is quieter than any gas-powered generator in the RVing and camping marketplace.
Plus, you can make the AC180 even quieter by putting it into “Silent” charging mode. Your devices will take longer to charge up, but Silent Mode is a fantastic, time-saving option for set-it-and-forget-it overnight charging.
The AC180 can be controlled through a Bluetti smartphone app
You can use it for some handy power management functions such as:
- Turn AC and DC power on or off
- Slow down or speed up charging
- Select “Eco” setting to save power when little or no load demand is on AC or DC power.
- Check your power status. Know how much you’re using from solar or shore power. See how much you have left, and know how much more time you need to charge up.
Gas power vs clean power: Real world testing of the Bluetti AC180
If you’re like most of us, you probably live on your electronic devices. For working RV nomads who depend on them, reliable power is essential.
I wanted to test the Bluetti AC180 to see if it would power up our most critical devices, so I grabbed one laptop, two cell phones, one tablet, and a pair of wireless earbuds that were down to almost no battery life remaining. For giggles, I grabbed our toaster and hairdryer too.
I thought for sure those high-powered devices would drain the AC180 power in a heartbeat.
I was wrong.
Once I plugged all electronics into the AC180 at the same time, I was blown away. It was hard to tell if the devices were charging. The AC180 power output indicator hardly budged!
Next, I grabbed the big guns to show the AC180 who’s boss. Out came the toaster, and my hair dryer. I wondered, “Can the Bluetti AC180 power heavy output gadgets, without being noisy?” You be the judge:
Take a look and a listen to the biggest advantage of the AC180
I couldn’t believe what I was seeing and hearing. The AC180 flawlessly ran my hair dryer long enough to ensure a good hair day. And then it ran the toaster too, on the same charge. The AC180’s battery level hardly decreased.
In the end, the AC180 lost just 1% of stored power after using a toaster and hair dryer for a few minutes.
Learn more about the Bluette AC180 power station
The Bluetti AC180 power station does not disappoint.
This electric generator is so robust that we are ditching our fossil-fuel-based Honda generator altogether. As long as we keep the AC180 topped off any time we are plugged into shore power, I know we can trust it as a backup source for our solar power system. By harnessing the power of the sun, we can get through the cloudiest of Pacific Northwest days.
What’s even better is that our campground neighbors will appreciate having one less generator pouring out noxious fumes and ear-splitting racket.
I feel like I have entered a new dimension of outdoorsy experiences! Living and working on the road requires a constant power supply with an alternative energy source backup. The AC180 portable power station delivers power to any size camper. If you have never tried a gas-free portable power station for RVing but have considered getting one, now is the time to give this device a whirl.
RV LIFE Readers: Get an early bird Bluetti AC180 Discount Coupon!
The Bluetti AC180 just launched on Wednesday, June 15th, 2023. Take advantage of Bluetti’s special early bird pricing for RV LIFE readers, from now through June 30th.
Early bird pricing is just $799 between June 15th and 30th. Use code “RVLAC180” for an extra $20 off and pay just $779! Get the Bluetti AC180 here!
Rene Agredano and her husband, Jim Nelson, became full-time RVers in 2007 and have been touring the country ever since. In her blog, Rene chronicles the ins and outs of the full-timing life and brings readers along to meet the fascinating people and amazing places they visit on the road. Her road trip adventures are chronicled in her blog at LiveWorkDream.com.