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Is a 'water-resistant' power station too good to be true? I tested one to find out

Power stations, which are essentially boxes filled with electricity, are usually kept away from water and moisture. The Bluetti AC60 may be the start of something new.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor
Bluetti AC60 power station
Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

Over the past few years, I've tested a lot of power stations. Big ones, small ones, some so big they need chunky wheels and big handles to move them. But one consistency has been that I've kept them away from water.

The problem is, there's quite a bit of water in the outdoors: rain, sleet and snow, rivers and lakes, mist and fog, and condensation. Lots of condensation.

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Since power stations are essentially big boxes filled with electricity, and electricity gets angry and unpredictable around water, I've put a lot of effort into keeping the two things apart.

Until now.

The Bluetti AC60 is the first power station I've used that claims to be IP65-rated for both dust-proofing and water resistance.

There's only one way to test this, and that's to take my life in my hands and get this thing wet.

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Before I go any further, I need to refer you to the notes that Bluetti has in its Q&A for the device:

"The AC60 is IP65 rated, with waterproof seals on its outlets, making it resistant to dust and low-pressure water jets. To prevent electric shock, avoid heavy rain or splashing and wipe off any residual water before use."

With this in mind, it was time to take the AC60 into the wilds of South Wales, U.K., where it would spend four days and nights inside and outside a tent, with the weather fluctuating from baking hot to dropping over an inch of rain on a few hours. 

During this time, water splashes, mud, and high levels of condensation would be the norm.

Bluetti AC60 tech specs

  • Capacity: 403Wh (18Ah)
  • Type: LiFePO₄ (Lithium Iron Phosphate)
  • Life Cycles: 3,000+ Cycles to 80% original capacity
  • AC Outlets: 2× 230V/2.6A, 600W in total
  • Inverter Type: Pure Sine Wave
  • Surge Power: 1,200W
  • USB ports: 1x USB-C 100W Max. (Built-in eMark chip) and 2x USB-A 5V/3A
  • 12V DC Outlet: 1× 12V/10A (Car outlet, regulated)
  • Wireless Charging Pad: 1× 15W Max
  • AC Charging Cable (600W Turbo Charging): Approx 1 - 1.5 hours
  • Solar Panel (200W): Approx 2.5 - 3 hours (With good sunshine, ideal orientation and low temperature)
  • 12V/24V Car Outlet (100W/200W): Approx 4.5 - 5 hours / 2.5 - 3 hours
  • Weight: Approx 9.1kg / 20.06lbs
  • Dimensions (L ×W ×D): 290mm × 205mm × 234mm / 11.42in × 8.07in × 9.21in
  • Discharging Temperature: -20°C - 40°C (-20°C - 30°C: 600W Max.; 30°C - 40°C: 500W Max.) / -4°F - 104°F (-4°F - 86°F: 600W Max.; 86°F - 104°F: 500W Max.)
  • Warranty: 6 years

At just a shade over 20 pounds, the AC60 is relatively portable. It's quite compact for transporting by car or truck, or even a wheelbarrow. I've lugged this a couple of miles, but that gets old really fast.

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What I can say is that the handle is super comfortable, and the entire package is nicely balanced, which makes this power station a joy to move about.

The AC60 is not too big, not too small.

The AC60 is not too big, not too small.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

As a power station, the AC60 is flawless. Power outputs are all as rated, and the easy-to-read display and a small number of buttons mean that this is simple to use in possibly adverse conditions, such as in inclement weather or at night. The gently glowing buttons are a nice touch, and make it immediately clear what features are in use.

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The wireless charging mat on the top also offers added flexibility. Just pop your phone on the top to get an instant, no-fuss top-up. No cables required.

Oh, it also has a built-in light!

The Bluetti AC60's built-in light

The Bluetti AC60's built-in light

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

Okay, now onto the main feature: the IP65 rating.

Externally, ingress protection is offered by flaps that cover all the ports. These flaps form a secure seal against water and dirt and are robust enough to survive heavy outdoor use.

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I was careful to wipe the front of the power station before use so as to not get water into the sockets and plugs and, following this process, found that the power station happily shrugged off the water in all its forms, as well as dirt and dust.

Rubber seals cover all the ingress points on the AC60.

Rubber seals cover all the ingress points on the AC60.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

It took some getting used -- and just a hint of bravery -- to expose the AC60 to as much moisture as I did and continue to use it while exposing it to the elements, but the machine had no problems handling all of that.

Bottom line, the Bluetti AC60 is a game changer. Being able to use it in conditions where I wouldn't think of using other power stations -- albeit carefully -- opens up new possibilities for taking power into the outdoors.  

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