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The most durable power station I've tested dares Mother Nature to do her worst

While many portable power stations claim to be designed for outdoor use, the Bluetti AC60P actually comes prepared for the worst conditions.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor
The Bluetti AC60P

The Bluetti AC60P

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

ZDNET's key takeaways

  • The Bluetti AC60P is available from Amazon for $799.
  • It can withstand harsh conditions, has durable Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries, and a 6-year warranty, making it perfectly suited for adventure.
  • The 600W output (even with 1,200W surge) is not enough for some high-powered devices such as microwave ovens.

There's a big difference between how a product performs inside your home or office, and how it fares when you take it outside into the elements.

In the wilderness, where the elements will test the mettle of both adventurer and their gear, many a portable power station has promised to be up for whatever Mother Nature throws at it. Yet, when faced with the onslaught of rain, snow, and the invasive persistence of dust, many quickly falter. 

Also: I tested the world's smallest power station, and it's a solar-charging beast

Enter the Bluetti AC60P, a trailblazer in its league, emerging as one of the first to be adorned with the IP65 badge of honor (technically the second, as this is a follow-up to the AC60). This prestigious rating is not just a number; it's a testament to its resilience, a promise of its water-resistance and dust-proof prowess. Come rain, snow, or even a dust storm, your adventures can continue uninterrupted.  

View at Amazon

Bluetti AC60P tech specs

  • Capacity: 504Wh (18Ah)
  • Type: LiFePO₄ (Lithium Iron Phosphate)
  • Life Cycles: 3,000+ cycles to 80% original capacity
  • Shelf Life: Recharge to 80% every 3-6 months
  • AC Outlets: 2 × 230V/2.6A, 600W in total
  • Inverter Type: Pure sine wave
  • Surge Power: 1,200W
  • USB-C Port: 1 × 100W max (built-in eMark chip)
  • USB-A Port: 2 × 5V/3A
  • 12V DC Outlet: 1 × 12V/10A
  • Wireless Charging Pad: 1 × 15W max
  • AC Power Input (Turbo Mode): 600W max
  • Solar Input: 200W max, 12-28V, 8A
  • Car Input: 12/24V from auxiliary port
  • Max Input: 600W
  • AC Charging Cable (600W Turbo Charging): ≈1-1.5 hours
  • Solar Panel(s) (200W): ≈2.5-3 hours (with prime sunshine, ideal orientation and low temperature)
  • 12V/24V Car Outlet (100W/200W): ≈4.5-5 hours/2.5-3 hours
  • Pass-through Charging: Yes
  • Weight: About 9.1kg / 20.06lbs
  • Dimensions: 290 × 205 × 234mm / 11.42 × 8.07 × 9.21in
  • Certifications: UKCA, PSE, RCM, CE, IP65, UL Standard
  • Warranty: 6 years 
That IP65 rating is a game-changer!

That IP65 rating is a game-changer!

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

Before I go any further, I feel the need to break down the details surrounding IP65 rating. If you're not familiar with how these ratings work, the first digit indicates the device's ingress protection from solids, and the second digit is its protection from water.

6 is the highest rating on the solid scale, so this means the AC60P is dust tight; it's protected from total dust ingress. On the water side, a rating of 5 means that the AC60P is quite water resistant, but it isn't totally waterproof. You can't submerge it, but it is protected from jets of water from any direction. In practice, this means that it's ok to get rained on.

Testing the Bluetti AC60P on a wet day.

Testing the Bluetti AC60P on a wet day.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

Over the past few years, I've tested a whole bunch of power stations from a variety of makers of various shapes and sizes. The one consistency between them is that I've kept them away from water like my life depended on it.

And that's probably because it did. After all, power stations are essentially big boxes of electricity, and that electricity can get very dangerous around water. But the problem is that there's quite a bit of water in the outdoors: rain, sleet and snow, rivers and lakes, mist and fog, and condensation. It's all water, and it all wants to soak your gear.

As power stations go, the AC60P isn't all that bulky.

As power stations go, the AC60P isn't all that bulky.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

So I decided to find out how water resistant the AC60P was, and took it to one of my favorite places -- the awesome Anglesey Transport Museum -- to see some of the exhibits on a wet, rainy day (I also used it to do some useful things like recharge drones and power lights and other devices).

When using the AC60P, I was careful to wipe the power station before use to ensure no water got into the sockets and ports. Beyond this, no extra care was needed, and I found that the power station effortlessly shrugged off water in all its forms, as well as dirt and dust. Sure, it takes some getting used to—and a hint of bravery—to expose a power station to moisture and continue to use it. But I quickly became accustomed to it. Just don't try this with one of the many power stations that aren't IP65 rated!

The Bluetti AC60P shrugging off the rain.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

When it comes to power stations, the AC60 is about as flawless as they get. As I would expect from a prestigious brand like Bluetti, the AC60P lives up to all the claims made on the spec sheet. As part of this review, I tested the capacity, power outputs, and charge times, and everything passed with flying colors.

On the front of the unit are most of the ports, three gently glowing buttons for turning the unit on and controlling the AC and DC outputs, and a bright, feature-packed yet easy-to-read display that shows all the important information at-a-glance. 

One of the biggest improvements to come to power stations in the last few years has been the shift from lithium-ion battery technology to LiFePO4 batteries. These aren't as power-dense as their lithium counterparts, but they're safer (that is, less likely to spontaneously combust) and have a much longer lifespan -- more than 3,000 recharge cycles, or about six times longer, before the charge capacity falls to 80 percent.  

At just a shade over 20 pounds, the AC60P is hefty but still relatively easy to tote around, and strikes a balance between portability and functionality. It's quite compact for transporting by truck or car, and the handle is comfortable enough to lug over short distances, but anything much more than that might be considered a challenge by some.

Also: The best portable power stations you can buy: Expert tested

There are lots of little touches that I like about the AC60P. As I've already mentioned, the handle is nice and comfortable, and the unit is well balanced from a weight perspective. The port covers are robust, don't fall off like some I've seen, and work well at keeping debris out of the power station. Additionally, the LED light on the rear of the device is super practical and means I don't need to carry separate lighting.

Clear, easy to read LCD display

Clear, easy to read LCD display.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

Additionally, the power station boasts a wireless charging mat on its top surface, for another layer of convenience. Simply placing your phone on the mat provides an instant, hassle-free charge — no cables necessary.

While the AC60P has a generous power capacity of 504Wh, this can be expanded to a massive 2116Wh using up to two B80P expansion batteries, offering even more power for your long trips or extended emergencies.

Also: The $50 charging accessory I never leave home without (and how it works)

Oh, and there's also an app that allows you to access some of the power station's more advanced features, as well as update the firmware.

ZDNET's buying advice

There are a lot of power stations out there to choose from. But having a unit that's water and dust resistant is a game-changer. This means I will inevitably turn to the Bluetti AC60P more, and use my other power stations a lot less.

While there's no way that I'm going to be dropping this into water, not having to worry about moisture and dirt is refreshing and allows me to take power places that otherwise I wouldn't. Just being able to forget about taking this unit inside at the first sign of rain is a big weight off my mind and allows me to focus more on the task at hand.

An IP65 rating is impressive, but also something that all power stations designed for outdoor use should have.

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