Bluetti EB70 Review – a 1000W Solar Generator With A Long Life Expectancy
With around 4x more charge cycles than conventional lithium-ion power packs, the Bluetti EB70 is a very interesting proposition. We give it the Camping Secrets treatment…
What we like about the Bluetti EB70: Compact; 1000W output is ample for camping; LiFePO4 battery tech is safer and longer lasting; Multiple outputs for all needs
What we don’t like about the Bluetti EB70: Mainly the display – not enough battery information and it turns off too quickly!
With gas and electricity prices skyrocketing across Europe at the time of writing, there has never been a more suitable time to consider energy storage, and more importantly perhaps – solar power generation with storage. The combination of these two elements could be very useful for your powering equipment at home as well as supporting extended camping trips when there is no mains hookup available.
Bluetti are a relatively new company but they have made massive waves in the ‘home power station’ market in recent years, along with their chief competitors Jackery and Goal Zero. They sell a whole suite of power stations with different power outputs and storage capacities. The Bluetti EB70 is their mid-range offering which is perfectly placed for camping aficionados like us because it can output enough electricity to boil a kettle (admittedly a low power 1000W travel kettle), but that’s essentially our key criteria as to whether a power station will be useful in a tent or campervan.
Bluetti have also released a new four panel folding solar panel called the PV200 which can generate 200W in full sunlight. Together with the EB70 power pack, they call the combination their Solar Generator Kit – this sells for a discount compared to buying the items separately.
In this review article we put the combined Bluetti EB70 + PV200 solar generator kit through an in-depth and independent test. We give an overview of the features of each and test it under typical UK camping conditions. Check out our 45 minute video review on Youtube.
Bluetti EB70 Portable Power Station – What’s in the box?
- The EB70 itself (pictured) – more on that later.
- Basic instructions and warranty card.
- AC power brick for mains charging output uses a standard 8mm connector which fits into the EB70 input. This is a fairly chunky power brick which weighs around 1kg.
- Cigarette lighter 12V socket for charging in a car or similar – same 8mm connector type.
- MC4 connector cable with 8mm connector on one end – this is to join to a solar panel and hook up to the EB70
Dimensions and Features of the EB70
Out of the box, the EB70 feels very solid and well-made. I chose the blue surround as shown in the photo when ordering which looks great, but you can also choose grey or turquoise if you fancy something different.
The EB70 measures a compact 32 x 21.7 x 22.2 cm and weighs a smidgen under 10kg (9.7kg to be precise). It’s certainly light enough to carry around the house or campsite, and you could conceivably lug it on a walk for a picnic, but personally I wouldn’t want to walk too far with it, especially if it rains – it’s not waterproof!
The front panel hosts all the ports and main functionality of this power station. You’ve got:
- 8mm input socket – this is your charging port for the EB70. It can accept power from your mains power brick, from a car cigarette socket or from a solar panel with a standard 8mm connector.
- Colour LCD display – this shows the amount of charge in the battery with an image of a battery split into five sections. The display also shows the amount of power coming in and the amount going out. It can also show various settings and alarms when relevant.
- Flashlight – a useful LED torch is included on the EB70. This can light a tent up reasonably well and will also flash an SOS signal in an emergency.
- DC outputs – here we have 2 x USB-C PD 3.0 sockets for charging high power modern appliances with up to 100W each; 2 x standard USB-A sockets ; 2 x regulated 12V DC sockets and a single 12V, 10 amp cigarette lighter socket output.
- AC Outputs – there are 2 x 3 pin ‘mains’ outputs for the UK version of the EB70. The voltage comes set at 240V and 50Hz which is the UK standard. The frequency can be increased to 60Hz if required via the settings.
On top of the EB70 is a folding carry handle and also a wireless charging pad which supplies about 10W to a phone for wireless charging. I found this to be useful to bung your phone onto at night, but wireless charging is too slow generally in my opinion – I’m impatient!
Storage Capacity and Power
We recently reviewed the Jackery Explorer 1000 station which can store 1000Wh of power and provide 1000W off average power. The Bluetti EB70 has similar performance specications to that device with 1000W of average power delivery, but slightly less storage at 716Wh. However, the EB70 is only two thirds of the price at the time of writing. On top of this, the Bluetti has wireless charging (not a deal breaker in our opinion), weighs less (9.7kg vs 10kg) and is smaller due to the folding handle.
How important is the reduced capacity of the EB70? Well 716Wh is still a fairly meaty amount of power storage. It will run a 50W coolbox for over 13 hours, and this time can be considerably extended if solar power is used to supplement the power and charge the power station. If you’re not planning on using solar then I would always advise as much capacity as possible, and potentially look upwards in the Bluetti range towards the AC200P which has 2000Wh of capacity (although it’s much bigger).
A Word About Battery Cell Chemistry – Bluetti Offer Longer Lifetimes
An important point to understand about Bluetti power packs vs some of their competition is that they use lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) as the cathode material in each cell, whereas most competitors use standard lithium-ion. Lithium iron phosphate offers up to 4x as many charge/decharge cycles as lithium-ion before the capacity of the power pack starts reducing, effectively quadrupling the lifetime of the device compared with others.
On top of this, lithium iron phosphate batteries are much safer, with virtually no chance of spontaneous fires happening. This is not the case with lithium ion. The main downside of lithium iron phosphate is that the energy density of the material is not quite as good as lithium-ion. This is why the Bluetti Eb70 is not much smaller than the Jackery Explorer 1000, even though the capacity is about 30% less.
In Operation – Our Thoughts on Usability
The mains power brick which comes with the EB70 is rather large and incorporates a fan which can be quite noisy – see our video below. The EB70 itself also has some fan noise when driving high power appliances, but it is much more quiet and nothing to be worried about.
Charge time for the 716Wh off the 240V mains takes just under 4 hours at about 200W input. When charging, the EB70 battery indicator starts flashing and the LED on the mains brick turns red. When charging is complete, the LED turns green but the battery indicator on the EB70 continues to flash – interesting!
Powering Devices with the EB70
The EB70 had absolutely no problems driving any appliance up to 1000W in total power. We boiled one litre of water in a Quest travel kettle in around 6-7 minutes which was impressive, and also ran a camping fan heater at around 1000W with appreciable heat being pumped out. When we switched the fan up to 2000W, the EB70 cut out with an alarm being raised as expected.
The peak power of the EB70 inverter is rated at 1400W – this is a power level which can be sustained for a few seconds at turn-on of your device before dropping back to 1000W. If the power draw exceeds either the 1400W at turn-on or 1000W after those first seconds then the EB70 will trip.
I have seen some reports with people complaining that the 1400W peak limit is too low for a 1000W inverter (for reference the Jackery Explorer 1000 has a peak of 2000W). For example, one customer tried powering up an 850W microwave which had a high power surge at turn-on – this tripped the EB70 to his dismay. I can report that I’ve had no such problems with similar items at the high end of the power delivery and operated a 900W microwave oven with no problems. It’s worth bearing in mind that there may be a trip if your appliance surges too much.
If we have any issues with the EB70, it’s not about its ability as a power station, which is exemplary. It’s more about simple concerns which could easily have been designed better. We already mentioned the large and noisy power brick for mains charging of the device. Another bugbear is the quality of information on the rather lovely colour LCD display.
Imagine if your mobile phone could only display its remaining charge in 20% increments – i.e. it could only say 0%, 20%, 40%, 60%, 80% or 100% – it would be pretty annoying right? You wouldn’t exactly how much battery life you have left which could easily leave you in the lurch. This is exactly what the EB70 display does – there is no accurate indicator of actual remaining battery capacity as a percentage – slightly crazy! This may be because they cannot accurately ascertain the power capacity – I’ll try to find out an answer about this and update the review.
The display also turns off way too quickly (around 10 seconds) and does not stay on for longer when the device is charging. This means that you have to always press a button and hope that the torch doesn’t switch on. Before you know it, the display has turned off and you have to press the button again. This is a massive problem when trying to orientate a solar panel like the Bluetti PV200 (see below), because as you adjust the solar panel, the display turns off and you may be several metres away, and have to return and press the button to gain another ten seconds….
I think the time-out of the display may be to prevent burn-in problems, but it’s not really clear why. In contrast, the Jackery Explorer display stays on permanently whilst charging with no issues, and can be read easily in bright sunlight.
I’m hopeful that there may be scope for Bluetti to address these issues in a software update, and so we will wait and see if things improve on the display front.
Charging the Bluetti EB70 with the Bluetti PV200 solar panel
The Bluetti PV200 is a 200W capable solar panel which can fold four-ways into a small package measuring about 59cm square. When unfolded, it stretches out to 2m26 long with the same 59cm height. The PV200 weighs a fairly hefty 7.3kg and feels solid and rugged enough to survive a camping expedition.
This is a solar panel which means business and is perfectly suited to the EB70 power station because under full sunlight it can deliver the same power (200W) as the mains power brick which can charge the EB70 from the wall plug. The question in the UK is….. can we get enough sunlight to keep the EB70 charged up. The answer is – on a sunny day in summer just about. On a cloudy day in summer, unlikely.
Features of the PV200 Solar Panel
The first thing to mention about the PV200 is that it folds away nicely and uses clips to keep everything in place. There is a blue plastic handle on one end which can be used to transport the panel. After the clips are undone, the panel can be opened up.
On the back of the four sub-panels there are three legs, and I kept asking myself why they could not have used a leg on each of them for better stability. The legs use Velcro to attach to the back of each sub-panel when not in use and then can be tilted back at adjustable angles when required.
I found that setting up the legs on one side of the panel caused the other side of the panel to collapse and it was a bit of an iterative process to get all legs extended and the panel up at the angle I wanted. I think this is because the panel is so long at 2m 26cm, and I kept feeling that using two 100W panels separately might be easier.
PV200 Current-Carrying Cable
There is also a zippable pocket on the back of the PV200 which contains a decent 3m long current-carrying cable. This takes the generated electricity and enables it to be connected to the cable which comes with the Bluetti EB70. This uses MC4 connectors and ends in an 8mm connector which plugs into the front of the EB70. Simples.
I love that Bluetti have given such a generous length of cable. It means you can situate the solar panels where the sun is and still keep the EB70 close to where you want it to be – perhaps in your tent or campervan.
PV200 with the EB70 for Solar Charging
I tested the PV200 + EB70 solar generator kit at two times of day in the peak of summer. At 8pm at night, it was still light outside, but no direct sunlight – the EB70 registered no input power, even though the battery indicator was flashing.
At 11am the next day, the situation was very different. In direct sunlight I managed to get around 150W of power. This would charge the EB70 in around 4.5 hours which is not bad at all, assuming that this power could be maintained. This is the whole crux of the conundrum with solar panels + storage – can you maintain the power?
For reference, I moved the PV200 out of the direct sunlight on what was a blistering day with plenty of light – the power dropped to ~90W which would increase charge time for 0-100% to around 6.5 hours. In my mind, this is probably the typical time to expect when using the PV200 with the EB70 on a normal summers day when you’re not actively trying to track direct sunlight with the panel.
When you add in the problems of the display continually turning off after ten seconds, you quickly get fed up with trying to maximize the solar generated power. It’s too much effort to keep returning to the EB70 to try and see the power being generated. A phone app would be the way forward here I think. Just an idea Bluetti!
Overall though, I was pleased with the performance of the PV200 in combination with the EB70, and generally as a standalone solar panel with any power station. My only concern is the ease of setup due to the four sub-panels and three fairly weedy legs.
Summary and Conclusions
The Bluetti EB70 is a power station with exceptionally good hardware which is very slightly let down by a display that keeps turning off when you just want it to stay on. I can’t for the life of me imagine who made that design decision. However you may consider this a minor issue when you consider the features and performance on offer here.
I absolutely love that Bluetti are using the safer LiFePO4 cell technology which gives 4x more charge/discharge cycles than standard Li-ion, effectively quadrupling the lifetime compared with most rivals. Much more bang for your buck. LiFePO4 is also much safer than Li-ion in terms of risk of explosion. With a family in tow, this is a large concern of mine using this tech.
I found that the 1000W maximum output power was ample for the majority of camping needs. From boiling a travel kettle, to running a microwave or small heater, the EB70 covered it all, and I suffered no problems with the relatively low surge limit of 1400W. There are outputs galore in terms of USB and 12V connectivity, as well as the two AC sockets. I also like the wireless phone charging on top which is a differentiator with the competition.
In conjunction with the Bluetti PV200 solar panel, I found the two worked well as a combination, with sufficient energy being generated on a decent summer’s day in the UK. When the light is more subdued or cloudy then I wouldn’t expect more than about 50W if you’re lucky – this may limit how long you can use the EB70 before it runs out of power.
But when will it run out of power? The display of the EB70 is so unclear on this subject that it’s very difficult to ascertain. Have you got an hour of charge left or will it go in the next five minutes? You have no real way of knowing. Please Bluetti, sort out a software update to fix this!
Overall though, you cannot go wrong with the EB70 or the PV200 – they are both well made bits of equipment which do their jobs well. Perhaps it’s the young age of the company which is the problem and they are just learning the ropes. We shall see.
If you’re interested in our verdict on the best camping power packs on the market then be sure to check out our roundup and buyers guide.
The Bluetti EB70 is a fantastic piece of hardware at a great price compared to the competition for 1000W of output power and 716Wh of capacity. The display issues we've documented knock a bit of the edge off, but you may consider these minor issues. We still highly recommend both the EB70 and the PV200, but with a more logical display it would be perfect.