Walter Shillington writes about products he knows firsthand. His articles focus on healthcare, electronics, watches, and household items.
I recently tested and reviewed a pair of 300Wh power stations. These units were equipped with a variety of useful outputs and were light enough to be easily carried. One of them supported wireless charging.
Today I am examining a competing device from Bluetti. The EB3A battery backup, however, includes several features not typically associated with modestly priced power stations.
The Bluetti EB3A Portable Power Station is rectangular, sheathed in gray plastic, and weighs 10.1 pounds. This device is 10 inches wide, 7.1 inches deep, and 7.3 inches high.
A foldable carrying handle is fitted to the top of the unit alongside the wireless charging platform.
The front face of this device features a LED display that keeps track of power usage and load. To the left, a rubber seal protects the cigarette lighter-style output. The station’s LED lamp is located to the display’s right. Two DC5521 outputs, a pair of USB-A ports, and a 100W USB-C port are fitted below. The DC input, AC input, circuit breaker, and two AC outlets are situated beneath these outputs.
This power station is equipped with a fan that activates during heavy loads. Vents located on either side allow air to pass through the device.
The Bluetti EB3A has a 268Wh capacity and can handle loads up to 600 watts. Its built-in MPPT controller supports up to 200W of solar input. My power generator came with an AC power cable and a cable used for charging via a solar panel.
The Bluetti smartphone application can control this smart power station.
- Brand: Bluetti
- Name: Portable power station
- Model: EB3A
- Capacity: 268Wh 12Ah
- Weight: 4.58 kilograms (10.1 pounds)
- Dimensions: 25.5 x 7.1 x 7.3 centimeters (10 x 7.1 x 7.3 inches)
- Version: 120VAC US (220-240VAC EU/UK/AU version is also available)
- Cigarette lighter port: 12VDC 10A
- DC5521 output: 12V/10A (two outputs)
- USB-C output: PD3.0 100W max
- USB-A output: 5VDC 3A (Two outputs)
- Wireless charging: 5/7.5/10/15W
- AC output: 600W (surge 1200W)
- AC input: 120VAC 9A 60Hz (430W max)
- DC input: 200W max/12 – 28VDC/8.5A max
- Illumination: Built-in LED light
- Battery type: Lithium-Phosphate (LiFeP04)
- AC Charging time: 1.1 hours (when turbocharging enabled)
- 120W solar charging time: 3 – 6 hours
- 200W solar charging time: 2 – 4 hours
- Pass-through charging support: Yes
- Package contents: EB3A Power Station, AC power cable, solar charging cable, and user guide
The AC Input
The last two power stations I reviewed were accompanied by bulky adapters that converted AC house current to DC. This power was then fed to the DC input of the device and used to charge its battery. This method of charging tends to be a slow process, taking 8 – 12 hours to complete.
The EB3A converts the AC to DC internally. Once connected to an AC outlet, this device can handle as much as 430W at 120V, charging its internal battery within 1.1 hours. The power station supports pass-through charging, allowing the device to operate as it is being charged.
The DC Input
The Bluetti EB3A can be charged using a solar panel. It even comes with a handy solar power charging cable to connect the two devices.
Depending on available sunlight and whether you purchase a 120W or a 200W solar panel, charging time will be somewhere between two and six hours.
Because power stations are commonly used in situations where AC power is unavailable—camping or power blackouts—a solar panel makes perfect sense.
The Cigarette Lighter Port
This port can be used to operate pumps and other 12VDC equipment when connected using the proper type of cable. You may also charge this power station from your automobile’s cigarette lighter port.
The DC5521 Output
These two outputs can power mini-fridges and other equipment that requires 12VDC. The required cables can be purchased for a reasonable cost.
This power station supports wireless charging at 5, 7.5, 10, and 15 watts. I successfully charged my iPhone SE wirelessly during a test to determine if the Bluetti EB3A’s outputs functioned normally while it was being charged.
These two outputs, each of which can handle five volts at up to three amps, are handy for charging electronic devices.
This PD3-enabled output allows fast charging provided your connected device and cable are compatible. I plugged in my fancy Redmagic smartphone and after the two devices briefly discussed the situation, my phone’s internal fan came on, and it began to pull 35W from the power station. While that is the maximum this phone can demand, the power station’s USB-C port can supply up to 100W.
The EB3A is fitted with two AC outputs. A total of 600 watts may be drawn from these outlets. This device can also handle a surge of up to 1200 watts.
My 1500W heater proved to be far too greedy. After a few seconds, the power station’s circuit breaker activated, shutting the system down. Once I disconnected the heater and pressed the reset button, the power station resumed operations.
This device is equipped with a bank of Lithium-Phosphate batteries capable of supplying up to 268Wh of AC power. It is also fitted with a 600W inverter.
The length of time power is supplied depends on the number of watts drawn by the devices connected to the power station. Since the Bluetti EB3A is rated at 268 watt-hours, it will keep a 10W light lit for 26.8 hours. If you plug in a 600W coffee machine and continuously brew coffee, you will be limited to about 27 minutes.
Those that suffer from sleep apnea often utilize a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure therapy) device to assist their breathing while asleep. A portable power station would prove invaluable to them during a power failure or while camping.
The Bluetti EB3A will keep your phone and tablet charged, and if you require internet service, your router may be plugged into one of this power station’s AC outlets.
Those who enjoy a cup of coffee will be happy to know that its 600W inverter allows the use of low-powered tea kettles and coffee machines. I own a small 300W kettle that may be plugged into one of the power station’s AC outlets and used to boil water or heat soups and stews. These outlets can also power a portable radio, lights, and most laptops.
This is the best of the modestly priced power stations I have tested. It can supply up to 600 watts of power, albeit for a short period of time, allowing you to brew a cup of coffee in the middle of a frustrating power outage. And if you avoid connecting high-wattage devices to this power station, it can recharge your tablets, smartphones, and notebooks many times.
This device can be recharged surprisingly quickly when connected to an AC source and reasonably fast when using a solar panel. The Bluetti EB3A Power Station is strongly recommended.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2022 Walter Shillington