Disclaimer: This product was sent to us for free, in exchange for a review. We were not paid by Maxoak to do this review but we did receive it for free. All opinions expressed in this post are based on our personal views and experiences.
Review Of The Maxoak Bluetti AC50 Portable Lithium Power Station
2021 Update: The latest AC50S does have a regulated 12V port, but the older AC50 model doesn’t, so make sure you buy the new model.
The Maxoak Bluetti AC50 is a portable power station, also known as a solar generator. Maxoak is a company that makes power stations in a lot of different sizes and the AC50 is a popular model because it has a lot of what people are looking for in a portable power station.
It is portable, easy to use, and has a couple of modern features that you won’t find in every other power station. But it’s not a power station for everybody, as it has some flaws.
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In this post, you’re going to get our full review of the Bluetti AC50 with not only our thoughts after using it for a couple of weeks but also our test results – does it deliver on its promises?
You can use the table of contents to navigate the post, and as always, feel free to leave a comment if you have a question or something to add.
The Bluetti AC50 has a 500 watt-hour battery capacity, 45Ah at 11.1V.
So what can you do with 500Wh? A 50W device would run for about 8.5 hours if we count in the 85% inverter efficiency (500Wh/50W*0.85=8.5 hours).
A 40W CPAP machine would run for 10-11 hours.
The pure sine wave inverter has a continuous output of 300 watts and a surge watt rating of 450 watts. This means that it could output 450W for a short time, but a continuous 300 watts until the battery is drained.
Even though there are two AC outlets on the Bluetti AC50, it can only output 300W in total and not through each port, as with most power stations.
Electronics that use less than 300W include phones, tablets, laptops, TVs, gaming consoles, lights, fans, CPAP machines, cameras, mini-fridges, and coolers.
300W is not enough to power kitchen appliances like coffee makers, heaters, air conditioners, rice cookers, microwaves, hairdryers, or induction cookers.
There are two 120V AC outlets, four USB A ports, one USB C PD port, a 12V (not regulated) cigarette port, two DC outputs, and an 8mm input port on the AC50.
The USB C PD port can output 45W and charge modern electronics, but it can not be used to charge the battery inside the AC50. The USB A ports can output up to 15W, and the 12V cigarette port can output 10 amps.
To activate the ports, there are three buttons. One power button, one DC button, and one AC button. The AC button controls the AC outlets, and the DC button controls the USB and DC outputs.
The power button must be turned on before you can activate the DC and AC ports.
Maxoak has put a great MPPT solar charge controller inside of the AC50 which has a max input of 120W, this means that you can recharge the battery fully with solar in about 4.5 hours at max input.
To max the input, I recommend using two 100W panels, like the Renogy 100W wired in parallel with an MC4 Y branch, which is then connected to the Bluetti with the MC4 to DC adapter that Maxoak includes with the AC50.
It takes 6.5 hours to recharge the battery with the included wall charger (90W) and 6.5 hours with a car charger. The included car charger will only charge the battery to 40% with a 12V output, but to 100% with a 24V port.
The screen on the AC50 shows input watts, DC output watts, and AC output watts. It also shows the battery level in bars, with 20% increments.
It’s a backlit screen that can be lit up with the push of the power button.
The Bluetti AC50 has a folding handle that is easy to fold up and down, there is also a wireless charging pad (10W) on the top of the box.
To turn on the wireless charging pad, the DC ports need to be activated.
There is also a LED light on the back of the AC50 that is turned on with a button. It has three modes: high, low, and flash.
You can use every port on the AC50 while the battery is charging.
The Maxoak Bluetti AC50 weighs 13.6 pounds and measures 11.6 by 7.5 by 7.7 inches.
In The Box
Maxoak includes a wall charger, a car charger, a carrying bag, a USB C to USB C cable, and an MC4 to DC adapter.
Review Of The Maxoak Bluetti AC50
What I Like
Fast Charging & Powerful MPPT Charge Controller
Compared to other similar portable power stations, the AC50 charges fast with its 120W max input. Being able to fully recharge the battery in less than five hours is a great selling point.
I travel full-time and need to be able to quickly recharge the battery during the day while also using the battery, and with a max input of 120W, I can work on my computer all day and charge the battery at the same time as long as it’s sunny outside.
The 90W wall charger is also faster than most similar power stations, so if I have to start the gas generator up to charge the battery on a cloudy day, it won’t take too long to recharge.
Not only is the MPPT charge controller fast and efficient, but it also supports up to 40V, so you can connect two panels in series as long as they don’t exceed 40V.
The Included Accessories
I wish every company would include an MC4 to DC connector, so I am glad Maxoak did.
But they also included a USB C cable and a carrying case, in addition to the wall and car charger. The carrying case isn’t very protective, but it zips up and protects the ports from dust and debris.
Wireless charging is a feature found in newer phones and other electronics, and the wireless charging pad on top of the AC50 is nice to have. Especially since it can output 10W and not only 5W like most cheaper charging pads.
Great Port Selection
The AC50 is a small and portable power station, but it has a lot of ports. Two AC outlets, four USB A, one USB C PD, 12V cigarette port, and two DC outputs.
For example, one of the competitors, the Jackery Explorer 500 has only one AC outlet, only three USB A ports, and no USB C PD. What the Explorer 500 does have though is a regulated 12V output.
If you go camping with friends or family, having a lot of ports is a necessity so everybody can charge their devices at the same time.
Last but not least, the AC outlets are powered by a pure sine wave inverter, which is preferable over a modified sine wave inverter.
Screen Shows Input/Output Watts
Not every power station shows input and output watts. Being able to monitor how much electricity your devices are using makes a big difference when you’re out in the wild trying to calculate how long your devices are going to stay powered.
I also like that the AC and DC output watts are shown separately on the screen, so you know how much the devices plugged into the USB/DC ports are using while also knowing how much the AC outlets are outputting.
The handle is a simple handle that folds down, but I like it because it feels sturdy and it’s hidden into the body of the Bluetti when folded down. It’s a great design overall.
Some wonder why flashlights are built into some power stations, but I like it because I have found myself using them in some situations.
The AC50 has a bright LED light in the back that is turned on with a button, and there are three settings – high, low, and “SOS-mode” which makes the light blink.
The Rubber Sleeve
Most power stations feel plasticky and not very durable, and while the AC50 is made out of plastic as well, the rubber sleeve along the edges of the unit makes it feel more durable.
What I Don’t Like
12V Output Isn’t Regulated
A big downside with the AC50 is the fact that the 12V cigarette port isn’t regulated, so it shouldn’t be used with a CPAP machine or a 12V fridge/freezer unless you plug it into the AC outlet.
A non-regulated 12V cigarette port will follow the voltage of the battery, and not output a stable voltage for your devices.
Therefore, I don’t recommend the AC50 if you plan on using the 12V cigarette port to power fridge/freezers or CPAP machines.
Doesn’t Charge Via USB C PD
While the USB C PD port is a so-called power delivery USB port, it can’t be used to charge the battery back up.
On the latest Goal Zero power stations like the Yeti 200X, the USB C PD port can be used to charge the battery with a compatible USB C PD wall charger or a solar panel, and that’s a nice feature to have since it means you can combine solar panels with a USB C PD charger.
Unfortunately, the USB C PD 45W port on the AC50 is only for output and not input.
No Battery Percentage
While the Bluetti AC50 shows the battery level on the screen, it’s not in a percentage but bars, so you don’t know the exact state of charge.
This can be a problem if you’re powering a device when the battery is at 20% state of charge and all of a sudden the battery dies because it’s empty, but you had no idea how close it was to dying because the screen was showing one bar or 20%.
No Low-Battery Warning
To add to the fact that there is not a battery percentage on the screen, there is no kind of warning when the battery has reached a low state of charge, so you won’t know how low the battery is unless you turn on the screen.
On the Jackery Explorer 500, for example, the screen blinks when the battery reaches 20% and 10%, but the AC50 doesn’t show you that the battery is low unless you click the power button to turn on the backlight and check the battery bars on the screen.
No Way To Leave Screen Turned On
There is also no way to leave the screen turned on. I wish there was a “light” button, like on the Goal Zero power stations, that would allow you to turn on the backlight and leave it on until you want to turn it off.
To turn on the screen on the AC50, you need to click the power button, and then it stays lit for a couple of seconds before it goes black again. Then you need to click the power button again to wake the screen up.
The Car Charger Only Charges To 40% In The Car
To charge past 40% with the included car charger, you need to plug it into a 24V port. Why would they not include a charger that will charge the battery to 100% with a 12V source?
If you want to charge the battery in a car, it would be more worth it to get a 12V car inverter and plug the wall charger into it.
We’ve tested each of the input and output ports on the Maxoak Bluetti AC50 and have confirmed that the ports can output what they’re rated at.
We’ve tested and confirmed that the 8mm input port can handle 120W of input.
Use While Charging
We made sure that you can use every port on the AC50 while the battery is charging.
Full Capacity Test/Inverter Efficiency
We were able to pull 428 watt-hours out of the 12V cigarette port, which means that we could use 86% of the rated capacity.
In the manual of the Bluetti AC50, Maxoak states that there is a 90% depth of charge, which means that there will always be about 10% unusable battery left to protect the battery and extend its life.
It has a couple of advantages when compared to the others, but some disadvantages as well.
One place where it does better than the rest is in the charging test. It has a great MPPT charge controller that will charge the battery faster than not only Rockpals and Jackery, but also Goal Zero’s MPPT.
As a full-time RVer, the charging speed is one of the most important aspects, and the Bluetti AC50 impressed us.
It has a lot of USB ports, USB C PD, two AC outlets, and a wireless charging pad on top.
What it’s missing is the regulated 12V cigarette port, and the battery percentage on the screen. Those are two things that Maxoak must implement in the next version.
If you plan on using the 12V cigarette port to power a fridge/freezer or a CPAP machine, I would look elsewhere, but if you want a good selection of ports and a relatively powerful pure sine wave inverter in a portable package, the Maxoak Bluetti AC50 is a great choice.
Solar Panel Recommendations
Since Maxoak includes an MC4 to 8mm adapter with the AC50, you have a lot of options when it comes to solar panels.
Here are a couple of panels you can use directly out of the box: Renogy 50W, Renogy 50W Flexible, Renogy 50W Eclipse with kickstand, Renogy 50W Foldable Eclipse, Renogy 100W, Renogy 100W with kickstand.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can You Chain Two Bluetti AC50 Together?
No, you can not chain two of these power stations together.
Can The AC50 Be Used While Charging?
Yes, all ports can be used while the battery is charging.
Is The Bluetti AC50 Weather/Waterproof?
Will It Power My Device?
The Bluetti AC50 can output 300W continuously, so to find out whether it can run a specific device or not you must find the device’s required wattage. This can usually be found on the device itself, its power brick, its manual, or online.
I use a P3 Kill A Watt to find out exactly how many watts a specific device uses.
Will The Maxoak Bluetti AC50 Power A TV And A Playstation/Xbox?
Most likely, yes. I have been playing PS4 on a 32″ TV and the AC50 shows 140-170W output while playing, which is way below the rated 300W max output of the AC50. I can play for about three hours before the battery is empty.
Does The Maxoak Bluetti 500Wh/AC50 Include Solar Panels?
No, there are no solar panels included.
Please leave a comment down below if you have any questions about the Bluetti AC50 or power stations in general.