Bluetti AC180T Power Station and MultiCooler Review: Modular Convenience

Hot-swappable battery packs create an ecosystem of possibilities for portable power

Image Caption: Photo Credit: Kraig Becker

When Bluetti launched its SwapSolar ecosystem in February, we were intrigued by the possibilities it could offer while RV or car camping, tailgating, or just hanging out in the backyard. The new line of products includes the AC180T power station and the MultiCooler, a portable refrigerator with a built-in ice maker. The two devices utilize modular battery packs that can be swapped between them, creating a versatile energy platform that can be recharged via an AC wall outlet, 12V vehicle port, or solar panel, making it incredibly versatile at home and in the field.

Not long after the official announcement of these new products, we got our hands on both the AC180T and the MultiCooler to see if they lived up to the hype. Both devices offer Bluetti’s excellent build quality and performance, with the added twist of utilizing removable battery packs to keep everything charged and running. This burgeoning ecosystem shows a lot of promise, both now and for the future. And yes, the power station and portable refrigerator are definitely worthy additions to any campsite.

We debated whether to review the AC180T and MultiCooler separately but ultimately decided to combine them into one article. That’s because the two devices are fantastic on their own but are even better together. In other words, the SwapSolar ecosystem feels greater than the sum of its parts, providing unmatched versatility for those who buy into Bluetti’s vision.

The short version of our review is this: If you’re looking for a portable power station and a powered cooler, the combination of the AC180T and MultiCooler can’t be beat. Still need more details? Read on for the full review.

Bluetti MultiCooler

Photo Credit: Bluetti

Bluetti AC180T Power Station Review

In many ways, the AC180T is a lot like the AC180, which we reviewed last year. The two devices look a lot alike and offer a similar number of ports, including four 120V AC outlets, a 12V vehicle port, three USB-A ports, and a single 100W USB-C port. As usual, we’d like to see more USB-C ports on every power station we review, but we’ll have to settle for just one here.

Cosmetic similarities aside, the AC180 and AC180T are actually different in many ways. Like most power stations, the original model comes with internal batteries that are inaccessible to the user. Conversely, the AC180T has removable power cells that can be swapped out via a hatch located on the top of the device. Each battery offers 716Wh of storage, with a total capacity of 1,433Wh when two cells are installed. But because they are modular, depleted batteries can be swapped out for fresh ones at any time. In theory, this allows owners to have an unlimited supply of electricity as long as they’re willing to pay for additional batteries.

The number of batteries installed in the AC180T also impacts performance. With a single power cell, the device generates 1,200W of sustained power, but that number goes up to 1,800W with two batteries. Additionally, the unit’s peak output rises to 2,700W when both battery bays are filled, allowing it to safely run higher-capacity appliances. Power input also increases from 850W to 1,440W, leading to faster charging rates, which is helpful considering the increased storage capacity that comes with two power cells.

Bluetti AC180T Multicooler review

Photo Credit: Kraig Becker

Modular Batteries

As noted, the AC180T’s batteries are modular and removable, allowing them to be charged by the power station, then get pulled out for use in other SwapSolar devices. Right now, the only other compatible product is the MultiCooler, although Bluetti has hinted that other gadgets may be in the works. What those additions to the ecosystem could be remains a mystery, but one can imagine things like an electric induction cooktop, a smaller, more portable power station, or high-intensity camp lights joining the catalog at some point.

The batteries themselves are surprisingly heavy, tipping the scales at 18.7 lbs. each. When fully loaded, the AC180T weighs 58.4 lbs., which is a lot for a power station of this size. That’s due in part to the battery design, which includes a durable handle and outer case. The good news is that you can always pull the batteries out and carry them around the campground individually, making the power station lighter in the process.

Unfortunately, the battery packs aren’t all that useful on their own. Unlike another modular power station we’ve reviewed, these power cells don’t have any built-in charging ports, which means they aren’t very useful when separated from the AC180T or the MultiCooler. It would have been nice to have a USB-A or C port onboard so the battery pack could recharge small devices on the go.

Bluetti uses LiFePO4 batteries, which are safer and have a longer lifespan compared to most other types of power cells. The company says they should be good for 3000+ recharge cycles before dropping to 80% capacity. it even backs the batteries with a five-year warranty, ensuring customers are getting plenty of protection for their investment. The batteries have an operating temperature that ranges between -4ºF to 104ºF, making them suitable for use in a wide variety of seasons and environments too.

Bluetti AC180T Multicooler review

Photo Credit: Kraig Becker

Putting the Specs into Perspective

So what do the AC180T’s specs mean for practical use? Presuming two batteries are installed, the power station offers excellent performance. Its array of charging ports allows it to easily recharge mobile devices like smartphones, tablets, and even most laptops. The four 120V AC outlets can also power many small appliances, including a Wi-Fi router for 50+ hours, a TV for 8 hours, and an electric grill for up to one hour. In other words, it offers plenty of capacity to handle life on the road.

As expected, the AC180T can be recharged via a 120V AC home outlet, the 12V port in a vehicle, an external lead-acid battery, or a solar panel. Charging times vary, with the two most efficient options being a wall outlet or up to 500W of solar panels. Our test unit charged from 20% power to full capacity in under three hours at home, while it took closer to six hours using solar. As always, solar charging times vary based on cloud cover, shade, the angle of the sun, and the type of solar panel used.

As already mentioned, the AC180T’s swappable battery packs could be a game changer when it comes to portable power. In theory, you could purchase one or two additional power cells and replace depleted batteries as needed. However, when purchased separately, those batteries cost as much as $470 each, which adds significantly to the expense and limits how many power cells most people can afford. Still, there is a lot of promise to be had here, especially as Bluetti builds out the ecosystem with more products.

Bluetti MultiCooler

Photo Credit: Bluetti

MultiCooler Shows SwapSolar Potential

The first companion product in the SwapSolar ecosystem is the MultiCooler, a portable refrigerator that offers outstanding performance. The unit has dual climate zones with individual temperatures ranging from -4ºF to 68ºF, allowing owners to keep food, beverages, and other items cool, cold, or frozen. It even has a built-in ice maker that can create ice cubes in under 15 minutes. Most competing models take hours to accomplish the same task, if they offer an ice maker at all.

The MultiCooler’s specs are on par with what you’ll find in similar portable refrigerators, but what separates it from most of the rest is that it can be powered using a 120V AC outlet, a 12V vehicle port, direct energy from solar panels, or a battery pack. Since the fridge uses the same modular power cells as the AC180T, you can simply pull a battery out of the power station and slide it into the cooler. Doing so offers up to three days of operation on a single battery, depending on temperature settings and environmental conditions.

Bluetti says the MulitCooler can maintain its internal temperature settings even when outside temps range from -4ºF to 104ºF. We weren’t able to test it in such extremes, but in more moderate conditions, it had no problem keeping its dual storage chambers cold. It even exceeded the company’s battery life claims, getting well over three days of runtime before requiring a recharge.

Bluetti AC180T Multicooler review

Photo Credit: Bluetti

Portable and Powerful

The MultiCooler’s onboard refrigeration compressor is fast and powerful. The device has a rapid cool-down mode that can drop its internal temperature from 86ºF to 32ºF in about 15 minutes. Doing so puts a hit on the battery, so it’s nice to avoid using that feature unless plugged into an external power source. The portable fridge is fairly quiet, too, cranking out <30db of noise in normal mode and <45db when making ice.

Because the MultiCooler doesn’t require ice to keep its contents cold, it maximizes all of its 40L of internal storage capacity. This allows it to store up to 60 canned beverages, although, in reality, owners will probably carry a mix of drinks, fresh fruits and vegetables, and frozen foods. During testing, we had the cooler keep a dozen canned drinks cold in one zone while storing pints of ice cream in the other. Both sections maintained their respective temperatures nicely, and no frozen treats were lost in the process.

To make the MultiCooler as portable as possible, Bluetti gave it a set of built-in wheels and a rugged handle. When we first saw the design, we thought the wheels might be too small to be helpful, and we wished it had a longer, telescoping handle. In reality, the wheels may be small, but they work very well, rolling over rough terrain with ease. The handle is equally useful, and we never felt it wasn’t up to the job. In fact, the MultiCooler is extremely easy to move around, even when loaded with cargo. Although at an unloaded weight of nearly 53 pounds, it is a bit heavy to lift and carry by hand.

Bluetti AC180T Multicooler review

Photo Credit: Kraig Becker

The SwapSolar Ecosystem Emerges

Together, the Bluetti AC180T and MultiCooler give us a glimpse of what the SwapSolar Ecosystem has to offer. Being able to charge the battery packs in the power station and swap them into the refrigerator as needed is fast, efficient, and convenient. And having interchangeable power cells demonstrated the usefulness of the overall concept and design. This would likely become even more evident if and when Bluetti releases other devices that utilize its modular power cells. For now, we’ll just have to wait to see how the ecosystem evolves.

Unfortunately, our test units only came with two battery packs, which was enough to keep the power station and MultiCooler running, but not at peak capacity. Because one of the batteries was in the portable fridge most of the time, the AC180T couldn’t reach its full potential in terms of storage capacity and power input/output. Thankfully, Bluetti offers a wide variety of configurations when purchasing these two products, allowing customers to decide how many power cells they need.

If you regularly camp off-grid without access to power or just want to maximize versatility, we recommend getting the power station with two batteries and the MultiCooler with one of its own. This ensures you can always keep both units running at peak efficiency and have free reign to swap out when charging. Sure, you can save a little money by purchasing the AC180T with only a single power cell or the refrigerator without one at all, but in doing so, you won’t get the full experience of the SwapSolar Ecosystem. Besides, Bluetti bundles the two products with batteries at a lower cost than buying the power cells separately at a later time.

Pricey Buy In

Buying into the SwapSolar Ecosystem does come at a cost. The MultiCooler with a battery pack retails for $1,328 (or $899 without a battery), while the AC180T power station will set you back $1,299 with two batteries. That means buying both products with batteries costs $2,627, which isn’t an insubstantial sum of money. The good news is that both products are extremely handy on their own, delivering plenty of versatility and convenience. That performance only gets better when they are working together, which is why we’re excited to see how Bluetti expands the concept in the future.

To learn more about the AC180T power station and the MultiCooler portable refrigerator, visit the Bluetti website.

Editors Note: As of the original date of publication, the AC180T and MultiCooler are only available for preorder via Bluetti’s Indiegogo campaign. Both units should start shipping this month, but as of now, early-bird pricing is still available. That means you can buy the power station with two batteries for $999—$300 below retail—and the portable refrigerator can be had for $899, which is 32% below the regular cost. Bluetti also offers several bundles, with the option to purchase both units for as low as $1,749. Click here for more details.

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