We’re looking at the brand new Bluetti EB3A, the smallest power station they offer, coming in at 268 watt-hours capacity. It does have lithium iron phosphate chemistry inside. So, you get the 2000 life cycles down to 80%.
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So after using it 2000 times, you can still have 80% of the original capacity. Bluetti EB3A is priced at $299 on the Bluetti website. But for a limited time, you can pick it up for $249, which is a reasonable price for a small, power-packed portable power station.
Now when comparing this to the previous generation, it’s a little bit smaller because it has much less capacity, but there are some excellent upgrades with this power station. For example, they upgraded the display. So, you have much more information you can find on display.
There are no longer external charging bricks that are allowed. Instead, you just plug the Bluetti EB3A right into the wall, and it charges. And this power station has Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity. So, you can control it with the smart app, which allows you to update the firmware, turn on and off the outputs, and change the charging speed with the Bluetooth app, which is fantastic.
In this review for Bluetti EB3A, we will be doing extensive testing to determine the actual capacity versus the advertised capacity. In addition, we’ll see if it has regulated output supports pass-through charging. And at the end of the review, we’re going to put it through my new power station, and we’re going to give it a score of one to 10, so we can see how it performs against the competition.
Hopefully, you guys are excited. Let’s go ahead and break down the design and outputs really quick. Bluetti EB3A comes in at 10.1 pounds. It’s very lightweight, and everything is on the front of the top.
1.0 Specs and Features for Bluetti EB3A
There’s nothing on the sides or back compared to the previous model. So let’s get starting with the display. You can see everything such as Watt’s input, Watt’s out, an actual percentage and an estimated time remaining for your DC output. You also have a 12-volt cigarette plug with a dust cover, which is always lovely and the output you can just toggle by pushing it and has a huge green light you can quickly see when it’s on for USB ports, and you have two USB ports that are rated at three amps.
You have a USB-C power delivery hundred-watt output. It is not bi-directional. So, you cannot charge the power station using the USB-C port, which is kind of a bummer as I am hoping for that. On the top, you have a red light with low mode, high mode and SOS. And then you have your inverter down there with two outlets.
This is a 600-watt pure sine wave inverter, putting out 120 volts, which is really solid. Usually, you don’t see a full 120 volts on small power. So down there, you have your charging input, an eight-millimeter, and your AC charging right beside it.
You do have wireless charging on the top and a folding handle. The sides and back are just empty, with everything on the front. It looks straightforward, and I liked the design. I want to do various tests on the DC output of power stations, and the first one is to see if it has a regulated output.
1.1 Output Load Test
So, by plugging in my battery load tester, I was able to verify that this has a regulated output of 13.3 volts through the entire state of charge. So that’s really good on this power station. Now, the next test I like to do is to see how much power you can pull from the DC output before it shuts off from being overloaded.
1.2 Overloaded Test
This power station is rated at 10 amps total. So, 10 amps is a total combination of all three. For this test, I plugged in my battery load tester, and I could pull a total of 132 Watts from the 12th socket, but you cannot pull more than 10 amps. So, anytime you pull 10amps, this Bluetti EB3A will shut off automatically, giving you the overloaded error message.
1,3 Parasitic Drain Test
Another important test is how much power the Bluetti EB3A portable power station loses over time, or we call it a parasitic drain test. If you have the DC output enabled with no load, it’ll lose around 1% per hour, which is typical for a power station this size. Finally, I wanted to see if this had any auto-shut settings.
So, I took my set power FC 12 portable fridge and plugged it into the DCS. And I had Bluetti EB3A mobile power station charged up to a hundred per cent and let it go down to 0%. This experiment ran for 26 and a half hours on that 12-volt compressor fridge at 70 degrees. So, there are no auto-shutoff settings on this power station, which is excellent as the power station can supply the power until it is entirely out of juice.
1.4 Full Discharge Test
The last test I like to do on these power stations is a complete discharge test to compare the advertised capacity versus the actual capacity. So, I plugged in my battery, low testers and discharged the battery all the way. I was able to pull 228 watt-hours from this power station. So, the math comes out to be around 85% of the advertised capacity.
So that’s pretty good. That’s the minimum goal I’d like to see on these power stations and with all the larger components inside. That’s pretty good on this small power station.
1.5 USB Ports and Wireless Charging
The last aspect of testing the DC output is by testing the USB ports and wireless charging on the Bluetti EB3A portable power station. So, I plugged in a USB led light and a USB fan, and I also tried charging another power station using the hundred-watt output, and all those seem to work well.
So, no issues charging multiple devices simultaneously using this power station.
1.6 AC Inverter Test
Now let’s go ahead and talk about testing the AC inverter on this Bluetti EB3A portable power station. Now it is rated at 600 watts; remember, the battery capacity is 268 watt-hours. So, there are some downsides to having such a large inverter on a small battery.
Now, the first thing is, if you’re running at 600 Watts, you will see around 30 minutes of runtime before the Bluetti EB3A runs out entirely. So the parasitic drain is a little higher on this power station than in others tested.
For example, to test the parasitic drain. I left the AC output on for three hours, and when I returned, it was sitting around 84%, which means it’s about 5% per hour that you’ll lose on the battery just by leaving the AC inverter on with no load. So, keep that in mind. It’s a little bit higher than average.
1.7 AC Output Value
To test the power station’s AC output, I hooked up my cell scope and got a pure sine wave output sitting at 120 volts and 60 Hertz. That’s nice because many smaller power stations only put out 110 volts. So, it’s nice to get the same power you get from your power company.
The next test I did was a 15-minute full load test to see what would happen at 600 watts. So as that test was running, the fans did kick on. They were pulling around 52 decibels, which isn’t very loud, and I didn’t see any issues with the voltage dropping. It could hold 120 volts and had a pure sine wave output during that test. So it is an awe-inspiring result during that full 600-watt load test.
Now the next set of tests on the AC inverter was a complete discharge test, meaning that I took it from a hundred per cent down until it shut off to see how much power we could pull from. The power station’s capacity now attracts all the output through a kilowatt meter, and at the end of the test, I got around 210 watt-hours of capacity.
Now, if you compare that 210 watt-hours to the advertised 268 watt-hours, that’s around 78.3% of the advertised capacity, meaning we didn’t score that amazing on this test. It probably depends on the amount of background power the AC inverter uses.
1.8 UPS Mode
Bluetti EB3A portable power station also has an ups mode, which you usually don’t see in such a small parish, and what that means is that you can have this plugged into the wall. If it’s showing ups mode on the screen, and if the power goes out, it transfers the load from the wall straight over to the batteries inside. Now we tested this out by plugging in my studio lights. I had this plugged in on ups mode, and then I unplugged it from the wall.
I could observe my lights flash very quickly, and then they came back on, and everything was powering off the battery. So pretty cool to have an ups backup in a small power station like this. One thing I did note is that I plugged in my cell scope to test the noise and the output of the inverter when it is in the ups.
I noticed that the pure sine wave output had a little more noise than when it wasn’t charging or in ups mode. So just remember that you may have some electronics that have a little noise whenever it’s in ups mode.
2.0 Charging The Bluetti EB3A Portable Power Station
Let’s go ahead and talk about charging up the power station. Out of the box, it only comes with one AC charging cable plugs directly into the charging port on the front. Luckily this does not have an external charging brick. All the charging is built inside the unit, but if you’re looking to charge off of DC power from a vehicle, another battery, or solar panels, you will have to purchase additional cabling to charge this power.
2.1 Silent Charging Mode
So, I plugged the Bluetti EB3A into the wall, and there are three different charging speeds on the app. You have a silent charging speed, standard charging rate and turbocharging. So, if you set it to silent, you will see that no fans are running, and it’s charging around a hundred Watts.
This would probably take around three hours or so to charge the power station. But the benefit is no noise when you’re using this charging.
2.2 Standard Charging
The second fastest charging speed is the standard mode, which charges right around 260 Watts, which will fill this power station up in about an hour from 0% up to a hundred per cent, which is really fast. So I really like using this standard charging speed.
2.3 Turbo Charging
The fastest way to charge up this power station is by kicking over to turbo mode. When you select this charging mode, it’ll charge from 350 Watts up to 430 Watts, depending on the battery. There is a warning when you go to enable this; this will shorten the battery’s lifespan because you are putting extra stress on it. So only use this if you have to.
2.4 Charging with DC Power
We just wanted to demonstrate how fast it would charge if you’re using a DC power source, like a vehicle or a separate battery, and I’m using my charging cable because it has an eight-millimetre charging port. So it’s charging at 93 Watts, which will charge this in about three hours, which isn’t too bad.
So, the DC charging cable will have 12 sockets on one end and eight millimeters on the other end. As I said, it does not come with the Bluetti EB3A portable power station. I’m guessing you can purchase this same cable on their website if you want to use the DC charging.
2.5 Solar Charging
Next, we will take the Bluetti EB3A portable power station outside and do a solar charging test.
If you want to use solar panels on this power station, you’d like to purchase this adapter with eight-millimeter on one end and MC four connections on the other. That would plug right into the charging input. So, let’s go ahead and take this outside and plug it into some solar panels to see the maximum power we can get.
For this solar charging test, I will use two of the 80-watt solar panels connected in parallel to the over panel of the power station. The solar conditions at the time this test was conducted were quite hot. It’s about 80 degrees, and we have a slight haze but no clouds. So, we set the two panels connected in parallel, plugging straight into the power station.
So during the test, we’re getting 160 Watts input. So, let me go ahead and plug in the to see if we get the same amount of power on that, or slightly more on the other one, because of the higher amp. Okay. So, when I plugged in the solar panels, it looked like we were still getting 160 Watts.
So, unfortunately, this new Bluetti EB3A portable power station performs similarly to the older model generations. The maximum power input I’ve seen was just a couple of days ago; when I compared it to the EcoFlow river pro, it was getting around 167 Watts maximum input.
That was because these panels were clean, and the sun was lined up perfectly with them. So, when you don’t have ideal conditions, you will see around a hundred fifty-five, two hundred and sixty Watts input charging on the power station.
2.6 Pass-Through Charging
Next, I just wanted to explain that pass-through charging works on this power station. For example, I have the AC inverter enabled with a small heater and the USB outputs to power a 12-volt fan. I have a phone charging on the top using wireless, and I’m charging some lithium-ion batteries using the 12-volt socket. Even while running all that load, I observed that I was charging at 90 Watts off the power station. So, this Bluetti EB3A does support pass-through charging.
3.0 Smart App Bluetooth/Wi-Fi Connection
One last thing I want to discuss with this power station is that this has an intelligent app, Bluetooth, or Wi-Fi connectivity. So if you download the Bluetti app on your smartphone, either Android or Apple, you can connect to the Bluetti EB3A portable power station remotely, and there are many things you can do.
For example, you can turn on and off the outputs, see the battery percentage, and see which charge amount is coming in from either the grid or solar, which is nice. You can also get the charging speeds and turn on and off the eco mode. The best thing is this app can perform the firmware update through the app. So, if there’s anything that blew out and they want to improve in the future, they can push a new firmware update to this and fix it.
So very cool that this has Bluetooth connectivity with the smart app and moving in the right direction, as I think every power station should have this capability.
4.0 Cons of the Bluetti EB3A portable power station
So, there are a few quirks with this power station, and I thought I’d share. So, let’s go ahead and jump into the first one.
4.1 Fan Noise
The first one is the fan noise. Whenever they’re starting to turn on, if there’s no load on it, the fans hardly run, but then once you get up a little bit, you can hear the fans turn on, and they run low. Then when you get a max load, you can listen to them spool up to full speed, and they’re variable. So, I’m wondering if maybe they need to kick up the RPM just a little bit on start-ups, so you don’t get that noise.
4.2 Randomly On Off Charging
Next, I noticed that whenever you’re charging this off the AC wall charging input, there’s a relay inside that clicks on and off now and then.
So, you’ll charge at 260 Watts, which then goes to zero. Then it’ll turn back on and start charging it. It doesn’t happen all the time, but it’s frustrating where it will stop charging and start charging and then stop charging and start charging. So not sure what’s up with that. The benefit is that this has the Bluetti smart app, which you can update the firmware.
So, I think Bluetti could solve both those issues with the firmware updates. So I hope Bluetti hears this feedback so they can make those changes to make this a better power station.
So now that we have thoroughly tested Bluetti EB3A, we’ve discussed all the features and some of its quirks.
5.0 Bluetti EB3A Portable Power Station Score
Let’s go ahead and put this through my power station scoring system, giving it a score of one to 10, so we can compare it against the competition. Now, this scoring system helps us understand the price value for all the features and if there are any significant issues. So, let’s proceed with the first grading point for the power station.
1. Can this power station charge up to a hundred per cent in less than four hours with the quick charging capability?
This can charge up in less than an hour, which is pretty awesome.
2. Number two, does this power station support pass-through charging?
Yes, you can charge it and discharge it simultaneously with no issues.
3. Does this have a pure sine wave inverter?
It has a pure sine wave—120-volt output at 60 Hertz.
4. Does this have a regulated output?
This Bluetti EB3A portable power station has a regulated output of 13.3 volts, which is great for running all your DC appliances.
5. Does this have a rich information display?
Yes. Out of all the Bluetti EB series, this is the first to have an informational display, which is super helpful.
6. Does this have auto shut-off settings on the DC output?
After all my testing, we don’t observe any auto-shutoff settings on the DC output. So, it should be able to run a 12-volt compressor fridge or any other DC load without any issues.
7. How does this score on the USB grading scale?
It does have a USBC output. It supports a hundred Watts output but not a hundred Watts input. So, I give it a score of 0.6, six points out of one point available.
8. Does this meet at least 85% of its rated capacity?
Yes. It barely squeaks by on the DC capacity test, hitting 85%. The AC test did not score that well, but at least we hit it on the 85%. So it does get the point there.
9. Can this charge in less than five hours using solar panel input?
This Bluetti EB3A portable power station will charge at 160 Watts via solar panels, allowing you to charge in a little over an hour and a half, which is way off that you can charge it that quick.
10. Is this priced at 80 cents a watt-hour or less?
Bluetti EB3A comes in at a selling price of $249 and a capacity of 268 watt-hours, which means it comes in at around 92 cents per watt-hour. So, unfortunately, I can’t give it a point because it’s not under 80 cents.
|Fully charged under 4 hours||1|
|Pass through charging||1|
|Pure sine wave inverter||1|
|Rich information display||1|
|Auto-shut off for DC Output||1|
|USB port functionality||0.6|
|85% rated capacity||1|
|Fully charge under 5 hours with solar panel||1|
|80cents/watt hour or less||0|
So totalling up all the points at the end, this power station came in with a very respectable 8.6 points out of 10 points available. This one would be close if it were priced under 80 cents a watt-hour, and the only thing it lacks is a bi-directional a hundred-watt USB-C port.
6.0 My Final Thought On Bluetti EB3A Portable Power Station
This is a good step in the right direction. You have many features on here that the other models didn’t have, for example, the updated display, the Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity app and the built-in charger ups mode.
That this power station gets charged is so quick off solar panels, for example, a 300 watt-hour power station, you know, competition of this usually charges around 60 to a hundred Watts solar panels, and this one charge at 160 watts, which is super awesome.
There are just a few little cons with this Bluetti EB3A portable power station. As I mentioned, the fan noise and the relay clicking on and off are a minor fix, but the other bummer is that it doesn’t come with the DC or solar charging cable.
Raising the price to $10, including those cables, is almost mandatory. So maybe they’ll do that on a future option, but not including all the charging cables, kind of a bummer.
Buy on Amazon: BLUETTI Portable Power Station EB3A
(As an affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases)