Tech Published: 20 April 2024 Update: 20 April 2024

Review: BLUETTI’s New SwapSolar Ecosystem Includes App-Enabled Portable Fridge and Power Station

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BLUETTI, a company known for its portable power stations and associated accessories, is currently running an Indiegogo campaign for its new SwapSolar ecosystem of app-enabled products. The launch products in the SwapSolar family include a high-capacity power station with removable hot-swappable batteries plus a multifunction portable cooler. Together, they can keep your perishables cool for up to six days while completely off the grid, or essentially indefinitely with occasional access to power.



The crowdfunding campaign for the SwapSolar campaign is drawing to a close in just a few days with over $1.1 million pledged by backers, and I’ve been testing out both main products in the lineup to see how they work, including their app integration that lets you keep tabs on the accessories and make adjustments right from your iPhone.

3-in-1 Portable MultiCooler

The highlight of the lineup is the unique 3-in-1 Portable MultiCooler, which can serve as a fridge, a freezer, and an ice maker. BLUETTI says it’s the first portable fridge powered by high-density LFP batteries, which retain 80% of their original capacity even after 3,000 cycles. A single BLUETTI B70 battery can power the fridge for up to three days, but it can also run off a standard electrical outlet, a 12-volt socket such as those found in vehicles, or solar panels.



The fridge compartment has a 40-liter/42-quart capacity with an additional 9-liter/9.5-quart ice maker compartment that can produce ice in just 15 minutes from an onboard water tank. The fridge itself features a rapid cool-down mode that can chill the compartment from 85º F (30ºC) to freezing in 15 minutes, and you can set the temperature to as low as –4º F (–20 ºC), so it will work as either a fridge or a freezer.



In my testing, the unit was capable of holding temperature quite well both slightly above and below freezing. BLUETTI recommends keeping the fridge fairly full of items and minimizing the amount of time the lid is left open to help minimize temperature fluctuations, but even with only a few items in the fridge I only ever saw the temperature briefly rise by a degree or two following a quick opening of the lid.



The ice maker is a neat functionality of the MultiCooler, allowing for on-demand generation of ice cubes in two size options for drinks or other needs. Simply fill the ice maker compartment with between 400 ml and 1 L of water, and start up the ice-making cycle. The unit does the rest automatically, passing water over a chilled metal grid to freeze it in sets of 24 cubes.

I wouldn’t call even the larger-sized cubes substantial by any means, but they can be made quickly and do the trick for keeping a drink cold. An initial cycle took about 25 minutes to produce a set of cubes, and two additional sets from the same batch of water took about 10 minutes each. You can set the ice maker to produce one set of cubes at a time, or it can run continuously for as long as its water supply holds up or until the ice basket fills up, spitting each batch of cubes into the basket as the cycle completes and immediately starting a new one.



It is worth noting that running an ice-making cycle diverts the unit’s power to that function, resulting in the fridge portion gradually warming up. I had the fridge compartment set at 35 ºF, and over the course of the approximately 50 minutes as I ran multiple ice-making cycles, the fridge temperature gradually rose to 44 ºF. It only took about 10 minutes to return to 35 ºF once I stopped making ice, and I didn’t notice nearly that much effect on every test series, but it’s definitely something to be aware of if you’ve got perishables in the fridge.

BLUETTI recommends that you change out the water reservoir for the ice maker every 24 hours and fully clean the compartment every three days for hygienic reasons. The unit can run its own 20-minute self-cleaning cycle on the ice-making components, provided it has enough water and power to do so.



In addition to its primary function as a fridge, the MultiCooler can also charge other devices, provided you have a battery installed in the unit. A 100-watt USB-C port and a 15-watt USB-A port are located on the side of the unit, making it easy to plug in a laptop, phone, or other device for recharging.



The most notable physical aspect of the MultiCooler to me is its sheer size and weight. It’s rather large at 28 inches (71 cm) by 16.5 inches (42 cm) by 18.7 inches (47.5 cm), so it’ll definitely be easier if you’ve got an SUV, pickup, or van to haul it to wherever you’re going. Large coolers are certainly common equipment for camping and picnicking, but it’s worth noting that this MultiCooler will hold considerably less than a similarly sized basic cooler, considering the space taken up by the active cooling components and the ice maker.

But even more than the size, it’s the weight that limits the MultiCooler’s portability, as it tips the scales at almost 53 pounds (24 kg) on its own. A battery weighs an additional 18.7 pounds (8.5 kg), so for on-the-go functionality you’re looking at over 70 pounds (32 kg) before you’ve even put any food or ice-making water into it.

Fortunately, the MultiCooler has convenient recessed handles built into the sides of the unit, but lifting it in and out of a vehicle can still be quite difficult for some people trying to do it by themselves. The removable battery and food baskets can help break the load up into a few pieces to get it out of your vehicle, but the main unit remains quite heavy on its own. However you manage to get it on the ground, a pair of wheels at one end and a padded folding handle at the other do make it easy to pull along behind you, provided the terrain isn’t too rough.



I found operation to be pleasantly quiet, with BLUETTI saying it remains under 30 dB in fridge mode and under 45 dB in ice-making mode. To my ear in the real world, it’s nearly inaudible in refrigeration mode, and I only occasionally notice the cooling kick on and off depending on how close I am to the unit. It’s definitely louder in ice-making mode, but even that is a relatively low-level fan-like hum that isn’t very disruptive.

AC180T Power Station

What makes SwapSolar an ecosystem is the swappable batteries for running a variety of gadgets while away from other power options, and that’s where BLUETTI’s AC180T power station comes in. It’s a high-capacity backup power station with two hot-swappable batteries that can either be used in the AC180T to power various gadgets via AC or USB or be removed to power other accessories like the MultiCooler. With the two B70 batteries included in the AC180T, the fridge can run for up to six days before the batteries need to be recharged.



Removing the batteries is as simple as flipping open the top lid of the power station and pressing a small spring-loaded button on the top of the battery, which allows it to be lifted straight out. The power station seamlessly continues to function with the other battery remaining inside, while the removed battery can be transferred to the MultiCooler to provide power for that device.



The AC180T is capable of handling sustained loads of up to 1,200 watts with a single battery installed or up to 1,800 watts with two batteries installed, and it can handle transient spikes of up to 2,700 watts to support devices with high startup power draw. With a total capacity of 1,433.6 watt-hours, BLUETTI notes it can recharge an ‌iPhone‌ over 120 times, but with four AC outlets and four USB ports (two USB-C and two USB-A), it can power an array of devices simultaneously.

A large multicolor LCD screen gives you all of the information you need at a glance, including the current charge level of the power station’s batteries, input and output power draw, estimated time remaining until full charge or depletion, and more. Dedicated physical buttons control whether power is flowing to the AC outlets, the DC USB ports, or both, with the screen also offering an array of other status icons.



The AC180T barely flinched while recharging a MacBook Pro and an ‌iPhone‌, as a power station this large is capable of much more. I was also able to run multiple lamps, an electric kettle, and a fan from it simultaneously, as long as I had both batteries installed. Trying to run my 1,500-watt electric kettle with only one battery installed tripped the protection system given the 1,200-watt limit with one battery, but it worked fine with two batteries installed.

How long the available power will last is of course a direct function of how much load you’re putting on the power station, but with over 1,400 Wh on board, there’s plenty to go around for most items. Something like my electric kettle would quickly run through the power in under an hour of constant use, but it only needs to run for a few of minutes to produce a full pot of boiling water.



Even with its high-capacity batteries, the AC180T can be recharged quickly, with AC wall power being the quickest method. BLUETTI says it can accept up to 1,440-watt input via AC, enough to fully recharge both batteries from empty in around 70 minutes. In my testing, I indeed saw power draw from the wall of over 1,000 watts, supporting rapid recharging of the system.

In one portion of my testing, I ran through 50% of one battery in about 24 hours of use with the MultiCooler, so it wasn’t quite on pace to meet the three-day target, although I ran quite a few ice-making cycles during that time and I’m sure that sapped a decent amount of power.



The AC180T also supports up to 500-watt charging from solar panel accessories, which BLUETTI says can fully recharge the batteries in under three hours. And if you’re out on the road, you can use a 12-volt car power socket, although that will require more like eight hours for a full charge.

BLUETTI App

Both the MultiCooler and the AC180T power station are supported by the BLUETTI app, which lets you control them from your phone or Bluetooth. As long as you’re within Bluetooth range, you’ll have access to a good amount of data on the status of each product, as well most of the same controls (and in some cases more) that are available directly on the products.



The app isn’t the cleanest one around, as it’s somewhat cluttered with widgets and features many users may not be interested in. The main Home tab includes a weather widget (which I can’t seem to get to display accurate information for my location), an ad for current deals on BLUETTI products, and then a series of icons for accessing various functions. Core functions such as accessing existing devices, adding new devices, and accessing user manuals are obviously important, but others like a calculator to estimate how big of a power station you might need to buy should really be tucked away someplace more out of the way.

And that’s just the Home tab. A second tab offers access to the community forums, which you can’t access until you’ve created an account for posting and even then the homepage of the forum mostly features ads and announcements about BLUETTI products. The third tab of the app offers access to the BLUETTI store, while a fourth one is where you can access support options and provide product feedback. The final tab is where you manage your BLUETTI account information, set your app preferences, and manage your referrals and rewards.

Overall, the app just feels too promotional and like it’s trying to do too much. I just want quick access to my devices (you can pin one, but only one, to the app’s Home screen), with the ability to dig into manuals and support options placed somewhere less prominent and other content like ads and community forums omitted from the app entirely.

All of that said, I do find the app useful for monitoring my products, as it provides easy access to status and controls when I’m elsewhere in my house. You’re of course limited to Bluetooth range, but it’s good enough that I can check in on the MultiCooler and power station in my garage when I’m in a room on the second floor of my house.



For the MultiCooler, you can see the current fridge temperature, adjust the set point, turn on ice making, set various ice-making options, start a self-cleaning cycle for the ice-making components, view power status, turn the entire unit on or off, and more. It really provides everything I need to see in a glanceable format with a relatively clean design.



For the AC180T, the app offers a graphical overview of power flow, showing current input from solar or the grid and output via AC and DC connections. You can turn the AC receptacles and DC USB ports off via the app, view the status of the installed batteries, and apply firmware updates to the batteries.

How to Buy

The Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign for the SwapSolar system is wrapping up in just a few days, and there are a number of tiers of perks with various combinations of products included, some of which are already shipping to backers and some of which will be shipping soon.

The main combo is priced at $1,719, a savings of 34% (over $900) compared to the regular retail price, and it includes the MultiCooler, a B70 battery to power it, and the AC180T power station with two additional B70 batteries installed. Other combinations starting at $569 for just the MultiCooler and $849 for just the AC180T power station and batteries are also available, ranging up to $2,099 for the full set plus a 200-watt solar panel.

These are obviously some pricey packages, and there are certainly cheaper portable fridge options on the market, but BLUETTI’s offerings include many more features and much more flexibility than most competing products. So for those looking for higher-end capabilities, BLUETTI’s SwapSolar ecosystem may be an option worth looking at.

The new SwapSolar system is just one of a number of products available under the BLUETTI brand, with the company primarily focused on portable power stations, home energy storage, and associated accessories.

Note: BLUETTI provided MacRumors with the MultiCooler and AC180T for the purposes of this review. No other compensation was received. MacRumors is an affiliate partner with BLUETTI. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running.

Tag: Bluetti

This article, “Review: BLUETTI’s New SwapSolar Ecosystem Includes App-Enabled Portable Fridge and Power Station” first appeared on MacRumors.com

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Flavius Trica Creatif Agency Flavius Trica

Web designer and Co-Founder of Creatif.Agency, with more than 8 years in the design industry and a strong passion for digital art, has successfully managed to deliver one of the most creative web design agencies in San Francisco, California. Valuing quality, creativity, and customer satisfaction, always strive to improve!

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