A competitive alternative to some better known brands with a great specification
Jun 16,2023 | Mark Brighton
I had frankly been looking at the Bluetti EB70 for a long time, even ordered it but it never arrived, and then I came across the VDLPOWER HS1200 . For around the same price ( it was on special offer) you get a bigger LiFePO4 battery (960Wh against the 716Wh for the EB70) although as with many power stations you can't use the entire capacity as others have noted), and an inverter that can handle a continuous 1200W instead of 1000W.
Now those specs alone caught my attention but the clincher for me was that whereas the EB70 has a silly 200W limit on its PV / Solar or mains adaptor charging input, the HS1200 will accept a much more substantial 500W from the panels and charge a lot faster because of that.
If you do need to charge from the mains supply, the HS1200 also has a built in mains charger which pushes an impressive 700W into the battery for a one and a half hour full fast charge, compared to the 200W external charger with the notoriously noisy fan supplied with the Bluetti (the internal fan on the HS1200 is very quiet when it does cut in, not intrusive at all).
I'm looking forward to taking this power station camping, but am currently using the HS1200 in conjunction with a shed Solar Power 24V setup where I have discovered that I can run the 24V battery right into the Anderson socket on the side of the unit (which is intended for either a PV input or a car 12 socket) for a very healthy 500W charge (just over 20A so don't be tempted to use the cigar lighter plug adaptor supplied, make up some nice thick tails to add to the supplied solar panel adaptor lead with MC4 connectors).
One last comparison favouring the VDLPOWER unit is that it has a proper charge percentage numeric display as well as a ring bar graph so you really know how much charge is remaining, much better than the EB70's little cell phone style 5 block stacked bar which can only indicate in 20% increments. It also calculates the time remaining when supplying the current load and others have noted that this can read inaccurately unless you ensure a good long mains charge of 3 hours when you first receive the unit (which is supplied with a partial charge). I did this and the hours remaining (which switches to minutes remaining under around an hour and a half) seems correct and is very useful.
The VDLPOWER HS1200 will also work as an uninterruptable power supply (UPS) when plugged into the mains supply and working in passthrough mode, taking over in milliseconds if a mains power outage occurs ( my tv doesn't even notice the switchover, but note that the inverter phase is NOT synchronised with the incoming mains cycle, so the sudden phase jump caused by fast switching in UPS mode may not be best suited for supply phase cycle sensitive equipment such as a fridge/freezer with a single phase AC motor).
All in all, I am very happy with the HS1200 so far and if I ever did want to get a bigger unit I would definitely consider its big brother the 2KW HS2000, also often available at a competition beating price though it is a little too heavy for me to consider portable as it weighs in at 22Kg (the HS1200 is 12.5Kg compared with 9.7Kg for the Bluetti, a fair bit heavier but that extra couple of hundred Wh has to go somewhere and LiFePO4 batteries are not light!).
Lastly, the offer on VDLPOWER is that if you contact VDLPOWER, they will extend the warranty on this unit from 24 months to a full five years at no extra cost, which they have done for me and they do have a very helpful and responsive customer service.