BioLite builds a range of sustainable energy related products that tap into the power of the massive nuclear fusion reactor in the sky that is the sun to enable an ever-increasing range of outdoor adventures. The BioLite BaseCharge 1500 is the company’s larger portable power station and packs just over 1,500 watt-hours of storage capacity — hence the name — into a compact package.
It utilizes Nickel Manganese Cobalt (NMC) lithium-ion battery cells for a more compact package, enabled by the higher energy density of this particular chemistry. BioLite opted to package the BaseCharge 1500 in a squat rectangular form factor that feels stable and compact at the same time.
Looking at the specs on paper, the BioLite BaseCharge 1500 holds up to the competition with the exception of its curiously low AC figures. 120 watts of AC charging power and 1,200 watts of AC output power feel low for a battery bank with this much storage capacity. They stand out compared to other portable power stations of similar capacity and price which boast much higher AC power output capabilities even from units using the less energy dense LFP cells.
To charge the BioLite BaseCharge 1500, we plugged the included AC adapter into a wall outlet and connected that up to the back of the unit. It’s a 120 watt power brick and pushed between 100-120 watts of power down to the unit over the course of a few hours.
This is definitely on the slower side of the charging curve, with most units opting for an integrated charging circuit with AC power draws in the 1,000 watt range. At 120 watts, BioLite says the BaseCharge 1500 will charge to 80% in 13.5 hours from an AC outlet, which pins a full charge from the AC adapter at around 15 hours.
This can be boosted by charging with the USB-C PD input and the AC adapter at the same time, which cuts the charge time to 80% down to 8 hours and a full charge at just over 10 hours. Charging up battery packs using USB-C Power Delivery is tricky business as the USB cable and power brick being used must be rated to handle the upwards of 240 watts of power.
Tapping into a solar panel with the included adapter transforms the portable power station into a solar generator with a free supply of energy each day. We connected the BaseCharge 1500 up to the BioLite 100 watt folding solar panel and pulled an average of 70 watts of power throughout the sunny part of the day. That translates to a full charge in 21 hours, or more than two full days of sunshine.
For a faster solar charge, up to four of BioLite’s 100 watt panels can be connected to the BaseCharge 1500, which decreases the time to get a full charge to around 5 hours. As with any solar charging, your solar production will vary significantly depending on your geography, the season, temperature, and the panel’s angle relative to the sun.
With a fully charged unit, we headed to our testing lab, also known as the kitchen, to push it to the brink. We hooked a number of different devices up to the USB ports on the front and they worked as expected. The wireless charging mat up top is a great feature, making it easy to get your device charging without having to worry about cables. This is great for use in real life, where our phones are constantly in use.
Plugging in our trusty 800 watt Bodum hot water kettle was no problem for the unit. It pushed out 800 watts for the 5-minute heating cycle and we had our coffee steeping in the Aeropress.
The BaseCharge 1500 can support a continuous power output of 1,200 watts, so we were curious to see how it would handle our full testing load which typically draws between 1,250 watts and 1,550 watts. Connecting our Vitamix blender and KitchenAid mixer, we cranked everything up to 11 and let it rip.
The BaseCharge 1500 held up and was able to support all of the appliances on their normal settings, pushing out a continuous output of 1,248 watts. Cranking the blender up to the max pushed the unit beyond what it could handle, understandably shutting down the power after just a few seconds.
At just 28.5 lb (12.9 kg), the BaseCharge 1500 is far lighter than many other units in the space and we found ourselves grabbing it by one of the two integrated handles and using it around the house on a regular basis. It’s so easy to move around that it’s easier than running an extension cord to an outlet in some parts of the house and yard and it was put to use on a number of occasions during our testing.
The BioLite BaseCharge 1500 is a solid power station from an established brand. It is well built and we love its squat posture with a large wireless charging pad up top. It’s well suited to provide backup power in the event of a power outage, keeping a refrigerator running, the internet connected, and a few lights on. The fact that it’s lightweight and portable make it that much easier to put it to use where you need power, when you need it.
Adding a solar panel or two to the power station transforms it into a power hub for camp, an RV, or even a light duty off-grid tiny house. You’ll want to keep an eye on the power draw of anything you connect to it as its lower power output capability can be a constraint, especially if you want to cook or use other appliances with higher power draws, like heaters, with it.
On the charging front, its AC charging speed is unnecessarily low, and being restricted to pushing 100-120 watts into the unit means charging will have to be managed. The ability to charge via USB-C PD at up to 240 watts is a nice touch and helps shore up its ability to charge from a wall outlet, but it does require the purchase of a power brick and cable that can handle that much power.
It’s clear BioLite is working hard to bring more sustainable lifestyle tech to the masses, from micro home solar conversion kits, to LED headlamps, to full blown solar generator kits. The BaseCharge 1500 excels in many ways, but comes with some trade-offs. For more information about the BioLite BaseCharge 1500 or to buy one for yourself, head over to the BioLite homepage.
BioLite BaseCharge 1500 Portable Power Station Specs
- MSRP: $1,699
- Capacity: 1,521 Wh
- AC Outlets: 3x 110V outlets supporting 1,200 watts continuous, 2,400 watts peak output
DC USB Outlets: 2x USB-A, 2x USB-C, 1x USB-C PD
DC Outlets: 1x 12V automotive outlet, 2x 12V DC barrel
- Wireless Output: 10W Wireless Charger
Charge Time to 80%:
AC Adapter: 13.5 h
AC + USB-C PD: 8 h
400w Solar Panels: 4 h
Dimensions: 14.4 x 12.2 x 8.2 in (367 x 310 x 209 mm)
Weight: 28.5 lb (12.9 kg)
Warranty: 2 Years
Disclaimer: BioLite provided the BaseCharge 1500 to the author for the purposes of this review.
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