While writing this article my laptop isn’t being powered by its built-in battery or from grid power. Instead my laptop is plugged into the USB-C port of an Ecoflow River 2.
The River 2 is the new smallest capacity option in Ecoflow’s range of portable power stations and part of their new “River 2” 3-product line of entry-level portable power stations under 1kWh in capacity.
The River 2 series aims to offer cost-effective on-the-go battery capacity and emergency home backup for small devices. This base model which I tested is RRP $649 in Australia.
Bruce Wang, CEO of EcoFlow commented:
“The launch of the RIVER 2 series underlines EcoFlow’s commitment to meaningful innovation that solves real-life problems. With an uncertain economic and environmental outlook, we want to make clean, portable energy accessible to everyone, everywhere. The EcoFlow RIVER 2 series makes this possible, offering practical, flexible and affordable energy solutions for adventures in the great outdoors or during power outages at home.”
Charging to 100% in an hour thanks to a LFP battery the River 2 has an ultra-long lifetime rated at 3000 battery cycles until the battery degrades to 80% capacity.
LFP batteries provide a safer and more reliable output and can endure more extreme temperatures, enabling RIVER 2 to be used in difficult weather conditions. Additionally, all EcoFlow RIVER 2 models come with a 5-year warranty.
Avoid buying a portable power station that has an NMC battery because it will likely deteriorate to 80% capacity in only 500 cycles: eg 1.5 years if used daily.
River 2 Specs
Warranty: 5 years
Capacity: 256Wh / 20Ah 12.8V
Net Weight: 3.5kg
Dimensions: 245×214×142 mm
Optimal Operating Temperature: 20°C ~ 30°C
Charge Temperature: 0°C ~ 45°C
Discharge Temperature: -10°C ~ 45°C
Storage Temperature: -10°C ~ 45°C (20°C ~ 30°C is best )
AC Input: 220-240V ~ 50Hz/60Hz, 8A Max, 360W
USB-C Input: 5V/9V/12V/15V/20V⎓3A, 60W Max
Solar Input: 11-30V⎓8A, 110W Max
Car Input: 12V/24V⎓8A, 100W Max
AC Output (x1): Pure Sine Wave, 300W total (surge 600W), 240V ~ 50Hz/60Hz
DC Output (x1): 12.6V⎓8A, 100W Max
USB-A Output (2): 5V⎓2.4A, 12W Max per port
USB-C Output (x1): 5V/9V/12V/15V/20V⎓3A, 60W Max
Inside the well padded box you’ll find the River 2, mains power cable, 12V power cable and a paper manual. You can also charge it directly via USB-C or a solar panel (panel and cables are extra purchases).
Setup & Testing
You don’t need the Ecoflow Android or iPhone app but without it you won’t be able to get software updates for the River 2 hardware or change settings.
I tested the River 2 and it exactly matched the claimed 1 hour time to recharge from flat to 100% from mains power.
I then used my laptop while plugged into it and tests show it can power my Lenovo Thinkpad laptop for over 3 hours which could be handy for a field worker.
The screen is quite clear and easy to see. It turns off to save power now after a while, just press the power button below the screen softly to display again. Press hard on the power button for a few seconds to turn the River 2 off completely.
I have a quite new and efficient Fisher & Paykel fridge so I decided to see how long it could be powered if there was an unexpected power outage and I was at home to switch the fridge plug from mains into a fully charged River 2.
According to my test my fridge could run for 3 to 3.5 hours, which is impressive for a small portable 256Wh capacity LiFePO4 battery capacity like the River 2. Many older fridges would stay on for a much shorter amount of time as they use a lot more power.
For the rest of the testing period I used the River 2 to recharge phones, tablets, torches and rechargeable 18650 batteries.
Is the Ecoflow River 2 worth buying?
If you draw 300 watts at once by plugging lots of things in it would last appx 40min until flat. This isn’t very useful.
It cannot power any high power device like an induction cooktop, portable heater, microwave, hair dryer etc that needs a constant 600-2400 maximum AC output. For that you would need a much bigger, heavier and more expensive portable power station.
So is it worth buying the River 2?
With a capacity of 256Wh and maximum AC output of 300W total (surge 600W for short period) the River 2 is quite useful for small things eg: in a power outage or climate emergency like flood or fire you could use it to keep a small lamp on as well as recharge phones, tablets, rechargeable torches etc.
If you have a new power efficient fridge and there’s a short power outage while you’re at home the River 2 can keep your cold food fresh for a couple hours until grid power returns.
Before you spend your money check to see the price and features of other similar appx 256Wh capacity portable power stations as long as they have a long lasting LFP battery .
As an example at the moment the competing 268Wh capacity BLUETTI EB3A is on sale for $499 (usually $599) which seems a lot better except… :
- BLUETTI EB3A is rated for 2500 battery cycles (500 fewer) before it degrades to 80% capacity
- at 4.6kg it weighs 1.1kg more than the River 2 so it’s less portable
- it only has a 2 year warranty whereas the River 2 has a 5 year warranty
EcoFlow River 2 series is available for purchase as of today 3rd April 2023 for RRP $649 from the EcoFlow Australia website, Amazon, Harvey Norman, Anaconda, Total Tools and Battery World.
Ecoflow has allowed Ausdroid to retain the River 2 as it would be costly to send it back to Hong Kong