These days it seems like every conversation in South Africa includes some variation of the phrase “So loadshedding hey?”
Citizens have had to make plans to avoid the rampant power cuts whether that be through the installation of solar power, inverters, generators and other solutions. Of late however, battery backup solutions have become more popular owing to their affordability and ease of use. Rather than having to fuss with lead-acid batteries and terminal connectors, a new generation of battery backups allow for easy use and control.
The EcoFlow River 2 Max is such a solution.
The latest bevvy of products from the company sports the ultimate in Lithium-iron phosphate battery technology which allows for more discharge cycles before losing its effective capacity.
The River 2 Max is smaller than the Delta 2 we reviewed recently but it’s still packed with features that make it a worthy consideration for those fed up with Stage 4 loadshedding.
Sleek and nimble
Weighing in at 6kg, the River 2 Max is surprisingly light. The weight betrays the internals though because inside there is 512Wh of battery capacity when fully charged.
As far as input and output, there is a single AC input rated for a maximum input of 660W, a solar input rated for a maximum of 220W and a car charging input rated for 100W max. There is also a 100W USB-Type C input that doubles as an output.
As for output, the River 2 Max sports a pure Sine Wave AC (SA three and two prong plug sockets) with a 500W maximum output, a 12W USB-A, 126W DC and 36W DC5521 output.
There is also WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity. This connectivity lets you connect to the River 2 Max using the EcoFlow app. As with other EcoFlow products, the app is the hub of the power station. With it you will be able to toggle switches on and off, update firmware and even control how fast the power station charges.
The one gripe we have is that you need to dig through the settings to find a new firmware update. This information should be splashed on the display when a user logs in so that it’s more apparent they need to take action and install new firmware.
Our favourite feature of the app is being able to adjust the amount of power draw the unit has. This means that you can switch from sucking 660W from the wall to a more reasonable 300W. This is great if you need to use other power-hungry appliances while charging the unit up.
However, lowering the AC input does slow down the charging rate of the unit. At the full 660W the River 2 Max can charge up from 0 to 100 percent capacity in 55 minutes according to our testing. When charging at this wattage, the River 2 Max is loud but not uncomfortably so. In fact you’d hardly hear it over the noise of a TV.
At 512Wh and a 500W total output you could power a rather power-hungry PC for an hour but we managed to eke out four hours of power using the River 2 Max to keep a monitor, router, desktop speakers and a gaming notebook juiced up for three hours. A UHD TV, set-top box and a light lasts for about the same length of time. However, you should calculate how much power you need and shop for solutions based around the upper maximum you would need. Remember, it’s better to have more capacity than you require.
What is great is that the River 2 Max features a switchover speed of less than 30ms. Granted, this isn’t fast enough for some electronics so keep this in mind when making your considerations.
The unit also ships with a five-year warranty which is great should you need it.
The River 2 Max is incredibly well priced at R12 999, coming in lower than the Romoss Thunder Power Station we reviewed recently.
In fact, looking around at the solutions on the market, the EcoFlow River 2 Max is incredibly good value for money and its performance is fantastic. The only way this product could be improved is by allowing folks to connect additional batteries to this unit as with the Delta 2. We recognise this would bump the price up but given this is the “Max” iteration of the series, a premium feature like that would be very nice.
EcoFlow has once again delivered a fantastic product that exceeded our expectations and if the Delta 2 is out of reach, the River 2 Max should be next on your list of solutions to consider.
FINAL SCORE: 10 OUT OF 10