The EcoFlow River 2 Max is a fairly new power backup solution from the brand which sits at just under R15,000. With so many PPS models on the market, it is hard to understand just which models suit what household or office. If you’re running out to buy an EcoFlow River 2 Max for the constant load shedding, then this review aims to provide enough information on the unit so you know whether or not it will be enough for your setup.
Watch The EcoFlow River 2 Max Review Below
First thing first – the EcoFlow River 2 Max isn’t a full replacement for your electricity at home or the office. It is designed to provide enough backup for certain electronics when the dark times arrive. Dark times here mean every four hours. But the unit has a lot of potential and is pretty versatile at the same time.
The EcoFlow River 2 Max is a 500W unit meaning you can only use electronics that combine to under 500W of use. The unit does have an X-Boost feature similar to other EcoFlow products whereas you can unlock this power usage to 1000W in certain situations where you need that extra boost. Of course, this will drain the 512Wh battery a lot faster and is only there for certain situations.
When it comes to charging, the EcoFlow River 2 Max supports up to 660W super fast charge. This means it can go from 0-100% in only 60 minutes. However, I would recommend staying away from this fast charge to help prolong the battery life. I personally have all my EcoFlow products on 200W charge times because firstly, the fans don’t make a noise and secondly the lower charge is better for the battery health.
EcoFlow has reached out to me regarding the battery health and fast charge of the unit. The company claims charging the unit at the max rate doesn’t affect the battery health. They state:
- The fast charge function doesn’t affect battery life.
- The charge rate is set according to the AH capacity of the cells. The higher the AH of battery cells, the higher the charge rate.
- The new RIVER 2 series and DELTA 2 series use higher AH cells (20Ah). The C-rating (charge rate) is relatively high, which means that the battery cells can take up to 20A and can therefore be charged faster than before.
While I appreciate the feedback, I would still prefer to stick to the 200W charge for ease of mind. Heat build-up isn’t good for batteries and higher, faster charging causes heat. So I would sleep better at night knowing the unit isn’t getting too hot.
Speaking of battery health, the EcoFlow River 2 Max does come with one of the best battery tech on the market. It includes an LFP battery which promises up to 3000 charges before it starts to degrade. It is also one of the smallest units on the market to include an LFP battery in it. So you’re getting the best here.
EcoFlow wasn’t lying when they mention how fast this unit charges. At 600W, which is actually the max speed, it took about 35 minutes to go from 0 – 80%. So 60 minutes is definitely doable. I did measure the noise of 46db during this max charge which isn’t ideal if the unit is next to you. That’s why I say lower it to 200W. It takes longer but unless you need the unit charged faster, just chill and let it charge slower.
On the front of the unit, you’ll find all the plugs and sockets you’ll ever need. There is one three-prong grounded plug and another two-prong ungrounded socket. EcoFlow also included 3 2.4 amp USB A ports rated at 12W and a USB C port rated at 100W. The USB C port interestingly enough, can also be used to charge the EcoFlow River 2 Max. There’s also a 12V 10amp car charger and 2 3amp DC5521 ports on the opposite side.
Apart from the ports, the EcoFlow River 2 Max includes a display which tells you all the useful information and a series of buttons. There’s a button that powers the car charging section and a button that powers the bottom sockets. Unlike the Delta 2, there’s no USB button. These sockets simply turn on when something is plugged in.
When it comes to the dimensions, the EcoFlow River 2 Max is incredibly lightweight. It can easily be carried with one hand and only weighs about 6Kgs. It is only 270 x 260 mm large and 196mm high. So in terms of portability, it checks all the boxes. I was impressed by how light this unit actually was. It is easy to carry around store in small places.
At the back, there’s a kettle cord charging port and a solar charging port. Now, EcoFlow has sent me a solar panel to test but I am going to cover the solar unit in a separate video where I use both the Delta 2 and River 2 Max on the panel.
Everything you do on the EcoFlow River 2 Max is done on the device’s app. After setting it up for the first time, you barely need to touch the unit unless you’re plugging stuff in. All the buttons, charge rates and useful information can be controlled through the app. The only time I ever had to touch the unit was when it automatically went to sleep after no use – a setting that can easily be changed too.
And setting it up literally takes a few minutes. I unboxed the unit, plugged it in, opened the app and linked the device to my phone. It then operated on the Wi-Fi at home. Even when I loaned the device to a family member who lives in a cottage on the property, I was able to monitor it for them as long as the unit was on the Wi-Fi.
EcoFlow River 2 Max Real Worlds Tests
The EcoFlow River 2 Max might look small but it is a pretty capable machine for your daily use. I need to stress that while we are in the dark ages in South Africa, there are still limitations when it comes to these PPS units. You need to understand they can’t replace the wall plug for everything. Unless you have a robust solar panel setup on your roof with powerful inverter backups, you have to be mindful of what power a device needs and how far a PPS can take it.
With that being said, the EcoFlow River 2 Max can fit into most households as a decent power backup. I ran some tests across TVs, heaters and other appliances to give you some insight into this unit.
EcoFlow River 2 Max + Entertainment
I think the EcoFlow River 2 Max shines the best when it comes to powering your TV and entertainment system for a few hours. I mean the best way to get around loadshedding is to binge a TV show for two hours. In this case, the EcoFlow River 2 Max can keep your eyes peeled on the TV for over five hours in certain circumstances.
A test with the unit, a 55-inch LED TV, a single internet router and an Android media box connected used less than 100W of power. The usage fluctuated between 80W and 100W. The River 2 Max would keep the setup going for 5 hours.
If I had to up the TV size to 75-inch, for example, this usage did increase to 230W and reduced the charge to two hours. This is just enough for one standard load-shedding session. Thankfully, most TVs come with eco settings and enabling them will go a long way to extend the life of the River 2 Max. For example, the 75-inch Bravia TV I have dropped from 230W down to 190W on low eco mode and then to 90W on High.
A little setting like this extends the life of the River 2 Max from 2 hours to around five hours. And that’s on a 75-inch TV. On a smaller TV, it will go beyond that. You can easily watch TV on a 55-inch for 8 hours when making use of some eco modes.
EcoFlow River 2 Max + Gaming
When it comes to gaming. The EcoFlow River 2 Max is capable of powering any modern console or PC without an issue. But you need to consider the other devices in your setup. If you use a sound system, you might want to unplug that. You also may want to increase the eco mode on your TV to help.
The current-gen consoles all pull about 230W of power. Combine that with your TV and you’re looking at anywhere between 350W – 400W. A standard gaming session will then last you an hour to two hours. If you just run the PS5 or Xbox Series X/S, you’ll get 2 hours of game time on the River 2 Max alone. That’s without factoring in a TV. So you might need to invest in a smaller monitor or display.
EcoFlow River 2 Max + Microwave
Microwaves are a tough one because they all come in different sizes. My unit is a Samsung 1000W unit and it immediately shut down the EcoFlow River 2 Max when I started it up. The power spiked to 962W and shut down. This was with X-Boost enabled too.
EcoFlow 2 River Max + Kettle
The kettle, of course, didn’t work either. Kettles use a ridiculous amount of power at 2000W. You can get lower versions but most are 2000-3000W these days. It didn’t even turn on. I can’t express how much money you’ll save if you find other ways to boil water. Kettles are truly the devil.
The fan noise on the EcoFlow River 2 Max isn’t bad. It is definitely noticeable if you have it right next to you. It does get louder the more you ask from it so charging it on a higher frequency and using more power draw will increase the fan speed. At the max, I only measured 45dB at the peak charge.
So who is the EcoFlow River 2 Max for? Well, if you’ve followed the information and think this unit might cover what you need go for it. I think anyone who simply wants to watch some TV during loadshedding will find this device handy. You can even get away with some gaming if you’re smart with your power-saving settings.
It also goes without saying that this unit will power your hairdryer, and electric blanket, charge your phone and other smaller tasks during loadshedding. I know I personally used it to warm my bed during this cold winter when the lights went out. It was dark but at least my bed was warm. It is the smaller things that make a difference.
You also need to get your expectations in check here too. This device won’t power your entire household. It is simply an add-on for an entertainment room, kitchen or a portable PPS for when you’re camping. It is for when 500W is enough.