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EcoFlow River 2 Max review: High capacity, off-the-grid power with flexible charging

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £549
inc VAT

The River 2 Max delivers high capacity, lots of connectivity and super-fast charging at a competitive price


  • Packed with connectivity options
  • Charges in an hour
  • Solar panel support


  • Noisy when fans kick in
  • Discharges slowly if you don’t switch it off

Portable power banks are essential for the modern tech-savvy smartphone owner; but, sometimes, a pocket-sized battery just isn’t enough. If you’re going off-grid for a couple of days or maybe longer, then you’re likely to need something much beefier than your average power pack.

This is where portable power stations such as the new EcoFlow River 2 come in. This beefy battery lets you power and charge multiple devices via different types of connections, even allowing you to plug in 240V mains devices while you’re away from traditional sources of power.

With the threat of blackouts a possibility this winter, a portable power station such as this could also be a useful emergency backup for important appliances.

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EcoFlow River 2 Max review: What do you get for the money?

For this review, EcoFlow supplied the River 2 Max – a power station with a whopping 512Wh capacity that can charge or power pretty much anything you care to plug into it. It’s a chunky unit, as you’d expect from a product stacked with rechargeable batteries, measuring 269 x 259 x 196mm (WDH) and weighing 6kg. Nevertheless, it’s easy enough to lug around thanks to a sturdy grab handle that protrudes from the rear.

It’s overflowing with connectivity options. Alongside a clear LED display, on the front of the device you’ll find three USB-A ports capable of outputting up to 5V at 2.4A per port (up to a total of 24W). There’s also one USB-C port that can charge at 5V, 9V, 12V, 15V or 20V at up to 5A devices; and, impressively, you can also use this port to charge the EcoFlow River 2 via this USB-C port if you don’t have access to a full mains cable. However, bear in mind that using this the latter is a lot slower than charging via AC mains.

That’s not all, though. There are also two three-pin mains outlets into which you can plug in domestic products up to a total of 500W, and there are also three ports supplying DC power – one car output at 12.6V (10A or 3A) and a pair of DC5521 outlets for 13.6V appliances.

That’s enough connectivity to keep a laptop and smartphone topped up with power for days, and it could even keep a small camping coolbox such as this one running for about 10 hours continuously.

Flip the device around and you’ll see a couple more connectors: one three-pin kettle connector for charging via mains AC power and a smaller, orange-coloured two-pin connector that allows you to charge the power station directly via solar panels.

EcoFlow sent me this rather large and impressive folding 220W solar panel to test out on the River 2 Max and, assuming ideal conditions, this should be capable of fully charging the device in three to six hours. Alas, I didn’t have ideal conditions for this particular review; but on a sunny, largely clear mid-winter’s day in my suburban London garden, I was able to get around 40% charge into the River 2 before the sun set behind the neighbours’ houses.

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EcoFlow River 2 Max review: What do we like?

There’s plenty to like about the EcoFlow River 2. First up, it’s an exceptionally well made and neatly designed product. It has all the connectivity you could possibly desire, even down to mains three-pin, DC and 12V car power connectors. And the display is incredibly clear and informative, too: not only does it indicate the battery capacity in percentage, but it also shows you the inflow and outflow wattages, and how long it will take to discharge the battery at current rates. If the power station is plugged in and charging, it will show the estimated time to full charge instead.

Perhaps more impressive, however, is the speed at which it charges. From mains AC, it will charge from empty to 100% in around an hour – although via USB-C and solar it will be a lot slower.

Another good thing about the River 2 is that the cells used by EcoFlow are LiFePO 4 units, which have a much longer lifespan than the lithium ion cells you’ll find in some rival devices. In fact, EcoFlow says the battery pack will retain 80% or more of its capacity after 3,000 charging cycles, which should give you many years of use, even if you charge it every day. For context, your typical lithium ion battery will last 300 to 500 charging cycles before dipping below 80% of its maximum capacity.

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EcoFlow River 2 Max review: What didn’t we like?

This isn’t the perfect product, however. While it might be quick to charge, its fan spins up when it does so – and it’s very, very loud. In fact, it’s so loud that you won’t want to be in the room with it when it’s plugged in.

The other thing I’m not too keen on is that you have to press a button to turn the various sections on and off, or they won’t charge and supply power to connected devices. There’s a master power button, plus one for the DC outlets and one for the mains sockets, so quite a bit to keep track of, then.

And, on a related note, it’s also a little irritating that, if you forget to turn off the power station using the master power button, the battery steadily drains over time. There doesn’t appear to be any way of setting a time out, so you’ll just have to remember to turn it off every time you finish using it.

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EcoFlow River 2 Max review: Should you buy one?

There are rival products around that deliver similar functionality to the EcoFlow River 2 Max – Bluetti sells a series of LiFePO 4 battery-based power stations that offer a similar set of features at a similar price per Wh, but they don’t charge as quickly as the EcoFlow.

That makes the River 2 Max a tempting buy. It’s packed with features, well priced, charges fast and is competitively priced. It’s a great solution for campers who need power on the move, or as an emergency power source to tide you over during power outages.

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