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Winter is nearly here — and if you worry about power outages, now is the time to buy a portable power station, like the EF Ecoflow Portable Power Station River 2, which you can currently get at a discount on Amazon.
The River 2 portable power station is essentially an electric generator, which fully charges via an AC outlet in just one hour. The portable power station has an output of up to 600 watts, which means it can run six devices simultaneously. It has multiple ports built in, from 300-watt AC outlets to USB-Cs. You can charge pretty much any device you need.
Using long-life lithium iron phosphate battery cells, this portable power station can be charged more than 3,000 times (for about 10 years) before it will only charge to 80%, according to the company. The River 2 also includes protection from a battery management system, which monitors voltage, current and temperature to keep it running efficiently.
Weighing 7.7 pounds, the River 2 is easy to transport or take with you when camping or tailgating. The portable power station comes with an AC charging cable, a car charging cable, a user manual and a five-year warranty. It costs $299, but there’s a coupon to click to take $80 off.
Ecoflow sent me the River 2 portable power station to test out, so I put it to work to see if it’s worth the money.
The River 2 has more than 1,000 reviews and 4.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon, with most customers saying it works well. However, a few say that even after a full 24-hour charge, it dies quickly. A few other customers were not able to get it to fully charge to 100%, while a handful of others say they had defective products, but were able to get replacements through good customer service.
For my test, I first made sure to see if it would fully charge and found that not only did it get to 100%, but it also got there in an hour, as advertised. I then charged my iPhone without issue and my MacBook Air from 70% to 100%, which took an hour. For a battery charging another battery, I felt the 1 hour charge time was appropriate.
Unfortunately, I did have some issues. While it had no problem charging my phone and laptop, the portable power station could not handle my refrigerator, despite stating that it can power a fridge for 3-6 hours. Each time I tried, it became overloaded within a few seconds. To be fair, it says it can only power up to 600-watt appliances; I do not know what wattage mine is, so there is a chance it may work for others.
However, I also tried my Keurig coffee machine thinking it would work since it’s smaller, and it too became overloaded, shutting off within a second. As someone who does not consider themselves tech-savvy, I Googled why this might be happening and it appears to be something called a surge or “starting wattage,” which means that the wattage needed for the initial start is too much for the power station. That does not mean that it can’t keep the appliances running after the start, but if you can’t get them to start in the first place, there’s no way to test that.
For that reason, I can’t recommend it for a fridge or small appliance but can recommend it for laptops and other gadgets. Even after charging my phone and laptop, the power station still had 87% battery, so if you’re only using it for those items, it should make it through a power outage — even if it lasts for a few days.
The portable power station was also completely silent while charging my devices, which is a huge bonus if you lose power and your house is quiet, and it was easy to use — even for someone like me who has never used one before. For peace of mind during an electrical interruption, it is, in my opinion, worth $299. But obviously, it’s better if you catch it on sale like it is right now.
If you need a bigger power station that will run large appliances, this Jackery Explorer 1000 Portable Power Station has a 1002-watt-hour capacity (compared to Ecoflow’s 256Wh). Because it is bigger, you can power everything from a refrigerator or TV to an electric grill, fan and more. Priced at $1,099, you can save $200 now by clipping a coupon at checkout.
The Jackery power station also has solid reviews, with an average 4.8-star rating from more than 6,300 reviewers.
If you don’t think you’ll be using a portable power station for camping or while you’re out and about, you can also buy gas generators to use during power outages. This Westinghouse 12500 Watt Dual Fuel Home Backup Portable Generator is regularly sold for $1,249, but is currently 32% off and priced at $849.
If you lose power often, it might be worth it to invest in a whole-home generator as well, though they are quite pricey. You can get this Generac 70432 Home Standby Generator on Amazon for $6,147.
If you’re worried about future electricity infrastructure problems, you’ll definitely want a portable power station. And with some of these on sale right now, making preparations to ride out a potential zombie apocalypse has never been easier!