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EcoFlow RIVER Max review – 576Wh portable power station

Mhairi is a Mechanical Engineer. She has converted several vans and is studying for a PhD.

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Contents

This EcoFlow RIVER Max review will tell you everything you need to know about this portable power station.

EcoFlow power stations combine a lithium battery, an inverter and a solar charge controller in one portable unit, giving you the flexibility to plug in to 12V or 230V power wherever you are.

The EcoFlow RIVER and the EcoFlow RIVER Max are EcoFlow’s mid-sized powerbanks which are perfect for charging laptops and phones, or for powering mid-wattage devices, while still being small and light enough for easy transportation.

The EcoFlow RIVER Max is the same product as the EcoFlow RIVER, except it comes with an additional modular battery pack which doubles the total battery capacity. We’ve reviewed both models in tandem, then discussed which option might suit you best.

EcoFlow RIVER Max review

The EcoFlow RIVER Max portable power station contains a lithium-ion battery, a pure sine wave inverter and an MPPT solar charge controller. The inverter converts the low voltage battery power into 230V AC mains power and the solar charge controller manages the variable power input from a solar panel.

An LCD screen allows you to monitor the battery’s state of charge, how much power is being used, and how much charging power is coming in. The unit’s face and sides are covered in various ports and plug points for different types of power and there’s a chunky handle on top, making it easy to move around.

ecoflow river max review powerbank portable power station

Battery capacity

The EcoFlow RIVER Max has a 576Wh battery, comprised of a built-in 288Wh battery, and an additional, removable battery module, also 288Wh in size. This size of battery is big enough for 6 laptop charges, 20 camera charges and 42 phone charges. 

The EcoFlow RIVER is the EcoFlow RIVER Max but without the additoinal battery module connected. This means it has a 288Wh battery. This size of battery is big enough for 4 laptop charges, 11 camera charges and 26 phone charges. This gives you the flexibility to choose between more battery capacity or less weight for easier carrying. 

The extra battery pack can be bought separately if you decide to upgrade from the RIVER to the RIVER Max. It can also be useful if you won’t be able to recharge often and want the extra capacity available.

Other brands, such as Bluetti and Jackery, have used NMC lithium batteries in some of their portable power stations, but EcoFlow has chosen to use an LiFePO4 battery. LiFePO4 batteries are known for their longer life cycle, tolerance to high currents, and their thermal and chemical stability, making them the high-quality battery choice.

Power output

The EcoFlow RIVER and RIVER Max have three 230V plug sockets and a variety of 12V DC ports:  

230V AC

  • 3 x plug sockets

12V DC

  • 1 x cigarette lighter socket
  • 2 x USB-A ports
  • 1 x USB-A fast charge port
  • 1 x USB-C port

Although the 3-pin plug sockets provide 230V electricity, the power which can be drawn from the powerbank is limited by the size of the inverter, which is rated to 600W (with a surge rating of 1200W). This means the unit can power any 230V appliance with a power draw which is below 600W, but can also handle a higher power draw for short periods of time.

Recharging

The EcoFlow RIVER and RIVER Max can be charged from a mains plug, a car’s cigarette lighter socket or from a solar panel. They both have fast charging technology which allows them to be fully charged from mains power in under 2 hours, in comparison to other powerbanks which can take 7 or 8 hours.

EcoFlow RIVER – recharging time

  • Mains power plug – 1hr 40mins 
  • Cigarette lighter socket – 3 hours
  • Solar panel – 2-3 hours with 2 x 110W panels

EcoFlow RIVER Max – recharging time

  • Mains power plug – 1hr 40mins 
  • Cigarette lighter socket – 6 hours
  • Solar panel – 3-6 hours with 2 x 110W panels

These powerbanks can be charged from portable solar panels which can be placed out in the sun then folded away for easy carrying and transportation. The RIVER and RIVER Max can be charged from one EcoFlow 160W solar panel or from two EcoFlow 110W solar panels for a faster charge.

EcoFlow powerbanks use MC4 connectors to connect to their solar panels. MC4 connectors are the most commonly used on solar panel cables. This means that if you already have a solar panel, the EcoFlow powerbanks can be recharged using these, via the MC4 adapters provided with the unit. This makes them are to connect to than other powerbank brands which come with a less common connector type.

Display

The EcoFlow RIVER has a sleek design with an LCD screen which allows you to monitor the battery’s state of charge, the amount of power being used by your devices, and how much charging power is coming in.

EcoFlow RIVER Max – recommended usage

The EcoFlow RIVER and EcoFlow RIVER Max are ideal for charging electronic devices such as laptops, cameras and phones, but the 600W inverter will also allow you to power 230V appliances such as a speaker, a SUP board pump, a blender, a television or hair straighteners. Although the inverter can handle peak power draws up to 1200W, you won’t be able to use high wattage appliances such as a microwave, a hair dryer or an electric kettle.

These portable power stations could be really useful on weekend camping trips or for longer campervan holidays. Although they only have a small battery capacity in comparison to most campervan leisure batteries, they do provide a really simple alternative to a permanent electrical installation, especially when combined with a portable solar panel.

Alongside a portable solar panel, an EcoFlow powerbank would make a great remote working set-up, giving you potentially endless laptop charges to keep you connected when you’re travelling. And if you love working when the sun’s out, these powerbanks will let you stay outside for longer, without having to retreat inside when laptop batteries run low. 

Even when you’re based at home, these power stations would be really useful in spaces without plug points, such as conservatories, garages or out in the garden. In comparison to other powerbanks on the market, the EcoFlow RIVER has much faster charging, a good quality lithium battery and a really sleek design. 

If you’re looking for something to keep in your campervan instead of a permanent campervan electrical system, to power a fridge, lights, fans and appliances, you might need something bigger. The EcoFlow RIVER Pro or the EcoFlow Delta power stations have more battery capacity, a bigger inverter, and a longer lifespan.

EcoFlow RIVER portable power station review

Now you’ve just read the EcoFlow RIVER Max review, how do you know if you need the RIVER Max or the RIVER?

The EcoFlow RIVER Max has twice the battery capacity of the RIVER, so if you want to last longer off-grid, the RIVER Max will give you that flexibility. For example, if you’re relying on your powerbank to charge your laptop for a week, the RIVER will only give you four full charges, so might not be enough. If you want a bit more battery power, the RIVER Max is the safer choice, and you can easily adapt the RIVER Max into a smaller, lighter unit by removing the extra battery module, making it easier to carry. 

Remember, if you choose the EcoFlow RIVER, you can always buy the extra battery module at a later date if you feel you need it.

EcoFlow 160W solar panel review

A portable solar panel will give you the power to recharge a portable powerbank wherever you are, with zero installation hassle and a really easy set-up. Simply unfold the panels, set it up in the sun, and plug it in to the power station. 

The EcoFlow 160W solar panel is a monocrystalline solar panel with an efficiency of 22% which unfolds to cover an area of 160cm x 70cm, capturing enough solar power to recharge any portable power station.

ecoflow 160w solar panel review portable foldable campervan solar array and ecoflow river max

Compatibility

This solar panel is compatible with all EcoFlow powerbanks, but can also be connected to any solar charge controller with MC4 connectors attached. This means it can be used to charge a campervan’s leisure batteries, as long as you have a solar charge controller installed. This makes it a really good option for anyone who doesn’t have the roof space for a permanent solar panel installation – whenever you park up and the sun’s out, just unfold the portable solar panel and plug it into your charge controller.

Here’s a wiring diagram for charging a leisure battery from a portable solar panel:

ecoflow 160w solar panel wiring diagram to charge a leisure battery with a victron charge controller

To charge your leisure battery from the EcoFlow 160W solar panel, you would need to use the Victron 75/15 MPPT charge controller and a Victron solar cable twice the required length. This can be cut in half and connected to the charge controller output, as per the wiring diagram above.

To get the fastest possible charging speeds, multiple panels can be connected together to recharge an EcoFlow power bank. If you only have room for one panel, the EcoFlow 160W panel will be the best option for recharging an EcoFlow RIVER, RIVER Max, or RIVER Pro.

EcoFlow charging times

This 160W panel will recharge the EcoFlow powerbanks in the following times: 

  • EcoFlow RIVER – 2.5 hours
  • EcoFlow RIVER Max – 5 hours
  • EcoFlow RIVER Pro – 6 hours

If you want to charge these powerbanks faster, you can set-up two 110W solar panels connected in parallel, giving a larger total solar power of 220W. For this configuration, the recharge times are as follows: 

  • EcoFlow RIVER – 1.6 hours
  • EcoFlow RIVER Max – 3 hours
  • EcoFlow RIVER Pro – 4 hours

Remember, these times are based on perfect conditions. That means a high summer sun, no cloud coverage, and cool temperatures for the best possible solar panel efficiency. The recharge times could double with even a light cloud coverage.

Usability

The EcoFlow 160W solar panel is really easy to set-up and is designed to be fully portable. It weighs 7kg and once it’s neatly folded away, it measures at 40cm by 70cm, which can be easily packed away inside a campervan or car. The protective packing case also doubles up as the kickstand to prop the panel upright when you want to angled it towards the sun.

EcoFlow 160W solar panel – recommended usage

The EcoFlow 160W solar panel would be a perfect companion to the EcoFlow RIVER, EcoFlow RIVER Max, EcoFlow RIVER Pro or EcoFlow DELTA power stations. This would give you access to 230V and 12V power whenever you’re off-grid, whether that’s in a tent, a campervan, or just in the shed at the bottom of the garden.

The EcoFlow solar panel would also be a great option for a campervan which doesn’t have the roof space for a permanent solar panel, allowing you to recharge your leisure batteries whenever you’re parked up and the sun’s out.

Where to buy the EcoFlow RIVER, EcoFlow RIVER Max and EcoFlow 160W solar panel

Now that you’ve read our EcoFlow RIVER Max review, if you’ve decided it’s right for you, where can you purchase one? 

We have all of the EcoFlow powerbanks and solar panels for sale on our webshop, as well as other powerbank brands, such as Jackery and Bluetti. Delivery is free on orders over £50, and we’ve benchmarked all of our prices to make sure we’re cheaper than competitors.

Are you looking at portable power banks because the prospect of designing campervan electrics seems daunting and you don’t know where to start? Try our free electrical system design service where all you have to do is answer some questions and we’ll send you a bespoke design proposal for free! If you decide to order your components through us, we’ll also send you a free wiring diagram.

Our free electrical system design service makes off-grid energy simple.

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