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The EcoFlow Delta Pro Ultra is the home backup system we needed during a recent storm

The EcoFlow Delta Pro Ultra and Smart Home Panel 2 just launched at CES 2024. After putting it through a few weeks of testing and a storm, here are my thoughts.
Written by Maria Diaz, Staff Writer
EcoFlow DELTA Pro Ultra

The EcoFlow Delta Pro Ultra with the Trolley accessory.

Maria Diaz/ZDNET

ZDNET's key takeaways

  • The EcoFlow Delta Pro Ultra battery and inverter unit is available now for $4,999, while the Smart Home Panel 2 is available at $1,599 or bundled together for $6,399 for a limited time.
  • The single unit has a 6kWh capacity, 7200W output, and 5.6kW of solar input, allowing it to run an entire home, especially when stacked with other units for increased capacity.
  • The Delta Pro Ultra is decidedly an expensive solution for a home backup system and though portable, its hefty weight could affect portability. 

A whole-home power backup system is a must for many, especially those in an area that's often affected by hurricanes or other natural disasters. But a backup system like the brand new EcoFlow Delta Pro Ultra can be the perfect fit if you just want to make the switch to solar energy, want a backup in case of emergency, or want to shave a little money off your energy bill. 

Also: CES 2024: What's Next in Tech

Growing up in a developing nation located squarely in the middle of the Caribbean meant my family was used to constant power outages. Whether due to hurricanes or other macroeconomic reasons, power outages were a nearly daily occurrence in my upbringing, so when I made the decision to move to Eastern North Carolina, I knew I'd be getting a home backup system. 

View at Ecoflow

I was glad to learn the house my husband and I purchased already had a generator, but less glad when we realized it wasn't in working order. Since moving here less than two years ago, we've gone through about a handful of hours-long power outages where a power backup system would've come in handy. 

Going through power outages with three young kids isn't easy, especially during the hot summer months, so when I began looking for a whole-home power backup system, I was excited to test the Delta Pro Ultra. 

Once I got the Delta Pro Ultra and Smart Home Panel 2, we went looking for an electrician prepared to tackle the installation task. In the end, the installation of the subpanel, disconnection of the standby home generator, and installation of the 100 amp service wire to the subpanel ended up taking a duo of certified electricians about 8-10 hours. 

EcoFlow DELTA Pro Ultra & Smart Home Panel 2

The EcoFlow Delta Pro Ultra & Smart Home Panel 2 as installed in my garage. 

Maria Diaz/ZDNET

Since then, the EcoFlow Delta Pro Ultra has run like a well-oiled machine in our home in multiple testing scenarios, including simulated power outages. 

Also: This new portable power station from Anker is a definite head-turner

This impressive portable battery has proven to be like the Swiss Army Knife of home backup systems. It can be charged through AC power, solar panels, and gas generators. Solar energy users can use the DPU with existing rooftop solar panels or with flexible solar panels, so you could potentially go off the grid for days at a time and continuously charge your EcoFlow Delta Pro Ultra with solar energy. The DPU allows for a solar input of up to 16.8kWh, which lets users connect up to 42 400W solar panels. 

EcoFlow Delta Pro Ultra
Maria Diaz/ZDNET

This means that you could also charge your DPU and use it during peak energy hours to save money on your energy bill -- all with little work on your end. The EcoFlow app lets you schedule this so the battery takes over during peak hours and your home automatically goes back to grid electricity at night, when energy costs are lower. 

Testing the uninterrupted power switchover proved EcoFlow's claims to ring true, as the Smart Home Panel 2 ensures a fully automated whole-home switchover for our setup. We had a storm this week that caused school districts to cancel classes, offices advising employees to work remotely, and ended up being a great way to test the DPU and Smart Panel 2. 

EcoFlow alerts

The EcoFlow app shows the Smart Panel 2 began preparing for the storm (left) and then alerted us when we were on backup power.

Screenshot: Maria Diaz/ZDNET

As soon as the worst of the storm began hitting our home, the lights started flickering and we went to prepare for a power outage. We knew an outage was a possibility, as we had been alerted by the energy company and have also suffered power outages with every major storm that has hit the area in the past two years.

The EcoFlow app shows that the Smart Home Panel 2 had already been preparing for the storm beforehand by ensuring the battery was fully charged ahead of the storm. The power was only out for a few minutes during the storm, but the EcoFlow Smart Home Panel 2 and Delta Pro Ultra took over seamlessly, so much so that we didn't realize we were on backup power until a few minutes into the short outage. 

EcoFlow Delta Pro Ultra
Maria Diaz/ZDNET

The Smart Home Panel 2 has 12 loads of circuit level control, and we used each one to ensure the Delta Pro Ultra serves as a backup for what we need in our home during an outage. Because we have an older two-story, 3,000-square-foot home with two A/C compressors and two furnaces, we couldn't load the DPU with the whole house. 

Also: The best portable power stations

Instead, we ensured that the following items were covered during a power outage: kitchen appliances, including the refrigerator, kitchen outlets, garage, most of the downstairs lights, the upstairs furnace, a medium-sized refrigerator, and four bedrooms and bathrooms.

EcoFlow Delta Pro Ultra
Maria Diaz/ZDNET

This ensures that our kids can have a comfortable night's sleep during power outages, that we can cook, and a seamless switchover, where not even the Wi-Fi would be interrupted.

Furthermore, even though the EcoFlow Delta Pro Ultra lives in the garage connected to the Smart Home Panel 2, it's not limited to being a home backup system. We can still transport the portable battery to the backyard to power up devices or to the driveway to power the vacuum and carpet cleaners when deep cleaning the cars (ask me how I know). 

EcoFlow DELTA Pro Ultra
Maria Diaz/ZDNET

The Delta Pro Ultra is quite heavy, at a combined 186lbs for the battery and inverter, but if you can get it in your car or truck bed, it's sure to make for a great addition to a camping getaway.

Also: Anker's new Qi2 MagGo Power Bank offers a bonus feature for iPhone users

Since the EcoFlow allows for stacking, you could potentially scale up to 90kWh to power essential appliances for over a month. You could stack up to five DPU batteries under a single inverter and combine three stacks with the Smart Home Panel 2. Each extra DPU battery costs $3,599, but is available for the discounted price of $2,799 until February 9.

ZDNET's buying advice

The EcoFlow Delta Pro Ultra's biggest downside is that it's not a small startup cost. But considering how expensive traditional generators for whole-home backup can get, not to mention follow-up maintenance costs, it's a good investment that could lead to potential savings down the line, especially when combined with solar panels.

The DPU requires no maintenance, can run indoors safely, and its LFP battery and cooling system ensures temperature control. It's also a whisper-quiet solution, one that you can't even hear when under 2000W, a stark contrast to our generator that you can hear down the block when turned on. 

As far as alternative uses for the DPU, you could even start a solar panel setup for your home on your own terms with flexible solar panels that can be set up anywhere, use it as a power supply for an RV or off-the-grid cabin, or plug it into your home's manual transfer switch. 

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