'ZDNET Recommends': What exactly does it mean?
ZDNET's recommendations are based on many hours of testing, research, and comparison shopping. We gather data from the best available sources, including vendor and retailer listings as well as other relevant and independent reviews sites. And we pore over customer reviews to find out what matters to real people who already own and use the products and services we’re assessing.
When you click through from our site to a retailer and buy a product or service, we may earn affiliate commissions. This helps support our work, but does not affect what we cover or how, and it does not affect the price you pay. Neither ZDNET nor the author are compensated for these independent reviews. Indeed, we follow strict guidelines that ensure our editorial content is never influenced by advertisers.
ZDNET's editorial team writes on behalf of you, our reader. Our goal is to deliver the most accurate information and the most knowledgeable advice possible in order to help you make smarter buying decisions on tech gear and a wide array of products and services. Our editors thoroughly review and fact-check every article to ensure that our content meets the highest standards. If we have made an error or published misleading information, we will correct or clarify the article. If you see inaccuracies in our content, please report the mistake via this form.
Power banks have given way to power stations.
And while I really like the colossal capacity offered by behemoths, such as the new Zendure SuperBase V, sometimes I want something I can grab quickly to take with me on a job or in an emergency.
The EcoFlow River 2 fits the bill exactly.
Also: The 5 best portable power banks
The striking thing about the River 2 is how light it is -- 7.7lbs feels like nothing after some of the power stations I've been handling lately. On top of that, the handle is ergonomic and comfortable.
I could see this being a power station that I'd be happy to carry for a few miles if I needed that sort of power for drones, or cameras if I was on a shoot.
Also: Finally, a truly waterproof power bank
With a capacity of 256Wh, this is small enough to allow the River 2 to be portable, but enough to run a 100W load for close to 2.5 hours. The AC output can handle a sustained output of 300W (which would drain the River 2 in under an hour) and surge loads up to 600W.
As for recharging, the River 2 can use four methods -- AC, solar, 12V in-car, and USB-C. Using AC, the unit can go from zero to 100% in an hour, which means less time hanging around waiting for it to be ready.
Using portable solar panels, you could have the River 2 charged up in about 3 hours, which is very respectable.
Worried all that charging and discharging is going to wear out the River 2?
If you were to completely charge and discharge the River 2 six times a week, EcoFlow claims the lithium iron phosphate batteries would last for 9.6 years before their capacity drops to 80%.
Also: The 5 best portable power stations
The unit features a built-in fan to keep things cool when charging and discharging at high wattages, and this fan reaches some 62db, which is the sort of sound level you'd get from a household dishwasher.
Another job that the River 2 can be used for is as a backup device for when the power goes out. It can detect that the power has gone out and switch over to the battery in 30ms, so devices will keep on running as though nothing had happened.
For example, a typical Wi-Fi router draws about 10W, which means this unit can keep it going for almost 8 hours.
The unit is rugged and well-built and shrugs off the knocks and bumps that it will inevitably get when being used.
Currently available for $299 (there's a $60 off coupon at Amazon), this is a very competitively priced power station, and is highly recommended for those looking for a truly portable power solution.