Sunday, July 7, 2024
HomeRoad TripDon't buy an Ecoflow powerbank for Vanlife until you READ THIS!

Don’t buy an Ecoflow powerbank for Vanlife until you READ THIS!


Looking to add extra battery power to your campervan or motorhome? One of the best ways to do that is with a powerbank or portable power station; no electrical knowledge needed, no worry about connecting to other systems- it’s very easy. In this blog post, we review the models and help you choose the best option for you.

*We work hard to make this the best motorhome travel blog and road trip website possible, full of helpful content for you. The website is supported by our readers, so if you buy through links on this site we may earn a commission- at no extra cost to you. All opinions remain our own.

If you find this post useful, you can also treat us to a coffee – we promise to enjoy it while creating more useful content like this- we might even indulge in a biscuit (or two!)


My experience with Powerbanks for Motorhoming and Vanlife

One of my favourite things about motorhoming is the ability to stay in some incredible places, far from busy campsites and crowds. Whilst these places might include official parkups, aires, smaller campsites and wild parking spots, one thing they often have in common is a lack of electrical hookup.

I have set my motorhome up to be able to stay ‘off-grid’ for several weeks- in fact, I proved that recently during a tour of Ireland in my van when I didn’t plug into any electric hookup point for over 6 weeks! I also didn’t have a motorhome generator (these power stations are like a quieter version of a generator and much easier to use and service!)

Whilst I’ve added things such as a lithium battery and an extra solar panel, one of the best bits of kit on my motorhome is my Ecoflow Powerbank. In fact, this bit of kit is so essential that I’ve now got two (although I only take one in the motorhome at any one time).

Do you need a powerbank in your van?

Firstly, let’s deal with the obvious- you don’t NEED to buy a powerbank or portable power station in order to spend time in your motorhome. If you prefer campsites with electrical hookup and rarely use aires or any off-grid parkups, you definitely don’t need one.

If you feel you need more power, there are two options:

  • second (or bigger) leisure battery
  • Powerbank (like an Ecoflow)

You can only fit a second motorhome leisure battery if you have space for it in your vehicle- one of the reasons I couldn’t.

Also, it means you only get power inside your vehicle. If, like me, you spend a lot of time working from the road on a laptop, you may want to charge the laptop whilst you’re sitting outside. To do this easily, you’ll need a powerbank.

Over the past few years, I’ve used and reviewed several powerbanks. The two I used most are the:

Out of all the ones I’ve tried, the Ecoflow models are by far my favourite. They’re reliable, easy to use, easy to charge and just… work.

Still, even with Ecoflow there are plenty of models and options, so how do you choose the right model for you?

NOTE: Ecoflow call them portable power stations, but many people refer to them as powerbanks so I’ve used both terms interchangeably.

Using the Ecoflow River 2 outside my motorhome

How to Choose the Best Powerbank for Vanlife and Motorhome Travel

Like I mentioned previously, there are several models on the market. When choosing a portable power station, there are a few things to consider before you buy:

1. Power Capacity and Output

  • Usage Requirements: Determine the power needs of your devices. For high-demand appliances, a powerbank with a high capacity and output is necessary. But you DON’T need the biggest or most expensive to survive off-grid.
  • Battery Life: Consider how long the powerbank can sustain your devices. Larger capacities are beneficial for extended off-grid living.

2. Portability

  • Weight and Size: Remember your motorhome payload limits! Often, a lighter and more compact powerbank is easier to transport.
  • Ease of Use: Look for models with convenient handles and a durable build, especially if you plan to move the powerbank frequently around or outside your van.

3. Charging Speed

  • Recharge Time: Faster recharge times are make charging on the go easier. Consider models with quick recharge options via AC, car, or solar panels.
  • Solar Compatibility: If you plan to rely on solar energy, ensure the powerbank supports solar charging and check the compatibility with various solar panels.

4. Outlet Options

  • Variety of Outlets: More ports, including AC outlets, USB-A, USB-C, and DC carports, offer flexibility in powering multiple devices simultaneously.
  • Output Power: Ensure the ports can deliver sufficient power to your devices.

5. Budget

  • Cost vs. Features: Balance your budget against the features and capacity you need. Higher capacity and more advanced features typically come at a higher price, but again- that’s not always necessary.

6. Durability and Warranty

  • Build Quality: Look for models with robust construction that can withstand the rigours of road trip travel.
  • Warranty: A good warranty can provide peace of mind, protecting your investment against potential defects.
Ecoflow River Max Review
Best Portable power station for vanlife

My top Ecoflow Recommendations for vanlife

EcoFlow River 2 Series

Having used one of these for over 3 years, I am confident recommending it to any vanlifer or motorhomer who enjoys time off-grid.

The EcoFlow River 2 series includes the River 2 Max and River 2 Pro, designed to provide ample power for various devices and activities.

EcoFlow River 2 Max

  • Capacity: 576Wh
  • Output: 500W (Surge 1000W)
  • Weight: 6.1 kg
  • Ports: 1 AC outlet, 3 USB-A ports, 1 USB-C port, 1 DC carport
  • Recharge Time: 1.6 hours (AC), 6 hours (car), 3-6 hours (solar)

Pros:

  • Lightweight and portable
  • Fast recharge time
  • Versatile port options
  • Ideal for small to medium power needs
  • Compatible portable solar panels

Cons:

  • Smaller capacity- needs charging more frequently

EcoFlow River 2 Pro

  • Capacity: 720Wh
  • Output: 600W (Surge 1200W)
  • Weight: 7.2 kg
  • Ports: 2 AC outlets, 4 USB-A ports, 1 USB-C port, 1 DC carport
  • Recharge Time: 1.6 hours (AC), 6-7 hours (car), 4-8 hours (solar)

Pros:

  • Higher capacity than River 2 Max
  • Fast recharge time
  • More port options
  • Suitable for larger power needs
  • Compatible portable solar panels

Cons:

  • Slightly heavier and bulkier

Review & Summary of Ecoflow River

Best for light to moderate needs

These are perfect for people who spend some time off-grid and drive frequently to be able to recharge the unit on the go. The quick recharge time is a definite advantage for this.

They’re easily portable, easy to store and have enough power to refill laptops, drone batteries and camera batteries several times on one charge. If you need to power more devices, the EcoFlow River 2 Pro offers a good balance between capacity and portability. It can handle moderate power needs, such as running a small fridge, lights, and multiple devices simultaneously.


EcoFlow Delta Max

The EcoFlow Delta Max is a powerhouse designed for more demanding applications. It boasts a higher capacity and output, making it suitable for vanlifers who require substantial power.

EcoFlow Delta Max

  • Capacity: 1260Wh
  • Output: 1800W (Surge 3300W)
  • Weight: 14 kg
  • Ports: 6 AC outlets, 2 USB-C ports, 4 USB-A ports, 1 DC carport
  • Recharge Time: 1.6 hours (AC), 10-12 hours (car), 4-8 hours (solar)

Pros:

  • Extremely high capacity and output
  • Multiple port options, including six AC outlets
  • Fast recharge time
  • Can power high-demand devices
  • Compatible portable solar panels

Cons:

  • Heavy and less portable
  • Higher price point

Other options for the Delta series from Ecoflow are the Delta 2 and the Delta Pro:

Review & Summary of Ecoflow Delta

Best for full-timers and extended off-grid living

Personally, whilst the power and capability of the Delta is amazing, it was too big and heavy to work with my motorhome. However, it is FANTASTIC in my storage lockup where I have my motorcycle. If you have a heavier motorhome (I’m restricted to 3.5tonnes), with perhaps a garage, and want to charge large objects such as electric bicycles, the Delta is a fantastic option. It’s also the best option if you plan to spend a lot of time off-grid without driving, as it’s capacity is much larger.


Power Expansion – Extra Battery

The great feature with the Ecoflow Delta system, is that you can expand the output of the main battery by adding an additional battery – expansion pack.


Portable Solar Panels

As mentioned above with each of the Ecoflow systems, you can charge the units via portable solar panels.


Conclusion

Selecting the right powerbank or portable power station for vanlife or motorhome travel involves balancing your power needs, budget, and portability preferences. There’s not ‘one best option’ for all. Still, you definitely can’t go wrong with one of the options above.

Want more tips for motorhoming?

Here are some more ideas you might find useful:

Want FREE checklists, eBooks and additional tips to help? Visit our resource page

Last update on 2024-07-06 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Sharing is caring!



Source link

RELATED ARTICLES

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Most Popular

Recent Comments