EcoFlow River series

The full EcoFlow River series. From River 2, 2 Max, and 2 Pro. Image: Ray Leathern

HOW the EcoFlow River series of power stations saved the day … and night

Here’s a first-hand story about how you don’t need load-shedding to get the most out of the EcoFlow River series of portable power stations …

EcoFlow River series

The full EcoFlow River series. From River 2, 2 Max, and 2 Pro. Image: Ray Leathern

It’s my pleasure, Mzansi. Really, don’t send your thanks all at once. I will accept cash donations, electricity vouchers, Woolies gift cards … loose change is fine, too. Feel free to have a crack at the comments section below, if you’re feeling talkative. Of course, I’m talking about the 50 days (as of Thursday 17 May 2024) of no load-shedding we’re enjoying. Yup, that’s ALL me. In the same way Jordie Barret missed that penalty kick in the Rugby World Cup final because my wife and I flicked our fingers at the TV.

Perhaps I should explain. I was contacted some time ago about reviewing the EcoFlow River series of portable power stations for The South African. Following 205 days of load-shedding 2022 and 332 days of load-shedding in 2023, this seemed like a great opportunity to educate our audience on how to combat the scourge of load-shedding. So, I accepted the offer. Almost immediately, load-shedding stopped. Like, dead. Finish, klaar, power for days …  


EcoFlow River series
From left to right, EcoFlow River 2, River 2 Pro and River 2 Max portable power devices. Image: Ray Leathern

Genuinely, all I could report on was how easy it was to keep the EcoFlow River Series fully charged up in the corner of my office. But just as I was about to give up on trying to review them at all, the good ol’ City of Cape Town rose to the occasion. And in that bizarre yin and yang, opposites attract, up-is-down and down-is-up way, I must actually applaud the city’s appalling performance this week. Because without it I wouldn’t have this great EcoFlow River Series story to share with you …

Firstly, I should explain the EcoFlow River series of portable power stations to you real quick. From smallest to biggest, they go like this:

  • EcoFlow River 2 – 256Wh capacity, 300W output: R3 999
  • EcoFlow River 2 Max – 512Wh capacity, 500W output: R7 999
  • EcoFlow River 2 Pro – 768Wh capacity, 800W output: R11 999


EcoFlow River series
When you’ve got a suburb-wide power outage, who you gonna call? EcoFlow! Image: Ray Leathern

They devices are produced in China and sold with free delivery. Order on the EcoFlow website and you can have it at your door front in five days. The range covers all possible needs and budgets. So, yes, the latest device, the River 2 Pro, is the most expensive but it has the largest capacity, recharges super-fast and can power things like a kettle, toaster and even a microwave if required. It also has a good variety of sockets for ease of use, too.

The River 2 Max is a great middle ground. It lasts as long as you’ll ever conceivably need and the recharge time is excellent, too. We’d like more variety of sockets though, because it’s not recommended that you use an adapter, which we had to occasionally. Also, the fan to keep it cool can get pretty loud on the Max. While the River 2 Pro’s fan kicks in less often and is quieter when it does.

Finally, there’s the base River 2, which has the lowest capacity but is also the cheapest and lightest to move around (which makes it really handy). Frankly, having the two larger items around meant I didn’t use it for anything more than charging small items like phones and laptops. However, the battery pack still performs really well, and if it’s the only one you can afford, it’s a great device to have. Okay, so that’s the EcoFlow River series of portable power devices in a nutshell. Now let me tell you why you don’t only need them when there’s load-shedding …


EcoFlow River series
The EcoFlow River 2 Pro in action. Capacity and recharge time is off the charts. Plenty of socket variety, too. Image: Ray Leathern

It happened this week. I get home from a massive weekly shop, and my wife tells me. “Don’t freak out, but we have no power.” She knows being without power is a bit of trigger for me. I once endured a full six days of no power when I was living in Jo’Burg and a fire knocked out the substation in my suburb. My patience for such things has never been the same since. Now, the substation in our neighbourhood has tripped again. The third time since September 2023 by the way, City of Cape Town. The issue is water runoff from the mountain getting into the substation.

Rant alert! Of course, every time this happens, City of Cape Town contractors start from scratch. A call is made to the city at 14h00, but an outside contractor only arrives on the scene at 20h00. Not knowing the runoff issue, I drive him to the offending substation that is invariably flooded. Like clockwork, he tells me it’s a high-voltage substation and requires a special team. They’re called out but only arrive the next morning at 09h00. You’ll note we’re already 19 hours into this ordeal with zero progress towards resolution.


EcoFlow River series
EcoFlow River 2 Max. The middle-ground device, but the fan runs a little loud when its keeping cool. Image: Ray Leathern

Already, my wife and I have been marshalling the EcoFlow River series devices like pros. The River 2 is keeping smaller devices (phones, portable lights) charged up. The EcoFlow River 2 Max is keeping the office going – WiFi router, laptops and computer screens. And the River 2 Pro, well, that’s like Thor. It’s primarily on television and entertainment duty but occasionally gets moved to the kitchen for the heavy lifting of microwave, kettle and toaster, which the other two cannot handle.

Probably around 14h00 that day – 24 hours in – the River 2 and River 2 Max are beginning to run low. So, we abandon anything extraneous and use only the River 2 Pro for the office. It’s remarkable, one-day in and we’re only taking two of the devices to friend’s house to recharge. Which they do in double-quick time, and they’re back in the house. Each can recharge from zero state of charge (SOC) in just 60 minutes. That gave me just enough time to visit the substation and seen the gemorse 30-hours in. They’d unfortunately dug into a mains water line somehow, and water was spraying metres into the air upon my arrival. Water and electricity, not a good combination … or so I’m told.


EcoFlow River series
The ‘little boy’ River 2. Less sockets and overall capacity, but it’s really easy to move around to help you recharge a variety of low-energy items. Image: Ray Leathern

At that point, the stress and strife just ended. I resigned myself to the potential of another night of no power and simply surrendered to the fact it was out of my control. Which, admittedly, was much easier to do knowing that my EcoFlow River series power devices were fully charged and ready to go. Even if the flooded substation couldn’t be resolved for another 24 hours, I knew we were covered. So, back home I went, the River 2 Pro had barely consumed any battery (72% left) in the office and the other two were used piecemeal as and when required. It was a beautiful, clear autumn night and we sat outside under the stars. Sometime that evening the power was restored. And, ironically enough, I was a little disappointed when it did. Out EcoFlow-powered timeout was over …

What are your thoughts on the EcoFlow River series? Would you consider having one insurance for an unplanned power outage? Be sure to share your thoughts with our audience in the comments section below. And don’t forget to follow us @TheSANews on X and The South African on Facebook for the latest updates. Click the links below to read trending stories in the last 24 hours on our website …

WHAT to expect from June 2024 SASSA old-age pension grants

HOW millions of SASSA social grant recipients are tripling their income

UPDATED info: May 2024 SASSA Older Persons grants

Beneficiaries get ready for stricter SASSA means tests in 2024