Units won’t fit in a purse or pocket, but they pack a punch.

Austin American-Statesman Sunday - - BUSINESS SUNDAY - By Jim Ross­man

I’m a power junkie. Usu­ally, you’ll find me within reach of a power out­let of some sort or an ex­ter­nal bat­tery.

Run­ning out of bat­tery power on my phone or other gad­gets is one of my great­est fears, so I tend to fo­cus on ABC: Al­ways. Be. Charg­ing.

I wake up and take my iPhone off its charger on my bed­side clock ra­dio and put it in my pocket for the trip out to the car, where I plug it in to my car charger for the ride to work.

Once I’m at work, I have two charg­ers on my U-shaped desk, and the phone usu­ally lands on one of the charg­ers un­til I need to get up to go fix some­thing.

So when­ever I get an of­fer to re­view an ex­ter­nal bat­tery, I al­ways say yes.

I’ve been re­view­ing two ex­ter­nal bat­ter­ies that are a lit­tle larger than you might ex­pect.

Most of us think about an ex­ter­nal bat­tery as some­thing to throw in a com­puter bag or purse to charge the phone, but as bat­ter­ies get smaller and more pow­er­ful, I’m start­ing to no­tice larger units with built-in power in­vert­ers with AC out­lets in ad­di­tion to the tra­di­tional USB power out­lets.

The Adventure Ul­tra

The Adventure Ul­tra from MyCharge ($129.99, mycharge. com) is a 13,400-mil­liamp hour bat­tery about the size of a pa­per­back book.

It has a plethora of out­put jacks, start­ing with a 3.0-amp USB-C port, two 2.4-amp USB-A ports and one AC port that can pro­vide 45 watts of power to your small ap­pli­ances and elec­tron­ics.

The Adventure Ul­tra has enough juice to power a 32-inch LCD tele­vi­sion for about three hours. It’ll also power a small fan for up to eight hours.

You can charge the av­er­age smart­phone eight times.

The USB ports and AC plug

can be turned on or off separately. You can charge from both USB and AC ports at the same time, but you are limited to 45 watts of charg­ing power be­tween all the ports.

The Adventure Ul­tra mea­sures 1.2” x 5.8” x 4.1 inches and weighs 1.05 pounds.

It charges from a 20-volt wall charger, which pro­vides fast charg­ing of the bat­tery, plus pass-through charg­ing, so you can charge your phone from the Adventure Ul­tra while it charges.

The Adventure Ul­tra will hold its charge for up to one year and in­ter­nal cir­cuitry will shut things down if you plug in a de­vice that wants to pull more than 45 watts.

You’re not go­ing to put this one in your back pocket or purse, but it’ll fit in your com­puter bag or back­pack. It would also be great for an emer­gency kit.

Pros: Small, light, AC plug, in­ex­pen­sive. Cons: 45-watt limit. Bot­tom Line: A small bat­tery that’s just the right size.

Ecoflow River Mo­bile Power Sta­tion

The Ecoflow River Mo­bile Power Sta­tion ($699.99, Home De­pot, Camp­ing World, Ama­zon) is an ex­ter­nal bat­tery on a whole other level.

The River is about the size of a six pack of beer, but it holds an ab­surdly large 116,000 mAh bat­tery and can out­put 500 watts of power. It stays charged for a year.

There are 11 out­put ports — four USB-A (two 2-amp; two Quickcharge), two USB-C ports, two 12-volt DC out­lets, two AC out­lets and a 12-volt car port. Yes, it is pos­si­ble to charge 11 de­vices at a time.

The 9.8 x 6.3 x 8.2-inch River weighs 11 pounds, but its in­te­grated han­dle makes it quite easy to carry around. The case is wa­ter-re­sis­tant.

It gets charged by an in­cluded wall charger, car charger or an op­tional so­lar panel.

The wall charger can fully charge the River in about six hours; from your car it’ll take nine hours to fill up. Ecoflow also sells a so­lar panel ($299) that can charge the River in 10 to 15 hours of di­rect sun­light.

One of the River’s strong­est fea­tures is the dig­i­tal dis­play that shows how much power is be­ing drawn by the charg­ing de­vices. It also shows you how much time the bat­tery will last at the cur­rent charge rate. I liked plug­ging in dif­fer­ent things to see how much power they drew.

The River can power a lot of your house­hold gad­gets and de­vices, but Ecoflow warns not to try to plug in full-size re­frig­er­a­tors (mini fridges are OK), hair dry­ers, cof­fee mak­ers or heaters.

I sleep with a CPAP, and the River will power it for five nights be­fore it needs a recharge.

The River would be a per­fect com­pan­ion for a camp­ing trip or a week­end at the beach.

Pros: Great ca­pac­ity, tons of out­puts, not too heavy. Cons: Ex­pen­sive. Bot­tom Line: Per­fect bat­tery to have on hand for emer­gen­cies or ev­ery­day use.


Ecoflow River Mo­bile Power Sta­tion costs $699.99.

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