HOME POWER STATIONS PACK PUNCH
Units won’t fit in a purse or pocket, but they pack a punch.
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.