Extreme weather conditions have put portable power stations in the spotlight in recent years. They may not be able to run your entire home, but these battery power stations often have the capacity to run a large appliance, they can keep critical gear like CPAP machines and smartphones going, and they have a huge advantage over gas-powered generators in that they are safe to use indoors. They are also portable — you can literally grab one from the basement and take it camping. Or to that part of the back yard where there is no outlet to plug in power tools.
With the increased popularity of portable power stations has come a flood of versions from relatively unknown companies. The version I am reviewing today is from a company that has an established reputation and a wide range of power-related products. I first reviewed a portable power station from EcoFlow back in 2017. It was impressively well designed back then and the company’s products have only gotten better. This time around, I’m looking at the EcoFlow DELTA Max portable power station, along with the EcoFlow 400W portable solar panel. Portable Solar Power System
Six AC power outlets and the ability to charge using solar panels.
You will be hard-pressed to find a portable power station that can beat the DELTA Max in terms of power outputs.
One end is packed with six AC outlets, DC 5521 outlets, plus charging inputs. The other end sports four USB Type-A ports (two of those support fast charging), and a pair of 100W USB-C ports.
There are two versions of the Delta MAX. One has a 1600Wh battery, the other has a 2100Wh battery. Either way, there is a considerable amount of battery capacity on tap. If you need even more, EcoFlow sells optional external batteries. Connect the maximum two of these and that total power capacity for the system can be as high as 6048 Wh. Both versions can also handle devices that have a high power draw including toasters, microwave ovens and space heaters. Many portable power stations simply can’t handle the kind of power demand these devices have.
What kind of performance can you expect from the DELTA Max? According to EcoFlow, you would be able to charge a smartphone 175 times, a laptop 32 times, and you could keep a CPAP machine running constantly for 34 hours.
There are multiple ways to recharge the EcoFlow DELTA Max. You can plug it into a wall outlet, plug it into your vehicle’s 12V outlet, or connect it to optional solar panels.
If you use a wall outlet, there is a physical switch that lets you choose fast charging. This can boost charge speed so the power station is fully charged in just under two hours. However, I did find that when plugged into the power bars in my office, fast charging would trip the overload circuit. I was able to successfully use fast charge without issue plugged directly into other power outlets.
Plug in 800W of optional solar panels and you can fully charge the DELTA Max in as little as 3.5 hours — something to think about in situations where power outages could stretch into days.
Delta MAX (bottom) and the smaller Delta Mini.
In recent years, portable battery power stations have grown in capacity. However, not all manufacturers have been as effective at balancing power capacity with actual portability. Some of these things are simply too heavy to really qualify as being portable. When you need wheels, that’s a pretty good sign that a power station is not truly portable.
The DELTA Max tips the scales at 48 pounds. It’s heavy, but not prohibitively so. EcoFlow has designed it with a pair of heavy duty, comfortably rounded handles. The combination means it’s not a big deal to lug the DELTA Max from room to room, or out to the back yard. And if the weight is too much to be comfortable, the double-handle design means two people can carry it between them.
This portable power station’s integrated color LCD display does a good job of showing you important information including remaining battery percentage, output power, and remaining charge time — plus a raft of specialized info such as a fan indicator, high/low temperature indicators, and overload warning.
However, the DELTA Max can be connected to your Wi-Fi network. If you do so, you can use EcoFlow’s mobile app to monitor and control it without having to see the display. Check out my review of the DELTA Mini to see what the app looks like.
In addition to the DELTA Max, I was sent an EcoFlow 400W solar panel for testing. This is a large panel (it ends up being over five feet wide), but it folds into a neat package with a carrying handle, and includes an integrated kickstand for angling.
The Delta Max can be charged with optional solar panels like the EcoFlow 400W portable solar panel ... [+] for complete independence from the electrical grid.
It is IP68 rated for water resistance, and can be used to collect solar power (albeit more slowly) even during a downpour. I plugged it into the DELTA Max on a sunny, summer day and saw about a 25% charge over the course of mid-morning to late afternoon. I could probably have done better if I had been actively positioning the solar panel for maximum sun exposure, but I just laid it out on the patio and left it to do its thing.
Now that the winter months are here, I wouldn’t get that kind of efficiency, but even in poor conditions, having the solar panel provides insurance against an extended power outage.
Naturally, I put the DELTA Max (1600) through its charging/power paces. I wasn’t about to confirm it could charge a smartphone 135 times, but I gave it some more challenging tasks.
The EcoFlow Delta MAX kept this air purifier running for nearly three days.
After running my 21 cubic foot downstairs refrigerator for 24 hours, the power station still had an 18% charge. It was able to run an air purifier rated for large room use for nearly three straight days. I set it up on the kitchen counter and it had no problem running high demand appliances including a toaster.
In other words, this portable power station proved its power, flexibility, and value.
The Delta MAX can power high-demand devices like toasters, something many portable power stations ... [+] cannot do.
A complete system (with an EcoFlow DELTA Max and a 400W solar panel) isn’t cheap — you’re looking at an outlay of at least $3K at regular prices, but you get a lot of peace of mind with this investment. This includes a high capacity, high output portable power station that can be safely used indoors (and outdoors, so long as it is dry), with a highly effective solar panel that ensures you can keep it charged even if power goes down for an extended period.
It’s not a whole home backup solution, but the EcoFlow DELTA Max can keep critical appliances like refrigerators running for a day or more on a charge, and in the event of poor air quality it was able to power a large room air purifier for three straight days. Its high power output can operate amenities like toasters, coffee makers, and space heaters that many power stations cannot handle. And the DELTA Max has the capacity to keep essentials like your smartphone and LED lighting operating for weeks.
With extreme weather constantly threatening the power grid, a portable power station is becoming a home emergency must-have. The EcoFlow DELTA Max is one of the more flexible and powerful solutions, made even better when you pair it with a solar panel.
Portable Folding Solar Kit Disclosure: EcoFlow provided a power station and solar panel for evaluation purposes but had no input into this review.