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Meet the Air Conditioner You Can Use During a Blackout


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EcoFlow has taken a pause from making portable power stations to introduce a portable air conditioner just in time for the hottest months of the year. Designed to run on AC power via an included adapter, with solar panels or the company’s own optional battery attachment, car charger or portable power stations, the EcoFlow Wave Portable Air Conditioner is the most versatile AC unit I’ve encountered. 

It’s available for sale now at the currently discounted, but still high price of $1,199 as a stand-alone device. The EcoFlow Wave Add-On Battery sells for an additional $799, which you’ll need for this thing to be useful off-grid, as it gives the device a 3-hour battery runtime. The Wave unit doesn’t have a built-in battery, so you’ll need some sort of battery accessory to power it without the adapter or car charger.

Despite the Wave’s wide array of potential run/charge options, I’ve just started testing a unit and have a lot of questions about the suggested uses for this product (ahem, camping?). Let’s get into it. 

First impressions: I’m confused

I received an EcoFlow Wave unit with the additional battery and the car charger. The first thing I noticed is that it’s heavy, both individually (38.58 pounds) and especially when you add on the 17.4-pound battery (which, again, I’m pretty sure you need for this thing to be remotely useful). Now, if the product were designed for in-home use only and you had to occasionally lug 38 or 56 pounds with the battery accessory from one room to another, it’s not as much of an issue.

But EcoFlow markets this air conditioner as something you could reasonably take camping, stow in your camper van (where space and weight are very much at a premium already) or otherwise bring along on an outdoor adventure. It even goes a step beyond to describe the space it can cool optimally as “about the size of” a four-person tent. 

EcoFlow Wave Portable Air Conditioner shown cooling a person sitting in front of an open tent

Hm.


EcoFlow

There are a couple of scenarios where this could make sense; car camping, for example, where you aren’t moving sites at all and stay near your vehicle. It might also work for certain camper scenarios where you don’t want to run your onboard AC — or the onboard AC isn’t as efficient or reliable as the Wave could be, particularly if you opt for solar panel charging. 

What isn’t displayed in the strange image of the man camping above is that your purchase also comes with the same sort of bendy hose as regular portable air conditioners. That way, you can more realistically seal up your tent and use the hose to direct heat away so you aren’t, like in this image, wasting AC by blasting it directly into nature without effectively diverting the warm air away from you. 

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This all brings me back to the potential use that makes much more sense for this product: blackouts or other power outages. There’s an increased risk of blackouts in large parts of the United States this summer, according to a report. The Wave could function as a useful, albeit pricey, preparedness tool that you store at home and enlist as needed. In the case of major heatwaves that overload the grid, anyone in your home especially vulnerable to high heat could gather and cool down.

While the add-on battery only gives the Wave 3 hours of runtime, EcoFlow claims its Delta Max power station can increase that runtime to 5 to 6 hours and the flagship Delta Pro power station all the way up to 12 hours of continual AC use. Note: EcoFlow says you can use any power station “as long as the AC output is over 600W.”

Add in solar panels for charging, and you could potentially use this thing off and on for days, if needed. 

The good news, plus a few more details

After I downloaded the EcoFlow app and plugged in the unit, the app instantly identified the air conditioner, making it incredibly easy to set up. From there, you can control temperature and other settings in the app or directly at the unit. The app connects to the unit via Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, so you can control it remotely. 

The Wave measures 20.39 inches tall by 12.2 inches wide, with a depth of 16.38 inches. It has a 4,000-Btu capacity and a cooling range of 60.8 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit. To extend the unit’s runtime, you can switch between AC and fan mode and there’s a drain in case high humidity causes water to collect. EcoFlow says the Wave is designed to not need to be drained, but depending on the humidity level where you are, it might still be necessary. 

So far I’ve found the product effective at cooling small spaces anecdotally, but I haven’t conducted any runtime tests or other more involved tests to determine how effective it really is at cooling. I’ll continue to try it out with some of the accessories I received and provide updates as I learn more. 

In the meantime, check out my review of this solar camping lantern and our portable air conditioner buying guide.



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