There’s a lot going on in the rechargeable battery space, with portable power stations all the rage this year, enabling more off-grid energy options than ever. This has also opened up new possibilities when it comes to portable devices that can make use of large rechargeable batteries, like the EcoFlow Wave 2, an air conditioner you can take just about anywhere.
EcoFlow, an eco-friendly energy solutions company, leverages portable power technology to create new and innovative appliances. I’ve spent some time with the EcoFlow Wave 2, and we’ll also publish a review for the brand’s Glacier portable fridge on GadgetGuy soon.
The Wave 2 is a compact AC unit that both heats and cools. You can connect it to mains power or attach it to an optional battery base so it can run completely unplugged on camping trips, in the boat, off-grid cottage, RV, truck or tent.
There are a variety of battery charging options too including AC, solar, car or even other portable battery packs.
The Wave 2 is not your average battery-powered AC unit. It has a massively powerful 5100 BTUs / 1500 watts of cooling power, meaning it can drop the temperature 10 degrees in five minutes from 35°C. On the heating side, there’s 6100 BTUs or 1800W, which can raise the temperature by 10°C in five minutes from 20°C. These ratings are assuming that the area warmed or cooled is 10m3.
It’s eco-friendly too, using R290 refrigerant which is said to have reduced environmental impact.
EcoFlow Wave 2 specifications
EcoFlow Wave (AC unit only)
EcoFlow Wave & Add-on Battery
1 year standard, 2 years by registering in the app
Overall, the EcoFlow Wave 2 and separate battery base feel well constructed and sturdy, although you wouldn’t want to drop either on a hard surface. Looks-wise, the use of grey and silver, plus a few chrome-coloured highlights does lend a certain premium-ness, so it’s an attractive package for an air conditioner.
While the Wave 2 is certainly compact for what it can do, it weighs about 14.5 kilos and is about the size of a smallish Esky. As such, it will take a bit of heft to move it, so it’s not something you’d throw into a rucksack or carry bag and take on the trail.
Located on its top is a bright LED readout where you can set your desired temperature, check the ambient temperature, and get information about heating and cooling modes, battery charge level and estimated battery life.
There are control buttons to increase or decrease the temperature, and select fan speed and AC modes. Beneath the readout is the main air outlet, which has blades that can be tilted to direct the airflow upward, forward, or closed off. A wide LED light rims the bottom of the cooling vent, illuminating blue for cooling, white for fan, and orange for heat.
There are air inlets at the front and rear, and an air exhaust vent on the top towards the back. As such, it’s not designed to have things stacked on it, or tucked into a corner, as the vents need clearance for airflow.
On the left-hand side is the AC power cable, “add-on” DC battery socket and solar/car charging plug. The AC power cable is fixed, so you can’t remove it if the cable gets damaged, which seems like an odd choice.
The proprietary battery socket uses a thick, short cable to link to the Wave 2’s battery base, and this must be plugged in to draw power or recharge the battery. If you are using the Wave 2 without the battery base, there’s a sliding cover to protect the other ports from dust.
The Wave 2 and Battery Base (separated), and the thick cable that joins them together (right).
Fixing the Wave 2 onto its battery base isn’t all that easy. It’s a slide-and-click affair where you align the device over the battery’s connecting position and slide forward to lock it into place. As the Wave 2 is a little heavy, this takes a bit of effort. While there’s a big handle on the battery base, there’s a small lip on each end of the device, which is not quite as handy.
Also, there are rubber feet on the bottom of the battery, however, a fully rubberized base would be much more durable when placing the unit on dirt and other rough surfaces.
Keep in mind that the Wave 2 is not an all-weather unit, so you should steer clear of rain, sea spray or snow, however, it does come with an IPX4 rating to protect it from the odd splash. The battery base has a slightly higher IP65 rating, so it can manage a light sprinkling as well.
Moving to the battery itself, this is a long rectangular slab with 1159 watt-hours of capacity. It weighs about 7.8 kilos on its own and adds another 10cm to the height of the Wave 2. The battery chemistry is NCM ternary Lithium, and is rated to have at least 80% of its capacity after 800 charge/discharge cycles.
On its front are four white LEDs to indicate the charge level. These will also turn orange for errors and over or under-temperature warnings.
Behind a rubber panel are the USB-C and USB-A ports. The USB-A has an 18W max charge, which is fine for topping up phones and other smaller devices, and the USB-C plug can manage 100W of power delivery, so it supports laptops and gadgets with larger batteries. It’s also good that the rubber cover doesn’t come off completely, as it would be easy to lose track of.
The Wave 2 has an operating temperature range of 5°C to 50°C, so it’s versatile for Australian climates, however, if you plan on using it in sub-zero conditions, it may not work, though it can be stored up to -10°C.
There are two main ways to use the Wave 2: indoors and outdoors. Indoors is when the Wave 2 is situated inside to heat or cool the space, and outdoors is when you place the unit outside to heat or cool the inside of a tent, RV or building. You might also want to put the Wave 2 outside to reduce noise.
The Wave 2 comes with two ducting tubes, face plates, and a drainage tube.
Yes, you could say that it’s installation-free. However, using ducting will maximise its efficiency. Otherwise, in the case of cooling, the Wave 2 will be blowing heated air into the same space that it’s meant to be cooling, and this isn’t especially ideal for a battery-powered unit.
To route exhaust air outside, and draw fresh air inside, there are two extendible, flexible tubes included in the box, along with some duct adaptor covers. So, when positioning the Wave 2 inside an off-grid house, for example, you can route both fresh air in and exhaust air out using the ducts, and there’s also a window vent board included. This is a rectangular card with vent cutouts that you can place in an open window.
When using the Wave 2 outside, you only need to duct the airflow into your space from the front air outlet. You could set it outside a tent for example, and run a single duct through a partially zipped door. Air could either be heated or cooled depending on what you want, and as exhaust air and inlets are outside anyway, they don’t need to be ducted.
Running the ducts is a bit of a pain, and will limit where you can place the Wave as it needs to be close to the ends of the ducts. You could also just run the unit without any ducting at all, which still seemed to work fine during my testing, and seemed pretty effective, but it wouldn’t be operating at full efficiency.
To operate, the Wave 2 is like most AC units. Just select your desired temperature, heating or cooling mode, and off you go. You’ll see both the set air temperature and the temperature coming out of the vent. Once they match up, the unit will turn off or reduce the fans to stay at the target temp.
If you swap between heating and cooling, the Wave needs a two-minute rest to get itself organized, but this shouldn’t be a bother for most uses.
The controls are easy to operate and the readout shows your AC mode as well as the expected battery life.
There’s also an app that you can connect wirelessly for remote access to the settings as well as a few extra controls like a timer for setting up schedules.
One thing to keep in mind is that the Wave 2 can ‘burn off’ condensation during air conditioning so you don’t need to worry about running a line for water drainage. However, on days above 70% humidity, or when using the heating function, there will still be condensation that needs to be drained occasionally. If it gets too much water in its reservoir, the Wave 2 will shut down.
There is a water level indicator on the control panel, which is handy to monitor, and you can run a drainage cycle by holding down two buttons. There’s a hose attachment to route the water from a small port at the back of the unit into a container or just on the ground.
While this is great, I discovered that if you move the Wave 2 around while there’s water in it, it’s easy to spill and it can make quite a mess if you’re not careful. It can also spill onto the battery when separating them, so it’s important to drain the water before trying to move anything around.
Heating and cooling performance
The standout feature of the Wave 2 is its power. It can blast a lot of cool or warm air into your space quickly. This is no piddly machine, and can really make rapid temperature changes, and works well in spaces up to around 20m3.
The blue light means cooling and the orange light means heating.
The fan mode is also handy to just keep the air moving around, so it’s great that this is an option as well. Interestingly, at maximum fan settings, the battery said it would last about 58 hours, so assuming this is accurate, it’s quite a lot of fan time and more than enough for a few sweltering nights.
Battery-wise, the total life you’ll get from a full charge is probably just under eight hours. This can vary widely depending on the mode you’re in and how the Wave 2 is set up. For example, if you run in economy mode and keep the air at 22°C, my readout said it was good for about 7.2 hours in Eco mode and 5.5 on in Standard mode. However, switch over to Max settings, which sets both the AC and fan at maximum output, and this will drop to around four hours.
The battery pack will take just over two hours to charge using mains power but it needs to be connected to the Wave 2, as there’s no way to run power to the base station directly.
A useful way to keep the battery topped up when camping is by using the sun, and the rated 3.6-hour charging time is impressive. You can connect solar panels that have an 11-60V/13A range, however, if the power is under voltage, only the fan will operate.
(Left) The Wave 2’s DC cable to connect the battery base to the AC unit, and you can see the solar/car cable above. (Right) A door closes to keep the dust out when only using the AC cable.
The same plug will link a car’s cigarette lighter, although you’ll need a different cable. In this case, the Wave 2 supports 12V/24V car charging, with a max current of 8A. You’ll need to turn the car on to avoid draining the car’s battery.
Then there’s always the option of hooking directly into EcoFlow’s Delta Max portable power station, which will give you 14 hours of charge in Eco mode, or the Delta Pro for 24 hours. You can also connect to any brand’s portable power station with an 820-watt-rated output, however, EcoFlow says that its battery units are 28% more efficient as they connect directly via the add-on DC connector that the battery base station uses.
Here’s a quick summary of the estimated charge times, depending on how you’re feeding power to the battery:
AC Charging: Achieves 60% charge in approximately 1 hour, fully charged in around 2.2 hours.
Car Charging (12V/96W): Fully charged in approximately 16.2 hours.
Car Charging (24V/192W): Fully charged in around 7.3 hours.
Solar Charging: Fully charged in about 3.6 hours.
Thankfully, there’s not a lot of maintenance required to keep the Wave 2 in good working order. You’re advised to clean its vent covers regularly with a damp cloth using mild detergent and leave them to air dry. These are easy to remove and there are no other consumables that you’re required to purchase. Otherwise, you just need to empty the condensation tank for long-term storage to avoid bacteria from growing inside.
Who is the EcoFlow Wave 2 for?
For those who want next-level ‘home-away-from-home’ comfort in the great outdoors, the EcoFlow Wave 2 is just the ticket. It offers powerful portable heating and cooling for off-grid homes, cottages, boats, trucks, tents and more.
The attachable battery pack will last from about 4-8 hours depending on your settings, and the Wave 2 can be used without any installation, although ducting it will give you the best results. It’s not cheap, at a sliver under $3K for both the Wave 2 and rechargeable battery base during the Christmas sales, but for the well-heeled grey nomad, outdoor aficionados or off-the-beaten-track luxury tourers, the Wave 2 will definitely keep you in comfortable climes.
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EcoFlow Wave 2
The EcoFlow Wave 2 is an attractive, powerful and portable air conditioner that can heat or cool a space quickly. It runs on battery power and doesn't require special installation. It's not cheap, however, and may only suit those willing to pay top dollar for their comfort.
Value for money
Ease of use
One of the most powerful portable battery powered AC units you can get
Can run with no installation, however using the included ducting will get you the most efficient results
No need to worry about moisture drainage when cooling in normal conditions
Attractive design, clear readout display and easy to operate
Good charging options including solar, car, AC and other portable power stations (EcoFlow batteries, etc).
It's an expensive option so ideal for those that place a high value on portable comfort
Condensation water spills out easily when moving the unit