When a power outage hits your home, what’s your best option to keep your fridge and freezer from spoiling?
EGO Australia just launched a new addition to their POWER+ range which may help to solve that problem.
We’re testing the Nexus Escape 400W Inverter, having reviewed its smaller sibling, the Escape 150 some time ago.
And we discovered that the Escape 400 is not a one trick pony either…
WHAT IS IT?
The Escape series is all about delivering portable power, mainly when you’re out and about (hence the moniker: Escape). That’s where it really shines, delivering 400 watts of continuous power and 800-watt peak power for appliances requiring additional start-up power.
With the Pure Sine Wave it is particularly suited to deliver high quality, clean power to sensitive electronics, like your laptop and other computing devices.
Versatility in delivery is also a feature: It can power (up to 100 Watts) 3 devices simultaneously via one USB-C port, one USB-C PD port, and one USB-A port. That’s on top of the 240V power outlet to keep household appliances going.
Extremely handy is also the built-in LED lights to provide ambient lighting. 3 modes: low and high brightness and flashing. Great during camping and when the power goes out.
WHERE DOES THE POWER COME FROM?
Obviously, and like many other portable power solutions, it’s battery-driven.
Most units have built-in batteries. Just like the UPS systems and other inverters we have reviewed on this site. They are hard to replace as I found out when my main UPS ran out of oomph after many years of service.
The Nexus Escape units have 56V batteries that click in simply and securely. Any battery in the EGO range, from 2.5Ah to 12Ah. This is one feature that I really like, particularly when you have more than one battery.
The Escape 400 Kit comes with a 5Ah battery, and we’ll check out later how long that lasts in various scenarios.
In the Kit is also the fairly massive Rapid Charger, model CH5500E.
Recharging the 5Ah battery from 0 to 100% takes only about 40 minutes.
BIGGER IS BETTER
What are the differences between this model and the Escape 150?
Size and power mainly.
The new 400W model is more substantial in weight and size.
Escape 400 – about 21 x 20 x 13cm. Weight: 1.65kg
Escape 150 – about 18 x 13 x 7cm. Weight: 0.6kg
5Ah Battery – Weight: 2.22kg
More power output is the obvious difference but also the greater versatility (USB-C ports and LED lights).
Another great feature is passthrough charging.
This means that you can power your devices whilst the Escape 400 itself is also being charged. The USB-C (Input/Output) is the port to use.
You can also charge up the unit with solar if you’re in the sticks. Again, only with USB-C. Would be nice if EGO came out with its own bespoke solar panel…
TO TEST or NOT TO TEST – IS THAT EVEN AN OPTION?
Funny I should even ask that question – particularly on a review and test site…
Well, there are certain things we did not test: like the easy things: will it power my phone, laptop, lights, small appliances?
Of course it will do all that.
What we were interested in: will it do the difficult things, the ones the Marketing Department doesn’t mention?
Particularly with EGO tools we go hard, trusting they can handle those scenarios as well.
We haven’t been disappointed yet.
So, will it keep my fridge and freezers running during a power outage?
And for how long?
Most power outages in our neck of the woods are of relative short duration. Less than a day. Some of them are planned, allowing us to take some measures and other are an unpleasant surprise.
It would be great if the Escape 400 could handle these scenarios.
I could, of course, trundle out my generator, hope it starts and connect my appliances with some long leads. Lots of effort, noise, muss and smell from petrol and smoke.
Could I just grab the Escape 400 and a battery and plug in these units?
There’s only 1 outlet.
Could it handle both with a double-headed extension cord?
I have a large fridge/freezer (F/F) and a medium size freezer unit.
They use around 70 to 80 Watts on average.
Technically, that should work, particularly with the additional 400-Watt ramp-up power available.
Plugged in the fridge/freezer into the EGO inverter, coupled with a Watt monitor.
With the 5Ah battery this gave running power to the F/F for 3hrs and 30 minutes at an average of 75Watt.
That’s a pretty good result.
With our EGO Z6 Zero Turn Mower and its four 12AH batteries I could chill for a day and a half!
Tried doing the same for the Hisense upright freezer.
Yet, for some reason, the Escape 400 went into overload mode straightaway.
This probably means that this freezer has a startup power draw higher than 800W.
I encountered that same problem when reviewing the Ecoflow River 2 power unit.
I tried to find out that bit of information by contacting the Hisense technical department but they referred me to the manual and spec sheet. Initial startup power is seldom mentioned…
Second Test – Making it Work
I know the Escape 400 should be able to handle it if we can overcome that start-up surge.
My old UPS – the one that needs a new battery – could do it, so, how about we let the Escape do the charging of the UPS?
It works. The Escape keeps the UPS fully charged for 2 hours and 30 minutes.
But doing so shaves off an hour of its endurance.
For good measure, we repeated this test again and we managed to eke out 3 hours and 30 minutes.
Perhaps the freezer went into hibernation?
At any rate, it lasted this time as long with the UPS go-between as without…
In a power out situation it’s good to know that our freezer also has access to the Escape’s electrons if routed via the constantly charging UPS.
Can we run BOTH appliances off the Escape 400??
At least not this freezer.
But, hey, it’s not even meant to do what we’ve subjected the Escape 400 to.
The EGO POWER+ Nexus Escape 400W Inverter Kit is well worth the AUD$599 if you go camping, need to use corded appliances where you have no access to mains power or for those unexpected power outages.
Where the unit really shines is when you have multiple batteries because you have already discovered the ever-growing range of outdoor power tools from EGO.
And in that case, you can simply get the Inverter only – without the charger and battery. And you’ll like the price even better: $259.
DRN thanks EGO Australia for supplying this review model.
And check out the product page at EGO for more info.