Colorful and Cold: We Review the BougeRV Portable Refrigerator

Around here, we love our gadgets. Sure, home theater is where we spend most of our time, but we do get out of the house from time to time. When we do, we don’t love having to deal with ice and coolers. We’d rather we had something that we could trust that will keep our food and drinks cold no matter where we are. Enter the $270 BougeRV portable refrigerator, our latest gadget under review. This portable refrigerator comes in multiple colors, can be powered by a traditional outlet or from the cigarette lighter in your car, and has enough space for a couple of six packs and lunch. This product has fantastic user reviews (not that you should always trust those). Should you buy it? Let’s discuss!

BougeRV Portable Refridgerator Specs

Capacity23 QT=22 L= 0.78 cu. ft.
Exterior sizes(L*W*H)22.7*12.6*13.0 inches
Interior sizes(L*W*D)13.8*9.8*9.8 inches
Temp Range-7℉~50℉(-22℃~10℃)
Wattage:MAX MODE 45W
Noise:≤45 dB
Product TypeColored Fridge
Warranty2+2 Years(Exclusive benefit for purchases made on the BougeRV official website)

Portable Refrigerators

Not a lot of people have experience with portable refrigerators. Somehow, I’m one of the few people that do. These devices often look exactly like portable coolers (or ice chests) but you plug them in. A friend of mine uses them all the time at his business and he has a couple of different models. They range from a fairly small portable refrigerator (like the BougeRV under review) to a couple of quite large ones with multiple compartments.

I’ve had experience with all of them. More importantly, I’ve listened to him complain about all of them for years. This has imbued me (quite against my will) with more knowledge about the ins and outs of portable refrigerators. Thus, my interest in reviewing the BougeRV portable refrigerator.

BougeRV Portable Refridgerator Overview

The BougeRV portable refrigerator comes in a number of colors, all of which can be described as the pastel version of their name. Our unit was “green” or “mint green” but you could have told me it was “light blue” and I would have had a hard time disagreeing with you. While I’m not a huge fan of pastel colors, the BougeRV “colorful” line are a nice change from the typical drab greys, blacks, and tans that you find with most portable refrigerators.

The unit is about 23″ by 12.5 by 13 inches and has an interior volume of 23 quarts (22 liters). Like a traditional cooler, it opens from the top. There is a small chain to keep the lid from overextending but no soft-close hinge. The controls are on the top as well and the power cord attaches to the end just below the controls. There is also a power cord that will plug into your car’s cigarette lighter.


There are a couple of things I look for in the controls of a portable refrigerator. First and foremost, I want them to be self-explanatory. You don’t reconfigure your portable refrigerator very often and you don’t want to have to go searching (either online or through your house) for a manual every time you decide to want to change the temp. The BougeRV portable refrigerator has not only simple controls but clearly labeled functions in case you get confused.

Most importantly, I want the controls to be self-locking. You don’t want to accidentally change the settings when moving or using the refrigerator. BougeRV has addressed this by having the controls lock after about a minute of inactivity. This is perfect as it allows you to make changes without having to worry about manually locking the controls.


For the review of the BougeRV portable refrigerator, I placed the unit inside and plugged it into the wall. There is a Max and Eco mode. For maximum performance, I started the unit off in Max mode but switched to Eco after a few days. According to the manual, the BougeRV portable refrigerator consumes less than 1kWh per day in either mode.

If you decide to plug the BougeRV portable refrigerator into your car battery, there is a voltage limiter that you can enable. This will restrict when the refrigerator will draw power. If your battery drops below a certain level, it will automatically switch off. When the battery returns to a level above the cut-out point, it will restart (after 2 minutes).

Most importantly, whether the unit cuts out automatically or if power is lost, the BougeRV portable refrigerator will return to full functioning when power is restored. It will remember the previous settings as well. I’ve had experience with portable refrigerators that default to standby mode when power cuts and then is restored. That’s a recipe for finding your food spoiled.

Getting Started with the BougeRV Portable Refrigerator

For this review, the first thing I did with the BougeRV portable refrigerator was plug it in and set it to the lowest setting (-8°). The internal thermometer read 79° at start and went down to 29° in 30 minutes. By 1.5 hours, it had reached its lowest temperature.

But that’s not the end.

When you first start up the BougeRV portable refrigerator, you’ll want to let it run for at least a day or two. For example, after it first reached -8°, I opened the fridge quickly and then closed it. The internal thermometer jumped from -8° to 6°! A day later, opening the closing the fridge made almost no change to the internal temp (a degree or two at most). If you are planning on using the BougeRV portable refrigerator, make sure you give it a day or so to completely cool before you get started.

Lastly, you are probably worried about noise. Many of these portable refrigerators can keep your food cool or cold but they pump out a bunch of noise and heat. The BougeRV portable refrigerator creates little of both. If you are standing right next to it, you’ll hear a very low hum. But you’ll have to really listen for it and be REALLY close. During cooling cycles, it can get a little louder, but even that isn’t very loud. It also seems to put out almost no heat. If you are searching for a quiet portable cooler, the BougeRV portable refrigerator fits the bill!


First, I set the BougeRV portable refrigerator to its lowest setting with it set at Max. This was to allow it to stay as cold as possible. First I wanted to test it with ice. I put a bowl of ice cubes in the BougeRV portable refrigerator to see how it would fare. To ensure a fair test, I put the bowl in first to let cool completely before I added the ice. I checked it a day later and the cubes had all basically connected. I was unable to pull individual cubes off with my hands. This indicated to me that the BougeRV portable refrigerator was either incapable of keeping the ice completely frozen or that there were enough variations in the temperature that the edges of the cubes melted and then re-froze to the other cubes.

To test how it acts with actual food, I added a single fudge bar to the BougeRV portable refrigerator. I stood it up in the corner expecting to find it the next day slightly smooshed or at least covered in frost. Neither was the case. A couple of days later I removed the bar. It was the same shape and had the same consistency as a bar from my house’s refrigerator. This showed me that while the BougeRV portable refrigerator might not be appropriate for keeping ice, it is just fine for frozen food.


While I took a couple of pics with a pen inside the BougeRV portable refrigerator for scale, I’m not sure it is enough for most people. Basically, you can get two six-packs side by side with four long necks in the remaining space. You can almost stack six packs (which would allow you to put four six-packs) but the top won’t completely close. Instead, you can think of the capacity of the BougeRV portable refrigerator as a couple of six-packs and a bunch of sandwiches. The BougeRV portable refrigerator isn’t for you if you prefer two-liter bottles. They won’t stand up and allow the top to close. You could lay them down and they’ll fit but you’ll quickly run out of room.

Since the BougeRV portable refrigerator has enough power to keep ice cream frozen, keeping food cool isn’t a problem. I loaded it up with a bunch of La Croix and some beers and still had room for some Ziplock bags full of marinating meat.

One thing I worry about with cooling is overly cold spots. With other portable refrigerators, I’ve experienced points inside that would get so cold during the cooling cycle that it would freeze food. While I did notice some slight icing on one wall, there was no freezing of food or drinks with the BougeRV portable refrigerator.

Take Away

I don’t love being overly positive about a product. Every product has problems. With the BougeRV portable refrigerator, I couldn’t find much to complain about in this review. Every complaint my friend has had about his portable refrigerators wasn’t a problem for the BougeRV. It would default to its previous settings if the power was cut, there wasn’t an excessively cold spot inside, and it maintained temperature well. I don’t personally love the color palate but that certainly isn’t a knock against the product. At $270 it isn’t the cheapest option out there but it certainly isn’t the most expensive. To get a product that works as well as it does, the BougeRV portable refrigerator seems to be a great investment. Recommended!

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