In recent months, we’ve reviewed a number of portable power stations from established brands like Jackery, EcoFlow, and BioLite. Those companies are well known within the industry, offering a range of devices designed to bring clean, quiet power to the campsite. But they are not the only ones looking to make a name for themselves in this increasingly crowded and competitive space. In fact, plenty of smaller brands offer high-quality alternatives at affordable prices.
One such company is BougeRV, which specializes in products that are designed for use while camping. Those products include portable refrigerators, an air conditioner, and an ice maker, all of which are perfect for use in an RV. And to keep those devices functioning, the company offers a line of portable power stations and solar panels to keep them charged while living off the grid.
Recently, we had the chance to put BougeRV’s 1100Wh power station through its paces to see how it stacks up to the competition. While the unit may lack some of the features offered by the more well-known brands, it still managed to impress us. If you’re considering adding a power station to your camping gear, here’s what you need to know about this budget-friendly option.
Compact and Powerful
As its name implies, the 1100Wh power station has a lithium-ion battery pack that offers 1100-watt hours of portable charging. With a power cell of that size, the device can recharge a smartphone more than 100 times or a laptop up to nine times. It’s also enough juice to run an LCD TV for 16 hours or power a mini-fridge for as many as 22 hours.
But when evaluating a portable power station, the size of the battery isn’t the only thing to consider. The unit must also be able to output enough power to support high-capacity devices and appliances. Thankfully, the BougeRV model delivers here as well, offering 1200 watts of sustained power. In a pinch, it can handle a surge of up to 2000 watts, which allows it to run everything from an electric grill or coffee maker to a blender and microwave oven.
What makes this all the more impressive is that the BougeRV power station delivers that performance in a reasonably compact package. The device measures 16″ x 12″ by 14″ in size, which makes it easy to store in a closet or cupboard when not in use. Weighing in at 30 pounds, it isn’t the lightest model on the market, but a pair of burly grab handles make it easy to lug around.
Power In, Power Out
In addition to packing quite a bit of onboard power, the device also has plenty of ways to distribute that energy. The power station is capable of charging up to ten different devices at once using its various ports. Those include three AC outlets like the ones found in your home and a 12-volt port used in cars. It also comes with two 12-volt barrel-style ports, two standard USB-A ports, a USB-A quick-charging (18W) port, and a single USB-C PD (power delivery) port with up to 60 watts of output. Those are all excellent options to have at your disposal, but considering how quickly it is becoming the standard, it would have been nice to have one or two more USB-C ports.
When it comes to charging the power station itself, there are three options available. It can plug into a wall outlet at home using the included AC adapter, which tops off the battery pack in about five hours. The unit can also be charged in a vehicle using a 12-volt port or via solar panels at the campsite. BougeRV includes cables in the box for all three methods, which isn’t something that can be said for all of its competitors.
If you need to recharge the unit as quickly as possible, there is another way to add juice to the power station’s battery. The device’s USB-C PD port is bidirectional, meaning electricity can flow in and out. In other words, a USB-C charger plugged into the port will send power back to the battery pack. Working in conjunction with the AC adapter, the 12-volt cable, or a solar panel, this allows the unit to charge from two sources at once. That’s pretty handy when you’re in a hurry.
One of my favorite features of the BougeRV power station is its dynamic LED display. Located on the front of the device, this screen does an excellent job of keeping users informed about everything that is happening with the unit. It not only shows the flow of power in and out of the battery but also indicates the current charge level and when specific ports are in use. It even shows when the fan is in operation, although, thanks to the amount of noise it generates, that’s usually pretty obvious.
BougeRV says that the batteries used in the power station are square-shaped, which gives them a lifespan that is twice as long as those that are cylindrical. The company claims that it can be recharged up to 1,500 times, which puts the unit on par with its top competitors. That number is higher than some of the models produced by other brands, however, ensuring a long life and use on many adventures.
Made from durable aluminum, the power station’s case also ensures that it will survive in the outdoors. The material gives the device a rugged build quality while keeping weight to a minimum. And unlike the garish colors used by other brands, this model comes across as understated and refined—yellow handles notwithstanding.
A Great Effort with Room for Improvement
BougeRV did an excellent job with its first major entry into the portable power station market. This unit delivers plenty of power in a relatively small form factor, with a generous number of charging ports. We even love the various options for recharging the device’s battery pack, and its LED display is bright, clear, and informative.
So, how can this unit be improved? Well, for starters, we’d like to see more USB-C ports integrated into its design. More and more devices are switching to this type of port, and having more options to use it is always welcomed. On top of that, the AC outlets are the two-pronged variety, which means you’ll need an adapter to plug in any devices with three-pronged grounded plugs.
On the power station’s website, BougeRV describes the unit as “strong but quiet.” That may be true most of the time, but when its fan turns on, it makes a sound akin to a jet engine just before takeoff. The fan is surprisingly noisy and somewhat distracting, especially in an enclosed space. Thankfully, it only kicks in when there is a signifcant demand for power.
Bang for the Buck
The best compliment we can give the BougeRV portable power station is that it offers a lot of bang for your buck. It isn’t the most powerful model on the market, nor does it have the most charging ports. It isn’t the smallest or lightest, either. But when you factor in its $899.99 price tag—along with everything else it brings to the table—it’s easy to see why this device would appeal to RVers.
If you’re in the market for a portable power station but don’t want to pay a lot of money for features you don’t need, the BougeRV is right for you. It is a solid entry that will keep your gadgets and appliances running while on the go. In the end, that’s precisely what you want from a product like this one.
BougeRV is so confident that RV.com readers will appreciate their power station that they are offering a $150 discount now through the end of the year. Just enter the coupon code “RV150” at checkout to get the discount. For more information, visit the company’s website.