While many of the products we review here are readily available to purchase and operate without a license, we always recommend hiring a qualified electrician to install and demonstrate their use.
In some cases, improper use and installation may result in a breach of insurance. Even worse, you could be putting yourself or your family at risk as an incorrectly installed electrical device could start a fire. So, don’t risk it - seek the services of a fully licensed electrician instead.
The portable power market is popping off right now, but unfortunately, these little power supplies can carry some pretty hefty price tags… enter BougeRV.
A company trying to inject some quality into the more affordable side of the residential power storage market, BougeRV is what many wandering souls have been waiting for.
The question is, however, is BougeRV’s contribution actually quality, or are there some obvious areas where costs have been cut to help these products find a foothold in the lower portion of the market?
Well, that’s precisely what I tasked myself with finding out when I picked up the BougeRV Portable Power Station and put it through its paces. Find my discoveries below!
BougeRV Portable Power Station At A Glance
The BougeRV Portable Power Station is a compact, medium-power generator with solar capabilities, an exceedingly handy addition to the feature set that allows you to keep your wilderness adventures green and affordable — Hooray!
BougeRV: Pros & Cons
- Pristine sine wave inversion for cleaner power
- Four charging options (including super fast dual charging)
- Simultaneous charge and discharge
- Robust ABS enclosure
- Solid aluminum cell shields
- 1500 charges to 80%
- 80–85 efficiency
- Versatile outlets
- Integrated MPPT controller for super efficient solar charging
- Great bang for buck
- Lightweight and compact
- Display automatically turns off to conserve energy (can be irritating)
- Only the 12v DC port has a dust cover
Build Quality & Design
Any generator that’s going to accompany you on your adventures needs to be able to roll with the punches, and thanks to a full ABS plastic enclosure, this BougeRV unit is certainly up to the challenge.
Everything seems perfectly secure on the inside as well, as there was zero rattling or shifting within when tipped on its side or shaken gently.
Thanks to some nifty aluminum shells and an impeccable internal layout, I wasn’t ever concerned about the stability of the lithium batteries either.
Compared to some of the upper-market solar power stations, the display is quite basic in that there aren’t really any bells and whistles, but in terms of pure functionality, you get all you need.
Indicator symbols tell you if the fan is running, warn you with misuse alerts, and inform you which outlets are active.
It also displays current charge, outgoing wattage, and incoming wattage, making for a very user-friendly interface, perfect for solar newbies.
And on the subject of outgoing and incoming wattage, you can charge and discharge it simultaneously, thereby increasing the life per cycle significantly, and this applies to the solar charging connection too!
Hook your panel array up to this unit and you’ll get far more watt hours from it.
Something I wasn’t too keen on is that the display is only active for a minute or so. Once it goes blank, you have to push the power button to reactivate it.
While this isn’t a big deal, it can be annoying if you’re attempting to do any long-scale performance monitoring (which I was).
Capacity & Performance
BougeRV rates this power station as a 1100 Wh, 1200-watt generator, which isn’t entirely true.
Yes, it can run at 1200 watts, but during my tests, it could only support maximum load for just over 5 minutes, and as for capacity, you’re looking at something more to the tune of 900 Wh for DC-only usage and roughly 940 Wh for AC-only usage.
This means that it has between an 80 and 85% efficiency score depending on the application, but don’t let that get you down.
Diminished real-life capacity is a given for solar power stations, and actually, 80–85% efficiency is pretty dang impressive for an affordable unit from a budget brand.
What’s more, this power station is rated for 1500 cycles to 80% charge, which blows most competitors out of the water.
Again, we have those slick aluminum battery cases to thank for this extended service life.
Unless you spend most of your time on the road, there’s a good chance that this unit will last a lifetime, but of course, there’s no way I could put overall service life to the test, so perhaps it’s best to take these claims with a pinch of salt.
However, what I can testify to is the excellence of the integrated MPPT controller for optimal solar charging efficiency.
A lot of the time you’d need to buy these components separately, so, in my opinion, this is a great touch on BougeRV’s part.
As for running volume, I recorded a maximum 49 dBA, which is very “liveable”, especially as you’ll only hit that noise level if you’re pushing it to the max with the fan going hell for leather.
When it comes to charging, BougeRV really went above and beyond with this unit, supplying four different methods.
You can use the included 200-watt brick adapter to get a full charge in just shy of 6 hours, the 12v DC port (with dust cover!) for charging it with your vehicle over the course of about 10 hours, or the solar port to recharge using free, green energy.
The speed of solar recharge is determined by your panel specifications, but if you reach the maximum permitted solar capacity of this power station, you can expect a full charge in just over 6 hours… weather permitting.
For me, the best aspect of the charging array is the USB-C port.
Now, this maxes out at 60 watts, so it’s not that powerful, and on its own, relatively useless, but what makes this addition pure genius is that you can use it to supplement a primary charging method.
For instance, during my tests, I paired the USB charging port with the brick charger and managed to go from completely dead to fully charged in 4 hours!
You can also pair it with the solar charging facilities to cut charge time down significantly, and as if that wasn’t cool enough, as an in/out port, you can also use it to power sensitive electronics like laptops and tablets.
Weighing just 29 lbs, it’s pretty easy getting this thing from A to B, and not just that, but the lateral handles make lifting the BougeRV Portable Power Station from the ground a total breeze.
That said, as it is such a lightweight unit, I’d love to have seen a central handle for one-handed carrying, but this is just me being picky — 29 lbs may be pushing it for one hand.
Ideally, I’d like to have stored this diminutive dynamo under my sleeping platform when not in use, but I’ve got about 6 inches to work with there, and unfortunately, this unit measures 11“ (L) x 7” (W) x 8” (H), so it doesn’t quite fit.
Yet, this isn’t necessarily a problem, as it’s small enough to be relatively unobtrusive wherever it goes in my RV, and I imagine you’ll feel the same way.
Ultimately, I think BougeRV has done a fantastic job in the portability department, as it’s not uncommon to find 1200-watt generators landing in the 40–70 lbs range.
Considering how fleshed out the charging options are in this unit, you’d be correct in assuming the outputs are varied and plentiful too.
You get 3 USB-C output ports for charging up your small smart electronics - we’re talking smartphones, laptops, tablets, cameras… you name it - and if you need to re-juice your battery on the double, one of the three is kitted out with fast charge technology.
There are also three standard AC outlets for powering all your standard household or camping appliances, which is insane for a power station of this size.
Normally, you’d be looking at two at the very most, and considering you also get dual DC outlets regulated at 13.3 amps, you really couldn’t ask for any more in terms of versatility.
Value For Money
Being that it delivers in every department, has no glaring design flaws, and arrives at a very reasonable price point compared to many competitor solar power stations.
This BougeRV unit offers amazing bang for your buck.
I know some may be willing to fork out more for a higher efficiency rating, but considering just how affordable this solar power station is, it’s an incredible device, and you’d have to pay a lot more to bring home anything significantly superior.
The Final Verdict
With multiple charging options, a fleshed-out output array, integrated MPPT technology, and comparatively high system efficiency, The 1200-watt BougeRV Portable Power Station is a real contender in the lower (and even to some extent the medium) level of the solar generator market!
Frankly, with all the fantastic features this game-changing company has managed to weave into this device, I’m surprised they were able to keep the footprint so small, which is of course another huge benefit for us wandering souls.
I’d be comfortable recommending this power station to anyone with relatively light power demands on the road, as perhaps this station’s only weakness is that it’s not going to be able to power more demanding appliances.
But for all the smaller essentials such as hair dryers, coffee machines, lights, fans, etc. it’s one of the best power stations on the market.
I give the BougeRV Portable Power Station 4.8/5