Bodega Car Freezer Review-Fast Freezing, Bluetooth Control, New Professional Look.

Have you noticed an increase in car refrigerators/freezers being sold by more and more brands? That is EXCELLENT news for consumers because that could only result in better (and less expensive) products!

Bodega has also been in the car freezer space for some time, and so I was excited to get the opportunity to get this 40qt (38L) car fridge for review. 40 quarts holds a good amount of food and drink for a family of five for 3-5 days, depending on how much is consumed and what ingredients are brought.

bodega 40qt car fridge

I am an aficionado of both car freezers and battery power stations as they have made camping and road trips so much more convenient: keeping food and drinks cold or frozen at a consistent temperature and not having to stop and refill coolers with ice!


Car freezers have been vastly useful for road trips. Having ice-cold drinks and refreshing fruit in 110F heat at a rest stop — without having to constantly drop by a gas station to refill ice and drain melted water — had been such a blessing and time saver.

Interestingly, all the portable freezers I had reviewed (including those by Smittybilt, Whynter, and Costway) were manufactured by Alpicool who also sells them under their own brand. In 2022, I had found the "ultimate car freezer" that had served as my favorite since: Costway 53qt/50L dual-temperature car freezer (a clone of the Alpicool T50). It allowed me to bring both refrigerated AND frozen food to camping trips at the same time. Imagine surprising the kids with ice cream when it is hot outside?

This Bodega one is NOT one of those truly "Dual Zone" fridges. The marketing is misleading here because instead of having two compartments with independent temperature controls, it works like other single-temp fridges: the larger space cools to the temp you set, but the small one acts more like a fridge that never cools to below 34F. That means that you do not want to put any perishable, refrigerated items in the small compartment such as meats. This is an IMPORTANT distinction to make as you cannot separately control the temperature of the smaller space -- it is entirely dependent on what the large one is set to. For instance, if the large one is set to 40F, the small one will be around 50F.

car fridge

Further, unlike some of Bodega's other fridges that have a built-in battery, this one will require an external power source (either AC, power station that can optionally -- but not required to -- be paired with solar panels, or generator).


- Much more professional look than Bodega's earlier models
- Large capacity
-- There is a large and small section, both of which are separated by a wall
--- Only one temperature could be set for the entire unit (cannot be used as both a freezer and chiller like my own 54qt car freezer)
- Built-in wheels
-- This is fully needed and appreciated. A fully-stocked fridge this size can be HEAVY to carry around
- Fast-freezing
-- After 30 minutes, entire unit went from 73F to 28F, then to 0F after 60 minutes
- Adjustable temperature: -4F to 68F (-20C to 20C)
-- Allows use as either a fridge OR freezer, but not both
- 2 Energy modes: Max and Eco
-- Max is useful when surrounding temperature is 86F+ (30C). Runs compressor at a higher speed
-- Eco mode, although using less energy, can ruin the compressor in the long run because of increased stop and starts
- Temperature was roughly consistent during 2 days of continuous use. It was set at -4F, and spot checking throughout the day resulted in readings between -4F and 2F (in Max mode)
-- Temperatures will fluctuate slightly more in Eco mode
- Auto resume: When power supply is cut off and later restored, appliance continues operation
- Digital controls via physical buttons (Power, Settings, Plus, Minus)
-- All the information needed is displayed on a single screen
- App control via Bluetooth (available for iOS and Android. Search for "QZsmart" app). It did not pair with my generic app made by Alpicool (this is just a note, not a negative)
--- Max/Eco, Battery Protection Level, and Power On/Off
- USB port for charging mobile devices
- Two (2) Power options
-- 12V or 24V car adapter (cable included)
-- 100-240V AC wall plug
- Low energy usage. (See TIPS section for calculating how long the car freezer could be used for on a battery power station)
-- Bodega only uses power to reach or maintain set temperature. Once there, it goes idle
-- 60W with AC port of the Jackery Explorer 1000 (7W of that is used by Jackery's inverter)
-- 42W with 12V DC car port on the Jackery
-- 1W – 2W on idle
- Three (3) levels of Battery Protection to help prevent the car battery from running down
- Top opens chest style and can be changed to open from either side
- Fairly quiet
- Built-in, large LED over larger section to help see in the dark
- Usable during off-roading
-- Works at up to 30 degree angle tilt, although the product description says it can work at up to 45 degrees
-- Anti-shake design keeps compressor protected
- Sturdy carry handles on both ends that also fold away
- Can be used while the car is turned off, if its car port has a bypass to work directly off the battery
-- Many SUVs, trucks, and minivans today have such output at the back. Refer to the car's owner manual
- Drain hole at the bottom to let excess or spilled liquid out
- 2 "cup holder" and a larger, rectangular indentation on top of the lid for holding drinks and larger items
-- Removable cutting board on the inside lid can be placed in here to keep things sturdy
- Built-in bottle opener
- Built-in loops to clip a 100W-200W foldable solar panel (or equivalent size) to
-- You cannot directly power fridge off solar panels. You would need a Power Station with solar input capability for that
- Mesh on one side to hold small items like your phone, manual, recipes, ...
- Detailed, informative manual that was understandable
- Good customer service: my questions were adequately addressed within 24-48 hours (I assume CS is based in China)

bodega car fridge inside


- Larger and smaller sections are separated by a wall, making it not possible to store a large rack of ribs the entire length without folding or cutting them
-- One temperature for the entire unit
--- Cannot be used as both a fridge and freezer at the same time
-- No removable wire basket to easily load/unload content from larger section
- At 34 lbs, could be heavy for some, especially if the inside is completely full
-- Lighter than my 54 qt freezer by about 5 lbs
- May be too large for some cars
- Like other car freezers in this price range, requires manual defrosting
-- To defrost and remove excess ice, power off the unit and wipe dry, then power back on
--- Do not allow a large amount of frost to build up on the inside of the walls as that will make cooling less efficient
-- I was not immediately able to find any portable car freezers that have an automatic, self-defrost cycle that "cleans" the freezer from accumulating too much frost
- AC plug is only two-pronged, and as such, cannot be grounded
- No protective carry bag included
- Not waterproof. Keep it out of the rain


- When you receive your car freezer, do NOT plug it in until it has stood upright for at least 10 hours to allow the refrigerant to settle
- Internal temperature is displayed on the LCD at power-on and updates periodically
- There is no built-in battery
-- Requires a power station, 12V/24V DC/car port, 120V/220V AC, or solar panel(s) capable of providing at least 60W of sustained power

car fridge before use


Here is how to change the different settings.

Compressor Power: Eco or Max (Default)
- TO SET: When powered on, briefly press the Settings button to cycle between Eco/Max
- "Eco" uses less power (runs compressor at lower speed) than "Max" to minimize draw on any connected battery, but can ruin the compressor in the long run because of increased rate of start/stop cycles
- "Max" runs compressor at full power to reach and maintain temperature

Battery Voltage Protection: Low, Medium (Default), or High
- TO SET: When powered on, hold the Settings button for 3 seconds. Cycle between L/M/H with the Settings button
- The car freezer will operate until the battery reaches a specific voltage level. Not setting the appropriate level could potentially leave you stranded with a car that will not start
- When connected to a battery power station: Use Medium or Low
- When connected to a car: Use High or Medium


If an error occurs, one of the following codes will display on the LCD:
- F1: Low power protection activated. Change H3 (High) to H2 or H1 (Medium or Low)
- F2: Fan overloaded. Turn unit off for 30 minutes to let cool
- F3: Compressor overloaded. Turn unit off for 30 minutes to let cool
- F4: Compressor not turning on. Turn unit off for 5 minutes and try again
- F5: Compressor controller module overloaded. Turn unit off for 30 minutes and let cool in a ventilated place
- F6: Controller failed to read sensors. Turn unit off for 5 minutes and try again
- F7/F8: Temperature sensor error. Turn unit off and back on

I did not try to enter programming mode. Many fridges let you get into it in one of two ways, but short of describing what each option is for, I am skipping the steps and settings for this review. This is to help prevent those not knowing what they are doing from damaging the fridge.


- To calculate how long the car freezer could be used for with a battery power station depends on the battery's capacity (Wh) and how much power (W) the Bodega draws
- Examples are with a Jackery Explorer 1000 (1002 Wh). Halve the time when used with a Goal Zero Yeti 500x (500Wh)
-- Plugged into AC port: 1002 Wh x 0.85 / Device Wattage
--- As short as 14.2 hours (1002 Wh x 0.85 / 60W). Longer when idle
--- About 10-15% of power is lost during conversion from DC (battery) to AC, which is normal for all power stations
-- Plugged into DC port: 1002 Wh / Device Wattage
--- As short as 23.8 hours (1002 Wh / 42W). Longer when idle


- Bodega only uses power to reach or maintain the set temperature. Once there, it goes idle
-- Time can be shorter or much longer, depending on how often the Bodega' compressor needs to be activated to reach or maintain target temperature
- The colder the set temperature and/or the warmer the ambient (surrounding) heat, the more energy will be used
-- Keep in a cool location and out of direct sunlight for best efficiency
-- Consider putting the Bodega in an insulated bag for better cooling
- Ensure adequate air flow (4"+) on all sides of the Bodega, especially where the fan is at
- The more frozen/cold items are inside, the longer they can stay cool/frozen. Avoid opening the lid too often or for too long


- Ensure lid seal is clean and unobstructed to keep cold air from escaping
- Clean inside with a damp cloth every week
-- Use sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) dissolved in lukewarm water to clean anything dirty
-- Allow inside to dry before closing lid and putting away
- Do not use detergent, soap, or abrasive/sharp products
- Never clean under running water
- Do NOT store the unit on its side. Always keep it upright to prevent damage to the compressor


The Bodega (40 qt/38L) car freezer impressed me with its fast cooling efficiency as one would expect in today's market amidst strong competition. It has Bluetooth available for remote monitoring and a port for USB recharging. The ability to reconfigure the lid to open in two ways makes it additionally useful in different mount configurations. During my few days of testing, the compressor reliably kept the insides at the set temperature, although the biggest gripe I have revolves around the marketing claiming this to be a "dual zone" when you actually cannot independently control the cooling of both compartments. This is, however, a trick many competitors use in their product literature. Just remember: only the large compartment can be controlled, and the smaller one will receive some of the cold from the sidelines but never going cool enough to freeze. Nonetheless, this is a well-made, good-looking fridge that has thoughtful features and a renewed, professional look that trumps their older models.

Also read: Bodega TWW45 12 volt cooler review

Bodega 35L Electric Cooler Review: ‘Phenomenal’

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