What’s the Difference Between A Portable Car & RV Fridge?
We’ve tested and reviewed a couple of portable 12 volt RV fridges before, but this is the first car fridge freezer we’ve gotten our hands on.
There are only a few differences between the two. The technology and design of the fridge freezer parts are basically the same.
Related Product: If you want a more portable 12 volt fridge, check out this version by Bodega.
The RV/camping versions tend to have a bigger focus on portability. They have bigger wheels and large extendable handles and roll easier on gravel or dirt.
Car refrigerators like the Bodega T50 still have wheels, but they’re smaller and so are the handles. You can still drag them around, but they will not roll as easily.
These 12 volt fridges are mostly made for leaving in the trunk of a car or to be used as a permanent fridge inside a camper or van.
In this review, I’ll go over some of the main features of the Bodega 50L (53 Quart) dual zone car fridge and the optional insulated cover you can get.
I’ll also talk about how well it’s worked for me and how much power it uses.
See also>>Bodega RV fridge R50 Review
- 53 Quart / 50 Liter Storage Capacity
- LCD Touch Screen w/ USB Port – for charging electronics
- Phone App Controls – Allows you to monitor and change temperatures, adjust settings, get notifications. Connects via Bluetooth
- AC (100-240V) or DC (12V) Power Options
- AC Adapter (Wall Plug)
- 12 Volt Adapter (12V Outlet Plug)
- -4°F to 68°F Temperature Range
- Fahrenheit or Celsius
- Dual Zone – Can have a fridge and freezer compartment.
- Removable Compartment Divider – Can turn the entire refrigerator into one big fridge or freezer compartment.
- LED Light Inside
- Works Up to a 30° Tilt
- Quiet 45db
- Compressor Cooled
- ECO/MAX Modes
- 3 Battery Level Protection Settings – Can set it so the fridge turns off it the battery goes below a certain voltage. Makes it so you won’t kill car battery.
- Drain Plug
- 2 Metal Baskets
- Folding Handles
- 34 lbs Empty Weight
- Removable Lid
What’s In The Box?
- Bodega T50 12 Volt Refrigerator
- 2 Wire Compartment Baskets
- User Manual
- AC Power Cable 6 feet 8 inches Long
- DC Power Cable 11 feet Long
The Bodega car fridge is a little different from the other portable fridges I’ve reviewed and tested. There’s a temperature limitation I want to mention.
Normally, 12 volt dual zone fridges can be a fridge/freezer, fridge/fridge, or a freezer/freezer.
When the compartment divider is in, the Bodega can only have a freezer in the right compartment. That’s the side the compressor is on.
The left side can only go as low as 14°F when the divider is in. When you remove the divider, the fridge automatically removes the second zone control because the fridge is now one big compartment.
When the divider is removed, the entire fridge can become a freezer and reach temperatures as low as -4°F.
The fridge compartment is on the left, and the freezer on the right.
Inner Dimensions (LxWxH)
Fridge – 9 x 10.5 x 13 inches
Freezer – 11.25 x 10.5 x 13 inches. The shelf where the compressor is creates an 8 inch deep part that’s 6 inches long.
21.5 x 10.5 x 13 inches (same shelf creates an 8 inch deep shelf that’s 6 inches long)
Outer Dimensions (LxWxH)
With Wheels & Handles
28.5 x 14 x 18
Without Wheels & Handles
26 x 13.5 x 18 inches
The wheels and handles can be removed if you need to fit the fridge into a small space, but remember to keep the side with the vents open so the fridge can get good airflow.
The wire baskets inside the Bodega car fridge match the shape of the compartments.
Bodega Portable Fridge Testing
Bodega advertises the T50 model can fit 57 12 fl. oz. cans inside of it. I didn’t have 57 cans, but there is a lot of space.
I especially appreciate the fridge side’s ability to fit a gallon of milk. Not every portable fridge can do that.
Even ones that are around the same size can have very limited space on the bottom.
The shelf on the freezer side makes it a little small, but most portable fridge freezers are that way.
The removable divider inside the Bodega T50 car fridge is easy to take out and put back into place.
Because of the removable divider, you can have one giant compartment to fit large stuff inside. That’s one of the major pros to this 12 volt fridge.
Since the divider just slides out, it doesn’t totally seal off the compartments, so there is a little of heat transfer between the freezer and the fridge.
The portable fridges I’ve tested with this design always use more power than the versions with permanent compartments.
It’s not a huge issue if you have unlimited power, but if you’re camping and using solar power, it’s something to think about.
Even though it has a large capacity, the outside isn’t so big that it won’t fit in the trunk of most cars.
It’s not the most insulated fridge, but the slim design is nice for travel.
Each compartment has temperature controls, there’s a setting button for MAX/ECO mode, and a power button.
The display on the Bodega car fridge is a touch screen. So there’s no physical buttons.
Sometimes the touch screens are a little hard to understand because they don’t always have controls for each compartment, but that’s not the case with this portable fridge.
There are two temperature displays and two pairs of + and – buttons to change the temperatures. You don’t need to figure out any complicated button combinations.
The setting button changes the fridge mode between ECO and MAX. There’s also a power button.
See Also: How to Charge Portable Refrigerator?
To change the battery protection levels between High, Middle, and Low. Simply long press the settings button until the current protection level starts flashing on the screen.
Then press the settings button again to switch between the levels.
On top of the buttons on the display being easy to understand. It’s also bright and easy to see in daylight.
The USB port on the Bodega car fridge freezer display has a cover, so it won’t get dirty when not in use.
There’s also a USB port built into the screen you can use to charge electronics while the fridge is on. It’s a nice addition that’s great for camping and picnics.
The screen will also show you the voltage and battery level of the source it’s connected to.
The Bodega T50 can be controlled using a phone app called “QZsmart”.
There’s a QR code inside the user manual you can scan that will take you directly to the download page for the app.
For initial setup, you need to have Wi-Fi, but after you’ve paired the fridge to your phone, it will only need to use Bluetooth.
The best part about the App is you can monitor the fridge’s current temperatures without having to look at the display.
It’s really handy when the fridge is in a trunk or tucked away in an RV storage compartment.
Using the app you can see or change the Bodega portable fridge’s temperatures without having to open up the storage compartment.
When we were using a portable refrigerator as an extra freezer in our RV, I used the app a lot to make sure the temperatures were staying around 0°F at all times.
It’s not a must have, but Apps for 12 volt fridges are more useful than you might think.
Some people have reported having some issues pairing their phones to the Bodega fridge for the first time.
The fridge can only connect to one phone at a time, so make sure you are the only person who’s connected. You also need Wi-Fi for pairing.
When you start the app, it gives you good instructions on how to pair. There are also well written instructions in the user manual.
Once paired, you can control compartment temperatures, change from Fahrenheit to Celsius, lock the touch screen, change the battery levels, switch between ECO and MAX mode, and more.
You can even set up Alexa assistant control through the app.
After using the phone app for a while, I noticed it can take a little time to reconnect to the fridge, even if the app was never closed.
If you are having trouble getting the fridge to go online, give it about 30 seconds. If that doesn’t work, restart the app and your Bluetooth.
The Bodega car fridge has small plastic wheels that can be removed.
Wheels & Handles
As I mentioned before, this is more of a stationary car fridge and not a portable camping fridge.
The Bodega car fridge has some small plastic wheels and handles that are great for pulling it around on cement or asphalt, but they’re pretty useless on gravel or dirt.
If you keep the fridge somewhere permanently, you can remove the wheels and handles.
The handles are small and plastic. On the opposite side of the wheels there’s a bi-folding handle that can double in length to help with pulling.
I’m not a huge fan of that style of handle, but it helps a little.
The handles are small and made of plastic on the Bodega car refrigerator.
I would like to see some wider, more durable handles. Since the wheels aren’t very big, I mostly carry the fridge.
It’s pretty lightweight when empty, but once it’s loaded with food, the handles bend a little under the weight.
To use the Bodega car fridge in my off-grid tool shed I use a 12 volt lithium battery, a battery socket outlet, and the DC power cable.
Like every portable fridge, the Bodega comes with an AC power cord and a DC power cord with a 12 volt plug that can go into cigarette and accessory outlets.
The 12 volt cord is really long, 11 feet, which gives you a lot of freedom to put the fridge anywhere inside a vehicle or even an RV.
The AC cord isn’t as long, but that’s normal for portable fridges.
Bodega car fridge being powered by a portable power station that’s charged by solar panels.
The two things I care about the most with portable fridges like the Bodega are; can it stay at the right temperatures and how much power does it use?
When I test portable fridges, I set one compartment to fridge (41°F) and freezer (0°F).
I then power empty for 24 hours inside so the temperature stays the same throughout the test, around 70°F.
|Bodega 50T Car Fridge
|AC Power (120V)
|DC Power (12 Volt)
|Watt Hours Used Over 24 Hours
The power usage is pretty similar to other portable fridges with a removable divider.
If you put already frozen or chilled food inside the compartments and keep the fridge in a cool place, the power usage should go down significantly.
Also, it uses a little less power on 12 volt. If you’re using a portable power station that has an AC outlet or a 12 volt outlet, I recommend using the 12 volt outlet.
It will use a lot less power not having to use the inverter and the Bodega is more efficient on 12 volt.
Car fridges like the Bodega are great for tailgating, picnics, and grocery shopping.
Bodega 12 Volt Fridge Freezer Review
Overall, the Bodega car fridge freezer has performed well in the time I’ve been using it.
I haven’t had a chance to use it in a hot car during the summer, but I’ll update this post when I get the chance.
There are some features I wish were better, but the pros outweigh the cons, especially when you consider how budget friendly it is.
If you want a fridge you can drag all over the place, this will not be the best option for you.
For a car fridge that will spend most of its time in one place, this is a fantastic choice.
- Dual Zone & Removable Divider
- Large Storage Capacity
- Slim Design
- Fast Cooling
- Long 12 Volt Power Cable
- Wide Temperature Range
- Phone App
- Easy to Understand Controls
- Bright display shows current temps and battery voltage.
- Optional Insulated Cover
- Wire baskets for both compartments.
- Small Plastic Handles & Wheels
- Left compartment can only get down to 14°F when divider is in.
- Sits directly on the ground.
- App sometimes needs to be restarted connect with the fridge.
- Lid can be removed but can’t change hinge side.
Bodega T50 Fridge Cover
- 2 Large Pockets – Perfect for storing the user manual and both power cables.
- Plastic Window for Display Screen
- Vent Openings
- Velcro Lid
- Heavy Duty Stain Resistant Oxford Cloth
- Reflective Inner Insulation
- Foam Padding for Insulation
- Holes for Wheels & Handles
There’s a zipper on each side that makes it easy to unzip the cover so you can open the lid.
Bodega Insulated Fridge Cover Review
Portable fridges go a lot of places, and they can get dirty pretty quickly. Especially the kind that sit directly on the ground like the Bodega T50.
This insulated cover is a great way to keep the outside of the 12 volt fridge clean, increase the efficiency by insulating it, and adding some storage pockets.
There are holes for the handles and wheels so you can still move it around easily.
The outside of the cover is heavy duty oxford cloth that is stain and water resistant. It has a plastic like feel too it and seems really durable.
Bodega T50 car fridge with the insulated cover open.
Inside the cover is aluminum for increased insulation. The foam padding between the material isn’t very thick, but it’s enough to help keep hot air out and cold air in.
There’s a clear plastic window where the display is. You can still use the touch screen buttons even through the plastic.
For the compressor and fan vents, there are screened holes in the cover.
There are two zipper tabs, so you can zip up the cover from two sides. This makes it easier to unzip the top when you want to open the fridge lid.
There’s also a Velcro secured part on top you can use to keep the lid on without having to zip it up.
When I first put the cover on the Bodega fridge, it was a little hard to understand, but I quickly figured it out and now I take it off or put it on pretty fast.
The Bodega car fridge insulated cover is great for protecting it in trunks and storage compartments.
As far as portable fridge covers go, this one by Bodega is just as good as anything else.
The pockets are nice to have and it does help a little with power usage, especially in sunny and hot conditions.
Have questions about the T50 Bodega car fridge? Leave a comment below.