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Whynter FM-45G Review

Performance where it matters for a lower cost
Whynter FM-45G
Photo: Whynter
Editors' Choice Award
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Price:  $529 List | $470.75 at Amazon
Pros:  Excellent low energy mode, long cord, good temperature range and control, useful baskets, less expensive
Cons:  Heavy, small capacity, control panel on back
Manufacturer:   Whynter
By Maggie Brandenburg ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 3, 2020
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70
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#3 of 9
  • Temperature Control - 25% 8
  • Insulation - 25% 8
  • Energy Consumption - 20% 7
  • Ease of Use - 15% 7
  • Portability - 10% 3
  • Features - 5% 5

Our Verdict

The Whynter FM-45G scores well overall among all the powered coolers we tested while costing a fraction of the price of most other top-rated models. It boasts great temperature control, an excellent energy-saving mode, efficient insulation, and durable design. Though it's quite heavy and awkward to carry, once in use, we love it. The Whynter has the convenience and performance you need where it counts for a price that's all the more impressive.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Whynter FM-45G
This Product
Whynter FM-45G
Awards Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award  
Price $470.75 at AmazonCheck Price at Backcountry
Compare at 3 sellers
$1,000 List$349.99 at Amazon$1,012.34 at Amazon
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Pros Excellent low energy mode, long cord, good temperature range and control, useful baskets, less expensiveExcellent temperature control, energy efficient, large capacity, extremely sturdy, full of useful featuresEnergy efficient, good features, super durable, long DC cordVery energy efficient, relatively inexpensive, impressive minimum temperature, surprisingly lightweight, long cordCools relatively quickly, helpful/thorough manual, long warranty, large capacity
Cons Heavy, small capacity, control panel on backExpensive, relatively short cords, no energy-saving modeUnimpressive minimum temperature, heavy for its size, relatively loudNot durable, takes a long time to cool, insulation not great, fairly loudTemperature performance not very good, expensive, power-hungry, awkward basket
Bottom Line Performance where it matters for a lower costControl, efficiency, and ruggedness built with long term use in mindEnergy efficient and tank-like, though not the coldest or the quietestIf you're on a tighter budget but still want mid-level performance, we recommend this modelDoesn't keep up with the competition, but surpasses them all with its price tag
Rating Categories Whynter FM-45G Dometic CFX 50W Engel Platinum MT35 Costway 54 ARB Fridge Freezer 50
Temperature Control (25%)
8.0
9.0
6.0
8.0
7.0
Insulation (25%)
8.0
8.0
8.0
5.0
7.0
Energy Consumption (20%)
7.0
7.0
9.0
8.0
6.0
Ease Of Use (15%)
7.0
8.0
6.0
5.0
5.0
Portability (10%)
3.0
6.0
6.0
7.0
5.0
Features (5%)
5.0
8.0
6.0
6.0
7.0
Specs Whynter FM-45G Dometic CFX 50W Engel Platinum MT35 Costway 54 ARB Fridge Freezer 50
Minimum Temperature Achieved (F) -5.8ºF -8.9ºF 5.5ºF -8.9ºF 1.4ºF
Temperature Increase in 36 Hours Unplugged (F) 21.6ºF 20.7ºF 18.9ºF 27.9ºF 15.8ºF
Power Draw in Watts (cooling) 65.5 W
35.5 (low)
51.8 W 31.7 W 50.0 W
38.9 W (eco)
64.3 W
Power Draw in Watts (steady) 0.8 W 0.8 W 1.1 W 1.0 W 0.7 W
Power Draw in Watts (heating) N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Voltage Use (cooling) 13.39 V 13.26 V 13.85 V 13.47 V 11.98 V
Amperage Use (cooling) 4.91 A 3.89 A 2.30 A 3.72 A 5.37 A
Minutes to Cool (according to display) 145 min 16 min 52 min 80 min 158 min
Hours to Cool (measured) 8 hrs 5.5 hrs 16 hrs 9.5 hrs 4.7 hrs
Maximum Temperature Achieved (F) N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Temperature Accuracy (diff btwn display and actual) +/- 1.6ºF +/- 3.0ºF +/- 2.5ºF +/- 3.8ºF +/- 5.8ºF
Weight 54.6 lb 46.4 lb 47.8 lb 34 lb 49.8 lb
Claimed Capacity (volume) 42.5 L
45 quarts
46 L
48.6 quarts
32 L
34 quarts
51.1 L
54 quarts
47.3 L
50 quarts
Measured Capacity (volume) 42.4 L
40.1 quarts
54.2 L
51.3 quarts
27.5 L
29 quarts
49.1 L
51.8 quarts
50.2 L
47.5 quarts
Capacity (cans) 58 cans 86 cans 38 cans 72 cans 72 cans
Method of Cooling 12V compressor 12V compressor 12V compressor 12V compressor 12V compressor
Advertised Achievable Temperature Range (F) -8ºF to 50ºF -8ºF to 50ºF 0ºF to 50ºF -4ºF to 50ºF 0ºF to 50ºF
Acceptable Ambient Temperature Range (F) 41ºF to 90ºF
(max setting if >90ºF)
61ºF to 109ºF
(min temp cannot be reached is >90ºF)
Not specified 50ºF to 109ºF 61ºF to 109ºF
(min temp cannot be reached if >90ºF)
Exterior Dimensions (D x W x H) 17.25" x 25" x 20" 17.9" x 28.5" x 18.5" 14.25" x 28" x 15.7" 21" x 27.5" x 14" 15" x 28" x 17"
Interior Dimensions (D x W x H) 11.25" x 11"/7.25" x 15"/7.25" 13.2" x 13.5"/7.25" x 14.2"/6.25" 15.25" x 10.75" x 10.25" 10.4" x 12.75"/6.4" x 17.25"/10.6" 11.2" x 13.3"/6" x 15.8"/8.1"
DC Cord Length (feet) 9' 6" 6' 3" 9' 6.5" 7' 9.75" 6'
AC Cord Length (feet) 6' 2" 6' 3" 5' 8" 6' 4.25" (AC adapter only)
14' 7" (DC and AC adapter)
6' 3" (AC cord)
8' 9" (AC adapter only)
15' 3" (DC and AC adapter)
Comes With AC cord, DC cord AC cord, DC cord AC cord, DC cord, extra fuse DC cord, DC to AC adapter and cord AC cord, DC cord, DC to AC adapter and cord
Features Displays battery level, drain/plug WiFi app, internal light, C/F display, USB port, adjust display brightness, drain/plug, removable adapter collar on DC cord, emergency switch for control panel failure Removable lid, internal light, C/F display Eco power-saving function, internal light Optional mounting, internal light, removable adapter collar on DC cord, secure cord attachment on back, C/F display, drain/plug

Our Analysis and Test Results

Performance Comparison


Some of the compressor models lined up, from left to right: Dometic...
Some of the compressor models lined up, from left to right: Dometic, ARB, Costway, and Whynter.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Temperature Control


The Whynter exhibits the most accurate display temperature of any model we tested. On average, it registered just 1.6º F different from the actual internal temperature. Though it's rated to reach -8º F, we recorded its minimum temperature to be -5.8º F, which is still no small feat and much colder than most of us will ever actually need.


Though it wasn't exceptionally fast at cooling its contents, the Whynter also has a Fast Freeze function that can speed this process up considerably. Though not the absolute best performer in this metric, the Whynter holds its own among the stiff competition and does a bang-up job of it.

This intense, yet easy-to-use latch helps seal in the cold air.
This intense, yet easy-to-use latch helps seal in the cold air.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Insulation


Another high-scoring metric for the Whynter, its thick walls and insulation puts it right on par with the best of them at keeping food cold, even when unplugged. It's also a solid piece of equipment, with visibly ultra-thick walls and a super sturdy lid and hinge.


The rubber feet to be durable and useful, preventing this cooler from sliding all over the place during transit, while internal baskets help secure your food. Though it's not advertised as being one, we used the Whynter as a seat frequently and never had any doubts that it would hold us without caving.

The drain and plug come in handy for cleaning without seeming to...
The drain and plug come in handy for cleaning without seeming to take away at all from the performance of the Whynter.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Energy Consumption


One of only two coolers we tested with a specific energy-saving power mode, the Whynter is solid when it comes to saving electricity - if you want it to. On its "Low" mode, this cooler uses just 35.5 watts — among the lowest of the models we tested, including the thermoelectric coolers!


However, this is slightly offset by the regular power mode and Fast Freeze mode, which both use the most energy of any cooler in this review - 65.5 W. But if the ambient temperature is below 90º F, you can safely use the low power mode to save your battery while still keeping your food chilled.

The Whynter features a low power mode that saves energy while...
The Whynter features a low power mode that saves energy while keeping your food cold, and proved to be among lowest power draws in this review.
Photo: Jenna Ammerman

Ease of Use


We like the design of this trunk-style cooler, and its slightly smaller capacity makes it a bit easier to rifle through. It's the only model we tested with two internal baskets that are relatively easy to take out even when stuffed to the brim with cold goodies.


It also has a sturdy latch for the lid that can be locked closed. Advertised as a 45-quart cooler, we measured this unit to be just over 40 quarts and able to hold 58 cans. We were surprised by this small capacity — smaller than two of the much smaller-looking thermoelectric models. The Whynter is also the only compressor model we tested that doesn't have an internal light.

We were surprised by the relatively small capacity of the Whynter.
We were surprised by the relatively small capacity of the Whynter.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Portability


The Whynter is far and away our least favorite model to carry. It's the heaviest in our review, at 54.6 lb, and has tiny little handles with a simple hard plastic grip — not the most comfortable to carry.


It also has very pointed edges and corners, which we think look quite excellent but also are painful to bump against. Its saving grace is the longest DC cord in this review, at 9' 6", allowing you to place the Whynter where you want it and hopefully never have to move it again.

Not the most comfortable carrying handle for a cooler that weighs...
Not the most comfortable carrying handle for a cooler that weighs nearly 55 lbs!
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Features


Not a flashy cooler, the Whynter mostly has what you need. It does have a drain in the bottom, which comes in handy for defrosting or cleaning spills.


One thing we really like is that the display shows your battery level, which helps to monitor your energy usage - unfortunately, that display is on the back of the cooler, right next to the plug. A rather unfortunate location, we think. The Whynter is also a relatively noisy model - one of the noisest we tested. Whynter does offer a 1-year warranty, which is a nice safety blanket for an appliance this large.

The control panel is located on the right side, just above the plugs.
The control panel is located on the right side, just above the plugs.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Value


Costing several hundred dollars less than many of the compressor models we tested, the Whynter gives some seriously great performance for what you pay. We think this impressive performance coupled with a fairly reasonable price tag (for this kind of technology and engineering) makes it a very high-value item.

The Whynter allow you to bring things you'd normally leave at home -...
The Whynter allow you to bring things you'd normally leave at home - like eggs.
Photo: Jenna Ammerman

Conclusion


Offering a fairly great all-around performance (aside from portability), the Whynter has a lot to offer while costing less than several of its competitors. It has an impressively efficient low energy mode, the longest DC cord in our review, an excellent minimum temperature, and an overall useful design. Though it was our least favorite model to carry and has a smaller internal capacity than claimed, we think the Whynter is a solid powered cooler and for a very reasonable, competitive price.

Have an adventure with your Whynter!
Have an adventure with your Whynter!
Photo: Jenna Ammerman

Maggie Brandenburg