Though it didn't win any awards, the Whynter FM-45G scores well overall among all the powered coolers we tested. It boasts great temperature control, an excellent energy-saving mode, and durable design. Though it's quite heavy and awkward to carry, once in use, we love it. The Whynter has what you need where it counts and costs significantly less than some of its competitors.
Whynter FM-45G Review
Cons: Heavy, small capacity, control panel on back
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Our Analysis and Test Results
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, which is still no small feat! And 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 stiff competition and does a bang-up job of it.
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. We even find the rubber feet to be durable and useful, preventing the cooler from sliding all over the place during transit. 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
Costing several hundred dollars less than many of the compressor models we tested, the Whynter gives some solid performance for what you pay. We think its performance makes it a pretty high value, as it scored very well overall in our testing.
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 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.
— Maggie Brandenburg