The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of outdoor gear

Whynter FM-45G Review

Performance where it matters for a lower cost.
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Price:  $515 List | $512.90 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  ⋅  Mar 14, 2019
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72
OVERALL
SCORE


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

Our Verdict

Though it didn't win any awards, the Whynter FM-45G scored #2 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.

While the Whynter outscored the winner of our Best Buy Award, the Costway 54, we think most folks will notice the savings of over $100 more than the small differences in performance. The biggest advantage of the Whynter in comparison to the Costway is its insulating capabilities.


Compare to Similar Products

 
This Product
Whynter FM-45G
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award  Top Pick Award 
Price $512.90 at Amazon$999.99 at Amazon
Compare at 2 sellers
$399.99 at Amazon$1,019.69 at Amazon$146.99 at Amazon
Overall Score Sort Icon
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Star Rating
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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 featuresVery energy efficient, relatively inexpensive, impressive minimum temperature, surprisingly lightweight, long cordCools relatively quickly, helpful/thorough manual, long warranty, large capacityLargest temperature range, good insulation, lightweight, few moving parts, can be used as a chest or standing up
Cons Heavy, small capacity, control panel on backExpensive, relatively short cords, no energy-saving modeNot durable, takes a long time to cool, insulation not great, fairly loudTemperature performance not very good, expensive, power-hungry, awkward basketNo AC cord included, not the most durable, energy hog
Bottom Line Performance where it matters for a lower cost.Precision performance and everything you want in a cooler made to last through years of adventures.An impressive performer for a lot less than the competition.Doesn't keep up with the competition, but surpasses them all with the highest price.Impressive temperature range on a lightweight, no-frills thermoelectric cooler.
Rating Categories Whynter FM-45G Dometic CFX 50W Costway 54 ARB Fridge Freezer 50 Koolatron Portable 45
Temperature Control (25%)
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
7
Insulation (25%)
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
5
10
0
7
10
0
4
Energy Consumption (20%)
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
6
10
0
4
Ease Of Use (15%)
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
5
10
0
5
10
0
5
Portability (10%)
10
0
3
10
0
6
10
0
7
10
0
5
10
0
8
Features (5%)
10
0
5
10
0
8
10
0
6
10
0
7
10
0
4
Specs Whynter FM-45G Dometic CFX 50W Costway 54 ARB Fridge Freezer... Koolatron Portable...
Minimum Temperature Achieved (F) -5.8º -8.9º -8.9º 1.4º 52.7º with contents
26.8º empty
Temperature Increase in 36 Hours Unplugged (F) 21.6º 20.7º 27.9º 15.8º 9.9º
Power Draw in Watts (cooling) 65.5 W
35.5 (low)
51.8 W 50.0 W
38.9 W (eco)
64.3 W 62.3 W
Power Draw in Watts (steady) 0.8 W 0.8 W 1.0 W 0.7 W N/A
Power Draw (heating) N/A N/A N/A N/A 48.1 W
Voltage Use (cooling) 13.39 V 13.26 V 13.47 V 11.98 V 13.29 V
Amperage Use (cooling) 4.91 A 3.89 A 3.72 A 5.37 A 4.69 A
Minutes to Cool (according to display) 145 min 16 min 80 min 158 min N/A
Hours to Cool (measured) 8 hrs 5.5 hrs 9.5 hrs 4.7 hrs >12 hrs
Maximum Temperature Achieved (F) N/A N/A N/A N/A 130.8º
Temperature Accuracy (diff btwn display and actual) +/- 1.6º F +/- 3.0º F +/- 3.8º F +/- 5.8º F N/A
Weight 54.6 lb 46.4 lb 34 lb 49.8 lb 14.2 lb
Claimed Capacity (volume) 42.5 L
45 quarts
46 L
48.6 quarts
51.1 L
54 quarts
47.3 L
50 quarts
43 L
45 quarts
Measured Capacity (volume) 42.4 L
40.1 quarts
54.2 L
51.3 quarts
49.1 L
51.8 quarts
50.2 L
47.5 quarts
45.1 L
47.7 quarts
Capacity (cans) 58 cans 86 cans 72 cans 72 cans 63 cans
Method of Cooling 12V compressor 12V compressor 12V compressor 12V compressor thermoelectric
Advertised Achievable Temperature Range (F) -8º to 50º -8º to 50º -4º to 50º 0º to 50º 40º below ambient and up to 135º
Acceptable Ambient Temperature Range (F) 41º to 90º
(max setting if >90º)
61º to 109º
(min temp cannot be reached is >90º)
50º to 109º 61º to 109º
(min temp cannot be reached if >90º)
not specified
Exterior Dimensions (D x W x H) 17.25" x 25" x 20" 17.9" x 28.5" x 18.5" 21" x 27.5" x 14" 15" x 28" x 17" 16" x 21" x 17.25"
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" 10.4" x 12.75"/6.4" x 17.25"/10.6" 11.2" x 13.3"/6" x 15.8"/8.1" 12.25" x 15.5" x 14.5"
DC Cord Length (feet) 9' 6" 6' 3" 7' 9.75" 6' 8' 10"
AC Cord Length (feet) 6' 2" 6' 3" 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)
6' 11" (AC adapter only)
15' 11" (DC and AC adapter)
Comes With AC cord, DC cord AC cord, DC cord DC cord, DC to AC adapter and cord AC cord, DC cord, DC to AC adapter and cord DC 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 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 heating ability

Our Analysis and Test Results

Performance Comparison


The compressor models lined up  from left to right: Dometic  ARB  Costway  and Whynter.
The compressor models lined up, from left to right: Dometic, ARB, Costway, and Whynter.

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, 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.

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.

Insulation


Another high-scoring metric for the Whynter, its thick walls and insulation puts it right on par with the Editors' Choice Dometic for 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.

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

Energy Consumption


One of only two coolers we tested with a specific energy-saving power mode (the other is the Costway), the Whynter is top-notch when it comes to saving electricity. On its Low mode, this cooler uses just 35.5 watts - the lowest of any model 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.

The Whynter also features a low power mode that saves energy while keeping your food cold  and proved to be the lowest power draw of any cooler in this review!
The Whynter also features a low power mode that saves energy while keeping your food cold, and proved to be the lowest power draw of any cooler in this review!

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, both the Koolatron and the Igloo, and only one can larger than the Knox. 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.

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 handle with which to carry a cooler that weighs nearly 55 lb!
Not the most comfortable handle with which to carry a cooler that weighs nearly 55 lb!

Features


Not a flashy cooler, the Wynter mostly has what you need. It does have a drain in the bottom, which is a feature it shares with the Dometic, ARB, and Knox. 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 side/back of the cooler, right next to the plug. A rather unfortunate location, we think. The Whynter is also a relatively noisy model - about as loud as the Costway and nearly as loud as the ARB. 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.

Best Applications


We think the Whynter is a good "thread the needle" model for folks looking for excellent performance but maybe just not quite as expensive. We would recommend that if you decide to purchase this cooler, you find a permanent place for it to live so you don't need to carry it around EVER. It's also an excellent option for energy savings, so long as you can operate it in conditions less than 90º.

Let the Whynter help you bring things you'd normally leave at home - like eggs.
Let the Whynter help you bring things you'd normally leave at home - like eggs.

Value


Costing several hundred dollars less than the Editors' Choice-winner, Dometic, and the ARB both, the Whynter gives some solid performance for what you pay. We think its performance makes it a pretty high value, as it scored #2 overall in our testing. If you're not quite ready to take that monetary plunge though, check out the Best Buy, Costway. Or if money is less of a concern and performance is what you're after, the Dometic might be the right fit for you.

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 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!

Other Versions and Accessories


Whynter offers several other sizes of powered cooler as well as an insulated flexible transit bag. We didn't test this bag, but many users state that it makes the Whynter much easier to carry as well as adding insulatory value.


Maggie Brandenburg