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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
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Whynter FM-45G
Awards Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award Top Pick Award   
Price $470.75 at Amazon$349.99 at Amazon$188.08 at Amazon$150 List$49.99 at Amazon
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Pros Excellent low energy mode, long cord, good temperature range and control, useful baskets, less expensiveVery energy efficient, relatively inexpensive, impressive minimum temperature, surprisingly lightweight, long cordLargest temperature range, good insulation, lightweight, few moving parts, can be used as a chest or standing upEasy to use, has wheels, cool cord storage, energy efficient, relatively inexpensiveSuper portable, very quiet, can be cold or hot, pretty low energy usage
Cons Heavy, small capacity, control panel on backNot durable, takes a long time to cool, insulation not great, fairly loudNo AC cord included, not the most durable, energy hogShort cords, doesn’t reach very cold/hot temperatures, still need to use iceCan't control temperature, not the best seal, USB can't be used in computer, plastic hinges, unknown longevity
Bottom Line Performance where it matters for a lower costIf you're on a tighter budget but still want mid-level performance, we recommend this modelImpressive temperature range in a lightweight, no-frills thermoelectric coolerHandy to use, but it doesn’t eliminate your dependency on iceQuiet and tiny, this is a decent personal cooler, though with several limitations
Rating Categories Whynter FM-45G Costway 54 Koolatron Portable 45 Knox Gear 48 Quart Cooluli Mini Fridge
Temperature Control (25%)
8.0
8.0
7.0
4.0
5.0
Insulation (25%)
8.0
5.0
4.0
3.0
2.0
Energy Consumption (20%)
7.0
8.0
4.0
6.0
6.0
Ease Of Use (15%)
7.0
5.0
5.0
6.0
5.0
Portability (10%)
3.0
7.0
8.0
9.0
9.0
Features (5%)
5.0
6.0
4.0
6.0
6.0
Specs Whynter FM-45G Costway 54 Koolatron Portable 45 Knox Gear 48 Quart Cooluli Mini Fridge
Minimum Temperature Achieved (F) -5.8ºF -8.9ºF 52.7ºF with contents
26.8ºF empty
52.7ºF with contents
37.8ºF empty
42.8ºF with contents
Temperature Increase in 36 Hours Unplugged (F) 21.6ºF 27.9ºF 9.9ºF 11.5ºF 26.6ºF
Power Draw in Watts (cooling) 65.5 W
35.5 (low)
50.0 W
38.9 W (eco)
62.3 W 46.1 W 33.9 W
Power Draw in Watts (steady) 0.8 W 1.0 W N/A N/A N/A
Power Draw in Watts (heating) N/A N/A 48.1 W 39.0 W 29.7 W
Voltage Use (cooling) 13.39 V 13.47 V 13.29 V 11.90 V 13.84 V
Amperage Use (cooling) 4.91 A 3.72 A 4.69 A 3.88 A 2.45 A
Minutes to Cool (according to display) 145 min 80 min N/A N/A N/A
Hours to Cool (measured) 8 hrs 9.5 hrs >12 hrs >12 hrs 20.5 hrs
Maximum Temperature Achieved (F) N/A N/A 130.8ºF 103.1ºF 136.0ºF
Temperature Accuracy (diff btwn display and actual) +/- 1.6ºF +/- 3.8ºF N/A N/A N/A
Weight 54.6 lb 34 lb 14.2 lb 14.4 lb 3.7 lb
Claimed Capacity (volume) 42.5 L
45 quarts
51.1 L
54 quarts
43 L
45 quarts
45.4 L
48 quarts
4 L
4.2 quarts
Measured Capacity (volume) 42.4 L
40.1 quarts
49.1 L
51.8 quarts
45.1 L
47.7 quarts
41.9 L
44.3 quarts
4 L
4.2 quarts
Capacity (cans) 58 cans 72 cans 63 cans 57 cans 6 cans
Method of Cooling 12V compressor 12V compressor Thermoelectric Thermoelectric Thermoelectric
Advertised Achievable Temperature Range (F) -8ºF to 50ºF -4ºF to 50ºF 40ºF below ambient and up to 135ºF 40ºF to 130ºF 40ºF below ambient to 149ºF
Acceptable Ambient Temperature Range (F) 41ºF to 90ºF
(max setting if >90ºF)
50ºF to 109ºF Not specified Not specified Not specified
Exterior Dimensions (D x W x H) 17.25" x 25" x 20" 21" x 27.5" x 14" 16" x 21" x 17.25" 15" x 22" x 16" 10" x 7.25" x 10.5”
Interior Dimensions (D x W x H) 11.25" x 11"/7.25" x 15"/7.25" 10.4" x 12.75"/6.4" x 17.25"/10.6" 12.25" x 15.5" x 14.5" 12" x 17.75" x 12" 5.75" x 5.25" x 8"
DC Cord Length (feet) 9' 6" 7' 9.75" 8' 10" 4' 10" 6' 3.5"
AC Cord Length (feet) 6' 2" 6' 4.25" (AC adapter only)
14' 7" (DC and AC adapter)
6' 11" (AC adapter only)
15' 11" (DC and AC adapter)
3' 11" 5' 8"
Comes With AC cord, DC cord DC cord, DC to AC adapter and cord DC cord AC cord, DC cord (both permanently attached inside lid) AC cord, DC cord, USB cord (3' 1")
Features Displays battery level, drain/plug Eco power-saving function, internal light Heating ability Cord storage, drain/plug, wheels and pull handle, heating ability Top handle, heating ability, USB power cord

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