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, efficient insulation, and a 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.Editor's Note: This article was updated on September 22, 2022, with information about updates to this cooler.
Whynter FM-45G Review
Cons: Heavy, small capacity, control panel on back
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|Pros||Long cord, good temperature range and control, useful baskets, less expensive||Very energy efficient, relatively inexpensive, impressive minimum temperature, surprisingly lightweight, long cord||Good energy options, solid insulation, relatively lightweight, inexpensive||Largest temperature range, good insulation, lightweight, few moving parts, can be used as a chest or standing up||Super portable, very quiet, can be cold or hot, pretty low energy usage|
|Cons||Heavy, small capacity, control panel on back||Not durable, takes a long time to cool, insulation not great, fairly loud||Not great temperature control, baskets aren't great, internal shape is challenging||No AC cord included, not the most durable, energy hog||Can't control temperature, not the best seal, USB can't be used in computer, plastic hinges, unknown longevity|
|Bottom Line||Impressive performance and a sturdy metal build for a little less than some||If you're on a tighter budget but still want mid-level performance, we recommend this model||An inexpensive option that's tall and slender with good insulation but unimpressive minimum temperatures||An impressive temperature range from this lightweight, no-frills thermoelectric cooler (and heater)||Quiet and tiny, this is a decent personal cooler, though with several limitations|
|Rating Categories||Whynter FM-45G||Costway 54||Alpicool CF45||Koolatron Portable 45||Cooluli Mini Fridge|
|Temperature Control (25%)|
|Energy Consumption (20%)|
|Ease of Use (15%)|
|Specs||Whynter FM-45G||Costway 54||Alpicool CF45||Koolatron Portable 45||Cooluli Mini Fridge|
|Minimum Temperature Achieved (F)||-5.8ºF||-8.9ºF||6.4ºF||38.2ºF below ambient||32.4ºF below ambient|
|Temperature Increase in 36 Hours Unplugged (F)||21.6ºF||27.9ºF||14.9ºF||9.9ºF||26.6ºF|
|Power Draw in Watts (cooling)||65.5 W||50.0 W
38.9 W (eco)
38.6 W (eco)
|62.3 W||33.9 W|
|Power Draw in Watts (steady)||0.8 W||1.0 W||0.8 W||N/A||N/A|
|Power Draw in Watts (heating)||N/A||N/A||N/A||48.1 W||29.7 W|
|Voltage Use (cooling)||13.39 V||13.47 V||13.25 V||13.29 V||13.84 V|
|Amperage Use (cooling)||4.91 A||3.72 A||4.01 A||4.69 A||2.45 A|
|Hours to Cool (measured)||8 hrs||9.5 hrs||23 hrs||>12 hrs||20.5 hrs|
|Maximum Temperature Achieved (F)||N/A||N/A||N/A||130.8ºF||136.0ºF|
|Temperature Accuracy (diff btwn display and actual)||+/- 1.6ºF||+/- 3.8ºF||+/- 3.4ºF||N/A||N/A|
|Weight||54.6 lb||34 lb||30.0 lb||14.2 lb||3.7 lb|
|Claimed Capacity (volume)||42.5 L
|Measured Capacity (volume)||42.4 L
|Capacity (cans)||58 cans||72 cans||62 cans||63 cans||6 cans|
|Method of Cooling||12V compressor||12V compressor||12V compressor||Thermoelectric||Thermoelectric|
|Advertised Achievable Temperature Range (F)||-8ºF to 50ºF||-4ºF to 50ºF||-4ºF to 50ºF||40ºF below ambient and up to 135ºF||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"||27.5" x 13.5" x 17.8"||16" x 21" x 17.25"||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"||10.25" x 14.5"/8" x 12.5"/6.25"||12.25" x 15.5" x 14.5"||5.75" x 5.25" x 8"|
|DC Cord Length (feet)||9' 6"||7' 9.75"||7' 10"||8' 10"||6' 3.5"|
|AC Cord Length (feet)||6' 2"||6' 4.25" (AC adapter only)
14' 7" (DC and AC adapter)
|6' 8"||6' 11" (AC adapter only)
15' 11" (DC and AC adapter)
|Comes With||AC cord, DC cord||DC cord, DC to AC adapter and cord||AC cord, DC cord||DC cord||AC cord, DC cord, USB cord (3' 1")|
|Features||Displays battery level, drain/plug||Eco power-saving function, internal light||Internal light, removable baskets, C/F display||Heating ability||Top handle, heating ability, USB power cord|
Our Analysis and Test Results
In our initial testing of this cooler, there was a low power mode that we really loved. However, Whynter has since removed this feature. So though our review text below makes reference to a low mode that draws less power, please be aware that the FM-45G has been updated since our test period and no longer has this energy-saving mode. We have updated our specs chart to reflect the current specs for this model.
The Whynter exhibits the most accurate display temperature of any model we tested. On average, it registered just 1.6ºF different from the actual internal temperature. Though it's rated to reach -8º F, we recorded its minimum temperature to be -5.8ºF, which is still no small feat and much colder than most of us will ever actually need.
Though it isn't exceptionally fast at cooling its contents, the Whynter also has a Fast Freeze function that can speed this process up considerably. It's not the absolute best performer in this metric, but the Whynter still holds its own among the stiff competition and does a bang-up job of it.
Another high-scoring metric for the Whynter, its thick walls and insulation put 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 proved 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.
Since we tested this cooler, it no longer has an eco mode. Regular power mode and Fast Freeze mode use the most energy of any cooler in this review — 65.5 Watts.
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 one of the only models 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 are surprised by this small capacity — smaller than two of the much smaller-looking thermoelectric models. The Whynter is also one of the only compressor models we tested that doesn't have an internal light.
The Whynter is far and away our least favorite model to carry. It's one of the heaviest in our review, at 54.6 pounds, 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.
While 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.
Costing several hundreds of 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.
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, one of the longest DC cords in our review, an excellent minimum temperature, and an overall useful design. Though it is one of our least favorite models 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 Nichols
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