When cold weather comes and temperatures start to drop, there’s always the issue of staying warm during outdoor activities. We can agree that, in these situations, all of us wish for some additional warmth. A heated jacket is the solution to this problem – this garment effectively integrates battery-heated elements into its construction, allowing it to actively keep you warm.
Unlike regular jackets that only retain the warmth that your body creates, a heated jacket generates it for you. This is fantastic for all of you who get cold easily, as well as for a number of winter activities like skiing, hiking, cleaning snow or just going to run errands on a cold day. It’s a great way to avoid wearing several layers of clothing underneath your jacket.
To help you find the best heated jacket, we’ve created a comprehensive buying guide that discusses all the features and explains what you should look for when choosing. But first, we have presented some fantastic heated jacket models that will stand up to the task in every situation, so don’t miss out.
Heated Jacket Reviews
How To Choose A Heated Jacket – Buying Guide
With the intention of providing you with the warmest and most efficient heated jackets (and other clothing garments), manufacturers are trying out different solutions in the construction process. As you’ve had the chance to see, there are significant differences between models when it comes to battery types, heated areas, type of heating elements and many other things. Because heated jackets are not exactly cheap, you need to pay attention to all of these factors if you want to get a jacket that you will fully enjoy. Take a look.
If you want your new jacket to give you the warmth you expect, it needs to have a good and reliable power source. All of the models we featured are battery-powered, meaning they get heated on electricity provided by rechargeable batteries. In our opinion, this is the best solution available at the moment because it’s able to deliver the most heat for the longest period of time.
The batteries used in heated jackets are usually lithium batteries (Li-Ion or Li-Polymer), chosen because of their great performance in cold conditions as well as their capacity that can power the jacket for hours. Still, there are many differences between them and you need to pay attention when buying. While some can only be charged through a provided charger, others can be connected to the battery on your snowmobile or motorcycle and use its power to keep you warm.
Besides battery-powered heated jackets, there are some alternatives available too. However, these jackets aren’t as effective, so you can’t expect the same level of warmth. They have strategically placed pockets where you place the heat packs that keep you warm. These can either be gel packs that you had previously warmed up or disposable heat packs (similar to hand warmers) that use chemical reactions to generate heat.
Unfortunately, these do not work as well as you would expect, especially when it’s really cold outside. They don’t have the capacity to generate enough heat, and they won’t last nearly as long as a battery. However, some people still choose them because they are concerned about the safety of battery-heated clothing. As we’ll explain later, men’s and women’s battery heated jackets are generally very safe.
The voltage of the batteries used in the heating system is one of the things responsible for the overall performance of the jacket. A battery with a higher voltage is able to generate more heat, making your jacket warmer. This means that using a 12V battery will result in a warmer jacket compared to a 5V battery. However, the voltage has nothing to do with battery life (that depends on battery capacity).
The voltage for heated winter jackets usually ranges from 5 to 20V, depending on the model. Most models use a 7.4V battery which works really well in almost every situation. In addition, it’s a plus when the manufacturer allows you to replace the battery that you got in the kit if you feel that you need a more powerful one.
All of the models we talked about come in a package that includes a charger for charging the battery. Since these are specialized batteries, they can’t be charged with regular chargers. Many users have pointed out that it’s a huge plus when the batteries can be charged via USB too because it makes things a lot easier. For the time being, only the Ororo jackets have this option (in addition to the standard cable). Depending on the capacity of the battery you get, it takes a few hours to charge it to a full charge.
One of the features that can be found on most newer jacket models is a USB-A port. This port allows you to use the jacket battery as a power bank and charge your device (a smartphone or music player for example). You simply plug the charging cable from the device and it will get charged as you go. Some models even come with ports in the jacket that allow you to thread the power cable so you can keep the device in your outer pocket, within hand’s reach.
The run time you’ll be able to get from your new heat jacket depends on several factors. The main thing that determines this is certainly the battery capacity, shown in mAh (milliampere-hours). A larger number means that the battery has a higher capacity, so it can power the heating elements for a longer time.
However, there are still a few other things that can make the run time of the jacket shorter. The heat setting you’re using puts a different load on the battery, so you can expect a shorter or longer battery life. If you put the jacket on high to quickly warm up when you’re using a snow shovel to clear your driveway, you can usually expect up to two hours of heat. On the other hand, if you’re going on a hike and using it on low, some models can keep you warm for up to 10 hours.
Either way, the battery life also somewhat depends on the outside temperature, which is something we can’t really control. You probably know that low temperatures have a negative effect on any battery, and these are not an exception. If the temperature drifts into the negatives, your battery will drain faster and you will have fewer hours of heating time. Because of this, it’s not a bad idea to also have a replacement battery, especially if you spend long hours outdoors.
Going from one jacket model to the next, you’ll come across different types of heating elements. These can be a copper wire, metal mesh, carbon fibers, and several others. Carbon fiber is one of the most modern solutions and generally very common in heated jackets nowadays. The reason for this is that it’s very efficient in heating up the jacket, but it’s also very flexible and lightweight. Also, most jackets that use carbon fibers are completely safe for washing.
In addition to the type of heating elements, their placement in the jacket plays a huge role in how the jacket feels when you wear it. As you’ve had the chance to see, almost every model has a heater in the chest area (both left and right) as well as in the upper back because these areas are most important in keeping the core warm.
But some models go beyond this and offer additional heating panels to give you even more warmth. For example, some come with heaters that cover the whole back or have heating elements placed in the collar to keep your neck warm. Some, like the Milwaukee M12, also warm the hand pockets which is very convenient for keeping your fingers warm (especially if you’re not wearing winter gloves).
Having only one heat level on your jacket wouldn’t be convenient because you would end up being too warm or too cold. By allowing you to choose between heat settings, the jacket makes it possible for you to easily adjust the temperature for the given situation, based on your activity and the outdoor temperature.
The heat level is controlled by a button which, depending on the jacket design, can be on the outside or on the inside. It seems a bit more convenient to have it on the outside since you have easier access to it when you want to change the setting (don’t have to unzip the jacket).
Most of these buttons have LED lighting that works as a temperature indicator and shows you the current heat setting of your jacket. Since most jackets have three heat settings, they are usually symbolized with three colors – red (high), white (medium), and blue (low). This same principle can be found on other heated garments (heated gloves for example).
Some models have additional heat settings, like the DeWALT heated coat. It has a pre-heat mode which slowly warms up the jacket, so it’s already nice and warm when you throw it on.
While the heating elements and the battery are responsible for the heat produced, it’s the materials used for the jacket that keep the heat inside and prevent cold air from getting in. Heated jackets are most commonly made from the same materials as many winter and ski jackets.
One material that you’ll frequently come across is polyester. It’s a great choice for making these jackets for several reasons: it’s strong, durable, and able to retain heat (combined with the liner and the insulation). There’s no use in having a heated jacket if the shell allows the heat to escape, and polyester does a pretty good job here.
An additional bonus of having a polyester shell is water-resistance. While it’s not fully waterproof, it’s still able to keep you dry if you get caught in some rain. Also, it provides a degree of wind protection too. To further improve this, some manufacturers equip their models with a DWR (durable water repellent) coating. With it, the water doesn’t get soaked into the jacket, but instead forms into beads and rolls off.
In terms of comfort, the inner lining of your new heated jacket is also important. It’s a plus if it’s lined with fleece since it gives you a very soft and cozy feeling when wearing it. Of course, you shouldn’t forget insulation either. It’s great if the jacket has at least some insulation, especially if you’re going to use it in very cold conditions.
We also want to point out that not all shells offer the same quality. Some are made to withstand tough use in a working environment, while others are made for regular use and wouldn’t last long in demanding situations. If you’re looking for that extra durability in a jacket, the Milwaukee M12 would be the best choice because of its tough shell.
Once the heat is generated, the jacket needs to be able to keep it inside. This is why finding the right fit is very important for jacket efficiency. You want to avoid buying a jacket that fits too loose because it will let the cold air in and you won’t have much use of it. The good news is that all the products we reviewed come with size charts (with measurements) on their page allowing you to easily find the right size.
But there is one more thing that needs to be considered here – the number of layers you plan on wearing under the jacket. If you’re layering for skiing for example, then you need a jacket that has enough room inside for all the additional clothing.
Some heated jackets also have a cinch cord at the hem as well as adjustable cuffs that allow you to tighten them and prevent the heat from going out (and cold air from coming in). Furthermore, some of the best women’s heated jackets come with a fitted design at the waist. This not only makes the jacket look more flattering but also gives it a nicer fit and makes it more efficient.
The weight of your heated jacket shouldn’t present a problem because the difference between heated jackets and standard winter jackets isn’t that large. Still, they aren’t as light as you might expect when looking at them. The materials used for the jacket are pretty light, but the battery pack can add some weight.
Manufacturers are continuously trying to reduce the overall weight as much as possible, so you don’t feel that the jacket is pulling you down when you wear it. However, if weight is a concern for you, you should try to find the weight listings which are available for most jackets and see if it suits you.
As with any jacket you buy, the number and placement of pockets are important. In addition to the battery pocket, you want a few other pockets to allow you to easily organize the items you’re bringing with you. Most models come with front hand pockets (but not all of them). Also, we find it useful if a jacket has a chest pocket for stashing your phone, money, cards, or something similar. It’s a good thing if the jacket comes with some inner pockets too, for safekeeping items you don’t want to accidentally lose.
As we mentioned, all of these models come with a dedicated battery pocket, which is usually placed on the back. This moves the battery out of the way and allows you to move around freely. However, the battery can sometimes still get in the way, for example when you sit down in a chair or a car seat. For this reason, some of the best heated jackets allow you to move the battery to the inner pocket so you can wear them more comfortably.
Q: Are Heated Jackets Any Good?
Yes, they are very good. They are effective at what they do and heat up very quickly. This is especially useful if you are cold all the time, have a job that includes working outside in the cold, or you’re standing still a long time so your body doesn’t generate much heat.
Jackets that heat up help keep the core of your body warm and improve the blood circulation. There are many uses for this type of jacket – from going to the store on a chilly morning, clearing snow with a snowblower, to conquering the slopes in a ski resort. An additional bonus is that many of these jackets have batteries with a USB port, so you can also charge your phone while outside.
Q: How Long Do Heated Jackets Last?
This depends on several factors, and we can’t give you a universal answer. The three things that determine this are the capacity of your battery, the heat setting you’re using, as well as the temperature outside. As we’ve pointed out earlier in the text, a larger capacity in mAh means that it has more juice to power the heating elements in the jacket.
In addition, the jacket will last significantly shorter if you use it on high the whole time. On average, most battery heated jackets are able to stay warm between 8 and 10 hours. This is pretty good for everyday use and even works well for cold weather hiking. However, you shouldn’t expect more than 2 hours if you use it on max.
As for the longevity of the jacket itself, they are pretty durable. Of course, this also depends on the manufacturer and the materials used, but they aren’t inferior to other similar jackets without heating elements.
Q: How Does a Heated Jacket Work?
A heated jacket contains panels and fibers in specific areas (usually chest and back). These are able to conduct heat that is generated by a rechargeable battery that comes with the jacket. The battery is attached to the system and placed in its pocket. A system of wires is threaded through the jacket, connecting the battery with the heating elements that keep you warm.
Most jackets have a control button that allows you to turn it on, and also to change the heat settings and adjust the temperature accordingly. The button is usually easily accessible, and the different heat levels are color-coded so you can quickly find the desired temperature level.
Q: Are Heated Jackets Dangerous?
No, not really. Even though some people are concerned about wearing a jacket that uses battery-powered heaters, there’s not much reason to worry. The temperatures that these jackets can reach are limited, high enough for the clothing to catch fire.
Also, because there is no live circuit in the jacket, you don’t have to worry about getting shocked either. The voltage in these batteries is pretty low, so they don’t present any danger. The same goes for other heated clothing that uses batteries – heated socks, gloves, pants, and others.
Q: How To Wash A Heated Jacket?
Washing and maintenance of your new jacket depend on the model you get. We suggest that you always take a look at the manufacturer’s instructions first, before potentially ruining the jacket. This being said, some heated jackets are safe for machine washing and drying (usually the jackets that have carbon fiber heating elements inside). For example, the best women’s heated jacket on our list (Ororo) is fully safe for washing and drying in a machine.
On the other hand, some jackets should only be washed by hand. The heating elements inside are sensitive and would otherwise be damaged if you were to wash them in a machine. Afterward, they should be left to air dry and not be put in a dryer. Of course, be sure to always remove the battery before soaking the jacket in water or throwing it in a machine.
Globo Surf Overview
Getting a heated jacket might be one of the smartest things you’ll do this winter. If you haven’t tried these before, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the comfort and coziness a heated jacket can give you. It creates additional heat to warm up the core of your body, making it easier than ever to stay warm in cold weather.
While these jackets can be pretty expensive, they will completely change your winter experience whether you’re skiing, hiking, or doing chores around the yard. We hope that you found some useful information in our guide so that finding the best heated jacket won’t be difficult. This way you’ll be prepared and ready for any challenge winter throws your way!
More Snow Reviews:
- Ski Pants
- All Mountain Snowboard
- Heated Gloves
- Beginner Snowboard
- Snowboard Gloves
- Kids Snow Boots
- Heated Socks
- Ice Scrape
- Snowmobile Helmet
- Beginner Skis