How do you stay warm on those cold winter days? While typically the answer is to throw on another layer, technology has given us another way to keep warm without the bulk: Heated clothing. Usually powered by a rechargeable battery, a heating element is weaved into the garment itself, in locations where you lose the most heat. As a result, you’ll be able to stay warm on even the coldest days without looking like the Michelin man.
Heated clothing comes in all shapes and sizes, including coats, base layers, gloves, socks, and more. After researching various review sites, product descriptions, and reading dozens of customer reviews on retail sites, these are some of the best options available.
Ororo has only been around for about four years now, but in that short time, it’s made a name for itself as one of the highest-rated heated clothing manufacturers on Amazon. Its softshell jacket is available in a men’s version of the Ororo Jacket and a women’s version of the Ororo jacket and gets great reviews for its construction and performance. The heating elements are located across the chest and at the mid-back and have three different settings to adjust the warmth to your liking. The softshell fabric is waterproof, and a removable hood allows you to customize the amount of protection from the cold.
A 7.4-volt rechargeable battery powers the heating elements for up to 10 hours, but if you’d like, you can use the USB port on the rechargeable battery itself to charge your mobile device while out and about. It’s even completely machine washable with the battery removed. What we like is how much Ororo stands by their product: A generous three-year warranty is provided with the jacket, ensuring years of use out of your investment.
Is Ororo’s softshell a little too blandly designed for your tastes? Revean’s jackets are stylish and comfortable and look just as good on the trail as it does running errands around town. But it also is slightly better than the Ororo: In addition to the chest and back heating elements, the Revean jacket also heats the pockets — a handy feature, pardon the pun. We’re also fans of the 100% down insulation, which will make this jacket warm even without the heating elements on. The hood is removable: on theit’s just a standard hood, but the adds a faux fur edge which we think is a nice touch.
Ravean says its 12-volt battery can provide up to 6.5 hours of continuous heat at the lowest setting, and like the Ororo can charge your mobile device at the same time. While we’re a bit disappointed at the shorter battery life, the added pocket heating and overall better-performing heating elements are likely behind that. It’s a tradeoff that might be worth it for those of us who seem always to have cold hands.
Ororo makes our list again for another of its products, this time for its lightweight heated vest available for bothand We think this vest is a great option for those that might want to add extra heat under a favorite jacket, or in those fall and early spring months when it’s too cold to go out only in a sweater, but too warm for a heavy winter coat. Heating elements are located around the chest and mid-back, and in the front pockets, and its lightweight construction provides heat without restricting movement, and its machine washable with the battery removed.
Like the jacket, you’ll get about 10 hours on a single charge, and be able to charge your mobile devices simultaneously through the USB port on the removable battery itself. Unfortunately, this particular item only comes with a one-year warranty versus the three years you get with the jacket, though.
Staying warm in the winter starts with a good base layer. Venture Heat has produced that not only wick moisture off your body but warm you through heating elements that run through the chest, shoulder and abdominal areas. You can select from any one of three different levels of heating, and the heating elements don’t restrict your movement, nor feel bulky when you wear it. While Venture Heat says that the battery life is up to six hours, you’ll only get about 90 minutes of heat on the highest setting — so keep that in mind when using these outdoors for extended periods.
The base layer is made of polyester and spandex, which allows it to conform to your body shape snugly but not tightly. This material is machine washable, so you can wash it with the rest of your winter clothes as needed. If you like the base layer top, Venture Heat also sells a pair ofalthough we’re not as impressed with their fit as the tops. Both men’s and women’s styles are available.
If cold hands are a problem for you, consider these from Savior. 2200mAh in each glove provides three levels of warmth in as little as 30 seconds, with hours of use out of each charge. The heating elements themselves run through the entire top of the glove, including the fingers, with a breathable and waterproof shell to keep out moisture but allow enough air to pass through to keep your hands from getting too warm. An extra-long cuff keeps out snow, and it can be tightened to provide more protection if need be.
Savior warranties the glove for up to a year against any manufacturer defects, although buyers report they’ve gotten several seasons out of their gloves. While this is a company you might not have heard of before, with two-thirds of customer ratings being five stars, we’re fairly confident you’ll be happy with your purchase.
If you suffer from chronically cold feet (or know somebody who does),are one of the most popular (and well-reviewed) on Amazon. Each sock has a battery which powers a heating element in the front instep. Owners of these socks rave about their performance, saying that they’re easy to charge (you can charge both batteries at the same time), comfortable to wear, and long-lasting.
We thought that the battery pack at the top of the sock would be uncomfortable if these socks were worn for an extended period of time, but that doesn’t appear to be the case. Buyers report that it isn’t all that noticeable with the socks on, which we’d assume has to do with the socks being fairly thick themselves.
These socks are unisex and come in three different sizes.
While it might seem somewhat gimmicky, heating clothing will help you to stay warm even during the coldest days. By focusing heat on the most sensitive areas of our bodies where we lose the most, it helps you to feel warmer — working just the same as heating blankets do but without the cord. That said, not all heated clothing is made the same. You’ll want to look for well-rated products with thin heating elements: The bulkier the heating element is, the more you’ll notice it. You want clothing that doesn’t restrict your movement in any way.
One downside to heating clothing is its price. As you can see from our recommendations, you’ll pay much more than you would for a standard piece of clothing. Our advice is to purchase a piece of heated clothing that best fits where you’re coldest most often — and something with a one year or longer warranty.