When it comes to cold weather, it's hard to beat a jacket. Not only do they take up less pocket space than a jacket, they are comfortable to wear and provide extra warmth without restricting freedom of movement. Planning a cold adventure in a particularly cold climate? Consider the heated version.
Why we love it: This super all-in-one has five heat settings, built-in waves and an adjustable fit.
Note: There is no on/off switch.
The versatile design of the Arris Heated Fleece Vest convinced us at first glance. There are three buttons on the chest that allow you to preheat the jacket and switch between five temperatures. Even with all three settings, testers found it user-friendly. However, note that it doesn't have an on/off switch - it's battery operated.
This jacket has five pockets with heavy-duty non-locking zippers, two of which have built-in hand warmers. Testers loved the "extraordinarily comfortable fleece" and found they couldn't find the threads through the layers. The battery was also almost noticeable. We also liked how the adjustable waist offers a customized fit.
It took about four minutes to heat up. Testers described it as "hot" in the chest, back and waist, and tingling in heated knee pockets. While we were very impressed with the warm-up feature, one tester said he was comfortable wearing this jacket even without warm-up mode.
It can also be washed cold and gently - remove the battery first. We recommend the Hän Arris Heated Message to almost anyone planning to spend time outdoors in cold climates.
Why we love it: Negro Men's lightweight and comfortable heated vest that heats up in less than a minute.
Warning: Machine washable but do not tumble dry.
If you like the look and feel of see-through clothing, this is for you. The Tide Heated Vest has a waterproof, certified shell and an alternative down filling. It has good bulk without being too bulky or strong, and the overall design is comfortably light. Testers found it well built and easy to use, with smooth zippers, conveniently placed back pockets, and simple controls.
This vest warms up in less than a minute, first around the neck, then on the back and waist. "I felt very warm and comfortable," said one tester. We also appreciate that it's machine washable, but you'll want to air dry it to avoid damaging the threads. The versatile design is a great choice for winter wear or camping, snowshoeing, or even casual activities like grocery shopping.
Why we love it: This jacket has built-in arm warmers, an extra USB port for charging your phone on the go, and a detachable hood.
Note: The neck is the warmest part of the vest.
Fox Hill's heated vest was also a hit in the lab. The testers loved the simple design: just plug in the battery, turn it on and set the temperature. It heats up in less than 60 seconds, with noticeable heat on your back, waist and neck. (The body doesn't get as warm as the neck, but it's still very comfortable.) The built-in electric heaters are a nice touch, especially for people who always have cold fingers. This jacket has a detachable hood.
Also, the location of the battery compartment cover is not inconvenient at all. "You won't even know it's there," said one tester. Another great feature is the additional USB port, which allows you to charge your phone with the jacket on the go. However, be aware that this will quickly drain your battery.
Why we love it: This windproof and waterproof jacket warms up quickly and its versatile design is perfect for winter sports or leisure activities.
Note: The location of the battery is not very convenient.
If you prefer a low collar, the SRB Heated Vest is your best bet. The lightweight design heats up in less than 90 seconds and warms five areas around the waist and upper back. The testers found the battery to be easy to install and start. However, the battery fits in one of the pockets, which makes using the pocket a bit difficult.
This heated vest is wind and water resistant. It can also be machine washed with a laundry bag, but it can also be hand washed. According to testers, it fits perfectly over fleece, tracksuits or a light jacket and is comfortable for winter sports or leisure activities. But since it doesn't keep your neck warm, you might want to take a scarf with you.
Why we love it: This down jacket features a water-repellent shell, built-in sleeves and a detachable hood for ultimate weather protection.
Note: This is an expensive jacket and the fit is a little small.
Ororo is a proven athletic company, so it's no surprise that the brand's heated down jacket was a hit with testers. The construction is natural insulation, the water-repellent shell helps you stay dry in inclement weather, and the impact-resistant hood offers full weather protection. This high quality jacket took about a minute and a half to heat up and then stayed warm with heat evenly distributed across the back and waist. Built-in pocket warmers also prevent numbness in the fingers.
It's worth noting that this one is slim. So if you're planning on wearing a jacket or sweater underneath, you might want to go up a size. Nevertheless, we found it very comfortable. "I'd like to wear it for a long time," said one tester, adding that it's a "sharp jacket" that doesn't look technical. The natural down filling makes it more expensive than most warm jackets, but we think it's worth the investment.
Why we love it: The compact design is lightweight and easy to slip on, perfect over a sweater, hoodie or light jacket.
Note: Does not warm the class or the waist.
Looking for something to wear over a sweater, hoodie or other outerwear? Invest in a Conquer heated jacket. Testers loved the lightweight, insulated design and found it easy to buckle up and comfortable, and not at all bulky or constricting around the neck and back. The only downside, however, is that the battery is a bit large, making it difficult to fit in the bag it was designed for.
The power button is on the inside, making it look more like a standard filing cabinet, but it took our testers a minute to figure out what it was. This jacket heats up in about three minutes and provides constant warmth. Just a warning, there are no hand warmers or heating pads on the lower back or waist. However, we think it's a good choice for hiking, biking, fishing, golfing, or watching outdoor sports in cold weather.
Why we love it: This practical jacket heats up in 30 seconds and its tailored design is perfect for layering.
Note: Battery sold separately.
If you want something cheaper, we recommend it. Prepare. The brand's electrically heated vest has an intuitive design and heats up in around 30 seconds. "It heated up really quickly, which was impressive," said one tester. "I first noticed it on my lower back, then my stomach and neck." However, the battery has to be purchased separately, which is unusual for this type of product and also increases the price quite a bit.
Testers praised the stylish, inflatable design. It has a lightweight, understated feel that's perfect for layering over other clothing items or even under a thick winter coat. While it's a shame this heated vest doesn't come with a battery, we still think the low price is good value for money.
Vencido Rechargeable Heated Vest: Although it's not immediately apparent how to turn it on, we can feel the heat within 20 seconds of turning the vest on. The testers liked the overall design and noted that it looked like a regular down jacket, but ultimately it just wasn't our favorite.
Ororo Men's Thermal Vest: This vest warmed the neck area in about a minute, but took longer to find warmth on the back and chest. While testers liked the pockets on the hand warmer, they weren't big fans of the battery - it digs into your hip and feels like it won't fit in a pocket.
Akaso Nomad Heated Jacket: This jacket took about 10 minutes to heat up and then provided consistent warmth. There's no indicator light on the battery, so it's sometimes unclear if it's on, especially when it takes a few minutes to warm up. The built-in hand warmers are almost too hot too.
Testers rated the jackets overall structure and even heat distribution. They also walked around and jumped on jack stands to see if they experienced dyskinesia or overheating during exercise. Based on style, superior features, utility, fit and price, each jacket is rated on ease of use, design, comfort and value. Those with the highest average scores in all categories were selected for this assessment.
Most heated vests stay warm for 3-10 hours on a full charge, with some saying up to 20 hours. If you spend more than a few hours outdoors, we recommend buying one that will stay warm all the time. The lowest heat setting extends battery life the longest, but testers found medium and high heat to be more comfortable in most cases.
Remember that different heated vests are designed for different parts of the body
. When shopping, remember that not all heated vests heat the same areas. Some heat the chest, upper back, lower back, core, and neck, while others can only heat the upper back and chest. You also have the option of adding hand warmers built into the pockets - a huge bonus if your fingers are always cold.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do heated vests work?
Heated vests typically have wires, straps, or tubular heating elements embedded in the target area of the insulated pad. They are powered by rechargeable lithium ion or lithium polymer batteries stored in special pouches where they are attached to a cable connector. When you turn on the vest, an electric current flows through the heating element, heating the targeted areas.
Are heated vests safe?
In general, heated vests are safe to use. Lithium-ion or lithium-polymer batteries produce low-voltage electricity, so you don't have to worry about the risk of electric shock. However, it is not recommended to use it completely wet, as the moisture can cause an electric shock if it gets into the cable connections.
How do you wash a heated vest?
Many heated jackets can be gently washed in cold water, but in most cases you should use a laundry bag (even a laundry bag) to protect the fabric. Some only require hand washing, so be sure to read the brand's care instructions before cleaning. And always remove the battery first. Tumble drying is also not recommended, so you should dry the bag completely before using it again.
How long does a heated vest keep you warm?
Most heated vests have a battery life of 3-10 hours, but the best heaters can last up to 20 hours. Battery life depends on whether or not you use continuous heating, the quality of the battery in the jacket and the setting you choose. Using the jacket at a lower temperature setting will make it last longer than using it at the highest temperature.