The 10 Best Heated Jackets
This wiki has been updated 28 times since it was first published in December of 2016. If you're tired of putting on layer upon layer of bulky clothing every winter to stay warm, one of these heated jackets is a good alternative. Powered by electric battery packs, some of which will also charge your phone, they are designed to keep you nice and toasty on a worksite or to maintain your core temperature without restricting your movement while you exercise or walk to work. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
October 27, 2020:
Shopping for cold-weather clothing is always tricky, since it's hard to know in advance how a piece of gear will hold up in real-world conditions. In reviewing this list, we've tried to ensure that every item we recommend has received good marks from reviewers for their performance, and we've emphasized those with features that will keep you extra toasty.
We were impressed with the sturdiness of the Gerbing EX Pro, which is designed for bikers and extreme sports enthusiasts, with armored inserts at the elbows, shoulders, and back, and rip-stop material at key impact areas. We also appreciated that the collar and sleeves are heated, whereas most models only include panels at the chest and back. It's a particularly good option for snowmobiling or ATV riding, with the ability to charge right from the vehicle's electrical system - though this does require an adapter which is sold separately.
We removed the Volt Cracow, which received decidedly mixed reviews, particularly when it came to the operating lifetime of its battery. We replaced it with the Prosmart HJ-27-50, which offers the longest-lasting charge of any model we looked at, easily capable of running for more than twelve hours at its lowest heat level. We've also eliminated the Venture Heat Evolve Unisex due to issues with availability.
For those needing extra heat in their fingers and toes as well as their core, we've assembled rankings of the best battery-powered gloves and warming insoles. And, of course, you can't go wrong with a good set of thermal underwear.
September 30, 2019:
Heated jackets are one part style and one part function, so we wanted to make sure we found a nice variety of options to satisfy both needs. However, when identifying the best models, we always put a higher focus on reliability and warmth, since no matter how good something looks, if it always leaves you shivering when outdoors, it won't get much use.
For women, we immediately want to highlight both the Volt Cracow, which has a nice trendy look with its feminine cut and quilted panels, and the Dewbo Soft-Shell, which comes in some vibrant color options that still allow you to show off a bit of your fashion sense. That being said, the Dewbo Soft-Shell is also available in some great-looking men's models.
If your needs lean more towards durability and you may be using your garment for outdoor physical labor, or anything else that tends to be tough on clothing, we recommend you look at the Milwaukee M12 Jacket Kit, Bosch PSJ120M, and DeWalt DCHJ066C1, all of which should be able to stand up to rough use.
The Ororo Soft Shell and Conqueco Women's Slim-Fit would both be great for a range of outdoor activities or simply walking around town on those exceptionally frigid days. If you are simply interested in keeping your core warm, you'll probably appreciate the Arris Vest, while those who want something cozy enough to snuggle up on the couch will want to look to the Venture Heat Evolve Unisex.
The Venture Heat MC-38 is an interesting offering in that it connects to a vehicle's 12-volt battery, rather than its own power bank. This makes it a great choice for bikers who want to keep warm on long rides. However, we recommend you use it in conjunction with your protective motorcycle jacket, rather than as a substitute for it.
Gobi Flash Heated Hi-Vis Perfect for anyone working near traffic at night or engaged in any other activity where being seen can keep you safer, this fluorescent yellow offering from Gobi has large reflective strips running along the front, back, and sleeves. It also features elastic cuffs to keep the wind chill out. gobiheat.com
Ralph Lauren Polo 11 Those who don't want to sacrifice designer fashion for winter warmth will love the space-age look of this coat, which is padded with ethically sourced down for extra insulation and comfort. The flexible onboard heating system can be controlled from a smartphone app, and will remember your settings so that you don't need to adjust them every time you plug the battery in. ralphlauren.com
The Effects Of Cold Weather On The Body
Cold weather is a vasoconstrictor, meaning it narrows the blood vessels.
The human body seems to enjoy temperatures between around 72 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Any warmer or colder than this, and the body’s thermoregulation mechanisms kick in to balance it out. Average changes in weather patterns are easily regulated by these responses with no additional help. However, extreme changes in temperature can be devastating and require outside intervention to avoid potentially serious situations.
Prolonged exposure to cold weather can produce noticeable changes in the body. One commonly known consequence of exposure to cold weather is hypothermia. Older adults and young children are more at risk for hypothermia, but symptoms can appear in anyone who is outdoors in the cold for extended periods of time. Even prolonged exposure to mildly cold weather can cause symptoms of hypothermia. Cold weather also has a suppressive effect on the immune system, making it much easier for pathogens to invade the body.
Shivering is another symptom of exposure to cold weather. Shivering is a signal that the body is losing too much heat and needs warmth immediately. The body is trying to protect its core temperature by sending signals to the muscles to rapidly contract. This consumes calories and generates heat, but the effect is not enough to keep the body warm. Seeking shelter and adding warmer layers stops shivering in most cases. People with cardiovascular issues may also be more at risk during colder months. Cold weather is a vasoconstrictor, meaning it narrows the blood vessels. This can make it harder for the body to pump blood, and may increase the risk of heart attack in some people. Staying warm can help relax the blood vessels and may lower the stress on the heart.
Colder months can also influence some surprising secondary effects on the body. The reduction in sunlight exposure in colder months can reduce testosterone and sex drive in males. It is important to protect the body against the effects of cold weather by properly layering clothing and supplementing the body’s heat with external heat sources like heated jackets.
Choosing The Best Heated Jacket
Heated jackets can easily take the place of multiple layers of clothing in a cold environment when used correctly. It is important to base the decision to purchase any jacket on how well it meets the user’s specific needs and preferences. The first thing to consider when purchasing a heated jacket is the fabric it is made from and the insulation it will provide. Some models are made of more breathable fabrics, and are meant to be used in moderate temperatures or areas where there is little wind.
This is a great benefit for extremely cold climates, but may be too hot for many circumstances.
Other fabrics are designed to withstand high winds, but may not provide as much cushion or comfort as desired. There are even fabrics that can provide both high insulation and comfort. This is a great benefit for extremely cold climates, but may be too hot for many circumstances. Even in cold environments, it is possible to get exertional heat stroke due to a high core temperature.
Another consideration when deciding among heated jackets is where and how the jacket works on the body. Some models are designed to fit over all other layers of clothing and protect the body against the elements. These may be great for cyclists or anyone exposed to high winds. Other models are designed to lie closer to the skin. Workers with required uniforms may find these jackets particularly useful. There are also jackets that can be used to work out comfortably in cold weather.
Power sources will be another important issue. Some heated jackets come equipped with rechargeable battery packs, while others require the use of an external power source, such as constant connection to a 12V outlet. Certain models also allow the user to simultaneously charge a mobile device through a USB port in the jacket while wearing it. Additional perks like this may make the difference between a happy investment and buyer’s regret.
Tips For Keeping The Body Warm With A Heated Jacket
A high-quality heated jacket can make cold weather much easier to endure. However, it cannot be expected to keep the entire body warm by itself. The best way to ensure continued happiness with a heated jacket is to also employ other methods of keeping the body warm. Understanding how the process of heat transfer works will provide a better idea of how best to utilize tools like heated jackets. Conduction is the transfer of heat between two solid surfaces that are in contact with each other. This is how warmth from a heated jacket reaches the body. Convection is the process of transferring heat between a solid mass and a fluid or gas. A cold wind lowering the body’s temperature is an act of convection.
Keeping a vehicle stocked with warm items like heated jackets, emergency blankets, and an extra layer of dry clothes can prepare people for most cold weather.
The most common way to protect the body from cold air temperatures is by putting on additional layers of clothes, which acts as insulation against convection. The cold air outside tries to reach the body, but is caught in the outermost layers of clothing. Thick inner layers of clothing, such as long underwear made of cotton or wool, help recycle the body’s heat. Adding external layers like heated jackets also protects against conduction from external surfaces like cold walls.
Eating is another great way to keep warm in cold weather. Eating more calories than the body can typically burn helps it handle the cold better. Excess fat stores provide insulation against the cold, and the body can burn these to stay warm. Alcohol should be avoided in very cold weather. While alcohol may raise the spirits and make a person feel warmer temporarily, it can actually drop the core temperature of the body, making it harder to stay warm.
The best way to deal with cold weather is being prepared for it at all times. Acclimating the body to cold and engaging in prolonged exercise can help keep the core temperature up when cold weather hits. Keeping a vehicle stocked with warm items like heated jackets, emergency blankets, and an extra layer of dry clothes can prepare people for most cold weather.