The 10 Best Heated Jackets to Buy 2020

The 10 Best Heated Jackets to Buy 2020

Jackets were largely the same for hundreds of years—cram in as much insulation as possible and cross your fingers that it holds in enough heat for you to stay warm. The winter outerwear industry was finally disrupted in 2001 when American company The North Face released a heated jacket, which became particularly popular with people who have to spend long periods of time still in the cold: construction workers, motorists, security guards, farmers, and more.

As the segment has grown, prices have fallen and now you can pick up a high-quality jacket for well under $200. To help you in your search for warmth, we’ve made a list of our favorite heated jackets, sure to keep you toasty all winter long.

Features to Consider in a Heated Jacket

Heated jackets, although they all use the same general concept, incorporate a wide variety of features, designs, and technologies. In particular, make sure to pay attention to the following aspects to get a rough idea of the main points of the jacket:

Working Hours

For a heated jacket to be useful, it has to have a similar weight and feel as a conventional jacket. Since jackets are typically powered by an electrical battery, they are limited by the battery’s capacity. Bigger batteries are unwieldy, heavy, and uncomfortable. For this reason, batteries typically top out with a working time of somewhere around ten hours.

If you know you’ll spend extensive time outside with a heated jacket, make sure you purchase something that lasts for as long as you need, or at least purchase a jacket that can function with a removable backup battery.

Heating Element

A jacket’s heating element is maybe the most important part of a jacket. It generates warmth to keep you at a comfortable temperature all winter long. The power of a specific heating element is measured in volts, a unit of electrical force. More volts means a stronger heating element, but that’s not always a good thing as heating elements can overheat or produce hotspots.

Each heating element should be judged independently on its own battery life, power, and heat production; voltage is just one element that can affect a heating element’s importance.

Materials

Heated jackets use a wide variety of materials to keep you insulated—while a heating element will warm you up, the jacket itself will keep your warm. Here are the most popular materials seen in heated jackets.

Fleece

Coming typically in the form of manmade ‘polar fleece,’ this material is soft, fuzzy, and does an excellent job of insulating heat while simultaneously being comfortable on the skin. More expensive fleeces are more resistant to pilling and are thicker, leading to longer lifespans.

Polyester

Polyester is a versatile product that can take many forms in jacket design. While it’s sometimes seen as an outer shell, it can also be used to make fleece-like products and even jacket liners. While it sometimes gets a bad rap, polyester is an incredibly multipurpose material that’s often featured on inexpensive and mid-range jackets.

Cotton

While cotton is used commonly as an inexpensive material that’s comfortable on the skin, its insulative properties are not as strong as fleece or polyester. Plenty of heated jackets use cotton, but it’s traditionally used in combination with other more insulative materials

Nylon

Nylon is a synthetic material made from plastic-like polymers that can take multiple forms, although most typically it is used to provide a layer of water resistance to heated jackets.

Jacket Design

Heated jackets now come in a wide variety of designs. Recently, lightweight heated under-layers have appeared alongside thick heated winter jackets. Jacket design really comes down to personal preference. Consider the absence or presence of a hood, also consider if the jacket is designed to be waterproof.

Top 10 Best Heated Jackets 2020

1. Best Overall Heated Jacket Milwaukee M12 Hoodie Heated Jacket

Milwaukee M12 Hoodie Heated Jacket

Why we like it: An American brand famous for durable workwear produces a heavy-duty and thoughtfully-designed heated jacket designed to keep you warm in the harshest of conditions.

Editor’s Rating:

At a Glance:

  • Running Time: 6 hours
  • Materials: Cotton/polyester with thermal lining
  • Jacket Design: Front-zip jacket with hood

Review

With the M12 Hoodie Heated jacket, Wisconsin-based manufacturer Milwaukee Tools has designed a heated-jacket originally meant for the construction site that’s perfect for other applications. It’s most impressive features are its durable build quality, thoughtful design, and reliable heating elements. An outer cotton layer has a thick weave to stand up to wear and tear, an inner carbon fiber layer holds in the warmth created by the heating elements. The jacket has a hoodie-like form factor with a front zip making ventilating the jacket easy.

The heating elements are controlled by Milwaukee’s replaceable and universal batteries which have a variable heating functionality. Coming in at under 4 pounds for the heated coat, it’s barely heavier than a typical jacket. Milwaukee also offers an industry-famous limited lifetime warranty, so in the unlikely case of a product failure, you’ll be covered.

Heating Functionality

Heating comes via three heating elements, two on each side of the zipper on the front of the jacket, and one across the back. This design gives consistent heating without being too hot.

While Milwaukee’s six-hour run time is a bit short compared to a few other jackets, notably the Ororo Men’s Soft Shell, it provides six hours of continuous, powerful operation compared to the gradually-fading ten hours of lower-quality jackets. With a replaceable, rechargeable Milwaukee system battery that fits the entire range of Milwaukee’s tools, we’d just buy an inexpensive [amazon url=”http://amazon.com/dp/B00CHU9ZDE”]extra backup battery[/amazon] for a total of 12 hours of run time, with no loss of heat.

Pros

  • Durable and clever multi-material construction
  • Front zip hoodie design maximizes warmth and makes ventilation easy
  • Lightweight design
  • Replaceable and rechargeable batteries
  • Powerful and fade-free heating operation

Cons

  • Only six hours of run time

2. Best Women’s Heated Jacket Ororo Women’s Slim Fit Heated Jacket with Detachable Hood

Ororo Women’s Slim Fit Heated Jacket with Detachable Hood

Why we like it: A form-fitting women’s jacket takes design cues from conventional coats with multiple heating elements and an attractive fit.

Editor’s Rating:

At a Glance:

  • Running Time: 10 Hours
  • Materials: Polyester
  • Jacket Design: Women’s jacket with detachable hood

Review

An upgraded women’s version of the Ororo Men’s Soft Shell this jacket is perfect for ladies who are for looking a little extra warmth on the coldest of days. While most heated jackets are bulky and meant for men, Ororo does a great job with this jacket by creating a flattering, form-fitting shape that sneaks heating elements inside the slim design.

Most of the Ororo’s technologies and designs are roughly the same across all of their heated jackets, although this jacket manages to keep a slimmer form factor. A detachable hood and several drawstrings help users customize the jacket to their preferences and their body shape. The garment comes both in [amazon url=”https://www.amazon.com/dp/B019C4QU6W”]plain black[/amazon] as well as a design with [amazon url=”https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08335CC1H”]purple accents[/amazon].

Helping to keep things minimal is the battery, a small-in-size but powerful 7.2 volt 5200mAh unit. Running the jacket on its lowest setting for a remarkable 10 hours, it also has a USB port that can be used to charge devices on the go. A durable YKK zipper and washable proprietary factory fabric ensure you’ll get plenty of use out of this heated coat.

Heating Functionality

Similar to most Ororo designs, the jacket uses carbon fiber strips as heating conduits to distribute heat across the core. The elements are located on both sides of the chest and the middle of the back, although this version lacks the sleeve warmers of models like the Dewalt Heavy Duty Work Coat.

It’s operated by a single button that cycles between heating settings, an included charger recharges the battery.

Pros

  • Carbon fiber heating conduits distribute heat to the core of the body
  • Durable proprietary fabric is washable
  • Women’s-specific form is flattering and slim-fitting
  • Available in [amazon url="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B019C4QU6W"]plain black[/amazon] and with [amazon url="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08335CC1H"]purple accents[/amazon]
  • Detachable hood and variable drawstrings give the jacket a customizable fit

Cons

  • No heating elements to warm the sleeves

3. Best Fleece-Lined Venture Heat Heated Hoodie

Venture Heat Heated Hoodie

Why we like it: Industry veteran Venture Heat produces a long-lasting jacket with cool features like a flashlight, USB charging, an hours-long battery life, and a soft fleece interior.

Editor’s Rating:

At a Glance:

  • Running Time: 12 hours
  • Materials: Waterproof Polyester Exterior / Fleece Interior
  • Jacket Design: Hoodie with outer shell

Review

Venture Heat is a US-based company formed shortly after the first heated jackets came onto the market. Thanks to its early adoption of the technology, the company now has been producing high-quality winter garments for the last 15 years. With a custom ADDheat technology, this hoodie-style jacket with a waterproof outer shell is both lighter and slimmer than other jackets in the space, but equally as warm.

Powered by a single button press that activates a slim 7.4V 5200 mAh battery, this jacket can last up to an impressive 12 hours on its lowest setting, although run time is reduced to a little less than 3.5 hours on high heat. The outer black exterior fabric is waterproof and the soft inner fleece is soft and comfortable against the skin, helping maintain the warmth generated by the heating elements.

This machine-washable jacket packs down to a small size and even fits into an included zipper-closure packing cube. The jacket also comes with a full one-year warranty for any issues that crop up, although with premium zippers, stitching, and materials, we doubt you’ll have any issues.

Heating Functionality

The highest setting will keep the interior temperature at around 100 degrees, plenty warm for even frigid days. Large carbon-fiber heating panels can keep you toasty and spread heat over a larger surface area of the body. You can also charge your phone directly from the battery’s extra USB port. For help in an emergency, the battery also contains a mini flashlight that activates when the main button is held down.

Pros

  • Hoodie-style jacket is flexible and lightweight but still warm
  • Full-year warranty takes care of any potential quality issues
  • Premium zippers, stitching, and materials
  • Impressive 12-hour battery life on lowest heat setting

Cons

  • 3.5-hour battery life on highest setting

4. Best Premium Heated Jacket Dewalt Heavy Duty Heated Work Coat

Dewalt Heavy Duty Heated Work Coat

Why we like it: This expensive and sturdy jacket can hold up to winters of freezing cold and hard wear.

Editor’s Rating:

At a Glance:

  • Running Time: 8 hours
  • Materials: Canvas shell, fleece polyester, flannel hood liner
  • Jacket Design: Hooded work coat

Review

Dewalt is famous for brawny and durable construction tools that can hold up to years of use, and their premium-priced heavy duty work jacket is no different. While an expensive price tag can turn some potential buyers off to this jacket, it is well worth it simply due to its durability. In fact, Dewalt backs up its long-wearing product with a full-year ‘materials and workmanship’ warranty.

Much care is taken with the construction of this jacket, and it stands by itself even without heating functionality as a warm and durable jacket. A water-resistant canvas outer layer is nice in unpleasant weather while a fuzzy fleece liner keeps the inside warm. Flannel is incorporated into the hood, and the jacket packs in high end touches like a flannel lined hood, a ribbed collar, and stretchy sleeve cuffs that help heat stay trapped in the garment.

The jacket will run for eight hours on the low setting but only about four on the high setting—however, the jacket uses on Dewalt’s system batteries that cross over from its other drills, impact drivers, and multi-tools. While battery time is lower than average, the overlap can help minimize issues, as you can just pop in a new battery when necessary. Additional batteries can be bought inexpensively, and a charger is included with the jacket. They have the side benefit of an additional auxiliary port that can charge USB devices.

Heating Functionality

Dewalt’s jacket is warmed by five separate heating elements that surround the whole core of the body. These heating zones are located on both sides of the front of the jacket, with one large element in the back and an element in both of the sleeves. This jacket is unique for its sleeve located heating elements which help keep the whole upper body and arms warm.

Pros

  • Dewalt’s jacket contains five distinct heating elements
  • Heating elements line the sleeves and the core of the body
  • Stretchy sleeve cuffs and a ribbed collar keep heat near the body
  • Workmanship and materials warranty of a full year
  • Inexpensive backup batteries can charge other USB devices

Cons

  • Only has a four hour run time on the highest setting

5. Best Budget Heated Jacket Venustas Heated Hoodie

Venustas Heated Hoodie

Why we like it: This inexpensive heated hoodie is perfect for wear under a heavier, conventional coat but provides a surprising amount of warmth when worn by itself.

Editor’s Rating:

At a Glance:

  • Running Time: 10 hours
  • Materials: Polyester
  • Jacket Design: Hoodie

Review

With a slim hoodie design, this jacket looks much less substantial than other models, passing up thick insulation for a lightweight form factor. While the material looks like light cotton, it’s actually a technical polyester that’s designed to be insulative, breathable, and water-resistant. This form factor is unusual—the hoodie design, although equipped with multiple high-end features, is quite different from conventional heated coats.

But this jacket isn’t going after the same customers as high-end jackets like the Milwaukee M12. A low price tag and slim profile point to this hoodie as a jacket meant to fit under a more substantial conventional coat. The breathability of this jacket is quite important here, as it can help you stay warm when placed under another jacket without overheating.

Lastly, the jacket has impressive functionality and durability for the price. With YKK zippers, sturdy stitching, and a light-up front button that helps you adjust the heat, this jacket offers a quite impressive suite of quality and features for its price. Although it is not necessarily a completely stand-alone option for the frigid cold, it’s great for someone looking for something that also works as an inner layer.

Heating Functionality

This hoodie’s four carbon fiber heating elements wrap around the chest producing an even heat that rivals that of expensive jackets like the Milwaukee M12. The hoodie also uses a mylar liner to keep heat in. Three power settings help to adjust the level of heating based on your preferences and needs.

Pros

  • Hoodie form-factor is lighter-weight and less expensive than other heated jackets
  • Mylar liner keeps heat inside the jacket
  • Breathable, lightweight, and insulative material is perfect for an interior layer
  • Impressive durability and premium features for the price

Cons

  • Not necessarily a stand-alone heated jacket option
  • Less substantial and insulated than other jackets

6. Best Slim-Fit Dewbu Heated Soft Shell Jacket

Dewbu Heated Soft Shell Jacket

Why we like it: A relatively inexpensive softshell jacket is available in both men’s and women’s versions in multiple styles and colors.

Editor’s Rating:

At a Glance:

  • Running Time: 10 hours
  • Materials: Polyester
  • Jacket Design: Hooded slim-fit jacket

Review

Lacking the multiple layers of insulation on jackets like the Milwaukee M12, this Dewbu heated jacket leverages a slim profile to create a fashionable and light-feeling hooded jacket that still feels plenty warm.

Although this coat is on the less-expensive side of the price spectrum, a matte design, sturdy seams, and a form-fitting shape make the jacket seem on the same level as premium offerings. The polyester outer layer is both water-resistant and breathable. The jacket squeezes in seven different pockets, meaning you’ll always be able to tuck away your wallet, phone, or other possessions.

Where this jacket struggles is extreme cold and wind, as a breathable single layer of fabric ends up feeling inadequate in subzero temperatures. Dewbu says this softshell is 100% wind resistant, but the biting winter wind of northern climates can sneak through the zippers and sleeves, meaning this jacket is a bit better in slightly milder conditions.

Where this jacket excels is mobility, and the powerful heating elements take care of short term, sub-freezing temperatures. For long periods outside in the bitter cold, we’d recommend something a bit more substantial.

Heating Functionality

Heating comes through the traditional carbon fiber filaments we’ve come to see as standard in the industry, and they’re located in a single band around the waist of the jacket. Three modules range the temperature spectrum from 100 degrees to 131 on high. Although claimed battery life on the lowest setting is about 10 hours, on a medium to high setting, you’ll likely get about 3-4 hours of battery life. With an auto-shutoff, there’s no danger of the jacket short-circuiting or overheating.

Pros

  • Hooded slim-fit jacket is attractive but still warm
  • Utilizes single band of carbon fiber heating filaments
  • Matte design and flattering shape work well for fashionable users
  • Heats up to 131 degrees on the highest setting

Cons

  • We’d recommend more insulated for the bitter cold
  • Breathable layer isn’t as wind-resistant as we’d like

7. Best Detachable Hoodie Ororo Men’s Soft Shell Heated Jacket

Ororo Men’s Soft Shell Heated Jacket

Why we like it: A waterproof softshell jacket with a detachable hood makes for a lighter jacket than expensive heavyweight options, better for slightly milder winter temperatures.

Editor’s Rating:

At a Glance:

  • Running Time: 10 hours
  • Materials: 100% Polyester
  • Jacket Design: Full softshell jacket with detachable hood

Review

The Ororo Men’s Soft Shell jacket is a comfortable and mid-priced heated jacket better suited to casual use than use in the extreme cold. The jacket utilizes a water-resistant polyester that makes it good for use in the snow and acceptably impermeable in the rain. The coat includes high-quality touches that make it durable and convenient to use, such as the use of a YKK zipper, a machine-washable fabric, and a detachable hood.

Our single issue with this jacket is the battery plug-in: the jacket’s lithium-ion power source plugs in via a rather flimsy connector that easily comes unplugged. While this isn’t an issue in most use cases, and even a brisk walk won’t disconnect the plug, those doing rigorous physical activity might want to consider an option meant for physical activity like the Dewbu Heated Softshell.

A final note on this excellent jacket: if you’re in between sizes, size down. While Ororo’s sizing guide is accurate, the actual model dimensions used for each size are a bit larger than typical.

Heating Functionality

Orono uses a series of three heating elements that wrap around the entire upper torso of the jacket, evenly distributing heat to the body. The heating elements are made of carbon fiber and can be placed on three different heating settings: high, medium, and low.

While low heating is for warmer days and just warms the body mildly, the high setting produces a heat that thoroughly and rapidly warms you up. Since the high setting is quite powerful, it quickly chews through battery life. Make sure to ration your use of the high heat setting if you’re a long way from a recharge.

Pros

  • Softshell jacket is a lighter-weight option that’s good for mild-to-cold temperatures
  • Distributes heat to the entire upper torso of the body
  • High-quality touches make the jacket durable and easy to use
  • High setting produces a powerful and thorough heat
  • Water-resistant polyester is good for snow and rain use

Cons

  • Unplugs during intense activity due to low-quality connector
  • High setting quickly chews through battery life

8. Best Hoodless PTAHDUS Men’s Heated Soft Shell

PTAHDUS Men’s Heated Soft Shell

Why we like it: Direct-to-consumer brand PTAHDUS manufactures an inexpensive but quality feeling heated soft-shell jacket that’s warm without the bulk.

Editor’s Rating:

At a Glance

  • Running Time: 8 hours
  • Materials: Polyester/Cotton
  • Jacket Design: Hoodless Jacket

Review

While PTAHDUS isn’t a household name in winter clothing, the company has ridden the digital retail wave to success by providing high-quality, reasonably priced clothing to online customers. In this industry, reputation is everything, and PTAHDUS has a full line up of heated garments that are beginning to garner positive attention online.

With an inside layer of fleece material and a middle cotton insulative layer, the jacket is comfortable and warm even without the heating elements turned on. It’s warm without being bulky, and the five carbon-fiber heaters are flexible and don’t feel obtrusive or make the jacket stiff.

The battery is about iPhone sized, and the heating elements are thin which keeps the jacket form-fitting but still leaves room for a few layers of winter clothing under the garment. At an average price point, it’s not inexpensive by any means but it’s still more economical than name-brand garments like the Milwaukee M12.

Heating Functionality

This jacket shines in heating functionality. While it is about average in terms of price, five distinct heating elements provide all-encompassing warmth. Located on the chest, mid-back, and sleeves, the heating elements warm up quickly and continue to warm for up to eight hours on the lowest setting, which is still relatively powerful. A 7.4-volt battery means that the sweet spot of warmth and battery life is on the jacket’s ‘medium’ setting. Pockets are heated as well, so if you’ve got cold fingers you can pop in your hands and warm up.

Pros

  • Five heating elements completely and thoroughly warm the upper body
  • Thin carbon fiber heaters and batteries keep the jacket form-fitting
  • Heated pockets keep fingers warmed up
  • Thin softshell jacket is warm with none of the bulk

Cons

  • Economical, but on the higher end of the price range
  • Medium setting is oddly the best combination of warmth and battery life

9. Best for Rain PROSmart Men’s Heated Waterproof Electric Jacket

PROSmart Men’s Heated Waterproof Electric Jacket

Why we like it: A jacket with great battery life from a newcomer brand heats up quickly, although sub-standard build quality leads to some hot spots in the heating elements.

Editor’s Rating:

At a Glance:

  • Running Time: 16 hours
  • Materials: Polyester
  • Jacket Design: Waterproof Hooded Jacket

Review

PROSmart is a newcomer brand that has recently started offering low-price heated jackets with a direct to consumer model. This waterproof version is relatively lightweight with a waterproof shell but has some internal insulation. Build quality is so-so on this offering, with cheap-feeling zippers, finishes, and loose stitching that doesn’t feel particularly long-lasting.

Three heating elements (two in the chest, one on the back) are effective but other manufacturers typically include four or five to warm up their jackets evenly, perhaps this contributes to this jacket’s problem with hotspots. There are no heating elements in the sleeves, and the untailored cuffs and collars mean that heat slowly leaks out of the jacket.

While ProSmart claims a 16-hour battery life on their low setting, low is very low and merely provides a smoldering, gentle heat—if we had to guess, we’d say that it’s a tactical move from ProSmart so that they can advertise an incredible battery life. Battery life for medium and high settings is about average. The battery is small and lightweight for a 12v model, which keeps the jacket mobile and good for outdoor activities like skiing and hiking.

Heating Functionality

Relying on a 12-volt electric system, heating is particularly powerful, although a little uneven as the elements produce some hotspots. Otherwise, for a price only slightly above $100, we think the heating functionality is quite impressive. Another thing we love is the fact that the electronic heating system is compatible with Craftsman, Milwaukee, and DeWalt batteries, meaning that if you’ve already got a battery from another manufacturer, you can cross over and use it with this heated jacket.

Pros

  • Powerful 12-volt electric heating system warms up jacket
  • Compatible with Craftsman, Milwaukee, and DeWalt
  • Impressive battery life
  • Waterproof shell with internal insulation

Cons

  • Hotspots on heating elements
  • Heat leaks out of jacket from cuffs and collars

10. Best For Temporary Use ANTARCTICA Lightweight Heated Jacket

ANTARCTICA Lightweight Heated Jacket

Why we like it: A heated jacket well under $100 doesn’t offer the premium features or durability of more expensive models, but it will get you through the winter.

Editor’s Rating:

At a Glance:

  • Running Time: 8 hours
  • Materials: Nylon/Polyester
  • Jacket Design: Lightweight Hooded Jacket

Review

Compared to the $500 heated jackets of the past, at almost one-tenth of the price, the Antarctica Lightweight Heated Jacket is a pricing miracle. However, this jacket isn’t just cheap, it’s visually attractive, and the [amazon url=”http://amazon.com/dp/B07XM5V3J5″]black[/amazon] or red variations look every bit as nice as their name-brand counterparts. We especially love the collar of the jacket, as a fitted collar fits under the hood, trapping heat inside of the garment.

With a one year warranty, the jacket’s construction is guaranteed but not necessarily super durable in terms of build quality. A nylon top layer means it’s relatively waterproof, but seam quality is low and the buttons and zippers feel a little cheap. Overall, though, it feels pretty solid and there’s a healthy layer of insulation to hold heat in.

So for just a little over $50, what’s the catch? Will it last all of your life? No. Is it as warm as premium jackets such as the Milwaukee M12? Again, no. But without doubt, it will get you through a bone-chilling winter without problem, and for the price of a dinner for two. For us, that alone earns it a spot on our list.

Heating Functionality

Heating functionality doesn’t feel as strong as more expensive garments, but it is well thought out. The elements warm-up almost instantaneously and wrap around the front and the lower back, distributing warmth to the whole core. On the lowest setting, the jacket’s lithium-ion battery works for up to eight hours. Heating is adjusted via a front button with three different heating levels, although the top heating level on this jacket is more like the ‘medium’ level on other jackets.

Pros

  • Super economically priced jacket
  • Heating elements wrap around the whole body
  • The top layer of nylon is waterproof
  • Healthy layer of insulation holds heat in

Cons

  • Not as warm as premium jackets
  • Heating elements aren’t particularly strong

Guide to Buying the Best Heated Jackets for 2020

A heated jacket is a great winter accessory that makes heading out in the bitter cold a lot more pleasant. For those who work outside, those who drive in the bitter cold, or those who simply want a cool piece of technology that makes winters a little bearable, a heated jacket is a great choice. The best part? Online direct-to-consumer manufacturers now sell heated jackets for around $100!

Who Needs a Heated Jacket?

When shopping for a new jacket, it’s sometimes difficult to know if you’re looking for a heated jacket or just a higher-end standard jacket. There are a few things to think about that can help narrow down your decision to purchase a heated jacket:

Working

While normal jackets insulate using body heat, heated jackets add a heating element to better keep you warm. In many cases, when in mild weather or when the user is active, a heated jacket is overkill. If you’re not creating much body heat yourself, a heated jacket could be the perfect solution. For people standing or sitting in the cold or those spending time performing non-physical activities outside, a heated jacket is a great option.

Driving

Driving is another use case where a heated jacket can be valuable. Since driving involves staying relatively still for a long period of time, the human body doesn’t produce its own heat. In this case, a heating element can be incredibly valuable, warming up your body and keeping it warm by keeping in the warmth that the heating elements produced.

Price Sensitivity

Heated winter jackets generally sit at a mid-range to premium price category. Those who are particularly sensitive to price looking for a heated jacket will find themselves combing through the bargain bin of heated jackets, subject a whole host of quality issues. If you’re looking for a jacket below $100, you’re typically better off purchasing something without heating elements.

Winter Sports

When will you be using your jacket? If you’re an athlete and you’ll be skiing, running, or snow-shoeing, a heated jacket probably isn’t for you. Heated jackets are designed to maximize warmth, and don’t typically ventilate very well. Some manufacturers like Dewbu do make heated jackets better suited to use with physical activity.

A History of Heated Jackets

woman in a heated winter jacket

The first heated jacket was released by North Face in 2001, pulling technology from heated blankets and making it lightweight, battery-powered, and safer to release into the consumer market. The jacket cost over $500, which put it well out of the price range of most consumers.

As the idea caught on, other manufacturers began to figure out ways to bring the price of jackets down. When manufacturers like Ororo and Ptahdus started exploring the direct-to-consumer model via online retailing, prices were slashed and jackets became available as an option for the average consumer, although ultra-premium jackets still exist on the market.

Jacket Care

Heated jackets are a different animal when it comes to care—electric heating elements typically require a bit more attention than wool, synthetic, or down jackets. Water is also a consideration, and the harder you are on the heating elements, the less time they’ll last you.

When you compare a high-quality heated jacket with a high-quality standard jacket, a heated jacket simply won’t last you as long. Although most premium jackets advertise themselves as washable, electric heating elements just don’t mix with water, and they will slowly lose functionality over time, or in some cases fail suddenly. Some jackets, especially cheaper models, can’t be washed at all. That being said, there are a few things that can help maximize your heated jacket’s lifespan:

Disconnecting Electronics During Washing

Always make sure to disconnect your battery when washing your jacket, and if you have the option to disconnect more electronics, do it. The fewer connections your electronics have, the less likely it is that multiple electronics will short at the same time.

Use a Laundry Bag

Heating elements used in jackets are particularly delicate, so a mesh bag can provide an additional layer of protection for internal electronics.

Air Dry

Heated apparel and drying machines don’t really get along due to the high heat involved. You can air-dry your heated jacket on a line or set it on a towel if you don’t have a clothesline. Don’t wring or twist your jacket as it could harm the wiring.

Usage Tips

While most heated jackets are pretty simple to use, a few little tricks during usage can help maximize the utility of your heated jacket.

Using all available settings

The most common way to use a heated jacket is to simply put it on at full blast until you’re warm. While this does work to heat you up as quickly as possible, it negatively affects how long a jacket will last and it reduces battery life. Don’t be afraid to use the ‘low’ and ‘medium’ settings to heat the jacket up slowly and gently, causing less stress on the battery.

Battery care

Without a battery, your heated jacket won’t function, so it’s important to take good care. To maximize battery lifespan and charge time, never charge a battery overnight. Once a battery is charged, unplug it. If a battery doesn’t charge or appears damaged, talk with your jacket’s manufacturer and get a replacement. Never charge a damaged battery!

Washing and Drying tips

While most jacket care tips are relatively universal, follow your manufacturer’s recommendations to maximize the lifespan and utility of your heated jacket. Most manufacturers ship their products with a detailed care guide, and manufacturers know how to take care of their jackets better than anyone else.

Heated Jacket Safety

Heated jackets contain relatively powerful heating elements. Inexpensive parts, when not cared for, can leak, start fires, or even explode. Avoid any accidents by not making one of these common errors:

Continuous Running

Continuous heating is the most dangerous activity related to heated jackets as long periods cause undue stress on heating elements. When your battery’s charge runs out, give your jacket a 5-10 minute break before putting in a new battery to reduce stress on the jacket.

Don’t Use When Wet

Common knowledge says that water and electricity don’t mix, and it’s true with heated jackets as well as everything else. While most heated jackets come with some level of water resistance built-in, it’s not recommendable for electronics to be turned on when wet. This is a good reason why a heated jacket with a waterproof shell is much more useful (and costly) than a jacket without water-resistant technology.

Automatic Shutoff

More expensive waterproof jackets typically include an automatic shutoff that will trip when a heating element is in danger of overheating or shorting out.

Sleeping in a Heated Jacket

Don’t use a heated jacket while sleeping, there’s simply too much danger of the coat overheating or, in a worst-case scenario, catching on fire. Use a heated jacket only when you’re awake enough to periodically take note of the temperature of the heating elements.

Heating Zones

Heated jackets place heating elements all over the place to keep you warm. Don’t be fooled by the number of heating elements, more important are the quality and locations of the elements themselves.

Look for a jacket that places elements over your core (chest and abdomen), which will provide the most effective heating. Also, make sure heating elements are evenly distributed, as a high concentration of heating elements can lead to hotspots under the jacket. Many small heating elements are better than one large one.

Other Heated Garment Designs

As heated jackets become more available and less expensive, manufacturers are broadening their lineups to add heating elements to lightweight jackets, vests, and other clothing items. While our list primarily covers long-sleeve jackets, other types of heating element-equipped garments include:

Heated Vests

Designed to be less obtrusive and in most cases to fit under a conventional jacket, a heated vest is a way to get heating elements in a smaller format and typically at a lower price tag.

Heated Pants

For fans of heated jackets that need to endure ultra-cold environments, heated pants can be a way to add to your heated wardrobe, keeping you even warmer.

Heated Gloves

While a heated jacket keeps your core warm, your extremities can still be susceptible to cold weather. A pair of heated gloves can help keep your fingers warm in extreme climates.

Wrapping Up

As heated-garment technology becomes more reliable, long-lasting, and less expensive, purchasing a heated jacket is a convenient option for almost anyone who lives in a northern climate. With the wide variety of heated jackets on the market, narrowing down your choices can be tricky, but follow the same advice as always: do your research, purchase from trusted brands, and understand that quality products sometimes cost a bit more. Stay warm out there!