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Last Updated: October 2021
It can get really cold in the winter. If you don’t layer up, especially around your core, you are going to suffer in cold weather. A vest is great for keeping your core warm, but a heated vest takes warming to the next level.
If you like to hunt, ski, ride your motorcycle, camp, hike, and more in the winter months (or at other cold times of the year), then a heated vest will keep you warm, no matter what you are doing.
There are heated vests out there for men and women so that everyone can get out into the great outdoors, no matter who you are.
Our Top Picks for Men
Men generally have a larger core, and that leaves them more susceptible to the cold weather. Well, worry about it no more with one of these high-quality heated vests. Let’s check out our top three.
1. Gobi Heat Dune Men’s Heated Vest
For: Men | Battery: Included (Rechargeable) | Run Time: Up to 10 hours | Heat Zones: 3
This heated vest is made from wind and water resistant lightweight nylon that is machine washable, tumble dryer safe, and resistant to abrasions. It contains three conductive thread heating elements, two in the front, either side of the zipper, and one at the back. These are driven by a lightweight and comfortable lithium ion battery, which has a USB port for mobile charging.
Three heat settings will allow you to switch between 113, 131, and 140° Fahrenheit (45, 55, and 60 °C), which will also affect the battery life. You can expect between five and 10 hours of battery life depending on your chosen heat setting. A one-touch LED controller allows for easy manipulation of the settings, and a battery life indicator on the battery itself will ensure that you know how much charge you have left.
The Gobi Heat Dune vest comes in onyx black and horizon blue, weighs an average of 1,4lbs, size dependent, and has a one-year limited warranty. If you’re still not convinced, worry not, Gobi Heat offers a 30-day return policy, so if you don’t like the vest, you can simply send it back.
2. ORORO Lightweight Heated Vest
For: Men | Battery: Included (Rechargeable) | Run Time: up to 10 hours | Heat Zones: 4
This 100% nylon men’s heated vest from Ororo is not only functional and warm, but it is stylish and elegant too. You can wear it in the extreme cold under your jacket, but it is equally at home, on show above a sweater in the fall.
The tailored design means that it hugs your body, and that becomes a warm hug when activated. This stops the wind from getting underneath, maintaining a natural warmth, and the material is water-resistant, further aiding the heating.
The carbon-fiber elements generate heat across the collar, mid-back, and under the two pockets. Not only does this help to keep your core warm, but it helps to keep your hands warm too. Simply pop them in your pockets, and you are good to go.
There are three heat settings available, and you can easily switch between them with a long press of the button. The 7.4V battery lasts for up to 10 hours on a single charge, and you can charge using the USB port. When the vest gets too soiled, simply machine-wash it.
A great vest for the wild outdoors, but also one that will comfort you on a frosty commute to work.
3. Milwaukee M12 Heated AXIS Vest
For: Men | Battery: Included (Rechargeable) | Run Time: up to 6 hours | Heat Zones: 2
Another stylish vest with a zip closure at the front, sleek look, classic black color, and a simple yet elegant design. There is a zipper closure on the front that is easy to use, great for camping and hunting, letting you get in and out of the vest with ease.
The best thing about this heated vest is how quickly it reaches temperature. It can get to top temperature three times faster than most rival heated vests and heats your chest and back when it is in operation.
The one-touch LED controller is as simple as they come, and you can easily switch between the three heat settings per heat zone. The 1.5V compact battery pack is almost invisible when you are wearing the vest, not sticking out like some other battery packs, and it gives you up to 6 hours of run time on a single charge.
The vest is machine washable and also safe for the dryer. Easy to take care of and easy to wear, this vest is perfect for all cold weather conditions.
Our Top Picks for Women
A smaller core means the need for well designed and targeted heated vests. The three that we have found are flexible, stylish, and certainly get the job done when it comes to keeping you warm in the great outdoors. Let’s jump in.
1. Gobi Heat Dune Heated Vest for Women
For: Women | Battery: Included (Rechargeable) | Run Time: Up to 10 hours | Heat Zones: 3
Gobi Heat’s women’s heated vest comes in three colors; onyx black, plumb purple, and horizon blue. It is made from a lightweight nylon that is resistant to wind, water, and abrasions, and is washing machine and tumble dryer safe. It weighs an average of 1.4 lbs (635 g), depending on the size, which includes the lightweight, USB rechargeable lithium ion battery.
Three heating elements, one at the back and two in the front, will ensure that you are toasty warm for between five and 10 hours. Battery life is dependent on which of the three heat settings you choose (low, medium or high), and charging only takes three to four hours. You can easily change the heat setting on the go, with a one-touch LED controller, ensuring that you are always just as warm as you need to be. LED lights on the battery will keep you up to date with how much battery life you have left.
A one-year limited warranty will afford you peace of mind when purchasing the Gobi Heat Dune Heated Vest, and a 30-day return policy will give you time to try out the product before making your final decision.
2. ORORO Heated Vest
For: Women | Battery: Included | Run Time: up to 10 hours | Heat Zones: 4
This elegant heated vest can double as a stylish addition to your wardrobe, but it is so much more than that. The vest features a slim fit that comes in many different sizes, and that means that the vest is hugging your core and heating you efficiently, instead of air circulating underneath the vest. There is also a detachable hood for an extra layer of warmth.
The water-repellent finish stops the water from getting in and also provides protection from the wind. Inside, you will find lightweight thermal insulation, 800-fill power duck down, which gives amazing warmth for the little weight that you carry—lots of comfort and lots of heat.
There are 4 carbon fiber elements inside the down-filled vest, giving you heat across your entire core, focusing on the collar, pockets, and mid-back. There are 3 heat settings, high, medium, and low, and you can switch between them with the touch of a button. When you are heating, you get up to 10 hours of heat, depending on which level you set it to.
The vest is easy to care for, and the entire vest is machine washable for up to fifty machine wash cycles—a wonderful vest for any outdoor activities or for your morning commute to the office.
3. ARRIS Heated Vest
For: Women | Battery: Included (Rechargeable) | Run Time: up to 8 hours | Heat Zones: 8
This vest will keep you warm, and you will look stylish while staying warm. The new adjustment method on this vest means that you can tailor the vest to your individual style, allowing you to adjust the size further so that it hugs your body. Simply unzip the zippers and replace the sizing panels to add extra freedom, or to create a tighter fit.
There are 8 heating panels in the vest and 5 temperature controls. You can heat the vest from 104°F to 176°F (40°C-80°C), perfect for those extreme temperatures in winter, and you can easily get out into the great outdoors for skiing, skating, hiking, hunting, and winter camping. Yet, you still get the gentle heat that is excellent for the fall and early spring.
The 7.4V rechargeable battery is easily charged by the USB port, and the power inside allows more heating pads to be warmed than your typical heated vest. This not only keeps you warm but promotes your circulation, aiding pain relief and reducing the risk of injury while wearing the vest. There is a built-in protection mode that stops any overheating and returns the vest to standard temperature should the vest ever get too hot.
A perfect vest for more extreme temperatures.
Our Top Unisex Pick
Some vests are designed for men, and some are designed for women, and that is mainly down to different body shapes. The following heated vest is designed for everyone. Buy it, wear it, share it, and enjoy the heat.
Gerbing Heated Vest Liner for Men/Women
For: Men/Women (Unisex) | Battery: Included (Rechargeable) | Run Time: up to 8 hours | Heat Zones: 3
Even though this vest is designed for everyone, it does not look like it would not fit into either category. The vest is stylish and fashionable enough for men and women and does not suffer from being a vest that can do everything for everyone.
Inside the vest, you will find a powerful microwire system with 3 built-in heating pads placed on the chest and back to completely warm your core in the cold weather. You can activate the pads at the touch of a button, with three separate heat levels, the top one enough to keep you warm in the coldest temperatures. The 7V battery is powerful and can give you up to 8 hours of heat on a single charge.
The heated vest is wind- and water-resistant, keeping out the wind and rain, and there is a zipper on the front for easy access. There are multiple sizes to choose from, so you are sure to find a size that fits you—the perfect heated vest for almost everyone.
What To Know Before Buying a Heated Vest
Heated vests are designed to raise your body temperature in conditions when it would fall. They don’t have sleeves, and are designed to heat your core, so they will need to be worn with other layers of clothing, and especially a jacket in winter conditions. They generally have heat settings, and you can tailor the level of heat to the conditions that you find yourself in.
When you are looking for a vest, it is essential that the outer material has some sort of weatherproofing. Water should not be able to get in, both to help to keep you warm, and to protect the elements and battery.
Related: How to Wash a Heated Vest or Jacket
The lining should be soft, perhaps some sort of fleece, so that it does not irritate your skin if you are wearing it as a bottom layer. Fleece will also add a layer of warmth.
The remaining material should also provide warmth but needs to be durable too to not react to the heat. Breathable material will allow any trapped moisture to escape, keeping you warm and removing irritations.
You need to think about where you usually feel the cold in your core and how cold you get. If you need all-over warmth, you do not need to worry about the placement and size of the heating panels, but more targeted heat may require a vest that has more heating elements and separate controls.
Most heated vests will have heating elements placed at the chest, lower back, collars, and pockets. The pockets are important as they will help to keep your hands warm if you need to have them free from gloves.
If you are going into extreme conditions, you will need heating elements that have a high heating temperature. And, if you plan on wearing the vest in different temperatures, then look for a vest that has a wide range of heating temperatures.
The vests on our list have multiple heat settings, and this allows you to get the right temperature for your situation. You will usually find a controller in your pocket, on the front of the vest, or on the chest. Some controllers will have a single button that you can use to scroll through heating options, while others will have multiple buttons depending on the type of heat.
The better the battery life, the longer you are going to enjoy the heat from your vest without having to recharge. In all vests, the higher the temperature setting, the quicker that the battery will drain, so the total battery life is usually calculated when the vest is used on the lowest setting.
Some vests will need batteries inserted and replaced, but all of the vests on our list have rechargeable batteries for easier use. Lithium-ion batteries lose some of their battery life over time, usually after 3-5 years. If the vest is not heating for as long as it once did, you might need to replace the battery.
The charge time will depend on the vest, but we recommend allowing the same amount of time to charge the vest as the life of the battery. For example, if the battery has 6 hours of battery life, plan to charge it for 6 hours before it is full. Most batteries will charge through a USB connection, but always check the charger type before you buy the vest.
Comfort is essential for a heated vest; there is no point in wearing a heated vest if it does not fit or if it irritates you.
One thing to look at is the size of the battery. If the vest has a large battery pack and is being worn under layers of clothing, then you may have it digging into you. Try and find a vest that is slimline so that you can wear it with any additional clothing, and it won’t get in the way.
The material will also play a large role in your comfort, and the interior should be soft and non-abrasive if you are wearing it as a base layer. The fit is important too. Decide on what you like, and then find a vest that will either hug your body or give you some breathing room. If you are not sure, look for a vest that has removable panels for a more tailored fit.
Every heated vest should come with pockets, if only for your hands. Most heated vests will also come with heating elements under the pockets to help keep your hands warm, but not all do, so be sure to check that before buying a heated vest.
Heated vests can also come with pockets for your valuables, and a zippered pocket is a great addition for a cell phone or wallet. Pockets can be especially handy if you are wearing a heated vest while you work, and you can keep tools and accessories on you.
If you want to only use a heated vest as a base layer for something like winter sports, then you might want to forgo the pockets entirely and keep the profile as slim as possible.