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Heated vests are all the rage now — and they should be. Wearing one is an awesome way of staying warm while doing any sort of activities during fall and winter, from hiking to riding your motorcycle.
We all know how layering up is usually the key to feeling comfortable outdoors when it’s cold outside. But often, like when you’re out hunting or skiing, bulky clothes can be more of a disadvantage. That’s why our guide to the best heated vests on the web will come in handy.
Following a few gender-specific items, we’ve organized our list of unisex heated vests according to the purpose they’re best suited for. Then we made sure to add an FAQ at the end, in case choosing your favorite waistcoat ends up being harder than you’d thought.
What’s a heated vest, though?
Heated clothing in general is aimed at folks who engage in activities that involve a lot of moving around in cold weather. That’s the one occasion in which layering normally doesn’t come in handy.
What’s more, regular clothing won’t keep you warm if you sweat in it or if it’s rainy outside, which makes heated vests and similar items all the more worthwhile.
Heated clothing looks like the rest of your winter wardrobe, yet it’s equipped with a rechargeable mechanism that conducts heat (typically) through carbon fibers in order to keep you warm.
And because your torso needs far more protection from cold than your legs, we decided to focus specifically on heated vests here. Just be sure your hands and feet are well covered too!
Best heated vests for women
TIDEWE’s battery heated vest has three adjustable heat settings that can keep running for as much as ten hours, though only up to four on the highest temperature.
The polyester waistcoat is equipped with four heating pads and takes between three and four hours to recharge.
One of its best assets is the power bank, which comes with two USB ports. That will let you charge your vest and phone at the same time.
- Up to ten working hours
- Power bank is equipped with two USB ports
- Four heating panels around your waist, on the mid-back, and on the collar
Not a vest, granted, but this Conqueco heated jacket definitely deserves to be on our list.
Arguably the best electric jacket for women on the market, it stops heating up once it reaches the maximum temperature, which is great if you’re not a fan of overheating (I’m not).
Conqueco’s jacket comes with two heating panels, one on the chest and one on the back, and features either a non-removable hood (black jacket) or a detachable one (black and orange jacket).
- Both detachable and non-detachable hood available
- Smart mechanism that prevents overheating
- One-year warranty
Best heated vests for men
This Gerbing Gyde heated vest even looks warm. Gerbing’s been developing heated clothing technology for 40+ years, so their products are top-notch.
The microwire in their fleece vest is patented and guaranteed to keep you warm through the three heating pads made with it.
Unlike most other vests, this one actually boasts four heat settings. It can be worn for up to eight hours in the lower temperature.
- Four heating settings
- Large panels on your torso, back, and around your neck
- Unique design
We just had to include an ORORO vest on our post, as the company is among the best you’ll find out there.
This one is made entirely of nylon, which is very flexible. That means it’s ideal for any daily activity, from walking the dog to going to work.
ORORO’s waistcoat works for up to ten hours on end and will keep your waist, back, and neck warm with its four heating panels.
- A single charge can last up to ten working hours
- Designed to endure through 50+ machine wash cycles
- Water- and windproof
Best heated vests for outdoor work
Headed to Antarctica? Carry one of these along.
With an astonishing seven heat panels and reaching 80°C (176F) at the highest setting, this ARRIS heated vest is second to none.
It’s complete with a 7.4V battery, which is better than most of the alternatives on the market. It’s available in a collared fleece version as well.
- Seven heating pads!
- Sleek design
- Reaches up to 80°C (176F)
This polyester vest by NUNEWARES will keep you warm for up to twelve hours with its five heating zones, located around your waist and on the upper back. The company has been manufacturing these for 10 years, which is a long time in this field.
The one downside to this guy is that it doesn’t come with a charger, so it’s aimed at those of you who own or have owned a similar vest. It’s cheaper than the majority of vests, though.
- Side zipper that allows for size adjusment and enhanced comfort
- Hand- and machine-washable
Best heated vests for riding a motorcycle
Like NUNEWARE’s, this cool-looking vest by Rrtizan doesn’t come with a battery either, yet it’s compatible with almost every USB power bank out there.
The company 5-pad vest reaches up to 60-65°C (149F) and features an elastic band to help you adjust it to your body. It’s water- and windproof, which makes it wonderful to wear as you ride your bike on a cold day.
- Particularly lightweight material
- Five heating pads that can reach 60-65°C (149F)
- For any kind of outdoor activities, really
Milwaukee has been manufacturing outdoor equipment and clothing for sports lovers since 1991 and went on to become the OG of heated garments. This Milwaukee heated vest is perfect for old-school bikers because it’s made of good ole’ leather.
Surely, that comes with a price tag, but it’s 100% worth the investment. Heating panels are placed across the front and back.
Oh, and a 7.4V rechargeable battery that can be hooked up to your motorcycle is included!
- Made of naked cowhide leather
- Wire harnerss that allows you to charge it on your bike
- Built-in waterproof pocket to hold the battery
Best heated vests for hunting
A heated hunting vest can look great too, and this one definitely does. Foxelli’s waistcoat keeps you warm for as much as eight hours and comes with a hood.
A 5V USB power bank is included. This vest boasts four heating pads: the one around your neck will have you let go of your scarves.
- Four heating pads around your neck, waist and on your upper back
- Up to eight hours of warmth
- Comes with battery
Hunting often involves a lot of staying put in one place, which is why we also wanted to suggest a coat here. If you’re after a Venustas heated vest specifically, they have options for both men and women.
Their unisex electric hunting jacket, however, is made entirely of nylon (meaning it’s flexible, remember?) and has four heating pads that will keep you warm through the harshest conditions on the ground.
- Heats up in seconds
- Detachable hood for extra convenience
- Works for up to twelve hours continually
Best heated vests for skiing and winter sports
The PROSmart heated vest we picked is made of polar fleece, which is soft and lightweight. It will fit you like a glove as you flip in the air at the ski resort.
The black vest, which is the simplest, comes with only two heat pads on the back. But the two other colors are equipped with heating elements on the front too.
- Made of polar fleece
- Two heating panels in the black vest and four panels in the gray and gray & dark blue ones
- Extremely comfortable
With five heating panels, including one around your neck, this vest by Vencede is the bomb when it comes to winter sports. It can run for up to eight hours, which I bet is far longer than you’ll be skiing for!
This waistcoat is ideal for flights, as its 37WH battery is allowed on your carry-on luggage. It has three heating levels like most vests on the web.
- Heating panel around your neck
- Can be worn for three-four hours in the highest temperature setting and up to eight hours in the lowest
- 37WH battery that can go in your carry-on luggage (maximum is 100WH)
Best rechargeable heated vests
This waistcoat by Konweda is equipped with five far-infrared carbon fiber elements. Its lightweight feel makes it perfect for every occasion, including winter sports.
Konweda’s vest doesn’t come with a power bank, so don’t forget to get one somewhere else if you’re interested in this model.
- Smart overheat protection that keeps you extra safe
- Side zipper to accommodate different body types
- USB connector that can be used with virtually any cable on the market
Hoson’s vest will only last four hours at the highest setting, yet it will keep you warm for eight hours at the lowest one. Its 37WH battery, which can power USB-compatible devices as well, will recharge it in 4.6 hours.
Many reviewers seem to love how fast it heats up and feel it stands out when compared to similar products.
- Five heating panels (four around your waist and one on your upper back)
- Takes three to five minutes to heat up
- Available in five sizes (S through XXL)
How to choose a heated vest
This can be tricky, since many models look quite similar. There’s a handful of aspects to consider:
The inside of a heating vest doesn’t change much from one model to the next. The outer shell, apart from the occasional leather vest, is commonly made of either polyester (which is a bit stronger) or nylon (more flexible).
Both polyester and nylon are durable and resistant, but don’t forget you’re after a vest that is lightweight and breathable as well.
This isn’t simply a matter of how good a vest looks on you, but rather how well it fits your body. It should be more on the tight side, as it’s supposed to be very close to your body and not feel bulky, yet being comfortable is obviously crucial too.
Though you won’t get to try your vest beforehand in case you’re getting it online, don’t think twice about sending it back if it doesn’t fit you like a glove.
The heating settings are naturally the single most important feature to factor in when buying your winter heated vest. Stay away from older models that use copper wires to conduct heat, as they’re more rigid and must be hand-washed. Carbon fiber is 100% safe and the norm today.
Also, look into the amount of thermostat settings each vest has and the maximum temperature they can reach. Finally, depending on where the carbon fibers have been placed, manufacturers may advise against carrying a backpack while you wear your vest.
Remember that not all vests come with a battery, which is only okay if you already have a compatible one.
Otherwise, check for both battery life (some will last up to 12 hours depending on the heating setting) and the size of it, as I’m positive you don’t want a bulky and heavy widget stuffing the pocket of something that’s supposed to be slim-fitted.
While for tons of people this is straight-up no. 1, let me tell you why it shouldn’t be. Going with the cheapest vest you can find is guaranteed to be a let-down. Then we’re talking about an item that will hardly cost you more than $100.
Still, if you’re particularly short of money, try to make do with the stuff you own and save a few extra bucks for next winter. You won’t regret it.
Not an essential feature if you’re crazy about a specific model, yet do give the pocket configuration a thought in case you’re undecided between a couple vests.
Whether you can’t live without your phone or are used to wearing pocketless pants (especially common for women), a decent amount of pockets can make all the difference.
(I figure this makes more than a handful.)
How safe is a heated vest?
Always double-check the manufacturer’s reputation to avoid being sold a knock-off. Other than that, you should be good. A heated vest is stuffed with carbon fibers that conduct the heat throughout it.
These fibers will never come in contact with your skin and can be washed without any problem. On top of that, the voltage of a heated vest (provided it’s a legit one) is too low to electrocute you. Win-win!
Can I wear a heated vest on a rainy day?
Most vests are water-resistant, which means they can be worn in the snow or rain. Many aren’t waterproof, though, so you should rule out wearing them in extreme weather conditions or to go underwater.
I figure your trip to Seattle is still on then, yay!
Can I wear it under a coat or jacket?
If you’re headed to Antarctica, why not? Otherwise, chances are you won’t need to.
These vests are meant to make layering obsolete, at least for people engaging in physical activities outdoors. But insulated vests will keep you warm even as you go grocery shopping or commute.
How should I clean mine?
That depends on the brand and model, but most waistcoats can be machine-washed. Just make sure you carefully read the instructions of yours and you’ll know what to do. As for drying, hanging it is usually the way to go.
How do I adjust the temperature?
That’s another thing that varies widely. Some vests will allow you to control the heating level instead of the temperature per se. Most are equipped with user-friendly buttons, while a few come with a remote for your convenience.
How long can I wear a hot vest for?
In general, you can wear it for as long as the battery lasts, which of course depends on the model you’ve bought. And even after it dies there’s no reason to take it off, unless you have a warmer spare jacket.
How long should I charge it for?
Normally you’ll leave your vest plugged for approximately four hours, though the first charge after you unpack it can take up to eight hours depending on the model.
What’s the average cost of a heated vest?
Entry models typically start at $30, yet you’ll find high-end ones for as much as $300. Pricing varies according to fabric quality, heating capacity, and in some cases the hype around the brand.
Are heated vests worth buying after all?
We wouldn’t have dedicated an entire post to them if we thought otherwise! It’s an affordable and practical way of staying warm as you do anything outdoors. Plus, the majority of vests are offered by reliable brands and have been consistently reviewed.
And honestly one of the best things about a heated vest is that you have something else to generate heat for you instead of… your own body. That will keep you full of energy when everybody else is exhausted.
So I guess that means deciding whether to get your own heated vest should be a no-brainer!