How Do Heated Jackets Work? A Simple Guide

‘Tis the season for layers! As the cool breeze approaches, it’s time to start shopping for some insulation—and, lucky for you, heated jackets are just in-style. 

But how exactly do they keep you warm? 

What are heated jackets?

Heated jackets are battery-powered winter apparel used to generate heat around your “core area” or torso. During cold climates, covering this section is very important, since this is where your circulation is centered.

Man wearing electric jacket for construction work

How do heated jackets work?

Most often, a heated jacket will contain the following parts:

  • Electronically-powered heating panels (located at the front and back);
  • Thin wires spread-across the garment; and 
  • A removable battery pack, stored inside the jacket’s pocket. 

Nowadays, manufacturers use carbon fiber in their clothing for added flexibility. These are usually sectioned in pads, and fixed to certain areas for proper heat dispersion. 

To use a heated jacket, simply hold the power button. (You’ll likely find this inside, or around the chest area.) Once prompted, this will run the current through its wires, and start producing heat! 

Based on the heating panels’ placement, your jacket is designed to warm specific areas and can be adjusted using its temperature control settings. Pretty sweet, right?

USB cable of an electric jacket

How do I choose a heated jacket?

There are plenty to choose from, depending on the brand, style, and of course, function. When making your purchase, these are just a few qualities to look for: 

  • Heat Output: Key signifiers include its heating capacity (Watts), coverage (ie. heating panels), and modulation. If anything, just make sure that your jacket can provide proper insulation on all of its settings!
  • Battery: For travel convenience, aim for thin but high-capacity batteries.
  • Size: Consider the chest area and sleeve length. This should fit well enough to trap heat, but not too tight that’ll restrict your movement. 
  • Material: They range between cotton, leather, and polyester—the latter being the warmest.
  • Features: Some jackets can double as battery packs. Meanwhile, others can be charged without having to remove the battery!
  • Price

How safe are heated jackets?

With proper care, you’ll find that most heated jackets are safe!

Their warming mechanisms, for one, use infrared heat, and thus keep the surrounding air cool for your safety. Furthermore, its insulative material is waterproof, and can even be washed—provided you’ve removed the battery pack. 

Whether it rips or bends, these shouldn’t short-circuit or catch fire, since their batteries are equipped with a built-in safety cut-out. Some even have an internal thermostat to avoid overheating!

In any case, just take note of these precautions:

  • If you have an illness linked to weak blood circulation, it’s best not to use a heated jacket.
  • In the event that your jacket’s lining gets wet, take it off and discharge the battery.
delivery man wearing a yellow electric jacket

How long do the batteries last?

Depending on your jacket’s manufacturer and power mode, their batteries will last for:

  • Low: 9-11 hours
  • Medium: 6-8
  • High: 1-3 hours

With proper care, a battery pack is estimated to last for over 6 years!

How do I clean my heated jacket?

Once you remove its batteries, heated jackets can be washed like regular ones. But since its wired lining is sensitive, follow these steps for a safe clean: 

  • Remove the power bank before washing. This is a non-negotiable—even for “waterproof” jackets! (Note: If the batteries can’t be removed, don’t attempt to wash your jacket. Instead, follow the manufacturer’s care instructions.) 
  • Tuck-in or remove hanging cables/wires.
  • Start by spot-cleaning tough stains. Then, with warm water, either handwash your jacket or use a mild cycle. 
  • When washing, avoid using hot water or bleach, as well as folding the material, as this might damage or compress your jacket.
  • Don’t wring out, iron, or dry clean—instead, just hang it out to dry. 
Man wearing chic blue electric jacket

What are the benefits of heated jackets?

There are plenty of benefits to using heated jackets, the most obvious being keeping your body warm. As you might know, having less warmth around your core could limit your blood circulation—leading to cold limbs, stiff muscles, and slow movement altogether!

Not only are you more likely to get injured, but you’re also at the risk of getting frostbite and/or hypothermia. Fortunately, with heated apparel, you can stay longer in the cold—and with less of a price!

On the contrary, some people claim that carrying and re-charging these can be a hassle, especially during long, outdoor expeditions. 

However, I implore you: These are just small adjustments for the number of advantages you’ll get! Just choose one with enough wattage, and bring a spare pack of batteries for emergencies.

How much do heated jackets cost?

To start, heated jackets usually cost between $150-200, while on Amazon, they’re around $139-149! 

But if they’re priced lower than $100, these likely have lower quality and can be safety hazards. 

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