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Updated Dec 17, 2022 8:41 AM
Grumble less this winter by investing in the right gear to keep you warm and comfortable. Innovations in winter weather gear like heated jackets and clothing are designed to bring amazing warmth without cumbersome extra layers. The best heated vests will give you an extra boost of warmth and comfort, and even allow you to customize temperature and locations where you feel the heat. Strategically placed heat zones bring warmth to your core, helping you to stay comfortable outdoors longer no matter how cold it gets. The best heated vests will fit well, promote overall wellbeing by harnessing heat to improve circulation, and relieve back and shoulder tension with their comforting warmth.
Designed using low voltage, they are safe and cannot cause any serious injury to the wearer. They use lightweight wiring and rechargeable lithium-ion batteries to discreetly warm your core while appearing to look like a typical, stylish outdoor vest. The thin heating elements are fully concealed within the garment and are protected by a waterproof membrane, so you don’t need to worry about rain. Keep reading for vests that are warm, safe, lightweight, and will work for hours, allowing you to work and play outdoors this winter in style (and you can check out our roundups of the best snow boots, heated insoles, heated socks, and even winter hats to help you stay extra cozy).
The best heated vests: Reviews & Recommendations
Best overall: Foxelli Heated Vest
This rechargeable heated vest is a good option when you need more hours of warmth. The vest can adjust between three heat settings (low/medium/high) to customize comfort level and save on battery life. The vest offers four heating zones at the collar, back, and core, which are a nice addition for cold walks outdoors.
Best for men: ORORO Men’s Lightweight Heated Vest
This heated vest for men is tailored neatly to the body and is machine washable. In seconds, the heating elements warm up the vest, which can be adjusted according to your comfort. It even includes a USB charging port within the vest battery that you can use for your cell phone.
Best for women: Venustas Women’s Heated Vest
This women’s heated vest is tailored to fit snugly and uses a combination of nylon and duck down with multiple heating elements to provide long-lasting warmth. There are five heating zones, so more areas of your body will remain warm and you can pick from three heat settings. This vest includes a USB port to charge your smartphone and you’ll get about 8 hours of battery at the low heat setting and 3 at the high heat setting.
Best for winter sports: ORORO Men’s Fleece Heated Vest
This ORORO heated vest is a great choice for winter sports enthusiasts as the fleece provides warmth and breathability. Carbon fiber heating elements heat up three areas of the body quickly and temperature levels can be adjusted for your comfort, especially when you start sweating. Added perks: It’s machine washable and includes a USB charge for your phone.
Best for outdoor work: ARRIS Vest
This Arris heated vest is a great choice for outdoor work as it offers a wide range of adjustable heat zones and temperature settings. Each of the 8 heating zones can be controlled and turned off or on as you move from indoors to outdoors and back again. Additional safety features include powering down if the vest gets too hot.
Best budget: Anbero Heated Vest
A great choice for keeping warm outdoors, this Anbero vest offers five heating zones and three temperature settings all with a simple zip-up unisex design. It is machine washable and lightweight, making it a good option for layering.
Features to consider when shopping for the best heated vests
When it comes to finding the best heated vest for cold weather and your next outdoor adventure, you’ll want to learn about the different styles, brands, and features available. We’ve selected some of the best options on the market to keep you warm, dry, and enjoying being outside.
Focus on heated vests that recharge fast
When it comes to getting dressed and out the door, we all want to do it fast and without fuss. In the cold winter months, this can inevitably take longer, and you’ll pay the price in comfort when you shortcut this process. With the addition of heated clothing, you’ll find yourself needing fewer layers, which saves time—but you want to be sure your vest’s batteries are charged and ready to go. The best heated vests will have batteries that are easy and quick to recharge, heat the vest quickly upon wearing, and offer many hours of warmth and comfort between charges.
In order to get more hours of warmth out of your vest, compare vests based on the type of battery and method of charging, as well as the length of time it takes to heat up. Most models will offer adjustable temperature or zone settings, which will save on battery life and allow you to move the heat around the vest at just the right temperature for your comfort. A nice feature to look for is carbon fibers used as heat elements, as they allow for vests to heat up quickly.
Stay warm while engaging in winter sports
As winter sports enthusiasts know—it’s never too cold out, you just don’t have the right cold-weather gear. While some people use the cold as an excuse to spend months mostly inside, this is not the case for all. The best cold-weather clothing can mean hours more of outdoor time, which is essential for winter sports enthusiasts. They can be a critical extra layer that keep your core warm and your muscles relaxed throughout your sweat session. Getting extra warmth without extra bulk will provide a full range of motion and keep you in the game.
The best options for winter sports will be lightweight and breathable with adjustable heat settings. The lighter the materials used, the less fatigue you will feel. After some time spent doing vigorous outdoor activities, you may feel both cold and sweaty, so breathable, moisture-wicking fabrics will be an important feature to keep you warm and dry. The best vests for winter sports will have multiple heating zones and customizable heat so you can warm up or cool down as you see fit. Finally, a securely fastened battery pack is essential when engaging in sports.
Look for extra warmth while you work
If your work takes you outside or in non-heated areas, you need to protect yourself from the elements with the best cold-weather gear. These vests will protect your core to keep you safe and warm and can easily coordinate with other work clothes or uniforms.
The best vest for outdoor work will be versatile and lightweight. It should be simple and classic in design, with hidden heat elements to make the garment look more work-appropriate. Because the weather can change dramatically when working outdoors, you want to select a vest that features multiple heat zones and adjustable temperature, as well as the ability to turn certain areas off and on. Adjustable sizing is a nice bonus as well, so it can fit under other layers or loosen to wear on top, depending on the day and the nature of your work.
Q: Are heated vests safe?
They are definitely safe to wear. Although there are thin electrical wires running through the vest, the voltage is so low that there is no risk of electrocution. The vest is heated with a removable, rechargeable lithium-ion battery that is discreetly sewn into the garment in an accessible location, and they all include a waterproof membrane to keep the wires and battery safe from water. Still, care should be taken to make sure the battery stays in good working order, discarding and replacing if it becomes damaged.
Q: How do I use a heated vest?
Using a heated vest is simple and harnesses battery power to keep you warm. They have thin, lightweight wires placed within the garment and use a low charge to warm up. Some have Bluetooth connectivity so you can power up (or down) the heat by using an app on your smartphone.
Q: Can I wash heated vests?
They can be washed safely when following the manufacturer’s instructions. Typically, the first step will be to disconnect and remove the rechargeable battery, and zip away or seal any connector cables. Be sure to wash your vest with cool water with the machine’s gentle setting. Line drying the garment is usually recommended, with care not to squeeze or wring out the vest so as to keep the delicate wiring inside safe for your next use.
A final word on shopping for the best heated vests
While long underwear has often been the first line of defense for an outdoor adventure, the best heated vests will take things up a notch and provide hours of warmth for your core, fit comfortably, and look stylish without all the bulky layers. With lightweight wiring and multiple heating zones, you can keep warm no matter how long you find yourself in winter weather.