Extreme cold in your hands is not merely uncomfortable but sometimes dangerous with loss of dexterity and, in severe cases, frostbite. Your hands get cold in winter because your blood vessels are sensitive to cold, and your body concentrates on keeping your vital core warm. If you keep your hands warm in winter, you improve your overall body heat and feel happier and more comfortable as you go about your activities.
1. Different Ways Heated Gloves Work:
You can generate heat in different ways, but when it comes to making heated gloves, you have two different ways of generating heat for outdoor gloves.
1.1 Chemical Reaction
Many chemical reactions generate heat as the mixture of chemicals react and release excess energy as heat – exothermic reactions. Some heated gloves take advantage of this by creating gloves with one or more pockets in key areas like the palm and back of the hand.
Packets containing a mixture of water, cellulose, activated carbon salt, and iron slip into the glove pockets. The iron reacts with the air and oxidizes, releasing heat for up to eight hours. These packets are disposable, and you need new packs every time you want to heat your gloves. On the plus side, these gloves are wearable as insulated outdoor gloves without the heating pads.
1.2. Electrical Heating
A battery can operate to create a warming electric blanket for your hands with embedded wires made of metal or carbon fiber inside the glove. You can replace or recharge the batteries, and with motorcycle heated gloves, you often get the option to power them from the motorcycle battery.
Electrically heated gloves give you options like:
· Different heat settings – low, medium, and high.
· Different heat zones.
· Targeted heating directed to the fingertips.
· Rapid heating.
Most of the popular heated glove types use versatile electric heating to provide warmth for your hands.
2. How to Choose the Best heated Gloves for You?
The crucial features for the best heated gloves depend on what type of activities you do when you wear heated gloves. The needs of someone walking their dog and someone spending a day snowboarding on the winter slopes are different. The main points to consider are:
2.1 Duration and Battery Life
Chemically heated gloves will warm your hands while the chemical reaction occurs – typically up to eight hours. Battery operated heated gloves provide warmth until the battery is exhausted. The battery life depends on the battery type and the way the glove works. A fast-acting heated glove uses more battery power than a lower, more gently heated glove. An electrically heated glove can last from two hours to eight or more, depending on usage.
The best heated glove for you will cover the entire time you stay outdoors in cold weather.
2.2 Outdoor Activity
What you need to do outdoors is as crucial as how long you spend outside. If you are playing sports or working, you may need the flexibility to let you grip and maneuver tools and equipment. The nature of your activity influences what you need from your heated gloves.
· Motorbike riding needs waterproof, windproof gloves, and the option to use your motorcycle battery to power the heating is useful.
· Outdoor sportspeople look to buy heated gloves made by sports gear companies because they understand what you need for flexibility and other features.
· People with circulation issues look for heated gloves that provide fingertip heating as this area is most vulnerable to cold damage.
· Outdoor manual workers need heated gloves with high abrasion resistance, flexibility, and excellent grip.
2.3 Materials and Construction
A variety of materials go into making a quality pair of heated gloves. You can expect leather, fabric, nylon, fleece, and high technology fabrics to play their part.
The outer shell protects from wind, water, and abrasion. Typical materials include:
· Leather with a waterproof coating for durability and resistance to abrasive surfaces.
· Nylon for waterproof and windproof properties.
· Gore-Tex for a breathable layer with waterproofing.
Other materials for the outer shell bring other properties – as well as the material; you need to look at the quality of the seams as these provide weak points for water to penetrate the heated glove.
The best heated gloves use a high-tech fabric like Gore-Tex to provide breathability as well as waterproofing. This special membrane typically bonds to the outer shell to protect the insulating layer containing the electrical circuits.
An inner lining of fleece or soft cotton helps to provide additional comfort against your skin. The insulation layer provides additional thermal properties and padding for the wires and battery pack. The best heated gloves use a branded insulation like Thinsulate for quality thermal insulation.
Pay attention to the construction of the wrist area as this is vulnerable to snow or water penetration and is an area that needs to stay warm. Look for adjustable closures that give a snug fit to protect your hands.
Cheap gloves may not be the best budget buy because of issues with durability and performance. When you compare the cost of heated gloves, compare features and warranties because it is more expensive to keep replacing your heated gloves than investing in a quality pair that lasts and performs better.
Additionally, compare the costs of replacement parts like chemical heating packs and batteries ensure that you take all the costs into account before deciding on your best heated gloves for your budget.
2.5 Buy the Right Size
Typically, heated gloves come in small, medium, large, and extra-large. The measurement most heated glove manufacturers use for their sizing is the distance around your hand at the middle of your palm. Check your actual hand measurement (use your dominant hand) against the size chart to ensure you get the best fit for your hand.
A heated glove that is too big doesn't work efficiently and can be too bulky to wear and awkward for work. The heated glove that fits allows you to make a fist with your hand and adequately covers the wrist area.
2.6 Optional Features
You find heated gloves with a range of bonus features like:
· Touch screen capability – if you need to use your phone, you don't want to remove your glove to operate the screen because you lose all the heating benefits.
· Cleanability – most don't go in the washing machine, but an easy-clean surface keeps your heated gloves looking smart for longer.
· Safe batteries – guaranteed against exploding, an essential feature if you will take your heated gloves on a skiing holiday. Most batteries are guaranteed to operate safely, but this feature provides extra reassurance for some types of rechargeable batteries.
· Warranty – the length of the warranty and the exclusions give you an assessment of the heated glove's expected life and quality. An extended warranty provides reassurance that the heated glove will perform exceptionally well.
· Textured grip zones – if you work outdoors in winter conditions, areas of the heated glove that assist with gripping tools or ski-poles are useful.
· Fingertip heating – some gloves only heat the main body of the hand. If you want to keep your fingers warm and toasty, check for fingertip heating or custom heating zones.
You don't get all the features in all the heated gloves, but when you know what you need from your gloves, it makes selecting the best available heated gloves in your budget a breeze. Then you can enjoy the bliss of warm hands whatever the weather when you explore or work outside.
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about heated gloves:
3.1 Will my heated gloves give me a shock?
No. Heated gloves are rigorously tested to be safe in use, and the electric circuits are not in direct contact with your body. If you get some freak accident that puts your skin in touch with the electrical circuit, you do not need to worry because the voltage is so low that it won't harm you.
3.2 Will I need to take the heated gloves off to use my phone?
It depends on which gloves you buy. Some heated gloves (like some regular gloves) have touch screen capabilities because they cater to people (like you) who need to use their phones while outdoors.
3.3 Are heated gloves bulky?
It depends on the heated glove - most heated gloves fit your hand (if you buy the right size) and are flexible enough to make a fist and perform all the other actions you need from your hands when working outside in winter weather. They are thicker than lightweight gloves, but they have the same bulk as any other insulated glove.
3.4 What about cleaning my heated gloves?
Some heated gloves allow machine washing (carefully and remove the battery), but most are not machine washable because of the risk of damage to the electric circuits. Like most outdoor clothing that protects your body from wind and water, the outer shell brushes clean. Some heated gloves can benefit from spot cleaning the outer shell and have a water and dirt repellant coating.
3.5 Are heated gloves expensive?
Like other outdoor gear, heated gloves come in a range of budget options as well as top of the range models to cope with the most extreme conditions. You can pay around $30 or over $100. You get plenty of excellent high-quality gloves around the $50 mark, and the value of having warm hands all winter – priceless.