Whether you are out hunting in the early morning before sunrise, or on a ski lift getting ready for another run, or work with tools while outside in the winter, handwarmers have all but become a necessity. When you need performance when it is cold out, hand warmers help restore blood flow, soften tendons and get you moving freely in the meantime.
Since technologies are updating and changing though, the options for handwarmers have increased. You may want the traditional glove warmers. Or perhaps a hand warmer that ditches the activated chemicals and burns off of a real flame. Now there are also electronic varieties available that will warm your hands and recharge your accessories at the same time. With all of the choices, it can be hard to know where to start.
That is why we have collected the top five hand warmers on the market right now. We have done the research, weighed some pros and cons of each, and give our reasons for why we recommend them. We have also included a guide of key features and questions to ask to help you get clear on what type of hand warmer you need and why.
This natural ingredient, oxygen activated hand warmer has been in the game for over 20 years. These are odorless, single-use hand warmers that achieve full heat after only 15 to 30 minutes. To active them, remove them from their pouch, shake in the open air and wait until warm. Then you can place in either your gloves, your shoes, even on your body. This pack, in particular, has over 40 pairs of warmers designed for multiple spots on your body.
The ingredients are made from iron powder, water, salt, activated charcoal, and wood fiber. They are TSA approved for travel. After use, you can simply throw them in the trash as there are no special ingredients that need to be handled differently.
- Natural, odorless, and single use
- Up to 10 hours of heat
- Average is 135 degrees Fahrenheit
- Reusable if you store them in an oxygen-tight container
- You must plan ahead- takes 15 to 30 minutes to warm up
- May have trouble starting if exposed to moisture previously
Why We Recommend It
This is a classic hand warmer and has great brand recognition not only for quality but for customer service. With varying shapes and sizes, you are sure to keep warm whether you are going for an early morning jog or ice fishing.
If you like the idea of self-contained hand warmth, without the complexities of batteries or lighter fluid, but you want a reusable solution, the Heat Pack Instant Reusable Hand Warmer is for you. The packs come in a liquid form. To heat, simply press the metal disc in the middle of the pouch. This will activate the inside to become solid state and, in the process, puts off a huge amount of heat.
Lasting 4-6 hours, these packets heat up within 60 seconds and stay warm the whole time. After the packet cools, if you want to reuse, simply run the packet under boiling water and the inside will re-liquify where it can be stored and used for another day. While in a solid, cooled state, it is TSA approved for travel.
Originally designed for therapeutic purposes, the medical-grade vinyl outside makes for a comfortable hand warmer and a reusable exterior. Portable and small packs, these are great for any adventure outside or in the cold.
- Medical-grade materials
- 4-6 hours of warmth
- Reusable for use after use
- Takes a bit of maintenance to reuse
- Button can be hard to press if hands are arthritic or very cold
- A bit more costly than competitors
Why We Recommend It
These are a great alternative to the HotHands hand warmers as they are not single use and can be re-used often. The materials are not as natural but they are medical-grade and provide a great amount of heat.
There are times when you need heat that is quicker to warm, more durable against the weather and offers more heat than the competitors. Whether you are hunting, fishing, or camping, you want to spend your time enjoying the warmth of a campfire in your hand or your pocket. The Zippo refillable hand warmer does just this.
Using lighter fluid and a patented catalytic converter system, you can enjoy the heat of a campfire without any flame after you have lit it. While you do need a separate lighter and starting the flame takes a minute, you then have 6 to 12 hours of for intense hand warming- up to 2.5X the single-use packets!
- Extremely powerful to cold weather
- Metal case is durable and portable
- Refillable so you can continue to enjoy again and again
- Not for indoor use as the burn produces carbon monoxide
- Must remain right-side up for optimal use
Why We Recommend It
This lighter is perfect for those in extreme cold. The catalytic converter creates a lot of heat that is fueled by Zippo lighter fluid. If you are going to be outside and need a lot of warmth quickly, this is the hand warmer for you.
As technology changes and adapts so too do the traditional ways of getting warmth. Once only fuel-based, now there are electric hand warmers. The Senlleo rechargeable hand warmer has 3-different hand warmers settings so you can ratchet it up or down as needed. It warms within 3 seconds and has a battery meter so you can monitor the use of the eco-friendly lithium-ion battery.
Made from aluminum, this portable, durable hand warmer can also be used to charge any iPhone, Samsung, or tablet, though not at the same time that it is heating. There is no need to worry about overusing the batteries too much as it is rechargeable and has a safety mechanism that keeps it from over-discharging itself and harming the battery. With built-in technology, this warmer is set to be anti-scald, explosion-proof and radiation-free.
- 4-8 hours of customizable warmth
- 18-month warranty
- Eco-friendly and rechargeable
- Dual purpose hand warmer and charger
- Must stay away from excess water
- Check dimensions as it may be smaller than expected
Why We Recommend It
This is a handy, safe charger that is able to warm your hands very quickly or sit in the tent and recharge your cell phone. With an 18-month warranty, you know that you can have peace of mind regarding your purchase.
The OCOOPA hand warmer is an electronic hand warmer that can also work to charge your cellular devices. With 5200mAH, this rechargeable hand warmer has some serious power behind it. Made from ABS plastic and aircraft-grade aluminum, you would hardly know it as the outside is treated with silicone oil to give it a soft, smooth feeling.
Similar to the Senlleo, each activity for hand warming, charging phones or recharging are mutually exclusive and should not be done at the same time. While it can be used as a hand warmer, its soft stone design can make it a perfect therapeutic tool like a heating rock or for certain types of arthritis. Its design and color options make it a perfect winter-time accessory.
- 3 heating settings
- Charges iPhones, Samsungs, and tablets
- Rechargeable Lithium Ion batteries
- Silicone exterior gives a smooth, soft surface
- 3-6 hours of warmth
- Shorter warmth period than other models
- Takes 3-5 seconds of pressing the On/Off button to operate
Why We Recommend It
With adjustable heat settings, an ability to warm within 3 seconds, and charging via USB portals, this device is portable, powerful, and stylish.
We hope that the list above is helpful in looking at the different types of hand warmers that are available out there. As you can see there is a variety ranging from primitive to technologically advanced, fuel to chemical reactions. As with most things, it can be helpful to get very clear on what it is you will be using them for as that clarity can bring confidence and certainty to your purchasing decisions. We have laid out below some helpful key features to consider going forward.
What Type Of Weather/Environment?
If you are going to be in mildly cold climates, than any of the above will work quite well as they all produce the necessary heat. For extreme heating needs, and a durable carrying case, the Zippo is a very solid option. It takes no time to get hot, and once it does, it produces far more heat than the heat packet options available If you are going to be in the rain or snow, then the electric hand warmers may not be the best option as you will need to protect them the whole time.
The Hot Hands or Heat Pack are not affected by water at all. The Zippo would be ok once enclosed, but it is not completely water-proof either. If you know you are going to be fishing, in the snow, or camping during rain, then the first two on our list will be the best bet.
If you are looking for a multi-functional use based around therapeutic/hand warming, then the Heat Pack was directly designed for therapeutic purposes first, hand warming second. Made from medical-grade materials, it heats easily as well.
Being multi-functional can also have nothing to do with heat. The last two on our list, the Senlleo and the OCOOPA function both as hand warmers and as a battery bank for your electronic USB-fitted devices. The OCOOPA also has a silicone exterior that helps transfer heat while keeping a soft, smooth exterior so you can use it for therapeutic purposes as well, for it can be a stand-in for a hot massage stone.
Duration Heat Is Needed For
As you may have noticed from the reviews, each one of these has a different amount of time that they last for heat production. Some are rather short like the Heat Pack, but there are numerous packets and they can all be reusable. The Zippo and the HotHands seem to last the longest. However, the HotHands need to be thrown away after use and the Zippo requires more fuel after use.
Will You Be Gone For Many Days In A Row?
Perhaps one of the largest differences between all of the different hand warmers is the length of use. The two electric portable hand warmers work well, but if you are camping for a few days, you will run out of energy fairly quickly. The HeatPacks are reusable but need to be boiled for re-use so you will need to carry a pot of water with you. The Zippo is reusable, and most lighter fluid packs are quite portable and compact but could pose a fire danger while out and about. The HotHands come in a large pack so you can have warmth for a longer period of time if you are ok with carrying bulks amounts with you. There is no right or wrong here, simply a difference to think about.
When you are in the cold but still need athletic performance, you need heat. When you are hunting and fishing, finger dexterity is important, you need heat. If you have aches and sores, you need heat. The hand warmers reviewed above are a list of the top 5 types of hand warmers out there. We did the research and hope that they provide a good starting off point for you to get the hand warmers that you need.
As with many things today, there are lots of options and so we hope that our buying guide was able to help you identify some of the key features and differences between the different models of hand warmers.
Take the time to go back through and click on each link to see again which hand warmer would be right for you.