Heated Workwear For Winter Weather

Words: Ashley Johnson

Words: Ashley Johnson
Photo: fcafotodigital

A look at how battery operated jackets, gloves, and other apparel alleviates cold weather conditions.

Bitter cold is a hazard and a threat to construction workers when winter temperatures dip below freezing. Not only can severe weather conditions impede productivity, but can be unpleasant, and it can potentially lead to long-term distress, if not addressed with the proper clothing options.

Manufacturers of winter apparel are always trying to invent and introduce the next wave of modern, futuristic, functional workwear. There are different types of materials and textiles that retain and distribute heat better than others. Merino wool, synthetic blends, microfleece, polyester are all types of fabrics designed to preserve warmth in cold environments. But these fabrics can only do so much.

Heated clothing that uses battery power can provide consistent, reliable heat when it’s needed most. Applying technology to generate electric heat was developed by Sidney Russell in 1912 when he designed the first heated blanket. 

Russell’s invention was popularized by George Crowley in 1930 with a thermostatically controlled blanket. Soon after, the concept of combining fabric with active electric heat took over the clothing.

North Face was the first apparel company to introduce a heated jacket, the MET5, in 2001 with a price tag of $500. As the technology became more common and popular, so too did the apparel companies offering heated clothing.

Most heated clothing brands use carbon fiber heating technology. This material uses strips or tubular heating elements across the product to provide warmth. 

Flexwarm is another technology that quickly heats clothing by using a thin film layer to provide uniform warmth throughout the fabric without uneven hot or cool spots. 

Using Batteries To Generate Heat

A power source is necessary to provide constant electric heat to clothing. Most often a rechargeable battery is used. Gloves, jackets, and socks are the most prevalent type of heated apparel. 

Heated jackets and vests typically feature rectangular panels on the front and back that consolidate heat around the core. Because most heated clothing uses batteries of 12 volts or less, they are not powerful enough - yet - to distribute heat to areas of an item like the sleeves and around the waist. 

Investing in a heated jacket, vest, or base layer might not make the difference between life and death, but it will surely make the workday more enjoyable, productive, and safe.

Battery Operated Heated Jackets

Bosch Heated Jacket PSJ120S-102

This soft-shell jacket is heated with a 12-volt lithium-ion battery and says to keep the user warm for up to six hours. It features three heat settings and starts heating the front and back within seconds. The battery can also be used to charge a cellphone. This jacket also features five pockets, including a large document pocket.   

Milwaukee M12 AXIS Heated Quilted Jacket

A lightweight, compressible mid-layer jacket operated by a 12-volt lithium-ion battery. This jacket uses carbon fiber technology to distribute heat to the chest, back, and shoulders. The M12 features durable ripstop polyester and DWR coating to help resist severe weather. Stays warm for up to eight hours and can be washed and dried. 

Dewalt Heated Hoodie   

Uses 20-volt MAX and 12-volt MAX lithium-ion batteries to provide up to seven hours of warmth. Made of cotton twill to resist wind and water. Features three heating zones on the chest and back. Offers a pre-heat function and three levels of temperature control.   

Makita DCV200ZXL Heated Vest

Uses Makita 18V LXT and 18V compact lithium-ion batteries and can stay heated for up to 28 hours when using the BL1850 battery. The nylon, polyester vest features three heat settings operated on the chest, a fleece-lined collar, knitted storm cuffs, and a drawstring waist.  

Pnuma IconX Heated Core Vest 

This battery heated base layer keeps heat next to the skin. It uses HydroWick high-performance hollow wicking fiber to wick away moisture. Carbon-fiber heating elements cross over the chest, kidneys, and base of the neck to distribute up to 100 degrees of heat. A rechargeable 7.4-volt lithium-ion battery and wall charger keeps the vest warm for about six hours. The vest also uses SilverStrike antimicrobial odor control. 

Gobi Heat Flash Heated Hi Vis Jacket

Designed for construction workers in severe weather, this high visibility fluorescent yellow heated jacket distributes up to 140 degrees of instant warmth across three zones on the front and back. The jacket includes a rollaway hood, velcro cuffs, one-touch LED temperature control.  

Mobile Warming Primer Heated Base Layer

This heated shirt operates by a 7.4-volt lithium-ion battery that generates up to 135 degrees on high and 90 degrees on low for up to 10 hours. It is made from four-way stretch, anti-microbial polyester, and spandex. It also features flat-lock seams and a moisture-wicking liner. Bluetooth integration, which can allow users to control settings through a smartphone application. 

Heated Winter Accessories And Essentials

Electric heating generated from batteries has expanded beyond just the need to protect and retain warmth around the core. Because construction workers use their hands so frequently, it’s critical to protect them. Heated gloves can prevent the onset of debilitating cold weather hazards. 

Hands are not the only part of the body that needs protection. More than 50 percent of body heat is lost through the head. And nothing is more terrible than cold feet, literally. Fortunately, there is a piece of heated apparel for your entire body. 

Milwaukee Heated Gloves

These USB rechargeable gloves feature GRIDIRON Ripstop polyester that is three times more durable than other gloves. They distribute heat quickly and stay warm for up to six hours by operating on REDLITHIUM USB. The palms and fingers are constructed from leather to allow for dexterity and durability. SMARTSWIPE finger technology lets wearers use touch screen devices. 

Volt Heated Work Gloves

Each leather work glove features a 7.4 volt rechargeable battery and dual charger that distributes up to 150 degrees of heat across the entire hand. They are constructed with a breathable waterproof membrane and soft tricot lining. The rechargeable battery is safely enclosed in a pocket in the middle of the glove that features a display window to easily adjust the temperature setting.  

ThermUp Heated Insoles

This German brand designed and developed these heated insoles that integrate a far-infrared (FIR)  heating element to distribute warmth across the entire foot. The 7.4-volt lithium-ion battery, which attaches to leg gaiters, operates the insoles for up to 6 hours. 

ActionHeat Heated Beanie

More than 50 percent of your body heat is lost from your heat. During bad weather, it’s important to protect your head. The ActionHeat fleece-lined beanie operates with a 5 volt lithium-ion battery. Once powered on, the beanie warms the ears and head in 10 seconds, reaching a temperature of 130 degrees. 

While heated clothing can be a comfort and a relief during the winter when it's necessary to work outside, acquiring all of this gear can be costly. A good place to test out the waters of the heated marketplace is with a simple electric hand warmer that can be stowed away in a pocket. 

Electric hand warmers are often cost-efficient and can be used again and again for years and years. These hand warmers rarely cost more than $20, feature double-sided warmth, stay warm for up to six hours, and also can be used to charge personal electronic devices. 

When it’s cold outside, it not only affects your state of mind. Bitter cold can affect mental clarity and cause distractions that might lead to a higher incidence of accidents. Heated winter work gear will ensure your team stays healthy, happy, and focused. 

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