Best Heated Jacket Head to Head Review Workwear Reviews & Safety Equipment

Best Heated Jacket Head to Head Review


The idea of a heated jacket sounds great – take your power tool battery and use it to heat wires that make you nice and toasty no matter what the temperature is outside. Ah, if it were only that easy. Whether you’ve been burned before (pun intended) or you’re just exploring the possibility, we brought in the major players to find out who makes the best heated jacket.

SUPPORT OUR ADVERTISERS

Who Makes the Best Heated Jacket?

Fit

Best Heated Jacket Head to Head ReviewThe key to getting the most efficient heating is to have a fit where the lining is right up against your base layer. If your jacket fits too loose, the elements heat the air between it and your skin instead. On the other hand, it creates a tighter fit than most jackets.

I ordered each heated jacket according to the size charts I found online. Incidentally, that’s a medium for each brand. Between Chris Boll and myself, we have two body types to check the fit against: tall and lean versus average build.

Each jacket fits both of us nearly perfectly across the shoulders and chest, so the size charts are accurate there. On me, the arms are a little short and the waist is way too short for my 6’2″ frame. On Chris’ 5’10” build, the arms are the perfect length. The waist sits comfortably just below his belt but then raises up to expose some stomach when he does any overhead work. A couple more inches of material across the length would make for a better fit.

Fit Notes

  • Bosch: Accurate sizing compared to other brands’ medium, though the chart that’s shown online is way off.
  • DeWalt: Accurate sizing chart. Medium is a little smaller than the other brands.
  • Makita: Accurate size chart.
  • Milwaukee: Accurate size chart. Shoulders are slightly more narrow than other brands, but not enough to change what size you should get. They also give you a little more room in the in the chest.

The takeaway here is that while every one of these brands is giving you accurate sizing, most people will need to find the balance between the chest and waist sizes. Even though the slightly tighter fit of the size chart recommendations keeps the heating elements against your base layer so it’s more efficient, our team believes that going with the more comfortable fit a size up will give you a better overall experience.

Regardless, try it one before you buy it or check the retailer’s return policy in case you need to switch sizes.

Battery Considerations

Lugging around a battery in your jacket and adding electronic controls changes everything. Finding the most unobtrusive way to make it all work makes a huge difference.

Bosch

  • Inside front left battery pocket placement
  • Metal clip on the adapter lets you move the battery to your belt or pocket

The inside battery pocket is different from the rest of the jackets in this group. The major benefit is that it makes sitting more comfortable if you’re wearing it while operating equipment.

Best Heated Jacket Head to Head Review

DeWalt

  • Left rear pocket placement
  • No adapter clip

DeWalt includes a cord extension that lets you move the battery to just about any pocket on the jacket. The only thing that’s missing is a clip to let you get it off the jacket completely since the 20V Max battery is bulkier and heavier than the 12V power sources.

Best Heated Jacket Head to Head Review

Makita Camo

  • Left rear pocket placement
  • Plastic clip on the adapter lets you move the battery to your belt or pocket

Going with an 18V battery means the power source is bulkier than 12V packs but you get more capacity. It sticks out from the jacket somewhat awkwardly in its pocket, but it doesn’t stretch the midsection like Makita’s hi-viz model does.

Best Heated Jacket Head to Head Review

Makita Hi-Viz

  • Left rear pocket placement
  • Metal clip on the adapter lets you move the battery to your belt or pocket

Like the camo model, this uses an 18V battery and adapter that’s larger than the 12V jackets. The pocket is sewn into the outer shell more naturally than the camo version, but that makes it pull against the midsection of the jacket when it’s in its pocket. Your best bet here is to use the adapter’s clip and put it on your belt unless your sizing leaves you with some wiggle room around the waist.

Best Heated Jacket Head to Head Review

Milwaukee Axis

  • Left rear pocket placement
  • No adapter clip

The Milwaukee Axis moves to a side entry pocket for the battery. It’s easier to open, close, and access than the top entry pockets.

Best Heated Jacket Head to Head Review

Milwaukee Toughshell

  • Left rear pocket placement
  • No adapter clip

While there’s no clip, Milwaukee gives you the option to route the cord through the bottom center of the jacket and stick the battery in your pants pocket. The battery pocket is noticeably larger than other models, so there’s room to use an 18V adapter if you want more capacity.

Best Heated Jacket Head to Head Review

Pockets

You need functional pockets on the job site. The best heated jacket isn’t going to take that away from you just because you’re adding heating elements to it. Here’s how this group shakes out:

Bosch

  • Left/right front
  • Left chest
  • Mesh inside
  • Inside battery

Best Heated Jacket Head to Head Review

DeWalt

  • Left/right front
  • Left chest (longer than others)
  • Left inside chest (longer than others)
  • Left inside battery/phone
  • Left rear battery

Best Heated Jacket Head to Head Review

Makita Camo

  • Left/right front
  • Left chest
  • Left sleeve knife/pen
  • Left rear battery

Best Heated Jacket Head to Head Review

Makita Hi-Viz

  • Left/right front (no zippers)
  • Right chest
  • Left chest transparent ID (snaps instead of zips)
  • Left rear battery

Best Heated Jacket Head to Head Review

Milwaukee Axis

  • Left/right front
  • Left inside chest
  • Left rear battery

Best Heated Jacket Head to Head Review

Milwaukee Toughshell

  • Left/right front
  • Left chest
  • Right inside chest
  • Left rear battery

Best Heated Jacket Head to Head Review

Additional Field Notes

There’s no real right or wrong on these designs – it’s all about how much you’re going to use your pockets. Makita’s Hi-Viz sets itself apart with a snap closure ID pocket that will make your life easier on some job sites. It’s also the only one that doesn’t use zippers on the front pockets.

I’m personally a fan of the sleeve pocket on Makita’s camo jacket. It’s great for storing a pen and/or knife for easier reach when your pants pockets are covered by your jacket or other layers.

SUPPORT OUR ADVERTISERS

Comfort

There’s a reason you have your favorite jeans and sweatshirt – they’re flat out comfortable to wear. The best heated jacket should also give you a feeling of comfort while you’re wearing it. 8 to 10-hour days feel a lot longer when you’re thinking about how much you want to get out of your workwear.

Comfort is subjective, though. Some of the differences here will come down to preference while others will be a matter of the environment you’re in.

Bosch

  • Best Heated Jacket Head to Head ReviewInner lining: 100% polyester
  • Outer shell: 100% polyester

Bosch uses a thin polyester inner lining that slides easily against your base layers. That makes it a breeze to put on or take off without bunching up your shirt. However, the lining on its own doesn’t give you any additional insulation.

Overall, there’s no restriction in arm movement in any working position compared to the rest of the group.

 

DeWalt

  • Best Heated Jacket Head to Head ReviewInner lining: 100% polyester
  • Outer shell: 92% polyester, 8% spandex

DeWalt’s inner lining takes on a thicker soft fleece lining, giving the jacket an extra layer beyond the insulation to maintain your body heat even when you’re not actively using the battery. If you’re concerned about staying warm if the battery dies, this is an excellent option. The trade-off is that it is more prone to bunching up your base layer than a thin polyester lining.

There’s no arm movement restriction that stands out against the others.

Makita Camo

  • Best Heated Jacket Head to Head ReviewInner lining: 100% polyester
  • Outer shell: 94% polyester, 6% spandex

The lining in Makita’s camo heated jacket is virtually identical to Bosch’s. The thin polyester slides easily over base layers but doesn’t offer any additional insulation.

This one also uses storm cuffs recessed into the sleeves. They are comfortable around the wrists and our team prefers them over hook and loop (Velcro) straps.

Makita Hi-Viz

  • Best Heated Jacket Head to Head ReviewInner lining: 100% polyester
  • Outer shell: 100% polyester

Makita goes with a thin fleece lining that adds a little extra insulation but will hold onto your base layer more than a thin lining.

They stick with recessed storm cuffs, which we like.

The tighter stomach area restricts movement somewhat when you’re reaching overhead. Going with one size larger takes care of that, though.

Milwaukee Axis

  • Best Heated Jacket Head to Head ReviewInner lining: 100% polyester
  • Outer shell: 100% polyester

Like Bosch, the Axis uses a thin polyester lining that slides over base layers well. The Milwaukee Axis strays from the outer shell norm with a soft quilted pattern, allowing it to act as a mid layer for something else. It’s not going to be as tough a shell as the others, but it does take advantage of ripstop stitching.

The Axis doesn’t use storm cuffs, but it doesn’t use hook and loop straps, either. There’s an elastic strap on the inside that’s more comfortable than hook and loop but not as effective as storm cuffs.

Milwaukee Toughshell

  • Best Heated Jacket Head to Head ReviewInner lining: 100% polyester
  • Outer shell: 90% polyester, 10% spandex

Milwaukee’s inner lining is more of a thin fleece in between what you see from Bosch and DeWalt. Its soft feel is appealing, though it doesn’t glide over base layers as well as the thin liners.

Arm movement is very free with the gussets along the side.

Final Thoughts on Comfort

Easy gliding over base layers or extra insulation and softness?

Our team is split on that call. My recommendation is to go with the thin lining in climates that you’re more likely to strip the jacket off as the day goes on and grab the fleece lining where you’ll wear it all day.

As far as overall comfort is concerned, the Milwaukee Axis is our pick. The others are in a pretty tight group separated only by your inner lining preference.

Bonus Features

DeWalt

  • No shoulder seams eliminate a potential pressure point if you’re wearing a harness or backpack over the jacket

Makita Camo

  • Mossy Oak Break Up Infinity pattern has legitimate hunting crossover potential
  • Removable sleeves – we love this option for milder climates!

Best Heated Jacket Head to Head Review

Makita Hi-Viz

  • Hi-viz yellow combines with a lot of reflective striping to make this by far the best bet for visibility on the job site
  • The only option in our groups that includes a hood
  • Hard hat fits under the hood

Next Up: Objective Data

6
Leave a Reply

avatar
3 Comment threads
3 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
6 Comment authors
Robert PenningtonJon ThackerKenny Koehlerjohn hJohn Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
john h
Guest
john h

I got the Bosch jacket . I wish I would have bought one years ago it is great. plus you can use the big batteries, it looks sharp Now where are my heated gloves ?

John
Guest
John

Is there an adapter available to use 18v batteries on the Milwaukee jackets? I have M18 tools and plenty of batteries, but no M12.

Bill Hagen
Member

Measuring the temperatures with a IR imaging is easy but not as accurate as with a thermistor or thermal couple. The emissivity of the surfaces of the jackets not the same, especially for the high viability one and any that have a sheen on them. The emissivity should have been calibrated for each jacket. IR imaging is good for comparison on the same sample and for seeing thermal gradients. IR imaging can be very inaccurate on some surfaces.