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

Best Heated Jacket Head to Head Review


Maximum Temperature

No one wants to go home with burns, but there’s still something to be said for getting a toasty maximum temperature. You have multiple modes to adjust throughout the day, but who gets the hottest?

That depends on when you measure it. A few jackets have a kind of “preheat” mode where it bumps the temperature up higher before settling into the temperature it will maintain.

SUPPORT OUR ADVERTISERS

Bosch gets the hottest, with our Flir C2 thermal camera registering a preheat temperature of 152° and maintaining 140° at the 1-hour mark on high. On the low end is Makita’s camo heated jacket with maximum initial and 1-hour temperatures of 116° on high.

Best Heated Jacket Head to Head Review

Heating Time

We looked at how long it takes each jacket to reach 100° and its maximum temperature at each heating level. When you’re about to go outside from a warm room, you’re hoping for times more along the lines of a microwave than a slow cooker.

Best Heated Jacket Head to Head Review

Bosch (10 seconds) and Milwaukee’s Axis (11) seconds are the fastest to 100°. Makita’s camo model is the slowest, taking 1 minute, 44 seconds.

Getting to a maximum temperature isn’t quite as objective since the maximum temperatures vary somewhat. Still, DeWalt is the speed demon here, taking 1 minute, 30 seconds to reach its 131° max while both Makita jackets take well over 3 minutes to hit their highs.

Best Heated Jacket Head to Head Review

Heat Zones and Controls

The placement of heat zones is really important. The comfort and potentially life-saving benefits of a heated jacket primarily come from its ability to keep your core warm. From there, heated pockets for your hands and expanding to other areas is a major bonus.

Bosch

  • 3 total heat zones
  • Left/right chest
  • Back

Bosch uses one control button with three modes (low, medium, high) and positions it on the upper left chest. It’s a little too high and can be tough to see.

Best Heated Jacket Head to Head Review

Makita Camo

  • 3 total heat zones
  • Left/right chest
  • Back

Makita has a one-button, three-mode control that’s inside the left chest pocket. That’s ideal for the hunting crowd that doesn’t want to scare off their prey because of a red light in the middle of otherwise fantastic camo. It’s easy to reach and see once you open the pocket.

Best Heated Jacket Head to Head Review

Milwaukee Toughshell

  • 5 total heat zones
  • Left/right chest
  • Left/right front pockets
  • Back

Milwaukee’s Toughshell separates its standard chest/back control from the hand warmers in the front pocket. That’s ideal if you want to extend your runtime by having just one set of elements running. Both buttons on the upper left chest have three modes, are easy to see, and easy to reach.

Milwaukee Axis

  • 5 total heat zones
  • Left/right chest
  • Left/right shoulders
  • Back

Like the Toughshell, the Milwaukee Axis has two controls on the left chest to help you conserve battery when you want to. With its more mid layer design, the extra elements are in the shoulder, surrounding your core more completely than putting them in the sleeves or front pockets. The controls are easy to reach and see.

DeWalt

  • 5 total heat zones
  • Left/right chest
  • Left/right sleeves
  • Back

DeWalt puts their bonus elements in the sleeves but doesn’t give them a separate set of controls like Milwaukee. You’ll find the button on the inside left chest with three modes to work with. Even though it’s on the inside, our team doesn’t mind the need to unzip slightly to reach it.

Makita Hi-Viz

  • 5 total heat zones
  • Left/right chest
  • Left/right upper back
  • Middle back

Makita goes a different route with their extra heating elements by giving you more back coverage. It’s an interesting move that focuses all the heat on your core where it’s most important in environments where hypothermia is a real threat. The one-button, three mode control is on the left chest where it’s easy to see and reach.

With four jackets that have 5 heating zones, our team is split on what is the most valuable placement of the extra elements. This is one that’s going to be up to your preference, though we’re in agreement that Milwaukee’s 2-button controls are better than just one to help conserve the battery.

Battery Efficiency

There are few things worse than when you run your last battery down in your heated jacket. At that point, it’s just a jacket. So who gives you the best efficiency?

We ran each jacket on high with all heat zones on and compared the runtimes to the watt hours in their respective batteries. The efficiency ratings we get from there give us an idea of what to expect if you choose to go with a different size battery.

DeWalt comes in with the lowest efficiency. It finishes with 4.5 minutes of runtime per watt-hour of battery capacity. Makita’s hi-viz comes in second with an impressive 10.0 min/Wh and Bosch leads the group with a 12.o min/Wh rating.

Best Heated Jacket Head to Head Review

Insulation Effectiveness

Having a heated jacket is great, but it’s not much good if it releases that heat right back into the environment. The best heated jacket should include insulation that helps keep the heat in.

To see how efficient each jacket is at keeping the heat in, I checked the temperature of the outside shell after 1 hour on high and compared it to the internal temperature. While there’s not a huge amount of variance in the group, Makita’s hi-viz jacket does the best, with an external temperature that’s 71% of its internal temp. Makita also sets the other side of the limit on its camo jacket with 79% of the internal temperature reaching the outside air.

Best Heated Jacket Head to Head Review

SUPPORT OUR ADVERTISERS

Price and Value

Even the best heated jacket doesn’t come cheap, nor should it. We want these to be durable enough to last multiple seasons and that comes with a cost. After all, do you really want to trust some cheap knockoff to send electricity through a jacket you might be wearing in the rain?

Some of our jackets come as kits and are clearly the better value. To compare them all fairly, we added the cost of a charger and compact battery to the price for jackets that are only sold without them. If you’re already on the battery platform, you won’t need to spend the extra money and the value improves.

Here are how the prices break down:

  • Bosch: $199.99 (kit)
  • Milwaukee Toughshell: $149 (jacket only), $199 (kit)
  • Milwaukee Axis: $169 (jacket only), $219 (kit)
  • DeWalt: $224.99 (kit)
  • Makita Camo: $184.99 (jacket only), $333.99 (jacket plus charger/battery starter kit), $278 (jacket with 2.0 Ah battery limited special – no charger)
  • Makita Hi-Viz: $299 (jacket only), $388 (jacket plus charger/battery starter kit)

Best Heated Jacket Head to Head Review

Next Up: Scores and Final Rankings

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.