Milwaukee Heated Jacket Review
The new Milwaukee 58-38-2011M12 Cordless Heated Jacket Kit features a water- and wind-resistant outer soft shell and there are sewn-in carbon fiber heating zones that will ensure that you stay comfortably warm in cold weather. The heat can stay on continuously for up to 6 hours and power for the heating zones comes from a M12 Red Lithium battery that fits inside a small pocket that is located out of the way. This jacket looks great and was comfortable to wear all day long, both on and off the job site.
The Milwaukee Heated Jacket Kit arrived in a red cardboard box with everything individually wrapped and packaged inside. The kit includes the M12 cordless heated jacket, M12 battery holder, one M12 Red lithium battery and a 30-minute quick-charger. At a glance, the Milwaukee M12 cordless heated jacket might appear to be like most sporty soft shell style jackets, but upon closer examination, we noticed some things that set this jacket apart. It features a high quality and comfortable soft outer shell made from 95% polyester and 5% spandex. The polyester makes the jacket water and wind resistant while the spandex gives it a soft and slightly stretchy feel (kind of like the European Speedo’s worn by Doug Mahoney over at ToolSnob). There is soft micro fleece trim around the neck, down the inside front and there are built-in elastic micro fiber sleeve cuffs. For pockets, there is one on the upper left-hand side of the chest and two hand pockets. All the pockets have zippers and the battery fits nicely into a special pocket on the lower left side of the back (which keeps it from getting in the way). We really like that all of the zippers felt as if they were durable and that they each have a nylon braided rope pull. There are trim cords inside the waist hem that can be cinched to keep the wind out and the warmth in.
The carbon fiber heating zones are what make this jacket great for working in cold weather because all you have to do when you’re cold is turn up the heat instead of adding more layers. Altogether there are three heating zones: one across the upper back and one on each side of the chest. This keeps the core of your body warm which in turn warms your other extremities. The heating elements are actually sewn-in carbon fiber strips and the whole jacket is hand-washable provided you remove the battery holder. Operating the jacket is very simple. There are 3 heat levels and all of them are controlled by 1 button on the left side of the chest above the pocket. Simply hold down the button for about 3 seconds and then the jacket will begin to preheat for 5 minutes. After preheating, the jacket will automatically adjust to the Medium heat setting. The temperature setting can be adjusted at any time by cycling the power button. Pressing the power button allows the user to select from three different heat settings: low (blue), medium (white), and high (red). Pre-heat is represented by a blinking red light. For a finishing touch, Milwaukee’s logo is embroidered next to the upper pocket on the front and on the upper back near the collar. The 12V Red Lithium battery that comes with the jacket can provide up to 6 hours of warmth. If the battery does run down, the quick charger will have the battery charged in just 30 minutes.
Milwaukee Heated Jacket Testing and Use
As far as testing and using the Milwaukee heated jacket, we have worn it while working in cold and even rainy weather for the past couple of weeks. It has proven to be a very comfortable coat to wear. We especially like that it only weighs 2.6 lbs and that it is fairly thin so that on windy days we were able to use it as just as a wind breaker with the heating zones turned off. Normally when we get cold or rainy weather we would have to put on another sweatshirt or wind breaker on, but since we had the Milwaukee M12 heated jacket, all we had to do was turn the heating zones on to a setting that felt comfortable. Thanks to the three sewn-in carbon fiber heating zones, when this is worn in the cold or rain, you don’t get chilled to the core or damp as you would with a typical jacket. We timed the run-time of the jacket on each of the settings with a full charge on the Red Lithium battery and this is what we found: low – 6 hours; medium – 3 hours, 15 minutes; and high – 2 hours, 15 minutes. Even though this isn’t the first heated jacket on the market it is the first heated jacket that uses a cordless power tool battery and that is what makes it a bargain for anyone that is already using the M12 cordless platform and might have a few spare batteries around.
The battery pocket location on the Milwaukee heated jacket is great and when wearing the jacket we’d often forget that the battery was even there (that is of course until we started getting cold when the battery would run out of power). We didn’t have any trouble with the weight of the battery shifting the coat on us while wearing it thanks to the battery only weighing 8.4 oz. Inside the zippered battery pocket, there is a wide elastic strap that securely holds the battery and keeps it from shifting or moving around in the pocket. Sometimes taking off a jacket can be a pain in the neck because the inner liner material sticks to whatever you’re wearing but with the soft 100% polyester lining, putting on or removing this coat wasn’t any trouble. The separate micro-fleece cuffs were very comfortable and helped to keep heat in. Whenever we knew that we were going to be working outside for a while we would pack a spare battery in one of the hand pockets.
The Milwaukee 58-38-2011M12 Cordless Heated Jacket Kit proved to be a great addition to the M12 line of tools. It also demonstrated to us that it was very versatile in a variety of weather conditions thanks to the three built-in heating zones and its overall wind and water resistant properties. Being that it is comfortable and nice looking made for a winning combination both on and off the job site. Our test model included a battery and charger, but for those that would like it without the accessories, Milwaukee offers just the heated jacket as a separate SKU as well. The jacket sizes are available from Small to XXL. For our Performance rating, we give this jacket a 9\10 because it was easy to operate and could be used in various weather conditions. For our Value rating, we also gave the M12 heated jacket kit a 9\10 because you get a high-quality soft shell coat for a fair price. If you live in warmer climates and a heated jacket seems like overkill, be sure to check out the new Milwaukee M12 heated hoodie.