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Buying guide for Best heated motorcycle gloves

Any motorcyclist who has ridden in freezing temperatures will tell you how unpleasant it can be. You need your hands and fingers to operate the controls, but unfortunately, they are the things that are most exposed to the elements. Your hands quickly become uncomfortable, and concentration also suffers, which only adds to the dangers inherent in winter riding. What's just as bad is that hands and fingers can also be really painful when proper circulation returns! The remedy is a pair of heated motorcycle gloves.

Modern textile technology has made great strides when it comes to insulation, but arguably the best invention for the cold-weather rider is heated motorcycle gloves. These promise warmth for those important extremities no matter what winter throws at you.

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If it's 30°F outside and you ride at 55 mph, windchill means it actually feels like 11°F. If it's only 20°F, then at 55 mph it feels like -3°F. No wonder your hands get cold!

Key considerations

Whether motorcyclists need heated gloves is an argument that's been going on since heated gloves were first introduced, and it doesn't show any signs of letting up!

Arguments against

  • Heated gloves require a power source. This means either a cable or batteries.

    • Cable: The cable attaches to your 12-volt motorcycle battery and has to run from your bike, up through your jacket, and into your gloves. Though the wiring is basic, some riders simply don't like this kind of complexity or the idea that they’re somehow attached to the bike.

    • Batteries: The issue with small lithium-ion batteries in the gloves themselves is perhaps more mental than physical, but that doesn't lessen the impact. The run times of batteries are often criticized, or the batteries don't produce sufficient heat, or they only hold enough charge to warm the gloves for a couple of hours.

  • Modern glove materials do the job. Textiles like Gore-Tex and Thinsulate provide high levels of weather protection and insulation without the need for heating elements.

  • Heated motorcycle gloves are bulky.

  • Heated motorcycle gloves are expensive.

Bottom line: If you only take short trips, or if you have the luxury of choosing whether to ride your bike or not, high-quality unheated winter gloves are perhaps the more convenient choice.

Arguments for

  • Fitting the cabling for 12-volt heated gloves is a one-off task. After that, plugging yourself in is no more difficult than plugging in a navigation system. It means consistent warmth and comfort no matter how far you ride.

  • Cordless battery power is improving all the time. Quality heated gloves of this type should warm your hands adequately for at least several hours at a time, and do you really want to be riding longer than that in subzero temperatures?

  • Your hands will get cold in unheated gloves. While modern unheated winter gloves can be very good in wet weather and offer good protection from the cold on short trips, eventually the chill will get through them.

  • Most heated gloves are no thicker than most unheated gloves. Heated motorcycle gloves are bulkier than some lightweight summer or racing gloves, but micro-thin cables, heating elements woven into the fabric, and the fact that they need less insulation means most heated motorcycle gloves are no bulkier than unheated winter gloves.

  • Prices are comparable to any premium-quality motorcycle glove.

Bottom line: If you have to ride in situations where your hands will get cold and stay cold for extended periods, heated motorcycle gloves will keep you warm and alert, You're not just more comfortable, you're better able to cope with the conditions.

Other choices

Heated motorcycle mittens

The advantage with mittens is that they keep four fingers together, which means body heat is shared and your fingers stay warmer longer. However, many riders find mittens cumbersome, particularly riders who normally only use a couple of fingers on the brake or clutch lever. You also need to remove mittens to do anything that requires any dexterity. Some long-distance riders love them, but most riders prefer gloves.

Heated glove liners

These are designed to fit inside your existing gloves. Almost all are cordless. Liners can be extremely thin, but whether they fit depends on the type of glove you usually wear. Liners are perhaps better suited for use inside ski or winter sports gloves than for motorcyclists, but they are a consideration if you're particularly fond of your regular gloves.

Heated motorcycle glove features

Protection: First and foremost, let's remember that the main job of any motorcycle glove is to protect your hands in the event of an accident. Never compromise on the safety aspects. The best heated gloves are made of a range of fabrics – both traditional leather and modern composites – that combine comfort with armor. The quality of materials and construction should always be a priority.

Cuffs: Look for long cuffs on gloves, too. There's no point in having heated hands and leaving your wrists out to freeze!

Temperature control: Whichever type of heated motorcycle glove you buy, look for temperature control, usually three settings. Basic 12-volt heated gloves can get very hot, something a number of owners complain about.

If you have gloves powered by lithium-ion batteries, control gives you the option of using a lower heat, thus extending the length of time the gloves stay warm between charges. Sometimes the controller is part of the wiring. Having push buttons on the gloves makes life a little easier.

Heating elements: It's important to have heating elements in the fingers and the backs of the hand, because those areas are most exposed. Heated palms are a bonus.

Run time: Cold does sap power from portable batteries, so it's prudent to expect a shorter run time than the manufacturer suggests. From our research, we found that a performance of around 75% is common, but it depends on the severity of the weather and the time of exposure.

Extra batteries: A spare set of batteries will overcome charging problems, but prices vary enormously, so it's a good idea to check before buying.

Touchscreen compatibility: As with standard motorcycle gloves, touchscreen-compatible fingertips are an added convenience.

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Did you know?
Glove sizes can vary from one manufacturer to another. Check online owner feedback to find out if you should order a size larger or smaller than you usually wear.

Heated motorcycle glove prices

Inexpensive: The cheapest heated motorcycle gloves we looked at are relatively lightweight versions in the $50 to $70 range. However, while we have no problem with the ability of some to heat your hands, we are concerned about the level of protection they offer. They also tend to be quite short, potentially exposing your wrists.

Mid-range: Good-quality heated glove liners cost between $100 and $130.

Expensive: The kind of heated gloves we're happy to recommend (both plug-in and cordless) are those that also offer durability and protection comparable with summer gloves. These start at about $140 and can reach over $200. Heated motorcycle mittens have similar prices.

"If you're considering a heated motorcycle jacket as well, check connections (usually coax plugs) to ensure compatibility with your gloves."


  • Treat your heated gloves as you would any other motorcycle gloves. A wide variety of different materials go into a modern glove, so always follow the manufacturer's care instructions to maximize their useful life.

  • Avoid leaving the gloves on a direct heat source. Leather, in particular, can crack if dried too quickly – a common problem in winter.

  • Lubricate the connectors periodically. Some experts suggest applying a quick squirt of protective oil (like WD-40) on connectors to prevent rust when you're not wearing your heated gloves over the summer.
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Heated glove liners might be thin enough to work with your existing gloves, but they’re unlikely to fit inside sport or racing gloves.


Q. Are heated motorcycle gloves safe?

A. Absolutely. Whether running directly from your motorcycle battery or from rechargeable batteries in the glove, they use direct current, which is perfectly safe in all kinds of weather.

Q. Can heated gloves drain my motorcycle battery?

A. If your battery is in good condition, it's very unlikely. One well-known manufacturer compares the power consumption to using your headlight on low beam. You should be able to check the amp rating of a particular pair of gloves if you want to make a calculation.

Q. Do handlebar muffs/hand covers make a good alternative?

A. Some riders prefer them because you can wear your existing gloves. However, there are several things you need to consider:

  • They protect your hands from the worst of rain and wind, but they don't have heating elements. Your hands can still get cold on long rides.

  • They don't fit all motorcycles, so check with the manufacturer before buying. Don't believe claims of “universal” fit.

  • Many cheap versions are not well made. Quality models are a similar price to heated gloves.

  • If they're easy to fit, that means they're also easy for thieves to remove if your bike is left unattended.

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