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Best Women's Heated Jackets

Updated November 2018
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

  • 12 Models Considered
  • 9 Hours Researched
  • 1 Experts Interviewed
  • 135 Consumers Consulted
  • Zero products received from manufacturers.

    We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

    Why trust BestReviews?
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.

    Shopping guide for best women’s heated jackets

    Last Updated November 2018

    As temperatures start to drop, the battle to stay warm begins. When heated jackets first entered the market, they were met with some skepticism. After all, the thought of wearing heating elements in the rain raised a few eyebrows. But these jackets have proven themselves to be a safe, reliable way to stay comfortable all winter long.

    Battery-powered jackets are now a viable option for athletes, outdoor sports enthusiasts, and those who simply want to stay warm when the temperatures reach single digits.

    We’ve put together this shopping guide full of the features and details that make a difference in performance. Sit back and sip a cup of cocoa while you decide which heated jacket will work best for you this winter.

    If you’re concerned about wearing a heating element in the rain, you’re not alone. That was one of the first concerns consumers had when these products came on the market. However, heated jackets don’t use batteries with more than 12V, the equivalent of most children’s toys. Even with a power failure (which is rare), all you’d feel is a mild buzz.

    Types of heated jackets

    Not all heated jackets are made the same, so before you buy one you’ll need to decide how you intend to use it. For example, a runner will need a lighter-weight jacket than a woman who plans to hunt or fish. For that reason, heated jackets come in different styles and weights:

    Weatherproof: These jackets have a waterproof or water resistant outer shell with a heavier layer of insulation on the inside. Some have a looser fit so you can layer other garments underneath, while other jackets are tailored to be your main protection from the elements. Tailored jackets offer weather protection without adding bulk, while looser ones let you add comfort layers underneath.

    Softshell: Lightweight polyester softshell jackets have some water resistance and provide warmth with a light, smooth layer of insulation. They’re less bulky than wind-resistant designs but can be worn as a protective outer layer in dry conditions.

    Warmth/insulation: A warmth or insulation layer could be a heated jacket, hoodie, or vest. These garments offer warmth but not much protection from rain or snow. Some vests and jackets are fitted so they can be worn underneath heavier layers. Heated hoodies combine function with fashion for casual occasions that could get cold.

    DID YOU KNOW?

    Lithium polymer batteries are considered a more eco-friendly option than lithium-ion batteries because the electrolyte of a lithium polymer battery is held in a solid film and is less likely to spill into the environment upon disposal.

    Heated jacket features to consider

    Battery

    When it comes to heated jackets, the battery is one of the most important considerations. Everything about it, including type, accessibility, and recharging ability, affects the utility of the jacket. Some jackets require that you buy a battery pack separately. Be sure to check before buying so you’re not surprised when your jacket arrives sans battery.

    Type: Heated jackets have one of two battery types, lithium-ion or lithium-ion polymer (also called lithium polymer).

    • Lithium-ion batteries are older and are slightly more delicate compared to lithium polymer batteries.

    • Lithium polymer batteries hold more charge for their size and are replacing lithium-ion models in almost every sector. These typically have overcharge protection built into the battery pack rather than into the battery charger. That way the battery won’t overcharge if it gets plugged into the wrong charger.
       

    Battery power and life: The batteries used in heated jackets range from 5 to 12 volts. Depending on the heat setting you use, these batteries can last from 3 to 12 hours, though actual life could  be shorter depending on the weather conditions. The higher the heat level, the faster you’ll use up the battery. Lithium batteries need to be charged every two to three months to maintain the integrity of the battery. If not, they’ll lose the ability to hold a charge.

    Dual usage: Some battery packs are USB compatible so you can charge your cell phone in your pocket. However, charging a device will quickly use up battery power. Some larger manufacturers use a battery pack that’s compatible with other devices like heated gloves and accessories, providing a versatile use of the battery.

    Ease of access: This varies by design. Batteries are contained in an outer pocket, inner pocket, or belt clip. Outer pocket or belt access lets you adjust the heat settings without opening the jacket, keeping you warmer.

    Insulation

    The jacket type determines how much insulation it has. Wind- and water-resistant jackets have more insulation to hold heat close to the body, but they also weigh more. If you plan to layer your jacket, you don’t need to worry as much about insulation because you can add other garments for warmth. However, if your heated jacket will be the only layer between you and the cold, look for one with thicker insulation.

    Ventilation

    Proper ventilation lets moisture evaporate so sweat doesn’t build up inside the jacket. Sweat and moisture can make you feel colder, which works against the purpose of the jacket.

    Weight

    Heated jackets have three or four heating elements. As you can imagine, the more heating elements, the heavier the jacket. A high-quality heated jacket eliminates the need for a puffy warmth layer, reducing bulk. You’ll have to decide if cutting the bulk is worth adding a few ounces. Hikers, runners, and bikers might need to consider the pros and cons of the extra weight.

    Heat levels and controls

    You don’t want to be fiddling with heat controls when it’s cold outside. A jacket with more than three heat settings might be too complicated. One to three is enough for most people. Plus, you probably wouldn’t be able to notice that much difference between setting seven and setting eight, for example. The controls should also be easily accessible without taking off the jacket. Controls in an outer pocket or belt clip are the most convenient options.

    Fit

    For women, fit can be an issue because of the wide variation in body type and build. For sports and active outdoor activities, a close fit can cut wind resistance and streamline your performance. A close fit also keeps the heat against your body. On the other hand, a looser jacket allows for layering. When you start your search, keep in mind how you’ll use the jacket most often, so you can buy one that will meet your needs the majority of the time.

    EXPERT TIP

    Consider buying an extra battery pack to take with you if you’ll be out all day. Some heated jackets can also use AA batteries in addition to the battery pack. If your jacket uses AA batteries, keep some spares in your pocket or backpack.


    Staff  | BestReviews
    EXPERT TIP

    If you’ll be using a heated jacket as your outer layer, take a good look at the number of pockets on the inside and outside. Athletes might need a place for keys, phone, and wallet, so make sure the jacket has enough storage space.


    Staff  | BestReviews

    Heated jacket prices

    Inexpensive: You’ll find heated vests and a few full jackets starting at around $80. Some are quilted, which adds better insulation, while others have a lightweight, waterproof shell. Some vests or jackets at this price do not come with a battery pack. Mid-range: Softshell jackets with or without a hood cost between $80 and $150. These offer some water resistance, and a few models have the heating elements in a detachable liner that can be used alone. Some of these garments don’t come with their own battery pack.

    Expensive: Jackets that cost over $150 (and some come in well over $200) have a tougher waterproof outer layer, more insulation, and a hood. These may also include extra pockets and a belt clip for the battery pack.

    Tips

    • Take warmth claims with a grain of salt. A manufacturer's claims of up to 12 hours of heat may not leave you as warm as you’d hoped. A battery on 10% power might last that long, but it won’t provide noticeable warmth. Most jackets have solid heating for a few hours on full power and up to 8 hours on low settings.

    • Look for jackets with hibernation mode. Some batteries have a hibernation mode that prevents them from losing the ability to hold a charge while not in use over an extended period of time, such as summer. You can charge the battery, put it in hibernation mode, and forget about it until winter.

    • Consider ease of use. Controllers that have a single button to change the heat setting are far easier to use than multi-button models. You’ll be able to adjust the heat setting without looking at the controller.
    Some vests and jackets without hoods include a heating element in the collar. This fourth heating element eliminates the need for a scarf, cutting down on bulk.

    FAQ

    Q. How can a battery pack for a heated jacket charge a phone?

    A. Battery packs that are capable of charging a phone can connect to the jacket and have a USB port into which you can plug another device. It uses up battery power, but it will keep your devices charged while you’re out and about.

    Q. How do I wash a heated jacket?

    A. Always read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions because some jackets can be machine washed and others can’t. No matter the instructions, follow these guidelines:

    • Remove the battery pack.

    • Do not use bleach.

    • Do not wring out the jacket (to avoid damaging the heating elements).

    The team that worked on this review
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      Alvina
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      Amos
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      Branson
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      Editor
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      Production Assistant
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      Web Producer
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      Production Manager
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      Web Producer
    • Melissa
      Melissa
      Senior Editor
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