What you need to know before buying a heated jacket

With the outdoor industry getting ready for winter, demand for clothing that is heated continues to increase. It isn’t easy to determine what size jacket or vest will suit your needs. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you choose the appropriate one based on your requirements.

1. Size and Fit of Jackets

While the size of your jacket will vary from retailer to retailer, your jacket has to be properly fitted so that the heating elements within are able to work. Therefore, always refer to the sizing chart of the manufacturer on their website, and If you’re not certain which size to choose, go towards the smaller size.

Keep in mind that some jackets are built specifically for fashion rather than warmth. These types of jackets often have less insulation than other more robust winter cycling apparel. Consider purchasing a more serious winter cycling jacket you feel your current jacket is not performing well in colder weather.

2. Thermal Layers

Most heated jackets require the addition of a layer underneath to help insulate you from the heat elements within. Thinsulate is the most popular option to cover these layers. It is lightweight and will trap heat effectively. This layer is recommended to be put on top of your skin to keep it from touching the jacket’s surface. If you’re thinking about buying an item with heating that doesn’t include an additional layer to keep warm, be aware that additional layering may be needed.

3. Charging Time and Battery Life

The jackets that are included in our table above come with their own charger and battery pack. Some batteries are able to fully charge in as little as two hours, while other can take almost eight. Of course, the more heat elements that your jacket is equipped with, the more time it’ll take to recharge. But if you happen to encounter a situation where you are unable to find the ability to plug in your charger, consider using an external battery pack to improve the battery’s performance.

Also, note the estimated life of the batteries for each jacket, to know how long you can stay comfortably warm before recharging or swapping out batteries. Try to find jackets that are powered by lithium-ion batteries, if you can. They tend to last longer than the other kinds.

4. Heating Levels

The majority of the jackets listed on our list come with two heating levels that are Low and High. If you’re planning to stay out for a brief period and wish to conserve power and energy, the low setting is more than enough. If you’re planning to ride at higher speeds or travel for a longer period of time, the high setting is recommended.

5. Comfort Controls

Although a majority of the jackets are equipped with an integrated remote control or controller, it is essential to have some control over how much heat your jacket generates. When you travel from a heated area to a colder one it won’t cause you to feel chilly immediately after you switch off the heat. This is why I highly recommend all heated jackets come with some kind of temperature control.

6. Battery Life Indicator

It’s not pleasant to find your battery dead right before you get home, similar to your car’s gas tank. One method to avoid this is to look at the indicator of battery life prior to your departure for your bike ride , and ensure that it’s fully charged. Certain jackets will tell you how long the battery will last, based on your selected heat level to ensure that you don’t get stuck in the cold without any warning.

7. Fit & Style

Always keep in mind the things you’ll be using the jacket heated for. An open cut is recommended in case you are planning to wear the jacket for outdoor pursuits. A form-fitting jacket is better when you’re looking for something that is versatile and is wearable every day.

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