The Best Heated Vests for Cold Workdays

Say goodbye to bulky, restrictive layers of clothing, and slip on a heated vest to keep you warm while moving with ease as you work.

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The Best Heated Vest Option

Photo: amazon.com

When temperatures drop, working outdoors can become downright uncomfortable if you don’t have a way to stay warm. In some outdoor occupations, including construction, surveying, and landscaping, you need to move freely, so piling on restrictive clothing layers isn’t an option. That’s where heated vests come in. These typically lightweight garments, which fit easily over a shirt and under a jacket, feature battery-heated panels that help keep your core warm so you can continue to work.

The best heated vest for you depends on the outdoor temperature and how much additional heat you need to stay warm and comfortable.

  1. BEST OVERALL: ORORO Men’s Lightweight Heated Vest with Battery Pack
  2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: PKSTONE Heated Vest
  3. UPGRADE PICK: ARRIS Heated Vest Size Adjustable
  4. BEST FOR WOMEN: Venture Heat Women’s Heated Vest with Battery Pack
  5. BEST UNISEX VEST: PROSmart Heated Vest for Men and Women
  6. BEST V-NECK VEST: VALLEYWIND Lightweight Heated Vest
  7. BEST BREATHABLE: ORORO Men’s Fleece Heated Vest
  8. BEST HOODED VEST: AKASO Women’s Nomad Battery Heated Vest
The Best Heated Vest Options

Photo: amazon.com

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Heated Vest

Heated vests will help raise your body temperature when it’s chilly outdoors, but because they don’t have sleeves, they’re not a substitute for a full coat if the temperatures are bitterly cold. You can wear a heated vest over a flannel shirt or sweater when you need just a bit of warmth or under a heavier coat to provide a temperature boost.

Material

The outer shell of a heated vest can be made of several materials, including fleece or a moisture-resistant polyester blend, and is often combined with a fleece lining for softness and comfort. Some heated vests feature an outer shell that is moisture resistant but not completely waterproof, which then traps sweat against the body and leaves you feeling clammy. The most comfortable heated vests are made with fabric that breathes and wicks sweat away from your body.

Heating Elements

The heating elements in a heated vest include a series of panels with wires that warm different sections of the body. These strategic panels are most commonly placed along the upper back and the chest area of the vest. Some heated vests offer even more panels, often located in the lower front, lower back, and sometimes along the back of the neck if the vest has a high collar. Depending on the outdoor temperature and the degree of added warmth you need, you may be happy with just a few panels or want as many as possible.

Temperature Settings

Some heated vests provide only one temperature setting, but many feature two or three settings to allow you to select just the right temperature for your environment. The temperature selection button is often located on the vest’s front, either above a chest pocket or on a lower front pocket for convenience. Some temperature control buttons feature different colored lights that make it easy to identify which heating mode is currently in use, such as a red light for the highest temperature, a yellow light for a medium temperature, and a green light for the lowest temperature. By simply pushing the temperature button, you can change the warmth level to the setting most comfortable for you.

Voltage, Battery Life, and Runtime

The low-voltage, lithium-ion batteries (5-volt and 7.4-volt) used in heated vests will hold a charge from 4 to 10 hours, depending on the heat level. The battery will drain more quickly at a higher temperature than it will at a medium or low setting. Most rechargeable batteries have a similar charging life, but typically after three to five years, a lithium-ion battery loses some of its strength and won’t hold a charge as long as it once did. If you notice the vest doesn’t stay warm as long as it did when you first bought it, replacing the battery might be all you need to get it back into top working order.

Safety

Although heated vests run on electricity, the voltage is so low that you are not at risk of being electrocuted. Many heated vests are even safe in the washing machine once the battery has been removed, of course. The rechargeable lithium-ion battery contains ingredients, however, that can irritate skin, eyes, and mucus membranes causing itching, burning, and redness. If a lithium-ion battery becomes damaged and its contents leak, discard the battery and replace it with a new one.

Additional Features

Many heated vests feature two front pockets at the waist that can come in handy if you need to store items like a wallet or keys. Some vests offer additional chest pockets and provide a special zippered pocket to keep your cell phone safe. While most vests have a zipper front, several button-front models are available, as well as hooded models to keep your head warm and dry in cold or inclement weather. Some heated vests feature a built-in timer that will automatically turn off the heat after a few hours; if you need more heat, just turn the vest back on.

Our Top Picks

The following heated vests feature strong overall heat distribution, ease of use, functionality, and comfort. The best heated vest for you will depend on how low the temperatures dip in your region, how long you’ll be out in the cold, and how much supplemental heat you need to feel comfortable.

Best Overall

The Best Heated Vest Option: ORORO Men’s Lightweight Heated Vest
Photo: Amazon.com

The ORORO Men’s Lightweight Heated Vest aims to keep you warm in all the right places, thanks to three carbon fiber heating zones, which are located along the back of the collar, in the mid-back, and on the lower front of the vest. This vest features three temperature settings, so you can choose which one best suits your warmth needs and outdoor environment. Its heating zones are powered by a rechargeable 7.4-volt battery (included) to generate heat for up to 10 hours on a single charge.The lightweight fabric is both water- and wind-resistant.

Best Bang for the Buck

The Best Heated Vest Option: PKSTONE Heated Vest
Photo: Amazon.com

This reasonably-priced, heated vest from PKSTONE provides ample warmth along the upper back, lower back, and lower front of the vest. It features three adjustable temperature settings to customize your comfort level, and operates via a USB power bank (not included). Heating duration is dependent on the individual power bank but is typically anywhere from 4 to 10 hours. The PKSTONE Heated Vest is made from lightweight cotton and Lycra, making it thin enough to wear under a jacket or over a warm sweater or shirt.

Upgrade Pick

The Best Heated Vest Option: ARRIS Heated Vest, Adjustable
Photo: Amazon.com

For serious warmth in cold weather, check out this adjustable heated vest from ARRIS. It boasts seven heated zones: two on the chest, two on the torso, two on the lower back, and one on the upper back for the ultimate in outdoor apparel warmth. These heating zones are powered by a rechargeable 7.4-volt battery (included), which lasts an average of 10 hours on a single charge. You can also choose from five different temperature levels to achieve the ideal amount of warmth for your personal comfort needs and outdoor setting.

Best for Women

The Best Heated Vest Option: Venture Heat Women’s Heated Vest with Battery Pack
Photo: amazon.com

The tapered waist and wind-cutting high neck of the Venture Heat Women’s Heated Vest give it a stylish look while retaining warmth. It features three large heating zones: one on each side in the chest area and another from shoulder to shoulder along the upper-mid back region. You can choose from three different temperature settings and safely store your sunglasses, keys, and cellphone in the large front pockets. Wear this versatile vest under a roomy jacket for maximum warmth or over a heavy shirt or sweater to stay toasty. A 7.4-volt rechargeable battery (included) powers the heated zones.

Best Unisex Vest

The Best Heated Vest Option: PROSmart Heated Vest
Photo: Amazon.com

The PROSmart Heated Vest is designed for anyone who wants to look good and stay warm while working outdoors. It is available in black, gray, and a gray-and-blue combo, with the colors corresponding to different heating options, so you can select the heating variation that suits you best. The black vest features two heated zones on the upper and lower back; the gray vest features two mid-chest zones, an upper back, and collar zone; and the gray-and-blue vest features two upper chest zones, a mid-back, and collar zone. These vests boast adjustable temperature levels, and the heating zones are powered by a rechargeable, 5-volt, 2.0A battery (included) that will heat continuously for up to 10 hours.

Best V-Neck Vest

The Best Heated Vest Option: VALLEYWIND Lightweight Heated Vest
Photo: amazon.com

This lightweight heated vest from Valleywind features five heating zones: two on the front at waist level, two on the lower back, and one along the upper back. The V-neck front makes the vest ideal for wearing over a high-neck shirt, such as a turtleneck, or comfortably under a jacket. Choose from three different temperature settings for optimal warmth. The heating zones operate via a USB-port power bank (not included), and run time depends on the power of the bank itself but is typically between 4 and 10 hours.

Best Breathable

The Best Heated Vest Option: ORORO Men’s Fleece Heated Vest
Photo: Amazon.com

Trapped heat can lead to perspiration, which can make you feel clammy and uncomfortable. To outsmart that issue, the ORORO Men’s Fleece Heated Vest is made from a cotton and polyester blend designed for maximum breathability. The fleece is ultra-soft, and the vest is also designed with a high, zip-up neck to keep cold air out. The vest features three heating zones, including two on the chest and one along the upper back, and allows you to choose from three adjustable temperature settings to cater to your individual comfort and outdoor environment. These heating zones operate on a rechargeable 7.4 Volt battery (included).

Best Hooded Vest

The Best Heated Vest Option: AKASO Women’s Nomad Battery Heated Vest
Photo: amazon.com

The AKASO Women’s Nomad Battery Heated Vest features a detachable hood to keep your ears, face, and head warm. The vest is equipped with four heated zones: two on the lower chest, one along the upper back, and one in the collar. These heating zones are powered by a rechargeable, 5-volt power bank (included) that will produce warmth for up to 10 hours on a single charge, and you can choose from three temperature levels to align with your comfort needs. With its ample padding, you can wear this vest over a long-sleeve shirt or sweater, but it is also slim enough to slip under a roomy jacket.

FAQs About Your New Heated Vest

Wearing a heated vest during outdoor activities can make the difference between feeling cold and miserable or being warm and comfortable. If this is your first time shopping for a heated vest, you likely have some questions.

Q. Are heated vests safe?

Yes, the lithium-ion batteries used to generate heat are low-voltage and will not result in an electrical shock.

Q. How do you use a heated vest?

You can wear a heated vest under a larger coat for the most heat benefit or over a thick shirt or sweater for just a bit of added warmth.

Q. In what temperature ranges can a heated vest be used?

At any temperature that you start to feel chilly, a heated vest can add some welcome warmth. For many individuals, that’s around 40 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit. They’re also suitable for pairing with a warm overcoat if you need to stay warm and toasty in even colder temperatures.

Q. How long do you charge a heated vest?

To reach full capacity, plan to charge the lithium-ion battery at least three hours before wearing your heated vest.

Q. Can you machine wash a heated vest?

Most heated vests are machine-washable, but be sure to remove the battery first. Check the apparel’s label for additional instructions about suitable water temperature and whether you can place the vest in the dryer or should hang to dry.