The winter months are tough for anyone who doesn’t enjoy the cold; short days and bitter temperatures don’t exactly make for paradise. But if you’re going to be stuck inside—or worse, outside shoveling—you should have the right supplies on hand to make these days bearable, or even enjoyable. From conquering the snow and ice to staying warm and cozy, here’s what you need to survive winter.
On a cold and blustery day, an extra layer can make all the difference in your level of comfort. And if that extra layer is made with Uniqlo's HEATTECH technology, you're bound to feel a whole lot warmer. These specialized undershirts, long underwear, tights, and even socks made for men or women can trap heat and keep you from shivering in low temperatures.
Throat Coat Tea
What's worse than having a scratchy throat? Having a scratchy throat when it's below freezing outside. You can't control the weather, but you can take control of your own health. Practice proper hand-washing and stay hydrated. If you want a (warmer) break from regular H20, try this herbal infusion with natural ingredients designed to soothe a sore throat; it includes six boxes with 16 tea bags each to get you through winter months.
Waterproof Ice Scraper Glove
If ice and snow is in the local forecast, pull your car into the garage or carport; if you can't do that, get ready for the winter morning commute by cranking up the defrost setting on your car heater and pulling out this trusty ice scraper. The Poboola ice scraper with a fleece-lined, waterproof glove and elastic wristband can keep your hand dry and warm while scraping windows. The long handle can help you reach the entire windshield.
Emergency Tire Traction
All drivers should know how to get their car unstuck from the snow. First, dig as much slush and snow out from under the tires as possible, then get back in the car, turn the wheel slightly, and slowly accelerate. If there's nothing for the tires to gain traction against, though, you're fighting a losing battle. Get the traction you need from a ready-made solution—a set of two foldable car tire traction mats.
Related: 8 Easy Ways to Winter-Proof Your Car
When inclement weather turns icy, it's important to clear walkways, exterior steps, and porches as soon as possible to prevent slips and falls by you, your mail carriers and delivery drivers, or your guests. If shoveling hurts your back and ice melt is damaging your walkway, opt instead for a snow-melting mat. Lay the material over steps or walkways and power up to keep paths safe and clear.
Pet-Friendly Ice Melt
It's no surprise that traditional ice melt is an imperfect solution. Sure, it melts snow and ice on your driveway and walkways, but its caustic formula also damages shoes, boots, landscaping—even your pets' paws. Snow Joe’s natural, alternative ice melt uses different ingredients that are effective against snow and ice while protecting your shoes and Fido's paws.
Foot and Back Warmer and Massager
For the person who's always cold, there are slippers. For those who need extra warmth, there's this electric foot warmer. Slide your feet into the warming pocket, as you would an oversize slipper, then select your heat and massage preference. When you're done using, just power down. Unzip the fleece lining and throw the fabric in the wash as needed.
Car Seat Heater
These days, many cars come with the option for built-in seat heaters. If you choose not to spring for the upgrade, you can still warm your backside on a cold winter morning. This seat heater easily straps on to a standard seat and gets its warming power from your car's cigarette lighter (12V) socket. It happens to include lumbar support for a toasty and comfy commute to work or weekend ski trip.
Heated Travel Blanket
A long road trip feels even longer if your car's heater is on the fritz. If you keep an emergency kit in your car (everyone should), you might have a blanket that can help keep you cozy in these situations. Even better, a heated blanket will keep you warm as long as the car has power. And if it doesn't? Well, then it works as well as any polyester fleece blanket does.
Quick-Lock Pivoting Snowbroom
Sometimes you need more reach or sweeping power than a regular ice scraper can muster. This quick-lock pivoting snow broom has a long reach that makes it just as usable for large SUVs and vans as for small sedans. Clean snow and ice through winter without having to lean your entire body into the pile on the hood, and even use the squeegee for spring windshield cleaning.
Window Insulator Kit
There are plenty of easy and affordable methods for managing window drafts, but 3M's Indoor Window Insulator Kit ranks for price and convenience. Is it a long-term solution? No. Is it appropriate for every room? Probably not. But if you need a quick fix in a part of your home where looks don't really matter but warmth does, then buy this. The pack includes window-insulating film sheets to insulate two standard 3-foot by 5-foot windows, and the double-sided Scotch tape you'll need to secure each sheet in place. When installed over a single-pane glass, the product boosts R-value by a whopping 90 percent.
It's never a good time to lose electricity. It's especially bad in the winter, at least in those parts of the country where temperatures drop below freezing. If you want to be prepared for anything and everything, pick up an emergency radio. The rugged, portable radio tunes in to three bands—AM, FM, and NOAA VHF—and its built-in LED light and phone charger make it a multipurpose, there-when-you-need it lifesaver for indoors or out.
It’s hard to complete any winter task or activity if your hands go numb. You can't top the convenience of a rechargeable unit that turns on and off at the flip of a switch. If you'd like to warm your hands as an occasional creature comfort, we recommend the classic Zippo hand warmer for 12 hours of warmth. Operating the Zippo requires an extra level of care to fill the unit with fluid. But once you learn how to use it, doing so becomes a fond and familiar wintertime ritual.
It's a truth universally acknowledged that on cold, snowy nights, life offers no sweeter pleasure than the warm glow of a wood-burning fireplace. To live the dream this winter, you'll obviously need firewood. But you'll also need kindling. Some people refuse to pay for kindling, knowing there are woods full of sticks out there. For everyone else, there's fatwood. All-natural fatwood starts your fire using no additives. The secret to its success? It's made from the highly resinous, highly flammable stumps of common pine trees.
What's better than a thermostat you can program? A thermostat that programs itself, of course! Although many new smart-home devices only seem to offer whiz-bang gimmickry, the ecobee SmartThermostat delivers bona fide value. By measuring conditions in the home and combining those readings with thousands of additional data streams, the ecobee automatically self-adjusts throughout the day, every day, to ensure the perfect balance between home comfort and energy savings.
Related: 50 Great Gadgets for a Smarter Home
From STABILicers, the Walk Traction Ice Cleat fits onto any shoe, enabling the wearer to stride confidently through the worst of winter without fear of slips and falls. For day-to-day journeys over snowy or icy pavement or gravel, ice cleats like these give you much-needed traction that's well beyond that provided by regular rubber treads. Best of all: When you get where you need to go, the flexible, lightweight walk cleat removes with ease and folds up for hassle-free storage.
A bona fide classic of winter survival, the Fantastic Ice Scraper from C J Industries comes with zero bells and whistles. Truly, it's no more complicated than it needs to be and consists of only two simple parts—a plastic handle and a durable brass blade. More elaborate and expensive scrapers have helpful features, but this little cheapie has stood the test of time. Why? Because it doesn't just scrape ice—it chips and chisels ice too for help clearing even the thickest layers without doing damage to your windshield in the process.
Space heaters have never been known for their efficiency; quite the opposite, in fact. However, in recent years, with consumers increasingly sensitive to energy and environmental issues, top manufacturers have stepped up to the plate. The small and mighty Honeywell UberHeat leverages ceramic heating technology to deliver rapid, room-filling warmth that doesn't spike your bills. Side note: It's pretty cool-looking, too.
Household heating systems take moisture from the air, leaving many people with dry skin, chapped lips, or aggravated respiratory problems. Those seeking a dose of relief can turn to a personal humidifier. This ultrasonic (nearly silent) one from HoMedics is portable enough for small offices or right on your bedside stand. And it plugs into a wall outlet or USB port.
Space heaters bring instant warmth to any room, but many models look bulky and unstylish. Enter this traditional-looking mini heater that, inside, resembles a cozy fireplace hearth with glowing embers. The thermostat on this TURBRO TS20 Suburbs heater can be set between 68 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit, or set to glow-only mode for fireplace ambience without the heat. Bonus: The unit also automatically shuts off if its internal temperature gets too hot.
Cold winter nights and flannel sheets go hand in hand, since the material traps warmth without overheating your body. These flannel sheet sets keep you warm and cozy at night and offer a modern take on traditional flannel colors and patterns.
Related: 10 Ways to Buy Better Sleep
Slushy sidewalks and muddy backyards are the norm as snow melts, and the powder can stick to shoes and melt on your nice clean floor. Make it easier to clean snow and mud off winter shoes or kids’ boots with a boot scraper. This coir mat can clean the bottoms and sides of all sizes of shoes, keeping gunk in the garage or outside the back door.
Memory Foam Slippers
Chilly toes are an inevitable side effect of winter. You might not be able to fully shake the chills when you venture outdoors, but you can warm your toes at home with the highly rated RockDove two-tone slippers. Cushioned with memory foam and lined with plush cotton, they provide much-needed heat and comfort both indoors and out (thanks to an anti-skid rubber sole and machine washability).
Snow Roof Rake
During a winter storm, homeowners worry about the possibility of ice dams and roof collapse. This 21-foot aluminum roof rake allows you to safely and effectively fend off any snow accumulations, decreasing the chance of catastrophe. With a 6-pound weight and large shovel head, it’s easy to operate and won’t damage your shingles in the process.
Do you have a drafty door? Keep cold air out by sliding the Twin Draft Guard door stopper underneath the gap. The insulating device creates an airtight seal, making your home more comfortable and energy efficient throughout the winter. It moves with the door, so it should stay in place even when you venture outside.
Boot, Shoe, and Glove Dryer
Who likes walking around in wet boots? Whether you work outside, play outside, or simply hate wet winter gear, this noiseless dryer eliminates moisture on your shoes, boots, gloves, or hats within a few hours to keep your clothing comfortably dry and free of mold, bacteria, and odors.
Shoveling snow is a tiring and labor-intensive job, but many homeowners aren’t willing to splurge on a snow blower or snow removal service. For a budget-friendly solution, consider buying the Worx Snow Plow, which attaches to the Worx Aerocart wheelbarrow and transforms it into a snow plow.
Icy porches and driveways are a nuisance and a safety hazard. To melt ice quickly, you can always apply salt or specially designed ice melt to your sidewalk and driveway. The products often come in bulky buckets or bags that make spreading the caustic a challenge. With this handheld spreader, you can stop struggling with a cup and bucket or a wheeled spreader to melt ice only where needed. Simply twist off the lid, fill the container with up to 2.3 liters of salt, then shake it onto ice-covered surfaces. Come spring, it doubles as a seed or fertilizer spreader.
Boot Rescue Wipes
Where there's snow, there's often salt—and it can be hard to avoid stepping in the ice melt that stores and homeowners toss generously over walkways. Inevitably, you'll return home to find stains on your shoes or boots. Save your favorite rubber, leather, and even suede footwear from damage with a swipe of a Boot Rescue wipe. The all-natural formula removes salt, mud, and other grime, and its packaging makes it easy for use on the go.
Crock-Pot Lunch Warmer
Sure, you could have salads for lunch in any season, but there's something extra satisfying about a warm meal on a cold day. It's never been easier than it is with a desk-sized Crock-Pot. Carry soup or last night's leftovers to the office in the 20-ounce to-go appliance that measures only about 8 inches around. Just plug it into the nearest outlet and heat up your lunch while you work.
Lasko Ceramic Heater with Adjustable Thermostat
This 9.2-inch-tall Lasko Ceramic Heater is a small but mighty helper to keep on hand. Its simple high/low heat settings and quiet operation—not to mention a 3-year limited warranty—set the tabletop appliance apart as one you can count on for comfort. And since it is so affordable, you can pick up one for every cold corner throughout the home!
Mr. Heater Portable Buddy Heater
Don't let the cold discourage you from completing DIY projects out in your workshop! This portable option from Mr. Heater (one of our top picks for the garage) warms up to 225 square feet on one of two settings using the small propane tanks suited for camping and cookouts (or up to 40-pound tanks with the right hose to connect them). A few hours with this radiant heater will keep feeling in your fingers enough to complete whatever task couldn't wait for a warm day.
Sunbeam Velvet Plush Heated Blanket
Stay toasty underneath the reinforced warmth of a heated blanket even as temperatures dip overnight and save on your home heating bill in the process. Sunbeam's Velvet Plush Heated Blanket can cut your heating bill by 10 percent if you use the blanket overnight and lower your thermostat by 10 to 15 percent for those 8 hours. The electric blanket boasts 20 heat settings so that you're sure to find comfort, plus it comes sized to fit your bed, so no one has to hog all the covers.
Pine Mountain ExtremeStart Firestarters
A roaring fire won't be a challenge when you begin with a reliable fire starter. This Pine Mountain pick is versatile enough for indoors and out, fireplace or grill, wood or charcoal. And the "Extreme" in its name is no understatement—it burns for about 20 minutes to make sure you have a strong start with a flame that catches.
Ice-Off Windshield Spray De-Icer
Speed through a wintry morning scraping ice off a windshield by spraying Ice-Off Windshield De-Icer first. It's formulated to help melt frost, snow, and ice on contact to aid your precommute routine. Rest assured that it won't harm your car finish if you overspray or take aim at your car door locks (it thaws those, too!). For even 5 to 10 fewer minutes outside in frigid weather, we'd say that's money well spent.
S'Well Stainless Steel Water Bottle
More than just trendy, S'well bottles are loved equally for their graphic designs and their double-wall construction. Don't be fooled by the cool-looking marble exterior on this BPA-free one: Fill up the 17-ounce bottle with coffee at the start of the day, and it will keep your java steamy and you warmed and caffeinated over the next 18 hours whenever you reach for a sip. That's more than enough to get you through a chilly walk or even a long work day.
HEATIT Self-Regulating Pipe Heating Cable
Avoid having to deal with frozen (or, worse, burst) pipes this season—and lack of water at the house because of it. The HEATIT heating cable is designed to wrap easily or run along outdoor water lines, be they rigid plastic or metal, to help them survive freezing temperatures. And it won't use excessive energy to do so: The cable self-regulates to warm pipes when temperatures dip below 37 degrees Fahrenheit and leaves them alone on warmer days when the built-in thermostat registers 50 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.
Resideo Wi-Fi Water Leak and Freeze Detector
Indoor pipes that freeze and/or burst can be mitigated quickly—if not completely avoided—with an altogether different technical solution. Place the Resideo Wi-Fi Water Leak and Freeze Detector near the most problematic areas (say, the water heater or a sink located on an exterior wall), and this gadget warns you via a smartphone app of dangerously low temperatures that might cause those pipes to freeze. You then might be able to catch a disaster before it happens and adjust the heat accordingly but if you miss your window, the system's cable will also detect and alert you to the leak so that you can deal with it before too much damage occurs.
Heated Smart Travel Mug
Long commute? Keep your beverage hot on the drive to work with the Tech Tools Heated Smart Travel Mug. The 16-ounce insulated cup with a 12V auto adapter plugs into your cigarette lighter socket to heat your drink to the temperature of your choice—from 85 to 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
USB Heated Gloves
Don’t let a cold office or home prevent you from typing away on your computer. These USB fingerless gloves have warming pads sewn inside that heat up when plugged into a USB port. You have the flexibility to get work done without feeling like your fingers are turning into icicles. Share this four-pack or have a pair on hand at home and at work.
ChapStick Total Hydration
Cold, dry winter air can leave your lips feeling burnt and chapped. Protect them from the harsh elements with ChapStick Total Hydration. The upgraded formula, which includes botanical oils and shea butter, promises to soothe irritated lips and leave them feeling smooth and moisturized.
The winter blues are a real thing, so say scientific studies. Luckily, you don’t have to put on a brave face until spring arrives. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) lamps add a bright, natural light that you’re missing out on. Exposure to the Verilux HappyLight may improve your attitude, energy, focus, and even how much sleep you get. It's worth a shot to get through winter!
By winter, flu season is in full swing. Take extra precautions against flu and other germs, and stock up on Purell. Keep a bottle of this hand sanitizer at work and place it in various places around your house, and give it a little pump whenever you think you may have encountered unwanted germs. Added aloe and Vitamin E keep the sanitizer from drying out your hands.
Related: 11 Ways to Flu-Proof Your Home
Nothing slows you down in the morning like having to stop and scrape ice and snow that have settled on your car the night before. Luckily, you can easily skip this hassle with the help of a windshield cover. Made with waterproof polyester fabric, the mat fits over almost any size car window and stays secure around the side view mirrors without needing magnets and clips, saving a little time on snowy mornings.
Instant Milk Frother
From the company that’s all things instant comes a handy and quick milk warmer and frother. Enjoy hot chocolate or a cappuccino at any hour of a cold day with this pot that warms milk and drinks in seconds. Two buttons control the frother for easy operation on sleepy mornings.
Smartwool Hiking Socks
Whether you’re hiking, tailgating, shoveling, or you just have cold feet, you'll probably want a pair of extra-warm socks in the winter. The Smartwool Hiking Socks will keep your feet warm and dry, plus the fibers can wick away moisture and prevent odors. Available in men’s and women’s sizes, slip these on the next time rather than having to double up with multiple pairs of socks.
Aveeno Moisturizing Lotion
Winter weather strips your skin of moisture, leaving it dry and itchy. Add a nourishing lotion to your routine, like Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion, to protect your skin and make it feel soft and smooth. This fragrance-free lotion is gentle enough even for the most sensitive skin types, and it can make a noticeable difference in just 1 day.
On a bitterly cold day, just a few minutes of your fingers being exposed to the elements will leave them red and numb. This wouldn’t be such an issue if most of our devices didn’t require touching the screen. Rather than sacrificing warmth just to use your phone, slip on a pair of LETHMIK Winter Touchscreen Knit Gloves and tap away. The wool-lined gloves will keep your hands toasty warm while still giving you the ability to use your device.
When the sun disappears and the mercury plummets... when you look out the window and see no one, only a bleak, punishing tundra... well, it's probably time to make yourself a hot toddy. This kit makes it a piece of cake to make.
If you have the money to hire a handyman for every household woe, go ahead. But if you want to hang on to your cash and exercise some self-sufficiency, check out these clever products that solve a million and one little problems around the house. Go now!