Good hand warmers are an essential piece of your hand protection ensemble. But which ones should you choose?
Well, if you are like most people, you probably forgot to bring warmers with you, and just pick up a pair at the lodge. However, if you plan on hitting the slopes frequently it can really pay off to buy them in bulk.
I highly recommend buying some in bulk (see the verdict below), at the beginning of the season, and just throwing them in your bag so you never have to worry about it.
What types of warmers are out there?
There are 5 different types of hand warmers out there, including:
- Lighter Fuel – Really! I’ve never actually seen these for sale, but apparently they were first out in the 20’s and Zippo started selling them in the 50’s. They can be ‘recharged’ but just refueling, and can last up to 24 hours.
- Battery – Battery operated warmers use electricity and a resistive element to warm up your hands. They either run on disposable or rechargeable batteries. These types of warmers can be expensive, bulky, and heavy. They typically last around 6 hours.
- Charcoal – Charcoal warmers work by actually slow burning charcoal sticks. They tend to be fairly inexpensive and last approximately 6 hours.
- Supersaturated Solution – These warmers work similarly to Iron in that the heat is generated from an exothermic chemical reaction. They can be reused, but typically have the shortest heating life span, of only 20 mins to 2 hours.
- Iron (air activated) – These warmers generate heat by the exothermic oxidation (i.e. ‘rusting’) of the iron. They typically last from 1-10 hours, and quickly taper off after 1-2 hours.
How do they perform?
I did some researching online and found that Outside magazine did a great comparison test of several popular models. The link to the article can be found here: http://www.outsideonline.com/1785906/what-are-best-hand-warmers
In this article they tested various battery, supersatured, and iron warmers. The brands that they tested were:
HotHands – Iron – $1/pair
HotSnapZ – Supersaturated – $12/pair
Yaktrax – Iron – $2/pair
DryGuy GreenHeat – battery – $40
Grabber – Iron – $1.50/pair
The test results in the article show that the HotHands iron based warmers performed the best, and they were the cheapest ones overall!
I found this article to be great validation since I’ve been using HotHands for several years now and they work GREAT! We never go to the slope without bringing a pack for everyone in the family.
Where to buy?
I buy my HotHands in bulk from Amazon. I’ve included a link below here: