Hand warmers have been protecting our extremities since their invention in Japan at the turn of the 20th century.
They experienced a huge rise in popularity once they made their way to the US, and the hand warmers of today have been streamlined, made more user-friendly and longer-lasting over the past 50 years.
Handwarmers for 2019 are in their most technologically advanced to date, ushering a new paradigm of temperature-regulating technology: the electric hand warmers.
Electric hand warmers like The Outdoor Way Rechargeable Hand Warmers are at the top of the charts.
Their specific product offers multiple tactical functions, as it can double as an LED flashlight and a power bank to charge your mobile devices, cameras or tablets.
After tireless reviews of the best products available on the market today to protect the hands from cold weather, we’ve put together a list of our favorite picks for the best hand warmers of 2019, why they are worth investing in, and how to choose the best hand warmer technology for your needs and lifestyle.
The Best Rechargeable Hand Warmer: The Outdoors Way Electric Hand Warmers
Rechargeable hand warmers are the way of the future. There are many benefits to choosing the electric hand warmer over other varieties, but for you to get the full benefits of owning a rechargeable hand warmer, you must make sure you are buying a good quality product.
The Outdoors Way is a brand that is well-known for making good design and manufacturing choices and has not disappointed us in their new electric hand warmer.
Powered by a high mAh capacity lithium-ion battery, the battery life on this device is an impressive 7 hours, given that the average disposable warmers only pack a significant punch for around 4 hours, and gradually fade after that.
It also has 2 different heat settings indicator lights that let you know which setting you’ve selected, and how well your battery life is doing at any given time.
This feature is very convenient for pre-empting how much heat you have left, as lighter fluid and disposable warmers cannot warn you when they are getting cooler – they just do.
Some less talked-about but equally important aspect of The Outdoor Way hand warmer is that it is safer for kids to use.
We shudder to think of handing a child a can of lighter fluid and an open flame to activate their hand warmer, or a sachet of chemicals easy to rip open.
However, with The Outdoors Way, or any other rechargeable hand warmers really, you simply plug it into a charger and charge it like a cell-phone, unplug it and have 7 hours of safe, warm little hands.
What is Special about The Outdoors Way Electric Hand Warmers
- Weighs 6 ounces, lightweight in your pocket
- Rechargeable 7800 mAh Lithium-ion battery
- Doubles as a power bank for mobile devices
- Perfect for hiking, camping or home use
- 2 temperature settings, 110- and 115-degrees Fahrenheit
- Has a 55lm LED flashlight
- Can turn the heat on and off at will
- Can generate heat very fast and consistently
- The cheapest long-term choice by far
Pro Tip: Arthritis sufferers, people with Raynaud’s disease, those with bad circulation, or frequent muscle cramps should carry a rechargeable hand warmer in their handbag, backpack or pocket to use throughout the day when the pain starts creeping in.
Heat from the hand warmer will dilate capillaries and allow improved blood flow to the affected area.
The Outdoors Way is our top choice for all the reasons we explained above, and more.
If you are looking for something less user-friendly but better at retaining heat for long periods of time, check out our Runners Up and Honorable Mention for the best handwarmers for 2019, reviewed below.
Your Questions Answered
What Are Hand Warmers And Why Do You Need One?
Hand warmers were designed to keep the hands warm during cold, snowy or frosty conditions and have been used travelers and those with impaired circulation for nearly a century.
Modern hand warmers are designed to fit easily into the pocket and generate heat for up to 12 hours.
There are several types of hand warmers, including the chemical reaction disposable warmers, the classic lighter fluid design, and the modern rechargeable, portable hand warmers.
Each design is great keeping frostbite and joint pain at bay, but the rechargeable varieties like The Outdoors Way are more user-friendly and sustainable across the board.
You can learn more about both refillable and disposable products in our reviews below the FAQ!
How Can You Recharge Hand Warmers?
Electric hand warmers can easily be plugged into a power source through a USB port on a phone charger or laptop.
A charger does come included in the best rechargeable hand warmers like The Outdoors Way, but cheaper brands may require you to purchase a charger cable at an extra cost.
Want our advice? Pick a brand that gives you everything you need in one go.
Are Electronic Hand Warmers Safe?
Electric Warmers are much safer than lighter fluid powered portable hand warmers.
Because you must refill the lighter fluid canister with highly flammable liquid after each use, you put yourself and your environment at risk of catching alight!
Rechargeable hand warmers charge up and unplug just like your power bank at home you use for mobile devices. No fire, no fumes!
Although disposable hand warmers like Grabbers (and some reusable hand warmers) are convenient to get heated up, they contain harsh chemicals.
A vermiculite coating keeps in heat generated by a chemical reaction called oxidization. Air mixes with a salt catalyst inside the pouch, and the interaction of these chemicals creates an exothermic reaction.
Unfortunately, these are almost never biodegradable and because they are single-use products, they can threaten the environment when thrown out as trash.
Also – you are going to have a really bad time if your dog or child ingests their contents.
In terms of heat,
How To Choose The Right Hiking Hand Warmers?
For hiking, it’s best to choose a hand warmer that can be switched on and off at will. You may not want to activate your hand warmer for the full 12 hours of its capacity but turn it on at several points throughout your adventure.
One of the reasons we are so amped up about The Outdoor Ways Rechargeable Hand Warmer is that you select the option for a hotter, shorter setting (115 degrees Fahrenheit), or a longer lasting, slightly cooler temperature (110 degrees Fahrenheit).
This is prime for hikers to plan their route times accordingly.
Are Hot Hands Hand Warmers Reusable?
Hot Hands is a brand of disposable warmers that pretty much rules the roost in the world of chemical reaction pouches.
They react with air when removed from their package, and through oxidation, they generate heat energy for up to 18 hours.
Unfortunately, they do have an expiration date, and are not reusable, as once the exothermic reaction has occurred, no more heat energy is generated.
Runner Up for Best Hand Warmer for 2019: HotHands Warmers
- Safe, Natural Long-lasting Heat.
- Shake to Activate.
- Multipurpose Warmers.
- Convenient, Compact, Portable.
You’ve seen us talk a bit about Hot Hands Warmers in the Q and A, but now its time to take a deeper dive into the product itself, the HotHands brand, and why these portable hand warmers are so popular right now.
You may even learn something fascinating!
So, What Are HotHands Exactly?
HotHands are the kind of hand warmers that come in individual packets and when you open them, you trigger a chemical reaction that generates heat.
The ingredients inside the pouches include:
- Activated charcoal sticks
- Wood fibers
- Iron powder
These ingredients oxidize and create heat for up to 18 hours when exposed to air and are shaken up a bit.
You may need to shake the bag up a bit every now and then while using it, to make sure enough air is getting in.
This can be slightly inconvenient if you plan to use it for something like sleeping with muscle pain or using to warm your mittens during a hike or ski.
HotHands is odorless and fits very comfortably in a pocket or in the hand.
Pro Tip: Although HotHands does not outright recommend using these products for this purpose, dozens of reviews are pouring into the brand’s social feeds about how amazing these work for keeping shelter animals and outside or stray pets warm in the harsh cold weather.
Some people leave a blanket with a HotHands pouch underneath to warm the bellies of stray kitties, and others pad their elderly chihuahua’s favorite snoozing spots with them on chilly evenings to soothe his achy joints.
2nd Runner Up: Zippo Refillable Hand Warmers
- Includes Easy Fill Technology.
- Improved Fill Cup Helps Reduce Spills.
- Perfect For All Cold Weather Activities.
- Sleek, Thin Design Fits Into the Smallest Pockets.
- Flameless Gentle Warmth Provides 2.5X More Heat.
Oh, how we wish we could still say that the Zippo was still the best hand warmer on the market, because it seriously was, and still might be for a select few hardcore campers out there.
The Zippo Refillable Hand Warmer is fuelled by lighter fluid and gives users authentic experience of a classic, old-timey hand warmer.
They are super sleek and come in a variety of colors, pros, and cons.
Why It’s Awesome:
- Lasts a full 12 hours, often much longer
- Very sturdy and resilient
- You don’t need any electricity at all
- They don’t create trash like disposable warmers
- Comes with a fabric cover to insulate heat energy and protect skin
- Works out cheaper than chemical reaction pouches, per use
- Amazing consistent heat for use while sleeping
Thins That May Bug You:
- Requires the use of a very flammable substance
- Smells slightly of gas fumes
- Not safe for children to use alone
- Can’t be switched on and off
Pro Tip: This thing is amazing for long camping trips, backpacking, and road-trips.
It can be refilled anywhere and will not bulk up your bag with disposable sachets or charger cables if you can find a power point at all.
Honorable Mention: Grabber 7+ Hour Hand Warmers
- Safe, Natural Long-lasting Heat.
- Shake to Activate.
- Multipurpose Warmers.
- Convenient, Compact, Portable.
Grabber is another well-known brand that makes the same kind of product as HotHands, relying on the same basic scientific principles to generate heat.
They are lightweight, small enough to fit in almost any pocket, and can be activated at the drop of a hat, taking 30 seconds to heat up.
Compared to their competitors, Grabbers have a shorter expiration date and are generally not as long-lasting.
They do, however, come in at a cheaper price per unit (less than $1 each), so what you lose in quality you gain in quantity.
What We Like:
- Cheap, quick and easy
- Very lightweight at under 3lbs
- Good choice to keep on hand for emergencies
What We Didn’t:
- Can sometimes get too hot for comfort
- Short shelf life
- Creates excess trash going into the environment
- Doesn’t retain heat as for as long as the other products we reviewed
Our Verdict: The Outdoors Way Is The Way
We hope that our passionate rant about hand warmers has been enough to point you in the direction you are looking for to find the best hand warmer for 2019 and beyond.
If we have learned anything interesting into this peek into the world of chemistry, physics and cold, cold weather, it is that choosing an electric hand warmer with power-bank capabilities like The Outdoors Way Rechargeable Hand Warmer is the best way to go for nearly all occasions.
In the age of technological globalization, it’s only logical to upgrade your life accordingly and pick a product that is designed with the 21st century in mind.