Best Heated Vest: Great Outdoor Gear for Winter Sports or Hunting

Layer up to stay warm.
Layer up to stay warm. (Andre Furtado/)

A heated vest can seem like a miracle. You slip it on, choose a warming level, and wait a few seconds to feel chill-busting warmth that will keep you working or playing outside even longer. For winter sports, for hunters, for workers who spend long hours on the job, a heated vest can mean the difference between time spent shivering and miserable and time spent being productive and happy. But you have to choose the right heated vest to get the benefits.

Fortunately, there are lots to choose from. Some heated vests are one-size-fits-all, suited more for work crews and situations in which multiple people will wear the vest. Others are designed specifically for men or for women. If you’re looking for peak performance, the best heated vest will be one cut and fit to your body type. That prevents cold air from sneaking into an ill-fitted vest—and warm air from sneaking out. But even affordable heated vests and one-size-fits-all vests can work very well. Look for heating elements placed across your torso front and back, and consider a rechargeable heated vest. Standing there in the cold, with a warm smile on your face, you’ll have the answer to the question: Is a heated vest worth it?

Best rechargeable heated vest: ActionHeat 5V Battery-Heated Vest for MenBest heated vest for work: DEWALT Unisex Heated Reversible VestBest heated vest for hunting and fishing: ActionHeat 5V Battery Heated Insulated Puffer VestBest heated vest for winter sports: ARRIS Heated Vest Size AdjustableBest heated vest for women: ORORO Women’s Lightweight Heated VestBest cheap heated vest: LIFEBEE Heated Vest

Things to consider when shopping for the best heated vest

Keeping your core body temperature warm is the top task for a heated vest, and these convenient, easy-to-use pieces of winter gear should be a part of your essential wardrobe. They’re built to wear under your favorite jacket, or as a smart outer layer. And a rechargeable heated vest can be worn at both work and play. Easily powered with either an internal battery system or a power bank like those used to recharge smartphones, the best heated vests are portable and easily cared for—many can be tossed straight into the washer and dryer. When you’re looking for the best heated vest, we have you covered with choices for hard work on the job site, hard play on the ski slopes, or easy living by the fire.

Heated clothing will turn away the most bitter cold, and keep you active outdoors when everyone else has called it quits. When you’re looking for one of these winter wonders, make sure to check off critical features.

Looking to recharge?

You’ll add convenience to the comfort of a heated vest if you choose a model made with rechargeable batteries. In many cases, a rechargeable heated vest will last longer than one with conventional batteries. And they’re far less bulky. If the slightly higher cost is a concern, consider that you’ll save money over the long run, so we think rechargeable heated vests are definitely worth it. You’ll agree when the heating elements keep you going in your favorite outdoor winter sports for hour after hour.

Best rechargeable heated vest: ActionHeat 5V Battery-Heated Vest for Men

Utilizing high-efficient carbon fiber panels, this vest is built for the long haul.
Utilizing high-efficient carbon fiber panels, this vest is built for the long haul. (ActionHeat/)

With three heating levels and element panels spread from the front torso to the upper back, this rechargeable heated vest for men for work or play will be a favorite piece of winter gear. It’s made with double-layer construction—a weather-resistant softshell exterior makes it a handy layering item, while the fleece-like insulation in the vest body helps keep warmth close to the skin. A strong power bank doubles as a handy charger for a smartphone or tablet.

Need a heated vest for work?

No one wants to hold up a project because it’s too cold to stay on the job. So when work keeps you outdoors for long hours, a heated vest is just what you need to keep you laser-focused on the task at hand.

Best heated vest for work: DEWALT Unisex Heated Reversible Vest

On the job site, keep a unisex heated vest handy to keep the work rolling smoothly.
On the job site, keep a unisex heated vest handy to keep the work rolling smoothly. (DEWALT/)

With adjustments to tailor the fit to multiple wearers, this rechargeable heated vest can work for both men and women, across a wide variety of body types. Unisex vests are an economical solution to bitter winter weather. They’re a great outdoor gear addition.

Want to hunt or fish—but not freeze?

Some activities call for a wide range of activity levels, for hour after hour. While most customers purchase a heated vest specifically for the power of the electric warming panel, buyers who might be outdoors for extended periods of time, like hunters and fishermen, should consider a vest with additional insulation. Puffy vests with high-quality fills can pack twice the insulation value. And they’ll provide warmth and help hold in body heat work even after the battery power is gone, making them great hunting clothes. If winter sports are your game, consider a heated vest with some traditional insulation.

Best heated vest for hunting and fishing: ActionHeat 5V Battery Heated Insulated Puffer Vest

Hunters and anglers often sit for long periods of time outdoors. Double up on comfort with a puffy vest for an extra dose of warmth.
Hunters and anglers often sit for long periods of time outdoors. Double up on comfort with a puffy vest for an extra dose of warmth. (ActionHeat/)

Heated vests for outdoor sports are called on for extra effort when it comes to keeping you warm. This rechargeable vest has three heated elements—two across the upper chest and one across the back—for on-demand heat to keep your core from getting chilled. But it’s also built with fabric designed with reflective ActionWave reflective technology and quilted insulation on both front and back, to help hold in the heat for hour after hour. And the outer shell is water resistant, ready to turn away rain and snow.

Are you a winter sports buff in need of heated outdoor gear?

When you’re active outside, enjoying a snowy hike or hitting the ski slopes, bitter cold temperatures can put a damper on your winter adventure. That’s where the best heated vests come in. A heated vest does a great job of producing heat, so you can enjoy being outside for as long as you want. But when you’ll be moving around a lot, it’s best to choose a rechargeable heated vest that gives you lots of options for heating levels.

Best heated vest for winter sports: ARRIS Heated Vest Size Adjustable

This heated vest with multiple heating levels and heating elements will keep you comfortable all day long.
This heated vest with multiple heating levels and heating elements will keep you comfortable all day long. (ARRIS/)

This ARRIS heated vest has seven separate heating panels and five levels of temperature control, so you can customize your comfort on the go. And a new adjusting method is sleek and simple, so layering under your winter coat is a snap.

What about heated vests for women?

Heated vests work best when they’re not too loose, not too tight, but fit just right. Buying a gender-specific vest means it won’t be too loose to hold in the heat, nor will it look like you’re wearing a dorky vest that’s cinched down with unsightly straps.

Best heated vest for women: ORORO Women’s Lightweight Heated Vest

A tailored vest designed specifically for women not only keeps you warmer, but looks great doing it.
A tailored vest designed specifically for women not only keeps you warmer, but looks great doing it. (OHORO/)

This heated vest for women has heating elements scattered from the collar to the lower back, for near-total coverage. And the charge will last for up to 10 hours. You’ll never be left out in the cold.

How much do you have to spend?

If you’re looking to shave dollars off your heated vest purchase, it’s possible, with a few caveats. Most budget heated vests are built as one-size-fits-all models, so you may have to give up a bit of the custom fit and feel. And even the best cheap heated vest probably won’t come with a battery pack. They’re designed to operate with a standard USB battery pack, like those used to recharge smartphones and other small electronics. If you already own one of these power banks, a budget heated vest is a perfect choice. If you don’t, you should look instead for a rechargeable heated vest that doesn’t require that you provide the battery.

Best cheap heated vest: LIFEBEE Heated Vest

This vest is a great option if you have a USB battery pack in hand. Just plug it up, slip it into the battery pocket, and head for the outdoors.
This vest is a great option if you have a USB battery pack in hand. Just plug it up, slip it into the battery pocket, and head for the outdoors. (LIFEBEE/)

This heated winter vest is a super choice for an extra layer of protection against the cold. Use the convenient USB connector to plug in your own power bank, and you’ll have up to 12 hours of warming heat. And it’s sleekly designed to fit under clothing, with a slick polyester outer fabric that won’t bunch up under a coat or sweater, and a low-profile collar for less bulk around your neck. And the one-button control makes it easy to adjust temperatures with gloved hands. Lots of smart design elements for not a lot of money.

Best heated vest FAQ

Are heated vests worth the money?

Heated vests are definitely worth the investment, especially since there’s such a wide range of choices at various price points. Check out our guide, and you’ll see. There are more expensive vests with high-performance designs, but plenty of affordable options.

What should I look for in a heated vest?

When shopping for a heated vest, look for three things to make a great choice. How many heating elements are in the vest? How many heating levels can you control in the vest? And does the vest come with a battery pack, or do you need to supply one?

How long does the battery work in a heated vest?

Battery power in a heated vest will vary depending on the model, but also on which heating level you choose. Most heated vests allow you to switch between as many as three but sometimes five heating levels, and the higher you go, the more power it will drain from the battery. But the best heated vests should stay warm on medium power for seven to nine hours. Some will stay fired up on a low setting for 12 hours or more.

A final word on shopping for the best heated vests

A great rechargeable heated vest helps you stay involved with winter sports and activities. It will keep you from bulking up with heavy coats and sweaters so you can enjoy hiking, skiing, hunting, and fishing. And even when you’re simply sitting around watching a game, this critical piece of outdoor gear keeps you outside with family and friends. There are great choices for every activity level, and options for every budget.

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