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If gloves are used to provide heat by default, why are there the so-called heated gloves?

You probably know that old adage: “Cold hands, warm heart”. It’s not supposed to be taken literally, but when I hear “cold hands” I can’t relate to anything warm. If you’re out on a freezing day and your hands are bitterly cold, you would make a deal with the devil to make them warm. That’s why we have all kinds of gloves. Heated gloves provide comfort and warmth even in freezing conditions. 

Keeping hands and feet warm can be quite challenging in regions with cold and long winters. Small things can make a world of difference and heated gloves can make your life better.

If you’re not convinced, I’ll just say that professional skiers, motorcyclists, and all kinds of workers in northern states, Canada and Alaska use them all the time. Not to mention people with medical conditions who can’t keep their hands warm due to their illness.

Of course, heated gloves aren’t a necessity for everyone even in cold regions. So, let’s see what they are good for and how to choose them.

Do You Need Heated Gloves At All?

Before I start, you probably know that some people have more trouble keeping their feet and hands warm. Our hands get cold much easier than the rest of our body. When it’s cold, our body tries to protect vital organs and sends most of the blood to them to keep them warm. Less blood means less warmth in extremities. Hands and feet are collateral damage of this process. 

So, we invented gloves to deal with cold hands. However, regular gloves of any kind can’t produce warmth. They provide insulation and trap heat that our hands produce. In most cases that is enough, but the colder it gets, the less efficient ‘normal’ gloves become. If we don’t have appropriate clothes and shoes, our body temperature will drop and our heart will send less blood (read: heat) to our hands and feet.

Heated gloves actually produce heat. A combination of heat and insulating properties takes gloves warmth to another level. They aren’t almighty, but it’s pretty obvious that they can offer better protection.

The crucial question here is: how cold should it be so you have to resort to heated gloves? Even if you live up north but work in a warm office, you don’t need heated gloves. If you can shovel snow from your walkway in less than half an hour, you don’t need them either. These gloves are designed to help people who need or like to spend hours in harsh and cold weather.

Heated gloves can be divided into three basic categories: recreational, working, and medical.

Recreational Heated Gloves

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Winter is cold, but it’s also an opportunity for specific recreational activities. Skiing and snowboarding are the first to cross your mind, probably. While you can enjoy skiing with regular skiing gloves, there are situations where heated gloves come in handy. Obviously, it is the case when it is extremely cold.

coldproof gloves

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Also, when you take a longer break, your body cools off, and your regular gloves might not be enough to keep you warm. Winter hunting and ice fishing are activities related to cold weather. On these trips, you might regret not having a pair of heated gloves.

electrical gloves

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Motorcyclists are another group of people who are especially exposed to cold. That’s why they have specialized clothes and – heated gloves. Well, not all of them, but those who want to ride in winter time must have heated gloves.

Heated Work Gloves

heated work gloves

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Some people enjoy being out in the cold weather, while others have no choice. There are many professions that require extended outdoor activities. If you live up north, it comes with extra challenges.

Oil field workers, road maintenance, postal and delivery services, all kinds of contractors, can’t wait for warmer weather to do their job. Heated work gloves make their lives easier and warmer.

Medical Heated Gloves

medical heated gloves

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Heated gloves can provide relief for several medical conditions. People with circulation problems suffer in the cold. Arthritis, Raynaud’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and similar conditions get worse when it’s cold. These people really need to keep their hands warm so heated gloves really work for them.


Choosing heated gloves is no easy task. First, you need to decide what you need them for. The list of priorities depends on your needs. However, here are a couple of things everyone needs to consider.

1. Size

You need a perfect size to get the best out of your heated gloves. Gloves that are too big or too small will affect your dexterity and overall comfort. Also, make sure that they cover your wrist. Even the warmest and most comfortable gloves will be useless if your wrist is exposed.

2. Materials

Waterproof and wind-resistant materials are necessary for long outdoor activities in the cold. So, on the exterior, look for polyester or other waterproof materials. On the inside, fleece is the best choice to provide a soft feel and comfort. You should also pay attention to insulating properties and breathability.

3. Battery Life

This is probably the most important feature of heated gloves. No matter how much warmth they provide, if you run out of batteries in the middle of your activity you’ll be in trouble.

Some models use replaceable batteries while others use rechargeable batteries. Some models provide lots of heat but can’t last more than two hours while others can last up to 8 hours. Obviously, your choice should depend on your outdoor activities. Make sure to carry an extra set of batteries for long-lasting activities such as hunting or ice-fishing.

If you have a battery tester, make sure to check batteries out before you use them.

4. Heating Area

More affordable models of heated gloves often have panels that heat the back of your hand and/or palm. On the other hand, advanced models will heat your fingers and thumbs. Obviously, the latter design is more efficient. But if you need just a little bit of extra heat for a short period of time you may save some bucks with low-end, affordable models.

5. Dexterity

If you only need heat, you’ll be fine with bulkier, well-insulated heated gloves. But, if you need to perform some actions without taking the gloves off, you should look for models that allow enough dexterity. You can’t expect them to provide a level of dexterity like surgical gloves, but you should be able to do your tasks relatively easily.

6. Durability

Finally, you need a pair of heated gloves that will last. If you need them only for winter walks, it doesn’t have to be a top priority. But, if you have to work out there in the cold, it’s essential to have a pair that is rugged and durable.

7. Cost

When it comes to money, things are pretty simple. High-end models are more expensive for a reason. They offer better performance, they are commonly more breathable and more durable. However, you may not need all the perks that come with the most expensive models.


Heated gloves are not a necessity. You probably won’t add them to your bug out bag list unless your shelter is somewhere in the north. But, they can provide comfort in many situations.

For some people who work in very harsh conditions, they can provide immense relief and make their lives easier. It is even more true for people who suffer from arthritis and similar conditions. So, I can’t tell you if you need a pair of heated gloves or not. But, if you hate having cold hands and regular gloves can’t make you comfortable and warm enough, it’s good to know that there’s an effective solution.