The Best Hand Warmers of 2024

We tested eight different hand warmers to find out which delivers the longest lasting heat
The best hand warmers were tested for their temperature and heat retention.

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The best hand warmers are a real game changer for cold-weather conditions. But keeping a pair in your pack is not just a nice bonus for a chilly morning; when things go wrong, they could aid in a survival situation (just think if the protagonist of To Build a Fire had had a pair of these on hand). To help you choose, we put eight of the leading models to the test to see which was the best hand warmer available today:

How I Tested the Best Hand Warmers

Testing the best hand warmers for their heat retention.
Measuring the real-time temperatures of the hand warmers over twelve hours. Laura Lancaster

Hand warmers were tested in tandem, following manufacturer instructions and using a household thermometer. Temperatures were recorded at the following intervals: one minute, fifteen minutes, thirty minutes, one hour, and then every hour until the temperature of the hand warmers fell below 100 degrees. Reusable hand warmers were then retested to confirm that they would work for multiple rounds. Weight, price, ease of use, and environmental impact were also taken into consideration. 

Unit1 min15 min30 min1 hr2 hr4 hr6 hr8 hr10 hr12 hr14 hr
Little Hotties8498101105111108109108103
Hot to Go12111511098
Temperatures of each hand warmer (in Fahrenheit) from the first minute of activation until their temp dropped below 100 degrees.

The Best Hand Warmers: Reviews & Recommendations

Best Overall: Grabber Hand Warmers

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Key Features

  • Weight: 1.6 ounces
  • Only one use
  • Maximum measured temperature: 118 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Lasted for 11 hours


  • Inexpensive
  • Provides long-lasting warmth
  • Lightweight


  • Can only be used once

Like most other hand warmers in this style, Grabbers begin to emit heat as soon as the package is opened up. That’s because the outside air, specifically the oxygen in the air, kickstarts the oxidation of the iron powder inside the wrapping, which produces heat as the iron begins to rust. The secret sauce for most of these packets is in how they control the heating process, so that the heat is released continuously and at comfortable temperatures. 

During testing, I was impressed with how long the Grabbers emitted heat, especially given that it was one of the lightest hand warmers in my test, as well as the second cheapest. Whereas other hand warmers packed it in after half a day or less, I recorded these at 100 degrees Fahrenheit eleven hours after the package was initially opened. If you are looking for a low-cost, lightweight way to add a heat boost to your cold-weather adventure, then the Grabbers are an excellent choice. 

Best Reusable: HotSnapZ

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Key Features

  • Weight: 3.7 ounces
  • Reusable hundreds of times
  • Maximum measured temperature: 117 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Lasted for 1 hour


  • Affordable
  • Heats up fast
  • Reusable after boiling in water for 10 minutes


  • Not as long lasting as others in my test

The HotSnapZ are a fast-acting hand warmer is perfect for people looking for an inexpensive and quick pick-me-up rather than an all-day hand warmer. Unlike traditional hand warmers, this one uses sodium acetate (basically baking soda and vinegar), which has an unusually high freezing point. When the metal disk is tweaked, it sends tiny metal particles into the sodium acetate solutions, which starts a chain reaction that releases all the heat in the solution as the crystals themselves freeze. This hand warmer style is so straightforward that you can make a DIY version.

To reactivate the HotSnapz, simply drop them in boiling water for 10 minutes, and then leave them on the counter to cool off.
To reactivate the HotSnapz, simply drop them in boiling water for 10 minutes, and then leave them on the counter to cool off. Laura Lancaster

Something else great about the HotSnapz compared to the traditional style in our best overall pick is that they can be reused many times by simply placing the packet in boiling water for 10 minutes and then allowing it to cool to room temperature. 

Best Compostable: Ignik Hand Warmers

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Key Features

  • Weight: 2.3 ounces
  • Only one use
  • Maximum measured temperature: 108 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Lasted for 10 hours


  • Able to compost the materials inside the packet (although the packet itself must go into the trash)
  • Affordable
  • Provides long-lasting warmth


  • Can’t open the hand warmers individually
  • Inconsistent heating between hand warmers

If you don’t use hand warmers consistently—perhaps you just want a pair to stash into one of the best hiking backpacks—then a battery-powered or lighter-fuel option may be more investment than you are looking for. 

But single-use hand warmers that you toss in the trash at the end of the day aren’t environmentally sustainable. 

While at first glance the Ignik Hand Warmer looked like the other disposable single-use hand warmers in my test, its contents can be composted, either in your home composting bin or your city’s composting program. Four of the ingredients in the hand warmer—vermiculite, activated carbon, cellulose, and salt—will break down anywhere between a couple of weeks and a couple of months depending on your home composting setup, while the fifth ingredient, iron shavings, provide essential minerals to the soil. 

The Ignik’s 108-degree max temp was the lowest of the best hand warmers. But It should be noted that, for testing, I randomly picked one of the hand warmers out of the packet and measured its temperature. That hand warmer turned out to be significantly less warm than the other hand warmers in the packet. 

Best Electric: Ocoopa 5,200 mAH Rechargeable

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Key Features

  • Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Two-year warranty
  • Maximum measured temperature: 135 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Lasted for 5 hours


  • Easy to use
  • Heats up fast
  • Can also be used as a power charger for other devices
  • Multiple heat level options (plus the option to turn it off entirely)


  • Takes a while to charge
  • Expensive

Compared to the Zippo and two sodium acetate hand warmers, the Ocoopa was impressively easy to use, making it the best multiple-use hand warmer in my test. Upon opening the box, I plugged in the hand warmer using the supplied cable. Once all three lights next to the power button were a steady blue, I unplugged it and turned it on. It immediately started warming up; in fact, this was the fastest warming product I tried. Pressing the power button two more times set the hand warmer to high, which was what was used during testing—users can expect this hand warmer to last longer when set to a lower temperature setting. While this hand warmer is pricier than others I looked at, its simplicity and high performance make it one of the better values. 

Best Electric Pair: Gutimo Rechargeable 2-Pack

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Key Features

  • Weight: 3.9 ounces
  • Five-year warranty
  • Maximum measured temperature: 123 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Lasted for 4 hours


  • Small size works well for children
  • Can be used as a single hand warmer or separated into two pockets


  • Doesn’t last as long as other hand warmers I’ve tested

The problem with the Ocoopa hand warmer is that most have people have two hands. If you’ve got your hands in a muff, one hand warmer might suffice, but to keep both your pockets warm you’ll need to pony up for two. The Gutimo Rechargeable 2-Pack solves this issue with a nifty design: you can slide the two halves of the hand warmer apart. I had my kid test these out on an outing that saw single-digit temperatures accompanied by occasional gusts of serious wind. She was refusing to put on one of her gloves (as the under five set are wont to do), so I handed her one of the halves of the Gutimo hand warmers instead, showed her how to bump up the temperature and suggested she keep that hand in her pocket with the hand warmer. She made it for over an hour like that, happily playing with oversized icicles and sliding down some snowy slopes on her butt. Then the battery conked out and it was game over. Keep these on hand for backup for the whole family, but don’t rely on them to keep you going for multiple hours at a time, especially if you run cold.

Best for Extreme Conditions: Zippo 12-Hour Refillable Hand Warmer

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Key Features

  • Weight: 3.2 ounces
  • 1-year warranty
  • Maximum measured temperature: 189 degrees Fahrenheit (without pouch); 116 degrees Fahrenheit (with pouch)
  • Lasted for fourteen hours (five hours in the initial use)


  • Hottest hand warmer in my test
  • Long lasting (after the initial first use)
  • Reusable


  • Complicated to use
  • Noticeable smell
  • Expensive

If all you care about is the hottest hand warmer—and I mean really hot—then the Zippo 12-Hour Refillable Hand Warmer is the right choice for you. Just don’t toss the small tote, which comes with this hand warmer, in the garbage: you’ll need it to keep it from burning your skin. 

Some of the accessories, along with a lighter and carrying bag, that are necessary to use the Zippo Hand Warmer Laura Lancaster

While the Zippo Hand Warmer emits an impressive amount of heat, I found it fairly complicated to use during testing, especially compared to the simplicity of the Ocoopa. First off, this hand warmer can’t be used straight out of the box—you need to first acquire lighter fuel, which is sold separately. The instructions for the Zippo warn you not to spill any of the lighter fluid while filling the tiny plastic filling cup, which sort of resembles a watering can, and then tipping the lighter fluid into the hand warmer itself. I was unsuccesful in that and spilled lighter fuel both times. The instructions then further state the hand warmer should be allowed to stand upright for at least two minutes prior to use, and that it is important that the warmer not lay flat before being ignited; however, the design of this hand warmer is not conducive to standing upright. 

The Zippo Hand Warmer was tested straight out of the box without the provided pouch to assess maximum temperature. That initial round of testing demonstrated that users need to be exceptionally careful with this hand warmer, as the temperature of the metal could easily result in a contact burn on someone’s skin. The second round of testing, using the attached pouch, showed that users can safely use this hand warmer, assuming they are careful. That being said, this hand warmer is not an appropriate choice for children due to the amount of heat it generates. 

It’s worth noting that the instructions for the hand warmer state that the hand warmer may not operate for as long as it can during its first use, which was what I measured during the initial testing.

Best All Natural: Aurora Heat Hand Warmers

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Key Features

  • 10,000 fur filaments per square inch
  • Two size options
  • Handmade by Indigenous artisans


  • Never runs out of battery or fuel
  • Biodegradable
  • Incredibly soft


  • Pricey
  • Best used in mittens

There’s a reason beavers survive in some of the planet’s coldest places. There’s also a reason why beaver fur has been used by Indigenous people to stay warm for millennia. It works. Aurora Heat formed in 2015 by a Canadian daughter of trappers who recognized the warmth generated by dressing in furs. The hand and feet warmers she created reflect that knowledge. 

The Aurora Heat hand warmers trap heat generated by your body and keep it there, which means they take longer than a chemical or electric warmer to reach temperature. But unlike other warmers, they never run out and are incredibly soft. They’re also best used before your hands are already cold. Place them on top or underneath your fingers. For maximum warmth (though prepare for your hands to sweat if you’re moving or it’s not cold enough outside), consider buying two pairs to place warmers above and below your fingers. —Christine Peterson

Best Heated Glove Liner: Snow Deer Heated Glove Liners

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Key Features

  • Comes in five sizes
  • Battery indicator shows remaining power
  • Touch sensor on index finger and thumb
  • Rechargeable


  • Thin
  • Relatively warm
  • Fits under most outer gloves


  • Not as warm as a standalone glove
  • Bulky battery on the wrists

We realize heated glove liners are not exactly hand warmers, but they function in much the same way. These liners are a perfect way to keep your fingers warm with plenty of dexterity if temperatures aren’t too cold, and also keep them warm inside of mittens when temperatures drop really low. Consider them hand warmers from the tips of your fingers to your wrists. 

Our tester wore these through last year’s frigid Wyoming winter, where temperatures dropped consistently below zero. He wore them primarily while pushing the snowblower to clear snow from his large driveway, noted that even his fingers, which are particularly sensitive after a woodworking accident, remained warm and comfortable.

On their own, they offer some heat but won’t be as warm as bulkier heated gloves. They’re perfect used inside of mittens. —C.P.

Things to Consider Before Buying Hand Warmers

Your Clothing

Hand warmers can be great after ungloving your hands for some fine motor work, but they are no substitute for appropriate clothing. If you find that you are regularly cold in the backcountry, consider upgrading your outdoor wardrobe, such as with a pair of the best hiking socks


While most single-use hand warmers use iron powder to produce heat when exposed to the outside air, reusable hand warmers employ a number of mechanisms, including sodium acetate, lighter fluid, and internal batteries. The advantage of the single-use warmers is that they are the simplest to use: once the package is opened, they start warming up instantly. Reusable hand warmers require some foresight to ensure they are juiced up before you head outside and, in the case of those that use lighter fluid, an extra level of care. 


The length of time that the hand warmers in my test provided heat for varied considerably. When choosing a hand warmer, consider how long you expect to be out of doors for, and whether your hand warmer will serve as a pick-me-up or an all-day source of heat. 

Maximum Temperature

A couple of the hand warmers in my test (the Zippo and the Ocoopa) are capable of reaching temperatures that would not only be uncomfortable to touch but could also cause burns if left exposed to the skin for too long. The Zippo’s 180 degrees and Ocoopa’s 135 degrees can cause second-degree burns in seconds, but both came with cloth sacks meant to prevent direct contact with the user’s skin. 

Suppose you are planning an outdoor trek in an exceptionally cold environment. In that case, those high heats may be exactly what you need, but many individuals may find these temperatures to be excessive for typical outdoor activities. 


Q: How much do hand warmers cost?

While single-use hand warmers can cost as little as a dollar (if bought in bulk), electric hand warmers can run up to $30.

Q: How long do hand warmers last?

Single-use hand warmers that use iron powder can last up to eleven hours, while sodium acetate hand warmers typically only last an hour or two. 

Q: How warm do hand warmers get?

The maximum temperatures of the hand warmers I tested varied considerably, from a so-so high of 108 degrees up to a scorching 189 degrees. 

Final Thoughts

During testing, I found the Grabbers to provide the most impressive heat among the traditional, budget-style hand warmers, while the Ocoopa was an excellent reusable option for those willing to spend a bit more (and who aren’t watching the weight of their gear). Remember: while the best hand warmers can help take the edge of a frosty morning, they are no substitute for appropriate clothing, such as the best puffer jackets

Laura Lancaster Avatar

Laura Lancaster

Staff Writer

Laura Lancaster is Outdoor Life's gear staff writer where she focuses on in-depth testing of backpacking and camping gear, with a particular interest in lightweight and ultralight gear. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and daughter.