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Updated Jan 4, 2023 3:01 PM

The best heated vests 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 vest to get the benefits.

Fortunately, there are lots to choose from. Some electric 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 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 vest. Standing there in the cold, with a warm smile on your face, you’ll have the answer to the question: Are the best heated vests worth it?

Things to Consider Before Buying a Heated Vest

A heated vest isn’t a substitute for knowing how to dress for cold weather, but they do provide a serious edge. 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 vest can be worn at both work and play. Easily powered with either an internal battery system or one of the best power banks 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 a 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.

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 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 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 Heated Vests: Reviews & Recommendations

Best Overall: Ororo Heated Vest

Ororo

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Key Features

  • Machine washable
  • 10 hour battery life
  • Built-in USB charging port
  • 4 carbon fiber heating elements
  • 3 heating settings

Pros

  • Easy to care for. 50+ washes
  • Heating zones are in ideal locations

Cons

  • Noisy fabric isn’t ideal for hunting

If you’re looking for the ultimate in comfort without bulky batteries or ill-fitting vests, then this is the vest for you. One of the best features of the Ororo Heated Vest is that it has a heating panel in the neck, and that warmth alone is enough to ward off the cold. It has three other heating around the chest to keep your core temperature up. It’s trim design also makes it easy to layer a shell over the vest when temps drop to extreme colds. Another useful feature is that you can use the vest’s battery pack to charge your phone on the go. While this is an excellent everyday vest, it’s not ideal for hunting because of the indicator light on the outside of the vest and the water resistant fabric is noisy.

Most Comfortable: Venture Heated Vest

Venture

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Key Features

  • Battery lasts up to 10 hours
  • Chest, back, and collar heat zones
  • Washer and dryer safe
  • Carbon fiber heating elements
  • Inner pocket to hide battery

Pros

  • Easy set up
  • Immediate heat
  • Multiple color options

Cons

  • None
Venture's heated vest fits well and heats up fast.
Venture’s heated vest fits well and heats up fast. Ashley Thess

While heated vests have advanced into a crucial piece of gear for winter activities like hunting, fishing, and skiing, they’re still lacking on the fashion front. However, this fitted women’s model from Venture comes in four different colors: black, blue, pink, and white. It’s also a breeze to set up via bluetooth and offers 10 different heat settings in an app on your phone. If you aren’t interested in pulling out your phone in sub-freezing temperatures, you can also press a large rubber button on the left side of the vest to adjust between three different heat levels. The temperature change is immediate. I was shocked at how quickly the vest warmed up even at a mid-range temperature. 

Best for Work: Kevcor Unisex Heated Vest

Kevcor

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Key Features

  • 4 heat zones
  • Water resistant
  • Runs up to 8 hours
  • Universal USB port
  • Includes battery pack

Pros

  • Universal fit

Cons

  • Battery life is on the shorter side

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. This 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.

Best for Winter Sports: ARRIS Heated Vest Size Adjustable

ARRIS

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Key Features

  • 7 heat panels
  • 5 temperature levels
  • Rechargeable

Pros

  • Good battery life
  • Even heat distribution

Cons

  • Not fashionable

The best vest for winter sports keeps you warm without impeding movement and this vest does just that. 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 heated vests come in. These vests do 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 vest that gives you lots of options for heating levels. 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.

Best for Women: COREEDGE Heated Vest for Women

COREEDGE

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Key Features

  • 50 percent larger heating areas
  • 8 heating zones
  • 9.5 hour battery life

Pros

  • Includes a heated detachable hood
  • Sleek fit

Cons

  • Not available in other colors

The best heated vests work most efficiently 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. 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. If you’re looking for one of the best gifts for moms this vest is hard to beat.

Best Budget: HEATOO Heated Vest

Heatoo

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Key Features

  • Machine Washable
  • 3 heat levels
  • 4 heat panels
  • Medium, large, and XL

Pros

  • Price
  • Includes a battery

Cons

  • Only three sizes available

It’s difficult to find a heated vests under $100, and many vests are well over $150. But, the HEATOO provides a lot of value and warmth for the money. You get premium features like ten hours of battery life and machine washing capability. It also heats up fast and provides plenty of heat for chilly days. The HEATOO fits true to size, but the one con is that it’s only available in three sizes.

Thinnest: Volt Resistance Radiant Women’s Heated Vest

Volt Resistance

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Key Features

  • Machine washable
  • Battery lasts up to 11 hours
  • Chest and back heating panels
  • 3 power levels
  • Zero Layer Heating

Pros

  • Zero Layer Heating system provides slim fit for layering
  • Long battery life

Cons

  • Poor instruction manual

This vest was difficult to set up as it came with minimal instructions. First I didn’t recognize the cord as a USB cable. It doesn’t look normal or fit naturally, but I quickly realized that with a bit of force it does fit into the USB port. After exhausting the intuitive methods of pairing I was familiar with, I emailed the company for help connecting the product to my smartphone via bluetooth. They emailed back telling me to call for a walk-through of the process, but the person I spoke with then offered to send me an email of the instructions. I was eventually led to the necessary setup guide which is for some reason only listed in the photos of another product.

Despite the issues with what I expected to be a self-explanatory setup, this vest still does the trick. It has three power levels able to be controlled via a button on the lower right side of the vest or your smartphone. Each temperature has a corresponding color to tell you what setting you’re on. There is also a drawstring hem to help trap heat. Thanks to the Zero Layer Heating system which utilizes ultra-thin heating coils built into the fabric it is also very slim. The eliminated bulk could be what you need for fitting one of the best heated vests under your favorite shell.

FAQs

Q: 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.

Q: 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?

Q: 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.

How to Choose One of the Best Heated Vests

Whether you’re sitting on a peak or in a blind, a temperature controlled vest can offer hours of additional activities in the colder months. When you’re picking the perfect vest for you keep in mind your typical layering system and how a vest will fit. Look for a slimmer fit like the Arris if you’re concerned about wearing a bulky vest under a sleek shell. If you plan on getting this vest dirty on a job site or while field dressing, be sure it can be machine washed and dried like the Volt Resistance. Calling a colder climate home can even mean a heated vest is what you wear on errands or around town. The Venture is stylish and comes in a range of colors for a trail to town aesthetic that will keep you warm all winter.

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Advertising does not influence our gear reviews and it never will. While we always focus our coverage on standout products—because we want our readers to be aware of the latest and greatest gear—we also cover the flaws and quirks of any given product.

Final Thoughts

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, the best heated vests keep you outside with family and friends. There are great choices for every activity level, and options for every budget.

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