On the hunt for the best heated vest for men or for women? Our team has wrangled up 20 of the bestselling electric heated vests on the internet, all in an effort to narrow it down to the Top 6 for your shopping convenience.
As we can attest, the best vest for your chest can’t be like all the rest. It has to have style, comfort, functionality, and power. It has to stand up to the rigors of the activities that it was designed for, like snowboarding, skiing, snowshoeing, or jogging. Sometimes this means springing for the model with the extra neck-mounted heating element. Other time it might mean going with the model that has the most water resistant capability, making for sure that the snows of Taos aren’t going to soak through to your base layers and ruin your day.
What follows is a play-by-play recap of our Top 6 heated vests, followed by a more comprehensive look at the different features and design elements that we looked at in order to make our picks. At the end of it all, we’re going to reveal our Best Heated Vest of 2020 in the hopes that it will save you a bit of time.
Best All-around Heated Vest for Men
ORORO Heated Vest
Run time: 3/6/10 HRS
Heat Zones: 4
Anyone who is looking for a heated vest that known how to evenly distribute electric heat would do well to choose the ORORO Heated Vest. Of all the models that we looked at, this one had the greatest amount of positive reviews that specifically mentioned how well distributed the heat was. Perhaps this is due to the fact that the electric battery-powered heating system is only the secondary source of warmth. The first is the well-constructed gusseted fabric, which holds pockets of warm air close to the body and can keep the user warm even in dropping temperatures.
We aren’t huge fan of the light-up logo on the chest … it is just la little too bright for our tastes. However, the great warmth, reliable heat, and multiple heat zones make this vest one of the best option for men. Keep in mind that the ORORO vest runs just slightly small in in the gut area, so it might be necessary to spring for a slightly larger size than you think you need.
Best Unisex Heated Vest
Run time: 4/7/10 HRS
Heat Zones: 4
If you are one of those deal-hunters that can’t turn down a good price on a great piece of equipment, then the chances are that you are already considering the PROSmart Unisex Polar Fleece heated vest. This item is a great price for what it offers, and has the added benefit of being just as comfort of being able to be used by both men and women. The only thing that you need to keep in mind is that only the grey variety of this vest features a heating pad in the neck / collar area. We’ve read quite a few reviews about people buying the black variety only to find that the neck isn’t heated.
It looks like the neck heater is about 10 bucks more, but it will be more than worth the cost for a day out on the slipes when the wind can really chill you to the bone. The battery here can be charged via USB, but it takes about 7 hours to reach full charge. That is slightly slower than most of the other vests on our list. (As an example, the ORORO heated vest charges up completely in about 5) but this is not enough of a flaw for us to count it against the PROSmart.
Best Recharge Time on a Heated Vest
Global Vasion Heated Vest
Run time: 4/7/10 HRS
Heat Zones: 3
One of our biggest issues with some of the more affordably priced heated vests is that it takes nearly all night to achieve a full charge. The ORORO vest is at about 5 or 6 hours while the PROSmart is as high as 7 or 8. The Global Vasion Heated Vest can be fully charged in about 4.5 hours, which is a nice feature for on-the-go outdoor enthusiasts who only have so much down time before they feel like getting back out there. A detachable hood is one unique feature that we have not seen on other models, which can turn a simple heated vest into a full-on outerwear shell for skiing and snowboarding. If you flick the battery into low power mode, you can get a full 10 hours of use, which is pretty staggering. The lack of a collar-mounted heating pad is probably the only thing we are slightly disappointed in, and perhaps the chunky battery. But all in all this is a high-performing heated vest that is sure to keep you warm in the vicious elements.
Nunewears 5V (Unisex)
Run time: 4/6/8 HRS
Heat Zones: 5
For less than 50 bucks out the door, the Nunewears 5V electric heated vest is hands down the most affordable garment on our list, and as such it earns a special place among our favorite reviewed products. The affordable nature of this vest is no doubt due to the reduced battery power; the user would be lucky to get 5 hours of use before the battery dies (as opposed to the full 8 hours that is advertised by the manufacturer). In addition, there is no neck warmer to speak of, which was our very favorite feature with the ORORO and PROSmart models. Still, the Nunewears Vest manages to perform admirably. There is no battery included, which might seem like a drawback at first but what this means is that the user can bring any power bank of their choice and hook it up in the pocket. A full 180-day warranty should protect against any unexpected factory damage, but we have a feeling that this thing will stand up fine to whatever you put it through.
Best Bang for the Buck
Conqueco Heated Vest
Run time: 3/6/10 HRS
Heat Zones: 4
We’re going to change things up with this review and start things off with what we didn’t like about the CONQUECO heated vest, and that boils down to only one thing. It is not nearly as waterproof as it is advertised to be, and in fact, we are wondering what kind of waterproofing process this went through, if any. Having said that, the vest is stunningly warm and has a reliable heating system that is not going to give out on you anytime soon. As long as you are u sing this vest in dry conditions, or perhaps beneath a waterproof shell, it is certainly going to get the job done. One of the more unique features with CONQUECO vests is that they offer this model in either fleece or polyester. If the battery power were to go out, it would be a better base-layer vest than the polyester variety.
Best Heated Vest for Snow Sports
Dewbu Heated Vest
Run time: 3/6/10 HRS
Heat Zones: 3
After doing the research and legwork, we can safely say that the Dewbu Heated Vest is hands down the most waterproof garment on our list. The fact that it can keep water out altogether is why we selected it as our Best Pick Vest for Snow Sports. Whether you are taking the skis up to Breckenridge or shredding tree runs in Utah, the Dewbu Heated Vest is going to keep you dry as well as warm, and all for a price that is basically the same as all of its closest competition. It also has two of our favorite features for heated vests: the first being a removable hood and the second being a heating element that runs up the back panel and into the neck area. Especially in high wind situations (like you would find on the chairlift) keeping the back of your neck warm is an absolute necessity. The only bad thing about Dewbu is that their measurement chart is in dire need of an update. If you go with the Dewbu vest (which we recommend) be sure to buy one whole size larger than you measured for.
Pro Buying Guide: The Best Heated Vests [2020 Edition]
The Top 6 unisex electric vests represent a product category that is getting bigger everyday. Shopping for outdoor gear is already a tiring experience, and with more and more manufacturers getting into the heated clothing game, it only becomes more and more complicated.
Here are some of the things that we looked at when crafting our vest reviews:
These vests operate off of small to mid-sized battery packs, also known as power banks. These small brick-shaped rectangles are slightly larger than a cell phone, but the actual size varies significantly by brand and price point.
Generally speaking, the more affordable the vest is, the larger the battery will be. This is simply because the battery pack is easily the most expensive part of the vest. More expensive models usually have more compact battery bricks.
This is another category that is going to depend greatly on which manufacturer you went with and which specific model you choose. If you are running an electric vest on high, the longest battery life you can hope for is about 4 hours, while the maximum for some cheaper models would be closer to 2.
If you are using a lower power setting, then it can be possible to achieve operation times of up to 10 hours. We haven’t ourselves seen a heated vest last that long … it is usually closer to 9.5 hours. Low power is just fine if you have a weatherproof shell on over the top … in fact, they can quickly become too hot (but never unsafe).
With a few exceptions, electric heated vests come with the capability to switch between different power modes. Usually, this is “Low”, “Medium”, and “High”, though there are plenty of vests that only have a “Low” and a “High”.
The different power modes offer not only different levels of heat, but also different operating times. If you have a long day of skiing ahead of you, then it would be more efficient to keep it on Low and simply have a jacket or shell to help keep all that cozy electric heat sealed in.
Charge time will vary from battery to battery, but you should plan for a minimum of 6 hours of charging before there is enough battery to keep the vest warm for an outdoor adventure. Some vests take 7 or even 8 hours to fully charge, so it might be far easier to just not forget to plug the vest in overnight.
There are really only three different materials when it comes to the most popular electric heated vests:
Nylon is one of the strongest materials for vests, jackets, and other outdoor clothing. The tightly woven synthetic fabric gives it a waterproofing factor that is much higher than other materials, even if it hasn’t been additionally treated with a waterproofing agent.
Polyester is perhaps to overly broad a term, but we use it to refer to a number of different synthetic fabrics that are used in the construction of heated vests. Polyester is lightweight, comfortable and affordable, but it is not waterproof at all and is less windproof than Nylon or fleece.
Fleece is technically a polyester-based fabric, but it is one of the more popular choice for vests in general. Fleece makes for one of the best mid-layers when it comes to outdoor winter activities, because it does a great job of holding heat close to the body. Adding a heating element to a fleece vest is perhaps the warmest mid-layer that we could possibly think of.
While all of the electric vests on our list feature a heating wire that runs across the front of the stomach, chest, and back, only a few of them have additional heating elements in the neck / collar area. Because this is one of the easiest places for wind to get in, it can be helpful to have some electric heat in this area.
The exact size and location of the heating elements will always vary, but you can usually tell where to expect them by checking out the Amazon pictures, which use colorful illustrations as an example.
Extra Features & Add-Ons
Looking for an electric vest that gives you even more bang for your buck? Look for a model with a removable hood, exchangeable battery, or adjustable size cording. While not standard features, this kind of stuff can sometimes be found on even the most affordable vests.
Measurement Guide: How to Size Yourself Up for a Heated Vest
We have to be honest with you guys on this one: the sizing charts and recommendations for these heated vests is all over the place. It truly seems like every manufacturer is using different measurements for their sizes, which can make it really hard to get the perfect fit.
Firstly, you can pretty much start by increasing the size by one, as almost all these vests run small. Another good idea is to research user reviews and try to find out if anyone who is your size has had luck finding the perfect fit.
A third method is to simply confirm the seller’s return policy before you purchase. If it doesn’t fit, sending it back for one size up isn’t that big of a deal.
Conclusion: Our Favorite Unisex Heated Vest of the Year
You know, there are a lot of people out there who are complaining about how technology is ruining the world. Truly, the fact that these electronically-heated vests exist is surefire proof that these people are off their rocker. Adventures only get better when you blend advanced technology with old-school design and functionality, and that is precisely what these vests are all about.
Choosing one model to recommend as our Editor’s Pick was easier than we should probably admit. The Dewbu Heated Vest is the most waterproof and most windproof model on the list … making it the perfect thing for snow sports. In addition, it has heating elements in all the right places, and all for right about the same price as all the others.
We also think it might be just a touch more stylish than the others, but we are gear-heads, not style gurus.
Frequently Asked Questions
While the idea of wearing a vest that contains a series of electric wires might seem a bit risky, these products are entirely safe for use. Not only do the wires carry a very low voltage, but there are multiple protection systems in place to make sure that nothing goes wrong. If the wires short out or get disconnected in any way, the power supply simply cuts out.
The second system is a heat sensor which will turn everything off if the battery is getting too hot. The truth of the matter is that the battery is more dangerous than the wires, but systems like these are guaranteed to prevent any serious malfunction.
If you are referring to battery power, then it certainly varies from vest to vest. The highest operating time that we clocked was just under 10 hours, which is about the standard when you have these things on low power mode. If you are operating on “high” power (which means a lot more heat) then you would be lucky to get 4 hours of it.
Some models like the super-affordable Nunewears 5V can be used with any standard USB battery or power bank. While this might seem like something of a drawback, it is actually an advantage as it means you can swap out power banks when you’re getting low on juice, then pull a fresh one from your backpack and not skip a beat with the warmth.
No. The pictures that you see on Amazon use some creative license as they are trying to show the prospective buyer where the heating elements are located. When these vests are on, you can’t see the elements at all. In fact, even if you were looking right at them they wouldn’t be glowing.
The exception to this is the ORORO heated vest, which is a wonderful vest but it has a logo area that lights up. Some people might like the extra visibility, while others might simply consider it to be a waste of battery power.
While the batteries themselves cannot go through the washing machine (or at least, it is strongly recommended against) the vests themselves can go through without being damaged. The vests that are machine washable simply allow the user to remove the battery before tossing it in with the rest of the laundry.
A few tips: be sure to use cold water, especially with the more delicate fabrics and pieces of outdoor gear. Also know that putting your vest or jacket through the washer might remove some or all of its waterproofing layer, reducing the overall weatherproof rating of the garment.