The best hand warmers 2018: for toasty hands in cold winter weather

Whether you’re hitting the hill or heading to the shops, keep your hands warm with our selection of the best hand warmers

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We’ve all been there – hands so cold our fingers can barely function. But whether you’re wiping out for the twentieth time on the mountain, hitting up the Himalayas for the ultimate expedition, or you find your regular gloves just don't cut it in extreme bouts of cold weather, hand warmers are the saving grace. 

For the most of us, hand warmers are those little clickable pouches of liquid that seem to heat up like magic, but when you take a look at the market as a whole, there are some pretty cool ones out there that you may not even know exist. 

For starters, let’s take a look at reusable hand warmers. Aside from being environmentally friendly, they’re stylish numbers that look like the old fashioned cigarette lighters. While they may cost a bit more than the average chuck-away, with a bit of oil, they can slowly simmer inside your pocket keeping it nice and toasty for when your hands require that bit of respite from the cold.

Zippo is probably the most recognisable brand when it comes to reusable hand warmers; they claim that their product, the aptly named ‘Zippo Hand Warmer’, offers 10x more heat than a disposable hand warmer, and on a full tank can provide a full 12 hours of heat. These types of hand warmers are good if you’re going off-grid for a while, so long as you have a backup of oil for topping up. 

Alternatively, there’s battery powered hand warmers. A new concept stemming from the efficiency of lithium ion batteries, these rechargeable hand warmers, like the Human Creations EnergyFlux Ellipse Hand Warmer, offer around 6.5 hours of adjustable heat, and they can even charge your device up if the dreaded low power mode switches on. 

If you’re a traditionalist at heart and don’t fancy forking out any more than necessary on a hand warmer, you can’t really go wrong with Hot Hands Instant Hand Warmers, which use the old click method to generate heat. 

So, with all your options laid out in front of you, let’s consult Amazon and some outdoorsy retailers for the best hand warmers your hard-earned cash can buy. 

The best hand warmer

1. Zippo Hand Warmer

A stylish fuel-powered pocket accessory

Best for: Sleek and lightweight
Type: Fuel
Hours of use: 12
Reusable: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Refillable+Range of designs available
Reasons to avoid
- Apparently fill up can be a bit of a faff 

Adopting the style of an old-fashioned cigarette lighter, this is a fairly hip hand warmer made more popular by the 6 different designs you can choose from. It works by slowly burning the specific Zippo fuel created for use in handwarmers. 

The warmth is flameless, so you don’t need to worry about it setting your pockets on fire, and Zippo has even invested a refill system to make transferring the fluid as easy as possible once it's run out. 

On a full tank, it’ll provide 12 hours of warmth – great if you happen to be heading up the mountain for the day, or planning to go off-grid for a while. 

Human Creations EnergyFlux Ellipse Hand Warmer

2. Human Creations EnergyFlux Ellipse Hand Warmer

This double whammy allows you to charge your phone up and heat your hands at the same time

Best for: Rechargeable hand warmer
Type: Battery powered
Hours of use: 6.5
Reusable: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Two heat settings+Charges digital products
Reasons to avoid
- Heat only lasts 6.5 hours 

If you don’t like the idea of filling up your hand warmer with oil each time you want to reuse it, then this battery-powered hand warmer is a good alternative. Harnessing the power of the Lithium ion battery, all you need to do is plug it in before you head out. 

There’s an LED light system to indicate when it’s heating up, on low heat, high heat and when it’s getting low on charge. 

While it lasts 6.5 hours on low heat, high heat will, naturally, eat up the charge quicker – factor in an iPhone charging on the USB port, and it won’t last long at all. Still, for convenience's sake, and for short stints out in the cold, you can’t really go wrong. 

Hot Hands Instant Hand Warmers

3. Hot Hands Instant Hand Warmers

These classic disposables still deserve a place in the top list

Best for: Winter sports
Type: Disposable
Hours of use: 10
Reusable: No
Reasons to buy
+Provide 10 hours of warmth+Not as powerful as oil hand warmers
Reasons to avoid
- Not reusable 

Hot Hands have been around for a while and still continue to be an extremely popular choice when it comes to investing in hand warmers, especially if you’re only hitting colder climes for a couple of days. 

Relatively cheap to buy and providing a day’s worth of heat, they certainly get the job done, but don’t tend to emit as much heat as reusable hand warmers. 

While they aren’t reusable, they are made from natural materials, and as such are non-toxic, even when the heat produced is done so via chemical reaction. 

Peacock Hand Warmer

4. Peacock Hand Warmer

A giant hand warmer that offers up to 30 hours of heat

Best for: Long-lasting
Type: Fuel
Hours of use: 30
Reusable: Yes
Reasons to buy
+30 hours of heat+Elegant design
Reasons to avoid
- Manual ignition required 

Whether you’re off exploring cold, mountainous areas or simply don’t want to have to worry with refuelling every couple of days, this Peacock hand warmer will provide up to 30 hours of heat with just one tank. 

It uses the same fuel as the Zippo lighter, and comes with refilling aids to help you keep it topped up. With its flashy, elegant design, this hand warmer could make the ideal gift for anyone who suffers with cold hand syndrome.

Lifesystems Reusable Hand Warmers

5. Lifesystems Reusable Hand Warmers

If you’re a life-fan of gel hand-warmers, these ones are reusable

Best for: Instant heat
Type: Ge
Hours of use: 1.5
Reusable: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Simple to activate+Easy to reset
Reasons to avoid
- Only lasts 1.5 hours 

If you’re looking for a quick fix, you can’t go wrong with these hand warmers from Lifesystems. These, too, have been around for a while, and use a chemical reaction to generate heat. 

While they don’t last as long as the other gel hand warmers, they are resettable. Simply pop them in boiling water and the crystals formed from the chemical reaction turn back to gel.