Popping one of the best hand warmers into your pocket is a smart way to ward of chilly fingers, even in the coldest weather. There are a range of reusable and rechargeable hand warmers on the market, all of which heat up on demand, and are an ideal companion for any occasion when you're going to feel the cold in your fingers, whether that's a big hike or just standing outside at a sporting event.
Sure, gloves are a good option (especially if you opt for a pair of the best cold weather gloves or the best touchscreen gloves), but sometimes you need a blast of heat to ward off the chill. You might consider a dedicated hand-warmer a luxury, but ask yourself: do you really want to put yourself through the pain and suffering of experiencing the biting cold? After all, the best hand warmers are actually very affordable these days.
There are lots of different types of hand warmer available, including disposable and reusable, and those powered by liquid fuel, electric batteries and chemical reactions (our hand warmer FAQ article will help you understand the differences). In this guide, we've selected a range of different options for different situations and needs, including plenty of reusable and rechargeable options. Some of these hand warmers we have tested out ourselves, while others are recommended based on research and other customers' reviews. These are the best hand warmers to pop in your pocket this winter.
- Stay dry with one of the best waterproof jackets
- Want something smarter? These are the best men's winter coats
The best hand warmers 2021
The best hand warmer for most people is this rechargeable Lifesystems one. With ultra-convenient USB charging, it can be switched on and off as required to give up to a total of six hours of warmth. You can also adjust the temperature through four different levels of toastiness, depending on just how cold is. Handy USB indicators show you how much charge you have left, and also what level of heat you're set to. It's ergonomically shaped, pleasant to hold, and has two internal heat plates that deliver a decent burst of even heat from both sides. Finally, it doubles up as an emergency power pack, which is not strictly necessary but surprisingly helpful. Head to our full Lifesystems rechargeable hand warmer review for more of what we thought.
Hot Snapz is a crystallisation-type hand warmer, which means it offers the compact convenience of a disposable hand warmer, while also being resuable. The way it works is that you immerse it in hot water for about 10-15 minutes. Then later on, when you want to warm your hands, you click a metal disc in its centre, and the heat is released. Be warned, though: they don't stay warm for long: about 50-60 minutes for Pocket Warmers, 30 to 40 minutes for Hand Warmers. So this is not a good choice for lengthy outdoor adventures. But if you want something for short spells out in the cold, this is nicely portable, easy to use and endlessly reusable.
Styled like an old-fashioned cigarette lighter, and using a similar kind of liquid fuel, this is a popular and highly regarded hand warmer, with six different designs to choose from. It works by slowly burning the specific Zippo fuel created specially for use in hand warmers. The warmth is flameless, so you don’t need to worry about getting set on fire. And the clever refill system make topping up the fluid pretty easy too. On a full tank, this hand warmer will 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.
Don't want to mess around with fuel, and just want a device you can charge up like you do your phone? Then we recommend Celestron FireCel+. The brand behind many of today's best telescopes and binoculars has come up with an easy-to-use and versatile device that'll provide continuous heat for up to a massive 12 hours. You can choose to heat up one side, or both. Its aluminium shell is rugged enough for outdoors use, but it’s equally suitable for your winter commute, or standing in the park watching the kids play sports.
And that’s not all. This is also the Swiss army knife of hand warmers, as it also features a flashlight, and works as a portable charger. The 5200 mAh rechargeable lithium ion battery delivers two full charges to most smartphones and MP3 players, and also charges USB-powered cameras.
Are you less interested in getting a continuous level of warmth over a long period, and more about getting a quick blast of heat when you need it? Then the appropriately named Grabber might be a good choice.Designed for occasions such as outdoor sports, hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, jogging and dog walking, these single use, air-activated packs provide fast and immediate heat, starting off at a maximum temperature of 156° F (69° C). They're very easy to use: simply open the packet and expose it to the air. They take less than a minute to warm up, and they’ll stay warm for up to six hours, although the heat intensity will dip from the initial high level. You’ll get best results if you keep them in a pocket or glove.
If you’re looking to spend as little as possible, you can’t go wrong with these budget-friendly hand warmers from Lifesystems. These gel hand warmers aren't just cheap, they're also reusable. Pop them in boiling water for a short spell, and the crystals formed from the chemical reaction will turn back to gel. That makes them an absolute bargain over the long term. Be warned that the heat from them doesn't usually last more than about 30 minutes. But if that's all you need, then why spend more?
Hot Hands have been around for a while. And these rectangular shaped, single-use, air-activated heat packs continue to be a popular choice worldwide. Although they don’t emit as much heat initially as Grabber, higher up our best hand warmer list, they do stay warm for longer; up to 10 hours at a time. So if you're going to be out in the cold for lengthy periods, they're an excellent choice at a very low price. (Bear in mind, though, that they're not reusable).
Looking for the hand warmer that keeps working for the longest time? That'll be the Peacock, which provides up to 30 hours of heat with just one tank. This liquid-fuel powered hard warmer 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, the Peacock Hand Warmer could also make a handy gadget for anyone who suffers from cold digits.
Looking for an electric hand warmer with long battery life? Look no further: this model from Ocoopa features a whopping 10000mAh battery that'll keep the heat flowing for up to 15 hours, beating some of the best fuel-powered hand warmers and without the smell. Its heat goes from gentle warmth up to a seriously toasty 131°F. It'll charge your devices while you're on the go. And it's a sleek-looking piece of kit, with a curved body and silicone corner protection to protect it should it get dropped.