The Lifesystems rechargeable hand warmer is a step up from your standard gel hand warmer. It charges via USB, offers different heat settings and doubles up as a power pack in a pinch. At RRP it'll set you back £24.99 – so is it worth the extra outlay? I put one to the test on a chilly road trip around Scotland to see how it compares to the rest of today's best hand warmers. Here's my Lifesystems rechargeable hand warmer review.
- Pair your hand warmer with a pair of the best cold weather gloves
- ... or the best touchscreen gloves, for toasty digits
Lifesystems rechargeable hand warmer review: features and usability
Your standard gel hand warmer has only one setting, and requires you to boil it in water before you can reuse it (you'll find out more in our hand warmer FAQs article). Not so the Lifesystems rechargeable hand warmer – you charge it via USB, which is a much simpler option if you're away on a trip. Charging takes around four hours, from low power to full, and four handy indicator lights on the side show you how much power is in the bank.
When you need a shot of heat, you can choose between four different heat settings, which range from 40 to 50 degrees centigrade. There's a pretty simple activation system: long press to turn on, then short press to ramp up the temperature. The indicator lights show you how hot the device is set to.
The device itself neatly sized to fit into a pocket and feels of solid build quality. It's smooth, not too weighty, and feels nice to hold. Note that while it's water-resistant, it won't survive being submersed in water.
Once on, the device starts heating up almost instantaneously, although it takes a little longer to get up to full temperature (I'd say maybe 30 seconds, nothing major). There are two internal heat plates so it radiates warmth from both sides, and it delivers a decent and even punch of heat, even on the lowest setting. In fact, I couldn't massively tell the difference between the different settings, but perhaps those with more sensitive hands might. On full charge Lifesystems promises up to six hours (although more like three hours on max heat).
A USB 'out' port means you can use this as a power bank to charge your phone, for example. It's not strictly necessary on a device like this, but boy can it come in handy, if you find, as I did, that your phone had run out of juice mid-hike.
Lifesystems rechargeable hand warmer review: verdict
The Lifesystems rechargeable hand warmer does what it says on the tin, and does it well. It heats up fast, is easy to use, and delivers a decent punch of heat whenever you need it.
There are some key benefits over the hand warmers that you boil to heat up – namely, you can switch this on and off as required, you get a longer period of heat off a single 'charge', and 'recharging' is super straightforward. The ability to use it as a power pack is a handy, if not strictly necessary, extra. On the down-side, you'll need to be careful about getting it wet, and of course it's a pricier option (although still pretty reasonable). I'd say for those who don't like the cold, this gadget is a no-brainer.