The cold weather is slowly starting to creep back in, so it’s time to start thinking about how you’re going to keep yourself harm during the cold months.

And to make it worse:

Climate change is showing us harsher winters then we’ve experienced in over 30 years. So, what’s the best way to keep your hands warm?

In 1891 Jonathan T.Ellis patented hand and foot warmers, but it wasn’t until 1923 when the Japanese inventor created the first prototype.

Since then, hand warmers have come along way; you can now find them with various fuel sources, each lasting for different amounts of time. But how do they work? And what are the best reusable hand warmers on the market?

I’m here to help you with your search!

How Do Reusable Hand Warmers Work?

As a kid, I thought heat packs worked with magic, and to be honest, the science behind it still confuses me today.

Depending on what style of reusable hand warmer you have, will depend on how it works:

Chemical Solution Hand Warmers

pocket warmerA chemical hand warmer contains sodium acetate, which is dissolved in water.

The sodium acetate solution then gets heated to dissolve more sodium; this makes the solution “Super-saturated.”

The sodium acetate solution needs to be activated by bending the small metal disc, which is usually stainless steel.

It then releases tiny pieces of metal into the solution and offers “nucleation” for the crystals’ growth.

As the sodium acetate crystallizes, it releases the heat stored within, which can reach 130°F. To recharge they need to be placed in boiling water for around 10-15 mins one cooled down it’s ready to reuse.

Electrical Hand Warmers

Electric hand warmers are relativity new but can last a lot longer than you’re average reusable chemical solution hand warmers.

Electric hand warmers use resistive heating devices to convert the energy stored in the battery. Once the hand warmer has run out, you can recharge, usually via a USB slot.

Lighter Fuel Hand Warmers

Lighter fuel hand-warmers use petroleum as the fuel source. They work by slowly releasing the gas, which, when lit, provides a heat source.

You can refill them with lighter fuel once they run out. They tend to last the longest out of all four styles. But this all depends on the brand and the conditions outside.

Charcoal Hand Warmers

Charcoal hand warmers are pretty easy to understand. They have a specially designed case where the charcoal burns inside. To start it up, you need to strick a piece of coal on either side and place it in the case.

The case usually has felt on the outside. And the items inside do not produce heat, but they do help to spread the warmth.

As you can see, each style of reusable hand warmers works very differently. And some are a lot harder to understand than others. But how long do they produce heat for?

How Long Do Reusable Hand Warmers Last?

So, now we know how they work. But how long do the hand warmers last?

Well, it depends on a few factors:

  • Brand
  • Fuel source
  • Weather conditions

So, although I can’t tell you exactly how long they last, I can give you a rough idea of what you can expect from each fuel source.

Check it out:

Fuel Type Duration Recharge Time Temperature
Chemical 30 Mins 15+ Mins 130°F
Electric 6 Hours 5 Hours 143°F
Lighter Fuel 12+ hours Refill Gas 125.6°F
Charcoal 6 Hours Insert New Stick 160+°F

As you can see, it really does vary how long the hand warmer will last. If you’re looking for prolonged instant heat, a light fuel hand warmer would be a great choice. If you’re looking for an item that’s a little bit more eco-friendly, why not go for the non-toxic sodium acetate fuel source.

What To Look For When Buying Reusable Hand Warmers

There are so many brands/models of hand warmers that your search can feel impossible. If you’re still struggling, there’re a few things to look out for that can help you on your way.

Price

I love finding myself a bargain, but some times you have to be careful; the price might be low for a reason. So, what do you do? I like to have a look at the cheapest ranges and the deluxe ranges; it gives a great indicator on price.

Quantity

Some times you get more than one hand warmer included, which is necessary if you are going for the chemical solution fuel source. Have a look at what each brand offers; you might pick up a hot barging.

Fuel Type

If your planning on using them for long excursions, then the fuel source is something to think about. For example, I wouldn’t go to the Alps with chemical heat packs.

Size

Some of the hand warmers/pocket warmers listed below come in different sizes. A bulky pocket warmer can reduce the amount of space for other items like your wallet.

Double-Sided Heat

This is more for battery operated hand-warmers, some of them only heat from one side. Which, if you’re putting them in your gloves can be useful, but not so helpful if you but them between your hands.

Recharge Time

Knowing how long it takes to recharge your pack is a handy piece of information to have. Battery operated warmers can take a while to recharge. On long camping trips, battery-operated heat packs can be quite annoying.

Temperature

All hand warmer products get hot, but how hot they get is another story. Have a look and see what temperature your pocket warmer can get to before purchasing.

Heat Duration

Different brands last varying amounts of time. If you need something for short walks or quick pain relief, then chemical warmers will do the trick.

And lastly, the warranty!

Some products come with a warranty, but how long it lasts for depends on the manufacturer. Double-check which products offer the best cover. If it doesn’t last the winter, at least you can send the item back.

What Are The Best Hand Warmers?

If you’re still struggling with your search, you can check out my list of reusable hand warmers. It might help push you in the right direction.

There’s an excellent range of products for you to get stuck into:

HotSnapZ Hand Warmers Reusable Round & Pocket Warmers
8 Snappy Heat Reusable Gel Heat Packs-Instantly Hot Pocket-Size Heaters Provide Soothing Therapy for Cramps, Arthritis, and Pain in Joints, Back, Neck, and Muscles
OCOOPA Hand Warmers Rechargeable, 5200mAh Electric Portable Pocket Hand Warmer/Power Bank, Heat Therapy Great for Raynauds Arthritic Sufferers Pain Relief, Gifts for Women, Men, Classic Black
Rechargeable Hand Warmer,5000mAH Portable Power Bank Double-Side Quick Heating Electric Hand Warmer Pocket Reusable Hand Warmer Great for Skiing, Climbing, Hiking, Winter Gift (Black)
Body Comfort Reusable, Instant Heat, Click Heat, Back, Neck and Shoulder, Hand, and Pocket Packs, Helps Relieve Pains, Aches, Injuries, and Sore Muscles.
MRSP
$21.88
$19.50
$25.99
$19.99
$39.99
Size (Inches)
Round: 4" Rectangle: 3" x 5"
Round: 4" Rectangle: 3" x 5"
6" Tall
3.5 sq. Inches
4 Different Sizes
Temperature
130°F
130°F
3 Heat Settings: 95-131°F
2 Heat Settings: 104-140°F
130°F
Heat Duration
Round: 30-40 Minutes Rectangle: 50-60 Mins
20 Minutes
4-8 Hours
1.5-4 Hours
30 Minutes
Double Side Heat
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Recharge Time
10-15 Minutes
10-15 Minutes
3 Hours
5 Hours
10-15 Minutes
Warranty
Lifetime
30 Day
12 Month
24 Month
Lifetime
HotSnapZ Hand Warmers Reusable Round & Pocket Warmers
MRSP
$21.88
Size (Inches)
Round: 4" Rectangle: 3" x 5"
Temperature
130°F
Heat Duration
Round: 30-40 Minutes Rectangle: 50-60 Mins
Double Side Heat
Yes
Recharge Time
10-15 Minutes
Warranty
Lifetime
8 Snappy Heat Reusable Gel Heat Packs-Instantly Hot Pocket-Size Heaters Provide Soothing Therapy for Cramps, Arthritis, and Pain in Joints, Back, Neck, and Muscles
MRSP
$19.50
Size (Inches)
Round: 4" Rectangle: 3" x 5"
Temperature
130°F
Heat Duration
20 Minutes
Double Side Heat
Yes
Recharge Time
10-15 Minutes
Warranty
30 Day
OCOOPA Hand Warmers Rechargeable, 5200mAh Electric Portable Pocket Hand Warmer/Power Bank, Heat Therapy Great for Raynauds Arthritic Sufferers Pain Relief, Gifts for Women, Men, Classic Black
MRSP
$25.99
Size (Inches)
6" Tall
Temperature
3 Heat Settings: 95-131°F
Heat Duration
4-8 Hours
Double Side Heat
Yes
Recharge Time
3 Hours
Warranty
12 Month
Rechargeable Hand Warmer,5000mAH Portable Power Bank Double-Side Quick Heating Electric Hand Warmer Pocket Reusable Hand Warmer Great for Skiing, Climbing, Hiking, Winter Gift (Black)
MRSP
$19.99
Size (Inches)
3.5 sq. Inches
Temperature
2 Heat Settings: 104-140°F
Heat Duration
1.5-4 Hours
Double Side Heat
Yes
Recharge Time
5 Hours
Warranty
24 Month
Body Comfort Reusable, Instant Heat, Click Heat, Back, Neck and Shoulder, Hand, and Pocket Packs, Helps Relieve Pains, Aches, Injuries, and Sore Muscles.
MRSP
$39.99
Size (Inches)
4 Different Sizes
Temperature
130°F
Heat Duration
30 Minutes
Double Side Heat
Yes
Recharge Time
10-15 Minutes
Warranty
Lifetime

HotSnapZ Hand Warmers

HotSnapZ hand warmers provide instant heat with no electricity. They come in a pack of eight with four pocket-warmers and four hand-warmers.

Each pack can last around 30-40 minutes and reaches 130°f. The pocket warmers reach the same temperature, but last 50-60 minutes.

To recharge your packs, place them in boiling water for 10-15 minutes. Because it’s reusable, it stops the disposable heat packs from ending up in the landfill.

HotSnapZ hand warmers also come with a lifetime warranty. If they stop supplying you with instant heat, you can send them back.

Key Features

  • Comes in a pack of 8
  • Reaches 130°f
  • Lasts up to 60 minutes
  • Sodium acetate
  • Recharges in 15 minutes

One person gave them to their girlfriend, who was always cold. The pocket warmers worked fantastically and put a smile on her face. Another person had some trouble when he was recharging them. When they touch the bottom of the pan, it sticks; watch out for that.

Hotsnapz Review

The reusable packs last for a surprisingly long time considering the fuel source. And you get eight in the pack, plenty for long walks. The lifetime warranty and long-lasting heat make HotSnapZ hand warmers a lovely purchase.

Pros

  • Recharges in 15 mins
  • Performs well
  • Lifetime warranty

Cons

  • The metal strip clicks easily

Snappy Heat Heat Packs

Snappy Heat claims to heat up in 3 seconds while using no electricity.

It can reach 130°f, but once activated, it only lasts around 20 minutes before it starts to cool. The products are recharged by boiling them in water for 15 minutes.

The hand warmers come in a pack of eight and are FDA certified, Which means it’s non-toxic and made from food-grade material.

If you think you need more than eight, the company also offers a larger pack of twenty.

They also come in two different sizes, 4″ diameter hand warmers and 3″x 5″.

Key Features

  • Pack of 8 or 20
  • Reaches 130°f
  • Lasts 20 minutes
  • FDA certificated
  • Two different sizes

One customer said it produced high heat; in fact, it got a little too hot at one point. But, he also claimed that it reached its peak after 15 minutes. Another person had a massive problem when they boiled them; they put too many in the pan, and they all stuck together.

snappy heat review

They’re great at heating up, but unfortunately, they didn’t last long enough for my liking. Although if it’s for short journeys, then they’re perfect. I suggest getting the pack of twenty. In the winter you’ll go through them quickly.

Pros

  • Gets hot
  • Bulk buy packs
  • Recharges in 15 minutes

Cons

  • Only lasts 20 minutes

OCOOPA Rechargeable Hand Warmer

Our first rechargeable hand warmer on our list that uses a battery to work.

The case is made with hi-tech aircraft aluminum and comes in 4 different colors.

The hand warmer is smooth, compact, and has an anti-skid pad on one side.

It also features double side warming, unlike some other products on the market.

You have three heat settings to choose from, which range between 95-131°f. The fast heating rechargeable hand warmer has a large battery capacity.

It has a 5200 mAh lithium battery, which takes around 3 hours to charge, and stays hot for 4-8 hours.

Key Features

  • Has three heat settings
  • Maximum heat 131°f
  • It takes 3 hours to charge
  • Last for 4-8 hours
  • Four colors

One of their previous customers brought it for when he was flying fishing. He started it up, and after 5 minutes, it was almost 143°f. He went on to say it kicked out some serious heat, and was almost to hot to handle. And that was a recurring problem; the high temperature is just too much.

OCOOPA review

Overall it works well. I’d recommenced going careful using the high setting; it does get hot. But, at least it’s doing the job and keeping your fingers toasty. I’d also recommend getting two. It’s pointless keeping one hand warm or walking around with your hands in the prayer position.

Pros

  • Can be used as a power bank
  • Stays warm for a long time
  • Charges via USB

Cons

  • Get’s too hot

SMSJ Rechargeable Hand Warmer

SMSJ is also a dual-use handwarmer; not only does it keep your hands warm, but it can also charge your devices.

Its 5000 mAh rechargeable battery can be charged via USB and takes around 5 hours. The pack has two heat settings, which range between 104-140°f.

The unit is relatively compact at 3.5 sq inches and weighing 200 grams. It also features double side heating, which has heat temperatures.

It’s made from guaranteed safe material, so it doesn’t harm your health, and comes with a 24-month warranty.

Key Features

  • Maximum heat 140°f
  • 24-month warranty
  • Two Heat settings
  • Guaranteed safe (no explosion, no radiation)
  • 5 hours to recharge

On my search through the reviews, I found one customer saying it worked great while he was at football games. It arrived at bigger than expected but worked very well. I also noticed a lot of people saying the instructions are hard to follow, but once you get there, it works great.

SMSJ review

I like this item it’s guaranteed safe, so it doesn’t harm your health. It also gets hot, so I have no doubt it will keep you warm during winter. It also has a substantial 24-month warranty; now you don’t have to worry if it picks up a fault. You also get 60 days to return the item if you don’t like it.

Pros

  • 60-day return policy
  • Gets Very Warm
  • Can charge your phone

Cons

  • Bulky
  • Instructions are hard to read

Body Comfort Hand Bodywarmers

Body Comfort warmers were designed to keep your whole body warm.

The pack comes with five warmers, one for the back, neck and should, hand, and two pocket warmers.

The reusable packs provide instant heat after activation and reach a temperature of 130°f.

The pads last around 30 minutes, which is perfect for relieving aches and pains. Once the heat dies out, you can recharge it by boiling them in water.

Body comfort uses high-grade materials for their packs, and each one is textured to give extra grip while being used.

Key Features

  • Pack of five
  • Five sizes
  • Reaches 130°f
  • Recharges in 15 minutes
  • Lasts for 30 minutes

One customer wrote about how good the overall product was, it provided excellent heat, and you could reuse them. And another lady said the packs worked great for her monthly cramps, but it was a pain to reset them.

I liked the look of them; they work well while getting nice and warm. There are a few things that concern me; one reason is, I think it will be hard to keep them in place without a belt. My other concern is recharging the large ones could be tricky if you don’t have a deep pan.

Pros

  • Great for Pain relief
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Recharges in boiling water

Cons

  • No way of securing the packs

Summary

All these packs are great, so if you’re struggling to make a decision, you can’t go wrong. If you’re going to pick your gear by yourself, then there are a few things you should remember.

Think about how you need it to perform, how warm do you need it to get? How long does it need to last? Electric seems to get the hottest and last the longest, but you only get one, which can take a while to charge up.

I hope this helps you with your search for a reusable hand warmer.

If you have any questions, please comment below, and if you liked this article, why not find out why reusable water bottles are so much better for the environment and your health!