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:
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
A 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:
- Fuel source
- Weather conditions
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
- Comes in a pack of 8
- Reaches 130°f
- Lasts up to 60 minutes
- Sodium acetate
- Recharges in 15 minutes
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.
- Recharges in 15 mins
- Performs well
- Lifetime warranty
- The metal strip clicks easily
Snappy Heat Heat Packs
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″.
- Pack of 8 or 20
- Reaches 130°f
- Lasts 20 minutes
- FDA certificated
- Two different sizes
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.
- Gets hot
- Bulk buy packs
- Recharges in 15 minutes
- Only lasts 20 minutes
OCOOPA Rechargeable Hand Warmer
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.
- Has three heat settings
- Maximum heat 131°f
- It takes 3 hours to charge
- Last for 4-8 hours
- Four colors
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.
- Can be used as a power bank
- Stays warm for a long time
- Charges via USB
- Get’s too hot
SMSJ Rechargeable Hand Warmer
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.
- Maximum heat 140°f
- 24-month warranty
- Two Heat settings
- Guaranteed safe (no explosion, no radiation)
- 5 hours to recharge
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.
- 60-day return policy
- Gets Very Warm
- Can charge your phone
- Instructions are hard to read
Body Comfort Hand Bodywarmers
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.
- Pack of five
- Five sizes
- Reaches 130°f
- Recharges in 15 minutes
- Lasts for 30 minutes
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.
- Great for Pain relief
- Lifetime warranty
- Recharges in boiling water
- No way of securing the packs
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!