Autumn brings a familiar crisp to the air and a chill to our hands. Investing in the best hand warmers for the upcoming winter season will help you make the most of a day outdoors, no matter the conditions.
If you plan to spend time outdoors this winter, only the best hand warmers should make your gear list. With better run time, heat retention, settings, and reusability, hand warmers have evolved from simple single-use pocket warmers to rechargeable electric warmth machines.
Our extremities are the first part of the body to suffer from cold-related discomfort. Cold hands are actually a symptom of the body working to protect itself. In order to protect the vital organs, blood vessels in the extremities constrict in cold environments, which keeps blood where it’s needed most. Unfortunately, this pro-survival mechanism leads to that all-too-familiar feeling of stiff and numb fingertips.
Whether you need 12 hours of reliable heat or the classic ease of a HotHands, our list of the best hand warmers of 2022 has got you covered. For more information on different kinds of hand warmers and how to choose between them, check out our buyer’s guide toward the end of this article.
Scroll through to see all of our recommended buys or jump to the category you’re looking for:
- Best Hand Warmer
- Best Rechargeable Hand Warmer
- Best Rechargeable Runner-Up
- Best Disposable Hand Warmer
- Hottest Disposable Hand Warmer
- Low-Tech Reusable Hand Warmer
The Best Hand Warmers of 2022
Best Hand Warmer: Zippo 12-Hour Hand Warmer
While it may seem a bit strange to keep a lit canister of lighter fluid in your pocket, in this case, you won’t regret it. The Zippo 12-hour ($22) lives up to its name. And in some cases, it will even run beyond 12 hours.
To begin the catalytic heating process, you have to fill the fuel funnel, remove the catalytic burner, fill the tank, replace the burner, and use a lighter. So, it does take a bit of extra time to get started, but the burn time, heat retention, and price point are unbeatable.
It’s also worth noting that once you light the Zippo hand warmer, the flameless combustion cannot be stopped or turned off. So, you need to gauge how much fluid you put into the canister according to how long you need the heat to last.
Unlike electric, battery-powered, or disposable hand warmers, the Zippo works continuously even in the coldest conditions. And it’s by far the longest-lasting.
- Max Temperature: 105 degrees F average; 110 degrees F maximum
- Heat/Run Time: 11-21 hr.
- Weight: 2.6 oz. empty; 3.5 oz. full
- Pros: Reusable, long-lasting heat, durable, affordable
- Cons: Messy to fill, takes extra work to maintain, can’t turn off
Best Rechargeable Hand Warmer: OCOOPA Rechargeable Hand Warmer
This multifunctional hand warmer ($27) has a surprising amount of heat in a small package. Not only does it help keep your hands warm for up to 8 hours, but it can also charge small devices like a cellphone. It offers up three levels of heating, ranging from 95 to 131 degrees. And the light indicator makes it easy to tell which level you are on.
The only downside to any battery-powered hand warmer is heat consistency varies as temperatures drop. As with any lithium-ion battery, the cold tends to take its toll on the lifespan. So, even if you’ve left the house with a full charge, you may not get the full 8 hours of warmth if it’s too cold outside.
The curvy design is comfortable in the hand and easily fits in a pocket. Whether you’re battling Raynaud’s disease or trying to stay warm in the hunting blind, this is a solid option. With more than 3,000 reviews and a 4.6-star rating, this is clearly a popular choice.
- Max Temperature: 110 degrees F average; 131 degrees F maximum
- Heat/Run Time: 4-8 hr.
- Charge Time: 2-3 hr.
- Weight: 4.6 oz.
- Pros: Rechargeable, can charge other devices, easy to use
- Cons: Doesn’t hold a charge as long in extremely cold temperatures
Best Rechargeable Runner-Up: The Outdoors Way Electric Hand Warmer
Looking for a reliable and versatile hand warmer with top-notch heat? If so, the Electric Hand Warmer from The Outdoors Way ($35) could be the perfect solution. With a maximum output of 115 degrees and multiple heat settings, your digits will stay plenty toasty.
This warmer’s powerful 7200mAh lithium-ion battery will last for up to 500 recharges. On the low heat setting, users can expect 7 full hours of comfortable warmth. Also, this warmer easily fits in the palm of your hand and charges quickly.
We love that this device also serves double duty as a phone charger and flashlight. Plus, it comes with a one-year refund guarantee.
- Max Temperature: 115 degrees F
- Heat/Run Time: Up to 7 hr.
- Charge Time: 2-3 hr.
- Weight: 9.6 oz.
- Pros: Multifunctional, easy to hold, long-lasting, hot
- Cons: A little on the heavy side
Best Disposable Hand Warmer: HotHands
HotHands ($10) are incredibly affordable and can be found at most pharmacies, grocery stores, and big-box stores. For the price and convenience, they hold heat for an impressive amount of time.
HotHands and other disposable hand warmers are ideal for those who only plan to venture outside in winter a few times a year. HotHands also makes foot warmers and body warmers that are similarly priced and hold heat just as long.
- Max Temperature: 112 degrees F average; 118 degrees F maximum
- Heat/Run Time: 5-10 hr.
- Weight: 1.6 oz. per pair
- Pros: Affordable, lightweight, easy to use, accessible
- Cons: Single-use, short lifespan
Hottest Disposable Hand Warmer: Grabber
While HotHands may win in the realm of consistent heat output for a longer period, Grabber ($19) beats out all competitors for the highest heat rating. Grabber hand warmers do not hold the maximum heat rating for the entire 7-hour heating time. However, when you need a short burst of high heat (in other words, to send that climb or summit that peak), Grabber will have your back.
Grabber hand warmers are not the best investment if you’re looking for all-day, consistent heat output. In most cases, within 2 to 3 hours, they’re sitting at or below their average temperature and will continue to drop off after that.
- Max Temperature: 135 degrees F average; 180 degrees F maximum
- Heat/Run Time: 7 hr.
- Weight: 2 oz. per pair
- Pros: Hottest hand warmer, easy to use, lightweight
- Cons: Heat intensity doesn’t last the entire time
Low-Tech Reusable Hand Warmer: HotSnapZ
HotSnapZ ($20) is an interesting compromise in terms of hand warmers. It’s reusable but doesn’t require any fuel, making it extremely easy to use. However, because of that, it cannot hold heat for a very long time.
To heat, you simply click the internal activation device. This starts the chemical reaction to begin releasing heat. Once the heat has expended, put it into boiling water for about 10-15 minutes to recharge.
They come in multiple sizes, and the largest size can hold heat for up to 2 hours (but isn’t sized to fit in a pocket). The smallest size holds heat for around 30 minutes, and the pocket-warming size holds heat for an hour.
These are ideal for families that go to outdoor sporting events or for a quick winter warming. But we don’t recommend them for all-day or multiday outdoor activities.
- Max Temperature: 130 degrees F maximum
- Heat/Run Time: 30-60 min.
- Weight: 4-7 oz.
- Pros: Quick to heat up, easy to use, reusable
- Cons: Short heat time, limited application
Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose the Perfect Hand Warmer
Types of Hand Warmers
Though all hand warmers have the same intended purpose, there are multiple different types, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. On this list, we’ve included hand warmers of various kinds.
These hand warmers require charging and are usually powered by a lithium-ion battery. Downsides include inconsistent heat output, longer charging periods, susceptibility to moisture/impact damage, and loss of battery life in the cold. Many electric warmers also double as a handy battery pack you can use to charge your phone on the go.
On this list, the Outdoors Way Electric Hand Warmer is a great product that comes with a built-in flashlight, increasing its value in emergency situations.
Hand warmers in this category run on liquid fuel and require a flame to start flameless combustion. Because these warmers generate heat via combustion, they never need to be charged and work well even in very cold temps. Though catalytic warmers provide a consistent heat source for longer periods of time, they can be messy and somewhat complicated to fill.
Short-term heat sources like the HotSnapZ use a chemical reaction to produce a rechargeable heat source by boiling in water. They are reusable, easy to use, and only take about 10 minutes to recharge.
However, they have limited application and very short heat time. Generally, larger warmers that recharge via boiling water will retain heat longer than their smaller counterparts. For pocket-size warmers of this type, expect between 30 minutes and an hour of heat.
These are the cheapest, easiest to use, and usually the most reliable. They take a while to heat up but have a pretty consistent temperature for their run time. They can only be used once, so if you need hand warmers often, either purchase them by the pack or consider another type of warmer.
When shopping for effective hand warmers, heat output is most people’s top priority. If a hand warmer isn’t warm enough, it’s rendered useless. However, it’s important to understand the relationship between heat output and other factors including run time, reliability, and price.
As a general rule, lithium-ion-powered warmers tend to offer the highest maximum temperatures. On this list, the OCOOPA Rechargeable Hand Warmer can reach an impressive max temp of 131 degrees F.
While battery-powered warmers are great, they tend to be less effective in cold conditions. It’s important to note maximum temperatures are generally only achievable for most hand warmers in relatively moderate conditions.
Other types of hand warmers, including catalytic and most disposable warmers, are usually able to perform at their maximum temperature no matter the surrounding air temperature. While these types of warmers may not boast the same maximum temperatures as battery-powered warmers, they’re less condition-dependent and perhaps more reliable.
Are Hand Warmers Safe to Use?
Most hand warmers are safe if used properly. Some people, usually children, have very sensitive skin and should not let hand warmers come into direct contact with their skin.
Some hand warmer varieties, like catalytic burner warmers, prove to be more dangerous than others. To safely use these, you must ensure the correct fuel is used and there’s no excess fluid on the outside before you light it.
If not sealed properly, there is also a risk of carbon monoxide leaking, which poses a danger if used in a confined space. An insulated sleeve can also be a useful safety measure when using catalytic warmers.
Which Hand Warmer Is Best for Me?
To decide which hand warmer is best for you, ask yourself one question: What is my intended use?
If you are a climber, maybe Grabber hand warmers will be the best choice. These warmers are quick to warm and very compact. Also, they can fit easily into a chalk bag and allow you to warm up your fingers mid-route.
If you’re a hunter with cold hands, a longer-lasting reusable hand warmer is likely to be the best choice. Or if you want to keep your hands warm as you watch your kids play outside, opt for the HotSnapZ.
All types of warmers have their pros and cons. It just depends on the application.
Which Hand Warmer Lasts the Longest?
On this list, the Zippo 12-Hour Hand Warmer earns the top prize for total runtime. Because this warmer runs on lighter fluid, its runtime is determined by how much fluid is used. In some tests, a unit filled with maximum fluid stayed warmed for upward of 20 hours.
In the disposable category, HotHands Hand Warmers are known to stay warm for up to 10 hours — an impressive stat for such a small and affordable warmer.