Craftsman will soon be coming out with a new 12V cordless heated jacket that works with their Nextec Li-ion battery packs. The new jacket will feature 3 heating settings (low, medium, high), built-in USB device charging port, 5 heating zones (left and right chest, back, left and right pockets, and fleece lining and cuffs.
There will be 5 models, with sizing ranging from medium to 3XL: 46386, 46385, 46387, 46388, 46389. All jackets, at least for 2014, will be black.
The jacket exterior is made from 95% polyester and 5% spandex for weather and wind resistance, and the interior lining and cuffs are made from fleece for extra warmth. A built-in cord guide helps to control charging cables that connect devices, such as smartphones, with the power port’s USB port.
Runtime is 5 hours, presumably with the low heat setting.
Price: $120 (on sale) for the bare jacket and power adapter.
You will also need a Nextec battery and charger, which are priced at $25 and $40 (QuickBoost) respectively.
Buy Now(via Sears)
Craftsman Promo Video:
While I would ordinarily be excited for news like this, I have little confidence left in Sears’ commitment to Craftsman’s 12V Nextec Li-ion lineup. In recent months many Sears stores have clearanced out their in-store Nextec inventory, and at times replacement batteries were out of stock and hard to find. Sears.com does have a healthy selection of Nextec kits, add-ons, and batteries, but that doesn’t really change my mind. There are no Nextec tools or accessories featured in the most recent 2013-2014 Craftsman and Sears tool catalog, which further fuels my hesitation.
Worries about the fate of the Craftsman 12V Nextec line aside, the jacket is reasonably priced and seems to be well featured.
This looks to be a decent no-frills heated jacket, but if you want color and style selection, a removable or permanent hood, or the ability to use higher voltage or capacity battery packs, you’ll need to look at other brands’ offerings. The Craftsman jacket looks to be better suited for more casual users’ outdoors personal warming needs.
To be honest, I don’t see this jacket being a very strong seller, unless Sears drops the price to maybe $100 or even $120. At $140 for the bare jacket and power adapter, you still need to spend $65 for one battery and charger to get started with. A better idea would be to buy a Nextec drill/driver or impact driver kit for $45-$80, although the lesser kits come with basic chargers and not the QuickBoost one.
Still, that means a new user will have to spend about $185 ($140 + $45) to get started. There are plenty of competing heated jacket kits that are priced under $200, especially this time of year when 2013 styles and colors are selling at huge discounts.
On the bright side, I like the idea of a fleece interior lining and the look of the paneled construction of the outer jacket material. This looks like a very comfortable jacket design.