Fall is here and winter is fast approaching, making now a good time to think about heated gear. You might already have a jacket, hoodie, or non-heated layers, but what about winter gloves?
Milwaukee introduced their heated gloves last year at NPS18, and I received a test sample last fall, but I held off doing a review until I could subject them to the coldest part of winter. Since stores are half a season ahead and winter gear was off the shelves by that point, posting the review at that time wouldn’t have made much sense.
It’s not very cold out yet, but I saved all my notes from last year’s testing. Now’s the time to get serious about your winter gear planning. Wait too long, and heated gear will start selling out in the next two months.
Milwaukee’s heated gloves are each powered by a single Red Lithium USB battery, which they claim will heat the gloves for up to six hours.
The gloves have heating elements on the back of the hands and along the fingers, with the outer material made from Milwaukee’s “Gridiron” rip-stop polyester, and leather for the palms and fingers. The index fingers have “Smartswipe” material that lets you use capacitive touchscreen devices with your gloves on.
On the back of the thumb there there is a piece of terry cloth sewn in for wiping away sweat. The cuff extends further up the arm to provide cover beyond your wrist and has a Velcro strap for securing the glove.
The switch on the glove operates like the switches on most of Milwaukee’s other heated gear. You press and hold the button for a 2 second count and the glove turns on in high (red) mode. You can then cycle through the temperature settings — high (red), medium (white), and low (blue) — by pressing and releasing the button quickly. The you can turn off the glove by holding the switch for 2 seconds.
The heated gloves come with everything pictured above: the gloves, two batteries, two chargers/controllers, a split charging cable, and 2.1 A charging adapter. The gloves come in Medium, Large, and eXtra Large sizes.
As far as I can tell Home Depot doesn’t stock the medium gloves in their stores, so if you have smaller hands, your best bet may be online.
Buy Now via Acme Tools
Buy Now via Home Depot
Glove sizing usually varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, and even from glove model to model. I always recommend trying on a pair before you buy, but sometimes you don’t have that luxury.
To aid in your decision, Milwaukee does have a fit guide for their gloves. You just measure from the tip of your middle finger to the base of your hand as shown above. Then you look up the measurement on the chart. For instance, my measurement is 7″, and so I would pick the closest size: Medium.
Fit and Finish
Weighing in around 0.6 lbs per glove and with the extra long cuffs, the Milwaukee heated gloves feel like you are wearing a gauntlet (or maybe a hockey glove).
The finger pull makes it easy to draw the long gloves over your jacket sleeves. Once donned, the cuffs have a Velcro strap for adjusting the seal against your jacket arm which helps to keep the heat in and the wind out.
I really like how the finger tips don’t end in a seam. I’ve owned a lot of gloves that claimed to be made for dexterity, but they fall short because they have a hard seam at the end of the finger. In the photo above you can also see the terry cloth sweat wipe on the back of the thumb.
Having a sweat wipe on a heated glove that you are going to use in the cold might seem weird, but there are occasions where you can work up a sweat in the cold. I didn’t really get a chance to use the sweat wipe. It feels soft against your forehead, but it’s a pretty small patch and I think it would soon become sopping wet if you were really sweating.
A close look at the label shows that the glove lining and insulation are also made from polyester. Unlike other heated gear from Milwaukee, you cannot machine wash these gloves, they are labeled spot clean only.
The photo Milwaukee provided of the heating element in the gloves was somewhat confusing, as the diagram shows that there are heating elements on each of the fingers and thumb as well as the back of the hand.
I can confirm by wearing them that the Heat Zones diagram is more accurate and that there are heating elements in all the fingers and thumbs as well as the back of the hand.
Unfortunately there’s no way to actually photograph the heating elements of the glove without destroying it, so the best I can do is show you an IR photo of the heat that leaks out of the gloves through the insulation.
I took this image outside on 20°F concrete — not with my hands in them obviously. The gloves are on high and have been on inside for 5 minutes.
Charging the RedLithiumUSB Batteries
At first I removed the battery containers to charge them, but after a while I figured out that you could leave them inside the gloves and plugged in, which saves a little assembly time.
The output of the charging brick is stated to be 2.1A at 5V, and the capacity of each Red Lithium USB battery is 10Wh (2.5 Ah at 4V). So theoretically it should take about 2.5 hours to charge both glove batteries.
I measured the current for charging both one and two batteries and found that with 1 battery attached, it charged at a current of 1.8 A and with both batteries attached they drew about 2.4A. This means the charging time for both gloves is ideally closer to 2 hours.
In my experience the gloves usually charged in less than two hours because I suspect that even when you run them down to the point where the glove turns off, the batteries aren’t being completely discharged.
These charge currents I measured also suggest that it would be much faster to charge both gloves from separate USB bricks than from one brick with a split USB cable. This could theoretically cut your maximum charge time down to 1.4 hours.
Runtime for a product like this is hard to quantify, as it depends on the outside temperature. Milwaukee is claiming a six hour runtime, and I’m assuming that’s in mild weather and with the heat on low.
From testing of the hoodie, I discovered that Milwaukee’s heat system works like a household thermostat. It heats the elements in the gloves until they reach a cut-off temperature and then cuts power until it reaches a lower threshold. The colder it is outside the longer the current will remain on.
While I didn’t do any formal testing, I did notice that on the coldest days I wore them (5°F), the batteries only lasted the 50 minutes of our daily walk.
While I was writing this review, I left the fully charged gloves on high indoors with the room at 70°F. The batteries lasted about 1 hour and 40 minutes, so you can see how the exterior temperature can affect the runtime.
Testing and Observations
I wore these gloves an entire season in temperatures ranging from 32°F to 0°F for doing everything from walking the dog, shoveling snow, snow blowing, and other outdoor tasks. Here are my observations.
Shown above is one of the first times I used the gloves. I had a flat tire and it was 20°F outside. The gloves proved to be more than adequate for the task of changing out the tire for a spare, but not for the task of taking a photo of changing the tire.
The “Smart swipe” feature turned out to be pretty useless to me, because I unlock my phone with my fingerprint and then it doesn’t make sense to put the glove back on. I have tried using the glove to manipulate my phone, but due to the large finger size, it isn’t very accurate. It’s really hard to choose an icon on the screen and forget about typing anything on the onscreen keyboard.
It might be okay for simple tasks, such as swiping to accept a phone call, or to dismiss a timer, but that’s about it.
I walk our dog 3 miles a day no matter the weather, except if it gets below -10°F, then we only make it about a block before my dog wants to go home. What I quickly discovered was that these gloves are not capable of keeping my hands warm below 5°F, and actually start getting iffy around 10°F.
The problem is that when you turn the gloves on outside when it’s that cold, they never really warm your fingers up. So, I started pre-heating the gloves by turning them on high for a few minutes first before going outside. When I did this they performed much better, but even this trick didn’t help the gloves when it was below 5°F.
Milwaukee has been touting that their new heated products reach temperature 3X faster. I have definitely seen a difference in the speed in which the new “Quick-Heat” hoodie reaches temp over the older style hoodies, but I have nothing to compare these gloves to. Plus with my recommendation to pre-heat the gloves before you put them on, it makes this kind of a mute point.
As for dexterity, the gloves are just fine for changing a bit or pulling a tool’s trigger switch, but you’re not going to be picking up small screws off the ground with them.
I’m not the first person to notice that theses gloves don’t work well in sub-zero temperatures, as I saw several complaints last winter on social media. Milwaukee’s marketing isn’t exactly clear when they claim things like “keeping users warm in extreme cold.” What is extreme cold? To some people it’s below freezing, to other’s it’s zero, and for us crazy few it’s even colder.
I think that the engineers had to compromise on weight, runtime, and outside temperature. Sure they could have made them work in sub-zero temperatures, but runtime would have suffered greatly, or added insulation would have bulked things up. To get sub-zero performance, you’d probably have to use M12 batteries or another proprietary Li-Poly flatpack. Or use disposable chemical warmers like I do when it gets really cold.
I think that if you are aware of the limitations of the gloves, they can be a fine choice for winter work. The gloves are well made, they are reasonably dexterous, and will keep your hands warm in the milder winter temperatures that most of the country experiences, except those of us foolish enough to live in the great white north.
The question remains: would I buy them for myself? Personally I prefer mittens when it’s cold outside. I don’t have to do much work outside in the cold that requires dexterity, and so $179 is a lot of money to spend for gloves. But, for instance if you’re out in a cold garage everyday working on vehicles, I could definitely see the utility.
Yah 179 bucks for a set of heated gloves is a no go…
Yep. Pretty much my thoughts. That’s just a little too expensive.
I was trying to think of what someone might use these for. Seems like they wouldn’t be rugged enough for most serious work activities – for $179 I wouldn’t be comfortable risking getting grease or oil on them, or a tear from working with screws, wood, barbed wire fencing etc. Basically the price tag rules out using them for most of my outdoor around-the-farm type tasks.
While that’s the direction my mind went to first since these are heated gloves from a tool company, maybe that’s unfair. Certainly they look like ski gloves, so I presume they’d be decent for that purpose. I also wondered if these might be good for snowmobiling (couple of my old sleds don’t have heated grips), motorcycle riding in the fringe season, driving open-cabbed tractors while clearing snow etc.
Nice that it includes the two batteries – although that just made me think it would also be nice if one of the tool companies came out with a set of gloves that could be connected to the jacket battery.
“ connected to the jacket battery”
I am convinced this is the way Milwaukee’s jackets and gloves will go after everybody has already purchased the current versions.
What I would have liked to see them do is add another battery pocket on the opposite side of their heated heated jackets. Then run a cable from that to both arms so you could then plug a glove into it. You could still control it at each glove. It gets rid of the battery in the glove and it helps balance out the weight in the jacket.
I have said from the go that they need to implement this into there heated jackets/ hoodies. I understand the need for standalone power for those that don’t have the jackets, but give us the option to power either way.
Also lets face it, at the price point of the gloves, it is very unlikely that a person purchasing the gloves does not have a heated jacket/hoodie or two.
I was thinking of that also, it is a good idea, the battery on the gloves would make them heavier, they already look heavy without battery.
Also Made in China 100 USD and made in Germany 200 USD, my mind is set like this.
It occurs to me that maybe they went with separate batteries – not only because you don’t require the jacket – but also because connecting the cords while wearing gloves might prove challenging.
I.e. you can put one glove on and plug in a cord to your jacket, but then you have to put on the other glove and try to use your gloved-hands to connect it’s cord to your jacket.
Alternately the cords could be long enough that you connect the gloves and then put them on your hands – but that leaves you with a long cords sticking out from either hand which you then need to tuck in somehow.
Hmm, I thought I mentioned the weight in the post, I guess I didn’t. The battery really isn’t that heavy, it’s 96 g or a little over 3 oz. The gloves themselves weigh 140g or 5oz.
The weight of the battery is over your wrist, so it really isn’t unbalanced.
I think Milwaukee wanted this to be a stand alone product, in fact I’m not sure you can buy any heated gear outside of a kit.
I don’t think I’d want the gloves attached to a jacket via a cord, it would be a hassle to disconnect the glove anytime you needed to take it off, like to answer your phone.
I was thinking of the cord being a hassle that is why I did not comment first, but when I saw Eric’s comment I thought others are thinking of this also and maybe this kind of wire would be OK
It needs to be a magnetic connecter like the power connections on some laptops. Then you just put the gloves on and take them off at well and the connection makes it self.
You can buy most of the heated gear in “bare tool” form. You still get the power source, but no batteries or standard charger.
“Cold” to me is 0 degrees F, and “extreme cold” is -20F. I regularly need to work or be outside in those conditions. My go-to gloves are usually Burton gore-tex, which are about $30 or so. They also do not have a seam on the end of the finger, which is absolutely required.
I would love a pair of heated gloves, mostly to reduce the warmup time when I first put them on, but what I am hearing in this review, is that the heat will last for about an hour at 0, and untested at -20 (30 min maybe?). For that amount of time, and for the rate I wear though gloves (usually 2 pair a winter), these seem like a no-go. $400 for 60 minutes of heat doesn’t seem like a worthwhile investment for my use case. Is that a fair assessment?
How well did these work while snow blowing? The handles on the snow blower act as a heatsink and get my hands really cold.
I typically stick a hand warmer inside each glove and prewarm them before going outside. I use mittens as they keep my fingers warmer than gloves. I try to keep the hand warmer pressed against the inside of my wrist and palm (at the joint) this way it warms the blood flowing to my fingers.
Yeah, I have heated grips on my snowblower.
But, I did notice when I’d forget to turn the grip heaters on. Your fingers didn’t necessarily get cold because they are heated from the back, but you noticed the grips were cold.
Yep, I do the same thing with mittens and hand warmers. , but I usually keep the chemical warmer over the front of my fingers. I’ll have to try the wrist thing.
Thanks. If I see the gloves on a nice sale, I may try them, but not at full price. I have a feeling I’ll be doing a lot of snow blowing this season.
179 dollars for gloves is insane, I’ve got heated gloves that take 4 aa batteries for 25 dollars and I’ve yet to need the batteries because the gloves themselves are so warm and I’ve been out snowblowing for 4 to 6 hours in 20 degree weather windy and still didn’t need the heated gloves
I’ve been using these gloves on my motorcycle commute to work. I think they’re great. Before, I used standard winter motorcycle gloves, and my fingers would be cold within 5 minutes. I’ve been riding in 30 degree weather going 65mph, perfectly comfortable for 30 minutes. Seems like they would keep me warm for longer, but that’s as far as I go.
The only issue I have: the gauntlet does let some wind go up my coat sleeve. I haven’t really been able to tell a difference in heat settings, in fact the gloves stay quite warm when the heat is off.
As for the battery situation, it’s ideal for me. I like the ease of just pressing the switch and not having to mess with connecting each glove to a wire from the jacket. The batteries charge quickly and don’t add much bulk.
One of my best purchases ever.
Is it fair to ask the name of the gloves you have? My husband’s hands get cold very easily and usually by the time he comes in from snowblowing our average size driveway he’s an actual pain. $179 is outside my budget definitely. Thank you
Thanks for the test. I’ll say I’m also in the crowd that says heated jackets should have a cord option for a glove connection. and a cap on it maybe. It would be easy enough to implement.
then I can have a big enough battery on the jacket or hoodie to cover my needs correctly.
Interesting ideas though. wonder if they will offer a bigger battery for these some day.
I tried them on at HD, and felt putting them on was sort of a pain. Once on they were alright. Usually I’m a large in gloves, but these seem to run a bit small, or I really didn’t like putting the large’s on.
Dirck Van Lieu
I suggested the second battery pocket for gloves in the heated gear a couple of years ago at NPS before I knew that they were working on heated gloves. These are so bulky that I don’t even like driving with them. I could see walking Ben’s dog, but that’s about it.
Ben, can you show us the connectors between the gloves and power source? One of the delights with the heated vest is that they used standard motorcycle gear connectors and you can power it from just about anything. I’m curious if you can use these with a power harness designed for heated cycle gear. I also thought I saw a change in the power source block on the gloves shown at nps. Any word on of anything is new since last year’s model?
Here’s a photo: https://photos.app.goo.gl/Ntdk4J8tXc9kjEqt6
It’s a 3.5mm connector. I’m not sure about polarity or the inner pin diameter.
I went back and looked over my photos from NPS19 and found this: https://photos.app.goo.gl/kuzTbqiL1ZRCHGer5
If you zoom in, you can see that it has a USB A connector. The side also has more red on it too. I don’t think that’s a battery for the gloves, even though it was in the clothing section. That’s either a single cell power source or maybe meant to power some of the new headlamps.
Oops, those are the standalone chargers/power sources for the USB Redlithium batteries.
Hey that’s a new product that nobody seemed to notice at nps but that adds a lot of value to me. It’s up on Milwaukee.com and acme has it for preorder but not on shelves at my store. Thanks Ben!
Heated cycle gear probably works on 12v, and these gloves are 4v. I think your hands would be toasty with 12v into those gloves!
Koko The Talking Ape
Didn’t Ben say there is a thermostat in these gloves? So they might not get too hot.
But I wonder if the overvoltage would damage switches or other electronics in the gloves.
I picked a pair of these up when I was in Home Depot yesterday. Not in the sense that I bought them, ………they were on display, and I picked them up to check them out. They are built extremely well but bulky as mentioned in a previous post.
When you add in the sales tax, we’re looking at $200 for a pair of gloves that only kind of work when your hands are the coldest. Not in my lifetime……..
That wipe on the thumb is not for sweat…its for snot!
I’d have to say that while gross, you are probably not incorrect in some cases. I know my nose can run when it’s cold out.
Yup! Burton calls theirs a ‘SNAP’ pad. SNot Absorbtion Pad.
I injured fingers on my left hand, and now they easily get cold; once I got them blue after 40 minutes driving wearing non-heated thick gloves.
Milwaukee heated gloves do the trick for me, I can now do things in the winter without losing sensation after five minutes. Work well for my good hand, too. I call it cold when it’s below 0℉. Even on highest setting, they do not feel toasty like when using chemical hand warmers; just preserves from feeling needle pricks and then losing sensation altogether. But the batteries don’t last for me in that temperature; perhaps 40 minutes on high. I wish there was a way to connect M12 batteries. I would even invest in a heated jacket then, which I don’t think is very useful for me otherwise.
Gloves are very well made and rather stylish. At $179 (even at $161 after 10% discount,) I would be hesitant to buy if it was not for my injured fingers. As I understand, half of that price are the batteries + power source enclosures; still, by far the most expensive pair of gloves I have ever worn.
Like them, but I also would rather the battery be in my front lower coat pockets and have a cord run down the sleeves. I hate having the battery in the glove and in the back of my jacket.
A brief note: Tool Nut’s $25 off $100+ promo ends today (10/16/19), and they reminded me that they have these heated gloves in stock and eligible for the promo (link).
Not sure I’d pay $180 for heated gloves unless they’d work in temperatures well below zero. While on the subject of battery-powered clothing…Does anybody make reasonable heated socks? The various reviews on Amazon make them seem horrid.
Why bother heating the back of the hand at all? My FINGERS are what get cold, not the back of my hand!
I’ll wait for them to (hopefully) get it right with Gen2.
I haven’t met a pair of gloves I haven’t destroyed inside of 4 months. Too expensive for farm, ranch and logging work IMHO. Also no idea of how waterproof this setup is. Try them in a wet, cold Oregon winter and let me know!
Koko The Talking Ape
They should make heated mittens. They provide better insulation (as we all know), so they would be warmer, AND the battery life would be better. And they are cheaper to make than gloves, so the price might be a bit less. And in real cold (to me that’s 0 F and below), we are all wearing mittens anyway.
Actually, heated mitten inserts, like liners, might work too.
When I used to live in the upper peninsula of Michigan on the water the best thing I found is to wear a pair of “liner gloves” as the first layer…cheap industrial knitted gloves. These are actually what you work in with plenty of dexterity. They are cheap which means they can dry out between days and they’re inexpensive to replace. Then you wear large industrial/military mittens (“choppers”) over those. The mittens are fine for basic things like driving a snowmobile or construction equipment, or handling a shovel. But the moment you need detailed work such as handling a cell phone or doing electrical work, the mittens come off. We always planned our jobs and got everything out and ready to go. Once the mittens come off you only have a few minutes before your hands get too stiff to work anymore so you put the choppers back on and wait for your hands to warm up before continuing the job. This works very well down to around negative 40.
I feel like you could get a really solid pair of extreme cold weather gloves and a pair of wool liners with similar dexterity for less than 180$.
I dig the little voltage tester — where’d you get it?
This is the one in the photo: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07DCTHWPR
Not sure if I’d recommend it. the problem is that it’s not very accurate and a few of the ports don’t work.
The problem I found when looking for one was that all the reasonably priced testers were cheaply made rebranded devices from the same imported manufacturers. The other option is to pay hundreds of dollars for a professional tester. There doesn’t seem to be an in-between option that I could find.
The third option is making your own which is tricky with USB-C because of the handshaking required to get the higher voltages and currents. whenever I tried splitting a cable, the chargers would recognize the cable had been tampered with and would not give full power.