Hand Warmers--Not Just for Cold Winter Days
People who live in areas where the winter temperatures hover around 0 ℉ have an interesting way of protecting themselves from the frigid cold. They wear several layers of gloves and socks to cover their hands and feet, while their body is covered with a jacket or light windbreaker. This is because your hands and feet experience much more heat loss than your midsection. That’s due to the slowing down of blood circulation to your extremities when it’s cold. It’s estimated that the temperature of your feet can drop to as low as 28°C, while normal body temperature is 36.8 °C! There are also risks of hypothermia and frostbite. In situations such as these, a hand warmer is not just for comfort but can be a lifesaver!
Nowadays, there is a variety of hand warmers, differing in the way that they provide heat, the maximum temperature they can reach, and how long they’ll keep you warm. We’ll see some that use chemical reactions to warm you up. Others work on butane, like having a mini-propane heater in your pocket. Yet others use rechargeable batteries and a heating element to keep you warm. And many of them are not limited to just keeping your hands warm. You’ll see that you can use them to apply warmth to your lower back to relieve stiffness as well.
We’ll look over some of the options in the Best Reviews Guide list of the best hand warmers. They can keep you toasty warm at other times of the year as well when camping or hiking–no matter what the temperature is outside!
Why are some chemical hand warmers reusable?
Certain hand warmers, like the HotSnapZ Round Hand Warmers, contain a solution of sodium acetate inside the package. When you press on a metal disc inside the package, it agitates the sodium acetate solution so that some of the molecules solidify. It then stimulates the rest of the sodium acetate molecules to also crystallize. But, strangely enough, sodium acetate “freezes” (=goes from liquid to solid) at a temperature of 131 degrees Fahrenheit! When you put the pack in boiling water, you melt the crystals back into the water solution, so that it can be used again.
Types of Hand Warmers
We can distinguish between the types of hand warmers by their method of providing heat:
Battery-operated: These use a rechargeable battery, that you can charge using a USB cable. An example is the Ocoopa Rechargeable Hand Warmer. It has three heat levels: 95 ℉ (adequate when the outdoor temperature is around 50 ℉), 118.4 ℉ (when temperatures are around freezing), and 131 ℉ (for temperatures around 5 ℉). As an added feature, it can also serve as a power bank to charge up your smartphone!
Ocoopa Rechargeable Hand Warmer
Lighter fluid-operated hand warmers: Zippo, the company that makes cigarette lighters, also makes the Zippo Refillable Hand Warmer that works on lighter fluid. You fill up the hand warmer with lighter fluid, light it with a cigarette lighter, and cover it with a special cover. (It produces a flameless heat by means of a catalytic reaction.) Within a minute, it heats up to 95 degrees, and can get up to 120 degrees! You can carry it around in your pocket, without any concern of it spilling or causing a burn. It keeps you warm for up to 12 hours.
Zippo Refillable Hand Warmer
Disposable chemical hand warmers: There are also hand warmers that are intended for one-time use. The Grabber Hand Warmers are air-activated: as soon as you remove them from their packaging and expose them to the air, they start to heat up. They remain hot for up to 10 hours! Grabber makes warmers “toe warmers”, that you can apply to your feet, or “body warmers”, for your lower back to relieve back pain.
Grabber Hand Warmers
Another air-activated product is the HotHands Super Warmer. You remove a hand warmer from its packaging and shake it up to activate it. It heats up in 15-30 minutes and remains hot for around 18 hours. During those 18 hours, if you feel it isn’t hot enough, you expose it to the air again. Once it doesn’t heat up anymore, you can dispose of it.
HotHands Super Warmer
Reusable chemical hand warmers: There are also chemical hand warmers that are reusable. The HotSnapZ Hand Warmers are activated by squeezing a disk inside the package. Sodium acetate crystals then form inside the package, releasing heat. The hand warmer then provides heat for 30-40 minutes. Once it cools off, you can charge them up again by putting them in boiling water for 10-15 minutes. The boiling water dissolves the crystals, ready to be reactivated again by again squeezing the package.
HotSnapZ Hand Warmers
What reviewers say
Here are some impressions of people who bought the hand warmers featured in the Best Reviews Guide list:
Great for outdoor sporting events: When you’re watching a football game during the winter, it can be a challenge staying warm. Most of these hand warmers can keep you warm for well over three hours! Some of the battery-powered warmers are also waterproof, so you don’t have to be concerned that rain or snow will short them out.
Can be used for a heated massage as well: Some customers use the HotSnapZ Reusable Round & Pocket Hand Warmers for a heated massage. You can activate them and apply them to your back during a massage, or relieve muscle soreness. Also, people who suffer from Raynaud’s Syndrome can feel cold or numbness in their fingers. A hand warmer can provide much-needed relief.
Here are some features of the hand warmers in the Best Reviews Guide list:
Screen that displays exact temperature: There are several rechargeable hand warmers, but the Unigear Rechargeable Hand Warmer stands out in that it has a screen displaying the present temperature. Instead of just having three particular settings, you can select a specific temperature. It also has the option of serving as a power bank to charge up your phone!
Unigear Rechargeable Hand Warmer
Battery life depends on the temperature: Take note that the electric hand warmer will use up the battery more quickly if you set it at a higher temperature. So, you may want to set it to a lower temperature, so that it will keep your hands lukewarm for a longer period of time, rather than at the maximum temperature of 131 F. For example, the Ocoopa Hand Warmers provide 15 hours of heat on the low setting, 12 hours of heat on the medium setting, and 8 hours of heat on the high setting.
Can fit inside gloves: There are winter gloves that have a small pouch where you can insert one of these small chemical hand warmers. That can provide extra warmth when working or playing in snowy or frigid temperatures.
Use as a power bank: We mentioned how the battery-powered hand warmers can also be used as a power bank to charge up a phone or iPad. Different hand warmers will have different “ampere-hour” ratings, being rated 5000 mAh or 10,000 mAh. The higher number means that it can provide more power for the electronics that you want to recharge.
We saw how some of the hand warmers work, and how some also provide you side benefits as well, for a relaxing massage, or to even charge up your cellphone! They’re affordable and also convenient: many of them can fit in the palm of your hand, or your pants pocket. They’ll provide hours of much-needed warmth!