8 Best Hand Warmers For Cold Weather & Emergencies

By Just In Case Jack | Last Updated: February 2, 2021

Best Hand WarmersToday we’re going to check out the best hand warmers on the market and why you need them.

Because a hand warmer will make any cool-weather adventure more pleasant and could even be a lifesaver in sub-zero temps!

There are so many reasons to get a hand warmer – for example:

  • Perhaps you’re a survival gear enthusiast, and you’re building a bug out bag or get home bag – just in case.
  • Or maybe you’re an outdoorsman who spends lots of time in the wilderness – waiting in the bush for wild game to show up.
  • Or perhaps you work in an “ice-box-of-an-office,” and your colleagues are cold-hearted SOBs.
  • Maybe you’re a musician who needs to keep your fingers warm and nimble before playing guitar or piano.
  • Or maybe you have a medical condition that causes you perpetually deal with cold fingers…

The bottom line is this:

Keeping your fingers and hands warm is one of the most important things you can do.

Sometimes it’s so you can perform at your best; other times, it saves a digit from severe frostbite! And trust us, frostbite is NOT something you ever want to experience.

Your fingers are extremely vulnerable to frostbite because they have no major muscles to produce heat. And you use your hands and fingers to do, well…..just about everything!

So to keep your fingers safe and warm, you should invest in a quality hand warmer.

We are covering several topics today, including:

**Note: If you want our top recommendations, feel free to SKIP AHEAD HERE.

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Close up Old Man Hand Heated by Small Portable Stove on the Ground.

What Exactly Is A Hand Warmer?

Hand warmers are portable packets or devices that produce heat and can be held in your hands.

They have been around for over 100 years, with the first patent filed in 1891. There are disposable types that come as a head warmer pouch.

These disposable types usually combine chemicals to react with oxygen to produce temporary heat. They are adequate for the short term but don’t last very long.

Electric and fuel-based hand warmers provide long-lasting, steady heat. And not just once; you can refill them or recharge them as many times or as often as you’d like.

The goal is to keep your hand and fingers warm, but they don’t just end at that. These devices can help raise your body temperature wherever you can stash them.

For example, you can place a hand warmer under your armpits to keep your core temperature up. Or put it on your toes to prevent frostbite.

That’s why a portable hand warmer makes our must-own survival gear list.

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Frozen Fingers On Cold Hands

4 Reasons To Own A Hand Warmer

1. Better Hunting | Better Accuracy

When it’s hunting season, you want to have the best gear.

During the “off’ season, you scout out locations and maintain and clean your rifle or crossbow. You read magazines about the type of game you are into. You spend serious money on camo, ammo, and stock a lunch cooler with food and snacks to last for the duration of the hunt.

But hunting is usually a waiting game, and you must be comfortable in the bush. It’s often a cold-weather sport, and fingers are the first to feel it.

When you have to react, it must be quick. When an animal crosses your path, you need warm fingers to pull the trigger accurately before you miss your opportunity.

So keeping your fingers warm and nimble can make the difference between a successful shot and a cold miss.

2. Prevent Frostbite

Spending time in the wilderness is an incredible thing. You can spend an afternoon or days exploring nature. And while it’s often sunny and hot during the day, it can quickly turn to sub-zero temps overnight.

Fingers and toes are the most susceptible body parts to frostbite. That’s why you must be ready if you get caught in sub-zero temperatures.

Having an electric hand warmer can keep your digits toasty.

3. Reduce Muscle and Joint Pain

Minor injuries can happen to the best of us. It’s easy to overdo it when camping or hiking.

Trips and falls may only slow you down, but the pain can show up later when you slow down and relax. Your portable hand warmer can soothe those aching muscles and joints.

Just place it on the spot that hurts to bring warmth and healing to your aches and pains.

4. Life-Saving Device From Accidents

There may come a time when you are stuck outside because of an accident. Perhaps your truck slides off the road, or you get injured while in the bush. In either scenario, it could take hours for help to arrive.

Make sure you always carry a battery-powered hand warmer with you every time you go for a hike. It’s also a great idea to have one in your vehicle’s glove box for emergencies.

Add a hand warmer to each of your car’s winter emergency kits. That way, if you get yourself in a dire situation, you have quick access to warmth (without relying on a fire).

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5 Types Of Hand Warmers & How They Work

There are several hand warmers you can choose from, so why choose just one? You can have a different type of hand warmer for different situations.

Here are the 5 main types:

1. Electric / Battery Hand Warmers

Battery-powered hand chargers run on, well, batteries.

They convert energy into heat and are a relatively simple design. These are usually rechargeable by plugging the battery warmer into an electrical outlet or using a USB on some models.

Electric hand warmers produce consistent heat, with some models having different temperature modes.

They are cost-effective but don’t always have super long battery life. This upside is that there is no fuel to buy and nothing to throw away.

These hand warms can also function as a spare battery for charging your phone in a pinch.

I ALWAYS prefer survival gear that can perform more than one task. These dual-use items help keep your pack weight down and help justify your purchase.

That’s why out of all the different types of hand warmers, the electric battery is by far our favorite!

2. Fuel Based Hand Warmers

A fuel-based hand warmer uses lighter fuel to produce heat. While it’s technically
considered “flame-free,” there is combustion occurring.

Models like the Zippo hand warmer have a reservoir to hold the lighter fluid.

Once filled, a catalytic burner unit connects on top. This setup will draw the fuel into it and create combustion without a flame.

They come with protective cases to house the entire unit safely while in use.

Remember that you have to refill it for each use, and it requires a lighting source like a match. You can’t turn it off; it will produce heat until all the fuel is used up.

Note of Caution: Fuel hand warmers produce carbon monoxide. But as long as you are in a well-ventilated area, it will not be a health issue.

3. Chemical Hand Warmers

This type of warmer is probably the one you first used. It’s a simple-to-use, affordable hand warmer solution.

There are two types.

Air Activation

These are long-lasting chemical hand warmers. They activate as soon as you expose them to oxygen by opening the package.

Heat is produced by oxidizing iron into rust. Once these air-activated warmers stop heating, you throw them away.

Crystallize Solution

This type of warmer produces heat via crystallizing a supersaturated sodium acetate solution or calcium nitrate in water.

They only last between 20 minutes to 2 hours but can be recharged by reheating in boiling water.

4. Football Hand Warmer

When playing football, extreme weather is a fact of life. That’s why quarterbacks and receivers often wear a football hand warmer. It can be the difference between a complete or incomplete pass.

But there’s NO penalty for using a football hand warmer outside the stadium. Just strap it around your waist wherever your outdoor adventures take you.

Now you have a portable fleece-lined pouch to keep your hands toasty warm. I like to think of it as a super warm hoodie pouch you can add to any attire.

5. Charcoal Pocket BBQ

They call these pocket BBQs because you are literally burning charcoal for heat.

It consists of a rod of charcoal and a metal case to distribute the heat.

Once you strike the end of the charcoal, it starts to burn. You then put the smoldering stick in the metal unit, which is safe to place in your pocket for warmth.

It’s a dirty, wasteful way to produce heat, but it does work.

Note On Strategic Gear Combinations

There are no rules against using a combination of these hand warmer options.

For example, you could pair a battery hand warmer with a football hand warmer. That way, every time you put your hands back into a fleece-lined pouch, it would be extra warm with an electric hand warmer stashed inside.

TACT Bivvy In HandAnother gear combination we recommend for survival is having a Tact Bivvy and an Electric Pocket Warmer.

The Tact Bivvy is a simple, lightweight sleeping bag made from mylar. Mylar is a non-breathable material that will trap heat – not allowing it to escape.

So in an emergency, if you have a TACT Bivvy, you hop inside, then turn your hand warmer on, and keep your entire body warm even in a cold-weather emergency.

Add these two devices to a glove box for the ultimate blizzard survival setup.

Or perhaps you keep some chemical hand warmers in your pack as a backup or for emergencies but add a battery hand warmer to your everyday carry gear for convenience and comfort.

The point is this:

There is no reason why anyone needs to suffer freezing cold hands. These devices provide smart solutions to warm your fingers, toes, or body in ANY environment.

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Are Hand Warmers Safe To Use?

All handwarmer manufacturers undergo rigorous safety testing before being allowed to sell. So safety comes down to operator usage.

If you follow the safety guidelines and you’ll have no problems.

So make sure you never take them apart unless you know what you are doing.

We all know we should never tamper with chemical devices. And all combustible hand warmers produce carbon monoxide.

So only use these in open spaces with plenty of fresh air.

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8 Best Hand Warmers On The Market Today

Best Rechargeable Hand Warmers

1. Survival Frog QuickHeat Rechargeable Electric Hand Warmer

Survival Frog QuickHeat Rechargeable Electric Hand Warmer

Survival Frog QuickHeat Rechargeable Electric Hand Warmer

The Survival Frog Quick Heat is a portable pocket heater AND a 5200mAh USB power bank in one!

This is a powerful survival tool and one of the best electric hand warmers on the market.

It has a sleek design and easily slips into your pocket, gloves, or shoes for a quick heat-up. The charging is versatile as you can plug it into an outlet or charge via USB.

It even acts as a charger for your phone!

It’s a great 2-in-1 device for a person on the go and warms up fast with 104-140 Fahrenheit of heat.

It comes with a wrist strap and fits in the palm of your hand.


  • Quick 3-4 hour recharge via USB
  • It’s easy to use with adjustable temps
  • Doubles as a phone recharger


  • Batteries only last 2-6 hours

2. OCOOPA Hand Warmer/Power Bank"<yoastmark

OCOOPA has come out with another excellent hand warmer. This new model boasts increased battery life with up to 15 hours of continuous heat!

It includes a nice travel case and USB cable, making it easy to take with you on all your adventures.

It’s the perfect cold-weather companion during a walk, hike, outdoor sporting event, or hunting and fishing.

This rechargeable hand warmer is bulkier than its competitors, and a few users have noted this concern.


  • Silicone on the corners for anti-drop protection
  • 3-level heat control
  • Charge your phone or tablet with ease


  • It takes 6-8 hours to recharge
  • Heat consistency can vary a bit

Fuel Based Hand Warmers

3. Zippo Hand Warmer"<yoastmark

Zippo is one of the best when it comes to reusable fuel-based hand warmers.

It has a flameless, butane-powered warmer that lasts over 12 hours. It’s made of metal, so it will last and is thin enough to slide into a tactical glove.

Refilling it is easy and will keep you warm on long hikes and extended hunting trips. Some users have found it hard to ignite.


  • Smoldering heat without an open flame
  • Sleek design that fits anywhere
  • Low odor for hunting
  • Great uses include winter sports (i.e., skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing)


  • It must periodically be refilled.
  • Once it is engaged, you can’t turn it off. It has to burn up all the fuel


Chemical Hand Warmers

If you are not in the market for a reusable product, your best bet is to get a chemical hand warmer.

Here are a few hand warmer packs that will give you quick warmth without the hassles of recharging or refueling.

4. HotHands Hand Warmer"<yoastmark

Hothands are an affordable warming product that’s available online.

They are perfect for the occasional trekker that doesn’t go venturing too often. You can slip them into your gloves, boots, or anywhere else you have a chill.


  • 5-10 hours of heat/run time
  • 112 degrees Fahrenheit average temp
  • Lightweight and easy to use


  • Only one-time use

5. HotSnapz Hand Warmers

HotSnapz Hand Warmers

HotSnapz Hand Warmers

This product is unique because you CAN reuse it without the use of fuel.

There is an internal activation that you click to start the heating process. While it doesn’t hold heat for very long, you shouldn’t throw it away.

All you have to do to recharge the HotSnapz is put it in boiling water for 15 minutes, and it’s ready to go again.


  • Multiple sizes with up to 2 hours of heat time
  • 130 degrees Fahrenheit maximum
  • Quickly heats up and quickly recharges


  • Not an all-day warming device

6. Grabber Hand Warmers

Grabber Hand Warmers

Grabber Hand Warmers

Most of the chemical hand warmers are similar, but Grabber wins the heat race.

They are designed for a shorter burst of high heat and will keep you toasty for 2-3 hours before scaling back.


  • 7-hour heat/run time with a shorter, hotter window
  • 135 degrees Fahrenheit averaged, 180 degrees Fahrenheit maximum
  • The hottest hand warmer


  • Intense heat only lasts a few hours

Football Hand Warmers

7. Suddora Football Hand Warmer

Suddora Football Hand Warmer

Suddora Football Hand Warmer

This Suddora hand warmer is a soft fleece-lined pouch that will keep your hands toasty warm during winter practices, cold game days, or any outdoor adventure.

It’s ideal for wearing on the field with angled entry cuffs so you can put them in your hands more naturally.

There is a breakaway, adjustable strap, and belt that stays in place when you need it.

Reviews are outstanding for this product, but it does not come in a youth size. Users say it outperforms Nike and Under Armour.

It also works great for outdoor adventures when you frequently use your hands. You can slip them in and out quickly.


  • Lightweight polyester/nylon blend for comfort
  • Waterproof for those wet, snowy days
  • Extra zipped pocket area for additional heat packs. You can store small on-field equipment like mouthguards.


  • It only comes in non-youth sizes, and some users have said the hand openings are a bit small

8. Nike Pro Hyperwarm Football Hand Warmer"<yoastmark

Nike is known for its quality athletic products. And this football hand warmer is no different.

They use hyper-warm technology to insulate your hands and keep them warm.

The design includes a weather-resistant shell and internal pockets for storage. An adjustable quick-release belt holds the warmer in place, so you access the warmer fast and with ease.

It also includes an embroidered Nike Swoosh logo.


  • Comes in youth and adult sizes:15.5 in x 5.9 in; 39.5 cm x 5.9 cm
  • Non-restrictive knit cuffs for a snug fit
  • Additional internal heat pack storage
  • Polyester/nylon blend


  • The inside material is a little rough on the hands

Final Thoughts

That’s our comprehensive list of the best hand warmers on the market today. Now you can make a wise choice of hand warmer for your needs.

From hunting to a desk hand warmer, you need a product that will keep your fingers nimble. Or keep them from getting frostbite after a blast of cold winter chill.

These options will take the guesswork out of what to buy for any situation!

“Just In Case” Jack

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