This year, in parts of the country where a dipping thermometer and cool bracing winds are the norm for several winter months, the hottest trend for construction personnel on the go may well be outerwear. We’re not talking team jackets or designer coats, but rather heated jackets that carry the insignia of the tool manufacturer who markets them on the front and a rechargeable heavy duty battery to run it in a pocket.

Heated jackets allow for onsite warmth with fewer layers
Courtesy Bosch Heated jackets allow for onsite warmth with fewer layers

Banking on loyalty to the brand on the one hand, and trying to encourage it on the other, several manufacturers of battery operated tools sell jackets that utilize heating elements strategically placed in multiple zones around the core of the body and that utilize the same rechargeable batteries and chargers as their power tools. The jackets are designed to provide comfort outdoors or in unheated spaces without the bulk of multiple layers and provide easier maneuverability along with sartorial style.

The battery – 12V, 18V, or 20V - and charger are often sold separately, because the manufacturer assumes most buyers already have them or they may come with the jacket and as part of a kit.   

The jackets below feature three, four, or five heating zones –  left chest, right chest, and mid-back and, sometimes, collar or lower front pockets (great when fingers get too cold to manipulate tools or just too cold for comfort) - and three heat settings. On four jackets, the control button is outside at chest level; in one, it is inside at chest level. The buttons change color to indicate the heat setting. All the battery holsters provide a USB port for charging a cellphone or other USB personal electronics. (Heated jackets are not recommended for use by children or people with pacemakers or health issues.)

In choosing a size, you might aim for somewhat fitted rather than loose so the heat elements are close to your body. The jackets are downright snazzy, a nice perk in a work jacket that you wear all day on the job and might keep on afterward.    

The Craftsman 12V Heated Jacket features a wind resistant outer shell made from 94% polyester and 6% Spandex, and soft polyester fleece lining and knitted storm cuffs that start inside the sleeve. There are five heating zones, all operated by a single switch. The jacket features an adjustable toggle cord at the hem for personalized comfort and fit, a wind guard the length of the zipper, and a built-in USB port. The three pockets, all exterior, are fleece-lined. The generously sized chest pocket will hold a cellphone or other electronic device, which can be charged on the run by threading the phone charging wire through the jacket into the back expansion pocket that holds the battery. The power adapter has an integrated lighted fuel gauge to indicate the remaining battery power. When the jacket is on the low setting, the two front pockets are not heated, converting the operation to three heat zones. The five zones are only activated when the jacket is on the medium or high setting. 

Battery: Craftsman Nextec 12V Lithium-Ion battery (sold separately)
Runtime: up to 5 hours
Battery pocket: outside lower left
Heat settings: 3
Heating zones: 5 - left chest, right chest, left and right front pockets, back
Washing: hand wash, line dry

The Craftsman 12V Heated Jacket has a plush full body fleece lining
Courtesy manufacturer The Craftsman 12V Heated Jacket has a plush full body fleece lining

Pro: looks like a stylish conventional winter jacket and has plush fleece body lining
Con: no interior pocket, not machine washable

DeWalt's Black Heated Jacket with Removable Sleeves (DCHJ065) is versatile, wearable as a jacket or as a vest. The water- and wind-resistant heavy-duty cotton twill outer shell is black, with trademark yellow and black logo and zipper pulls. It features a wind guard the length of the jacket, fleece lined body, snug 3” knitted cuffs, and four core heating zones. There are two battery placement options – in the battery pocket at the back of the jacket, well-placed for walking or standing, or in an inside front pocket, which is more comfortable when sitting. The three-level LED heating control is on the inside of the jacket. The jacket does not have any adjustable pull cords though it does feature a 2 ¼” expandable ribbing as the bottom hem. The jacket comes with a DCB091 20V MAX/12V MAX USB power source with two ports for charging portable electronic devices (unique among the jackets covered here) and will run on a 20VMAX lithium ion battery or 12V MAX lithium ion battery (each sold separately). Woman’s version with adjustable hood is available as a kit.       

Battery: DCB 091 20V MAX or 12V MAX (sold separately or 20V MAX battery included in kit with charger)
Battery run time: 3-zone up to 7 hours using the 20V MAX compact 1.5 Ah battery; 4-zone up to 5.5 hours using the same battery
Battery pocket: outside lower left side or can be inserted into a front pocket when sitting
Heat settings: 3
Heating zones: left chest, right chest, mid-back, collar
Washing: machine wash, tumble dry

DeWalt's Black Heated Jacket with Removable Sleeves (DCHJ065) offers versatility that will accommodate varying working conditions and weather
Courtesy manufacturer DeWalt's Black Heated Jacket with Removable Sleeves (DCHJ065) offers versatility that will accommodate varying working conditions and weather

Pro: sleeves detach, creating vest; options for battery placement; machine washable
Con: heat control inside of jacket; heavy cotton twill shell evokes a work jacket

Bosch's Heated Jacket (Model PSJ120) is moderately tapered from chest to waist, which can enhance heat retention, and, with a dash of flash, has white accents on the shoulders and red Velcro on the cuffs that match the red Bosch insignia over the left side of the chest, under the heating control. A wind flap the length of the front zipper and pull cords around the bottom of the jacket keep wind out and body and generated heat in. There are two deep zippered front pockets with long sturdy vertical zippers and a shallow chest level zippered pocket suitable a cellphone, with a protective cable passage down to the battery/holster controller pocket on the inside lower left of the jacket, an unobtrusive location. A button on the holster activates charging of a USB device. There is also a large mesh pocket on the interior right side. The jacket zipper, which extends up to the top of the collar, has the pull tab is on the left rather than on the customary right, a placement the manufacturer says stems from a European design. The woman’s version of the jacket has the same styling and features. A woman’s version is available.

Battery: 10.8V or 12V Li-Ion
Runtime: up to 6 hours
Battery pocket: inside front
Heat Settings: 3
Heating zones: 3, left and right chest and back
Washing: hand wash, line dry

Bosch's Heated Jacket Model PSJ120 has deep zippered front pockets
Courtesy manufacturer Bosch's Heated Jacket Model PSJ120 has deep zippered front pockets

Pro: battery holster fits into well-placed interior pocket or, using the integrated belt clip, can be worn on a belt
Con: not machine washable

The Makita 18V LXT™ Lithium-Ion Cordless Heated Jacket (DCJ200Z) has sharp styling, black with subtle turquoise piping on either side of the front zipper and as edging around the battery holder pocket, a pleasing contrast to the red and white Makita insignia. The exterior soft shell is made of 94% polyester and 6% Spandex. The jacket sports a fleece-lined collar, knitted storm cuffs that can be extended out past the end of the jacket sleeve to warm cold bare hands, and pull cords along the hem to keep in the warmth. The sleeves zip off, converting the garment into a vest. There are three heat settings, two side pockets, a zippered chest pocket that could hold a cellphone, a sleeve pocket, and a battery pocket. The front heat elements are positioned low down, behind the pockets, and cover a very ample area. The battery holster, which conveniently comes pre-connected, includes a USB power port, and there is routing for a cellphone from the battery pocket to an inside breast pocket wire, enabling charging on the phone. The jacket is compatible with Makita fast charging 18V Lithium-Ion batteries. The battery holder can be clipped onto a belt. Battery and charger are sold separately. The jacket is also available in a camouflage pattern.

Battery: Makita 18V LXT® or 18V Compact Lithium-Ion battery
Battery run time:  the widely-used 18V 3.0Ah battery delivers 5 hours in high setting; 9.5 hours in medium, and 17 hours in low; up to 28 hours on low settings with the 18V 5.0Ah battery (to be released and available in mid-January 2015)
Battery pocket: outside lower left
Heat settings: 3
Heating zones: 3 - left chest, right chest, back
Washinghand wash, line dry

Makita's 18V LX Lithium-Ion Cordless Heated Jackets offer a very long run time
Courtesy manufacturer Makita's 18V LX Lithium-Ion Cordless Heated Jackets offer a very long run time

Pro: versatility--converts to heated vest
Con: Front pockets are shallow with short zippers; not machine washable

Milwaukee's M12™ cordless Heated Jacket features is cut to fit close to keep the heat near the body. The sharp, sporty design - black body with gray contrast panels down both sides and along the undersides of both sleeves - is enhanced with the red Milwaukee insignia on the left chest and on the back. The jacket features a wind and water resistant shell, thermal fleece lining, Velcro closures on the cuffs, and toggle cords at the hem. The jacket has an interior cargo pouch and an interior utility pocket. Five heating zones are controlled by a dual controller on the chest, independently adjustable. One switch operates warming zones on the back and on both sides of the chest and the other operates heating elements in the exterior front hand pockets. The battery pack sits in an exterior back pocket expandable to fit M12™ XC and all M18™batteries. The power source has a fuel gauge. The interior pocket and the exterior left breast pockets include slits for passing through a USB cable to the accessory USB charging port. The jacket is available bare (jacket only) or in a kit with a M12 battery and charger and also comes in red with gray accent, camo, and high visibility. A woman’s kit version is available in black.

Battery: M12 REDLITIUM™ with fuel gauge
Battery run time per charge: up to 6 hours
Battery pocket: outside lower left side
Heat settings: high, medium, low
Heating zones: 5 left and right chest, left and right lower pockets, back   
Material: shell: water/wind resistant 95% polyester, 5% Spandex; 100% polyester inner shell; fleece inner lining
Washing: machine wash and dry

The Milwaukee M12 cordless Heated Jacket has five heating zones and includes a dedicated controller for the heating elements in the pockets
Courtesy manufacturer The Milwaukee M12 cordless Heated Jacket has five heating zones and includes a dedicated controller for the heating elements in the pockets

Pro: heating elements in front hand pockets; machine washable
Con: No storm cuffs