Heated Jackets Comparison – Which Will You Choose?
Heated Jackets by Milwaukee, DEWALT & Bosch
Heated jackets are a big deal this year especially for people who work in colder regions of the Country. Milwaukee started quite a trend a few years ago when they introduced their first heated jacket. I remember seeing their jacket the first time and thinking to myself that it would start a competitive war of sorts and that is certainly the case today.
Today all three major tool brands, Milwaukee, DEWALT and Bosch all offer a heated work jacket. For some users the decision will be easy as they buy a jacket based an existing battery platform they own. For others, well hopefully this article will help you make a decision based on some subtle differences in features and style.
Milwaukee M12 Heated Jackets
Seeing that Milwaukee was the first on the scene it seems fitting to start with them. They offer a huge selection of jackets and a new line of heated hoodies! and hand warmers. The lineup includes 4 jacket styles, 4 hoodie styles, and 2 different hand warmer styles.
Milwaukee runs their heated work gear on their M12 Lithium-Ion battery platform. For those needing extended run time they also offer the ability to use their M18 battery system.
- Material: Soft Shell: 95% Polyester / 5% Spandex
- Voltage: 12V or 18V
- Heat Elements: Core Zone – R Chest, L Chest, Back
- Heat Settings: 3 + Warm-Up Feature
- Pockets: 2 side hand pockets + Cell Phone/MP3 Chest Pocket
I’ve been wearing Milwaukee Heated Jackets for several years now and I’ve reviewed both the Red Jacket, Camo Jacket and High Visibility Jacket. These jackets really work well on the jobsite and while enjoying recreation activities. All of these jackets do a great job at helping heat the body core with heating elements on the back and chest.
I’ve personally worn these jackets on construction sites, snow plowing, hunting, and to sporting events. The jackets are comfortable, durable, and most importantly very warm! It’s worth pointing out that the red, black and camo all have a similar fit/style. The high visibility jacket is a much looser fit which I tend to think is a bit more comfortable for “bigger” guys like me. The high visibility also offers a hood which is a nice feature especially on really windy days.
Their jackets offer three heat settings. On the highest heat setting I get just over 4 hours of run time on their standard M12 battery pack.
Milwaukee certainly offers the most options when it comes to heated jackets. They also have a proven track record that speaks volumes about the quality of these jackets. If I had one small suggestion for them it would be to create one more style that’s a bit looser and styled for the jobsite. Having said that, I believe these are some of the best heated jackets on the market.
DEWALT 20V/12V MAX Soft Shell Heated Jackets
DEWALT just jumped into the heated jacket market this year with 4 different styles including; two black styles (hooded and non-hooded), a hooded camo jacket, and a blaze orange camo hooded jacket.
- Material: Soft Shell Polyester
- Voltage: 20V/12V MAX
- Heat Elements: 4, L/R chest, mid-back, and collar
- Heat Settings: High/Medium/Low + Pre-Heat
- Pockets: 5, L&R waistline, L&R upper chest + cell phone pocket
- Sizes: S-3XL
Out of all the heated jackets I’ve worn I think the DEWALT jacket is the most comfortable for guys who are working on the job. The fit is much looser and less restrictive compared to the other brands. The looser fit also allows you to wear more layers underneath which is pretty important in cold climates. When you consider that a huge percentage of guys on a jobsite are typically wearing a heavy sweatshirt under their jackets the extra “room” in the jacket sure is nice.
The DEWALT jacket has a much softer exterior material. While it looks pretty durable time will tell if it’s as durable as the Milwaukee and Bosch that have a harder exterior material. The DEWALT zipper doesn’t seem as nice as the zippers on the other jackets as well.
Another small issue for the DEWALT jacket is the bulkiness of the battery pack and controller. Because this system uses the DEWALT 12V/20V slide packs, the battery plus controller are larger than the other two brands. This isn’t at all a deal breaker but it is a consideration.
When it comes to an actual work jacket this is the jacket that I prefer. Rob over at AConcordCarpenter wrote a review which you can read here: DEWALT Heated Jacket Review.
Bosch 12V Max Heated Jacket
Bosch also jumped into the heated jacket market this year with their 12V Max Heated Jacket. Bosch took a very conservative approach to this new product and only launched one style. It’s a black jacket that runs on their 12V Li-ion platform. Some of the specifics include:
- Material: 100% Polyester – Wind and Rain Resistant
- Voltage: 12V Li-Ion
- Heat Elements: 3 – (2) Chest), (1) Back
- Heat Settings: 3 – High, Medium, Low
- Pockets: Five Convenient Internal and External Pockets
- Sizes: S-3XL
I’ve been wearing this new jacket on and off all Fall and early this winter. The heating elements are very effective and warm. The jacket material is very durable and great at repelling wind and water.
I really like that Bosch offers two ways to carry the battery pack. You can either carry the battery in an interior pocket built specifically for the battery or you can carry the battery on your belt. The battery pack receiver includes a belt clip for that very purpose. This is nice for two reasons in my opinion: this is great if you want to plug something like a cell phone into the battery pack as well (there’s a USB port on the pack), and for “bigger” guys like me this gets the battery pack out of the jacket which might make it more comfortable.
I have two small issues with this jacket that I think are worth pointing out and consideration if you’re going to buy this jacket. First, in my opinion, this jacket is too “nice” to be a jobsite jacket. I find myself wearing this jacket when I go to a meeting or even at night when I’m out and about. Secondly, the sizing on this jacket is smaller than sizing that I’m used to. I have the 3XL jacket and it fits like all my other 2XL jackets. Part of this is the style of the jacket, which is a “fitted” style, unlike some of the other jackets on the market that are a loose fit. So for me, the jacket seems to restrictive to be a working jacket.
One other small issue is the zipper. The zipper is on the opposite side compared to most jackets. This is most likely a European design, but it sure does feel strange when trying to zip the jacket. If you’d like to learn more about this jacket you can read what Editor Rob Robillard had to say about it here: Bosch Heated Jacket Review.
Final Thoughts on Heated Jackets
I’ve had the pleasure of wearing jackets from all three Brands and each one of them is a quality jacket that does a great job keeping me warm on cold days. Trying to pick the “best” out of these is nearly impossible and frankly comes down to personal preferences. For me, it comes down to comfort and which jacket fits that task at hand.
When it comes to a jacket that I prefer for working on the job my first choice is the DEWALT Jacket because of the roomier fit and style that most closely matches the jackets I wear on the job. If I’m working in a high hazard area like a roadway then Milwaukee’s High Visibility Jacket (again very roomy fit) would be my choice. Both the Bosch and Milwaukee Black Jackets are my preference when heading to a meeting or out on the town at night. Those two jackets seem more stylish and less “work like” to me.
As you can see, the answer is almost certainly a personal choice based on the look and fit. I can assure you that all three brands offer a very nice jacket that you’ll be happy with. The bottom line is this, if you work, play and live in a cold climate, go buy a heated jacket! You’ll wonder why you waited so long!
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