Best Gadgets for Cozy Feet and Hands
- Single Use Hand and Feet Warmers
- Reusable Chemically Activated Heat Warmers
- USB Rechargeable Hand Warmers
- Battery Operated Electric Heated Ski Gloves
- Microwavable Foot Warmer Booties
- DIY Method for Cheap Glove and Sock Warmers
1. Single Use Hand and Toe Warmers
Single use warmer pouches are good for people who only occasionally need to warm up their fingers and toes. A single use pack consists of two chemicals that are inert (stable and non-reactive) until they're mixed together. The chemicals are held separately in sealed compartments within a larger cover. To activate the pack, you simply break the seal between the two compartments and an exothermic chemical reaction occurs. Exothermic is a scientific term that means heat is produced as a by-product of the chemicals mixing together.
There are many brands of single use warmers available. I like Hot Hands hand and toe warmers. They're convenient to use and cost less than a dollar each. And they work! They can be stored until you need them, and are easily activated. You put them inside your gloves, socks, or jacket pockets to provide a much-needed source of warmth. They're also great for heating up cold wellies on a snowy day.
Single use hand and feet warmers can be kept in your backpack or car, so that you're prepared for unexpected bad weather. Each single use warmer lasts from 8 to 12 hours depending on the brand and on how cold the weather is.
2. Reusable Chemically Activated Heat Warmers
If you're likely to use hand or feet warmers on a regular basis then it's cheaper to buy reusable ones (and better for the planet.) I like these reusable gel hand-warmers. They give instant heat without the need for batteries, electricity, or lighter fuel. Although reusable warmers cost a bit more upfront, in the long run, they work out cheaper and more economical, compared to single-use, disposable ones.
Reusable chemically-activated warmers work on the same principle as the single-use ones described above. The chemical reaction is started by flexing or bending a small metal disc within the pack. This enables two chemicals to interact with one another and start to create heat, during which solid crystals are formed from the two liquids. As the crystals form, heat radiates from the pouch onto your hands or feet and the warmth produced is effective for several hours.
An exothermic chemical reaction produces heat as a result of a liquid being turned into a solid. A solution of sodium acetate crystallizes into a solid, producing 130 degrees Fahrenheit in 5 seconds. To reuse the pouch and reactivate the chemicals, the warmer needs to be boiled. The sodium acetate is returned to a liquid form by boiling in a pan of water for 10 minutes.
3. USB Rechargeable Hand Warmers
If you don't like the idea of carrying heat-producing chemicals in your gloves or boots, you could choose a rechargeable USB or battery-operated hand or foot warmer. These are simple to use and low-cost to run. Many have the option to choose high or low heat levels. To charge before use, they are connected to a USB charger or a conventional electric wall plug. In use, they draw power from their charged power-bank.
This type of hand warmer is great if you have Reynard's syndrome or want to keep your feet warm if you work outdoors in wellington boots or similar. These compact USB portable hand heaters with rechargeable battery are my favorite. They are easy to use, and can be set at one of two heat levels; 131 °F (high), and 113 °F (low). A single charge should last for between 7 to 14 hours. They are ideal for all kinds of outdoor activities. The warmer unit measures about 5" by 3" and the heat lasts for many hours.
4. Battery Operated Electric Heated Ski Gloves
There are many brands of electric heated gloves on the market, and those with batteries cost from around $20 to many hundreds of dollars. They are designed to be warm and waterproof, and keep your hands cozy when it's snowy and cold. They are aimed at skiers and snowboarders, but are good for city wear too.
The heating element in them is powered by a small battery pack positioned at the back of the wrist. The power lasts about 20 minutes in use, so they are best for short journeys in the snow rather than for spending all day outdoors. You can use single-use batteries, but I think it's a good idea to invest in rechargeable ones to make them more economical.
5. Microwavable Foot Warmer Booties
Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best. My mom loves these foot warmer booties. The soft plush fabric sock is filled with a mixture of flaxseed, buckwheat hull, and clay beads. A 30-second blast in the microwave heats the beads to give the wearer long-lasting heat and cozy warm toes. They make a great Christmas gift too!
The heated part of the bootie extends around the top and bottom of the foot, as well as up around the ankle. The manufacturer says they help to relieve joint and muscle pain, although I can't confirm that. However, the all-round warmth is comforting and relaxing and both my mom and I think they're great.
Here are a couple of other low-tech ways to keep fingers and toes warm at night.
- Put an extra blanket underneath the bottom sheet (the one you lie on) as well as your normal blankets or duvet on top of you. This “under-blanket” provides an additional layer of insulation between you and the mattress and helps shield you from any draughts that rise from the floor.
- Wear wooly bed socks, gloves and a beanie-type hat in bed. These will protect your feet, hands, and head from losing heat. If they slip out from under the bedclothes. you should still stay warm enough to remain asleep.
DIY Instant Hand Warmers
6. DIY Method for Cheap Glove and Sock Warmers
If you like saving money and enjoy doing DIY, you can make your own single use hand or feet warmers using Calcium Chloride and water. If you are good at practical tasks, then it's not too difficult to do and the materials are easily available.
You will need
- Calcium chloride pellets
- A couple of self-closing bags
The video above shows how it's done.
Other Uses for Mini or Pocket-Sized Heaters
Pocket-sized or mini heat warmers are designed to be put inside gloves or shoes, but also have many other uses. Here are a few suggestions.
- Dry out wet walking boots overnight. Put one in each damp boot before you go to bed. Your boots will be warm and dry when you wake up next morning.
- Place a couple of hand warmers in the foot area of your sleeping bag when camping outdoors. They will help keep your feet warm overnight. They will stay hot for longer than a conventional hot water bottle.
- Use them as a heat pack to soothe sore muscles and aching joints. This works well for for rheumatic and arthritic aches and pains. The small size of hand and feet warmers means they can be placed directly on the target area and can provide instant relief.
- Warm up a pair of cold slippers with a heat pack before you put them on your bare feet. This works like magic if you have to get out of a warm bed into an unheated room on a cold winter's morning.
- And I'm sure your pet cat or dog would love a warming heat pack placed in their bed in wintertime too! Your pet will be your best friend forever if you treat them to this luxury.
A Hand Warmer Made From Beaver Fur
The image above shows an unusual type of handwarmer often used by the indigenous people of Canada. It is a natural byproduct of their hunting wild animals, is reusable and completely biodegradable. Made of sheared beaver fur, it is popped into into various items of clothing to keep body parts warm. It is used in gloves to keep fingers warm, in socks to keep toes warm, and inside hats to keep ears warm.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.