Overall star rating: 4/5
Price on writing: £106 | Buy now from Amazon
As the winter chill sets in and heating bills soar, heated gilets have proven to be a runaway hit with Mumsnetters. These savvy vests include discreet heating elements within the fabric that are powered by a rechargeable battery pack, resulting in a gentle, consistent heat. Think of them a bit like an electric blanket or heated throw, but one that you can use free of wires and outside the home.
It's not just their warming properties that makes them so popular with Mumsnetters though; they can prove rather energy efficient over time as they are much cheaper to run than putting the central heating on – ideal if you're the only one working from home and don't want to heat the whole house. That said, they don't come cheap initially, and are often around the £100 mark.
To find out if the Conqueco Heated Vest is really worth splashing out on, I put the gilet through its paces – using it in winter across a three-year period, both for outdoor activities and when working from home. I then carefully scored the gilet on its warming power, settings, design, ease of use and value for money. Here's my verdict...
What we like
Ideal for outdoor activities in winter
Easy to use and set up
Excellent warming power
Roomy fit allows for comfortable layering
Three heat modes to choose between
Up to 12 hours of heat on the lowest setting
What we don't like
Not the most stylish pick
Battery life reduces on highest setting
Temperature settings: 5/5
Ease of use: 5/5
Value for money: 4/5
Boasting a five-star score for warmth and temperature settings, this fleecy gilet excels when it comes to practicality thanks to its powerful heating elements. Granted, it won't be winning awards for style anytime soon, but I found it was ideal for layering over jumpers or under coats for an additional boost of warmth on freezing days. Its lightweight design is great for outdoor activities, which is why it won a place on our heated gilet round-up.
Setting up the vest was a breeze, with clear instructions and an easy-to-use system for flicking between the three temperature settings. The battery life is pretty good too – on a full charge, it can last up to 12 hours on the low setting, or about three hours on the hottest setting.
The main downside is the cost – at just over £100, it is pricey. Is it worth it? It depends. While it's not a must-buy for everyone, it's great for those who plan to be outdoors for extended periods of time during winter.
What is the Conqueco Heated Vest?
The Conqueco is a fleecy electric gilet, crafted from polyester. If you want to update your regular winter coat or find your hot water bottle just isn't cutting it when working from home in the depths of winter, this vest can give a welcome boost of warmth with heated panels in both the chest and upper back.
I’ve owned the vest for about three or four years now. It was a gift from my husband bought for when we used to do a lot of archery in the winter – I often got absolutely freezing but for archery you don’t want a lot of layers or baggy clothing, so for that activity this heated vest was absolutely perfect.
When I was doing archery, I’d wear it weekly over the winter. These days, we don’t get out to the range as much, so I usually only wear it when I’m going to be outdoors for a long period of time or if I’m working from home and don’t want to put the heating on just for me.
Related: Discover the cosiest women's slippers for winter
First impressions: setting up the Conqueco Heated Vest
At first, I wasn’t overly keen on the look of the gilet (let’s face it, it’s not winning any style awards), but once I tried it out, I definitely appreciated its practicality!
The instructions were very clear too – the battery has its own little pocket, you take it out and charge it up, plug it back in and press the button on the inner front to start heating up the gilet.
How does the Conqueco Heated Vest fit?
The vest is quite roomy even when zipped up; I have a size small and can comfortably wear a thermal base layer or thin jumper underneath. It’s made from a lightweight fleece fabric, which doesn’t feel too bulky under a coat either. Also, the waist is elasticated, so it doesn’t let any chill creep underneath when zipped up.
Related: The warmest heated gloves for winter weather
How warm is the Conqueco Heated Vest?
You just press the button on the inside of the vest to go between the different heat settings. It will change colour depending on the setting: the highest is red and heats up to 45°C to 50°C, middle is white and is around 35°C to 40°C, low is blue and is around 30°C to 40°C.
I find the hottest setting gets a bit too warm for me after 20 minutes or so, but it does depend on where I’m wearing it and the temperature outside. It’s quite nice to wear indoors on medium when it’s chilly and I don’t want to turn on the heating.
What's the battery life of the Conqueco Heated Vest like?
It takes a few hours to charge and the battery life depends on which setting you’re using it on. On the highest setting it will last three to four hours, middle is around five to six and low up to 12 hours.
How do you wash the Conqueco Heated Vest?
You just remove the battery, zip up the compartment it plugs into and then pop it in the washing machine. I wash it on 30 or 40 on a wool setting and then dry it on an airer.
Does the Conqueco Heated Vest offer value for money?
Yes, in the sense that it does what it is designed to do very well. However, I would only invest in one of these if you are outdoors for long periods of time in cold weather, particularly if you’re not going to be moving much. For activities such as archery, golf, watching fireworks, football matches or concerts during the winter, it’s ideal.
When I was doing archery every weekend, it was a godsend. Now, it’s something I’m glad to have (i.e, when we are going to a Christmas lights display and it’s sub-zero degrees outside), but at £100 or so, I wouldn’t necessarily buy it again if it broke.
Related: The blanket hoodies Mumsnetters love
How we tested
Three years of use during winter
Used weekly during peak times for outdoor activities
Tested both outdoors and in the home
I've owned and used the Conqueco Heated Vest for years now, so I have been able to thoroughly put it through its paces. To give Mumsnetters an accurate picture of the Conqueco's performance in winter, I scored it on a number of different factors: warmth, ease of use, variety of temperature settings, design, and value for money.
About the author
Jenny Wonnacott is a Content Editor for Mumsnet, specialising in writing, editing and optimising pregnancy care and child play content pages. As a parent of three primary school-aged children, Jenny is passionate about making Mumsetters' lives easier through rigorous research of all items recommended in reviews and buyers' guides.
She regularly tests out products for Mumsnet too, assessing whether their quality withstands the wear and tear of everyday family life.
About Mumsnet Reviews
All Mumsnet product reviews are written by real people after extensive research and testing. We work hard to provide honest and independent advice you can trust. Sometimes, we earn revenue through affiliate (click-to-buy) links in our articles. However, we never allow this to influence our coverage.
Read next: The cosiest foot warmers according to Mumsnetters