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Zippo 12-Hour Refillable Hand Warmer review: is the long-lasting heat worth the refuelling process?

This catalytic hand warmer can produce up to 12 hours of comforting heat to help combat cold temperatures, but with refuelling required and a premium price tag, does it live up to expectations? MNHQ writer Lucy put it to the test to find out.

By Lucy Cotterill | Last updated Feb 15, 2024

Zippo Hand Warmer in use
Our rating:

Price on writing: £26 | Buy now from Amazon

If you love spending time outdoors and enjoy the freedom of time ‘off-grid’, it's important to wear the right gear, especially when the temperatures drop. Whether it's a high-quality winter coat or a heated gilet with thermal socks, protecting yourself from the elements will help you enjoy your surroundings for longer, without feeling cold or uncomfortable. 

Adding one of the best hand warmers to your pocket or rucksack can help provide instant heat on the go, keeping those hands toasty and comfortable whatever the weather may throw at you. While reusable hand warmers from brands such as Ocoopa and HotRox can be convenient to recharge, they do require access to electricity, which may not always be available when you’re camping or hiking. 

A catalytic hand warmer such as the Zippo 12-Hour Refillable Hand Warmer can make a great alternative, using lighter fuel to produce between six and 12 hours of warmth for your hands and fingers. Rated by Mumsnet users for its long-lasting heat, Amazon users also praise this hard-wearing hand warmer for heat generation outside the home. Will the refuelling process be enough to put us off, however? I put it to the test to find out. 

Stay cosy at home with the best electric blankets and hot water bottles - as recommended by our trusty Mumsnetters.

What we like
  • Robust and durable metal design

  • Can be refuelled outside of the home 

  • Well suited to camping and hiking 

  • Significant heat generation 

  • Warming bag and filling cup included 

  • The slim design fits in pockets without adding bulk 

What we don't like
  • Need to purchase lighter fuel separately

  • The curved design doesn’t stand on its own, making the refuelling process a faff

  • Some may be uncomfortable with having flammable liquids in the home 

  • No off switch - need to wait for fuel to naturally exhaust over time 

  • High-polish chrome shows fingerprints easily

Our verdict

Zippo hand warmer in packaging
  • Warmth: 4.5/5

  • Longevity: 4/5

  • Ease of use: 2/5

  • Value for money: 3/5

Slim and lightweight, this Zippo catalytic hand warmer can produce up to 12 hours of impressive and consistent heat, providing comforting relief from cold weather conditions.

The heat generated by the Zippo is impressive and the ability to reuse it without a source of electricity makes it a great choice for outdoor activities such as camping and hiking, especially when you compare it to other products like heated gloves that need a power point. However, the lack of an off button and the refuelling process using lighter fluid felt like too much of a faff for everyday use.

What is the Zippo 12-Hour Refillable Hand Warmer?

The Zippo 12-Hour Hand Warmer is a robust and hard-wearing catalytic hand warmer that is well suited to outdoor adventures such as camping, hiking or fishing.

Powered by Zippo Hand Warmer Fuel or Zippo Lighter Fuel (sold separately for £6 on Amazon), this hand warmer can produce flameless warmth for between six and 12 hours (or until the fuel naturally exhausts). 

Related: The best women’s slippers for cosy nights in

How easy is the Zippo Hand Warmer to use?

Refilling the Zippo Hand Warmer

Setting up the Zippo 12-Hour Hand Warmer for the first time was incredibly daunting, largely due to the significant size of the instructions, the absolutely minuscule font size and the scattering of product safety logos all over the Zippo fuel packaging. I was a little nervous about setting it up incorrectly and for this reason, asked for my partner's help when using the hand warmer for the first time. 

In reality, I need not have worried - the process was actually very straightforward. The hand warmer doesn’t come pre-filled, so I needed to add the Zippo lighter fluid before use. First, I opened the top of the aluminium casing, removed the burner and popped this to one side. The hand warmer comes with a useful plastic fill cup, which is clearly marked with measurement lines representing six and 12 hours, so I was able to fill it only with the amount that I needed. The fill cup has a long easy pour spout at the end, helping prevent spills when adding the fluid into the warmer. 

After gently pouring the lighter fluid into the hand warmer, I secured the burner back into place, before using a lighter to light the catalytic burner. Once lit, the lid of the hand warmer can be clicked back into place, before popping the hand warmer into the safety pouch. 

The hand warmer itself is made from durable metal, and while it does show fingerprints on the chrome casing, I feel it would withstand some drops and knocks without breaking or falling apart. The slimline design is ideal for adding to the pocket of your coat without it feeling heavy or bulky. 

Related: Best heated throw for warmth and comfort

How warm is the Zippo 12-Hour Hand Warmer?

Zippo 12-hour Hand Warmer

The Zippo Hand Warmer produces one consistent heat level - and it's hot. It does take a little while to warm up, but after a few minutes, the heat was significant, so much so that I wouldn't recommend holding it with your bare hands. 

The protective drawstring pouch was a big plus point here, and even with my gloves on I was able to feel the benefits when holding the hand warmer. When placed into my pocket, it created a warm little cocoon for popping my hands into when they started to feel cold, but to warm both hands at the same time, I often found it easier to simply hold the warmer between my palms. 

Related: The best draught excluder for keeping the cold out

How long does the Zippo 12-Hour Refillable Hand Warmer stay hot?

Zippo 12-hour Refillable Hand Warmer in use outdoors

The Zippo Hand Warmer can stay hot for up to 12 hours (or in my experience slightly longer than this), with the duration lasting as long as it takes for the fuel to naturally expel. 

There are pros and cons to this. Yes, it has a significant lifespan, but there is no off button like you’ll find on electric hand warmers. As a result, this hand warmer is better suited to occasions where you need long-term heat, rather than a short school run or walk around the block with the dog. 

I found that the measurements on the filling cup were fairly accurate, getting around six-and-a-half hours from the six-hour measurement, and almost 13 hours from the maximum fill line. 

Related: Best kids’ blanket hoodie for chilly spring days

Price: is the Zippo 12-Hour Hand Warmer worth it?

At the time of writing, the Zippo 12-Hour Refillable Hand Warmer retails at around £26. However, unless you already have some, you’ll also need to factor in the cost of the Zippo Lighter Fuel, as this doesn’t come included. The overall price is therefore just over £32, making it one of the more expensive hand warmers I tested.  

There is no doubt that the heat produced is significant and the Zippo Hand Warmer maintains a consistent heat over far longer periods than hand warmers such as the HotRox. For those taking on more extreme outdoor activities, the ability to refuel this hand warmer ‘off-grid’ may make it worth paying the extra, however, it’s a costly option for everyday use. 

How we tested

Selection of the hand warmers we tested

I tested the Zippo 12-Hour Refillable Hand Warmer in my home town of Birmingham during early February when the weather was cold and wet. When testing the hand warmer's overall performance, I took into account the amount of heat generated, how easy it was to use and reuse, and its value for money on a cost-per-use basis. 

  • Tested over the course of a week in winter

  • Used both inside the home while working and relaxing as well as outdoors during exercise or the school run

  • Compared to other hand warmer products I've tested, including both reusable and disposable options

About the author

Lucy Cotterill is a mum of two and a Content Writer at Mumsnet, specialising in lifestyle product reviews and round-ups. Lucy has written product reviews on her own blog Real Mum Reviews since 2012, and she loves to research and explore the pros and cons of products, scrutinising expert guidance and consumer feedback to help people make confident purchases.  

Having written Mumsnet articles such as the best blanket hoodies, cosiest foot warmers, and most effective thermals for women, to name but a few, Lucy has spent a considerable amount of time researching cost-effective ways to keep warm in winter without turning up the thermostat. 

Working from home in a garden office and walking her girls to school each morning, she’s put a wide selection of hand warmers through their paces this winter, seeking out the top picks for heat generation, ease of use and overall value for money. 

Originally from a HR background with a degree in Business Studies, Lucy developed a real passion for blogging and writing when her children were young, going on to write for several online publications including US parenting site Pregistry and the Evening Standard. When she’s not manically tapping the keys of her laptop, Lucy loves nothing more than to cosy up with her Kindle and enjoy the latest thriller, head for a swim at the local gym or compete in Nintendo Switch rallies with her daughters aged six and 10.

About Mumsnet Reviews

All Mumsnet product reviews are written by real people after weeks of 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.

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