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Best hand warmers to keep your hands nice and toasty

Heat the person rather than the room, and stay warm outside when the temperature drops with our pick of the best hand warmers for 2022.

By Mumsnet HQ | Last updated Sep 9, 2022

Best hand warmers

Gloves are all very well but in a British winter (and particularly when energy prices are sky-rocketing) sometimes you need a little more by way of warmth. 

Let us introduce you to hand warmers; small, pocket-sized gadgets that heat up by one of several methods and keep your fingers and hands toasty for anything from half an hour to all day. They’re great for outdoor pursuits, as well as when working at home and in need of a little heat to combat sitting still or day, and also if you suffer from arthritis or conditions such as Reynaud’s Syndrome, which affects circulation. 

You can buy disposable as well as reusable versions, as well as warmers that are electric, battery operated, catalytic (fuel), silicone or carbon. Some have to be dropped in boiling water to reset them, while other, more modern types, you simply plug into a USB to recharge. 

Here’s our selection of the best hand warmers for every mitt, mitten, glove and budget. 

Mumsnet Picks

£4.99
Lifesystems Reusable Hand Warmers
Best budget

Lifesystems Reusable Hand Warmers
Amazon

Buy now
£29.99
Celestron Firecell Plus
Best overall

Celestron Firecell Plus
Amazon

Buy now
£32.50
Hotrox Rechargeable Hand Warmer
Best rechargeable

Hotrox Rechargeable Hand Warmer
Amazon

Buy now

Which are the best hand warmers?

  1. Best hand warmers overall: Celestron Firecell Plus
  2. Best budget hand warmers: Lifesystems Reusable Hand Warmers
  3. Best rechargeable hand warmer: Hotrox Rechargeable Hand Warmer
  4. Best disposable hand warmers: Hot hands instant hand warmers
  5. Best USB rechargeable hand warmers: Unigear Rechargeable Handwarmers

1. Best overall hand warmers: Celestron Firecell Plus

Celestron Firecell Plus

Price: £29.99 | Buy now from Amazon

“For work, where I am not allowed to wear anything below the elbow, I tend to keep reusable heat packs in my pockets and shove my hands on them every chance I get.” Newnameforanewstart

This really is the mother of hand warmers. It stays warm for a mighty 12 hours, outstripping most other hand warmers on the market, and also can be used as a flashlight and a portable power pack. For those reasons it’s great for keen campers, but packs a nice hot punch in your pocket on the school run or the commute to work in winter. 

You can choose to heat just one side or both, and comes with a USB charging cable and travel pouch. 

It isn’t the cheapest option available but its aluminium shell makes it very robust and it will keep your mitts warm for years. 

2. Best budget hand warmers: Lifesystems Reusable Hand Warmers

Lifesystems Reusable Hand Warmers

Price: £4.99 | Buy now from Amazon

“Have you tried the hand warmers you can slip into gloves? I use them a lot (buy loads when they are reduced in spring!) the chemical ones last eight hours or so or you can get the reusable ones which last an hour or so.” Microwaste

This pack of two reusable handwarmers comes at an excellent price. For a fiver you can heat your hands again and again on frosty days. Just click the metal disc and gently squeeze the gel packs to get them to harden and heat up. They should stay warm for at least 45 minutes - enough to get you through the second chilly half of that football club match. To reset them, simply simmer in boiling water until the crystals have dissolved again.

They aren’t as robust and don’t retain heat for as long as battery-operated models such as the Celestron, above, but for a budget option that does the job, they’re a great buy. 

3. Best rechargeable hand warmer: Hotrox Rechargeable Hand Warmer

Hotrox Rechargeable Hand Warmer

Price: £32.50 | Buy now from Amazon

“If you look at anything sold to people with Raynauds it should help. My daughter has a hot rox rechargeable hand warmer that she keeps in her pocket.” Scissor

Another hand warmer that does double duty: as well as warming your hands, it also gives a charge to your mobile phone if you run low when out and about. 

It’s also one of the most comfortable and effective hand warmers we uncovered, though. It’s ergonomically designed, so it sits neatly in the curves of your hand, and was originally made for people who suffer from Raynaud’s syndrome. 

There are two heat settings (45 and 50 degrees) and the device heats up to the first setting within 15 seconds. Unlike many types of charger, particularly silicon gel types, you can switch this off to conserve its energy once your hands are warm enough, which is really handy if you want to keep it with you all day when you’re out and about. It does take a few hours to recharge, but it’s nice to be able to switch it on and off as needed. Small lights on the device let you know when it needs charging and when it’s heating up and at heat. 

4. Best disposable hand warmers: Hot Hands Instant Hand Warmers

Hot Hands Instant Hand Warmers. 6 Pairs

Price: £5.99 (RRP: £7.90) | Buy now from Amazon

“Could he try ‘tea bag hand warmers’? They fit inside gloves and possibly inside a beanie hat and provide warmth for a good few hours.” MrsWooster

Admittedly, these are not an environmentally friendly choice but if you need something that will work instantly, stay hot for ages and then you can forget about, these are your bunnies. The pack includes six pairs of hand warmers, which give up to 10 hours of continuous heat. They’re very handy for camping or in the car in case of a breakdown as they don’t need to be charged or boiled to work. And while they’re very warm, they’re also very thin, so slip easily into pockets and inside gloves, unlike some of the bulkier rechargeable versions. 

5. Best USB rechargeable hand warmers: Unigear Rechargeable Handwarmers

Unigear Rechargeable Handwarmers

Price: £21.99 | Buy now from Amazon

“I bought some USB rechargeable heated pebbles for holding in your hands. They look nice and warm up quickly and retain heat for hours. I got them from ebay. Search USB rechargeable hand warmers.” MaMisled

Neat, thoughtfully designed and super effective, we were really impressed by this USB rechargeable model. It charges in two to three hours, heats up in three seconds and stays warm for up to eight hours. We liked the easy-to-read screen which shows you at a glance how much charge you have left, and the temperature range.

It’s super-safe, too. The battery has three temperature sensors to prevent overheating and the casing is made from aviation-grade for improved heat dissipation.

It also doubles as a pocket power bank for iOS and Android phones, cameras and tablets. 

If you liked the Celestron Firecell but have budget restraints and can live without the torch, we think this would be a good alternative. 

6. Best catalytic hand warmers: Zippo 12-hour Hand Warmers

Zippo 12-hour Hand Warmers

Price: £21.99 | Buy now from Amazon

“I have a Zippo hand warmer device which is very good.” RainbowTrain

Made by lighter brand, Zippo, in the same iconic shape as their lighters, this hand warmer looks pretty cool and is nice and small and lightweight too. It also comes with a sweet little bag to warm it in. 

We’ll admit we were a bit taken aback by the fact that it runs off something very like lighter fuel, but it works flamelessly using a catalytic burner, so there’s no need for concern, although it is a slight faff to refill. 

On a full tank, though, this stays warm for 12 hours and because it’s so small and light, it’s easy to have in the bottom of your bag for cold hands emergencies. 

It’s a reasonable price, though you will have to buy the hand warmer fluid to top up, so take that into account.

7. Best charcoal hand warmer: Pocket Charcoal Hand Warmer with 13 rods

Pocket Charcoal Hand Warmer with 13 rods

Price: £10.95 | Buy now from Amazon

“Those heat pad things made from activated charcoal that are meant for joint pain are brilliant to keep in your bag and near instant heat. Plus the heat from them lasts for 8-12 hours without fading.” AnnieOH1

Charcoal warmers come with fuel sticks you light to create the heat and have been largely surpassed these days by electric and battery powered models. But if you like your hand heat a little more trad, they are still available and they tend to have a long-lasting heat output. Obviously the heat can’t be turned on or off or up and down, but their output tends to be good. 

This one comes with 13 fuel sticks, too. Reviews suggest there’s a bit of a knack to lighting them, but once going they’re toasty warm for hours.

8. Best hand warmer for arthritis: Human Creations Energy Flux Hand Warmer

Human Creations Energy Flux Hand Warmer

Price: £35.95 | Buy now from Amazon

“Could you get two rechargeable hand warmers instead? Cheaper and you can wash your gloves.” User478

Definitely one of the best-looking hand warmers we came across. This portable ergonomic warmer is not too big but fits snugly into your hand. It has lovely chunky buttons designed so you can use them with gloves on to switch on and off and change between high and low heat settings. 

Like some others, this doubles as a power bank for your phone, and we do like a gadget that does more than one job. 

The Energy Flux charges to full in four hours.

9. Best hand warmers for children: Hot Snapz Reusable Hand and Pocket Warmers

Hot Snapz Reusable Hand and Pocket Warmers

Price: £31 | Buy now from Amazon

“A few of the instant hand warmers (the ones you recharge in a pan of water at night) will give them a little boost.” MinesAPintofTea

Like the Lifesystems hand warmers, our budget choice, these use the crystallisation method of heating up with tiny metal discs you click inside the gel pouches that turn the gel hard and heat it up quickly. They become hot almost instantly, which is a bonus, but you do have to boil them to reset. We like the combination of pocket and hand warmers with their different shapes and colours to tell them apart, and they seem really simple to use. 

We must be honest, these don’t stay hot for nearly as long as most of the rechargeable electric or battery powered warmers - you’re looking at about 50-60 minutes for the pocket warmers and 30-40 minutes for the hand warmers but they’d definitely take the edge off a chilly day. 

10. Best hand warmers for outdoors: Ocoopa Hand Warmers

Ocoopa Hand Warmers

Price: £28 | Buy now from Amazon

“I hate the cold too and live in Northern Scotland. I tend to wear thinner multiple layers rather than one thick jumper if that makes sense. I also have 2 sets of rechargeable hand warmers (one for hands and one for down my boots).” BlueBellona

If you’re outside all day you need a hand warmer that’s going to last the distance and this model promises up to 15 hours heat, which should be more than enough to get you home and safely under a warm blanket in your dressing gown. 

The Ocoopa charges to full in 3.5 hours and heats up in five seconds so it delivers pretty instant heat. It’s simple to use, with one button that controls everything and has variable heat settings so you can get it just right. 

We like the soft-to-touch curved silicone outer layer, which is available in several colours and also protects the unit if you drop it, making it great for outdoor exercise in winter. 

This is another model that doubles as a phone charger, too, although the Ocoopa also has dual output so can charge two phones at once if needed. 

Finding the right hand warmers for you

Get your hands on something to keep your hands warm with our guide to buying the best hand warmers. 

Hand warmers aren’t something you buy every day, so you might not have much of an idea of what you want before you go shopping. Here are a few things you might want to think about first...

What are hand warmers for?

As they say on the tin, they warm your hands when you’re cold, whether that’s outside or sitting still at your desk working. 

Do hand warmers really work?

In general, if you’re cold, you’re better off warming the core of your body and stopping heat escaping from you by wearing a hat. If you’re trying to save on heating this winter, you’ll have heard about heating the person, rather than the room, so anything like electric blankets and extra clothing will help.

Hand warmers give pretty instant heat to your extremities, however, which can really help you feel instantly less chilly. They’re particularly good for those with poor circulation or conditions such as Reynaud’s syndrome.

What types of hand warmer are there?

There are chemical versions made from either silicone or materials that are air-activated (these ones tend to be toxic so keep them away from pets and children). These tend to be the disposable ones, too. Then you have ones that work using fuel or charcoal, which you light to create the heat. The easiest ones to use are the battery-powered or electric ones, which can usually also be recharged. 

What brand of hand warmers is best?

There are lots of smaller brands on the market but if you want to go for a well-known brand, then Ocoopo, Zippo, Hot Hands and Celestron are all a good bet. 

We chose the Celestron Firecell Plus as our best buy for its all-round excellent performance and the fact that it doubles as a torch and phone battery booster, too. 

Celestron Firecell Plus
"I keep reusable heat packs in my pockets and shove my hands on them every chance I get."

Newnameforanewstart

Celestron Firecell Plus

Celestron
Amazon.co.uk

Buy now

Which hand warmers last the longest?

Obviously there are disposable models which do one turn and then go in the bin but most hand warmers are now reusable. How long they last depends really on how robust they are to begin with.

Eventually, the silicone ones do tend to either split or lost their powers a bit and don’t fully recharge, but then they’re less expensive initially.

If you want a hand warmer that will last years, you’re better off looking at some of the electric and battery powered warmers with a hard outer shell. We liked the Ocoopa Hand Warmers, which has a hard shell that’s covered in soft silicone so that if you drop it it’s more likely to bounce than smash.

Ocoopa Hand Warmers
"I also have 2 sets of rechargeable hand warmers (one for hands and one for down my boots)."

BlueBellona

Ocoopa Hand Warmers

Ocoopa
Amazon.co.uk

Buy now

Are reusable hand warmers safe?

Yes, they should all be thoroughly tested but do buy them from somewhere reputable and check their safety credentials, particularly with catalytic and charcoal models. Also look for models that have had additional safety testing such as the Unigear hand warmers

How long do reusable hand warmers last?

Only one go, but they tend to stay hot for around an hour.

How do you reactivate hand warmers?

The silicone ones you simmer in boiling water until the crystals disperse and the warmer goes floppy again. Most of the other reusable models you simply plug into a socket or USB to recharge, as you would with a phone. 

How many times can you use a reusable hand warmer?

Infinitely, depending on how well its made and how long it lasts. Battery-powered and electrical models are more likely to do more turns than a silicone or fuel model. 

What temperature do hand warmers stay at?

They heat to different temperatures depending on the design so check the small print. Some have varying temperatures so you can select the sort of heat you want. 

How we chose our recommendations

First, we consulted the Mumsnet Talk forums, where we found lots of Mumsnetters looking for ways to keep warmer this winter. We made a note of any types and brands of hand warmers that had good recommendations as well as those that had not impressed our users. We value an honest review and we know we will always get those from the real parents on the boards. 

Next, we looked at industry awards and reviews to see which brands consumer experts felt were worth purchasing and we cross-referenced this with the reviews from real parents. 

We also looked into the safety aspects of hand warmers to find out what to look for in a good model and anything to be aware of and made sure any hand warmers on our long list made the grade.

Finally, we collated all that information to come up with a list of 10 hand warmers that we think offered something for everyone. 

Why you should trust us

Here at Mumsnet, we’re lucky enough to have millions of real parents on our site, sharing information about products and services that have impressed them - and those that haven’t. We know that if Mumsnetters are recommending something then it’s usually worth a look. 

Our reviews are never paid for by advertisers unless we state otherwise and we’re never swayed by press releases for new products - only by honest, solid reviews from people who have used the products themselves. 

Our writers are all experienced consumer journalists who can tell a good product from a duff one from miles away and know exactly what to look for in terms of design and performance, as well as having an understanding of what parents are looking for in a product. 

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