LAST UPDATED : Feb 2018
When winter strikes and you want to keep warm without the bulk of wearing a jacket, a good quality heated hoodie can make all the difference.
Throw in a couple of slim carbon fiber heating pads to ward off extreme temperatures, and suddenly your simple hoodie becomes a warm and cozy garment that’s flexible and highly durable. You get the benefits of a fully insulated jacket without the associated bulk.
Traditionally the Milwaukee heated hoodie range has been designed for builders and contractors working on sub-zero commercial job sites. However, they are equally useful to anybody who wants to keep warm without wearing a jacket. While they have been designed to be used outside, they are perfect for indoors where a bulky jacket may not be suitable.
In this review, we look under the hood to see how well they perform and provide a buying guide to help you select the best size and fit for your body type.
Options and Comparisons
Things to consider before buying a Milwaukee Heated Hoodie
Because heated hoodies tend to be worn outside they need to be made of durable, long-lasting materials.
Unlike traditional hoodies which can be worn loose and baggy, a Milwaukee heated hoodie needs to have a snug fit to ensure the heat transfers from the heating elements onto your upper body.
The whole reason you are getting a heated hoodie is for the warmth it provides. You need a heated hoodie that can heat up quickly and is easy regulate the temperature of.
You need a battery that will last at least three or four hours. The longer the battery life the better. You also need a battery that performs well in cold weather and can be recharged in a reasonable amount of time.
Milwaukee Heated Hoodie Review
The Milwaukee Tool Company are renowned for making high quality heated clothing and the M12 heated hoodie is no exception. With more than 7 years in the heated gear market, they have the technology sorted and provide a reliable and cozy garment to keep you toastie on cold winter days.
You don’t have to be a builder or contractor to appreciate the warmth these garments can provide. Anyone with Raynaud’s Syndrome or Adrenal failure will certainly find the heated hoodie to be a welcome addition to the wardrobe.
The hoodie is delivered in a sizeable box that makes you realize this isn’t your thin and cheap hoodie you buy from your local clothing store and throw into a plastic bag to take home.
The first thing you notice when you open the box is the quality and durability of the hoodie. When you pick up the garment, it has a weightiness and texture that makes you appreciate the warmth it will soon provide.
The Milwaukee Tools website explains
Milwaukee® M12™ Heated Hoodies utilize a Waffle Weave interior lining to trap the heat generated from carbon fiber elements and drastically improve warmth and comfort when compared to a standard hoodie or mid-layer.
The inner and outer layers are made of a cotton/polyester blend. The polyester not only reduces weight, but it also increases resistance to abrasion and tearing.
The finish is of really high quality, with attention to details that can only have come from real-life testing. For example, the pocket edges are reinforced to stop them fraying.
The front of the Milwaukee hoodie has a plastic zip that allows you to remove it in the same way you remove a jacket with the need to pull it over your head. The zip has the added bonus that it allows you to wear the hoodie with the front unzipped to stay reasonably cool when the weather permits.
The cuffs and waistband are made from a rib-knit design that stops drafts and moisture entering the hoodie. The rib-knit around the waist helps stop the hoodie from riding up your body as you bend or stoop over. The wristbands also stop the hoodie from inching up your arms as you work.
The hoodie has three pockets (and a place to store the battery). One of the pockets is designed to safely store a cell phone or other small item. The two larger pockets are useful for small tools and other items you need to keep on hand.
Many other cheap hoodies have a single pouch across the front that is next to useless for storing valuable items. This is not the case with the Milwaukee heated hoodie.
Another common problem with budget hoodies is that the outer surface tends to bobble after repeated washing, the cuffs tend to lose their elasticity and the pull strings around the hood start to swell and fray.
According to one owner, after 10 months of daily wear, this didn’t happen to the Milwaukee heated hoodie. While the cuffs did lose a tiny bit of elasticity, they are still more than functional and have performed significantly better than budget brands. As far as the surface is concerned, there’s no sign of bobbling – probably due to the choice of polyester in the design.
- Secure pocket for cellphone
- Good resistance to abrasion and tearing
- Full length zip allows easy removal
- Suitable for three seasons of the year
- None noted
Performance and Heat Zones
Three carbon fiber heated zones are built into the Milwaukee heated hoodie. One is located across the back, and the other two are on the left and right-hand sides of the front.
You won’t feel the wires built into the lining as they’re made of carbon fiber. We really like the way the heated hoodie can be thrown into a washing machine with your other clothes. It’s also safe to put it in the dryer if you need it quickly dried in the middle of winter. (Don’t forget to remove the battery before washing though)
A rubberized button located in the chest area makes it easy to control the amount of heat generated. When the heating is turned off, it looks like a small logo stitched into the chest. However, when the button is pressed, it starts to glow a different color depending on the heat setting you have selected.
Each press of the button cycles the heat setting and color of the button.
- Blue = Low
- White = Middle
- Red = Hot
The hoodie warms up within a minute or so and the heat on the highest setting is quite strong. Most of the time you’ll want to run on the lower heat settings with the added benefit of a longer battery life.
As the heat transfers best when the fabric is sitting against your skin, a snug fit gives the best results. Check out the fitting section below for details on how to select the correct size.
In the middle of winter, you will probably want to wear a jacket over the top. As long as the jacket isn’t too tight, this works fine. The battery pack sticks out an inch or two so the jacket needs to be able to accommodate the extra space.
We suspect customer feedback had led to a redesign of the battery pocket. All of the latest hoodies come with a new low-profile external battery pocket with a mesh sub-pocket that’s designed to hold the battery upright. By moving the battery pack to one side, it doesn’t poke you in the back when you’re seated or jump into a truck or car. We think these are all good improvements to the earlier design.
- Washer and Dryer safe
- Three heat settings
- Colour coded power button
- Position of the battery pocket on some hoodies
Heated hoodies and jackets are only a small subsection of the products produced by Milwaukee Tools. They also produce a wide range of hand and power tools.
With this in mind, it’s no surprise that the Milwaukee heated hoodies (and jackets) are powered by the same M12 RedLithium battery technology used by their range of battery powered tools. However, it’s important to note that the jackets and hoodies have been redesigned to use a newer low profile pocket. While the hoodie can be heated using the same battery as the power tools, the power tool battery is bulky and bulges from the side of the hoodie.
The battery lasts about 6 hours on the low setting, 4 hours on medium and 2.5 hours on high.
You can extend the battery life by turning it off when you’ve warmed up or driving in the car, and turning it on again when you start to feel the cold. Of course, the other option is to buy a second battery – or to use a spare battery from your Milwaukee power tools.
Even though it only takes a couple of hours to recharge a battery, having a spare one on hand is well worth the investment if you’re working long hours outside in the middle of winter – especially when you can get spare batteries for less than $50.
Fit and sizes
You probably have a few hoodies at home, and you probably find that you like them to be a bit baggier.
To get the best performance from a heated hoodie, it’s important that you pay attention to how well they fit your body. If you get one that’s too large, the heating elements won’t touch your body and the heat will be wasted. As most of the heat is transferred through contact with your skin or clothing, you need to wear a snug-fitting size.
Milwaukee Tool provide a useful sizing chart:
At the time of writing, the Milwaukee heated hoodies are available in 3 colors (Black, Gray, Red) and 6 sizes.
- S – Chest 38 – 40 inch, Waist 30 to 32 inch
- M – Chest 40 – 42 inch, Waist 32 to 34 inch
- L – Chest 42 – 44 inch, Waist 34 to 36 inch
- XL – Chest 44 – 46 inch, Waist 36 to 38 inch
- 2X – Chest 46 – 48 inch, Waist 38 to 40 inch
- 3X – Chest 48 – 50 inch, Waist 40 to 42 inch
Take the time to measure yourself to ensure you get a good fit and are not disappointed with the heating results. The diagram shows where to take the measurements.
In really cold weather, you can get even better heat if you wear a work vest or jacket over the top.
Keep in mind that in cold weather, extra layers need to go ON TOP of the hoodie. Wearing a layer between the hoodie and your body (other than a light t-shirt or vest) will stop the heat getting to your body.
Here is an older video review from the ToolBoxBuzz website.
IMPORTANT: Since this review was produced (2015), Milwaukee has changed the location of the battery pack and made it into a low form factor design. The comments about the size and position of the battery no longer apply.
We especially like this video because it highlights the need to select a snug fitting size.
The Milwaukee hoodie and battery pack are covered by two different warranties.
- The heated hoodie has a one year warranty to be free from defects in material and workmanship.
- Depending on the part number, the battery has a warranty from 1 to 3 years in length.
Does it have USB charging port?
Can it be washed?
Yes you can wash this jacket. It is both washer and dryer safe.
The hoodie is supplied with washing instruction that explains the steps
- Remove the battery and the battery pack
- Wash on gentle mode
- Hang or tumble dry on low heat
- Don’t iron or dryclean
How long does it take to recharge the battery?
This depends on the size of battery you are using. In most cases, the battery recharges in a couple of hours. A car recharging cable is also available (but not included) to top up the charge while you are on the road. High capacity batteries take longer to charge (but also last longer when they are used)
How warm is it?
The highest setting is nice and warm. Its great for 40 degree days with the sweatshirt alone.
Owners report using it in a deer stand under a hunting jacket in -15F with windchill. It kept them NOTICEABLY warmer and they were able to sit an extra couple hours with the heated hoodie keeping their core warmer.
Can you wear it in the rain?
The hoodie is not waterproof and you will get rain soaked like any other sweatshirt or hoodie. The hoodies are well fitted and wearing a rain jacket or slick cover over the top is the best idea.
What options are available?
The hoodie can be purchased with or without a battery and charging unit. Even if you already have a battery from one of your power tools, buying a battery with the hoodie is more cost effective than buying a second battery as a separate purchase.
The Milwaukee M12 Heated Hoodies are an awesome addition to your wardrobe. Not only are they highly functional – but they are also fashionable enough for everyday wear.
We love the way they can be thrown in the washing and cleaned with the rest of the laundry. The polyester/cotton material wears well and looks good even after months of continuous use.
With a full range of sizes and colors, our only reservation is that considering the need for a snug fit, it would be nice if Milwaukee Tool created a line of hoodies suitable for the shape of a woman’s body. With that said, the small and medium-size hoodies work well if they’re worn under a vest or jacket that presses it against the form of your body.
In the meantime, the women's heated jackets have excellent reviews and are certainly worth a look.
We like how the hoodie’s zip design allows you to use the battery to keep warm in winter, and the ability to wear it unzipped and without the battery in spring and fall.
In summary, if you spend a lot of time outside or feel the cold, the Milwaukee heated hoodies are a must-have for your wardrobe!
- Durable and well made
- Up to 6 hours of heat from one battery
- Machine washable
- Zip design allows you to wear in 3 seasons of the year
- Good range of colors and sizes (up to 3XL)
- No specific womens hoodie
Image credits: Amazon.com and Milwaukeetool.com