Best Winter Hand Warmers For The Whole Family

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Tired of cold hands all throughout the winter? It’s absolutely miserable. After dealing with cold hands and feet for YEARS, we’ve finally found a fantastic solution to staying comfortably warm, even on crazy cold days. 

For years, I’ve struggled with poor circulation in my hands, which makes spending time outside in the winter pretty challenging, especially since our family LOVES winter sports.  I had learned to mostly live with cold hands until I realized that a couple of my kids also seemed to always have cold hands.  That was when I sprung into action! I went on a mission to find the best hand warmers for our entire family, and I can’t wait to show you what we discovered!  

Below I’ll share the best hand warmers for skiing and other outdoor adventures so you can stay comfortably warm all winter long. 

reusable hand warmers in mittens

Why Do Hands Get So Cold?

Hands are often one of the first things to get cold while skiing or doing other outdoor adventures, both for kids and adults. Often, hands get cold in the winter because people are not careful about when and how they wear their mittens or gloves. One of the biggest culprits I see is people removing their mittens to use their phones!

How to Keep Hands Warmer without Hand Warmers

The first thing that you need to do if your hands get cold in the winter is to make sure that you’re wearing a high-quality pair of mittens. We’ve reviewed all of the best mittens for kids, so if you’ve got little ones, that’s a great place to start.

I have an incredible pair of mittens that I’ve loved to death for the last 15 years. They’re mittens from Swany and they’re a mitten with glove liners and a side zipper so you can easily unzip the zipper, have the dexterity of a glove, and zip them back up for warmth. Until recently, they were the best thing that I had found to keep my hands warm (with a very thick glove liner).

If you’re trying to decide between gloves and mittens to keep your hands warm, I recommend mittens EVERY TIME!  They’re so much warmer since they have less surface area that’s exposed to the cold.  I also love that mittens work better with hand warmers on super cold days.  

best kids mittens

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Different Types of Hand Warmers

If you’re looking for an extra boost of warmth, there are a few different types of hand warmers that you can consider.  In this review, we’re going to consider that you’ll be active and moving around, so you’ll need to have hand warmers that can fit inside a mitten or glove.  There are several excellent large hand warmers out there, that don’t fit this criteria, so we’ll mention them at the bottom (since they still have some excellent features).

Typically most hand warmers fall into the categories of chemical hand warmers, electric rechargeable hand warmers and natural hand warmers.  

Quick Picks

Here is our list of our top picks. If you want to read more about each hand warmer keep reading below.

Best Natural Hand Warmers

Aurora Heat Natural Hand Warmers

Use Code BRINGTHEKIDS to save 10% at Aurora Heat. 

Best Chemical/Disposable Hand Warmers

Ignik Hand Warmers

best kids gloves and mittens

Natural Hand Warmers – Sustainable and Reusable

Natural hand warmers don’t use any chemicals or batteries. They trap and spread your own body heat. They are the best option for sustainability and are reusable. 

Here are some benefits of multi-use reusable hand warmers:

  • Easily fits in gloves/mittens
  • Easy to store in a pocket
  • Can be used all day or night
  • Reusable and doesn’t create waste
  • Biodegradable 

Here are some drawbacks of multi-use reusable hand warmers:

  • More upfront cost
  • Not as warm as chemical/rechargeable 

Best Natural Hand Warmers 

Our favorite hand warmers are the Aurora Heat natural hand warmers.  Our family suddenly got a whole lot warmer when we started using them. Their warmers are made of sheared beaver pelts and are some of the softest things that I’ve ever touched (you’ll find the kids cuddling up with them regularly). The fur traps your body heat so that you stay comfortably warm all day long. They’re more comfortable, safer (never worry about burns OR hand warmers getting cold), and are an amazing sustainable solution for keeping hands warm during the winter. Best of all, they’ll last for years and years and are completely biodegradable!

reusable fur hand warmers in mittens

If you spend a good amount of time outside in the winter, these are easily the best options.  They’re a bigger upfront investment, but I can’t say enough good things about them.  I always have a pair tucked into my mittens, and even wear them under my socks on super cold days. As long as the fur is touching your skin, you’ll stay warm!

Unlike most other hand warmers for winter that generate heat, these trap and spread your own body heat, so they’re best used all day long, not just when your hands get cold later in the day.  

Use Code BRINGTHEKIDS to save 10% at Aurora Heat. 

Chemical Hand Warmers

When most people think of foot and hand warmers for skiing, this is what automatically comes to mind. These chemical warmers activate instantly and start generating their own heat as soon as the package is activated.

Here are some benefits of one-time-use chemical hand warmers:

  • Affordable
  • Easy to store in a pocket
  • Generate heat quickly

Here are some drawbacks to chemical hand warmers:

  • Only heat for a few hours and then are dead
  • Generate unnecessary waste
  • Temperature cannot be regulated and often leads to burns when used inside of ski boots for foot warmers.
  • Heat times are inconsistent.  Last weekend, we had 2 different pairs that lost all of their heat in just over an hour.  

NOTE:  After getting a burn from putting a chemical hand warmer in my boots years ago, I recommend that you be very careful when using these with kids.  Only use these for kids who are fairly independent and who can communicate if it’s getting too hot and can quickly remove their boot or mitten if it’s too warm. 

READ NEXT: 7 Tips for Keeping Wrists Warm in the Winter

Best Chemical Hand Warmers

Disposable hand warmers are okay in a pinch, but they’re not the ones you should be relying on every day. While they do an excellent job of warming you in an unexpected situation, they do create a lot of unnecessary waste.  If the weather suddenly turns bad or you get unexpectedly cold, these will feel like a literal lifesaver.  The absolute BEST disposable hand warmers are the Ignik hand warmers.

They last about ten hours and if you only use them part of the day you can put them back in the packaging and you can reactivate the hand warmer up to 3 days later. These are a great choice if you are going on a multi-day ski trip and need hand warmers for each day. I really like how they use less waste than other brands. After you are done using you can cut open the hand warmer to compost the inside material and recycle the outer material. They do take at least 10 minutes to heat up. They don’t seem to get as hot as some other brands so we were able to let our four and six-year-olds use them. We still asked them throughout the day if their hands were getting too hot to avoid burns. Ignik also sells XL warmers (lasts 24 hours), foot warmers, and toe warmers

Other Chemical Hand Warmer Options

Another great option are from Hot Hands.  They’re pretty compact and thin, so you can stuff them just about anywhere, which is a great benefit.  They’re also surprisingly affordable if you buy a large pack online.  We find that these typically stay warm for about 8-9 hours, which is better than other chemical hand warmers. 

Little Hotties also makes disposable chemical hand warmers. They last about 8 hours. These hand warmers are odorless and environmentally friendly. You can buy them in a pack of 40 which is nice. You will need to use them within the ski season because they do seem to not work as well if they are older. 

snowbasin family skiing

Best Reusable Chemical Warmers

If you want instant hand warmers that you can stick in your pocket that are reusable, you’ll love the HotSnapz hand warmers.  I love that they’re reusable, but they do require a bit more work, since you have to boil and cool them between every use to “reset” them.  Truthfully, I forget to boil them more often than not, so unless you’re very organized, this might not be the best option.  The HotSnapz hand warmers work really great for about 30-45 minutes and then they start to cool down.

Rechargeable Hand Warmers

There are a lot of great rechargeable hand warmers on the market.  We like that rechargeable hand warmers usually have a long battery life and will maintain a consistent temperature throughout the day.  The biggest downside to them is their bulk.  All of them are too bulky to work inside of the average mitten, so you can only get warm by holding them or putting them in your pocket.  This does a good job, but mittens are a better overall option if you ever need to get anything done AND have warm hands.

If you have an activity where you’ll be sedentary (maybe a tailgate party, watching a sporting event, or Christmas caroling), then these will work for you.

Here are some benefits of rechargeable hand warmers:

  • Easy to store in a pocket
  • Can control the heat settings
  • Rechargeable 

Here are some drawbacks of rechargeable hand warmers:

  • More upfront cost
  • Remember to recharge before use
  • Won’t fit inside gloves/mittens
baby wearing hat in winter

Best Rechargeable Hand Warmers

These rechargeable hand warmers are too big to fit in gloves but would be great in pockets. The battery lasts 16 hours on the lowest heat seating and about 8 on the highest setting. They also have a usb if you need to charge your phone. They have a small screen that lets you know the heat setting and how much battery power is left. They are on the heavier side but would definitely keep your hands warm.

Other Rechargeable Hand Warmers

Zippo rechargeable hand warmer comes with two USB ports and a built-in flashlight. This one would be great for skiing and camping. It is a different shape that fits your hand pretty well. It lasts about 9 hours on the lowest setting. The downside is that it only comes with one so you would need to switch pockets to keep your hands warm. 

Written by Jessica Averett

Hi, I'm Jessica! After meeting my husband on a chairlift, we now live in the mountains of Utah with our 5 kids. As a former ski instructor and mom, I'm here to help you make your family ski trips as easy, and FUN, as possible!