Are heated jackets safe to wear?
Updated: Jul 6, 2022
The quick (and only) answer is a resounding yes. Heated jackets and other heated clothing will not electrocute you or burn your skin.
Heated clothing has been around since World War 2 when pilots used heated flight suits to stay warm when flying at altitude for hours on end. Bikers have been staying warm while out on the road with heated jackets, pants, and boots for decades, using the battery from the bike to heat their clothing.
As battery technology has advanced over the years and small lithium-ion batteries have become cheaper, heated clothing has really come into its own. There are now numerous types of heated clothing available. While heated jackets were once the only type of heated apparel you could buy, you can now purchase heated vests, pants, socks, base layers, hats, hoodies, slippers, scarves, gloves, and mittens.
While it used to take a motorcycle battery to power heated clothing, the majority of heated apparel these days relies on one or two small lithium-ion batteries combined with carbon fiber heating elements to warm up the clothing. While battery life can vary between products, most heated clothing will keep the heat going for 4 to 16 hours.
As heated clothing goes mainstream, new converts often have questions about the safety of heated clothing so we thought it would be helpful to address the most common safety questions we get:
Can a heated jacket electrocute me?
No, you will not be electrocuted if it starts raining, snowing or you are plunged into a dunk tank wearing a heated jacket or other heated clothing. There is simply not enough voltage in heated clothing to electrocute a human being if the clothing is used properly. In addition, heated jackets and other heated clothing use waterproof membranes to surround the heating elements to protect from the risk of shock.
Most heated clothing operates on 5V, 7.3V, 12V or 20V batteries which are not enough to injure a person. You have to get into the 40V range before humans can be injured. All reputable heated clothing manufacturers also put safety systems in their clothing that shut the power down if it detects an issue with the battery or heating zones. Common safety features include:
Smart voltage detection
Over Charge & Discharge Protection
Over Voltage Protection
Over Current Protection
Short Circuit Protection
Over & Under Temperature Protection
While there is a small chance you will feel a slight tingle if you were suddenly plunged into a pool, most people wouldn’t even feel that. However, if you jump into a pool, river, ocean, or other body of water with the battery in the clothing, the battery will most likely be ruined.
Pouring rain, snow, hail or other precipitation falling from the sky is not going to have any impact on you or the heated clothing’s performance. In most cases, heated apparel will work even after being completely soaked, as long as the battery was not in the clothing when your dunking happened.
Here is a video of Bryce Fisher, co-founder of Ravean jumping in a freezing cold pool with a heated jacket on, as you can see, the jacket works fine even after three plunges in the pool.
The bottom line is that heated clothing will not electrocute you if used properly and you can safely wear it on the wettest of days.
Can my heated jacket catch fire?
No. it is almost unheard of for a jacket or other heated garment to catch on fire. Most heated clothing uses carbon fiber heat zones and carbon fiber has a flash point above 1800°F so it is almost impossible for the heat zones or clothing to catch fire.
In addition, most heated clothing will have an internal thermostat, which will heat it up to the desired temperature setting but if the temperature exceeds this setting for any reason, a built-in safety cut-out which will turn the jacket off immediately.
There have been a few incidents of defective batteries catching on fire, but this is extremely rare and seems to happen when the battery is being charged, not while in the heated clothing.
Workmanship is key
As with everything in life, it pays to deal with reputable manufacturers who take care to make sure their product is safe. Buying the cheapest heated jacket you can find, from a questionable brand is rarely a good idea.
There was a recall of heated clothing products by one manufacturer back in 2007 due to the risk of overheating or catching fire, which highlights the fact that it pays to do your research (or let us do it for you) before purchasing a heated jacket or other pieces of heated clothing. Our advice is to always stick with companies that have earned a reputation for safe and reliable products.
We only recommend products from manufacturers that we feel are trustworthy and do everything in their power to put out a safe (and stylish) product so you can shop our reviews with confidence.