The weather is starting to get cooler day after day. Though we still have sunny spells from time to time there's no chance of seeing the temperatures rising again. This is a good time to get prepared for the colder days.
I don't know about you but I have problems keeping my hands warm during the winter no matter how thick my gloves are. I even spun a 100% angora yarn and knit myself a pair of gloves with it. Angora being a lot warmer than wool, I thought it would do the trick but to my despair it didn't. So I decided to try hand warmers and I'm so glad I did because I no longer have frozen hands with blue fingertips during the cold winter months.
There are different kind of hand-warmers with their upsides and downsides. I've tried the basic ones with a little metal disc you flex to activate the heat and the more elaborate usb rechargeable ones and I'm going to share my thoughts on both hand warmers with you.
The basic ones I've tried were the "Heat In A Click". They come in different shapes and I chose the square ones. They're actually little pads filled with a gel like substance which is a non-toxic mineral salt and a metallic disc. They're quite small, light and easy to slip in a pocket or hold in the hand.
To activate the heat, just flex the metallic disc and a chemical reaction will form. The liquid will become harder and the pad will heat and stay warm for a while. The period of time it stays warm will depend on the outside temperature and whether the pad is well insulated or not. It will keep warm longer in a pocket. Once the pad is used and cold, it will become solid. To "recharge", just place a tea towel and water in a saucepan. Bring the water to a boil and add the pads in the boiling water. Let them sit there until they have completely liquefied. Fish them out being careful not to burn yourself and place them on a dry towel. Once dry, they're ready to be reused. That's it really ! There's also a website if you want to know more about those little pads.
On the upside, those pads are portable, they can be taken everywhere and due to their small size, they can easily be slipped in a pocket, or even into large gloves. They're very easy to use and keep warm for a while if well insulated. They're also cheap to buy.
On the downside, they don't have an on/off button so they'll heat continuously until they get cooler again. The recharging process is a bit of a hassle to me.
Last year, I decided to try the USB Rechargeable Hand-warmers. After reading many reviews on different devices, I chose the Energyflux slim 4400mAh rechargeable double sided hand-warmer by Human Creations. They have different models but I liked the shape and colours of this particular model.
Those more sophisticated hand-warmers are usb rechargeable and can also be used as chargers for mobile phone, MP3 players, digital cameras etc....I've only used this function once to charge my mobile phone and see if it works and I have to say I was impressed on how fast it did the job but I will only talk about the hand-warming function since this is the main reason why I bought this device.
The Energyflux need a charging time of four to six hours and will heat for approximately four hours depending on how well insulated the device is and which setting is chosen since it has a low and high setting. I honestly can't feel a significant difference between the two settings. As you can see on one of the pictures there's a micro usb port to charge the hand-warmer and the standard usb port is used to charge a digital device using the Energyflux slim.
It's pretty easy to use. Once it's fully charged, press the white button once and the three blue lights will lit up meaning it's fully charged. After a while, there will only be two blue lights on and when there's only one blue light on, it's time to charge the device again.
Press the white button and hold for a few seconds and a red light will start to flash slowly. The device is heating on its lower setting. press once more the white button and the red light will start to flash faster to indicate it's on its highest setting. Press and hold the white button to turn off the device. It's as easy as that.
I absolutely love those hand-warmers and couldn't do without them. They keep my fingers really warm and the on/off button is very convenient. I only turn the device on when needed and turn it off when I feel I've got enough heat. No need to keep it on constantly thus once charge last longer. I also like the cylinder shape because it makes it natural to hold to and though they're a bit thicker than the basic pads, they can still be slipped in a pocket.
On the upside, those hand-warmers have an on/off button and two level of heat. They have a nice shape and the material is very smooth making them nice to hold and they are also really easy to use and recharge. They're slim enough to be slipped in pockets and they come in a cool variety of colours.
On the downside, they take some time to recharge and they're quite expensive.
Overall I believe the Energyflux hand-warmers are worth the investment. I find myself using them a lot more than the basic pads because of the on/off button and also the ease to recharge.
The Heat In A Click pads can be bought on Ebay or Amazon. I'm sorry I can't give you any link since the seller I bought mine from a few years ago doesn't sell them anymore.
In the UK EnergyFlux Slim can be bought on Amazon UK