Milwaukee M12 Women’s Heated Jacket Review
By Sarah Green-Carmichael
My sister-in-law, a junior in college, is a fierce field hockey player. Our family being a tight-knit one, my husband and I like to catch as many games as we can, even when it’s November and the temperatures dip down below freezing. There’s only been one challenge: I’m a big wuss when it comes to standing around in the cold. I don’t mind cold weather—in fact, I even enjoy it—when I’m doing something active, like skiing or hiking, but put me on a wintry sideline for 2-3 hours and tell me to stand still and I wither faster than a dahlia at first frost.
I think the Milwaukee Heated Women’s Jacket may just be the thing that changes that.
At first blush, it looks just like a regular jacket – perhaps slightly less bulky and more attractively cut than most. They’ve done a great job of designing the jacket to protect against cold drafts coming in through the usual weak spots:
The jacket hits low enough on the hip to protect your back from icy blasts coming up the back (even if you prefer low-rise pants) and has a stylish, high collar to protect your neck. The sleeves have a soft inner layer with thumb-holes to keep your wrists warm. I read some online reviews to try and get the sizing right; women’s sizing always varies so much from brand-to-brand. I’m usually between a small and a medium, and in this case, I went with the medium – it fit perfectly.
Here’s how it works. You charge up the battery (with the provided cord and charger) and put it in a pocket in the back of the jacket, where it plugs into a cord. If you’re cold, you simply turn on the heat by pressing a button on the left lapel – you should see the button glow red. This means the jacket is on “high.” Press the button again to turn the jacket to medium (the button will glow white) or low (blue). To turn the heat completely off, hold the button down for a few seconds. This model actually has two buttons / zones: one that heats the front and the pocket area, perfect for warming hands, and one that heats the upper back.
I tried the jacket out in a number of different circumstances: with and without the heat;
- Jogging and walking
- Standing on the sideline
- Working in the yard
The jacket was perfect for long walks and yard work. It was much less bulky and easier to move around in that the jackets I usually wear for these activities, and warmer too (with the heat on). The jacket was actually too warm for jogging; while it definitely eased my transition from my warm house to the frosty outdoors, within about 5 minutes I had totally overheated.
Not only was I warm, I managed to completely avoid the painful shoulder tension I usually get after a night of shivering! And when my sister-in-law’s phone died after the game, we were able to use the USB port on the jacket’s battery to recharge it.
- M12™ Women’s Heated Jacket (2339 Kit): Sizes S-3X NEW (M12™ 2.0, 2.1A USB).
- Powered by M12™ REDLITHIUM™ Battery
- Durable carbon fiber heating elements woven in between rugged exterior materials and thermal insulating liners
- Three heat settings (High, Medium, Low)
- Machine washable and dry-able for extended use.
- Heated Jackets also feature an upgraded 2.1A USB Battery Controller
Overall, I completely love this jacket. Seeing me looking so warm, the other women on the sidelines were full of curiosity and questions about it too – and I recommended it without reservation. I also love that it can be used to revive a dead cellphone. If there were one thing I would like Milwaukee to change, it might be the shape of the battery. As it is, the battery is cylindrical and if you’re wearing the jacket in the car, you’ll find it digging into your lower back. I understand that it’s the same battery that comes with all their power tools, which has some important benefits – if you own a line of Milwaukee products, you can charge up several batteries and have days upon days of interchangeable jacket power (or, if the battery on your drill dies at a bad moment, you can simply whip out the battery from your jacket).
But since I’m more of a yard-raker and sideline-stander than power-tool user, I would be willing to trade that functionality for a flatter, smaller battery. But overall, that is a tiny quibble, since most of the time I’m using the jacket I’m not doing anything that involves leaning against a seat-back.
In sum, I love this jacket. It has made it possible for me to keep enjoying the long walks I love much later in the season, and stand comfortably on the sidelines for hours without getting cold and cranky. My sister-in-law’s team made the playoffs this year, which means more games late in the season – and I’m glad this jacket will let me cheer warmly for her from the sidelines.