This tool review should read like this: “You already bought one? Good call. Fin.”
But unfortunately, my editor makes me write a certain number of words to get paid, so here we go: Buy it, buy it, buy it, buy it, buy it, buy it. Ugh...I gotta copy and paste here.
I do love this product, but it isn't perfect. Let me just tell you the story and you can decide for yourself if it's for you.
As a tool reviewer, sometimes we get to pick. This was one of those times. Milwaukee's line of heated gear includes Jackets, Hoodies, Hand Warmers, and a Women's Cut Jacket (please rap your knuckles on your desk now and say “Here, here!”). I picked the hoodie, because being the cheap bastard I am, I figured I could layer it under my motorcycle jacket (and I do! Hehe!)
So this is one of those items I never would have purchased for myself but I can no longer live without (like my first iPhone). I'll be honest...when I got it, I thought it was kind of “gimmicky” and couldn't see much need for it as a woodworker. Why does my foot always taste so bad?
I'm a man, so naturally I didn't read the instructions. I kept pressing the button and couldn't get it to turn on. I was cursing it, and feeling snide...but I really wanted to try it, so I cracked open the booklet. (No...I will not hand in my man-card...I was stuck, it was appropriate!) I will save you the same embarrassment dear reader: You have to hold the button down for two seconds. The bright glow of the LED button is mesmerizing (especially to toddlers...and barflies) and changing the heat setting changes the color of the LED light, which is incredibly fun (especially for toddlers...and...me). Perhaps best of all though...having a glowing light on your chest is quite the conversation starter...and yes, I do feel like Iron Man because of it. Game on Stark...game on!
From the time you press the button until the hoodie is warm is like waiting for a hallucinogen to kick in, but the takeoff is equally impressive. It's subtle...warm, but not hot...almost deceptively so. I found this out on the first night as I was once again scoffing that “it's not that warm” then I took it off about to jump in the bathtub and I was instantly shivering...damn taste of foot...ugh.
But then the dealbreaker came...quite unexpectedly. The pockets aren't deep enough in the vertical direction. On a quick trip to Jewel, my cell phone fell out of the pocket (probably as I was entering or exiting my vehicle). It was lost all night, and returned to the service counter with a completely shattered screen. I might have even run over it myself without knowing. The pocket opening is large enough for a Sasquatch hand, and the pocket itself is large enough to fit a standard Bible in...but the orientation/bottom depth just doesn't work. I can't bend over without something falling out of the pocket, and that makes the pockets useless in my opinion.
I find Milwaukee's claim of “Hood Easily Fits Over Hard Hat” to be inaccurate. I'm Sicilian, which means that my chin and shoulders occupy the same vertical plane, and even without a neck, there's no way I would even try to squeeze a hard hat under this hood. That being said...the hood is ample and appreciably deep, and I really like it...but hard hat...not a chance.
Other things that could be improved, but don't necessarily detract: The heated zone on the back could extend to the lumbar region. One of the nicest things about this hoodie is that the warmth keeps my back loose, and it is a godsend for that (especially in the morning) so running the heat zone all the way down the back would have been nice. I would have liked if they had used shockcord (or paracord) instead of string for the hood cinch, but either way a cinch fob on each side would have been a nice touch.
Despite all of that...I still intend to buy a couple more of them for myself, and a couple for Christmas gifts...and that makes it a winner in my book.
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