Most of us have been there.
Miles from home, muscles cramping from the cold, concentration waning and wishing we’d packed better.
In the very coldest of conditions a heated jacket or jacket liner can keep you warmer, better focused and safer.
All of the jackets liners on today’s list come with the necessary cables for easy connection to your motorcycle’s battery and can daisy chain to other heated clothing. Some have an optional battery pack (sold separately).
Best Heated Motorcycle Jackets and Liners Reviewed
Here are our top three picks.
Gerbing MicroWire Pro Heated Jacket Liner
Gerbing’s MicroWire Pro is a premium, stylish, packable design – cut to fit snugly under an outer jacket. It has a minimalist, utilitarian look, but is very feature-complete.
The durability and build quality of Gerbing are well known, and they offer a lifetime warranty on all heated elements.
Heated panels are in the chest, back, collar and sleeves and the jacket contain over 30 metres of heated wire for even, near- instant heat.
A complaint we’ve heard about this liner is that the elasticated cuffs can be a little thick when worn with an outer jacket and gloves. If you have a particularly bulky set of gloves, or your outer jacket is already a snug fit – you might need to look elsewhere.
Feedback suggests that the sizing is just right if worn over a single base layer. Anyone looking to wear multiple layers underneath should consider going up a size.
I tried a medium (I’m 5’10’ and 65kgs) in a high street store and it was very comfortable under a long sleeve t-shirt.
Again, the fact that this can be packed safely into a side case or backpack make it a great choice for touring or unpredictable, longer trips.
The option of a battery pack (sold separately) allow this one to serve a variety of functions off the bike too.
If I could afford it, this would be my jacket liner. Sadly, I’ll have to stick to my heated vest for another season.
Built to last and looks great
Can be packed
Free battery harness, cable and fuse set
Heat controller must be bought separately – check prices.
Gerbing 12V Heated Jacket Liner
The Gerbing 12V comes in at a significantly lower price point than the MicroWire Pro, but offers excellent value, build quality and a lifetime warranty on all heated elements.
Designed to be worn as a mid layer over a single layer of clothing, this jacket is durable, compressible for easy packing and has a water-resistant finish.
This jacket doesn’t have an option to use rechargeable batteries and must be connected to your motorcycle’s battery. This won’t affect most of us, but the golfers and hikers among us might need to look elsewhere.
We’ve found a couple of reports suggesting the cables to connect up to heated gloves were a little short for some people, This jacket might not be for those of us with orangutan arms.
Lots of customers recommend going down a size for a snug fit under an outer jacket.
It might not have the looks of the MicroWire Pro, but it really is hard to beat at the price.
This is Gerbing’s warmest product.
Typical Gerbing build quality and warranty
Really, really warm
No battery pack option
Keis J501 Premium Heated Jacket
The Keis J501 is designed to be worn as a heated inside layer or as a casual outer jacket in dry conditions.
It’s breathable, soft shell construction includes elasticated side panels for an optimum fit.
Feedback on this and other elasticated Keis gear suggests going down a size. This is especially true if you’re after a snug fit to wear as a mid layer under your existing jacket.
Most people wear it over a single base layer with an outer jacket on top.
Unlike most of the kit in this list, the J501 includes a heat controller in the base price. This makes it an ideal choice for anyone expecting to ride in a range of different temperatures.
One downside; it can’t be powered by a rechargeable battery pack so it’s strictly for riding – no golfing or hiking in this one.
Includes free heat controller for variable heat
Quick heating micro carbon fibre heating element
Can’t be powered by Li Ion battery packs – must be connected to motorcycle battery
What to consider before parting with your hard earned.
Unless otherwise stated by the manufacturer, your heated clothing comes without a dedicated controller unit.Without a controller, your heated vest/jacket will typically just have two settings – on and off.
Some riders find the default setting on too hot for most weather.
If you’re riding through a variety of conditions, or interested in squeezing the most out of a battery pack – a controller unit can be a great addition.
Check out these options:
- Gerbing Temperature Controller – Single
- Gerbing Temperature Controller – Dual
- Keis Temperature Controller
We’ve also written more about motorcycle heated clothing controllers here.
One of the primary concerns people have when using electrically heated gear in wet conditions is safety.
Heated clothing is insulated, fused and rigorously tested for safety. It’s designed not to overheat, and all electrical components are protected by a waterproof membrane – making it safe to use in wet conditions.
Some of the gear in our list has a water-repellant finish. This can be great if you get caught in a shower on a supermarket run, but is no substitute for your waterproof, windproof outer jacket.
Typically, heated jackets have a power draw of about 7A.
Your motorcycle battery should have about 28A available. Operating your bike (ignition, lights, indicators etc.) requires about 12A.
Conservatively, that leaves you with 12A + to power your accessories.
All jacket liners are fitted to run directly from your motorcycle battery and come with a standard motorcycle loom connection.
The battery pack option is really only useful if you plan and jumping off your motorcycle to take in the sights, and want to switch over to portable heating. If your other interests are golf or hiking, you might want to consider a jacket liner with the option of battery power.
The manufacturer’s guidelines will state whether your liner is machine washable or not.
Some people (myself included) prefer to hand wash their heated gear no matter what the instructions are. Machine washing tends to reduce the life of regular clothing – and this stuff is expensive.
If the product is listed as hand-wash only – use laundry detergent, warm water and a basin. Hang to drip dry.
When storing your jacket liner, hang it out of direct sunlight and any sources of localised heat.
If you store your liner with the battery connected, leave it with a half charge, as tests have shown that batteries stored fully depleted or fully charged deteriorate faster.
It’s hard to go against our initial pick here. It might not have the looks of the MicroWire Pro, but the Gerbing 12V really is hard to beat at the price.
That said, if you have the money and want the option of portable heat off your bike – the MicroWire Pro is a really well-made and great-looking piece of gear.
For more on heated clothing