A heated vest or body warmer can be a game changer during winter.
Seriously – I commuted to Uni for four years without one.
My salad days are over. Never again.
Read our reviews and buyers guide to get yourself kitted out with the best heated motorcycle vests and body warmers to fight off the winter chill.
Best Heated Motorcycle Vests and Bodywarmers Reviewed
Here are our top five picks
Keis B101 Heated Body Warmer
Current Draw: 3.3A
This is Keis’s next generation heated bodywarmer, with upgraded heating elements and a heated collar. In the coldest of conditions this can really make a difference.
Like all the Keis’ range it can daisy chain to other heated gear.
One important thing to remember; as with most heated clothing, if you want to power this using batteries you will need to buy the battery pack separately (due to large heating elements you will need the 5200mAh version.)
The B101 can also be wired in to the bike or if you prefer and the necessary cables are included.
4 heated panels – including collar and kidneys
Can ‘daisy chain’ to gloves and insoles
Comes with a selection of fuses to accommodate a variety of accessory combinations
Needs larger 5200mAh battery
Gerbing 12V Heated Vest
Current Draw: 4.5A
Gerbing’s 12V Heated Vest is a premium quality product at a premium price. It comes with heated pads on the chest, back and collar and the heating elements are covered by a lifetime warranty.
This vest is ideal when you’re not sure how the weather will play out. It can be safely packed in with other kit. It’s water resistant too – making it a great all-weather choice.
Highly compressible – can be packed for unpredictable rides
Water-resistant – will keep you dry in a shower
Lifetime warranty on heating elements
Heated collar (trust us – this is a big deal)
Can’t directly daisy-chain to other electronically-heated items
Keis V501 Premium Heated Vest
Current Draw: 1.5A
The Keiss V501 is a premium, breathable, lightweight heated vest – at a decent price. It’s fully washable too.
The V501 has elasticated side panels for a unisex fit. Most of the feedback on this one suggests going down a size. With optional extras including variable heat control and a range of 12V battery packs, you can extend battery life and get the heat that’s just right – on or off the bike.
Fully-washable – just throw it in the machine
Works with any Keis battery
Variable heat control must be bought separately
Keis B501W Ladies Heated Body Warmer
Current Draw: 1.2A
This is the ladies version of the V501 and comes with the same specs. It’s cut for a comfortable and complimentary fit.
Specifically cut to provide a comfortable fit for women
Can connect to heated trousers, gloves and insoles
Variable heat control must be bought separately
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.
Most people’s concern when thinking about electrically heated gear in cold, wet weather is safety.
There is however, nothing to be concerned about, heated motorcycle kit is powered by low voltage DC and insulated with a waterproof membrane for safety.
It is also fused which prevents shorts if, for example the heating elements were damaged.
In reality, heated gear offers a significant boost to safety. Cold muscles result in slower reaction times.
Stay warm. Stay alert.
I know for me, hand washable or machine washable is not a deal-breaker.
A heated vest is always under my top layer and stays pretty clean.
I’ll only be using my vest for a few months of the year anyway (hopefully). Maintenance with all of the featured kit is pretty simple:
- Store in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight
- Most manufacturers recommend storing their gear at half charge
- Follow manufacturers washing instructions
Bike Or Battery Power?
For most riders in most situations, I’d recommend plugging straight into your bike’s battery.
However, if you’re on and off your bike in cold conditions, it’s great to have the option to switch over to battery powered heating. This is especially true when touring somewhere scenic or in the very coldest of conditions.
The (ahem) older among us might also benefit from the battery powered option. A heated vest can be just as useful on a long hike.
Controls And Connectors
Many of the featured vests have integrated plugs to connect up other pieces of heated kit. This avoids a series of overly complicated cables.
Officially, different brands don’t support inter-connection – but in practice many people connect one brand of vest to another brand’s gloves/insoles without issue.
Some of the higher-end vests featured in our list boast variable heat control via a controller. This can be useful if you’re riding in a range of different environments or want to maximise battery life.
With the weather we get here in the UK – there’s no reason not to own a heated vest or body warmer.
If you’re on the fence, take our advice and dip your toe in at the lowest price point.
If you’re sure you’re going to be riding in the same, frigid conditions long into the future then take a look at some of the more premium options.
Heated collars, variable control, ‘daisy chaining’ – they all might sound wonderful.
But, if you’re going from nothing to your first heated vest, we’re sure you’ll feel the difference.
Heated riding equipment has removed one of the longest-standing downsides to motorcycling, giving an almost car-like level of comfort.
For more on heated clothing