By Chuck Woodbury
For a semi-geeky guy like me, this electric jacket from Milwaukee Tools is about as good as a jacket gets. At the push of a button the Milwaukee M12 Cordless Heated Jacket warms up to keep you toasty. The rechargeable M12 red lithium battery will power the jacket for up to six hours.
Separate buttons control the warmth of the jacket (low, medium or high settings) and the pockets. It sells for around $200, which is in line with many quality jackets. That includes the battery and a charger (the same one found in all Milwaukee power tools), which will recharge the jacket in a mere half hour. Columbia makes a similar jacket, but it sells for about $850.
My jacket is red like the one pictured here, but comes in black and “RealTree” in case you want to blend into the countryside.
The battery is easy to remove. It rides in a hidden pocket on the left side of the coat, pretty much out of the way. The geeky part of this jacket that you would never expect is a USB port on the battery pack which you can use to charge your iPhone, iPod or any other device that can be charged with a USB plug. It’s designed to be used while you are wearing your coat.
I discovered the jacket a month ago at my aunt’s small ranch near Fresno, California. She was headed out for her morning chores and casually mentioned her heated jacket, which she loved. Later, I wrote the company to request more information for an article. A few weeks later a “review jacket” showed up in my mail.
The jacket is very attractive and will keep you warm even when not powered. It can be hand-washed; just remove the battery. If you already own a Milwaukee power tool, then you already have a battery and charger. If so, the jacket alone is about $50 less than with the charger.
For anyone who dislikes cold (like me), wearing this jacket is like wearing an electric blanket wherever you go. You can learn more about the jacket at the Milwaukee Tools website which lists local retailers around the country in case you want to run out right now and get one.