Milwaukee M12 Heated Hoodie Review – Battery-Powered Winter Warmth

Good durable build and material quality, nice design, not lost shape in 12 months of testing, awesome warmth on cold days, light-up badge looks cool

Needs something to hug heating elements closer to gain 100% of the heat

Milwaukee M12 Heated Hoodie?

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Milwaukee Tool company are well known for their tough, great quality power tools and we wanted to test their latest product – the Milwaukee M12 Heated Hoodie. This is one neat piece of clothing, and whether you work outdoors a lot, watch a lot of motor sports, need one because the heater is broke on your 20-year-old pick-up truck and you want warmth badly, or simply to show off to your mates, the Milwaukee M12 Heated Hoodie is thing to have.

After we reviewed the Milwaukee M12 Heated Jacket in 2012 (three years ago), Milwaukee let us keep the jacket, and aside from a broken zip (which we replaced) it’s still going strong! An true testament to its quality.

This time, Milwaukee sent two M12 Heated Hoodie kits (which include the battery and charger unit) to test, and for 10 months we’ve worn and tested them to see how well they wear with regular use, and if the quality is up to par for the cost. Here are our findings…

Design and quality

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First impressions last, and so it is with the M12 Heated Hoodie. Opening the box and taking out the hoodie, it’s clear the material is good quality. Even without they battery pack, there’s a weightiness about the hoodie that says its going to be warm.

Milwaukee’s description of the M12 Heated Hoodie is that it’s made from ‘Durable cotton Hoodie with waffle weave thermal lining provides three-season layering on and off the jobsite.’ It’s not 100% cotton, looking at the material spec online, and instead both the inner and outer are made from a cotton/polyester blend. We’re not complaining though, as they quality is great.

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The inner layer – which acts to hide the heating elements and keep them off your skin – looks and feels heavy duty, and every bit of stitching strongly holds together the material wherever it is used. Even the drawcords for the hood don’t look cheap, and certainly after ten months they haven’t frayed or puffed out like the ones on more budget hoodies do.

As mentioned above, we’ve been testing the M12 Heated Hoodies for just over 10 months now. They were sent in December, and they’ve been used both with the battery and without. Because this is the UK, and the weather never does what it should during the seasons, the M12 Heated Hoodies have been worn by us on an almost daily basis throughout every week of that time, and in that time some of the other normal hoodies we own haven’t worn anywhere near as well.

For example, after lots of wearing and a fair amount of washing, the outer material of a hoodie will normally start to get those little bobbles all over, but the Milwaukee heated hoodies show very little sign of going this way.

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Another problem you normally get on a hoodie is that the elasticated cuffs lose their elasticity and shape, and end up looking like a couple of soggy bit of material flapping about, which allows heat out, and cold in. Again, although the Milwaukee heated hoodie’s cuff have lost some of their elasticity naturally, overall they’re lasting well considering the use they get. The same goes for the elastic waistband.

Unlike the M12 Heated Jacket we reviewed, we’ve had no problems with the plastic zips on either of our hoodies up to now, which is good.

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We’ve washed both of our Milwaukee hoodies a fair few times now, and they’re absolutely fine with that. People are surprised when they ask how you clean them that you can simply chuck them in the washing machine (you can put them in a dryer too), as obviously electrics are involved. However, the M12 doesn’t use traditional type wiring, but rather modern carbon fiber heating elements, which are more effective and tough than tradition wire heating would be.

Test time…

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As you read earlier, our Milwaukee heated hoodies have been worn a lot throughout the ten months we’ve had them, because our last so-called ‘summer’ was pathetically lukewarm at best for the majority of the time, and then we had seemingly weeks of rain. Lovely eh.

Milwaukee states that the M12 heated hoodie provides ‘three-season’ layering, and we found that it’s light enough to be worn alongside just a t-shirt during warmer days, the bonus being that you can unzip them and stay reasonably cool still. Once autumn arrives the M12 hoodie is warm enough to be worn without the battery for the majority of time, with just long-sleeved top (at least here in the UK), and as autumn nears its end and winter begins, you suddenly become aware having a battery-powered heated hoodie is awesome.

Red Hoodie with Milwaukee text in white

 

Through winter, for the majority of outside use you’ll likely want to wear the Milwaukee M12 Heated Hoodie underneath a jacket, and we found that unless it’s a tight one, the hoodie can be worn under one fine. However, because the battery pack sticks out, you’ll need one that’s fairly loose and roomy to accommodate this.

The red hoodie we have differs very slightly to the gray version, in that the pocket which holds the battery sits further to the front of the red one than the gray, and it also sits horizontally rather than vertically. There’s no difference comfort-wise with those differences, but the red versions is easier to put the battery in while wearing it.

If you’re wearing the M12 hoodie when seated, whether that’s in an office or driving a truck or something used for agriculture or construction, we found the battery sits off to the side enough to avoid sticking into your back, so they guys at Milwaukee have clearly thought the M12 hoodie through properly when designing it.

Milwaukee M12 Heated Hoodie hood

As well as the red and gray versions, there’s also black, a high-visiblilty hoodie for construction sites, plus Realtree Xtra Camo and Realtree Max-1 Camo available for hunting. The Realtree camouflage versions differ in that they are made from water-resistant, noise-reducing polyester.

The M12 hoodie has front pockets, which are deep enough to keep a wallet or keys in, but unlike the M12 heated jacket, there aren’t different heating zones. The jacket gives the option of heating the body and pockets individually, or all together, whereas the M12 hoodie only allows for body warming.

Unlike the jacket, the hoodie is neither fully wind-proof (although it is to an extent, of course), and it’s definitely not water-resistant either.

The carbon fibre heating elements on the hoodie go across the upper back and chest, and the M12 hoodie give three heat settings, via an-easily accessible rubberised button on the chest area, which is normally inconspicuous when turned off, but lights up in a totally cool way, depending on your heat setting: blue, white and red.

When winter comes and the heat is used regularly, we often get slightly weird looks as the M12 button glows fairly brightly, and a few times we’ve had people ask why they’re lit up. When explained what it does, they often want an M12 hoodie too. We don’t blame them either!

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Something we noted when using the heat settings on the M12 hoodie: the chest area tends to feel much warmer than the back. This is because the hoodie naturally sits tighter over the chest area than it does the back. We believe the answer would be for milwaukee to include an elasticated band of material which would hug the heating elements in closer, which would make you feel the heat way more effectively.

If you’re working from a chair or seat with the heat on, the good thing is your back is pressed against the rear of the seat, which pushes the elements in closer, and this gives you the full benefit of the heating.

While it’s easier to feel the warmth from the elements on all three heat settings with just a thin top (thermal ones are especially good) underneath the M12 hoodie, we also found that it works well through jumpers and other thicker layers, provided its on the hottest setting.

Gray Milwaukee M12 Heated Hoodie

So, is that heat a gimmicky thing, and is it really hot enough to be beneficial? It fairly obvious, but of course it actually makes a huge difference to your comfort level, especially if you’re doing stuff outside. Even if you’re just watching TV or working at the office though, and want the extra warmth, the M12 heated hoodie is brilliant.

Actually, a benefit we both found is that as we work from our homes, we can save money by instead of heating the entire house in winter, just keeping the hoodie on medium-full while working in the office room. A bit tight, maybe, but it saves paying a fortune by heating all the other unused rooms!

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Charging time using the Milwaukee M12 charger is a fairly fast 20 minutes; so if you’re going inside for a warming drink your battery will be fully recharged and ready to use by the time you’ve finished your coffee break.

Milwaukee M12 Heated Hoodie charger

One item we do recommend buying alongside the Milwaukee M12 heated hoodie, and that’s the 12-volt DC plug adaptor with seven foot breakaway lead. A properly handy bit of kit, which means that instead of using the battery up when driving, you can simply plug it into the 12-volt socket/cigarette lighter in your vehicle. This will be especially great for those long hours on construction vehicles where the heating from the ventilation system is poor or inadequate.

12V car kit for MIlwaukee M12 heated hoodie

Milwaukee claim that the battery life from the 12-volt M12 RedLithium (Lithium-Ion) Compact battery is as follows: Low: 6 hours, Medium: 3.5 hours, High: 2.5 hours. How do our findings compare? Well, we found they were pretty much accurate, and are within just a few minutes of the official times.

Price

(Prices correct Nov. 2015) The Milwaukee M12 Heated Hoodie comes as a single unit, and the cost varies depending on which version you buy, if you purchase it as a kit, or of course where you actually buy it from. Please note, the M12 Heated Hoodie is not available from Milwaukee Tool UK, so if you want one you’ll have to have it shipped over from the U.S.A

As a single unit (without battery or charger) the standard red, grey, black or high visibility Heated Hoodie costs around (USD) $99.00, but if you want either the Realtree Xtra Camo or Realtree Max-1 Camo they’re more expensive at around $119.00.

If you want the M12 Heated Hoodie as a kit (includes battery and charger), you’re looking at around $169.00 for the Realtree Xtra Camo or Realtree Max-1 Camo versions. The same red, grey, black and high visibility hoodie kits cost approximately $149.00.

I feel the prices above are fair, as the m12 Heated Hoodie is a good quality piece of clothing, being well made and durable. However, some of the sites selling these show the original prices as being $172.00 – $206.00 for the single hoodies, and $259.00 – $292.00 for the kits. That’s a lot of money, and I’d be hard-pressed to pay that original amount for them, especially if I knew I’d be wearing one day in day out on a construction site, where it’d get the heaviest damage through wear and tear.

Overall thoughts

With 12 whole months testing the Milwaukee M12 Heated Hoodie kits, we can absolutely say that they’re a brilliant piece of clothing. The physical materials and build quality of the M12 Hoodie is high, and after a year of us both wearing them almost every day, plus them going through the washing machine a load of times, we’ve noticed that things like the pockets haven’t stretched or lost shape.

Red Milwaukee M12 lithium-ion battery heated Hoodie

Other areas like the elasticised cuffs and waist still spring back into shape well and haven’t sagged, as cheaper clothing does, the cotton/polyester outer material has barely got any of that annoying bobbling on it, and there are no wear marks, holes or tears anywhere on them. Oh, and unlike the Milwaukee M12 Heated Jacket, we’ve had zero problems with the zipper sticking or breaking.

The battery life remains the same as it did when they were new, and we’ve had no problems with the carbon fibre heating elements either.

A point we’d like to see improved is something used (possibly either elastic or a drawstring) to help pull the elements closer to the body on the chest and back. When zipped up, we found that unless we were sat down leaning against the backrest of a chair, or having a vehicle’s seatbelt pulled tight to the chest, or wearing another item over the hoodie, the elements don’t quite sit near enough to gain 100% of the heater elements. We believe because of this you lose approximately 40% of the heating system’s benefit.

Aside from that, the Milwaukee M12 Heated Hoodie is great. Whether you’re working in an office, in your garage, driving about, hunting, or grafting at the outside day job, this is a great item to wear, and you’ll certainly be grateful of it when the weather starts to turn cold.

Do you own a Milwaukee M12 Heated Hoodie? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts!

Design  8.5
Quality  9
Price  7.5
Overall  8.0 / 10

Specs

Heated sections / Voltage  Chest and upper back | 12-volts
Material & weather resistance  Materials: Outer: Cotton/polyester blend | Inner: Waffle weave/polyester blend | Water resistant? No
Sizes  S – 3X
Power/Battery life  12 volt Lithium-ion battery | Low: 6 hours, Medium: 3.5 hours, High: 2.5 hours
Warranty  12 months
Colours  Black, red grey, Hi-Viz, Realtree Xtra Camo, Realtree Max-1 Camo
Bundle (as tested)  Hoodie, 12V Lithium-ion battery and mains charger
Extras you should buy 12 volt in-car DC Plug Adapter with 7ft breakaway lead
Shop  If you’d like to advertise your store here, please contact us using this page
Website  Milwaukee UK, Milwaukee USA
Price  Single hoodie: $99.00 – $119.00 / Hoodie kit: $149.00 – $169.00

Words: Chris Davies | Photography: Chris Davies, Matthew Davies

2 responses to “Milwaukee M12 Heated Hoodie Review – Battery-Powered Winter Warmth”

  1. Dave

    You don’t need the car adapter unless you’re topping off from your car. You car has it’s own heater. You don’t need to have the jacket turned on while driving.

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