Cool But Warm – We review the Milwaukee M12 Cordless Heated Jacket

Good quality, keeps you toasty-warm, cool wear-anywhere design

Zipper jammed regularly, jacket can be pricey depending on package bought

Wearing the Milwaukee M12 battery powered heated jacket

Milwaukee Tool?

Milwaukee Tool company are well known for their tough, great quality power tools and we wanted to test their latest product – the Milwaukee M12 HJ Cordless Heated Jacket. This is one cool (no pun intended) 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 is neat jacket to have and it’s even pretty stylish too. Let’s give it a proper test then… (and then read our review of the Milwaukee M12 Heated Hoodie by clicking here!)

Design and quality

As mentioned, Milwaukee is famous for its high quality tools, and this jacket is no exception. The fit and finish is very good, and even the control panel has a quality feel to it. Except for the zip not working properly (which I’ll talk about later), it is overall a  very nice jacket.

Wearing the Milwaukee M12 heated jacket

The design of it is excellent and our favourite feature is the heating panel on the chest, which glows brightly in three different colours on each side of the panel, depending on the heat setting and whether you want the heat on the body, in the pockets or both. It glows red for hot, white for medium and blue for the lowest setting. Very, very awesome.

Test time…

First off the important thing; What is the heating like? Using tough carbon-fibre heating elements, the M12 jacket gives three heat levels shown by three colours on the control panel, the lowest being quite subtle. The battery will last around five hours on that setting whereas the highest gives a good amount of heat to the upper back and chest but you’ll only get around one hour and forty-five minutes of heat on that setting. There is also a medium setting too. Another function of the jacket is that the pockets heat too! Great for if you’re stood in freezing weather watching a WRC or motor-X race. This does reduce the battery life further though.

Our M12 HJ heated jacket came supplied with a Milwaukee charger and a single 12 volt Lithium Ion battery, which appears to be straight from a 12V drill. It takes around half-an-hour to charge, but being only 1.5Ah the battery life is not great. If you already own Milwaukee power tools, any 12V battery will fit into the jacket, even up to 4Ah giving much longer run times.

Milwaukee M12 heated jacket battery and charger with iPod and usb charger

The battery sits neatly in a pocket on the hip, which most of the time goes unnoticed, though if you’re jumping in and out of a vehicle it can be uncomfortable against the seat (note to Land Rover; please design the new Defender seating with enough width for humans!).

Purchasing the correct size is vital. My wife stole my ‘large’ size jacket one cold afternoon and complained of “not feeling any heat”, so it definitely needs to fit closely to give the full benefit. Also, wearing anything more than a thin shirt or T-shirt underneath the Milwaukee M12 jacket limits how much heat you feel from the elements. It’s much better to wear any extra insulation on top of it, and use it more like a sweater than a jacket.

Image shows details of the Milwaukee M12 heated jacket

Without the heat turned on, the M12 is still a nice warm jacket for bad weather. It’s got a fleece lining and being ‘soft-shell’ (i.e. some variation of a breathable membrane glued between the inside and outer material), it keeps out the wind and even a good amount of rain too. When you’re working hard though, it’s easy to overheat and can get clammy quickly, though this is not uncommon in soft-shell type jackets.

Overall the Milwaukee M12 is an excellent jacket which will make your mates or work colleagues jealous as they freeze in their old-school fleeces. It works well, and is absolutely ideal for working or playing outdoors, especially in those first few hours before the sun comes up.

Milwaukee M12 heated jacket showing earphone loops inside the jacket

The only real snag is with our test jacket was with the zip which… snagged actually. As hard as I tried it would never start off smoothly and in fact was a real pain to do up at times. Not what you want when you’re in a rush! Whether this is a common problem or just with our tester I don’t know. Feel free to leave comment below if you have the same problem.

An option we’d definitely buy is the M12 12V DC Plus car adapter with 7-foot breakaway lead. It means you can run the jacket hot the whole time without using the battery. If you’re driving say, a digger without heating, this would be an absolutely excellent thing to have. Some other useful features of the Milwaukee M12 HJ Cordless Heated Jacket we really like included;

  • A USB port on the battery for charging things like MP3 players and phones on the go. Really well thought-out that!
  • Channels on the inside to route cables through for earphones or a cable-attached hands-free earpiece
  • Useful gauge on the battery to show the remaining charge

Milwaukee M12 heated jacket showing battery pocket

Price and overall thoughts

We found the Milwaukee M12 Premium Heated Jacket online for  around £140 – £260 – or $149 – $239 – depending on the ‘bundle’ you choose. Buy the jacket with no battery included and the price is okay, but it can get very pricey if you include a battery and charger. Overall though, the jacket that is well-made, looks great and works well too.

Read our review of the Milwaukee M12 Heated Hoodie here.

Own a Milwaukee heated jacket? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts!

Design & Quality  8
Features  9
Price  6.5
Overall  8 / 10

Specs

Weight  1.3 – 1.6 kgs (2.86 – 3.52 lbs) depending on size
Heated section Chest, upper back, pockets
Sizes  S – XXXL
Power/Battery life  12 volt Lithium-ion battery | Up to 6 hours use
Warranty  12 – 24 months (dependant on country)
Colours  Black, Red, Hi-Viz, Camouflage RealTree AP™ pattern
Bundle Jacket, 12V Lithium-ion battery and mains charger (depending on package)
Extra’s  12 volt in-car DC Plug Adapter with 7ft breakaway lead
Shop Buy Milwaukee Heated Jacket at Amazon
Website  Milwaukee UK, Milwaukee USA
Price  £140 to £260 or U.S $149 – $239 (prices dependant on retailer and variant)

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

37 responses to “Cool But Warm – We review the Milwaukee M12 Cordless Heated Jacket”

  1. Dave

    Hello,

    Do you find the pockets are not as warm as the chest and back heat ?

    Cheers

  2. Robert

    Yes, I bought one recently, and found that the pocket are not as warm as the back heat. Perhaps because my jacket is not fieed enough or that I am wearking too many layers underneath.

  3. Purple Dragon

    Hi, I’m about to purchase the Hi Vis version and I’m wondering if it has the same settings on it 3 temps? Separate pocket setting for just heating pockets? and also the usb for my phone ? as the Black version?

  4. Jon

    I wonder how well this would wash and how you would clean such a thing?? Is it a very free moving pliable coat, or is it a bit stiff? thanks

  5. mdavies

    Hi Jon. The coat isn’t stiff at all and it feels just like a regular windproof fleece jacket with a slightly tougher outer and a softer fleecy inner lining. You can’t really feel the heating elements while wearing it so they’re not uncomfortable at all.

    You can wash it by hand and drip dry it but being all synthetic fabrics it dries quite quickly.

    Hope that’s been of help. Thanks. Matthew.

  6. Cody

    Just got my jacket in the mail yesterday, and I absolutely love everything about it but wished the hot setting had a little more heat. I have the new version jacket with heated pockets. I’m sitting in my 70 degree house with full charge on battery and jacket on max heat with only a long sleeve shirt on and the jacket fitting just about right not to tight and defiantly not to loose.I would of guessed it should make me feel to hot to where I would want to turn it down a setting or 2. So i guess I’m not to convinced that going in the cold say 50 degree weather would keep me warm.

  7. Dale Loveless

    I recently got the Hi-Visibility Heated Hoodie for Christmas from my wife and kids. They got it from the “TOOL BARN” online sales, and it was under $180.00 for the complete package with battery and charger. I love this thing….I am a Semi-truck driver and we have to fuel our trucks on them cold and windy fuel islands…it can take up to 15 minutes standing out in the cold fueling 300 gallons of diesel.
    But recently during the Cold Vortex that sent temperatures down to -20 this jacket saved my butt! I was driving along I-70 in Indiana that cold night and the fuel in my fuel tanks started jelling up. It wasn’t long until my truck shut down and with no engine running the heat was running out! I was there on that highway stranded for one hour until my company advised me to abandon my truck, and take that ride offer from another trucker to the nearest truck stop. At the time there were few recovery services available and i could have been there for a while. The Jacket kept me warm while I endured the cold that night. I won’t leave home without that jacket during these cold months. And I can say that the charger is also a fast charger…it doesn’t take long to charge it up and be ready to go! It’s a real conversation piece too….Everyone want to touch it, and feel the battery pack. But I would like to see one improvement or upgrade that would be easy for any current owner to adapt! I would like to see a “Flat” battery….one about the size of a smart phone…it would be a much better fit in the pouch and less protruding. And more comfortable, and it could be velcro ed to stay secure! Other then that I LOVE IT……….Thanks Milwaukee Tool for keeping me warm!

  8. Jorge Li-Lam

    I am wandering if I can take the jacket to the dry cleaners…

  9. Darryl Foster

    Hi I recently bought the black Milwaukee heated jacket & was wondering if anyone knows if there is a battery that is compatible but with more power for a longer use as the red m12 that came with it is only a short time of warmth before going flat on high setting.

  10. Philip

    I just bought one recently. The M12 battery that comes with the kit is 1.5 Ah. The M12 2.0 Ah battery is said to last about 50 per cent longer and cost me only $10 Australian more. As far as I can tell, they are exactly the same size and weight, though I haven’t checked the specs (if it feels and looks the same, that is good enough for me).

    They also sell 3 and 4 Ah batteries, which are indeed bigger and heavier. Since I’m using the jacket while riding a motorcycle, big and heavy are ruled out.

  11. Blair

    I picked one of these up I love it the battery is kinda a pain it should be on the right side more in front so you can change it better without taking jacket off. I find when Iam driving with it just checking my blind spot of getting out of the truck iam jamming that battery in my ribs still not enough to complain. This jacket is the best

  12. Cathy

    I just grabbed the jacket today and it is amazing! At first I thought it would be to hot but the heat distributes very evenly and did not notice the difference. The best part is the wind resistance and the cuffs fit snug. Today it was -23 celcius with wind chill had the jacket on low and did not notice the cold wind.

  13. Joseph G.Villers JR.

    Over all the jacket I purchased performs well. However the heat control panel came detached from the jacket and fell to the bottom between the hand warmer pockets.

  14. geno

    I have had my coat for a year and never used the heat. I was just on a job in the cold last week and the jacket will not heat. The light goes on but then it shuts off right away. I used 3 different fully charged batteries? Is this fixable?

  15. Scott

    Yes I bought the hi vis water proof.I like it but the zipper broke three months after I bought it.Phoned them up and they want me to send it to them. Not really impressed at all as I paid 300 dollars for this coat and don’t really want to loose it anywhere.Looks like they just put a cheap zipper in it anyway.
    Maybe bite the bullit and pay to get a new one myself.

  16. TJ

    Amongst our family my husband, myself, and two of our four sons have these jackets. We love them!
    I have read several places that people are having issues with the zipper. I happen to be a seamstress also. If you have issues with the zipper, go to a fabric store purchase a separating zipper and have someone replace it. If you are not sure what to purchase, take the jacket with you, there is almost always someone there that will be will to assist you with things like this. The zipper would not be difficult to remove, or replace, nor are they costly. The jacket is well worth the price of a new zipper.

  17. mdavies

    Thanks for that info TJ. We used it every day throughout several winter/autumn seasons before the zipper broke but as you say it is very easy and fairly cheap to get it repaired at a local clothing alterations place.

  18. cyndiz

    So, it’s okay to get the black power cable (inside the pocket) wet while hand washing?
    I wouldn’t know how to remove it if i had to anyway, so i’m assuming, but you know what they say about that!

  19. mdavies

    Hi Cyndiz. It isn’t possible to remove the cable in the pocket. The instructions with our jackets said to remove the battery pack and battery holder before washing. The most recent M12 Jackets are specified on the Milwaukee site as being washer and dryer safe but please check the instructions that came with yours. If in doubt you could call Milwaukee’s help line.

    Hope that answers your question Cyndiz.

    Matthew

  20. Dustin

    I was wondering if the heated hoodie or heated jacket is more popular? I am having a hard time deciding which one I would like to get. I have heard that the hoodies lose their heat quite easily, but I could put the sweatshirt on and then a coat over it and it would keep the heat in fairly easily I would imagine. Or do I go with a jacket and have that be the only thing for warmth? I would assume that the jacket would be too bulky to put on another big coat over the top of it, and it probably would not be recommended for putting a hoodie on underneath the heated jacket. So I was looking for recommendations and to see which one was more liked, the heated hoodie or the heated jacket?

  21. Dustin

    Alright. I’m going to play the what would you get card as I can not decide. I work in an unheated warehouse but have a heated office. I hunt and fish when I can, more so fish. Would you go jacket or a hoodie with a coat over it?

  22. Chris

    To answer a couple questions left unanswered. No you cant dry clean it or at least milwaukee recommend not to. Hand was and drip dry only. Not even hand wash cycle on your tub. The other question was can other batteries be used. Any of the m12/m18 batteries can be used. Even the 5.0ah one and probably the 9.0ah one although i wouldnt want to lug that around. The battery pouch has a secondary zip that makes the pocket bigger. I can fit an m18 battery in the pocket and close it. I get around 3 1/2 hours with jacket on high and pockets on too. Im a stonemason that works outside all year round. This jacket does the job of keeping me toasty.

  23. Tracy

    Help me please. I bought my jacket about five years ago. I LOVE IT! It has saved my life…well not really but it does make me happy! The battery just isn’t holding up these days. I purchased a new batter last year, it charged fine, but when I put it in the jacket it doesn’t turn on. Assumed it was a bad battery and gave up. This year a friend bought me one (M12 RedLithium 3.0 Compact Battery Pack). Was SUPER excited about the “3X more run-time & 2x more life” highlights on the package. Same thing though, charged fine but when I plug it in to jacket I get nothing. Is there a secret?? Can I not use new batteries in my old jacket .

  24. Everton

    Can you wear the jacket in the rain

  25. Pat Marks

    Love my jacket, but I have a problem, I Start out with a fully charged battery. I get one use out of it, it’s wonderful, cold car … cold Wisconsin morning. When the car warms up I turn it off. But after about 15 minutes the battery is dead. I replaced the battery and the same thing happens.

    I am glad that I do not have to work outside in what can a brutal Wisconsin winter. But I do love the jacket.

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