Finger Warming Goodness: We Test the Whitby & Co Hand Warmer

Warms hands brilliantly, looks cool, simple-but-smart

Smells of lighter fluid when hot

Whitby Hand Warmer with fleece bag and filler

On a freezing cold night, there’s nothing like getting into a bed pre-heated by an electric blanket. Even the manliest of blokes will admit it’s flippin’ hateful sliding between freezing covers. Think of this, then liken it to your hands ‘n pockets. Imagine it’s so cold outside that your take-away Latte became an iced lolly ten minutes after leaving the coffee shop, and your gloved hands are almost numb. You put your free hand into your jacket pocket, and suddenly, all is good in the world.

Why? Because you were a sensible chap and used the Whitby & Co Hand Warmer. Your coat pocket is just like that pre-heated bed; hot, cosy, and finally your banjo picking skills are back. Sweet!

Using the Whitby & Co Hand Warmer

The catalytic burner and cap of the Whitby Hand Warmer.

We’ve made our own quick video of how to use the Whitby & Co Hand Warmer (which will be up soon), so check that out on how to use it.

This type of hand warmer has a small flameless catalytic warmer inside the unit, which is physically alight (although there’s no flame of course), and this warms metal casing. It isn’t rocket science to use, and all you’ll need to buy yourself is some liquid lighter fluid, as that’s the fuel it uses. There’s even a plastic filler included (which looks like a mini watering can), and because the spout pushes through a rubber bung on top of the unit, and is sealed as you pour in the lighter fluid, there’s little-to-no chance of spillage.

The Whitby Hand Warmer in a pocket.

Here de math. The filler only holds around 20 ml of fluid, and 100 ml of Swan lighter fluid is around £3.70 so you’re looking at about 75 pence per 12 hours of use. This is an utterly boring fact, but useful if you are eighty years old.

Once you’ve filled the unit, light the catalytic burner unit at the top, a flame will appear for a few seconds before dying down, and the burner will glow orange. Pop the cap back on, slip the hand warmer in the supplied fleece bag (don’t just have the warmer out on its own, it gets too hot), and that’s it – up to 12 hours of warm hands.

Tip: if the unit doesn’t want to light the first time you use it, pour a couple of ml of lighter fluid directly onto the pad before lighting it. That’ll get it goin’ real good. Just don’t burn your eyebrows off in the process.

Weight  80 grams approx.
Dimensions  Height: 103mm (4″), Width: 70mm (2.75″), Depth: 15mm (.59″)
Warranty  2 years
Colour  Chrome
Bundle  Whitby & Co Hand Warmer, fuel measure/filler, instructions
Uses  Up to 12 hours warming handies, and any other parts you want warmed
Website  Whitby & Co
Price  £14.95 rrp
Where can I get one? Buy now from Amazon

Is is any good though?

We’ve come across these type of hand warmers in the past, and admittedly there are some poor versions of them out there. However, this Whitby & Co version is a decent one. We tested theirs to see if it would stay warm as long as they said, and it absolutely does. The Whitby Hand Warmer weighs just 80 grams, so you’ll barely feel any weight if you carry it around in your bag or pocket, and as it’s only 15 mm deep you’ll still be able to keep your hand tucked in next to it in your pocket.

Whitby Hand Warmer n a jacket pocket.

In winter, this gadget will be awesome for days out snowboarding, hunting, hiking, riding your motocross bike or whatever else you do outdoors. If you’re off out to a sledging location, chuck this in your car’s glovebox (not lit, of course), fill it up, light it and have joyfully warm mitts for the entirety of the day. This is the thing too; there is something very satisfying, and blokey (sorry ladies, but ’tis true) about having what is tantamount to your own personal (safe) fire place in your pocket. If you’ve every filled and used a Zippo lighter, you’ll know the feeling chaps. It looks pretty cool too, bit like a hip flask.

The catalytic burner won’t last forever, but you’ll get a good 90 uses out of it before it’ll need replacing. Replacement are cheap enough though, and are below a fiver.

Overall, a decent little hand warmer. The only negative we found is that it can smell of lighter fluid while lit.


Design & Build  8.5
Use  9
Price  8.5
Overall  8.5

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

2 responses to “Finger Warming Goodness: We Test the Whitby & Co Hand Warmer”

  1. Oinc

    That’s not how you light this, in fact it’s dangerous. You will ruin the catalytic converter. Impurities will clog the platinum. This is a chemical oxidation that takes place off fumes, vapors.

    You need to fill the tank, put the cap on, if it’s off, on this hand warmer the converter doesn’t need to be removed, let it sit for 3-4 minutes.

    Under the converter there’s a little air chamber, it needs to collect vapor, from the tank, letting it sit helps this. Then you need to apply just enough heat to start the chemical reaction. Try using a USB lighter. You need only to dust, kiss the converter with the flame trying not to soot it, it’s the flame heat you want.

    If you can slightly warm the tank this helps as the vapor rate will increase and starting it will be easier. This happens once the oxidation starts, the tank get warm, it’s why it takes it some time to get rolling. Same thing will oil lantern, once the globe, tank gets warm, the oil flows more efficiently. It takes an oil lamp 10 minutes. This is the reason you not suppose to crank up the wick during the warm up, or you risk sooting the globe as it comes up brighter, bigger flame because of warm oil.

    You can thermal shock the handwarmer into stopping the reaction via of say sub zero temperatures, you take it out of the bag, put ice cold hands on the tank, which isn’t advisable as this thing can get very hot, the cold shock stops, slows the evaporation feeding the converter.

    So, it needs heat to start and then 5-10 minutes to warm itself to increase the vapor production.

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