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The Sealskinz Waterproof Heated Cycle Glove is... well, you can probably tell. Each one contains a battery and heating elements, but the greatest warmth doesn't quite reach your fingertips and the heavy powercells are noticeable. They're very well made gloves and priced similarly to motorcycle versions, but as they're not massively better than a quality set of normal winter gloves, it's a hard sum to justify.
First things first – these gloves are £150, more than double the price of our luxury pick for the year, the £70 Assos Assosoires Winter Gloves. They're a significant investment, so realistically you are only going to be considering them if you suffer particularly from the cold – for example if you have Raynaud's syndrome, which restricts circulation to the hands – or you're doing very long rides.
Small battery packs on the wrists feed heated elements over the back of the hand and along the top of the thumb and each finger, and the gloves themselves use a three-layer bonded fabric, stuffed with Primaloft Gold insulation. Together it keeps rain out and heat in.
A simple button toggles between the three heat modes and off. It's easy enough to operate with the gloves on (luckily...) and the positioning on the back of the hand means it's accessible during a ride.
An off-bike test registered up to 42.6°C just under the main heated panel, dropping to just below body temperature (36.2) inside the fingertips. This correlates with how they feel when riding - my hands stayed warm for the most part, but my fingertips didn't feel quite the same benefits.
Riding with one heated glove and one regular (if non-cycling-specific) one – Sealskinz own Waterproof Extreme Cold Weather Down Glove – I actually found my fingertips felt much the same in both, even with the heated one on full power.
Heating aside (or off), these are still very well-made and warm gloves. The leather palm, whilst being non vegetarian/vegan friendly, is soft and pliable. The pressure dots at the bottom of each finger may help to relieve discomfort on longer rides, but some may feel that they are an irritant and that a wider padded section would be more comfortable than dots.
The cuffs make a good seal against the wind and are a reasonable length, while the neoprene gives them a little stretch. The inner layers are well bonded so the liner doesn't bunch or get twisted at the end of the fingers, but these things are relatively stiff; they are at least pre-shaped into a bar-friendly position.
The battery pack zips into the cuff and I found it constantly noticeable (they're 6cm x 5cm x 1.5cm), plus it makes watch-wearing very uncomfortable. The batteries give 5-6hrs on the lowest of the three settings, but for me that wasn't warmer than good thermal gloves by enough to warrant the use.
Instead I tended to use full power, then switch off to conserve battery when my hands had warmed up. They easily last two hours constantly on full, though. To recharge, you remove the battery and plug in with the supplied recharging cable.
There are small reflective elements for safety, and a nose-wipe for... well, wiping, but beware – as the gloves can't be washed, the nosewipe can't either. They also don't do touchscreens, as the fingertips are leather-covered and as we all know, cows are rubbish at working phones.
What price warm hands? £150. That was simple. These seem to be the first cycling specific heated gloves, but comparable products for motorcycle use retail at a very similar price, so in that sense the price is fair.
Alternatively, high-quality 'regular' winter cycling gloves such as the DexShell ThermFit NEO (£35) or the Sportful WS Essential 2 (£50) cost so much less it's hard to justify this option when it's not transformative.
These may be transformative for you if you suffer greatly from cold, but otherwise they're only a little bit better than normal gloves for a lot more money. Also, if you're prepared to stop to unfreeze your hands, gadgets like the £25 Lifesystems Outdoor USB Rechargeable Warmer work very well and frequently double as powerbanks, too. And you'll still be spending less.
These gloves do what they set out to do - they're like touching the back of your hand to radiator, and they generally keep you a bit warmer. But as the significant heat doesn't extend to the all-important fingertips, they didn't quite live up to my hopes.
Well made and pretty effective, but need more warmth in the fingertips – and more comfortable batteries
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Sealskinz Waterproof Heated Cycle Glove
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for
Sealskinz says, "A technical beast of a glove, slip on a pair of Waterproof Heated Cycle Gloves and navigate the coldest and wettest weather with ease. So many not-so-good things can happen when you have wet and cold hands. Blisters, numb fingers, and frostbite to name just a few. Take on the coldest of days with a pair of Waterproof Head Cycling Gloves and stay protected and warm while out pedaling."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
* Outer Layer - 50% Leather, 46% Polyester, 4% Elastane
* Middle Layer - 100% Polyurethane
* Inner Layer - 92% Polyester, 8% Aluminum
* Insulation - PrimaLoft Gold
This is a well-made glove.
Heats your hands well, though not right to the fingertips.
Leather underside should wear very well.
Slightly too long in the finger for me - a function perhaps of unisex gloves, which tend to be modelled on male hands.
I'm a medium in other Sealskinz gloves, and these fit well too.
Unsurprisingly the battery pack makes these noticeably heavy to wear.
The weight and stiffness affects them – they aren't as comfortable as comparable 'normal' gloves.
This is clearly the most you will ever spend on a pair of cycling gloves, but the build and performance earns it. If you suffer from Raynauds, the benefits may be invaluable.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
These can't be washed due to the electronics. This is an issue with the thumb, which has a typical nose-wipe but can't be cleaned.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Warm up quickly and are appropriate for cycling, with enough flex to let you easily work the controls.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The speed of heating and the duration of the output.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The weight of the battery packs on my lower wrists. They also meant I couldn't wear an exercise tracking watch.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
These seem to be the first cycling specific heated gloves, but comparable products for motorcycle use retail at a very similar price.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Perhaps... but they're very expensive
Would you recommend the product to a friend? If they suffered significantly from the cold
Use this box to explain your overall score
If you suffer from the cold to the extent that it stops you from riding, these gloves may well be a justifiable purchase. They're effective and well made. If the electronics could be removed to allow washing, and weight and flexibility could be improved, they'd score higher, but given their limitations the cost will probably feel prohibitive for many riders.
About the tester
I usually ride: Trek 7.5 WSD My best bike is: Turquoise Cruiser
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Novice
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, general fitness riding, Leisure