In this blog post, we set out to answer a very fundamental question:
What are the best motorcycle gloves to keep hands warm, for winter riders?
Lots of riders swear by their heated gloves. But we sell lots of insulated winter gloves, too, and hear from riders who are just as devoted to them.
In the end, it’s a personal decision, but we asked Marilyn Elmore Bragg to do a little research on the topic for you. Have a read.
Heated Gloves vs. Unheated Winter Motorcycle Gloves
by Marilyn Elmore Brag
Let’s be realists, for anyone riding in temps colder than 50 degrees F, that person is going to start thinking about hand comfort and safety.
Your hands are always the first things to get cold -- and a guarantee of warm hands can add 4 months to the riding season.
So, is there a glove that’s warm, safe, not bulky and waterproof? Read on:
First the obvious: Expense
Heated gloves are a large expense. You don’t buy them without much thought to how you want to ride, where you want to ride, and the amount of time you spend in the saddle each winter. If you’re not a true winter rider, you might find the price tags from around $130.00 to OVER $200.00 a tad pricey.
But, if you are a rider who spends more days on their bike than in their car, regardless of season, I’d dare to suggest the price is not that steep and well worth the investment for the added warmth. Basically, the colder the temps where you ride, the easier it is to justify the expense.
Beyond the price, though, there are several other aspects to consider before making your decision.
Heated Glove Review: Pro’ s
A good pair of heated gloves will keep your paws WARM. When riding in weather below 35 degrees F, nothing is able to keep the entire hand warm (including the backside AND fingers), down into the single digits, like an electrically heated glove.
Well-engineered heated gloves put heat where it’s needed most -- to the fingers and backs of hands, where wind and element exposure dominate. Some models also heat the palm.
With the right controller, it’s possible to keep the hand warm without getting too hot or too cold.
A well-made heated glove is a less bulky option to keep you warm and dry. Compared to a well-insulated winter glove that isn’t heated, it doesn’t need as much insulation on the backs of the hand and at the fingertips.
Heated Glove Review: Con’s
Wiring is a pain. Getting “plugged in” can be a bit challenging if you haven’t practiced where you will be plugging in and what order your clothing should be put on, or the wires don’t turn out to be long enough.
They can and will burn your skin if you don’t pay attention and get the heat setting correct. Adding a special controller to your setup, offering convenience and control – is another expense, but seems worth it.
Being connected to wiring can feel…well, disconnected. It’s hard to describe, but being tethered to your battery can change how you mentally feel while riding.
If you are connected to a battery pack instead of hard wired into your motorcycle battery, you must plan your ride around the length of time your rechargeable batteries will stay charged.
Many popular versions don’t come with armor or knuckle protection, which is a safety compromise in the event of a fall.
High Quality, Regular Winter Gloves:
You can find a tried and true, quality winter motorcycle glove that’s warm, safe, and waterproof for well under a hundred bucks. A well designed winter motorcycle glove will do the job it is designed to do, down into the 30’s -- this is a perfectly fine option for many riders. (learn more about choosing winter gloves, here).
The Showdown: Which did I choose?
Did I invest in a good pair of electric gloves? Or did I buy the best unheated winter glove and continue with that?
After thinking these points over, I’ve decided to stick with an unheated, insulated winter glove for the time being. Here’s why:
Main reason is where I live. Maybe if I lived in Utah or somewhere, I’d choose the wired glove … but I don’t. Winter temps in Tennessee do occasionally drop below the 20’s and into the teens at times, but the average winter temp is in the 30’s.
I own an excellent pair of ladies winter gloves. They’re well insulated -- I’ve worn them in temps lower than 25 degrees, and they do the job.
I’m one of those folks who just doesn’t want to think about wires and where they run on my body and bike. I just wanna ride …
I ride a smaller bike, a Sportster 1200. I have a great battery on it, but its accessibility isn’t stellar.
I work at home. When I ride, it’s because I need to do a store run or because I have cabin fever. I like to ride, and I like my hands not to sting or go numb with cold … but I don’t have to commute to work and ride on the coldest days.
Winter Motorcycle Riding: In the end, it really is a personal decision.
Like pulling hot potatoes from the oven with bare hands, there are lots of possibilities and variations to consider.
At a later date, I’ll take a look at another popular combination favored by lots of riders: heated grips with insulated gloves. That’s a good topic for another – warmer -- day.
What do you think? What gear do you use for cold weather riding, and why? Share your tips for winter gear, winter riding recommendations, and your decision about heated vs. unheated gloves, below.
P.S. We make over 70 styles of gloves -- many for winter riding with free shipping. To learn more about specific styles, visit your local Olympia dealer or our online store: