MONEY-SAVING expert Martin Lewis recently revealed six gadgets to keep you warm and avoid putting the heating on.
Among the list of products to “heat the human and not the home” was USB gloves, heated insoles and reusable hand warmers.
One nifty gadget in particular caught my attention more than the rest though – heated gilets.
The devices work by heating up copper bars powered by a battery pack tucked inside the jacket pocket.
But how good could they actually be, I wondered, and are they a cheaper alternative to turning the heating on?
So I decided to put one to the test.
There are dozens to choose from online but I opted for Amazon’s Aunus heated vest which comes with plenty of five-star reviews.
Amazon says the vest is ideal for camping, skating and hiking so I figured it would do well to keep me warm at home while working.
It comes in at £50, before factoring in delivery fees, but you’ll also need a battery pack to power it.
I found a 5volt Vida unit on Amazon for £21 but you can get them for less.
The pack, which has a USB socket that plugs into the jacket, took around 2.5 hours to charge and I was good to go.
The jacket is easy to use, with an on and off button on the left-hand side.
Once you’ve turned it on you can set it to low, medium or high temperature setting.
I decided to leave the central heating off to get the maximum effect and clicked the medium temperature setting on the vest.
And I was shocked at how toasty warm it made me within just a few seconds.
I started with the jacket open but zipped it up after a few minutes which locked in the heat even more.
One downside to the battery pack is that it only lasted three hours so I am considering buying a more powerful one.
But even with the jacket turned off, it still kept me warm enough for me not to be tempted to switch on the heating.
How much does it cost?
I used a 10-watt plug to charge the battery pack which under the current Ofgem price cap costs 0.27p to run an hour.
It took the battery around three hours to fully charge which amounts to around 1p.
In comparison, my 24 kilowatt gas boiler costs £1.68 an hour to run.
The overall cost of the gilet and battery pack is £71, which means I will make my money back after using the boiler for just over 42 hours.
After that point, I’ll be saving just over £1.67 every hour I use the heated gilet and leave the central heating off.
If I had the heating on for three hours a day, every day in December, January and February, that’s a £420 saving.
And that’s just for one winter.
Based on those figures, it’s safe to say next time I consider flicking the heating on for one hour, I’ll reach for the gilet instead.
The vest is, of course, portable as well, which means I can stay warm on the go.
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