Bobby Shaw, a product manager for Milwaukee Electric Tool Corp., Brookfield, Wis., says jobsite research is an important part of new product development. “We spend a lot of time on jobsites asking questions and observing end users so we can deliver innovative solutions that meet their specific needs.” During the winter months, Milwaukee noticed workers wearing three to five layers of bulky clothing, and thought it would be safer and easier to move if they weren't so restrained. At the same time, the company was searching for additional ways to use their M12 lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries. The result was a game-changing idea.

Rechargeable heated jacket

There have been many attempts to make electrically heated jackets in the past. The big difference now is a battery that can provide up to six hours of warmth on a single charge, depending on ambient conditions, and recharges in 30 minutes. The 0.4-lb. battery is small and fits into a small pocket on the side of the jacket where it's out of the way. Many contractors already own the battery and charger so buying the jacket is less costly.

How it works

By selecting preheat, high, medium, or low on the “Easy Touch Controller,” the carbon-fiber heating elements sewn into three areas of the jacket heat up, providing warmth to strategic core areas and stimulating blood flow. The jacket thermostatically maintains the temperature that you set on the controller.

Although the jacket is light, it is multilayered to maintain warmth and resist both wind and water. It can be worn by itself or under other jackets or coveralls.

Availability

The jacket goes on sale in November at select Milwaukee supply houses and at www.milwaukeetool.com.