Outdoor Research Gripper Heated Sensor Gloves
The Outdoor Research Gripper Heated Sensor Glove is a well-built, battery-powered heated glove that can make life a little bit more enjoyable on those cold winter days. The placement of the button that turns on/off the batteries could use some reengineering in order to minimize the chances of accidentally being bumped.
- Good grip
- Touch-screen compatible
- Strong pull loops
- Long wrist coverage
- Removable battery pack
- Easy to bump on/off button
- Decreases dexterity
- Unequal fit in the fingers
I’ve worn the Outdoor Research Heated Sensor Gripper Gloves for two-and-a-half months during the winter in the eastern US, with temps down to 5°F (-15°C) and combinations of wind, light rain, and snow. Activities I’ve worn them in include hiking, hunting, snowshoeing, and sled riding, as well as everyday uses like shoveling, brushing snow off the car, and driving. I’ve worn lots of gloves over the years, typically struggling to find the balance of warmth, dexterity, and comfortable fit.
Everything included, from left to right: 1 wall charger, 3 adapters, 2 batteries, 2 gloves, 1 carrying pouch.
14.1 oz. (400g) - two gloves and two batteries
2.9 oz. (82g) - one battery
1 lb 3.2 oz (544g) - two gloves, two batteries, and charger
Sizes: 5 unisex sizes available (XS-XL). I tested the XL, based on the manufacturer’s sizing chart.
- Materials: combination of Gore-Tex Infinium with microfleece, synthetic palm made from 80% thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) and 20% polyester, and synthetic leather for touchscreen compatibility.
Fit and Comfort:
I have long, skinny hands, so finding well-fitting gloves can be a challenge for me. Typically, most gloves are either too small for my long fingers or too fat for my skinny hands. The Heated Sensor Gripper Gloves fit, but with mixed results.
First is the overall length of the glove, which is nice and long, covers the entire wrist and ensures no gaps between the glove and a coat sleeve cuff. While the overall glove fits, there are a couple odd areas, notably the pinky finger opening is very large and sloppy, while the opening for the thumb is tight and somewhat restrictive. While I cannot precisely measure the internal diameter of each finger, it almost feels like all the fingers have the same diameter, which doesn’t translate well for most people’s hands (thumbs tend to have more girth than other fingers, especially pinkies).
Aside from the odd finger fitting, the materials are comfortable to the touch inside and out (yes, outside material is crucial for those cold days when the nose is dripping and you need to gently wipe your nose). The overall fit is too snug for me to wear a liner underneath, but with the built-in heat function, I haven’t needed to do so anyways.
The gloves have enough dexterity for things like glassing, but not quite enough for finer-tuned motions.
A look at the three pairs of gloves I mostly commonly used this winter. OR Gripper Heated Sensor Gloves on the left, sherpa-lined gloves in middle, and fleece gloves on the right. The OR gloves were certainly the warmest of the three, but allowed for the least amount of finger freedom.
As with most gloves on the market these days, the thumb and index finger are touch screen compatible. I’ve encountered no issues whatsoever using these gloves with a smartphone; however, digging my phone out of my pocket while wearing these gloves is another story.
Index finger and thumbs are both touchscreen compatible, which has worked flawlessly.
The overall bulk of the gloves leads to decreased use of fingers for things that require a finer touch. Common things like finding something in my pocket, grabbing the pull tab on my jacket’s zipper, snagging the right key on my keychain, and turning the valve on my camp stove, have all been difficult tasks to do with the gloves on. I often resort to slipping a glove off momentarily, in order to complete a task that requires any sort of finger dexterity.
A little tricky getting to that valve with these gloves on.
Construction and Durability:
The combination of fabrics make for a fairly burly and bulky glove, so it's no surprise to me that after two-and-a-half months of use, there are no signs of wear and tear. All seams look well stitched and are intact, the synthetic palm shows no blemishes or wear marks, the microfleece areas have no piling, and the zippers for the battery packs operate very smoothly. All-in-all, a well-built glove.
Windproof and Water Resistance:
Overall, I think the manufacturer’s claims about being both windproof and water resistant, are completely on point. Even on cold, blustery days, I’ve felt no wind penetrating the gloves. They truly are windproof. As for the water resistance, I’ve had these exposed to light rain and snow, which stood up to the elements without any problems. Given the internal heating system and battery pack, I wouldn’t expose these to excessive moisture, but they handle everyday moisture just fine.
I’m going to break down the warmth of the gloves into two categories; without heat activated, and with heat activated. I will also compare them to the ubiquitous air-activated, pouch-style hand warmers that many hunters use during their winter hunts (myself included).
Without heat activated—I found the gloves were plenty warm while moderately active without the heat needing activated. While hiking or doing something else physically active, unless it is really cold (say, below 15°F/-9.4°C), I mostly keep the heat off, because my hands stay plenty warm with just the gloves. For things like shoveling snow, no activated heat is needed. However, if at rest, especially for long periods of time (i.e. hunting) the gloves need to be turned on in order to stay warm.
With heat activated—I’ve found the battery powered heat is an effective way to stave off the cold, which in turn, has allowed me to stay outside longer, whether I was hunting, camping, or hiking. The heat is felt on the back of the fingers (see diagram below).
Image from Outdoor Research's website. Illustrates the layout of the heating element in the gloves. There is not actually a red line on the gloves.
- Compared to pouch-style hand warmers—Like most hunters I know, I typically carry a few air-activated pouch-style hand warmers with me during my winter hunting trips. Compared to these pouches, the heat produced by the gloves are a noticeable upgrade. The heat is far more dispersed around the hand, whereas the pouches have a concentrated heat.
The one area in which the pouches may out-perform these gloves is in length of time they stay heated. I've had some that stay warm for 10+ hours, whereas these battery-powered gloves won't stay hot that long (more like 3 to 7.5 hours depending on heat setting). However, the pouches are one-time use products, disposable, and a recurring cost, whereas the gloves are fully rechargeable and only one-time purchase.
This is just one example of the many air activated, pouch-style hand warmers that most hunters I know keep stashed in their pack for use in the winter month. Image from Hot Hands website.
Battery-Powered Heating Feature:
On/Off Switch: This is probably my biggest qualm with the glove...because of its location on the outside of the wrist (approximately in the same place a watch might sit), the on/off switch is very easy to accidentally bump. This means that the heat can easily turn on when not in use and run the battery dead.
As well, several times I’ve been wearing the gloves, and noticed one of my hands starting to get cold, only to look down at the glove and find that I’ve accidentally bumped the heat source off. To combat the former problem, I simply unplug the batteries when not in use. This way they can’t accidentally turn on and drain the battery. I have yet to find a solution to the latter problem of bumping them off while in use.
Charge Time: From completely dead to fully charged takes approximately 5 hours and 15 minutes. I tested this three times, each time starting with two dead batteries and charging them until the solid red light on the charger changes to green (it actually blinks green and red). I am no battery expert, but this seems like a long time to fully charge the battery. I’ve found the best way to ensure a full charge is to do it overnight, before needing the gloves the following day.
Run Time: With fully charged batteries, I tested the run time of the heating system on each of the three settings (Low, Medium, and High) on three separate occasions (three tests, three times, so nine tests total). I define the run time as from when I turned the heating system on until the indicator light shut off on both gloves and then averaged the two together. I did not wear the gloves during these tests, but rather left them sitting on my desk, untouched. Arguably, the gloves would still be warm inside for a little while longer due to residual heat, but that is not factored in to the batteries run time.
Average run time = 7:26
Manufacturer’s claim: 8:00
Difference = -0:34
Average run time = 5:17
Manufacturer’s claim = 5:00
Difference = +0:17
Average run time = 3:14
Manufacturer’s claim = 2:30
Difference = +0:44
My biggest takeaway with these tests was the fact that two of the three settings outperformed the manufacturer’s claims of battery life. I’ve found that most companies overexaggerate their claims, but it was a nice surprise to see that Outdoor Research has actually been somewhat conservative with their claims. My other takeaway is how much variation in its runtime there was with the highest setting. A 45-minute swing over three tests is rather significant.
Of course, I caveat all of these results with the disclaimer that while each test was conducted in a reasonable, DIY-style manner, they are by no means scientifically rigorous.
- Heat Output:
I think it is worth mentioning the speed at which I start feeling the heat. Of course this varies a little bit based on environmental conditions, but generally speaking, I can start to feel the heat kicking in within 30 seconds of turning them on and the gloves hit full heat output within a minute or so. Not bad, in my opinion! Far faster than the disposable pouch-style hand warmers that I've relied on in the past.
- Other Heated Glove Options:
I thought it might be worth mentioning that the manufacturer, Outdoor Research, does make other glove and mitten options in their lineup that include their proprietary battery-powered heat system. Of the four current styles being sold by the company, this pair is the least expensive. On the other hand, if battery-powered heat isn't your thing, there are non-heated versions of this glove (OR Gripper Sensor Gloves and OR Gripper Convertible Gloves).
As mentioned before, for me personally, these gloves don’t have enough room for a liner glove underneath, but then again, almost no gloves I’ve ever owned have room for a liner due to my long skinny fingers. As for layering with a jacket/coat, the bulk of the battery pack, which sits on the inside of the wrist, does make for a little extra wiggling in order to get the gloves under the coat or vice versa, but nothing too strenuous.
The very strong, very generously sized pull loops are easy to find and very useful when pulling on the gloves. A second benefit of the loops is that they make hanging the gloves to dry or hanging them from the outside of a pack very easy.
Aside from its long and confusing product name, the Outdoor Research Heated Sensor Gripper Gloves are pretty straightforward battery-powered heated gloves that can be used during a range of winter activities. Personally, I've found them most useful during activities that require less energy, like hunting, camping, and non-strenuous hiking.
Once my body temperature rises, I tend to turn the heat off or change into lighter-weight gloves altogether. I'm not a skier or snowboarder, so I can't exactly speak to their use for those purposes, but if you want battery-powered heat and windproof protection, these are worth checking out.
I am a hiker and hunter in Pennsylvania, who enjoys getting outside in the winter, even when temps are cold and the snow is deep. Gloves are a common item either in my pack or on my hands, especially during the winter, where temps typically range from 10 to 40°F (-12 to 4°C).
Source: received for testing via the Trailspace Review Corps
(Sample for testing and review provided by Outdoor Research)
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Current Retail: $118.99
Historic Range: $99.48-$199.00
13.3 oz / 378 g
GORE-TEX INFINIUM with WINDSTOPPER 100% polyester micro-fleece 3L, Synthetic Grip Palm 80%TPU, 20% Polyester, Touchscreen synthetic leather thumb and index finger, Synthetic Leather back of guantlet.