What are hand warmers? What are their applications?

Hand warmer

The cold season is almost here. There’s a chill in the air which can already be felt while waking up in the morning and going for a walk in the night. These are just signs of a harsh winter ahead of us. A lot of people aren’t particular fans of winters based on their previous experiences. They try to look for ways to make themselves more comfortable. However, the thing about winter is, that it is meant to be enjoyed. And to promote this same thought, we decided to give you a detailed study of such a device. A device which can massively affect your perception of winter. We are indeed talking about the hand warmers. You can always use mittens, but there’s a certain level of comfort which is experienced by applying electric or re-usable warmers. Without further ado, let’s get started.

What exactly are hand-warmers?

Hand warmers can be detailed as small disposable packets which are kept in hand to warm them. They produce or absorb heat due to their chemical substance and properties, and this heat is then used to warm your hands in winters or cold weather. They are extensively used during outdoor activities and sports to keep the professionals and athletes hands warm. Warmers are also used to soothe joint and muscle pains.

They come in packets which are then heated. And depending upon their heat source, they may last from 30 minutes to 24-36 hours. They are essential devices which offer comfort when in situations of distress. Your body, when in contact with the hand warmer, absorbs all the heat from the small packet. In return, it fills the container with the coldness. This is how the hand warmers work. While there are several types of warmers available, the components in each are different. Check our list of best hand warmers.

Components used in hand warmers

  • Iron Powder or Air Activated – The packets are filled with this powder and when opened react with oxygen in the air. This reaction gives birth to iron oxide, rust, and excessive heat. The heat so generated is extremely hot and can reach up to the temperatures of 160-200 Fahrenheit. Manufacturers usually crush iron to produce the iron powder used in warmers.
  • Porous pouch – Once you’ve uncovered the real packet after unboxing and removing the packaging, air seeps into it. This is what facilitates the chemical reaction which heats the hand warmer. Moreover, the more pores the packet has, the more air flows into it, the quicker the result is, and the more the heat generates. This is probably the reason why foot warmers have more pores than traditional hand warmers. More pores also allow for proper ventilation and circulation.
  • Charcoal – The entire packet contains the water which is necessary for the charcoal to activate. This helps in evenly distributing the heat once it the oxidizing reaction is complete. Once this activated charcoal heats up, its surface area is as big six football fields. What this helps is spreading the heat over a wider area.
  • Sodium Chloride – NaCl or Sodium Chloride is mainly used in this entire mixture and process as a mere catalyst. It helps in speeding the process up. Furthermore, it helps in spreading the rusting process over a wider area.
  • Vermiculite – This is a more hydrated and infused mixture of magnesium, aluminum, and silicate. Upon heating, it expands like any other material, and the by-product looks like worms. The mixed product gives birth to a very inert but insulative material which is fire-proof. It helps in spreading the iron-powder over a wider area so that it doesn’t burn. The more it diffuses, the longer it’ll keep your hands warm.

Uses of hand warmers

  • Handwarmer – As the very name of this product or device suggests, it is used to keep your hands warm. If too obnoxious in hand, you can even fit these small packets in your pockets or backpack. They can also be stored inside your hat if your head it too cold, or be used to warm almost all of your body parts.
  • Wet shoes – If by chance your area experiences winter rains, these can be your lifesavers. Having wet shoes is hugely annoying and disturbing. But keeping these packets inside your shoes overnight helps in drying them and ready for the upcoming day.
  • Wet socks – Wet shoes equals wet socks. And wet socks can be equally frustrating. Keeping these small packets of warmth inside your socks can save you from wearing wet socks for the entire day.
  • Sleeping bags – If you’re a camper, this small inclusion of these devices can help you sleep in the cold freezing nights you’ve to spend in the wilderness. Once the warmth kicks in, you start feeling good.
  • Drinks – It can be used to keep your drinks warm too if our flask has failed to comply with your demands. Just sticking it around the glass should do the job.
  • Medical – Of course, being a hot packet, it can be used for your medical needs too. It is particularly useful if you have a sprain, ache, or pain in one of your joints, muscles, or tendons.
  • Batteries – Cold weather has been known to not be good for the battery life of your carry-ons. These may be cell-phones, battery packs, cameras, etc. Storing a hand warmer around them can help in making sure the battery life of these products and devices stay at optimum.
  • Headaches – It is particularly useful for your problems as it helps in easing out the pain and distress.


Buying these hand warmers is extremely easy as they can be found with chemists, convenience stores, and even online. All you have to do is place the order and wait for the product to be delivered to you. Post that you are free to use. With the advancement of technology, you can even buy re-usable hand warmers for slightly extra bucks. Their use has substantially increased all around the world as they are extremely affordable and don’t require too much care. They get the job done.

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