Tomayto, tomahto. Gloves, mittens? These are contested issues. And while your birthplace almost certainly determines how you refer to the juicy, red, vine-growing fruit (it is a fruit, you know?), how you keep your hands warm in the winter is entirely up to you. I long dismissed mittens as too childish and cumbersome, but I have some circulatory problems that affect my hands and fingers. It’s painful, and could even be dangerous when they get too cold. This winter, I bought a pair of mittens.
It’s been a winning choice. They’re cute, and they keep my hands and fingers far warmer than any pair of gloves I’ve ever owned. I can also drop a hand warmer in each mitten if I want to keep myself really toasty during long outdoor jaunts.
It’s official: I’m a member of the mitten brigade. Here, I consider some of the most popular mittens on Amazon and share a brief mitten buying guide to help you select the pair that will have you cheering for Team Mitten during the next cold snap and beyond.
The Best Mittens
These medium-weight WindRider mittens are very similar to the pair I purchased for myself this winter. They have a sportier look than the gloves we’ve featured on our list so far, plus a number of features that increase their warmth and wearability.
Nearly 200 reviewers give the mittens a 4.5 average star rating, calling them perfect for ski trips, ice fishing, and cold days. The mittens have adjustable wrist straps, extra long cuffs that can be cinched closed with a toggle system, and a zippered pocket (one on each mitten) where you can stash a key, credit card, or ID.
WindRider says they’re made with a Cordura nylon shell, and I quote, “none of that thin nylon crap that rips your first use,” and also leverage a Gore-Tex-like coating, 3M Thinsulate, and soft fleece.
The mittens come in a wide array of sizes (X-Small to XX-Large) and are backed by WindRider’s U.S.-based customer service, which reviewers appreciate. Note that not all buyers agree that these are waterproof (think of them as water resistant, instead) or are thrilled with the mittens’ fit. Some note that if the thumb fits, the rest of the mitten may feel too long or floppy.
- Sporty, active aesthetic
- Thinsulate-lined for extra warmth
- Not waterproof
- Proportions may be a little off
- Available in 6 sizes
- Zippered pocket for key or cards
- Adjustable wrist and cuff for warmer fit
- Brand: WindRider
- Sizes: X-Small to XX-Large
- Material: Nylon, fleece
These high-tech heated mittens from Savior Heat take staying warm outdoors to a whole new level. They’re powered by rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, come in seven sizes and three colors, and have three different heat settings.
The mittens are made of windproof, water-resistant lambskin, a fleece liner, and cotton batting and have a unique three-finger design that will afford you a bit more dexterity than traditional mittens offer.
They have a 4.7 average star rating, with over 75 percent of reviewers awarding them 5 stars. One calls these mittens “the best cold weather investment,” another “off-the-charts wonderful.” It’s also worth noting that folks who need bigger mittens appreciate that these come in sizes up to XXX-Large.
The batteries will definitely add weight and bulk to your mitten-wearing experience, and at least one reviewer notes that they run a bit large. Finally, because of the mittens’ three-finger design, your thumb and index finger may feel more exposed to the cold than your other three fingers.
- Rechargeable batteries
- Extra long, adjustable cuff
- 3-finger design allows for increased dexterity
- Most expensive mittens featured in our roundup
- Thumb and index finger may feel more exposed to the cold
- Some buyers say sizing runs large + batteries are heavy
- Available in 7 sizes and 3 colors
- Lambskin + fleece + cotton
- 3 heat settings
- Brand: Savior Heat
- Sizes: X-Small to XXX-Large
- Materials: Leather, fleece, cotton
Mittens Buying Guide
Buying winter wear seems straightforward enough. Find articles that are warm, cozy, fit well, and are built to last. Of course, when it comes to mittens alone, we’ve seen that there are so many options. And I, for one, know how drastically a good pair of mittens can improve my experience of the cold winter months, especially as a person who needs to take good care of the circulation in my hands and feet.
Here are a few things to consider as you shop mittens. May the right pair find its way onto your hands and into your heart!
Your mittens’ design is the factor that will most impact how warm they keep you and how wearable they are. If you aren’t worried about blocking the elements completely and want a pair of mittens that will keep your fingers covered when you want them cozy but allow you to text and take calls on your smart phone with ease, hybrid or convertible mittens like our top pick, honorable mention, and also consider choices are your best bet. Note that some convertible mittens also have thumb flaps that will allow you to expose your thumbs for easy texting, but the products on our list don’t have this feature.
If you’re seeking warmer mittens, you may have to sacrifice a bit of this flexibility. More traditional mittens, like the Ojbro option we suggest, will trap the heat in better, but you’ll have to take them all the way off to take a call. The same is true of the WindRider and Savior Heat mittens we recommend.
Whether you opt for traditional or convertible mittens, the length of the cuff can make a big difference. I absolutely hate the feeling of any exposed skin between my coat sleeves and mitten cuffs, so longer, well-fitted cuffs are a priority for me.
Mitten quality varies drastically. Odds are, you can buy an inexpensive pair of mittens at the nearest drug store, but if they’re knit, they may unravel quickly. This is a common complaint among budget mitten buyers. If you want mittens that will last you for years to come, consider whether you can invest more now and be satisfied reaching for the same mittens winter after winter.
Extra features, from zippered pockets to full-on battery-powered built-in mitten heating systems can take your bundling-up experience to the next level. I’ve enjoyed having mittens with an adjustable wrist strap and am considering investing in heated mittens soon (partly because I don’t like the waste involved with using hot hands, though rechargeable electronic hand warmers are also an option and would fit in the mittens I currently own).
A lot of mittens are one-size-fits-most, but the bottom line is, sizing will afford you a better fit. If you opt for mittens that come in different sizes, be sure to consult the manufacturer’s sizing guide as mitten sizes aren’t standardized. Also, read reviews to see if other buyers suggest you size up or down and order accordingly.