Zippo enter the digital age, with two electronically operated handwarmers, as Pete Wadeson discovers...
Handwarmers aren't the most important accessory we might consider. However, and when the weather turns cold, they're extremely useful items to have around. Usually, we think of them as being built around a lit 'burner' fuelled by lighter fluid, one of the major reasons many fight shy of using them. However, this is the digital age and, as technology has advanced, we now have designs that are charged by electricity, which is held in a rechargeable battery and then fed to an internal heating element. Lighter specialists Zippo have two such offering called Heatbanks. While both use the same charging method and principle of operation, they differ considerably in other ways.
"The Zippo Heatbank 3 is a sleek design and, like its larger relative, delivers a dual-sided, continuous gentle warmth."
First up is the oblong, but compact Heatbank 3. When ready, this sleek, rechargeable device is capable of radiating heat stored for up to three hours, to help keep you cosy when the temperature drops. Charging, as with the larger model, is accomplished by using the USB to mini-USB cable supplied, to connect to a suitable power source, such as a PC.
When fully charged, indicator lights on the upper face turn on, and these also show its power reserves and another bank of lights the heat the unit contains. The internal 2,600 MaH lithium polymer battery has an operating temperature of up to 45° centigrade and has what is termed a dual-sided heat facility, which means a continuous gentle heat is evenly distributed to both sides of the unit. It features an auto charge facility, high and low settings, so you can change the warmth depending on conditions and has a 5V1.5A USB charge our port. This allows the unit's internal power bank to power up a USB-compatible device when on the move. So, at a push, it could be useful if your mobile phone is getting low and it can give it a boost. It's available in Black or Silver.
"The Zippo Heatbank 6 is designed to fit the palm of your hand perfectly and feels comfortable."
The Heatbank 6 works on the same principle, but differs due to ir being larger and more ergonomically designed, plus gives up to six hours of continuous heat at the click of a switch. It has a rounded, sleek shape, reminiscent of a large computer mouse. This 'form' fits the hand wonderfully and feels very comfortable when held. It also features and auto-charge facility and, like the other model, is charged via a PC or such device.
It has all the features and more that the lower time rated/capacity model has, including battery and heat indicator lights, dual-sided heat, the same USB port in/out facility, but the internal 5,200 MaH lithium-ion battery is capable of up to 50° centigrade operating temperature and five heat settings. Also, as you'd expect, the internal power bank charges any other suitable USB compatible devices and is available in Green or Silver.
As I said at the start of this test, the original fuel-filled hand warmers were a bit dangerous and are really a thing of the past. These new electronic versions are superior in many ways and also a lot safer and, as indicated, offer the added ability of providing a convenient, top-up power source to compatible devices. Not that expensive and well worth inclusion in your hunting gear, be it cold or even milder weather.
Thanks to Pete Wadeson and Gun Mart / Shooting Sports for writing and letting us share this review.