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Zippo Hand Warmer 2011
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- Virtually odorless (great for hunter). Stay warm for up to 12 hours . Reuseable with Zippo lighter fluid. Includes filler cup and warming bag.
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The Zippo Hand Warmer is a rugged, metal hand warmer with a high-polish finish and a sleek, thin design so it easily fits into your pocket. The hand warmer is virtually odorless (great for hunters) and stays warm for up to 12 hours. Plus, it's reusable with Zippo lighter fluid and includes a convenient filler cup and warming bag. Whether you're skiing, tailgating at the game, hunting, sledding, or enjoying any other cold-weather activity, keep a Zippo Hand Warmer in your pocket and keep your fingers toasty warm.
- Rugged metal construction
- Sleek and compact design
- Reusable with Zippo premium lighter fluid
- Virtually odorless; great for hunters
- Lasts for up to 12 hours
- Includes convenient filler cup and warming bag
- Ideal for skiing, sledding, other outdoor excursions
- Hand warmer replacement burners sold separately
- Dimensions: 2.75 by 3.75 by .25 inches
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I read many reviews saying the fuel was expensive, the catalytic burner was loose fitting, and it was hard to light. For these reasons I began to look elsewhere but always kept coming back to this item.
I decided to just go ahead and purchase one along with two replacement burners and a 12oz can of Zippo lighter fuel. The first thing I noticed was how large this thing is. The picture makes it look like the size of a Zippo lighter but it's probably 3 times the size.
For my first use I used the included measuring cup and filled it up to the 12 hour mark. From my experience I would suggest just filling the Hand Warmer up straight from the lighter can. It's less messy that way.
Lighting the hand warmer was also pretty easy. I held a flame to both sides of the burner for 10 seconds on each side. I turned off the lights just to make sure I could see the orange glow then put the top cover on and placed it in the felt pouch. You can put this in your pockets or under bed covers and this thing will still burn.
I have always heard of people saying this is great for cold outdoor weather but it's also great if indoor temperatures are too cold for your comfort. I appreciate it's ability to give me some added warmth in some cold auditorium classrooms I have to sit in.
Unless your face is practically touching the hand warmer you and others around you won't notice any odors from the fuel. That's an attribute of any naptha fuel. It's burns hot with low odor so don't worry about using this indoors around others.
This hand warmer also burns for hours. I never went to great lengths to measure the burn time but it easily burns for 12 hours. I noticed that the less access the hand warmer had to oxygen the longer it burned.
When using this product place it in a pocket. Don't take it out to warm your hands. Too much heat will be lost to the cold environment that you won't benefit as much. Place and keep the hand warmer in a pocket close to your body that is shielded from the wind to maximize your results. Don't worry about the hand warmer burning out, it won't and you'll be thankful for it.
If I want to turn the hand warmer off I just pull the burner off real quick and let it cool on a stone surface. I recommend you suffocate the hand warmer in tupperware because you don't want to risk a burn.
I've heard that you can buy Coleman lantern fuel very cheaply but Amazon doesn't seem to sell it for the price that others have mentioned. I'll check Walmart or Academy to see if I can find a cheaper source of fuel. Even when you take into account the fuel cost and the cost of the replacement burners this thing still cheaper than what you'll pay for disposable chemical hand warmers.
I have already placed an order for another Zippo Hand Warmer. I think people have a point when they say it's best to have a separate hand warmer for each hand in the cold.
Update 1: So I went to Academy and bought a 32oz bottle of Coleman naptha fuel for $6 which is great compared to the $8.50 I was paying for 12oz bottles of Zippo lighter fluid. This fuel seems to have less of an odor than Zippo lighter fluid. I've tried Coleman, Zippo, and Ronsonol.
I think Ronsonol has the least amount of odor while Coleman is by far the cheapest. All fuels seem to burn the same. I filled the hand warmer to the top of the cotton wadding and I have been seeing burn times over 25 hours. I understand some people new to these types of hand warmers will see the fuel cost as a turnoff but when you experience the burn time as long as these you'll see that chemical hand warmers don't come close in terms of heat output or time.
The only thing I don't like is that the felt pouch seems too thick so I find it insulates the hand warmer to much. I think I might make my own cotton pouch to reduce the insulation of the included pouch.
Update 2.) Ok so I found that you SHOULDN'T light the burner with a match and I also wouldn't lighter the burner with a Zippo Lighter. I used both of these and thought nothing of it but it seems like you need a blue flame because it doesn't dump sut on the catalytic burner. If you use matches or a Zippo the flame will be orange and cause your burner to turn black with sut buildup. You don't want this. I learned the hard way and had to replace the burner early because I ruined it this way.
I now use a cheap Bic lighter and only use the blue part of the flame to light the catalytic burner. It maintains the shiny chrome finish on the burner but more importantly keeps the catalytic mesh material clean. Please please please don't repeat my mistake. I wasted an $8.00 burner when I didn't have to. Bic lighters are cheap as hell and while a torch lighter might work as well because of the blue flame I don't own one so I can't be sure.
I also know that regular Zippo lighters have a blue flame but the wind guard obstructs it so I went with a Bic because its blue flame is exposed. I spent $2.00 on a 2 pack of Bic lighters and I am happy with them. It would be great if Zippo lighters worked but I'm not that phased by it.
When lighting the hand warmer with a blue flame you may not notice all 6 holes lighting up into an orange ember. That's fine, and normal.
Put the lighter aside with the lower half of the hand warmer in the felt pouch and just leave the chrome top of the handwarmer off and leave the burner exposed to the air.
After about 10 minutes of being exposed all 6 holes should be bright orange in the dark. At this point put the chrome top cover on and let it heat up for 5 minutes. At this point it will be very hot but it you should be able to pick it up by the bottom because the lower half is in the felt pouch. Zip up the drawstring and enjoy the warmth.
I also recommend just buying Coleman camping fuel. It won't burn as hot as Zippo or Ronsonol lighter fluid but it's cheaper. You will feel the difference in how much hotter Zippo Lighter fluid burns but I save my Zippo fuel for those especially cold days. Coleman lighter fluid also leaches the red color from it's red container and will turn the wadding in the handwarmer red. If you want the best of both worlds use Ronsonol. It's cheaper than Zippo lighter fluid but more expensive than Coleman but Ronsonol burns just as hot as Zippo Lighter Fluid and is clear as well so it won't dye the wadding.
I hope I helped anyone thinking about buying these. They're a great product but I think Zippo isn't clear about how to best use and maintain the product. Feel free to ask me any questions.
First, I caution you to make sure that these will fit in your gloves or mittens. I have slightly larger than average womens hands and they fit in my mittens, just barely... I actually bought larger mittens so that the warm air could circulate comfortably around my hands. I recommend mittens, so that your fingers will contact the pouch to keep warm. I often pull in my thumb to keep it warm.
As the prior reviews have noted, oxygen is the key to any fire, and these hand warmers work on the same principle. Fill them with lighter fluid and light them up. It's useful to do this with a lighter, since you need to hold the flame on the warmer for several seconds. If you use them immediately, they will be slightly warm in their pouch, but if you allow them to sit out in the air about 15 minutes before placing the cover and pouch over them, they'll be nice and hot. Oxygen is the key and the challenge of these handwarmers! When I start out on my walk, my fingers are really toasty! But being in the pouch, and then placed in mittens, the warmers don't have access to oxygen. By the time I get home after an hour, the warmers are slightly warm. After a longer walk, they are cool. When I pull them back out at home and let them sit out, they heat right back up. Maybe the heat would last longer in a pocket, which would have a better airflow. So, stock up on lighter fluid and enjoy these, just realize their limitations.
When following the instructions, I would fill the little plastic pouring device and dump it into the warmer. This is the worst part -- I couldn't figure out how to do it fast, so it would take 3-5 minutes to get it to dump in. Then it would take me multiple tries before it would actually stay burning. One time I brought one after putting three hours worth of fluid in and I couldn't get it lit.
I have now adapted my methods. I squirt fluid directly from the can into the warmer and put a few drops in the catalytic top. This gives a flame when first lighting and when that goes out I usually have to light one more time. This reduces the prep time to less than a minute per warmer.
Once it is lit, it produces a moderate amount of heat. I found that while inside the felt case it was sometimes not enough to warm my hands up much. Outside it would help more. I'm still experimenting with how to get it to heat up (the chemical packs can be shaken to warm up). There were a few times that it got hot to the touch, but I'm not sure what I did to do that.
The times I have used them have not been longer than three hours and I haven't run out of heat yet.
When I'm finished I put them in a sealed plastic bag to preserve the fluid (thanks to other reviews for that tip).
For now, I'll keep some chemical packs with me in a pinch and bring these warmers when I know I'll be outside in the cold for a time. There is just too much to carry around to make these warmers work in an unexpected situation.
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It is a little funny to light sometimes. You need to hold a flame to the catalytic fibers on the reactor unit for long enough that it becomes able to sustain itself. The thing itself works by fumes from the fuel evaporating into the reactor, where they they burn to release heat. There is no flame - the reaction is contained within the catalytic fibers, and so all you will see is a slight orange glow reminiscient of aurora borealis within the fibers. This orange glow is the only way to tell if the thing is sustaining itself or not - aside from the heat, but this takes a few minutes to get to, so the glow is the thing I look for after lighting it. You need to hold the flame to the fibers for around 10 seconds, but given that flames like to point upwards, you need to hold the handwarmer upside down, meaning you'll get some sooty deposits from the lighter all over the hand warmer if you let the flames lick it too much.
Another thing to say is that it guzzles fuel. I've been using this almost every day for around a month, and in that time I've gone through a couple of tins of Zippo lighter fluid, which they (of course) recommend you use. Surprisingly, it also happens to be the best fuel to use - others can be more expensive and harder to get hold of. As long as you have some spare lying around, as I do given I use Zippo lighters too, this really shouldn't be an issue.
Lastly, the handwarmer comes with a little fabric pouch. The metal casing of the handwarmer can get fairly hot to the touch, and the pouch helps protect skin. However, I feel like the pouch somehow restricts the amount of heat given off - it really shouldn't, as the same amount of fuel is being burned - but the handwarmer feels less warm when I use it, so I don't bother and just leave the metal unit in my pocket as-is.
Lighting it can be difficult and its sometimes hard to know when you've lit it. When it is lit properly you feel it expelling heat immediately. Just be persistant with the lighter to get it lit.
Heat output is currently at "meh" level. Good enough to keep hands warm, but no hotter than putting your hands down your trousers. I guess it is a "hand warmer", so it'll serve it's purpose. Hopefully it'll get hotter after the break-in period
It does smell slightly of gas to about 2 ft away, but I like the smell. I'm using Bull Brand lighter fluid (naptha), which was £1.00 for 100mL. 10mL equates to approx. 6 hrs, so fuel costs about 10p per use.
It starts off fairly cool, but after 30 minutes it really gets up to temperature. Keep it inside the cloth bag and the temperature is just right for warming hands.
Main flaw I've found is that the catalytic burner is quite loose, and it can fall off during use. If this happens, the heat stops, and you need to make sure you have a lighter to relight it if out and about. The burner can be made to fit more tightly by pinching in the base of it...
Update: it’s been 3 years and I’m still using this item. In cold weather I wouldn’t be without it. Some reviews I’ve seen say it doesn’t get warm enough. If mine got any warmer I’d be spending a few hours in A&E for burns. I keep it in an inside pocket and it acts like central heating all day. If my hands get a bit chilly I just wrap them around it for a minute. If you are thinking of buying one don’t hesitate. Once it’s lit you’re good to go
I also recently purchased the Peacock hand warmer (which is made in Japan) and it really is far superior quality in every way even the bag/sock is made of good quality material.
If you're thinking about getting this kind of hand warmer, I would recommend the Peacock of one of the cheap ones which are the same quality as the Zippo but far cheaper.
The instructions are succinct and helpful. You pour the lighter fluid in through the wool-like substance that tops the fuel reservoir. This is fiddly and I have not yet got the hang of it. The first use you need to double fill (ie two full filling cups) to kick it off. I did this outside, and just as well as the fluid dripped all over the place - anywhere it seemed than the whole it was meant to go in. Nevertheless, persevere, and you'll get there.
Lighting the thing again has a knack to it. It took me about a minute to be confident it was burning. I find the best is to light each gauze section in turn, then repeat until you "feel" it take. You will soon know. The thing slowly starts to heat, and then suddenly it's there. It becomes too hot to touch so needs to go in the little pouch that comes with it. The first go it warmed brilliantly for about 8 hours. You can't control the temperature, although you can of course move it to your other pocket (or a back pocket, very nice on a winter's day!).
Once working, there is a very faint smell of lighter fluid if you're up close, and no flame due to its catalytic converter. The only thing wrong is that one is not enough - so am v tempted to buy a second.
Looks great, a bit of a conversation piece, and very effective.
First use is the hardest to get right, after that, it is a doddle. I don't use the measuring cup as I feel it is a nasty, spilly device. I use the syringe, with needle, from an inkjet refill kit.
For 36 hours or more of constant warmth, fill it until it brims, withdraw excess pooled fluid, replace the burner head and support it upright for a few minutes to allow the vapour to pervade and permeate the burner head. Apply heat to each section of the burner. If it catches fire, blow it out, wait a minute and try again. Replace the lid.
Place the unit in the pouch once it is lit and keep it about your person for lovely background heat.
After a while, you'll work out how much fuel to use. Initially, I used the filler device, then sucked the fuel into the syringe and got an idea of how much fuel to use. I find about 8-12ml gives between 6 and 12 hours. Why the variance?, if you want a quick hit of heat, take the unit from the pouch and blow gently across the holes. Keep it out of the pouch for a minute or two and by 'eck it gets hot. Warm up, back in the pouch and carry on.
With these and the charcoal type, be prepared to put a little effort in in order to reap the longer term benefits they offer. Yes, it takes a while to get to temperature, but it holds it for hours.
My zippos get really nice & warm - almost too hot to touch when out of the fabric case but just right in the case. Keeps my hands good & toastie. From my coat/trouser pocket I can feel the heat against my body/legs so they don't just keep my hands warm. Unlike the gel type warmers I can start these going before leaving home in the knowledge they will keep going for 6+ hours (haven't tried longer yet). With the gel type I would often wait til I really needed them in case they went cold before I got back from the day's birdwatching trip/walk. When I get home I just pop the zippos into a small tin and they 'switch off' because they are starved of air. I have small hands and my husband has large hands but we both find them comfortable to hold. Very highly recommended.
The plastic filler measure/bottle is useless and resulted in lighter fluid getting spilt all over the place.Its far, far easier to fill the handwarmer directly from the can.The velour pocket/bag that the handwarmer goes into looks and feels cheap.
So all this is pretty negative HOWEVER, once the handwarmer is up and running it works really well: no appreciable smell, a useable level of heat generated, and it lasts for ages on a single fill.
I like this product and would recommend it to others, however I am not sure the premium paid for the "Zippo" brand is worthwhile when compared to cheaper versions available online.
to start with it's bigger than i expected. this isn't a criticism but i was thinking it'd be smaller. it does fit the hand well though.
finished really well with all parts fitting snugly and a great shine (as you'd expect from a zippo product).
now we come to filling and lighting...
the supplied 'jug' seems like a good idea. it has markings to show how much to use for a half fill...and a full fill. as you start to pour it into the reservoir it starts out ok...then overflows from the top of the warmer after a bit (i wasn't pouring it too quickly) and you need to wait for a wee while for it to clear before resuming the pour. when you get near to the end the jug has to be tilted to a, frankly daft, angle to get the last drops out. i've started filling it straight from the can of fluid in fact.
lighting the thing isn't the smoothest of processes either. watched the videos on youtube, read the tips in the reviews here, still a bit of a tricky business. i use a zippo (blue part of the flame) and heat the burner for 20 - 25 seconds until i see an orange glow within. great you might think...we're off...only to stride out into the wilderness (or towards the bus stop) to find that the initial heat fades and it has to be relit.
i'm keeping it. i'm using it. i love the technology behind it...just think the execution's a bit off.
Hence, to the Zippo. Marvellous and lasts for 12 hours and more on a couple of thimblefulls of lighter fuel. (Zippo fuel is recommended but I've been using Ronson or Newport brands without any loss of performance.)
The Zippo really does get HOT. So much so that if you take it out of its cloth bag it hurts to hold it.
One point...it takes longer to light than stated in the instructions. Around 20 secs and not the 5 stated in the manual.
Great product. I bought a second one. One point worth mentioning is that the little burner on the top needs replacement every 70 uses, or so it says in the instruction booklet. I had to replace my burner after a lot less uses than the 70 uses stated. It is made from a `catalytic' material similar to glassfibre and deteriorates with use.
This little burner costs around £5 to replace and not many people stock these. Look on the internet.
Edit: I'm leaving the above so people will understand the trouble I had. Eventually I did get it going; I resorted to holding it over my gas stove with some tongs until it was all burning hot and I couldn't touch it. I did drop it and the catalyst came off and some fuel spilt out. I noticed the catalyst was orange so quickly replaced it and blew gently. It now works fine and is still going on it's first run, although it has only been an hour but is nice and toasty!