Hands-On Review: Gerbing 7V Rechargeable Hard Knuckle Heated Gloves
Gerbing has a decades-long reputation for reliability and quality; my Gerbing heated jacket liner and wired gloves have provided reliable warmth for years. My expectations for these gloves, which are not cheap, were high. However, the Hard Knuckle Heated Gloves never even reached body temperature. On a 30-minute commute, my fingertips were so cold I had to pull them out into a fist at stoplights to warm them up. I never felt any heat on the palms. The batteries are weak and lumpy, and they press into the back of your hands when wrapped around the hand grips. The instructions and information on the website and box are outdated and inaccurate, and as other reviewers noted, the gloves are sized small. Good for cold football games or winter walks in the woods, but not motorcycle rides in 40°F or colder weather.
Fit & Comfort
Value for Money
Not clammy during wear
Comfortable in warmer temperatures (45°-60°F) with or without heating
Heat never rises to body temperature, much less the advertised 135°F
Cold fingertips and felt no heat in the palms
Weak batteries don’t last on high heat
Unreliable touch-screen fingertips
Lumpy batteries pressure wrists and wristwatch (if worn)
Operating instructions and country of manufacture on box and website don’t match labeling on gloves
The Gerbing 7V rechargeable hard knuckle gloves are designed as heated gear for cold weather riding.
Build quality is decent with leather covering and synthetic fabric on the fingers’ backs. It features an open gauntlet for fitment over a jacket wrist closure. Other design elements include a zippered “power pocket” for the battery, a four-way heat control button, and touchscreen-compatible strips on the index fingers.
Prospective buyers may want to size up as fitment was not true to size.
As a heated glove, the Gerbing gloves completely underperformed as I was left with cold fingertips even on max heat.
On High heat, the battery only lasted approximately 30 minutes. They are also quite unwieldy and press down on the tops of your hands when they’re wrapped around the grips.
At $200 USD, they score very low on value for money given the obvious heating issue which is the core reason why buyers would even choose these gloves.
As a year-round rider in the Mid-Atlantic region (DC area), I count on heated gear to keep me comfortable on the road in lower temperatures. My normal commute is about 30 minutes, and so far, I’ve ridden as low as 9°F in wired Gerbing gear without frostbite or other ill effects. I’ve tried multiple brands of heated gear, and always returned to Gerbing when others have failed. The company was founded by Gordon Gerbing in 1975; before its first sale around 2013, Gerbing’s reputation for reliability, service and comfort was unmatched. Today, I ride with an old Gerbing jacket liner and gloves; they plug into my bike’s electrical system and a double rheostat allows temperature adjustment to fit the weather conditions.
There’s a pesky transitional period in the fall and spring when the temperature is cold in the mornings and warm in the afternoons, requiring two pairs of gloves. So I expected that these battery-heated gloves would cover both commuter inrides and outrides perfectly, bathing the backs and palms of my hands in a cloud of warmth and protection no matter the temperature.
The gloves are well made and stitched, with a nice wide open gauntlet for fitting over a jacket wrist closure. A gore allows for wider opening, and a hook-and-loop flap adjusts the fit. Right below the top on the outside is a zippered “power pocket” for the battery, plugging into an internal fitting attached to the heating wires. A square button beside the zippered battery pocket controls the three blue, orange and red heat settings: a tiny label attached to the battery cable corrects the misinformation on the box and website stating that the colors are green (low heat), yellow (medium) and red (hot). While on the subject of misinformation, the box states that the gloves are made in China, but labels inside the gloves say they are made in Pakistan.
Build Quality and Materials
These gloves are well made, with leather covering the entire surface, even over the hard plastic knuckle guard. Just past the knuckles, the backs of the fingers are covered with a synthetic fabric, and the knuckles are protected with little lozenge-shaped bumpers on either side of expansion joints. All the stitching is even and the hemming is consistent. At the top of the gauntlet, there is a zippered “power pocket” to carry the battery; the zipper is a standard zipper, not a water-resistant type. The four-way heat control button is just below the zippered pocket. All but the index fingers have squared ends; the index fingers, which are pointed, claim to have touchscreen-compatible strips. I tried these on smart phone surfaces, touch pad and laptop touch pads; they were unreliable and only worked about one out of every ten tries.
The charger unit plugs into the wall and has two output wires. A light comes on when it’s plugged into the wall socket. Sometimes the charger is silent; sometimes it has a weird hum when charging one battery that changes to a higher pitch when both batteries charge together. This is not reassuring.
The thumbs and palms have an extra leather layer of padding for protection. On the inside of each glove is a clip to join the gloves together when not in use, and there is an internal Aquatex waterproof membrane keeping your hands dry.
Better save the box the glove come in, because the only instructions for use are on the back of the box. There is no manual, and a better, more detailed set of directions is buried on the Gerbing web site. The box has mistakes, in saying that the gloves are made in China, that it contains a manual, and that the heat colors are red, yellow and green (see below).
Fit and Comfort
As noted by other reviewers, the fit of these gloves is small; order up at least one size. The batteries are 7 volts and 2,600 watts—about the same size as an extra power pack for your smart phone or tablet. I didn’t take one apart, but they almost certainly have two internal AA-size rechargeable cells in series.
When inserted into their pockets on the back of the gloves, the batteries press into your wrist and the back of your hands, and this is uncomfortable. I had to take off my diver’s watch before I put the gloves on, or the fit is too tight.
Heating Elements and Temperature Control
The heat in these gloves is controlled by a single button on the back of the wrist; the instructions on the box say that the settings are red (high), yellow (medium) and green (low). However, the colors on the gloves are red (high), orange (medium) and blue (low), as specified on really tiny labels on the battery connector wires. Holding down the button for a few seconds changes the settings.
The picture on the box and web site indicate heat both on the palms and back of gloves; I didn’t feel any heat at all on the palms on any of the settings. With the setting on high, my fingertips were cold; at stop lights, I had to pull out my fingers and close my hands into a fist to warm up my fingertips.
Even on the highest setting, the gloves never reached body temperature, excepting only when preheating them for a minute before riding off. They always felt as though they were a few degrees under body temperature, and a 30-minute ride on high took the battery charge down to one blinking light. This meant that I had to take the charger to work every day, pull out and recharge the batteries to make sure they didn’t crap out on the outride home. It’s hard to believe that the batteries could last the advertised eight hours even on the low setting. I did wear them two 32°F nights in a row sitting in a field with friends to watch the Gemenid Meteor Shower in mid-December, and for that they were fine. Once the outside temperature is 45°F or higher, the gloves’ 200-fill polyester insulation takes over, and electrics are not needed.
The batteries charge together on a two-wire charger, with a nice little fitting. There are three blue lights on each battery: first they blink when charging and then go full on; then all three go off when the battery is fully charged.
It’s hard to recommend these gloves. They don’t heat as advertised, and the batteries don’t last long. I never felt any heat in the palms, and the conductive fingertips didn’t work reliably (if at all). The batteries are fat, and they press down on the tops of your hands when they’re wrapped around the grips, especially if you wear a watch. For this price point, you should get more and better.