Thermacell made a name for themselves with their mosquito repellent appliance, which was introduced back in 2003. For those of you unfamiliar with this device, in a nutshell the device provides effective protection against mosquitoes by creating a 15 by 15-foot (225 square-feet) bug free zone. A small mat, saturated with repellent, sits on top of the metal grill, which is heated via a butane cartridge. Heat vaporizes the repellent, allowing it to rise into the air. The repellent is allethrin, a copy of a repellent that naturally occurs in chrysanthemum flowers. Although we have never had the pleasure of testing this device, our research shows that the device is highly appreciated by its end-users.
Backed with a strong reputation of an effective and high quality product, Thermacell continues to expand its product line for the outdoorsman by introducing their new Heated Insoles and Heat Packs.
ProFlex Heated Insoles (retail price: $ 199.00)
Opening the box we find a pair of insoles, two lithium-ion rechargeable batteries with their charger, a remote control and a small nylon bag to store the insoles. The presentation of the package is impeccable and the materials used are of the highest quality.
The insoles can be ordered in any size and are also available in half-sizes. It is also possible to lightly trim the insoles to properly adjust them to your footwear. The insoles are water-resistant but not waterproof. In other words, it’s ok to get them wet however don’t submerge them in water.
What immediately caught my attention when I first saw these insoles was the fact that they were cordless and operated via rechargeable batteries! Those of you that used traditional wired heated insoles in the past know what a cumbersome task it was. First you needed to run wires down your pant legs and into your footwear to connect the insoles, then for them to actually work you needed an external power source.
Using the ProFlex Heated Insoles is made easy via a small remote control. The remote controls the (on/off) operation of the unit as well as the temperature controls. The basic concept of these insoles is not to overheat the foot, as would do the regular heated insoles, but rather to keep the foot at the right body temperature.
The insoles have three intensity settings: the first position leaves the insoles on the standby (no-heat) position. The second setting keeps the foot at (100 oF / 38 oC) and the third position will go up at (111 oF / 44 oC). Standby mode is required to let the unit receive the signals from the remote control at the appropriate time. It was noticed during our testing that leaving the unit in standby mode will consume approximately 2% of battery life per hour.
Knowing that the normal body temperature is (98.7 oF / 37 oC), the temperature differential between your skin and the insole at the lower temperature setting (100 oF / 38 oC) will be too small to actually feel any heat. However this will keep your feet at the right body temperature and avoid excessive foot sweating which in-turn will provide for warmer feet.
After use, we found a battery life of 4.5 hours in position 2 (medium), what can be considered consistent with the manufacturer’s claims. The heat is sufficient to keep the foot warm and comfortable and we found the energy efficiency satisfactory. In position 3 (high), the autonomy is about two hours. The low autonomy of the batteries can seem troublesome but it is possible to keep a constant performance: the trick is to always have a second set of batteries in the charger, plugged in your vehicle. As a full charge takes about five hours, full batteries will always be available when those in the insoles are empty.
As part of our research for our review, we wanted to look at the user feedback from consumers who have actually purchased the insoles, which we easily found on the net. This research revealed a reoccurring concern between the battery and the receptacle in the insole, which leads to the device malfunctioning.
We have carefully examined the battery and found that it cannot move once in place: it is laterally maintained in a rigid plastic frame and also well supported vertically on the rigid base. In addition, the flexible connector at the base of the sole allows a certain play.
During our test period the insoles have worked great and we cannot report any negativity towards this product. The ProFlex Heated Insoles will keep your feet warm and the concept of wire-free and remote operation provided by the ProFlex Heated Insoles opens the door from them to be used in a wide variety of applications. Plus let’s not forget that if a problem was to occur, the insoles are guaranteed for manufacturing defects one year from the date of purchase.
Heat Packs – Pocket Warmers (retail price $ 75.00 to $ 90.00)
The Thermacell Heat Packs are available in two versions: our test product the (Pocket Warmers) designed to fit in your coat/pant pockets or a smaller sized version the (Hand Warmers) that can easily fit in your gloves/mittens.
Opening the box we find one Pocket Warmer equipped with an integrated rechargeable lithium-ion polymer battery, one USB wall charger, one USB cord and an instruction booklet. Once again, the presentation of the package is impeccable and the materials used are of the highest quality.
Thermacell’s Pocket Warmer is rechargeable equipment that provides heat for the hands while they play outside. Located at the bottom of a thermoplastic shell, the polymer lithium-ion battery provides energy to the heating element that will distribute heat through a silicon membrane.
Same as the ProFlex insoles, the temperature is precisely controlled to constantly release the heating energy in three settings: low (106 °F / 41 °C); medium (110 ° F / 43 °C); high (116 ° / F 47°C). The device can be easily stopped to save energy. The unit takes four hours to fully recharge and can provide up to 6 hours of warmth at the lowest temp setting. Again, our observations confirm the manufacturer specifications.
Once again our research led us to investigating end-users feedback on the net. The feedback was very positive and the purchase of this product was high recommend by its existing consumer base. No real surprise here for us, as the design and quality of this product are undeniable. As with the heated Insoles, the Pocket Warmers are also guaranteed for manufacturing defects one year from the date of purchase
In conclusion: quality materials, performs as advertised and great pricing. All factors which lead us to highly recommend these products.
For more information on these products, please visit heat.thermacell.com