Work doesn’t come to a halt when the weather turns cold. Thankfully, we now have a range of heated jacket options to keep us warm. Unlike regular jackets that rely solely on trapping body heat, a heated jacket actively generates warmth. In a recent heated jacket showdown, the Milwaukee Axis Heated Jacket emerged as the standout performer. Let’s explore what sets it apart.
- Accurate fit based on size chart
- Exceptional comfort
- Excellent insulation
- Impressive heating time
- 5 heat zones, including left and right shoulders
- Great value for money
- Battery pockets on the sides for easy access
- Case is not as durable as thicker cases
- Battery case does not have a belt clip
If you prioritize comfort above all else, the Milwaukee Axis Heated Jacket is the clear winner. Although the case might not be as rugged as some other jackets, it is still a dependable option.
Hot Zones and Controls
The controls for the Milwaukee Axis Heated Jacket are discreetly located on the left chest. Two buttons allow you to control the 5 heating elements on the left and right chest, left and right shoulders, and back. Notably, the jacket incorporates heated shoulder zones, a feature missing in most heated jackets. This ensures better core coverage.
The comfort of any design can be greatly affected by the battery. Fortunately, the Milwaukee Axis utilizes 12V batteries. While they may not provide the same runtime as 18V batteries, they are lighter and less bulky. The Milwaukee Axis Heated Jacket is intelligently designed to minimize the need for carrying extra batteries.
The battery is conveniently housed in the rear left pocket, with a side entry for easy access. Additionally, there is a cord pull in the middle of the back, allowing you to completely remove the battery and store it in the back pocket if desired.
Materials and Design
The Milwaukee Axis features a smooth 100% polyester liner and shell. Personally, I find this material preferable to rougher, fluffier options. It glides on and off smoothly without bunching up your base layers. The jacket compresses well and moves with you comfortably.
However, it’s worth noting that the outer material may not be as durable as some other jackets. Nevertheless, it does boast ripstop seams, allowing for easy layering if you need the Axis to serve as a middle layer.
In contrast to jackets that rely on hook-and-loop straps or storm cuffs, the Axis utilizes light elastic. While the sleeves may not provide the same level of elemental protection as storm cuffs, they are more comfortable.
Additional Features of the Milwaukee Axis Heated Jacket
- Quick heat function for rapid warming
- One-touch LED controller with 3 heat settings per zone
- Washer and dryer safe
- Windproof and waterproof
- Compressible design
- Reinforced high-wear areas to prevent damage
- 100% polyester insulation for warmth without bulk
- Adjustable waist and tail extension
- 2 exterior and 1 interior zip pockets, as well as a slim battery pocket
While fit is subjective, we do have objective benchmarks to consider. As with any workwear, accuracy in accordance with the size chart is crucial.
However, the size chart doesn’t tell the whole story. How does the jacket fit your shoulders and stomach? Are the sleeves the right length? Does the jacket provide enough coverage when you stretch your arms overhead?
The recommended chest size from Milwaukee was a perfect fit for me, and the jacket sat comfortably on my shoulders. The sleeve length was also ideal. However, the midsection and length were on the shorter side. When reaching up, my belly would be exposed, and the fit was tighter than I prefer.
A snug fit has its advantages. It positions the heating element close to your body, allowing it to work more effectively. However, it may require some adjustment. It’s worth trying on the jacket before removing any tags, as you may want to consider sizing up.
Things Are Heating Up
While design and comfort are crucial, the main reason for purchasing a heated jacket is its heating capacity.
We conducted tests to measure how long each jacket took to reach 100°F. The Milwaukee Axis heated up almost immediately on the highest setting, reaching 100°F in just 11 seconds. It fell just 1 second short of Bosch’s winning time of 10 seconds.
The jacket took 92 seconds to reach its peak temperature of 140°F before settling at a “cruising temperature” of 131°F. Only Bosch surpassed these temperatures, with maximums of 152°F and 140°F at cruise. The DeWalt matched the Axis at 131°F after stabilizing.
We also evaluated how well each jacket insulated. After one hour on high heat, we compared the temperature difference between the outer shell and the internal temperature. While the Axis demonstrated good insulation compared to other jackets, the differences were not substantial. The jacket allowed 72% of the internal temperature to escape. Makita’s new Hi-Viz jacket performed slightly better at 71%, while their Camp model achieved a rate of 79%.
By considering battery capacity and voltage, we analyzed several metrics. The Milwaukee Axis delivered an impressive runtime of 2 hours and 50 minutes with all heat zones on high, and 3 hours and 51 minutes with only the chest and back elements active.
In terms of efficiency, the Axis sits in the middle of the pack when comparing its overall runtime to the 2.0 Ah M12 battery that comes with the kit.
The Milwaukee Axis Heated Jacket is available for $219, including an M12 RedLithium 2.0 Ah battery pack and compact charger. The jacket can also be purchased separately for $169. This price point is comparable to other jackets on the market, and it offers excellent value with a rating of 4.9 stars.
The Bottom Line
From an objective standpoint, the Milwaukee Axis Heated Jacket consistently performs well, even if it doesn’t steal the show. Subjectively, it was the favorite among our testing group. It can be worn as a midlayer or outer layer, provides comfortable mobility, and the battery does not hinder movement. The jacket warms up quickly and stays in place. Taking everything into consideration, we can confidently recommend the Milwaukee Axis to anyone in need of reliable warmth on the job site.
- Model: Milwaukee 203-21
- Voltage: 12V
- Battery System: M12
- Heat Settings: High, Medium, and Low
- Laundry: Washer and Dryer Safe
- Weather Resistance: Windproof and Waterproof
- Insulation: Yes
- Thermal Elements: Chest, Back, Shoulders
- Inner Material: Brushed Warp Knitting
- Heating Equipment Warranty: 1 year
- Price: $179 (jacket only), $219 (kit)