Heart Hand Warmer to use again and again

by Carolyn

heart_hand_warmer.jpgIt’s the time of year where, if you spend a lot of time outside doing outdoor activities (or if you have to watch someone else do those outdoor activities) it’s pretty likely that your hands will get cold. Those chemical hand warmer packets are nice, but you only get one use out of them.

The Heart Hand Warmer is a red, heart-shaped chemical hand warmer that can be used over and over again to keep your hands nice and toasty. On the inside, there is a small metal disc that when moved back and forth a few times in the clearish gel will turn the gel opaque. The opaque gel is what warms up the hand warmer using some nifty chemical reactions. ThinkGeek explains it as such:

[T]he pretty red gel is a supersaturated solution. Bending the disc starts an exothermic crystallization of the gel (i.e. it goes opaque and gets hot). And when it loses its warmth, all you have to do is wrap it in a towel and throw it into boiling water for about 15-20 minutes and the Heart Hand Warmer resets itself. Once it cools off from its boiling bath, it is ready to be used again.

As an extra added bonus, you can chill the Heart Hand Warmer in the fridge for a few hours to use as an ice pack of sorts. No boiling required to reset the hand warmer to it’s ready state. Pick one up for $5.99.

Dimensions: approx 3.75″ wide.


13 reviews or comments

Phrogg Says: December 17, 2007 at 10:05 am

Sounds like the ones i used to use about 10 years ago, though the ones i had were colorless, rather than red. Same principle, though. This isn’t anything necessarily new, but they work really well and are definitely cool just for the geek-factor of being able to watch a chemical reaction over and over again.

Suresh Says: January 14, 2008 at 2:35 am

How does button trigger the chemical reaction?

Kitsune Says: January 14, 2008 at 6:27 am


Inside the warmer is concentrated sodium acetate. Snapping the button makes all the little molecules inside (whatever you want to call them) freak out and crystallize by creating a nucleation center.

The easiest way to explain it would be to picture a football field of nerds. They’re happy, doing their thing, discussing D&D and whatnot. Then throw a jock into the field. Provoke the jock. He turns around and punches a nerd. The rest of the nerds freak out in response to that single nerd being punched and all the nerds falls over.

Simple, chemical chain reactions :3

Mellimaus Says: December 17, 2008 at 5:41 pm

I just bought some of these, but they won’t reset…do you HAVE to put them in boiling water? I just put them in a bowl of hot water…should I do hot water with a towel?…

Phrogg Says: December 18, 2008 at 2:07 am

Yes, it does need to be boiled for the gel to return to liquid form. The temperature of a bowl of hot water won’t be adequate; the sodium acetate requires sustained temperature at above the boiling point of water in order to become stable in a fluid state.
Wrap one in a towel, and boil a pot of water. Drop the wrapped warmer in after the water’s boiling, and let it boil for 10-15 minutes.

Ashley Says: December 19, 2008 at 9:45 am

I won’t debate with you over this when I know for a fact that simply melting it down in hot water works just fine :3 Seeing as I bought these over a year ago and they’re *still* working just fine and they don’t re-crystalize after being melted down again.

Phrogg Says: December 19, 2008 at 9:56 am

Eh. Maybe they’ve changed somewhat since i had mine.
If you look up toward the top, it’s been about ten years since i’ve used mine. I seem to remember trying to simply soak them in hot water and it not working; i actually had to keep mine at a low boil.

Air pressure will also affect boiling points, though…boiling at one elevation might just be really hot water at another.

Eric Says: May 11, 2010 at 4:12 pm

I have 2, but boiling has kind of become a hassle. Can you also microwave them in a bowl of water to reset them?

laurie Says: October 9, 2010 at 6:04 am

i boght these 3 years ago and they used to work ing just hot water but now they are just to much hassel as this doesnot work any more does it work in the microwave x

john Says: February 9, 2012 at 3:51 pm

utter shite, i boiled it then i tried to use it an hour later, couldn’t even get to the fukking button as it was surrounded by ice!

Darien Says: January 4, 2015 at 3:00 pm

I have one like that from primark but not red and heart can I use that again

Darien Says: January 4, 2015 at 3:01 pm

And it has the disk thing*

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