Little Hotties Hand Warmers 40 Pairs Plus Toe Warmers 3 Pairs Review

Little Hotties Hand Warmers 40 Pairs Plus Toe Warmers 3 Pairs
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Hand warmers come in a variety of brands and sizes and are all not created equal. I will compare this brand of warmer directly to the other most popular brand here on Amazon which is Heatmax Hot Hands for your convenience. To appreciate hand warmers is to define the factors that are important to look for in a hand warmer or disposable warming device. Notably the factors one should look for are permeability, longevity, output and shelf life.
Permeability can be measured in two ways; the ability to transfer heat from the sachet to the surrounding area and the ability to retard moisture from entering the sachet. Longevity is simply the run time of the sachet being warm enough for its intended application. Output is the level of heat generated from the sachet, and shelf life is length of time the sachets can be left alone before loosing their effectiveness when used.
Little Hotties hand warmers fare well in 2 out of 4 categories; namely output and longevity. Compared to Heatmax Hot Hands, they loose out on permeability and shelf life. Both brands (in my experience) have their pros and cons in direct correlation to one another and allows me to switch on the fly between them when stocking up.
The critical aspects of Little Hotties is their poor permeability followed by a short shelf life. The material used to contain the mix in Little Hotties is a very simple cloth like sachet that is too thin for my tastes. It causes an unpleasant if not downright burn to the skin once the packet is fully activated, and can only be reasonably used between a thin layer of clothing. Making matters worse, water can easily enter the sachet material causing the reaction to speed up and dramatically shorten the overall run time. For shelf life, I had a few boxes of Little Hotties from Amazon for no more than a year old that had bad run times. Although they were not technically expired, you could fee the sachets inside the box to be "hard" from being left alone so long, and they only ran about 4-5 hours when used compared to fresh packets which ran most of the time up to about 7 hours.
The positive aspects of Little Hotties is their output level far and foremost. Heatmax Hot Hands get nowhere near the heat level that Little Hotties provides; as often times I had a hard time handling a fully activated Little Hottie sachet with my bare skin compared to the gentle warmness of the Hot Hands sachets. It should be noted that the amount of mix inside a Little Hotties sachet is also significantly more than the one in Heatmax Hot Hands, which I primarily assume is the reason why the output is much hotter. Longevity is a mixed bag depending if you're using a fresh or stale sachet, but fresh ones last up to 7 hours and provide a tremendous amount of heat during that time, compared to the 3-4 hours of usable heat from the Hot Hands sachets.
So to sum up my review in a few words; get the Little Hotties brand of hand warmers if you need high temperature sachets in a relatively dry application. Get the Heatmax Hot Hands if you need a more subtle heat temperature and are using them in a relatively wet application, as they have better water retardation in their sachets. For emergencies, it's better to store Heatmax Hot Hands as they have a better shelf life, but for day to day use, the Little Hotties are better for their intended purposes.
Update: December 07 2010
So it's been roughly almost a year since I wrote this review - and not much has changed. Like clockwork - a box of Little Hotties I bought last year from Amazon at the time I wrote the review are now somewhat in "stale" condition (5 pairs I have left). The sachets themselves only last roughly 4-5 hours before dying out - and the heat output is somewhat sporadic from very hot to warm.
Heatmax Hot Hands brand warmers that I have from 2 years ago are still going strong (for what it's worth) even though the heat output is still nowhere near as strong as the Little Hotties (if they're fresh). The more things change; the more they stay the same I guess - I just wanted to let folks know that it's business as usual and my original review still stands accurate today.

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Little Hotties Hand Warmers are an odorless, environmentally safe heat source that provide warmth and comfort in all cold conditions. Little Hotties Hand Warmers can be used by athletes, outdoor enthusiasts, sportsmen, spectators, skiers, construction workers, and anyone who enjoys keeping their hands and body warm. Little Hotties is committed to decreasing our environmental impact on earth. We purchase enough wind power to account for all electricity used while manufacturing our products.

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