Thursday, 22 September 2016

Zippo 6 Hour Hand Warmer Review

Key Info
- Compact size. 
- 6-hour burn time. 
- Runs off Zippo lighter fluid. 
- Low fuel consumption. 

I've used various hand warmers over the years and until fairly recently I was a fan of the charcoal-stick-burning variety. However, having discovered the Zippo models, there really is no comparison in heat output and burn time. Zippo make two models - the 12-Hour and the newer 6-Hour Hand Warmer.  I own both of these, and they're both great, but having acquired the 6-Hour model last winter, I must admit I do prefer it to the 12 for every day use, mainly due to its compactness (it is not a great deal larger than a Zippo lighter) and lower fuel consumption. 

Function and Use
To use the hand warmer you fill the supplied measuring jug with Zippo lighter fluid and remove the lid and burner from the top of the hand warmer. You then decant the fluid into the hand warmer, replace the burner and pass a flame over it for a few seconds (around 5-10 seconds should be sufficient in my experience). This starts a reaction of the lighter fluid with oxygen from the air, mediated by the catalyst material in the 'burner' - there is no flame inside the hand warmer, but rather this chemical reaction generates heat. Once the hand warmer starts to warm up, it is then placed in a small cloth bag, which prevents too much oxygen reaching the burner and causing it to overheat. 

This might sound a bit convoluted, but it only takes a minute or so and this hand warmer has a different burner to my older 12-Hour model, which seems to have made it considerably easier to ignite. If you are having difficulties in lighting your hand warmer, it is worth noting (in the case of both the 6 and 12hr models), that they seem to prefer being completely filled, and can be very reluctant to light if only half-filled. That is to say that if you want a hand warmer that will last all day then the 12 hour model is great, and I've found it to last even longer than 12 hours on several occasions, however, it does use quite a lot of fuel, and if you just want a few hours' heat for when you venture outside without having to needlessly use excess fuel, then you're better off using the 6hr model than trying to get away with half-filling the 12, as you may have problems getting it to light and stay lit. 

As for what fuel to use - personally I always use Zippo branded fluid. There are various other naptha-based fluids available, which I dare say would work perfectly well, but the Zippo fluid is a bit more refined and doesn't smell quite so much as other brands so I tend to stick to that. 

The 6hr hand warmer is great quality. It's made of brass and like all Zippos, has a very tactile feel to it. Spare burners are available as they do wear out over time, but they're inexpensive and should last a few winters of moderate usage. 

In my opinion, the Zippo 6-Hour Hand Warmer is the perfect hand warmer for general use. It may not burn for as long as it's bigger brother, but I see this as an advantage, as personally I'm rarely outside for as long as 12 hours  in the cold, and the smaller form factor and lower fuel consumption of the 6hr model more than make up for this in my mind. If you are going to be spending extended periods outdoors in the winter, then perhaps the 12hr model is best for you, but for day-to-day use, I think the 6-Hour Hand Warmer is hard to beat. (Available at 

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