I’ll be making quite a few trips to the east coast this winter, so I’ve been thinking about gadgets that will make the cold weather a bit more bearable. It’s also become a bit chilly in Los Angeles (don’t laugh… it was in the 50s last week!), so I’ve finally been firing up the heater at home, and yearning for a bit more moisture in the air. The cold weather tech below offers some surprisingly warm ways to keep you nice and toasty no matter how low the temperature drops outside. Great holiday gift alert.
Dyson Heat & Cool
Beige and wheezy, space heaters aren’t usually the sexiest of home equipment. Dyson’s AMO5 Fan Heater, however, offers minimalist good looks and quiet, efficient heating. The technology was inspired by fighter jets— airflow is forced around the loop where it’s heated by ceramic plates and is projected out. Use the remote to choose between a focus mode to aim it straight at you or a diffused mode to heat the room evenly. An intelligent thermostat keeps things at a just-right temperature. Best of all, you don’t have to store this puppy in the summer; it’s a fan for cooling once the weather warms back up.
I scoffed when I first saw this product’s campaign on Indiegogo, but the idea is kind of growing on me. Ember is a smart thermos that will keep your drink at the exact temperature you prefer for hours. Just set it by turning the bottom ring, and you can tweak as you go. The leak-proof, 360 degree drink spout up top is a nice touch, and the design is gorgeous (from the same folks that brought you Beats headphones). An app allows you to create pre-sets for different drinks (if you like your chai hotter than your green tea), and it charges on a chic little plate.
Breath is an ultrasonic humidifier that can sense how much humidity is needed in the room, and shoots mist into the air accordingly. It holds a gallon of water, and there are no complicated buttons or dials. Great for anything from dry skin, sinus congestion, bloody noses, chapped lips, or whatever the dry air hath wrought in your house. Best of all, it’s not an eyesore in the room.
Shearling UGG boots have millions of fans; now ears can get in on the sheepskin trend and warm fuzziness, too. These headphone earmuffs, made of shearling and leather, have built-in speakers and a wire with an integrated microphone, allowing you to talk on the phone or listen to music, without freezing off an earlobe.
What could be better than a glass of wine in front of a fire on a long, dark winter evening? Reclining in front of a sophisticated, wall-mounted, showstopper-of-a-fireplace. European design firm Radius makes fireplaces that look like works of art; they burn bioethanol in combustion chambers with ceramic foam for a steady, attractive set of flames. How much heat do these chic fireplaces give off? Depending on room size and air supply, the company says, “as an open fire, the heat generated is pleasantly warm.”
Sustain Ski Gloves
A lot of gloves touted as “tech friendly” have one or two fingers that will work on touchscreen devices, but Sustain Ski Gloves are designed so that all 10 of the fingers will operate a touchscreen. This means you can take alpine selfies—“say schuss!”—or make calls without having to remove your gloves on the slope. Another bonus: a waterproof insert further keeps the elements at bay and a one-handed cinch cord locks the snow out of the gloves.
If you live in a very cold climate, you might want to invest in a remote start system for your car. Viper SmartStart allows you to start your vehicle from just about any range via its app (iPhone, Android) and an installed SmartStart system in your car. You can also use your Apple Watch or Android Wear device to fire up your car from your home or office. The system allows for multiple vehicles to be controlled with a single account, to allow for families and more than one user per car.
After two years of research, Nike has come out with a high-tech fabric, Therma-Sphere, that’s designed specifically for cold-weather training. It’s a three-layer composite material with raised nodes to trap warm air close to the body. In between, a spacer thermal design allows the wearer’s body heat to escape so that they won’t overheat. It’s also water-repellent and wind resistant, and, looks pretty darn cool, as seen here on this women’s vest design.
Most thermostats only monitor the temperature in one room of the house (and it’s usually the hallway, where few of us spend much time), but Ecobee3 Wifi thermostat has remote sensors for multiple rooms. These sensors not only gauge the temperature, but also whether or not someone is in the room, so the thermostat can make smarter decisions about which areas need to be kept nice and warm. If the thermostat notices no one is in the home at all, it will automatically adjust, which can save you money; the company claims an average savings of 23 percent on energy bills each year. You can control the thermostat remotely from via the mobile app or web portal.
ProFlex Heated Insoles
When fuzzy rabbit slippers just won’t cut it, reach for the big guns. ProFlex makes insoles with a removable, rechargeable battery that heat your tootsies to 100 degrees or 111 degrees, depending on your personal preference. The insoles are operated via a small, wireless remote. The charge lasts about five hours, and the batteries recharge in four hours using a wall charger or a USB cable.