Volt Heat Fusion Dual-Source Heated Vest w/ Bluetooth Therm Controller Review

volt heat fusion heated vest

Thanks to Volt Heat for providing the Fusion Heated Vest for the purposes of this review

Introduction

Last fall I tested a battery-powered heated vest and touted its versatility. In my summary, I mentioned that for extended cold weather trips I would still prefer a traditional 12V tethered system.

In early spring (late winter in my area), I was given the opportunity to review a heated vest and heated gloves from Volt Heat. The beauty of these products is that they are dual source. The versatility of 7V cordless or the extended motorcycle use of a full 12V wired system. In my mind, the best of both worlds.

Volt Heat makes battery powered heated garments including slippers, vests, jackets, gloves and mid-layers. Depending on the product, the garment is powered by a 3V, 5V or 7V system. The vest being reviewed here comes from their motorcycle specific line called Fusion. It combines the 7V cordless and 12V wired into the same garment.

I would be testing on two bikes. As I mentioned above they also sent gloves for review. This provided me with a power harness from each bike.

As spring of 2020 arrived I was anxiously awaiting the arrival of the new riding season. With some new gear to review I was ready to go. Nothing like a world pandemic to squash my enthusiasm. In the province where I reside the request was made for no non-essential travel. Although there was not a ban on riding, I felt it was best to park the bike in support of healthcare workers and all others that are fighting the virus.

By late May restrictions had started to be lifted, and I felt comfortable heading out for short rides. Although the coldest of spring riding was behind us, there were plenty of very cool mornings and evenings to give the Volt Heat Fusion Vest a good shakedown.

Features

From Volt Heat:

ZERO LAYER® HEATING SYSTEM

Our patented Zero Layer® heat system helps eliminate bulk while providing more efficient heat transfer than any other heating system available.

volt heat zero layer

[accordion title=’Dual Source – 12v or 7v’]Traditional 12v heated clothing is great but only works when plugged in to a 12v power system. Once you unplug to get off your bike, you lose the ability to keep your clothing heated. Volt’s new Fusion Heated Vest can be used on or off the bike. Everybody loves the unlimited power of traditional 12v heated clothing. Everybody also loves the portability of 7v battery heated clothing using small, lightweight rechargeable batteries. Volt’s new patent pending Fusion Heating System brings everything you love about these two different heating systems together.[/accordion]

[accordion title=’Charge the Portable Battery on the Bike’]And when on the bike, the vest battery can be charged while you are powering the Fusion Vest through the 12v electrical system of your bike. When you stop to get off your bike, simply disconnect from the bike’s power and the rechargeable battery seamlessly takes over to keep heating the Fusion Vest. When you get back on the bike, you can continue to use the 7v battery for power or connect to the 12v electrical system and the battery in the vest will automatically start charging and your bike’s power will take overheating the vest. The 7v battery and mating 7v plug is stored in a small zippered pocket inside the left hand pocket. The male 12v coax plug for connecting to the battery harness installed on your bike is stored in a zippered pocket located in the lower left inside lining of the vest.[/accordion]

[accordion title=’Bluetooth Therm Controller Switch’]The Fusion Vest includes a built-in Therm Controller Switch with Bluetooth capability. Either use the simple push button control switch manually to change power level settings or download the Volt Heated Clothing App and control your heat output remotely. This is a great feature for when wearing the vest as a mid-layer under your outer riding jacket wear you can change the power level setting without having to disrobe or fish around for the controller switch. Approximate Battery Run Time per Power Level (the battery will fully charge from bike in 1 – 2 hours.)

  • High – 1 .5 hours
  • Med – 2.75 hours
  • Low – 4 hours
  • Silky soft 30 denier quilted ripstop nylon shell with 150 grams of insulation.
  • Stretch side panels for custom fit.
  • 4 zone heating with 2 panels in the chest and two large back heating panels in upper/middle back and the lower back
  • Includes 7.4v rechargeable battery and charger, 12v battery harness.
  • (Optional y-splitter available for powering Fusion Vest and Fusion Gloves from a single battery harness).
  • (Optional 24″ Coax Extension Plug if needed).

Zero Layer® heat system eliminates bulk while providing more efficient heat transfer.[/accordion]

 

First Impressions

I have always liked the versatility provided by battery-powered gear, as they can be used for so much more than riding. But, I also thought that for extended rides a wired system offered better heat and peace of mind that the heat would always be there. Having both in the same piece of gear was the unicorn of heated clothing.

My first ride was on a cold morning, with the forecast to remain cool. I decided to use the 12V system to start out the day. The vest fits easily under my motorcycle jacket.

I tend to naturally run a little on the warm side and quickly found myself reducing the temperature setting from high to medium. 

For the second half of the ride, I unplugged from the bike and ran off the 7V system. As the temperatures were not as cold, I started at the medium setting and eventually switched the low setting. Both systems worked great, with the 12V system appearing to have higher output. 

Volt Fusion Heated Vest Includes :

  • Vest
  • 7.4V 3400 mAH Rechargeable Lithium-ion Battery Pack 
  • Wall Charger
  • 12 Volt Coax Fused Cable / Plug
  • Fuses
  • 24” Coax Extension (Optional)
  • Instructions
  • Limited Lifetime Warranty

volt heat fusion dual source heated vest

After several weeks of riding, and other uses, these are my thoughts on the Volt Fusion Heated Vest.

Construction

Shell

volt heat fusion heated vest manufacturing tagThe shell appears to be well constructed from quilted ripstop nylon with stretch panels on the sides. The main zipper feels strong and smooth. 

There are three pockets, two exterior hand pockets and an interior chest pocket. There is also a small pocket inside the left-hand pocket to hold the 7Vbattery and plug and a small interior inside pocket containing the 12V plug. All pockets are zippered.

The interior is lined with nylon, except the collar, which is lined with fleece for added comfort.

Colorways

The Fusion heated vest comes in any color, as long as it’s black. I tend not to wear anything too flashy, so black works for me. Besides, for the most part, it will be hidden under a riding jacket.

volt heat fusion heated vest
Image: Volt Heat

I have inspected the material and zippers after several rides, everything is wearing very well and looks as good as new.

Heat Source

The interior contains four heating zones. One on each chest and two on the back. The heat zones are well placed and cover a large area. I did notice that slightly more heat was generated while using the 12V connection as opposed to the 7V.

volt heat fusion vest heating zones

7V Usage

The vest includes one 7V Lithium battery along with a wall charger. 

I fully charged the battery, as recommended by Volt. Simply plug the charger into the wall and plug the cable into the battery. When the four lights on the front of the battery stop flashing the battery is fully charged. 

The battery can also be charged while on the bike. If the battery is plugged in while using the 12V system, the battery will be charged.

Volt indicates that a full charge should take about 2 hours and I found that to be accurate.

Volt also recommends that you charge the battery immediately upon receiving and that you charge the battery regularly, at least every other month. Volt also recommends that you maintain at least a 25% charge when the battery is not in use to help prolong battery life.

Usability is simple. After charging the battery:

  • Locate the power pocket inside the left outer pocket. 
  • Open the power pocket to locate the power plug and plug it into the battery. 
  • Press and hold the power button located on the battery until the LED lights illuminate. 
  • Place the battery into the pocket and close the pocket.
  • Either use the simple push button control switch manually to change power level settings or download the Volt Heated Clothing App and control your heat output remotely

To check the battery level of charge:

  • LED lights to indicate the remaining power will illuminate (4 lights indicate a full charge, 1 light is 25% charge.

During my use, I found the battery life to be very close to the numbers provided by Volt.

  • High (Red) – 2 Hours 
  • Medium (Blue) – 2.5 Hours
  • Low (Green) – 3.75 Hours

Additional batteries cost about $50 each, the dual car charger is about $20 and there is also a dual wall charger available for about $20.

7V battery

12V Usage

First, you must connect the 12V fused wiring harness to the motorcycle. This is relatively simple, but if you do not feel comfortable with this task, have it done by your local shop.

Again Usability is simple. After the harness is installed:

  • Locate the 12V coax plug, located in a pocket on the inside left side of the vest. 
  • Connect the 12V plug to the fused wiring harness installed previously. 
  • Either use the simple push button control switch manually to change power level settings or download the Volt Heated Clothing App and control your heat output remotely
    • High (Red)
    • Medium (Blue)
    • Low (Green)

For extended cold-weather riding and for peace of mind, I would lean toward a 12-volt system that plugs into the bike directly. Two hours on the high setting would not be enough in these situations.

12v connection with bike

Temperature Controller

The Volt Heat Fusion Vest can be controlled in two ways:

Built-in rubberized controller switch (marked with a “V”) 

Press and hold the “V” button. High (Red), Medium (Blue), Low (Green). Press and hold the button to turn off.

The controller switch has a built-in preheat feature where it will start on High (Red) for 5 minutes, at which time it will automatically reduce to Medium (Blue). You can override this feature by manually switching through the power levels to your desired level.

temperature setting lights

Bluetooth App

VOLT HEAT BLUETOOTH APP

To control the temperature of the Fusion Vest through the Volt Bluetooth app you will need to download the Volt Heated Clothing app from Google Play Store or the Apple App Store. 

After downloading the app, follow the provided instructions to pair the vest with the app.

You can now use the app to adjust the heat seat setting between Low, Medium, High, and OFF by making selections on the screen.

The Volt Heated Clothing App allows you to pair up to two products to be controlled.

Overall Build Quality

The Volt Heat Fusion vest appears to be very well put together. During my review period, I have not encountered any problems with the build quality.

Fit & Feel

Sizing

The Fusion vest comes in 5 sizes; 

  • Small (Chest 36” – 38”)
  •  Medium (Chest 38” – 40”)
  • Large (Chest 41” – 43”)
  • X-Large (Chest 44” – 47”)
  • 2XL (Chest 48” – 51”)

No women’s sizes were listed.

Using the size chart on the Volt website, I selected the XL. Due to a communication mishap on my part, I was shipped a Large. At the time of ordering my chest size was 47 inches and at the time of the review my chest size was down to 45 inches, so I decided to stay with the Large.

Comfort

I found the vest to be very comfortable to wear. The stretch panels on the sides made for a snug but comfortable fit. This also allowed for an easier fit under a riding jacket and perhaps better heat transfer to your body.

The high fleece-lined collar allowed for a soft feel around my neck, along with added wind protection. I always wore the vest over a base layer. To get the full impact of the heating elements the vest should fit snug. The stretch material easily allows for this.

Heat coverage is from two patches on the chest and two on the back. The heat zones have very good coverage. 

I tend to run a little on the warm side naturally so I rarely used the high setting. I also found that using the 12V connection generated a little more heat compared to the 7V connection.

I have tried heated vests in the past that had heat in the collar, this vest did not.

Overall, I found the Fusion vest to be very comfortable.

volt heat fusion dual source heated vest

Care Instructions & Warning Label

Always remove the battery before washing. It is recommended to spot clean with a damp cloth or hand wash in cold water with mild detergent, hang dry. Do not twist the garment to prevent damage to the cable. Do not dry clean. Do not bleach. Make sure the plug is completely dry before using it.

fusion vest care instructions

There is also a warning label that I will add here for completeness. It warns to check with a physician if they have some preconditions including:

  • Heart condition or pacemaker
  • Circulatory problems
  • Sensitivity to heat
  • Are pregnant

It also warns against other safety issues that apply to the use of electrical current flowing through a garment.

It is a bit of CYA, but well warranted. volt heat warning label

Warranty

From Volt Heat:

When you purchase a Volt product directly from Voltheat.com you will be covered by a 30-day money-back guarantee. If for any reason you are not satisfied with the purchase of your Volt Heat product send it back within 30 days for a full product refund. Please note that in order to take advantage of this offer; the item must remain in new and unused condition with all the original packaging.

LIFETIME Limited Warranty

All Volt Resistance heated gear excluding batteries/chargers (“Products”) is covered by a lifetime limited warranty against defects in materials or workmanship (“Manufacturer’s Defect”). If it is determined that your Product has a Manufacturer’s Defect within the first year of original purchase, we will replace or repair (at our option) that Product at no cost to you. All you do is provide us with proof of purchase (from an authorized reseller) and pay the cost of shipping it to us. Volt Resistance has sole discretion to determine Manufacturer’s Defects. Lost or stolen items are not covered.

We will cover the battery(ies) and charger for up to 90 days after the purchase date. Proof of purchase is necessary. We recommend that upon receiving your Volt product, immediately remove the battery(ies) and charger from the package, inspect for any visible damage and proceed to fully charge the battery(ies).

After the first year and for the lifetime of your product, the Warranty Processing Fee of $45, plus any applicable taxes, will be charged.

Conclusion

It is now the first week in June as I am completing this review. Warmer weather has finally arrived in the Greater Toronto Area. I am still reaching for the Volt Heat Fusion vest for those cool early morning rides. 

In a previous battery-powered vest review, I stated “I think it works best for shorter rides on cold days or taking off the chill on an early morning ride. For riders that head out for extended cold weather trips, I would still lean toward a full heating system that is powered by the bike”. The Volt Heat Fusion Vest solves this issue by providing both systems in the same garment. Until battery technology improves to the point that you no longer need to be tethered to the bike, the Fusion system is hard to beat.

One of the issues I raised was with the cost. But, if you were planning to have separate wired and battery-operated gear for different times, this then becomes a bargain.

I typically use the 12V system for longer rides or very cold days. The 7V wireless is perfect for shorter rides or days that you just need to take the chill off at the start or end of the day. The vest also acts as a great mid-layer when turned off. I also found myself using the 7V for uses off the bike.

Overall, it is a great piece of versatile gear for on and off the bike.

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Pros

  • Versatility
  • Quality Construction and Materials
  • Comfort
  • Heat Coverage
  • External Controls
  • Bluetooth Control

Cons

  • Price
  • No women’s equivalent

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Specs

  • Manufacturer: Volt Heat
  • Price: (When Tested) $250
  • Made In: China
  • Colors: Black
  • Sizes: S, M, L, XL, XXL
  • Review Period: Spring 2020

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Volt Heat Fusion Heated Vest Gallery