I own a Gerbing (its not Gerber) heated jacket liner and gloves. I also own a Widder heated vest and gloves. I have the accessory thermostat controls for both outfits.
I recommend getting the upper body garment as well as the gloves. When your chest cavity starts getting cool your body will restrict blood flow to your extremities in a effort to keep your vital organs warm – that includes your hands and feet. Also, the upper body garments support neater hookups for the gloves. You can buy stand alone wiring harnesses for the gloves though if you wish to use them without a vest or jacket liner. But my opinion is that the most critical heated garment for cold weather riding is the upper body garment – then gloves.
The Gerbing garments get a lot hotter than the Widder products. They also draw more current. Let me talk about both things.
Heat level: You don’t need to sweat, in fact you don’t want to. You just need to keep from getting cold. I never run the Gerbing thermostat at max settings – that would be way too much heat. I do run the Widder thermostat at max sometimes. So Widder puts out enough heat to keep me comfortable – Gerbing is capable of generating more heat than I can use.
Current draw: The difference (at max) in the upper body garments is huge – 77 watts for Gerbing, 35 watts for Widder. Note that the Gerbing garment does include heated sleeves – nice to have, but not critical. The difference in draw for the gloves is less – 27 watts for Gerbing, 20 watts for Widder. My Suzuki Burgman 650 has a 500 watt alternator. It can handle the Gerbing combination easily, even at lower rpms. My Kymco People 250 has a 180 watt alternator (and it doesn’t generate that 180 watts until 5000 rpm). Take away what it needs to run the P250’s engine & lights – there isn’t enough left, particularly at lower rpms, to adequately handle the Gerbing jacket liner & glove combo. So, I use the
Gerbing stuff on the Burgman – I use the Widder stuff on my P250. If you are only going to do the gloves, you could do either brand on the Kymco.
Now the gloves. The main difference is in the outer shell. The Gerbing outer shell is very soft and pliable. The Widder outer shell is stiffer. You get a little better feel of the small controls (like turn signal switch) with the Gerbing gloves – but they are also a little more fiddly to hook up and put on. My Widder gloves are older – the new ones come with rain covers & a built-in pocket to store the covers in. I’m making the assumption that the newer shell is still stiffer – but that might have changed also. Both brands have gauntlets that cover your jacket cuffs. In practice, I have a slight preference for my Widder gloves
because they are easier and quicker to put on.
Both companies make a quality product. Widder has been making heated motorcycle garments since 1971, and I’ve used their stuff since the early eighties. Gerbing started focusing on motorcycle heated gear in the early nineties. Both products are a little spendy, but work well and hold up well. I’ve used them riding in seriously cold weather (high
teens). I rode in single digit temperatures (3 degrees) one time with Widder gear – I won’t lie – that still hurt!