August 16, 2017
With temperatures hitting 90 degrees-plus, workers in the construction and aggregate industry are looking for ways to stay cool. They might even be tempted to search for gadgets that could give them some relief. Products promising relief from the heat abound, ranging from the low-cost sponge to fit inside a hard hat to cooling vests that can cost hundreds of dollars.
We decided to see what’s available for the heat-beleaguered worker. With so many options and so many claims, we also wanted to get readers’ feedback on products they have used and how they performed. We want to know what’s worked for you and what hasn’t, including any experience you may have had with these products we found online. And it might be that after looking at the additional weight and cumbersomeness of some of these items, you decide you’d be better off sweating.
Cool Hard Hat by Cool Hard Hat Inc.: The hard hat comes with an internal fan powered by four AA rechargeable batteries. It blows 10-plus cubic feet of air across the top of the head, the company says. Cost: $50.
The Head Cooler Insert by Cool Hard Hat Inc.: The same fan used in the Cool Hard Hat can be inserted inside your own hard hat. It also blows 10-plus cubic feet of air per minute on top of the head. It is attached with Velcro straps. Batteries operate up to eight hours before needing to be charged, the company says. Cost: $33.
Cordless Helmet Fan by Makita: The battery-powered fan attaches to a hard hat with an elastic strap. The fan provides air into the helmet or onto the back of the neck. It is powered by a rechargeable 14.4-volt or 18-volt lithium-ion battery. The company says it works for 10 hours at high speed and 20 hours at low speed on one battery charge. Cost: $35 (battery and charger not included).
Solar hard hat/helmet with fan and LED lights by Portable Solar Shop: A small fan cools the inside of the hard hat, which also has an LED light powered by a built-in rechargeable battery. The fan works automatically with direct sunlight, the company says. Cost: $60.
Helmet cooler by Zippkool: The hard hat cooler works with the same technology as the company’s jacket (see below), adding a fan to the attachable neck shade to keep the head and neck cool. Cost: $95; with lithium-ion battery, $158.
Chill-Its Hard Hat Brim with Shade by Hi Vis Supply: The elastic inner rim is designed to fit hard hats and the polyester shade blocks the sun. Cost: $8.45.
Snap-on Hard Hat Sweatband by OccuNomix: The terry cloth sweatband attaches to the hard hat suspension with snaps and is designed to absorb and wick away sweat. Cost: $2.70.
Sponge Sweatband by Hi Vis Supply: The cellulose sponge attaches to the forehead under a hard hat with an elastic band to absorb sweat. Cost: $9.99 for 25-pack.
Miracool Hard Hat Pad by OccuNomix: The pad fastens with hook and loop and rests in the interior middle of the hard hat. It is designed to allow air movement inside the hat. Cost: $4.50.
NoSweat by NoSweatCo: This disposable liner, which can be put in a hard hat, is made of “Dri-Lid technology” to wick away sweat from the forehead, keeping it from your face and eyes. The company says it has 12 National Hockey League teams as customers. Cost: $4.99 for three-pack.
Neck Shade by OccuNomix: Made of cotton, the neck shade can be worn alone or under a hard hat to protect from the sun. It has a terry cloth sweatband at the forehead. Cost: $3.50.
Miracool Neck Bandana by OccuNomix: The cotton bandanna is soaked for 30 minutes in cool water and then worn around the neck. The company says the bandanna stays hydrated for several days and is reusable. Cost: $6.90.
ML Koshigo Brisk Cooling Neck Protector by Hi Vis Supply: The protector attaches to the inside or outside of a hard hat. First, submerge it in water for 1 to 2 minutes and squeeze out excess water. The company says cooling lasts 5 to 10 hours. Cost: $14.99.
Neck Band by Texas Cool Vest: The band uses the same technology as the company’s cool vest (see below) to keep its temperature at 65 degrees, the company says. Cost: $19.95.
Illuminator Class 2 Black Bottom T-Shirt with Segmented Reflective Tape by Galeton: The lightweight shirt is made of wicking fabric with underarm side panels for additional ventilation. Cost: $11.45.
GSS Safety Reflective Safety T-Shirt by Hi Vis Supply: Made of breathable and moisture-wicking polyester mesh. Cost: $12.49.
Pocket Tee Shirt by Arctic Cool: The company says this T-shirt is “powered by HydroFreeze X Technology” that wicks moisture from body while lowering body temperature, and it is certified at UPF 50-plus. Cost: $30-$35.
Kangaroo Mesh Vest by Blaklader: The vest features front and back mesh fabric. It also has pockets for a phone, pen and nails and has a side hammer loop. Cost: $59.95.
ML Koshigo Ultra-Cool Mesh 3-Pocket Hi Vis Vest by Hi Vis Supply: Made of polyester with a zipper front, the vest also features an outside left chest radio pocket, an inside right chest pencil pocket and a lower inside left patch pocket. Cost: $9.75.
Miracool Cooling Plus Vest by OccuNomix: The vest is made of a polyester shell with cotton lining and has mesh shoulders and sides. OccuNomix says it provides up to 8 hours of cooling relief. It is soaked in water 1 to 2 minutes to “activate polymer crystal technology.” Cost: $48.50.
Circulating Cool Water Vest System by Polar Products: Cool water circulates through over 50 feet of tubing sewn within the vest. The water is pumped by a 12-volt DC current pump attached to a 9-quart cooler you carry. Lines to the cooler come in 4-foot or 8-foot length. The vest weighs 16 ounces with water in the lines. Cost: $695
Vest with Cool 58 Phase Change Cooling Packs by Polar Products: These packs freeze after being put in a cooler of ice for 15 to 20 minutes. They are placed in the vest’s pockets. They last 2 to 3 hours before needing to be recharged. Cost: $170 and up.
Vest with Kool Max Frozen Water-Based Cooling Packs by Polar Products: The packs must be frozen in a freezer and then put into the vest’s pockets. The vest can be worn under clothing. The packs work up to 3 to 4 hours before needing to be refrozen. Cost: $124.50 and up.
Water-Activated Evaporative Cooling Vests by Polar Products: These vests can be submerged in cold water or chilled in a refrigerator or freezer for working in low-humidity environments. Cost: $42 and up.
Standard Cool Vest by Texas Cool Vest: The company says the vest maintains a 65-degree temperature with four cool packs that charge after being soaked in ice water for 20 minutes, and the packs last about 2 1/2 hours before needing to be re-soaked. The vest has adjustable shoulders, a zipper front and six adjustable side straps. Cost: $149.95 and up.
Fan jacket by Makita: The fan is sewn onto the back of the jacket, which also has removable zip-off sleeves. The fan runs up to 12 hours per charge with an 18-volt lithium-ion battery. Cost: $110; battery and charger sold separately.
Fan-powered jackets by Zippkool: Two fans are attached to the cotton jacket and blow in outside air into the jacket from the bottom, back left and right sides. The company says it vaporizes any moisture inside. It comes with a lithium-ion rechargeable battery. Cost: $207.90.
ML Koshigo Ultra-Cool High Contrast Mesh Pants by Hi Vis Supply: Made of polyester mesh. Cost: $22.
3-in-1 cooling pad by OccuNomix: The cotton pad is soaked for 10 to 20 minutes in cool water and squeezed dry. Then it can be placed on the back of a hard hat to cool and shade the neck, placed inside the hard hat as a pad to keep the head cool, or attached to the back of a vest. Cost: $10.90.