29 "Cool" Gadgets and Gear for Working in the Heat

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Updated Jun 4, 2021
June Heat 15

Note: This story, which first ran August 14, 2017, was updated June 3, 2021, to reflect new links, prices and products, as well as to add recommendations from the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration on how employers and workers can avoid heat-related illnesses.

There's no real secret to keeping cool, but if you want to go the extra mile to beat the summer heat on the jobsite, there are plenty of gadgets available to help.

They range from the simple neck band to full-out fan-cooled jackets. Below, we list 29 products we've found online that might be of interest to construction workers.

At the end of the article, we also provide OSHA's recommendations for what employers and their workers should do for a safe summer jobsite.

Face covers

Arctic Cool Headgear GaiterArctic Cool Headgear Gaiter

Cooling Headgear Gaiter: Arctic Cool says it uses “HydroFreeze X Technology” to chill your body as you sweat and to wick moisture from you. The gaiter can be worn 12 different ways, the company says, including as a mask. Cost: $18.

Wicking & Cooling Neck Head Gaiter Face Cover by OccuNomix: The Industrial SafetyGear website says this product provides dust, debris, heat and UV protection. It is designed to wick moisture and provide evaporative cooling, the company says. Cost: $7.

Ergodyne Multi-Band: This band/wrap can be used in a variety of weather conditions and worn in a multitude of ways, HiVis Supply says. Made from polyester and designed to dry quickly, the fabric can block sun, wind, dust. It is machine washable, stretchable and seam free. The company says it has an “anti-stink treatment to repel the scent of sweat.” Cost: $7.95.

Cooling Gaiter/Face Cover by Mission: The company says the neck gaiter and face mask can cool to 30 degrees below body temperature in under 30 seconds after being wet, wrung out and snapped. It is designed to stay cool up to 2 hours and then can be wet again. It also provides UPF 50 sun protection. Cost: $15.

 

Headwear

Kool Breeze Solar Hard Hat: The solar-powered fan has two speeds of high or low. It features an eight-point adjustable ratchet suspension system that bends at flex points to conform to your head. A large ratchet knob can be adjusted with or without gloves. For days when you're not in the sun, it comes with a portable wall charger. The helmet has a polyethylene shell. Cost: $99.95.

Chiller Body: This freezing gel pad fits inside your hard hat or other hat. It has two sides: one with a soft fabric for a "gentle cooling experience" and the other side is "Extreme Chill." the pad is reusable and molds to your head shape. It's also sealed so it doesn't get wet or damp. It is sold as a two-pack. Cost: $39.95.

Cooling hard hat neck shade with fan by Zippkool: The hard hat cooler works with the same technology as the company’s jacket (see below), adding a fan to an attachable neck shade to keep the head and neck cool. Cost: $75-$151, depending on style of hard hat and whether the fan is powered by a AA battery pack or rechargeable lithium-ion battery.

Kool Breeze Solar Hard HatKool Breeze Solar Hard HatSponge Sweatband by Hi Vis Supply: The cellulose sponge attaches to the forehead under a hard hat with an elastic band to absorb sweat. Cost: $10.49 for 25-pack.

Chill-Its Cooling Headband: Ergodyne's new headband is designed to stretch to fit most head sizes. It can be wetted for cooling. When dry, it absorbs sweat and whisks moisture away. It provides UPF 50+ sun protection. It also can be worn under a hard hat or hat. Available in Hi-Vis lime and orange, as well as other colors. Machine washable. Cost: $6.25.

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: $3.98.

NoSweat Hard Hat Liner by NoSweatCo: This disposable liner, which can be put in a hard hat, is made of “SweatLock technology” to wick away sweat from the forehead, keeping it from your face and eyes. The company says all 31 National Hockey League teams are customers, and lists as its customers athletes in the NFL, MLB, PGA and WTA. Cost: $9.99 for three-pack.

Wicking & Cooling Skull Cap by OccuNomix: This tie-back skull cap is designed to be 30 percent cooler than skin temperature when wet, wrung out and snapped, the company says. It also has UPF 50+ protection. Cost: $5.59.

 

Neckwear

ML Kishigo Neck ShadeML Kishigo Neck ShadeNeck 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: $3.03.

Miracool Cooling Bandana by OccuNomix: The American-flag style 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. Can also be worn as head band. Cost: $25 for 12-pack.

ML Kishigo 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: $12.80.

 

T-Shirts

Galeton’s Illuminator T-shirtGaleton’s Illuminator T-shirt

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: $6.95.

GSS Safety Reflective Safety T-Shirt by Hi Vis Supply: Made of breathable and moisture-wicking polyester mesh. Cost: $10.45.

Radians ST11 Type R Class 2 Mesh Safety Shirt: The shirt is designed to wick moisture and  accelerate evaporation, says the FullSource website. The reflective stripes are adhered by heat transfer rather than sewn on to make it feel more like a regular T-shirt. It also has a front pocket. Cost: $9.49.

Arctic Cool Cooling Pocket Safety Workwear T-Shirt: ANSI Class 2-certified, the polyester-blend shirt has "HydroFreeze X Technology" that the company says reduces fabric temperature. It also is designed to wick away moisture "that pulls sweat away from the skin and disperses it through the shirt." It is designed to fit loosely and has "4-way stretch." It is also antimicrobial and has UPF 50+ sun protection. Cost: $33. 

Vests


Hi-Vis Vest by Blaklader
: The vest features front and back mesh polyester fabric. It also has chest pockets, one with flap and one with pen pockets; front pockets with flap; inside iPad-pocket; inner pocket with velcro closure. Cost: $29.95.

ML Kishigo 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: $10.28.

Miracool Plus Cool 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: $40, depending on size.

Chill-Its 6685 Premium Dry Evaporative Cooling Vest by Ergodyne: The company says this vest provides dry cooling relief up to three days. It is designed with a V-neck with front zipper closure, with mesh side panels. Before wearing the vest, fill it with 13 to 20 ounces of water. Cost: $178.45.

Polar Products Zipper VestPolar Products Zipper Vest

Zipper Vest with Kool Max Strip Packs and Cool58 Packs by Polar Products: This Polar Technology Kit includes the Adjustable Zipper Vest with four large pockets with two cooling pack technologies: a set of Kool Max frozen water-based packs and a set of Cool58 58-degree Fahrenheit phase change packs. Kool Max Packs offer the highest level of cooling and are the best choice when you have access to a freezer, the company says, and the Cool58 Packs can be reactivated on-the-go in a cooler of ice water. Cost: $267.89.

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.

 



Jackets

Makita fan jacketMakita fan jacket

Cordless Fan Jacket by Makita: Two fans are sewn onto the back of the jacket, on the left and right. They run up to 11 hours per charge on high setting with an 18-volt lithium-ion battery. Cost: $205.54 on Amazon; battery and charger sold separately.

High-Visibility Cooling Jacket by Zippkool: Two fans are attached to the polyester jacket, which comes in orange and yellow, and blow in outside air into the jacket from the bottom, back left and right sides. It comes with a lithium-ion rechargeable battery that runs 20 hours on a charge, the company says. Cost: $165.

 

Pants

ML Kishigo Ultra-Cool mesh pantsML Kishigo Ultra-Cool mesh pants

ML Kishigo Ultra-Cool High Contrast Mesh Pants by Hi Vis Supply: Made of polyester mesh. Cost: $27.29.

Cooling Cargo Pants by Arctic Cool: Arctic put its “HydroFreeze X Technology, a cooling management system that reduces the fabric temperature” in these cargo pants, which also feature the company’s “ActiveWick” that “pulls sweat away from skin and disperses it throughout the pants keeping you dry and cool,” the company says. The pants also have UPF 50+ protection. Cost: $55.

What OSHA says

Train all workers. Employers should train supervisors and workers on how to control and recognize heat hazards. Workers should also know about first aid for heat illness.

Follow the 20% rule. On a worker’s first day, no more than 20% of the duration of their shift should be at full intensity in the heat. The duration of time at full intensity should be increased by no more than 20% a day until workers are used to working in the heat.

Water. Rest. Shade. Workers should drink one cup of water every 20 minutes while working in the heat to stay hydrated. When the temperature is high, employers should make sure workers take frequent rest breaks in shaded, cool or air-conditioned areas.

Workers new to the job are at higher risk. Workers who are new or returning to working in warm or hot environments need more time to adapt.

Engineering controls and modified work practices can reduce the risk of heat illness. Consider reducing physical activity as much as possible by planning for the work ahead and rotating job functions among workers to help minimize exertion.