Soft shell and hard shell jackets both have a protective outer layer that is water and wind resistant while also having a soft inner layer, usually made of fleece.
Soft shells are less stiff on the outside and are easier to move around in which is why many consider them a favorite choice for spring and fall weather, outdoor sports, and work.
In this buying guide we will go over all of the features that are more important to consider when shopping for a soft shell jacket in addition to providing a list of unbiased reviews for the best selling soft shell jackets currently available on the market.
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Reviews of the 5 Best Soft Shell Jacket
Here is a list of the best-selling soft shell jackets currently on the market. We have included our best overall, runner up, and best budget pick. Our reviews are 100% unbiased and we only include top-rated products in our buying guides.
1. Porsche Motorsport Team Softshell Jacket w/Motorsport Kit
Our overall best pick for softshell jackets is this Porsche luxury motorsport jacket. It comes with a hefty price tag, but it is worth it for the quality. The black version is a little less expensive than this stylish black and white jacket as well. You can order it in a full range of sizes, but be aware that the sizes are European not American.
The material used in the construction of this jacket is 100% polyester which is a good material for soft shell jackets because it is lightweight and weather resistant. It has a branded design that also features Porsche zippers. The high-quality of the fabrics and closures mean that you can get many years of use out of this beautiful, luxury official Porsche brand softshell jacket.
- Official Porsche brand
- Comes in black or black and white
- Made of 100% polyester
- Beautiful luxury gift
- Porsche brand high-quality zippers
- Reflective strips for safety
- Weather resistant
- They run in European sizes so you will want to order a size larger than you usually do in order to get the correct size which can be confusing
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2. ORORO Men’s Soft Shell Heated Jacket with Detachable Hood and Battery Pack
- NEAT AND TAILORED DESIGN WITH DURABLE FABRIC: Softshell fabric exterior with breathable linning...
- HEAT ACROSS BODY: 3 carbon fiber heating elements generate heat across core body areas (left & right...
For our runner up choice for the best overall soft shell jacket on the market we have selected the ORORO soft shell jacket because it is one of the best heated soft shell jackets that you can buy. It has a water and wind resistant polyester outer shell with a soft fleece lining on the inside to keep you warm in all temperatures. If that wasn’t enough, it is also outfitted with three carbon fiber heating elements across the body of the jacket to keep you warm no matter what.
Because softshell jackets are lighter and more flexible than hardshell jackets you can enjoy the benefits of a lightweight jacket without sacrificing any of the warmth. It takes only a few minutes for the jacket to heat all the way up and it works for up to ten hours off of one charge. If you follow the instructions carefully it is machine washable and it adjusts with a press of a button between three heat settings making this one of the easiest to use heated softshell jackets.
- Six carbon heaters
- Press a button to switch between three heat modes
- Works for up to ten hours
- Uses a regular USB port to charge
- Machine washable with proper care
- Comes in black/blue and black/gold
- The hood is detachable
- Very soft and durable fabrics
- Water and weather resistant
- For safety reasons the jacket has to be only charged with the included ORORO charger, although you can use the charger as a phone charger, it does not work the other way around
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3. PTAHDUS Men’s Heated Jacket Soft Shell
- 5 Heating Zones with Hand Warmer: Carbon fiber heating elements powered by Li-battery creates and...
- Selectable Heating Levels：These two one-press LED controllers allow users to control the hand...
Another great heated soft shell jacket is this jacket by PTAHDUS. It only comes in one color but it does come in a full range of sizes included plus sizes. It has five heat elements strategically placed across the front, back, and sides of the jacket to keep you warm in all weather conditions. This jacket heats up super quickly and can last for eight hours at a time.
Some of the other benefits of this black men’s heated softshell jacket is that it is easy to care for and can be machine washed and your purchase is covered by a six months warranty free from the manufacturer. It is completely weather resistant so you rain and wind can not penetrate the surface. It has a hand warmer pocket which will keep your hands nice and toasty as well.
- Five heat elements
- Works for up to eight hours
- Multiple layers of insulation
- Comes in all sizes including plus
- Machine washable
- Free six months warranty
- Pocket warmer
- Uses a type C charging port
- The battery may be bulky to carry around
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4. DEWALT DCHJ060A Heated Soft Shell Jacket Kit
- These are complete line of heavy-duty shop Products that will bring you years of reliable...
- Brand name: DEWALT
DEWALT makes heavy duty products for workmen and outdoorsmen and this soft shell jacket is no exception to the quality of construction, materials, and design you can expect from their products. The jacket itself is lightweight even with the battery for the heating elements and does not restrict your motion, making it great for moving around outside for work, etc.
There are heating elements on the front, back, and side of this jacket that will keep you warm even on the coldest days without having to bundle underneath movement restricting layers. It only comes in black and it has a yellow DEWALT logo on it. There are three temperature settings which are easy to maneuver in between with a press of a button.
- Heavy-duty construction
- Core body heating
- Four pockets
- Made of weather resistant polyester
- Charges with a USB port
- Up to nine hours of use with one charge
- Water and wind resistant shell
- One year warranty
- Only one color option and it is very “work” focused
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5. 509 Tactical Softshell Jacket
Our budget pick is under $100 and is a high-quality design made out of durable and weather resistant materials. It is available in a full range of sizes from small to plus sizes and has a range of color options available unlike many softshell jackets which only come in black. This military style softshell jacket is heavy-duty and waterproofed as well as windproof for total protection from the elements.
The inside of the jacket is insulated with a soft fleece that is gentle on the skin while the outer shell is a durable polyester that is made to stand the test of time. The large pockets are great for storing gloves and valuables, and the zippers and pulls on the sleeves make sure that you and your belongings stay safe and warm no matter what.
- Made of imported waterproof premium softshell materials
- Comes in seven styles
- Adjustable and detachable hood
- Fleece inner lining
- Stylish military inspired design
- Large glove pockets
- High-quality zippers
- This soft shell jacket does not have built-in heating elements like some softshell jackets
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All of our reviews are completely unbiased and we only include top-rated products. Comparing and contrasting the features of the best-selling softshell jackets can help you figure out which one may be the best for yourself. Here is a list of features to consider when shopping for a softshell jacket.
Features to Consider When Shopping For a Soft Shell Jacket
All of these features will have an effect on the price of the softshell jacket so that is why they are important to keep in mind. In addition to the price there are also cosmetic and comfort features of soft shell jackets that you should consider as well. When making an investment in a nice soft shell jacket read over this list first so that you avoid common mistakes and make sure that you get the most out of your money.
When it comes to clothes the brand is important because not only does the brand have an effect on the style of the jacket, but also in the design, materials, and features of the jacket. Starting with high-quality brands is a good way to skip past bad products and get straight to the best soft shell jackets. We recommended Porsche soft shell jackets as our best overall because the luxury design is unmatched.
When it comes to heated soft shell jackets the brand is also very important because you want to make sure that you are ordering from a manufacturer who is trustworthy and who has gone through the proper safety tests on the heating elements for their jackets. The customer care and warranties offered will also vary by brand.
When shopping for a softshell jacket you are going to look at a lot of black jackets. There are benefits to a black jacket, such as it does not stain as easily and it keeps you warmer in the winter. If you are not a fan of black then do not despair, there are softshell jackets in pretty much every color you can think of.
You may have to do a little bit of digging online to find a softshell jacket that is in the exact color you want if it is an unusual color like pink or green, but we have included some color variations in the review section of our soft shell jacket buying guide. The color of the jacket will affect more than just the style, it also will have an effect on the maintenance required and the overall performance of the jacket in terms of temperature control so you should consider all of this when choosing what color softshell jacket is right for you.
Not all softshell jackets are heated but we did include several heated softshell jackets in our buying guide because for winter wear these are going to be the most effective at keeping you warm. Heated softshell jackets are great because they will keep you just as warm as a big bulky jacket, but without the weight and movement restriction.
Here are just a few of the benefits of a heated soft shell jacket:
- They stay hot for between five and ten hours
Battery powered softshell jackets average at five to ten hours of use per charge which is plenty of time for a work shift or a hike.
- They are battery powered and rechargeable
Because they use batteries and are rechargeable you can take a rechargeable jacket with you anywhere and have portable heat to warm you from your core without the hassle of other heating solutions and pocket warmers.
- They are safe to use
As long as you follow the instructions from the manufacturer softshell jackets and other heated clothing is perfectly safe to use.
- They improve circulation
Stiffness and pain in the back, shoulders, and neck is commonly caused by the cold. The hands also fall victim to poor circulation when the weather is cold. With a heated jacket you can improve the circulation in your muscles to prevent stiffness from cold.
When it comes to softshell jackets you will want to consider what kind of maintenance will go into taking care of it. Washing a heated softshell jacket can be more complicated than washing one that does not have heating elements inside of it. Washing the battery or the elements could ruin the jacket so make sure to take them out before machine washing the jacket.
Some softshell jackets will require drycleaning such as the expensive Porsche jackets which you definitely do not want to throw in the washing machine with the rest of your clothes. If you are a low maintenance sort of person we suggest a black or neutral toned softshell jacket that is machine washable and either is not heated or has easily removable heating elements.
The most important feature of a softshell jacket is the shell. The shell refers to the outer layer of fabric on the jacket which is meant to protect against the elements. The inside of the jacket may be made out of the same material as the outside or it could be made out of a softer fabric depending on the jacket. Here is a list of the things to consider about weather-proofing soft shell jackets:
The wind is one element that is not to be forgotten when it comes to buying a jacket. If the jacket is waterproof, but not windproof the cold wind will still find ways to get into the jacket and make your body cold. If the knit is too loose it could cause drafts, which is why the best soft shell jackets usually have two to three layers of fabric including a waterproof outer layer, a windproof inner layer, and fleece or fuzzy lining.
Water resistant or water proofing is essential for a soft shell jacket. The outer layer should be made out of a lightweight waterproof material like polyester or nylon. Sometimes the whole jacket is made out of this waterproof material whereas in other cases you can find jackets that are fuzzy on the inside and only waterproof on the outside.
For snow and rain you will want to make sure that your soft shell jacket is well insulated from the elements. If the jacket becomes wet it can then freeze over and this can cause dangerously cold body temperatures which is why waterproofing is so important when it comes to winter clothing.
Soft shell jackets are great for fall and winter evenings and mornings when you need a lightweight jacket that is also waterproof. For the winter you will probably need a heated soft shell jacket to stay warm. Breathability is important as well because you do not want to sweat under the jacket, especially if it is a heated jacket.
Here are some frequently asked questions and answers about soft shell jackets.
What are the benefits of softshell jackets?
Soft shell jackets are popular for people who work outside or do outside sports. They also make a great fall and spring jacket, and if they are heated can even be an ideal winter jacket. The best part about softshell jackets is how they are flexible and do not restrict your motion while also keeping you just as warm as a bulky jacket would. Here is a list of the benefits of softshell jackets:
- They are lightweight
Some jackets can weigh you down and if you are playing sports, going for a run, or working outside this can be a disadvantage. Softshell jackets use a blend of materials that includes a durable weatherproof and waterproof outer shell that is made out of soft flexible fabrics such as nylon and polyester.
- They are comfortable
The inside of soft shell jackets are often lined with a soft fleece lining. This is gentle on the skin and with the flexible soft outer shell you will be very comfortable at all times. The lightweight is one of the things that makes the jackets more comfortable than hardshell jackets for most people. Without bulky sleeves your arms can move around more freely.
- They are weather resistant
For outdoor sports or for working outside it is likely that it could drizzle, rain, snow, or be humid. A softshell jacket has a weather resistant outer layer that is wind resistant in addition to being water resistant. This helps to keep you warm and dry because even on windy and rainy days the cold air will not be able to easily penetrate the surface of the softshell jacket.
- They can be heated
Some softshell jackets that are made for winter wear are outfitted with heating elements. These heating elements are strategically placed to warm your whole body from the core. This can be a powerful tool in keeping warm if you work outside doing construction or winter sports.
Are heated softshell jackets safe?
For many years heated clothing has been used to keep individuals warm during outdoor sports and work. They are perfectly safe in most cases, and the best way to avoid unsafe products is to only order from reputable dealers and never waste your time with cheap knock-offs of the popular brands.
The safety of the heated softshell jacket also depends somewhat on how you treat it, meaning that if you follow all of the safety instructions then you will be fine, but safety precautions are there for a reason so do be careful to be mindful of any instructions given from the manufacturer. Children may not be trusted with heated clothing because there is a higher risk of accident.
We hope that after reading our handy softshell jacket buying guide that you now know which jacket is the best soft shell jacket for you or as a gift. We listed the most important features to consider so that you can make an informed decision. We also included unbiased reviews of the best selling soft shell jackets that you can currently buy in the market.
Our pick for the best overall soft shell jacket is the luxury Porsche brand soft shell jackets that come in black or black and white. They are expensive, but they are worth it for the style and quality. If you want an affordable soft shell jacket that is very durable then we suggest our budget pick, the 509 Tactical Softshell Jacket, because it is less than one hundred dollars and it has the quality construction and stylish design that you want from a softshell jacket plus it comes in a full range of colors and sizes.