Now that the weather has started to turn cold and snow flurries have arrived, it’s time to haul out the winter outerwear. Jackets, snow boots, hats, scarves, mittens, and gloves come out of the closet again. But, when winter is at its coldest, should you reach for mittens or gloves?

The earliest mention of mittens was from 1803 in New Hampshire, but gloves have been around since the 1500s, according to some sources. They both have pros and cons and some people choose their pair mittens or gloves or the other based on comfort, style, and fashion preference. You may enjoy the look of gloves more than mittens, but, you might like the way mittens feel more than gloves!

So, the choice of mittens or gloves really comes down to answering this question: would you like to be warmer or would you like to have more manual dexterity?

For the most part, mittens are warmer than gloves. When you wear mittens, your fingers are together thus they generate warmth. The warmth also depends on the material of mittens you choose. For the warmest option, look for wool (a natural material) or ones with thermal insulation.

Gloves offer much more manual dexterity than mittens. It can be challenging to hold your keys, shovel show, use an ice scraper, or pick up packages while you’re wearing mittens. While gloves may not be quite as warm, they make it easier to do things while you’re out and about in the cold.

There are several options available within the gloves and mittens arena. Fingerless gloves are missing the fingertips altogether, but keep your palms warm. Fingerless mittens allow you to flip the top of your mittens back to expose your fingers. You can then use your cell phone, search for your keys, or pick up a package.

If you’d like to use electronics, you can purchase gloves that have a special surface on the fingertips that allows you to interact with your cell phone while you wear them. This means your fingers stay warmer while allowing you access to your phone to text, make calls, or play a game!

So, mittens or gloves? Which do you choose?