It's cold outside, and it's only getting colder. Walking in a bitter wind, a glove clamped between your teeth so you don't lose it, while texting with one frozen finger is not the way to do winter.
Touchscreen gloves are pretty much a must-have for the colder months - as anyone who's ever had to text while out and about will agree.
Touchscreen gloves let you use your phone outdoors without having to expose your fingers to the elements, or risk losing your gloves. A conductive wire woven into the gloves' fabric transmits the electrical charge from your body to the sensors on your capacitive touchscreen.
How do touchscreen gloves work?
Although they're a fairly simple device, there are still a few elements that vary between brands and types. Sometimes, the conductive element is sewn into the entire glove (so you can use any part of your hand on the screen), at other times it just appears on some or all of the fingertips. The gloves may also have a textured, grippy surface to help you keep hold of your phone.
Don't forget that if you use fingerprint ID to unlock your phone, that obviously won't work through gloves. So, in the winter months, you might want to change your lock mechanism to something more low-temperature friendly, such as face ID or a PIN.
Touchscreen gloves will work with any phone or tablet. These are the best we've found.
Mujjo Touchscreen Gloves with 3M Thinsulate - The Thinnest Choice
Dutch design company Mujjo was one of the first makers of touchscreen gloves, and has a wide range from standard to double-layered and leather. These look like something from a James Bond movie.
Many touchscreen gloves are restricted to a couple of fingers for their operation. The Mujjo gloves work on all parts of the hand: fingers, knuckles, palm or heel - so you can swipe and tap easily.
The latest version has been redesigned inside with an extra layer of polar fleece that's topped with 3M Thinsulate for a glove that's warm despite being lightweight. It still has a grippy silicone pattern to help save your phone from unfortunate drops.
There's also a new thumb construction which optimises the gloves for larger screens. Just note that the insulation makes the gloves thicker than the originals, so they're not quite as flexible and it's a very good ideal to order one size lager than you usually would.
The only real downside is the price - these are Mujjo's most expensive gloves, although they're still cheaper than plenty of others out there. They look functional rather than fashionable, with the slightly cat burglar vibe of wearing skintight black gloves.
In our winter tests down to around 0C, we could use a phone freely while wearing the gloves, which felt both comfortable and warm.
Mujjo Knitted Touchscreen Gloves - Best Knitted Design
If you'd rather spend a little less, you might want to look at one of the older Mujjo designs that's still on sale: the double-layered knitted touchscreen gloves, which include a woollen lining.
These are thicker than the later version, but the charcoal grey finish and leather-lined clasp mean they look a bit more attractive, and don't give off quite as strong an impression that you're on your way home from strangling someone in a dark alley.
Just as with the other Mujjo gloves, these are conductive all over, so you can use any part of your hands on your phone's screen, and they also feature a grippy finish - here in the form of small dots all over the palm and fingers.
Moshi Digits Touchscreen Gloves - All-over Conductivity
Another pair we've tested are the Digits gloves from Moshi.
You get a choice of grey colours, but they're locked into specific sizes for some reason: so the light grey gloves (pictured) are in small and medium, while there's a darker grey pair only available in a large size.
If the tip of your middle finger measures 15-17cm to your wrist, you need small. Medium is 17-19cm, and Large is 19-20.5cm. If you're at the high-end of either, we'd recommend going for the slightly larger pair.
They're dual-layered (with a seriously soft micro fleece lining), although we found that the layers pulled apart a little when taking the gloves off, so you might find the need to straighten them out again each time.
These have a conductive layer on all ten fingertips, so you can use any finger for your phone tapping and swiping (but obviously not fingerprint unlocking), and there's a grippy pattern across the palm. However, the conductive thread does leave the inside of the gloves with an almost sparkly finish, so bear that in mind.
North Face Revelstoke Etip Gloves - Waterproof and Best for Cold Weather
These gloves from North Face are a bit different, as they're designed specifically for winter sports like skiing or snowboarding - or just more serious winters than we tend to face here in the UK.
Waterproof, breathable, and insulated, these should keep you warm even in fairly intense cold, although they won't compete with the absolute best skiing gloves.
Still, they have the benefit of the Etip technology, which means you'll be able to check your phone without taking your gloves off on the slopes. Just note that it's only the tips of the thumb and forefinger that are covered, not the whole palm or any other fingers.
Muji Wool Mix Touch Panel Gloves - Best Budget Option
Here's a much cheaper option. These wool mix gloves from Japanese retailer Muji (not to be confused with Mujjo) are available in a wide range of colours, these are made out of a blend of wool and synthetics, and are touch-friendly on the tips of the thumb, index finger and middle finger - conveniently marked by a different colour fabric to help you remember.
They're not going to be the warmest gloves in the world, but they're simple, attractive, and cheap, which should be plenty appealing to lots of people.
North Face Denali Etip Gloves - Best for Hiking
Also from cold-weather specialist North Face are the men's Denali Etip Gloves. These are fleece-based, with durable Taslan over the knuckles and fingers for added strength, and a silicone gripper palm.
North Face rates them as suitable for "Cold" but not "Very Cold" conditions. They come in small, medium and large sizes.
They work well with a touchscreen, and we were able to type reasonably fast while outside in the cold.
Acdyion Women's Leather Touchscreen Gloves - Best Budget Women's Leather Gloves
These Acdyion women's winter gloves are made from leather, with a warm cashmere lining.
We found leather touchscreen gloves to be a little harder to type in as the fingertips are tougher than wool, but they do the job and are probably more fashionable than a big pair of woolies.
An elastic cuff design and the slit on the side should make pulling them on and off easier.
Polo Ralph Lauren Merino Wool Touch Screen Gloves - Best Luxury Option
Ralph Lauren has a large range of different touchscreen gloves, such as these merino wool gloves (available in the UK only) that feature touchscreen-compatible fingertips and leather palms, as well as rib-knit cuffs and the brand's signature Pony embroidered on each outer cuff.
There are more Ralph Lauren touchscreen gloves available in plaid, camouflage, quilted, leather, contrast-knit, sheepskin and fleece.