Reviews You Can Rely On

Best Men's Beanies of 2021

The North Face Salty Dog Beanie
Photo: Lindsey Sweeney
By Trevor Everts ⋅ Review Editor
Monday May 10, 2021
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Looking to find the best men's beanie? After doing some serious research, we purchased 10 of the best models and put them through the wringer during an in-depth side-by-side comparison. Our crew wore these beanies through the wildly varied conditions of fall, winter and spring all throughout New England and the Northeast. In rain, on snow-covered peaks, out in the backcountry for frigid nights and bone-chilling wind, and even on sunny afternoons with mild temperatures, we tested these beanies through it all. Each model was then rated using fine-tuned performance metrics to help identify which beanie is the warmest, which will be most comfortable, which is easiest on your budget, or even which one will show off some style.


Best Overall Men's Beanie

Carhartt Acrylic Watch Hat

Material: Acrylic | Style: Stretchable rib-knit, unlined, folded cuff
A classic design in a wide variety of nice colors
Warm and solidly weather resistant
Stretch knit fits most heads without being too loose or too tight
Can get very warm over long periods of activity

Classic Carhartt at its finest, the Acrylic Watch Hat is our favorite cold-weather beanie. Built with the heavy-duty and high-quality construction that the brand is synonymous with, you get exactly the kind of product you'd expect here. While other beanies we tested had a similar construction style and similar material used, this one was always coming out a notch above and on top. A well-thought-out and well put together stretchable rib-knitting provides a snug fit on most head sizes without ever feeling too tight over time. Made with acrylic materials, this beanie provides serious protection from the elements while also having the ability to keep you dry from sweat on those long and rugged days. This beanie kept us comfortable and warm through it all. Holding up strongly through the rain, snow, sleet, and wind, you'll appreciate this beanie when the going gets rough.

Synthetics can sometimes get a bit stuffy, but this is hands down one of the most breathable synthetic rib-knit beanies we tested. It can still get pretty toasty on the inside during lengthy periods of physically demanding activity. Most of the time, we were comfortable just rolling it up a bit higher and trucking on and being good to go. The look is classic cool and is ready for anything while still offered at a solid price point. The Acrylic Watch Hat is hands down our favorite option.

Classic style and quality construction, the Carhartt Acrylic Watch...
Classic style and quality construction, the Carhartt Acrylic Watch Hat will keep looking good and staying warm while keeping comfortable and dry all year round.
Photo: Lindsey Sweeney


Great Value for All-Day Comfort

Connectyle Classic Winter Hat

Material: Acrylic | Style: Wide rib-knit, unlined, folded cuff
Thick double layered knit is warm and comfortable all-day
Tons of available colors
Thick knit is both warm and breathable
The wider opening runs a bit big on smaller heads
Material pills fairly quickly

Warm, affordable, and stylish, Connectyle makes a great option with traditional looks and great functionality. This is a double-layered synthetic beanie, which helps the Classic Men's Warm Winter Hat keep you warm and dry while looking good while doing it. Wide rib-knitting gives a bulkier and incredibly comfortable build to a hat that can keep up on the trail or in the city. This beanie comes in a color for everyone, which is a nice offering to show your own style. Connectyle made this one feel super comfy all day long, whether you are getting up and getting active or lounging around.

Coming with a wide opening can make this beanie feel a bit loose on a smaller head, but it stays nicely in place and adjusts well on other head sizes. The thread pills pretty fast, but it gives it some character and keeps things looking appealing. The internal seams seem a bit ragged, but this doesn't impact the look or comfort, so it didn't bother us in testing. All things considered, this one is a lot of hats for a small price. Comfort, style, and warmth packaged up into one affordable beanie that can be used in any application? Sounds like a good choice to us.

Warm, soft, and simple. Connectyle's Men's Warm Winter Hat looks...
Warm, soft, and simple. Connectyle's Men's Warm Winter Hat looks great and is still super functional while coming in at a nicely affordable price point.
Photo: Lindsey Sweeney


Best Bang for Your Buck

Top Level Unisex Beanie

Material: Acrylic | Style: Rib-knit, unlined, folded cuff
Simple design
Warm and weather resistant
The material can get itchy relatively quickly
Nondescript look

Cut and dry, this is as traditional and simple as a beanie gets. When people think of a beanie, what probably appears in their mind is something along the lines of the Top Level Cuffed Skull Knit Cap. Synthetic materials and a tight-knit construction make this one your standard winter beanie at a great price. Warmth and weather resistance are strong, and the adjustable cuff and stretchy build make this one adaptable to anyone's head.

The warmth here is terrific, but the build of this one makes it one of the least breathable from our test group, and that can make this one a bit too hot if you start really exerting yourself. The material itself isn't the most breathable and can wind up getting itchy when you wear it for lengthy periods of time. If you need a simple and straightforward beanie to stay very warm and dry, this one should be a staple for anyone living in or even passing through colder climates. Coming in at a low price point and offered in many color options, this is a great purchase to add to your winter wear when the cold and wet days really hit home.

Simple and straightforward, this is a beanie meant to keep you warm...
Simple and straightforward, this is a beanie meant to keep you warm and dry and it does a great job at both.
Photo: Lindsey Sweeney


Most Stylish Design

The North Face Salty Dog

Material: Acrylic | Style: Wide rib-knit, jersey cotton lined, cuffed
The soft lining stays comfortable over long durations
Thick knit is very warm
Aesthetically appealing design
Cotton lining is not ideal for wet conditions in low temps

The North Face Salty Dog Beanie feels just as at home down on the docks as it does on a campsite. Perfect for everyday wear, this beanie looks great and feels better. A synthetic exterior helps keep you dry, while the jersey cotton liner gives some extra warmth and a ton of comfort. The construction lets your head breathe without overheating, but the thick knit and soft liner keep you plenty warm, even when the temperature drops well below freezing. The liner is relatively shallow, which allows the cuff to be adjustable to different sizes without sacrificing the comfort the jersey cotton provides for your forehead and scalp. The North Face holds nothing back, using top-notch materials and impeccable construction, giving it a high-quality look and feel. Wearing a Salty Dog Beanie might just keep you comfortable and warm while bringing you some compliments as a bonus. As this one breaks over time, it even starts to look better and better with some wear and tear.

In terms of practical functionality, the Salty Dog Beanie is terrific in a huge variety of situations, but we think it might be best worn in less than the most extreme conditions. While it can certainly hold up to the elements, if the inside gets wet, or you sweat excessively, and the temperature drops too low, the jersey cotton liner does not have the wicking effects of wool or synthetic materials and can stay wet much longer. Aside from scenarios where you might be getting the inside damp and the moisture gets stuck there, we would wear this pretty much anytime we could justify wearing a beanie.

The North Face Salty Dog Beanie is an all-purpose beanie, and as...
The North Face Salty Dog Beanie is an all-purpose beanie, and as comfortable as it gets. Warm on the trail on your walk through the city, down by the shipyard, and seriously nice to look at no matter where you end up.
Photo: Lindsey Sweeney


Best Design with a Natural Material

Meriwool Merino Cuff

Material: Merino Wool | Style: Unlined, folded cuff
Warm and dry
Highly functional for many uses
Dries quickly
Branding tag on the inside can become bothersome when worn un-cuffed

An active lifestyle amidst changing temperatures requires gear that can adapt to your demands, whatever they may be. We found the Meriwool Wool Cuff Beanie could keep up with everything we threw at it in our testing. The high-quality merino wool regulates heat in hot or cold weather and is incredibly soft. The wicking ability really makes this an amazing beanie, meaning a hat that feels soft and stays dry, both inside and out, under nearly any conditions. The construction is high quality and seems built to last, which makes it all that much better, knowing you have a beanie you can put through it all, over and over. Whatever your outdoor passion, Meriwool has you covered. We put this beanie to the test, and it crushed it when used for running or lightweight warmth on a fast-paced trek when the mercury drops.

While this beanie is made to wear in any weather, it is not our first choice when trying to look stylish. This has a slim, athletic fit and an oddly slouchy alternative when un-cuffed. It still has a clearly well-made look and comes in appealing color choices, so it can suffice in a pinch if you're headed back into civilization and need to keep your head warm after a long day. Meriwool made a hat that we found many purposes for and recommend it for all-day comfort in any outdoor setting.

Thin and light while warm and capable, Meriwool's Merino Wool Cuff...
Thin and light while warm and capable, Meriwool's Merino Wool Cuff Beanie held up throughout our testing making it a solid choice for everyday wear.
Photo: Lindsey Sweeney


Great for Casual Wear

Neff Daily

Material: Acrylic| Style: Slouchy, loose rib-knit, unlined
Incredibly soft
Thick material keeps warmth in very well
Slouchy style may not appeal to all wearers

Light-hearted and casual, the Neff Men's Daily Beanie is exactly the kind of hat we like for cold season coming in. This beanie is soft and fluffy and plenty warm. From the ski lodge to base camp, this one is the relaxed fit that will keep your noggin' toasty from the time you have your morning coffee till you turn in at night. The thick and soft thread keeps the wearability and warmth on high, while the slouchy design keeps it comfortable in any situation.

Loosely knit, the Daily Beanie fabric sheds quickly and can look a bit furry after a while. This beanie's overall slouchy look isn't everyone's cup of tea, and even though it can be cuffed if needed, it doesn't look like it's meant to be worn that way. At the end of the day, Neff is synonymous with super chill and warm winter style, and this one comes in a ton of colors, making it a great buy for anyone seeking a casual look at an accessible price point that still maintains function and comfort.

Soft as can be, the Neff Men's Daily Beanie keeps true to the name...
Soft as can be, the Neff Men's Daily Beanie keeps true to the name, as this one is cozy enough to become your daily lid
Photo: Lindsey Sweeney


Perfect for Cool Weather

Under Armour Tactical Stealth 2.0

Material: Acrylic | Style: Rib-knit, unlined, folded cuff
Stylish and sleek
Mid-weight, ideal for moderate temperatures
Lower wind resistance can get chilly in blustery conditions

To keep up with your active lifestyle and keep warm in whatever weather conditions are thrown at you, you need a beanie that will keep up. Under Armour made the Tactical Stealth 2.0 to stand up to so many uses. Breathable synthetic construction wicks moisture away from the head while keeping you nice and warm. The solid construction and well-made seams make this one built to last and stay looking good. Coming in subdued colors, this beanie has a sharp and professional look to it.

The Tactical Stealth 2.0 has few drawbacks but is best suited for moderately cold temperatures at most. The breathable construction allows some wind in and can cool down a bit too much when put up against the elements. For daily wear or uniform use by first responders and military and athletes and casual hikers, this one is an all-purpose gem.

Nice to look at, and even more nicely made, the Under Armour...
Nice to look at, and even more nicely made, the Under Armour Tactical Stealth 2.0 beanie is a professional-looking hat, good for an array of uses, mostly through moderate temperatures and weather
Photo: Lindsey Sweeney


Great for Active Use

Minus33 Merino Ridge Cuff

Material: Merino Wool | Style: Unlined, folded cuff
Versatile for many uses
Soft and sweat-wicking for all-day comfort
Slim look not for everyone

Trying to find that perfect beanie that you can run with in the morning and climb a mountain with on the weekend can be tough if you haven't looked at the Minus33 Merino Wool Ridge Cuff Beanie. Minus33 uses lightweight Australian Merino Wool to give us an athletic, slim-fitting beanie that is very versatile. Soft and comfortable, the natural fibers also provide a warm, breathable hat that can wick away moisture and dry quickly.

Being an overly versatile beanie can come with some disadvantages, but with the Wool Ridge Cuff Beanie, you would be hard-pressed to find many of them. The tight-to-the-head and thinner build may not be the look for everyone, and while it is weather-resistant, it is not a thick hat, which can lead to getting a chill in high winds. Overall, this hat is a multi-tool, great for keeping in your pack list for any excursion or your daily use around town.

Minus33 Merino Wool Ridge Cuff Beanie
Minus33 Merino Wool Ridge Cuff Beanie
Photo: Lindsey Sweeney


Comfy and Warm

OZero Winter Daily Beanie

Material: Acrylic | Style: Rib-knit, polyester fleece-lined, stitched cuff
Very warm and comfortable
Great for casual use
Shallow depth sits high on larger head sizes and may not cover ears
Stitched cuff does not allow for adjustment for the wearer

Looking for a hat to keep that melon feeling snug and warm? The OZero Winter Daily Beanie has your name all over it. This hat has a wool-like polyester fleecer liner that would leave you hard-pressed to find anything softer to cover your head this winter. The double layers of synthetics keep this one warm and smooth all day through.

One of the downsides to the Winter Daily Beanie that we found was the depth of fit. On a longer or wider shaped head, it may not give the coverage you need and coupled with the fact that the cuff is stitched into place, it doesn't lend to custom adjustment. This can leave you wanting more from this cozy piece of headwear if your head runs on the larger side. If you are in the medium to a smaller size or prefer a smaller hat on a bigger head, this beanie is perfect for cold winter days when you want to be super warm and comfy and look good doing it.

Lined with cloud-soft polar fleece, OZero's Winter Daily Beanie is...
Lined with cloud-soft polar fleece, OZero's Winter Daily Beanie is one beyond comfy. The cuff is stitched in place, but that is only a problem for larger head sizes looking for a little more coverage and depth. Otherwise, you are in store for one heck of a warm and oh so comfortable day wearing this one.
Photo: Lindsey Sweeney


Small and Stylish


Material: Acrylic | Style: Rib-knit, unlined, folded cuff
Small and stow-able
Nice casual look
Sits far on top of head when cuffed, not very secure on the head
Coarse material has a rough feel
Thin knit and minimal coverage struggles in wind and colder weather

The SATINIOR Trawler has an old-school look you might expect to find on a longshoreman by the port. A small folded cuff lends to this style, while the ribbed construction looks sharp sitting high on the head. Fully acrylic construction lends to a capable hat, and the smaller size is perfect for a moderate day or tossing it in a coat pocket.

While this smaller beanie's style might be a nice look, it also hinders the Trawler in its overall performance. This beanie is thin and sits way up high on the head, barely covering the ears even when the cuff is unrolled. When cuffed, the lack of stretch and the smaller fit don't let this hat stay in place for too long. All of this makes for a beanie that doesn't stand up to the elements or long wear and can make for a rough day if it is your only option in colder climates. All in all, this hat is a good pick for a casual city stroll or walk in the woods on a mild day.

The Satinior Trawler is much more of a casual wear than many of the...
The Satinior Trawler is much more of a casual wear than many of the others we tested. Without much depth, the Trawler sits way up high, and while it can be rolled down, it takes away the look that it is shooting for without providing enough extra coverage to matter. Decent to look at, this one is fine for the beginnings of cooler weather when it is more of an outfit choice than a necessity.
Photo: Lindsey Sweeney

Why You Should Trust Us

Our expert team is led by upstate New York resident Trevor Everts. A former Marine and professional firefighter, Trevor knows how to put gear to the test and has done so through some of the most extreme conditions the world has to offer.

Photo: Lindsey Sweeney

Beanies are a staple of the Northeast U.S. for more of the year than not, and we were able to use the unpredictable climate of Autumn in New York to apply our testing metrics to this year's top picks. Our rigorous side-by-side testing through all kinds of weather has helped us sort out exactly how these beanies stack up. These top beanies were rated on their performance through a battery of tests, taking place everywhere from the couch to town to the mountains. Our testing process is built to help you identify the most important factors in a product and determine which models hold up to our critical standards.

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Analysis and Test Results

We wore these beanies in all kinds of conditions and tested the most important factors in considering which we would choose to wear and why. Our testing program was comprised of five main performance metrics: comfort, fit, looks, quality, and warmth. We tested many different variables and subcategories to get an in-depth look at exactly what these beanies can do.

Comfort and Wearability

One of the most important factors in wearing any piece of clothing is how it feels. A beanie might be a part of your wardrobe in any condition, and no matter what, it needs to stay comfortable the whole day through. We tested each beanie for comfort and wearability in a test of duration. Each was worn over many consecutive hours, through hot and cold, sun and rain, in casual as well as physically demanding conditions to provide the most thorough testing possible, ensuring you could find the most comfortable and wearable beanie to fit your needs. We assessed for itchiness, softness, coarse or smooth fabrics, and long-term wearability.

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Feeling comfortable and staying that way is important to us, so this metric held a lot of weight in our testing. Both The North Face Salty Dog and the Connectyle Classic went above and beyond in this category. Each is built with a wide rib stitching, using heavy yarn to make a thick and cozy hat that stays comfortable all day. This construction gives these beanies a nice soft feel and enough flex to fit well on most sizes without ever constricting. The liner of The North Face beanie is so comfy and smooth, it really takes a level above the rest, while the Connectyle makes it for a perfect runner up in comfort for the price.

Unfortunately, having our favorites means that some others fell short. The Top Level Cuffed Plain Skull Knit Cap ranked lower in this category with its itchy material and tightness, leading to some constriction over time. Satinior's Trawler beanie was lowest on the list in comfort as it simply didn't sit well on most heads. Along with a coarse material that was itchy and rough, this one just didn't meet our standards.

Fit and Sizing

All of the best traits of your gear just won't cut it if it doesn't fit. Our heads come in all shapes and sizes, and finding the perfect beanie for yours is easy when we test them for you. Each beanie was tried and tested on all differently sized noggins to find that just-right fit. The depth of the hat, the width of the opening, and the cuff's adjustability (or lack thereof) were all identified to find the best fit for everyone. Once we found out how the beanies fit, we tested them thoroughly over long periods of time to make sure the hats stayed in place and maintained their fit without loosening up or causing tight spots at any time.

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If it can't fit, you can't wear it. The Carhartt Watch Hat and the Meriwool Merino Wool Cuff Beanie were hands down our favorites when it came down to it. Each of these beanies was built to adapt to different head sizes, that we had no problem getting everyone to love these hats. Carhartt has quality knitting that stretches and constricts easily without tension to sit just right on almost any head size or shape. The ease and light stretch of the Meriwool's merino material gives a snug fit without any squeeze for all sizes as well. Each hat can be rolled and folded to make any wearer happy and give them a custom feel.

Our crew found that our two lowest-ranked hats in this category had similar disadvantages to them. The OZero Winter Daily Beanie is a shallow fit that does not provide ear coverage for larger sizes. The stitched cuff doesn't allow for adjustment of fit, in addition to a narrow opening, which can get a bit snug even on smaller sizes. Again, the Santinior Trawler sits too high and too shallow on small sizes, while in some cases looking plain silly on larger sizes, and it sits on the crown of the head only.


Finding a piece of gear you love is great, and it's even better when you love the way it looks. Our panel of experts and gear heads rated each beanie's appearance side-by-side to find out which ones would have you looking your best. We looked at the materials used, the color choices, the branding, and each beanie's overall aesthetics to determine which ones were the most stylish.

Two peas in a pod, The North Face's Salty Dog Beanie, and Carhartt's...
Two peas in a pod, The North Face's Salty Dog Beanie, and Carhartt's Acrylic Watch Hat both looked so good they needed one photo together just to show off.
Photo: Lindsey Sweeney

No one wants to look bad in what they wear, so we used an expert panel to pick out which men's beanies will have you looking tip-top this season. Our top hats in style and looks came in as the Carhartt Acrylic Watch Hat and The North Face Salty Dog Beanie. We found that no matter what your activity or style, everyone loved the look of these beanies.

Our testers didn't find too many of the beanies to be unappealing, but some were perhaps not for everyone. The Satinior Trawler has a particular style and wasn't suited to many needs aside from a casual outfit. Top Level's Plain Skull Knit Cap was by no means unattractive, yet it was lower in our rankings as it was very nondescript and plain, with no standout traits in appearance.

The SATINIOR Trawler Beanie is a little more form than function. On...
The SATINIOR Trawler Beanie is a little more form than function. On the smaller and thinner side it won't do much in the way of keeping you warm should the weather turn, but if you're looking for a dock-worker aesthetic and very minor protection from the elements this beanie will do just fine
Photo: Lindsey Sweeney

Craftsmanship and Quality

When buying any product, you hope to purchase one that can be trusted to last. The small details are important as they let you know how much thought and effort were put in to make a quality piece of gear. We thoroughly examined the material choices, assembly, and sewing of each hat and their durability over time to inform us of the highest quality beanies on the market.

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Knowing you have a solid product is important, and we went through vigorous testing to pick out which beanies were built to last. Two of our favorites through it all were the Under Armour Tactical Stealth 2.0 Beanie and the Minus33 Merino Wool Ridge Cuff Beanie. Under Armour leaves nothing to ask for with its crisp knitting, clean seams, and durable design, where the Minus33 beanie is made to last with high-quality merino wool and well-designed assembly.

The rough and unrefined construction and lesser material quality in...
The rough and unrefined construction and lesser material quality in the Satinior Trawler leave this beanie on the lower end of our quality scale
Photo: Lindsey Sweeney

Some of the beanies we put through our thorough testing did not hold up as well as the others when it came to quality and construction. The Satinior Trawler again found itself at the lowest rank here, as the material and quality control was not the best, along with a rough seam made this one stay at the bottom. The Connectyle Classic Men's Warm Winter Hat also ranked on the low end due to the internal seams being a bit more haphazardly put together than many others and the pilling that occurred after a relatively short period of time.


Keeping warm is what cold-weather gear is all about. We want a beanie that will make sure we get warm and stay warm, so we ran each one through a huge range of temperatures to determine which ones worked best. Testing in the Northeast U.S. over two months of changing fall weather let us test anywhere from 5°F to 72°F. Various activity levels and durations of time outdoors were used to assess just how warm each beanie was.

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If it's time to wear a beanie, chances are the temperature is dropping, and you're looking to keep warm. We evaluated which beanies keep you the warmest and which ones might leave you running back to the campfire. Our favorites here included the Meriwool Merino Wool Cuff Beanie. With heavy-duty but slim-fitting merino wool, this one regulates your temperature like none other. When you're heating up, it can breathe and wick to cool you down, but when the cold gets harsh, this one keeps you nice and warm. The Top Level Cuffed Plain Skull Knit Cap was also at the top of the list. With its 100% tight-knit acrylic build, it may not be the most breathable, but it gets super warm and stays that way even in the worst weather.

The Under Armour Tactical Stealth 2.0 Beanie kept us warm in moderate weather and temperatures but wasn't quite there when it got really frigid, still leaving it ideal for exercise and uses other than in the worst of it. The Satinior Trawler once again hit the lower end of the ranking here. Its shallow depth, thin material, airy weave, and lack of coverage just didn't cut it in any amount of cold.

Under Armour's Tactical Stealth 2.0 Beanie is solid all around, but...
Under Armour's Tactical Stealth 2.0 Beanie is solid all around, but when the cold weather dropped the mercury a little too far, the thinner and more breathable construction of this beanie had us wanting a bit more. We still think this one is a great choice for anything other than those bitterly chilly and windy days.
Photo: Lindsey Sweeney


Our men's beanie review was designed to help you find the perfect hat to match your lifestyle. Our in-depth analysis revealed the strengths and weaknesses of each product to help you discover the features that are right for you. Countless hours went into the research and testing to ensure we could help you pick out the right beanie for your needs this winter and beyond.

This season's contenders got to spend some quality time getting to...
This season's contenders got to spend some quality time getting to know one another in the sun while we mulled over exactly how they had all performed.
Photo: Lindsey Sweeney

Trevor Everts

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GearLab is founded on the principle of honest, objective, reviews. Our experts test thousands of products each year using thoughtful test plans that bring out key performance differences between competing products. And, to assure complete independence, we buy all the products we test ourselves. No cherry-picked units sent by manufacturers. No sponsored content. No ads. Just real, honest, side-by-side testing and comparison.

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