Reviews You Can Rely On

The Best Sweater for Men of 2021

We tested the top sweaters from Carhartt, Pendleton, Hanes, and more to find the best styles for your wardrobe
Perfect for cozying up on the couch, the Pendleton Shetland crewneck i...
Photo: Buck Yedor
By Buck Yedor ⋅ Review Editor
Monday November 22, 2021
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Sweaters are a versatile and fun way to add some warmth and style to your wardrobe. Our team of reviewers researched over 30 of the best-selling sweaters available in 2021 before purchasing ten of the most promising to put to the test. After wearing these sweaters day in and day out, our team compared the comfort, fit, versatility, and ease of care of each one. We hope our in-depth breakdown of the best and worst qualities of each will help you find the perfect sweater without having to go to the department store.


1

Best Overall Sweater


Carhartt Crew Neck Pocket


Material: 50% Cotton, 50% Polyester | Style: Crew Neck
Thick
Comfortable
Runs large
Not office appropriate

The Carhartt Pocketed Crew Neck is a thick and comfortable sweatshirt perfect for everything from morning lounging with a cup of coffee to chopping wood on a brisk winter afternoon. The thick material offers a decent amount of warmth and some serious durability. This isn't a sweater you have to worry about beating up. While it might not be office-appropriate (depending on your office), it is excellent for almost every other occasion, making it one of the most versatile sweaters we reviewed. It serves as both quality workwear and stylish streetwear. Made from a cotton and polyester blend, you don't need to put a lot of thought into how to care for this sweater. Simply throw it in the laundry machine with the rest of your clothes with peace of mind.

The only qualm we had with this sweater was its large fit. The torso is quite long and generally feels at least a full size larger than standard sizing. All in all, this sweater is highly comfortable, versatile, and easy to care for. If you're looking for one sweater that can do it all, and don't mind a more baggy look, look no further.

This Carhartt Crew Neck is thick, durable, and soft.
This Carhartt Crew Neck is thick, durable, and soft.
Photo: Buck Yedor

2

Best Wool Crew Neck


Pendleton Shetland Crew


Material: 100% Wool | Style: Crew Neck
Stylish
Comfortable
Expensive
More involved care

Over the years, Pendleton has more or less become synonymous with high-quality wool. The Shetland Crew is no different and won't disappoint those searching for a simple but well-made crew neck from a coveted brand. Made from 100% wool and sporting a trim but still cozy fit, you could just as easily wear this piece to the office as you could for apres-ski drinks. We found this sweater to fit true to size and not be restrictive of movement.

This sweater is really only for true wool lovers. If you like the feel of wool on your skin, this will be the ticket, but for those sensitive to wool, you'll want to look elsewhere. Fortunately, this sweater is still machine washable, but it's recommended to wash cold and then hang dry. This piece is ideal for anyone looking for a simple but high-quality wool sweater.

The Pendleton Shetland crew is a wool lover's delight.
The Pendleton Shetland crew is a wool lover's delight.
Photo: Buck Yedor

3

Best Bang for the Buck


Hanes EcoSmart Fleece Sweatshirt


Material: 50% Cotton, 50% Polyester | Style: Crew Neck
Inexpensive
Soft interior
Thin
Runs small

The Hanes EcoSmart Fleece Sweatshirt is an affordable sweater offered in over twenty different colorways. The inner fabric is brushed, which gives it an incredibly soft and comfortable feel against your skin. The polyester used in this piece is made from recycled plastic, which will hopefully make you feel a little less guilty about buying one of these sweaters in all your favorite colors.

Overall, this is a fairly versatile piece. It would make an ideal layer for the gym or just for casual everyday use. The thin material might not stand up to serious manual labor and it might be a little too casual for certain office jobs. This sweater does run on the small side, particularly in the torso length, but it's an excellent buy for anyone looking for a well-priced, comfortable crew neck.

The Hanes Crew Neck is an affordable option that is available in a...
The Hanes Crew Neck is an affordable option that is available in a huge selection of colorways.
Photo: Buck Yedor

4

Excellent Cardigan


West End Knitwear Aran Button Cardigan


Material: 100% Merino Wool | Style: Shawl Neck Cardigan
Comfortable
Unique style
More involved care
Expensive

The West End Aran Cardigan brings the look and feel of the Irish seaside to the comfort of your home. Complete with aran style cable knitting that represents traditional fishing ropes, this cardigan is stylish and unique. The 100% merino wool fabric is incredibly comfortable and soft to the touch, and the fit is spot on for the style of the sweater. The torso is a little longer than on your average crew neck, but that comes with the territory for a shawled cardigan. This elegant knitwear can easily be dressed up or down. Put on a collared shirt and tie underneath and you're ready for the office, or layer it over a t-shirt, and you're ready for a comfy day of lounging.

When deciding to purchase this sweater, consider whether you're ready to commit to a piece of clothing you must hand wash. This can't be thrown in the wash or dry cleaned, so if you're constantly spilling food on your favorite outerwear, this sweater might be too high maintenance. It's an excellent option that is perfect for anyone in the market for a new cardigan.

Made from 100% Merino Wool, the Irish built West End cardigan offers...
Made from 100% Merino Wool, the Irish built West End cardigan offers a unique look and comfortable wear.
Photo: Buck Yedor

5

An Excellent Streetwear Option


Adidas Trefoil Warm-Up Crew


Material: 100% Cotton French Terry | Style: Crew Neck
Great mobility
Aesthetic style details
Large branding
Runs small

With its ribbed crew neck and raglan style sleeves, the Adidas Trefoil Warm-Up Crew brings subtle styling details to an otherwise simple crew neck sweater. The 100% French Terry fabric is comfortable and super stretchy. This sweater is as easy as it can be to care for and can be washed and dried with the rest of your laundry.

The fit is athletic, and if anything, runs a little small. The raglan sleeves give you a great range of motion despite a tighter fit across the shoulders. The large Adidas branding relegates this piece to casual street or sportswear but is hard to beat for either of those purposes. It's perfect for anyone looking for a comfortable and stretchy sweater to hit the gym or the streets in.

The Adidas Trefoil Crew was designed with movement in mind.
The Adidas Trefoil Crew was designed with movement in mind.
Photo: Buck Yedor

6

An Awesome Henley Option


H2H Slim Fit Turtleneck


Material: 100% Polyester | Style: Henley
Soft brushed interior
Stretchy
Oversized collar is hard to style
More involved care

The H2H Men's Casual Slim Fit Pullover is a polyester henley that ultimately falls into the casual wear side of the spectrum. The brushed interior is soft and comfortable on the skin, while the stretch of the fabric provides for unrestricted movement. We found the fit to be on the slimmer side but in no way tight or "athletic" fitting.

The arms are somewhat baggy, and our biggest gripe is with the oversized collar. The collar is too large and floppy to wear flipped up and looks a little silly folded down. The awkwardness of the collar will keep this from being your going-out sweater, but it's perfect for a cozy day at home. Despite being made from polyester, the care instructions call for hand washing or dry cleaning only. We'd recommend this piece to those who want the ease of a pullover but want to class it up with henley styling details.

The H2H Henley has one of the softest fabrics of any of the sweaters...
The H2H Henley has one of the softest fabrics of any of the sweaters we tested.
Photo: Buck Yedor

7

A Turtleneck Model


Poriff Basic Turtleneck


Material: 95% Cotton, 5% Spandex | Style: Turtleneck
Stretchy
Soft
More involved care
Limited versatility

It might not come out of the closet every day, but having a turtleneck on standby is a must when the occasion calls. The Poriff Basic Turtleneck is offered in over 25 colorways in both short and long sleeve options. This piece is slim fitting through the arms and shoulders and opens up through the chest and torso. The 5% spandex gives this sweater an incredible stretch and would easily let you size down if you want a slimmer fit.

The care instructions allow for machine washing but hang drying only. As far as versatility goes, it depends on your style and preference. While most people won't be wearing a turtleneck every day, it's a fun and simple way to dress up an otherwise casual outfit. This is an affordable and comfortable option for anyone looking to add a turtleneck to their quiver of sweaters.

The stretchy Puriff turtleneck is an easy way to dress up a pair of...
The stretchy Puriff turtleneck is an easy way to dress up a pair of jeans.
Photo: Buck Yedor

8

An Affordable and Comfy Cardigan


Goodthreads Soft Cotton Cardigan


Material: 100% Cotton | Style: Cardigan
Inexpensive
Comfortable
Susceptible to shrinking
Runs large

The Goodthreads Soft Cotton Cardigan is a great way to add some sophisticated but casual style to any outfit. The oversized shawl collar and small waist pockets will keep you looking good on your way from the coffee shop to the office. This sweater fits as a cardigan should; it's slightly oversized, which lets you easily layer over shirts. The 100% cotton fabric is soft and feels great against the skin.

Being 100% cotton, this sweater is susceptible to shrinking in the dryer. It's best to either dry on low or skip the dryer altogether and hang dry. This sweater is an affordable option for anyone looking to add a little class to their day-to-day look.

The Goodthreads Cardigan is affordable and ideal for layering.
The Goodthreads Cardigan is affordable and ideal for layering.
Photo: Buck Yedor

9

An Easy Everyday Wear


Amazon Essentials Crew Neck


Material: 100% Cotton | Style: Crew Neck
Inexpensive
Comfortable
Susceptible to shrinking
Short torso

The Amazon Essentials Crew Neck is a simple, comfortable crew neck sweater that works great as an everyday basic. The 100% cotton material is soft, supple, and easy to move around in. The ribbing on the sleeves, neck, and bottom hemline elevate this piece from looking like a basic pullover to a sweater with a touch of sophistication. While this piece isn't designed for manual labor or sports, it works for just about every occasion, making it one of the most versatile options we reviewed.

While our testers found this sweater to fit nicely, the torso length is on the shorter side, and if you typically need "tall" sizing, this sweater likely won't work for you without upsizing a considerable amount. This sweater is an affordable, comfortable, versatile, and easy option for anyone looking for a crew neck sweater.

The Amazon Essentials Crew runs a little small, but is a comfy every...
The Amazon Essentials Crew runs a little small, but is a comfy every day basic.
Photo: Buck Yedor

10

Great for Athletics


Champion Graphic Powerblend Crew


Material: 50% Cotton, 50% Polyester | Style: Crew Neck
Inexpensive
Easy to care for
Limited versatility
Runs large

The Champion Graphic Powerblend Crew is a perfect choice for your morning run or while warming up at the gym. The fit is slightly baggy, which makes it great for athletics and streetwear but probably not office-appropriate. This is a pretty basic sweater and, as such, has no issue being tossed in a washing machine or dryer.

The large branding on the chest, large fit, and weave make this feel more like a sweatshirt than a sweater; assuming you're not holding on too tight to your apparel definitions, we'll let this one straddle the boundary between the two. This is a great choice for anyone looking for a casual crew neck to wear to the gym.

The casual Champion Crew performs well for everything from running...
The casual Champion Crew performs well for everything from running to rock climbing.
Photo: Buck Yedor

Why You Should Trust Us


Buck Yedor, our lead tester on this review, has a huge affinity for sweaters in his personal life. Over the course of his review career, he has reviewed a wide variety of men's outerwear, giving him a critical eye for construction details and fit. From budget down jackets to premium fleece, and now everyday sweaters, Buck loves to explore the nitty-gritty details of men's apparel.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

To begin our quest to find the best men's sweaters, our review team started out by researching which sweaters were the best selling options on the market and then picking ten of them to independently purchase and review. Once we purchased the most promising sweaters, our review team incorporated them into their daily lives and wardrobes. Using a specific set of standardized metrics, our testers determined the pros and cons of each sweater.

Analysis and Test Results


Our testers were looking at the comfort, fit, versatility, and ease of care for each sweater throughout the testing process. Our simplified in-depth testing will help take some of the mystery out of your next purchase.

Comfort


The biggest component of the comfort metric when it comes to sweaters is what we like to call the "cheek" test. How does the fabric feel brushed up against your cheek? Is it soft and cozy, or is it stiff and scratchy? The H2H Henley with its brushed interior is one of the softest and most comfortable sweaters we tested. The West End Aran Cardigan made from 100% Merino wool was another highly comfortable option.

The Pendleton Shetland Crew is made from 100% high quality wool.
The Pendleton Shetland Crew is made from 100% high quality wool.
Photo: Buck Yedor

The Amazon Essentials Crew Neck was by no means uncomfortable, but it wasn't as soft as most of the other sweaters we reviewed. The Pendleton Shetland Crew was a bit polarizing. It is made from 100% wool, and it feels like it. If you're someone who likes the feel of wool, you'll love this sweater, but for those who find it to be scratchy, buyer beware.

The H2H Henley's brushed interior is incredibly soft against skin.
The H2H Henley's brushed interior is incredibly soft against skin.
Photo: Buck Yedor

Fit


Sweaters are usually fairly simple pieces of apparel, but the difference in fit can make or break them in terms of wearability. The Adidas Trefoil Warm Up Crew offers our favorite fit. Built for athletics, the raglan style sleeves provide an uninhibited range of overhead motion. The Pendleton Shetland Crew fits in all the right ways. True to standard sizing, the arms and torso fit our testers just right. The Poriff Basic Turtleneck is another option that fits incredibly well. Its high stretch fabric ensures that it will fit almost anybody as long as you're in the ballpark with sizing.

The Carhartt Crew Neck runs about a full size larger than average.
The Carhartt Crew Neck runs about a full size larger than average.
Photo: Buck Yedor

The Carhartt Pocketed Crew Neck fits large. Our testers found it to be cozy and easy to both move and layer with — but be warned, it seems to run almost a full size larger than standard sizing. Conversely, the Hanes EcoSmart Fleece Sweatshirt runs a little small. With a short torso and minimal stretch, you may want to size up.

The Amazon Essentials Crew Neck runs small.
The Amazon Essentials Crew Neck runs small.
Photo: Buck Yedor

Versatility


Versatility refers to how varied of situations each sweater is appropriate for. Is it good for wearing into the office, going out for drinks, hitting the gym, or some combination of uses? We found the Carhartt Pocketed Crew Neck was extremely versatile. Whether you need some extra warmth on the job site, are meeting friends for a night out, or just lounging at home, this sweater does it all and does it well. The only thing it's not suited for is formal office wear. The Amazon Essentials Crew Neck was another option that will work for a large variety of occasions. Wear it work or wear it to a BBQ; this piece can be dressed up or down with ease.

The Goodthreads Cardigan can be dressed up or thrown on for a cozy...
The Goodthreads Cardigan can be dressed up or thrown on for a cozy layer to wear around the house.
Photo: Buck Yedor

The Adidas Trefoil Warm Up Crew though highly comfortable, with its large branding and sporty look is probably best reserved for working out and casual streetwear. The West End Aran Cardigan is also a fairly specific piece. While it can be used for anything from semi-formal workwear to classing up a pair of jeans, it will always carry an air of formality that isn't needed for everyday use.

Nothing says sweater weather like a nice cup of tea.
Nothing says sweater weather like a nice cup of tea.
Photo: Buck Yedor

Ease of Care


Ease of care boils down to cleaning each sweater when it's time for a wash. The Carhartt Pocketed Crew, Adidas Trefoil, Hanes EcoSmart Fleece, and the Champion Crew can all be machine washed and dried.

The Goodthreads Cardigan, Amazon Essentials CrewNeck, Pendleton Shetland Crew, and the Poriff Turtleneck can be machine washed but must be hung up to dry.

The high quality wool of the West End Aran cardigan requires special...
The high quality wool of the West End Aran cardigan requires special care.
Photo: Buck Yedor

The H2H Henley and the West End Aran Cardigan both must be hand washed for longevity.

Always be sure to check the care instructions for your outerwear...
Always be sure to check the care instructions for your outerwear. Even though it's synthetic, the H2H Henley requires to be hand washed.
Photo: Buck Yedor

Conclusion


After wearing and testing ten of the best-selling men's sweaters in 2021, our review team was able to determine the best and worst qualities in each. Through hours of everyday wear and use, through a wide range of activities and environments, we were able to compare the comfort, fit, versatility, and ease of care of each sweater against all the others. We hope our results will help you determine which sweaters are right for your specific needs, style, and budget.

Buck Yedor

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