For many of us, there's rarely a day that goes by when we're not wearing a t-shirt. More ubiquitous than a pair of blue jeans, the t-shirt was originally an invention of the U.S. Navy, issued to sailors as undergarments. It's come a long way since its military roots, establishing itself as a must-have wardrobe basic.
Though we're fans of an artisanal, well-crafted version, a really good t-shirt doesn't have to come with a sticker shock. In fact, the competition is maybe the most fierce under twenty bucks. So we took a hard look at the value-driven tees on the market and established what we think are some of the best under $20.
Hanes Beefy Tee
Best All-Around T-Shirt
We considered the legendary Beefy Tee for a number of superlatives — heaviest, softest, best boxy and best value. In the end, it made sense to dub it the best all-around tee. It's got good heft and is super comfortable thanks to the tube-knit construction and satisfyingly soft hand. While it gets dinged in the comfort category for its conventional fabric tag, it's a minor transgression that's not enough to take away it's Best All-Around Tee crown.
Kirkland Signature Men's Crew Neck Tee 6-Pack
The house-brand of the members-only retailer Costco has earned praise from value-driven style enthusiasts. They're more dense than the Hanes Beefy Tee come sans side seams and add up to just over $3 per tee.
Pro Club Heavyweight Cotton Short Sleeve T-Shirt
Best Heavyweight T-Shirt
In the sub-twenty-dollar price point, Pro Club edges out the heavyweight competition at a robust 6.5 ounces. The inset collar fits close to the neck while the body has a classically relaxed silhouette.
KC Jacks Framework Short Sleeve T-Shirt
Best Soft T-Shirt
The self-proclaimed ultimate tri-blend fabric is made using a 50-25-25 blend of polyester, long staple Texas cotton and rayon. That generous helping of rayon is what gives the KC Jacks Framework tee its silky smooth hand and makes it almost impossible for us to take off willingly. It sports a well-tailored, lean silhouette for a fit that looks damn near custom and it's one of the few on this list that's made in the USA.
Uniqlo U Crew Neck Short-Sleeve T-Shirt
Best Boxy T-Shirt
Under the percipient eye of designer Christophe Lemaire, Uniqlo's U sublabel proves great design can come with a low price tag. Its U Crew Neck Short-Sleeve T-Shirts have garnered fans for its fit and finish, a boxy shape that's just right, with a substantial fabric to match. We like the thick bound ribbed collars as well as the slightly shorter length.
SOS from Texas Organic Cotton Short Sleeve
Best Organic Cotton T-Shirt
This organic cotton tee isn’t dyed or bleached and its color varies from year to year with the growing season experienced by the cotton. It has a classic fit and 5.75-ounce fabric that will soften with wear.
Gildan Men's Heavy Cotton T-Shirt
Best for Artists
It's a go-to for those seeking a relaxed fit with a weighty fabric and has been used by innumerable brands for screen printing.