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Which Affordable Beanie Is Worth Your Money?

From Carhartt, Muji, Uniqlo and more.

Chandler Bondurant

In the throes of winter, it is essential to keep your head warm for optimal comfort and performance. Assuming you have your other extremities covered with frostbite insurance, you’ll want to consider a well-made beanie to keep that crown covered. But not everyone enjoys spending a ton on a beanie, no matter how nice it is.

If you appreciate affordable umbrellas — they’re just going to get lost in a restaurant or left on the train, right? — or cheap sunglasses when the sun comes back to work, there are number of affordable, functional beanies worth checking out. To help your purchasing decision, we compared some of the most popular cheap beanies on the market so you know which one to grab.

The Best All-Around: Ben Davis Logo Knit Beanie

Price: $10
Material: 100% acrylic
Softness: 6/10
Comfort: 6/10
Warmth: 7/10

The feel of Ben Davis’s Logo Knit Beanie was the smoothest out of the set we tried, but it was also the driest. Aside from having a hip appearance, the workwear brand’s cap was the tightest-fitting beanie. This thing is warm. If you don’t mind a second skin hugging your skull — or have a small-to-mid-sized head — these are actually the best bang for your buck.

Amazon: $10

The Editor’s Pick: Muji Boucle Watch Cap

Price: $19
Material: 80% acrylic, 18% nylon, 2% elastane
Softness: 7/10
Comfort: 8/10
Warmth: 7/10

Muji’s Boucle Watch Cap is texturally the most different from any of the beanies on this list with its nubby, yet soft, boucle knit. Up close, it looks like french terry cloth with a greater variation in yarn size without the bulk of some of the other options here. It’s lightweight, stretchy and keeps pretty warm. Though the paper tag attached to it says ‘ACRYLIC COTTON’, don’t let that fool you. There’s no cotton at all in this watch cap. But Japanophiles will like that the tag also says ‘MADE IN JAPAN’. It’s the priciest one of the bunch (you can buy two of the military surplus for the same amount), but the jump in softness and quality is enough worth spending a little extra for.

Muji: $19

The Softest: Neff Daily Beanie

Price: $17
Material: 100% acrylic
Softness: 8/10
Comfort: 8/10
Warmth: 6/10

Listed as an Amazon Best-Seller, Neff’s Daily Beanie is noted by Amazon to be the softest of the best-selling beanies they offer. That’s true of the lot we tested. Though other beanies on this list are also 100% acrylic, this one has a loftier and softer feel than the rest. The knit itself is also a bit looser with a more stretch than the other all-acrylic options. It was the comfiest we tried, so if you happen to find yourself in Macy’s or Zumiez (or browsing Amazon), grab this.

Amazon: $17 Macy’s: $16

The Warmest: Uniqlo Heattech Knitted Cap

Price: $15
Material: 83% acrylic, 15% wool, 1% nylon, 1% spandex
Softness: 6/10
Comfort: 7/10
Warmth: 8/10

Uniqlo’s famed Heattech base layers get a lot of praise, so it makes sense that they offer the same sort of ‘tech’ in beanie form. The knit is thick and dense, so it’s no surprise that this is warmer than Muji’s. It’s cheaper and, because Uniqlo’s quest for expansion is going rather successfully, it’s also more widely available than Muji’s.

Uniqlo: $15

The Best Value: Military Surplus

Price: $9
Material: 100% wool
Softness: 4/10
Comfort: 5/10
Warmth: 7/10

You’ll find these navy-approved watch caps at your local surplus store. They’re cheap and reliable — it’s hard to find any other all-wool beanie for this price. That said, if you have sensitive skin, this might not be for you, especially because of its tighter knit.

Buy Now: $9

The Crowd Favorite: Carhartt Acrylic Watch Hat

Price: $15
Material: 100% acrylic
Softness: 6/10
Comfort: 7/10
Warmth: 6/10

As one of Amazon’s most popular beanies, Carhartt’s Acrylic Watch Hat is on the heads of everyone from construction workers to college students. It’s the most similar to the Ben Davis beanie — not only for the square logo but also for the 100% acrylic material and similar knit — but a touch thinner and softer. Compared to the Ben Davis beanie, it’s better for people with larger heads. And it felt about as warm as the Neff beanie, which is to say, good enough for 30-degree weather.

Amazon: $15

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