In the throes of winter, it is important to keep your head warm for optimal comfort and performance — even if that just means sanity. 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 a number of affordable, functional beanies worth checking out. To aid your decision, we compared some of the most popular cheap beanies on the market so you know which one to grab.
As one of Amazon’s most popular beanies, Carhartt’s Knit Cuffed Beanie (aka the Watch Cap) is on the heads of everyone from construction workers to college students. It’s the most similar to the Ben Davis beanie (below) — not only for the square logo but also for the 100% acrylic material and similar knit — but a touch thinner and softer. This option’s better for people with larger heads.
It may sound contrarian, but you're up-charged for anonymity. This option's a mere two dollars more than Carhartt's (and they're both acrylic). However, this one comes free of all logos and in, while not as many colors, a few you can choose from.
We trust The North Face for puffers and gloves and other outdoor gear, so why not beanies? The brand makes some of the best cold-weather attire around, and this beanie, which they call Freebeenie, is no exception. It's ribbed, 100-percent acrylic, and, when it goes on sale (it often does), it's well below our $25 dollar threshold.
You’ll find these navy-approved watch caps at your local surplus store (or on Amazon). 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.
The feel of Ben Davis’s Logo Knit Beanie is ultra-smooth, but also dry. Aside from having a hip appearance, the workwear brand’s cap is a tight-fitting beanie. That being said, the 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.
Vans' Core Basic Beanie is short. Not quite fisherman-style — have you seen the ones that hit above the ear? — but they won't cover your entire ear if you have a big head. That being said, these are soft and trustworthy.
This is the only beanie here that's described as heavyweight — and it is, at least in comparison to others mentioned here. It has a long, comfortable bucket that'll easily stretch down over your ears without looking weird, and a simple logo that doesn't signal too much.
Gap's Beanie isn't the warmest, but it is soft and made from 60-percent organic cotton. Plus, it comes in over a dozen colors.
Burton's been making gear beloved by snowboarders for decades. This slouchy beanie is no exception. It has a long top so it folds over on smaller heads or covers the entire noggin for those with bigger ones. It'll be a bit oversized if you're right in the middle.
Lands' End's Knit Beanie is stretchy without being slouchy. It's constructed from a blend of materials — acrylic, nylon and spandex — that ensure durability and shape retention.
Herschel's easy to wear Elmer Beanie comes in 32 different colors. And at a flat $20 dollars, you can get a few for what you would've spent on just one "luxury" beanie.
This is another low-level accessory from a storied outdoors brand. Filson specializes in fine, hard-wearing clothes and accessories, but that doesn't mean they're above an affordable beanie! It's acrylic like most others on this list, but it can be machine-washed (something that can't be said for Open Edit's, for example).
Experts in military and excursion referencing outerwear, Alpha Industries also does sweats, T-shirts, sneakers and, evident by an appearance here, beanies well, too. This beanie's simple, has solid stretch like Carhartt's and comes in cooler, toned-down colors — including a retro olive green.
Available in eight colors, the L.L. Beanie (clever name) was one of the best at holding its shape, testing revealed. (Carhartt's was the best, which is why it's number one.)
This is another affordable option cut from acrylic, but Deso Supply Co. lines theirs with Thinsulate, an ultralight material that traps heat. You'll stay warm, and this option won't lose its shape with on or two wears.
The Service Beanie is chunkier than other acrylic options on this list, and it comes in a warmer, burnt orange — a color I haven't found others to come in often. Plus, it's made in the US.
Why does O'Neill call its most basic beanie the Groceries Beanie? I don't know. But I do know that it's sleek, simple and rib knit — essential, too, I guess.