The advantages of investing in a high-quality work shirt are manifold. In addition to keeping you looking sharp and fresh every day of the week, a work shirt helps you stay productive by boosting your confidence and giving you the peace of mind to take on those heavy-duty projects. It protects from the vagaries of a workplace setting, as well.
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And however messy the job gets, our picks offer easy care stain release and moisture wicking properties to keep you dry and comfortable all throughout your shift. They also fit comfortably and allow you a free range of movement. Which brings us to the uphill task of choosing a work shirt that suits your application.
10 Best Work Shirts
1. Carhartt Men's Oakman Original Shirt
Carhartt has been in the business of making work clothes for several decades. With its flagship work shirt, it expertly harnesses its several years of experience, expertise, and skill to make one of the best options on the market. It is both very soft and comfortable and because it’s made from industrial-grade materials, it’s also as tough as nails. The ingenious blend of construction, design, and fit makes it a perfect choice for undertaking the toughest jobs and applications with, and in all work cases, it performs exactly as advertised.
With its laundry list of impressive features, this should be your to-go item for safely and completing the endless list of projects on your to-do list. It’s tough as nails because the brand carefully selects the materials for use in construction. The fact that the work shirt is made using 8.3-ounce, pure industrial-grade cotton ring-spun sandstone twill. The implication of this, as mentioned earlier, is remarkable resilience, strength, and of course durability. Coupled with the fact that the high-use areas such as the seams are triple stitched, it’s guaranteed to last you several years with proper use, care, and maintenance. Whatever rigorous activity you put it through, it’ll invariably come out in the other end unscathed.
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If you love the construction quality and the attendant durability, it’s ease of use won’t disappoint either. It features a micro-sanded and pre-washed finish, giving it the additional comfort and softness all workers need in a shirt. Further, it comes with a button-down collar, flap chest pockets featuring button closures and a back centre box pleat. Together, these features allow you to move around with ease and comfortably without the slightest hindrances. The work shirt is also machine washable so feel free to throw it into the washer when it gets dirty. And to finish, it also has two-button adjustable cuffs with extended plackets.
Patently, this option is hands down one of the best work shirts currently on the market. It’s tough, comfortable, and easy to use, and offers sufficiently large pockets with button closures for keeping a few valuables.
Remarkably resilient, strong and durable
Has chest pockets with button closures
2. Dickies Men's Short Sleeve
As was the case with our first choice, this shirt is also comfortable, soft, durable, breathable, and allows for easy movements around your workplace. It’s also budget-friendly, so you don’t have to worry about your wallet taking a hit should you prudently decide to reward yourself with one. It’s a no-frills option and an indictment to Dickies expertise and experience with work shirt. It’s an all-around performer, which is why it’s not surprising to you various professionals, from the mechanic, electrician, to the plumber
donning one. It’s also tough and capable of withstands lots of abuse and several washing cycles without the slightest flagging in performance or durability.
It comes with several nifty features that distinguish it from its competitors on the market. The construction quality is on a whole different level, though. Its construction from a high-quality, durable blend of 65 percent polyester and 35 percent cotton gives it the requisite quality to withstand the vagaries of the work environment. As well as boasting incredible moisture-wicking properties, the resultant construction material is also an easy care stain release wrinkle-resistant fabric. That quality gives you the peace of mind and confidence to use it optimally irrespective of the demands of the project at hand.
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Like its horrendously expensive counterparts on the other end of the spectrum, it is also comfortable to wear for several hours on end and comes with a bunch of features to enhance ease of use. The twin button-flat chest pockets safely secure work or personal valuables and because it has a generous cut through the shoulders and chest, it allows you to move around freely. You can machine wash it and the square tail design maintains its crisp, sleek look whether you tuck it or leave it hanging out.
If your eyes and heart are dead-set on acquiring a high-quality, functional, and practical work shirt, don’t any further than this option. The craftsmanship is exceptional, it offers incredible value, and best of all, its comfort lasts for long.
Comfortable and soft
Durable yet breathable
An all-around performer
Boasts incredible moisture-wicking properties
Comes with twin button-flap chest pockets
3. Carhartt Men's 'K87'
A fool proof way of attaining optimal performance as a worker, irrespective of your field, is investing in a heavy-duty, comfortable, and protective work gear
. For mechanics, plumbers, electricians, woodworkers, gardeners, and industry workers, Carhartt Men's 'K87'provides you with just that. It’s a multi-purpose work shirt ideal for a plethora of applications around the house, in a warehouse or workshop, and even in an industrial setting. You can layer it during winter as it’s not designed to offer protection against the cold. For an in-depth review of these and several other instrumental features, read on.
It is heavyweight and durable considering that it’s made from a heather gray fibre content 6.75-ounce 100 percent cotton jersey knit. To this add the fact that it features side-seamed construction that aims to minimize twisting as you work. The construction quality makes it a perfect candidate for weathering the toughest and harshest working conditions your job can throw at you. It’s an ideal choice for the hardworking employee in need of a work shirt that works just as hard and capable of lasting more than a lifetime of hard, extreme use.
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Compared to other brands, Carhartt doesn't restrict you to a single colour. You get to choose between yellow, red, orange, black, blue, and navy. It fits snugly and has a tagless neck label that immensely contributes to its smooth, comfortable feeling. To minimize the likelihood of the work shirt shrinking or wreaking as you hanker down on your work, it features an innovative rib-knit crewneck for holding its shape all through the day.
For workers that prioritize quality, comfort, and durability in a shirt, this Carhartt Men's 'K87' should be up your alley. It’s cost-effective, breathable, and has a chest pocket on the left that makes it even more functional.
Heavyweight and durable
Side-seamed construction minimizes twisting during work
Comes in several colours
4. Red Kap Industrial 7 Button Long Sleeve
Red Kap Men's Industrial Long Sleeve Work Shirt is yet another all-around work shirt to make an appearance on our list. It comes from a customer-trusted and highly reputed brand
which also means the work shirt continues the brand’s tradition of exceptional quality, durability, and convenience. A perfect choice for manufacturers, contractors and builders, and mechanics, it allows for free movement and thwarts sweat accumulation; you’ll remain dry all throughout the workday however hard you push yourself. A unique feature is the shirt’s knack for resisting stains, dirt, and grease, keeping you looking sharp all day long.
It comes with a game-changing Touchtex Technology that makes it substantially breathable and enables it to effortless and easily retain its strong colour, wick moisture and resist all types of stains. It’s machine washable and because it quickly and easily releases the day’s dirt and grease, you’ll be coming to work looking sharp and fresh every day of the week.
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Red Kap further pulls all the stops to provide you with the best features. Its work shirt, for instance, delivers utmost comfort. The blend of poly and cotton allows it to stay lightweight and remain comfortable all day long, a quality that the lined 2-piece collar with sewn-in permanent stays only solidifies. If you plan on bringing a few work accessories or notes to the workplace, the button closure, button-thru hex style pockets with a pencil stall allow you to do so.
The shirt is versatile, too. Aside from mechanics and technicians, other professionals that will find it a perfect choice for working in include service advisors, estimators, shop managers, front office workers, and service coordinators, among several others.
This option enables you to get the job done right every time. It oozes excellence in design, engineering, and construction. Millions of Americans and workers all around the world swear by it.
Resists stains, dirt, and grease
Features Touchtex Technology for breathability
Wicks moisture and remains dry all day long
Lightweight and comfortable
Has button closure, button-thru hex style pockets
The neck is a tad tight when buttoned
5. Dickies Men's Long-Sleeve
It’s an essential and indispensable addition to your wardrobe and goes a long way in helping you achieve your work goals and reach your full potential. The asking price is pocket-friendly and totally commensurate with the product’s quality. So, for the value-conscious workers out there in search of a heavy-duty, practical, durable, and comfortable work shirt, take a serious look at this one.
The first striking feature is the construction quality. It’s made from high-quality, heavy-duty fabric. The brand ups the ante by ensuring their shirt is not only resistant to wrinkles, so you keep looking sharp and fresh all through the duration of use, but it also formidable resistance to stains. The attendant durability enables it to smoothly withstand attrition for years on end. Whether you’re a plumber, contractor, welder
, mechanic or pizza delivery guy, you can rest easy knowing the work shirt will keep all unsightly stains, wrinkles, and smears at bay.
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Compared to its cheap, off-brand counterparts masquerading as work shirts on the market, this mode delivers a snugly, customized fit, thanks to the inclusion of two buttons on the cuffs. It’ll never be too tight or too loose. Boasting an extra-long shirttail and a straight hem, the work shirt will always look wrinkle-free and sharp whether you tuck it in or left hanging. Personal effects or work-related accessories fit comfortably in the two chest pockets and secured with buttons. And because of the wide cut that runs through the shoulders and chest, you’ll be able to move around freely and unhindered.
Dickies is a brand synonymous with quality and comfort. It fits perfectly and provides plenty of room for free movement not to mention it easily weathers tough working conditions and are machine washable.
Durable construction using high-quality, heavy-duty fabric
It’s resistant to wrinkles and stains for a sharp, clean look all through the day
Offers snug, customized fit
Has two chest pockets that are secured with buttons
The ingenious design allows for free movement
6. Carhartt Men's Big & Tall Workwear
Like its bigger cousins, this Carhartt workwear oozes charm. Don’t let the budget-friendly price tag fool you because beyond that it’s as close as you’re going to get to excellence. Like you, it’s a heavy-weight workhorse that goes all the way to provide you with the best working experience, protecting you from most workplace dangerous. It’s a tried and tested option and each time it effectively holds up to workplace expectations, leaving even its most critical pundits nodding in approval.
The shirt is a perfect companion for some of the toughest and most challenging industrial-level and domestic projects
and applications. Whether it’s worn from morning to evening or for 24 straight hours, it remains surprisingly comfortable, dry, and free of wrinkles. Very few work shirts on and off this list can pull that off. After the short break in period, it starts to feel like a second layer of skin; hardly noticeable. As a result, it provides you with plenty of room for free movement, which makes it a perfect choice for projects that necessitate lots of movement.
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Made from high-grade 6.75-ounce heavy-weight cotton jersey, it is rugged, robust and durable. To ensure your comfort, its rib knit crew doesn’t come with a tag and since it’s short-sleeved, it doesn’t heat up or trigger sweating like its long-sleeved counterparts do. Additional features include the fact that it’s machine washable and has a 5-point path pocket for safely holding a few items. Like our previous pick, the side-seamed construction eliminates the likelihood of twisting while the straight hemline gives it a wrinkle-free look should you decide not to tuck it in.
It is by all indications a perfect companion for completing a wide range of heavy-duty, involving projects. It provides sufficient room for unrestricted movement, durability, convenience, and it looks superb.
Budget-friendly price tag
Stains comfortable, dry, and free of wrinkles all day long
Allows for easy movement
Rugged, robust and durable
Comes with a 5-point path pocket
Not as durable as other work shirts
7. Carhartt Men's Workwear Pocket Long-Sleeve Henley
This option is not any different from any of the work shirts we’ve reviewed so far. However, the fact that it’s a product of Carhartt and touts several auxiliary features make it a worthwhile consideration. It provides an all-around performance and will keep you sufficiently warm on cooler days of the year and will work just as great as a layering piece. Like virtually all other Carhartt work shirts, it touts a 675-ounce, 100% cotton jersey construction complete with a rib-knit collar with a 3-button closure. Side-seamed construction reduces the likelihood of twisting while the left pocket has enough space for holding a few personal items.
It helps you get the job done quickly, effortlessly, and precisely each and every time. Every nook and cranny of the shirt screams quality and durability, thanks to the brand’s utilization of pure cotton to make it. It is durable and robust and can easily stand up to vigorous use every day of the calendar. Wood and metal shavings, dust, debris, and other workplace messes won’t have any significant impact on its performance and longevity.
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As we pointed out earlier, it comes with a relatively large pocket that comfortably accommodates a pen and notepad. The upright design gives you quick and easy access to the contents of the pocket. A 3-button placket lets you keep the work shirt sufficiently ventilated to prevent sweat
and heat accumulation while the rib-knit cuffs stop the sleeves from getting in the way of completing your projects. Given the construction quality, feel free to toss it into the machine washer whenever it gets dirty. It can takes several washes and still retain its integrity, breathability, and allow you to move about with a lot of freedom.
If you’re looking for a work shirt to layer or wear on its own, this option is one of your best bets. It has all the impressive features we’ve come to expect from Carhartt. And of course, it will withstand the test of time.
Heavy-duty, long-lasting construction
Comes with large pockets
It fits a bit looser
Sizing is off
8. Red Kap Industrial Work Shirt
Like other top brands, Red Kap will never disappoint its customer. It’s renowned for innovation, exceptional craftsmanship, and consistency, as this shirt proves. Being very breathable, it’ll keep you dry and warm all day long, and on your next day’s shift, you’ll still want to wear it some more. It’s insanely comfortable and offer the user exceptional value considering that they’re long-lasting, reasonably priced, and can withstand several washing cycles. The one feature that sets this shirt apart is the Touchtex technology that cannily releases soil, retains its colour and wickable finish even when it’s approaching the tail end of its useful life.
Just because you love getting your hands dirty doesn’t mean you should be walking around dirty. And this option ensures just that. It’s made from a high-quality blend of polyester and cotton and its signature feature, the patented Touchtex technology gives it a wickable finish and guarantees exceptional colour retention. And thanks to the soil release feature, you’ll always look your best even when the going gets tough. The other features that contribute to it’s professional look are the lined two-piece collar with sewn-in permanent stays and button closure.
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In spite of its rugged, heavy-duty construction, this work shirt is very usable and a cinch to maintain. It’s lightweight and fits comfortably, it won’t weigh you down even after endless hours on the job. The 4-1/4-ounce poplin material is also breathable and in addition to keeping you comfortable, also facilitates free movement about your workplace. The incorporation of up to 7 buttons running from the top to the bottom adds to the shirt's functional and timeless look while the two button-thru, hex style pockets with a pocket stall on the chest allows you to keep within easy and quick reach all the important work accessories.
A true workhorse, the shirt is breathable, effectively wicks moisture, reliably retains colour, and resist most stains. And you don't even have to break the bank to afford one.
Aesthetically attractive design
Heavy-duty construction for durability
Lightweight and comfortable
Comes with pockets
Sizes run small
The pockets are small
9. Red Kap Industrial Long Sleeve
The ingenious design and engineering of this shirt make it a solid and perfect choice for a wide range of professionals the world over. Whether you're in manufacturing, construction, automotive, plumbing, or other such industry, you'll find the shirt to be immensely beneficial. It’s a very comfortable long-sleeve button-up work shirt that facilitates free movement and enhances user comfort through its lightweight fabric and highly customizable fit. However long your manager or supervisor decides to extend your shift, you'll invariably be comfortable and dry the entire time, thanks to the shirt's sweat-wicking capabilities. Further, it's lightweight and incorporates the time- and effort-saving stain-resistance feature.
Red Kap is a household name, and like its work shirts we reviewed earlier, this model is a high-end, high-quality choice. It’s made from a durable blend of polyester and cotton and like our previous choice comes with 7 buttons on the front running all the way from the top to the very bottom. The construction material keeps you snugly and relaxed all day long as you undertake your craft. The collar also contributes to the comfort while the two pockets on either side of the chest provide enough room for safely holding the tools, accessories, or documents you want within close and easy reach.
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The Touchtex technology makes the work shirt breathable, allows it to effectively wick moisture, retain colour and resistance various stain types. You’ll be looking fresh and clean every time you report for work. Considering that it’s made from pro-grade materials and boasts a plethora of superior features, it won’t be fazed by various working conditions, especially the most rigorous. Other work shirts from off-brand models pale into insignificance compared to the quality, durability, and ease of using it.
By choosing this option, you’ll be making the right choice. It has all the performance flair that its cheap, humdrum counterparts clearly lack. Take our word for it; you’ll never look back.
Comfortable, lightweight, and offers a customized fit
Touchtex technology enhances breathability
Resistant to various stain types
10. Dickies Short Sleeve
This shirt is conspicuously devoid of any heart-stopping features. If physical appearances are anything to go by, it’s not easy on the eye, either. The temptation to turn your nose at it or outrightly dismiss it with a wave of your hand may be great at this point. However, consider that in spite of its simplistic, humdrum look, it packs a punch underneath the hood. Among other things, it features a robust, sturdy, and long-lasting construction that utilizes some of the best materials in the industry. It also provides utmost comfort and enables you to reach your full potential as a worker.
Like the vast majority of options on this list, the shirt is made with a blend of polyester and cotton in the ratio of 65 to 35 percent. As we've already indicated, the material is comfortable and can withstand heavy-duty, everyday use without fading, experiencing any discernible flagging in performance, or shrinking as is often the case with cheap, off-brand work shirts. Further, the work shirt has a solid reputation for remaining clean and fresh looking even after several hours on the job. This latter quality is attributable to the fact that it is moisture wicking and has a stain-release finish.
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It fits snugly over the shoulders and allows for the easy and free movement of the hands. There are of course two pockets dotting the chest optimized for holding items you’ll be needing as you undertake that industrial-grade or domestic project.
There’s even a dedicated stall for your pencil. The 20-line melamine buttons add to the products sleek and modern look.
Additional features include the two-piece collar with permanent stays and button closure. You can machine wash the shirt and not have to worry about it fading as it features a fade-resistant design and whether you decide to tuck it the shirt or not, it won’t wrinkle up.
When it’s all said and done, this option is hands down one of the best work shirts out there. It gives you your money’s worth by providing with several years of flawless, hassle-free service.
Robust, sturdy, and long-lasting construction
Provides utmost comfort
Remains clean and fresh looking all through the day
Criteria for Choosing the Best Work Shirts
Choosing a work shirt is not as easy as walking into a store as picking out an apple. For most workers, a work shirt is going to be your companion all throughout your shift. This necessitates exercising an abundance of caution because no one, including you we hope, likes throwing money down the drain. So, if you’re struggling with the dilemma of what to pick and what to eschew, carefully read through our buying guide.
Fit and Comfort
There are several factors that come to mind but none is as essential as the fit of the dress. For those of us who frequently operate heavy-duty or fast rotating machines, coming to work in a loose shirt is simply out of the question. You don’t want to risk the shirt getting caught up in the melee of fast moving machinery parts. Whether you decide to leave it hanging or tuck it in to look more presentable, the design of the work shirt should eliminate any and all likelihoods of the shirt getting between you and your work.
That’s not to say that it should be so tight as to compromise your ease of movement around the workplace. If it’s breathable, it won’t accumulate sweat. Instead, you’ll remain dry and comfortable all through the duration of the shirt’s use.
Manufacturers have a wide array of construction materials to choose from when making work shirts. Of course, the choice of the material will determine the cost of one. Most work shirts are made using cotton, linen, lycra, polyester, silk or a combination of these and several more materials. The aim is to ensure durability and informs the difference between low-quality and high-end options.
High-quality materials are capable of maintaining their structural integrity for years on end, effortlessly weathering the toughest working conditions and taking some serious beating along the way before anything gives. The same can’t be said of their flimsy, no-frills counterparts that can’t stand a few washing cycles. The materials should also be soft and comfortable against the skin if you decide not to wear anything under it.
Value-conscious users always want to get the best buck for their bang. This doesn’t mean going for the first cheapest shirt you come across and it won’t provide the said value.
Also, you don’t have to go for one that will leave a huge hole in your pocket just to afford features really don’t need. Prices can range from as low as $10 to as much as $500. If there’s a correlation between the price and quality then, by all means, go for it.
The colour can also play a vital role. Brightly coloured options make you more conspicuous and this can deter accidents. If it comes with a pocket, you’ll be able to carry with you some important work documents and accessories. Some are also machine washable while others are not.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Are work shirts machine washable?
A: When, not if, they get dirty, feel free to toss yours into the washing machine. Most work shirts are machine washable but it’d be prudent to check with the manufacturer before taking that route.
Q: How heavy are these shirts?
A: Contrary to popular expectations, these shirts aren’t any heavier than your normal shirts. Most are made from the same materials your casual shirts and feature the same aggressive stitching for durability.
As you may have gleaned from our reviews, choosing a work shirt isn’t very different from choosing your everyday shirt. However, with the entrance of thousands of brands on the market, the attendant proliferation of work shirts understandably makes it difficult to decide on the best quality options.
And the sole goal of this article has been to take the time and effort away from the process. Here, we present you with top shelf options. Irrespective of your choice, you’ll always look your best and be very productive at your place of work. That we can guarantee.