Best Apron of 2021
The Hudson Durable Goods Professional Grade blew all others out of the water, satisfying everything we could possibly want for this kitchen staple. With thick yet comfortable fabric, our clothes were protected throughout all of our cooking. The strap system on this product is particularly clever — unlike the other cross-back styles we tried, this one has a circle of faux leather to hold the straps in place. This makes it easy to put on, and we never had to worry about getting the straps to lay flat — they do it on their own! There is a plastic buckle in the back that snaps securely, and the straps are long enough that you can also pull them around and tie them in front if you want more definition around the waist. Additionally, this is the only option we tested that has a dedicated hanging loop, a little perk that we really appreciate.
The pockets on the Hudson Professional Grade are also pretty perfect. There's a smaller one at the top that securely holds a phone, two below the waist that are deep and functional, and a large one behind that one with openings on both sides, providing a comfortable place to rest your hands. It even has a loop on the side where you can hang a kitchen towel for easy access.
The Hudson is durable enough for grilling in the summer and comfy enough for cozy, winter baking. After wear and washing, all of the seams still looked brand new, and the fabric held up well to all our tests. All in all, this highly adjustable apron is not only comfortable for many different body types but, with exceptional quality, it will last for years to come.
If you're on the hunt for something basic that's still reliable and comfortable, the Syntus Adjustable Bib 2-Pack is a perfect pick. The 100% cotton feels good against the skin and is thick enough to protect from wayward splashes. It has an adjustable neck strap with no loose tail, and the waist straps are long enough to wrap around and tie in the front. Two average-sized pockets sit below the waist and provide an easy spot to stash a phone or utensil. We tested a black version, but we were still happy to see no traces of grease when this workhorse came out of the wash.
Although we love that there are quite a few colorways available for the Syntus, it is definitely a no-frills style. In spite of that, we think this will look good on anyone, and the overall construction is quality. On top of that, the fact that it comes in a set of two means this product offers outstanding value.
If you're looking for something to make you feel like you're a barista in the hippest coffee shop in town, the Carrotez Canvas Cross Back will be right up your alley. Thick cotton fabric, tan leather accents, and brass grommets come together to make the styling super cool. The construction is high quality, and our clothes were protected no matter what we cooked. It has a phone-sized pocket near the top and two deeper pockets below the waist. And because the fabric is so durable, we wouldn't worry about a pair of kitchen scissors puncturing the bottom. Point being: this chic apron is up for almost anything.
The cross-back style of the Carrotez is slightly difficult to put on and requires some finagling to make sure the straps are laying flat. Still, we like that the straps are long enough to be tied in the back or pulled around to tie in the front. There was still some visible bacon grease after washing, and the leather accents warped slightly, but considering that we tested a lighter color, we weren't too bothered by this — and we appreciate the real leather accents. All in all, we loved wearing this and think it blends super cool style with great function and quality.
If we had to pick one apron for relaxing afternoons of baking and drinking tea, it would have to be the Maison d' Hermine. The printed cotton is high-performing and comes in a variety of delicate floral patterns. In fact, this is one of the only contenders in our test that washed fully clean, despite being mostly white. With soft fabric and an adjustable neck strap, this beauty is comfortable and easy to wear, and we are equally happy with the quality of its construction.
While we are glad that this has a pocket, because it is inset (as opposed to being a separate piece of fabric sewn on top), it can bunch up depending on the fabric of your clothes underneath. We also think it would be more functional if it was divided into two instead of just one wide pocket. Our other small critique is that the waist straps could be slightly longer in order for more people to be able to tie them in front. In spite of these few shortcomings, we still think the Maison d' Hermine is a beautiful choice that will brighten up your kitchen.
With super cool styling, the Mignon Fille Cross Back is a definite crowd-pleaser. We love the versatility and adjustability, making this a comfortable option for a whole range of body types. The fabric is a well-balanced weight — not too stiff or too thin — and the straps lay well on the body. We always felt like our clothes were protected during testing, and the apron washed really well. Although the detailing on the front is faux leather, the benefit of this is that it doesn't warp during washing.
Like other cross-back styles, this one can be a bit tricky to put on at first, but we quickly got the hang of it. If we're getting nit-picky, a dedicated phone pocket at the top would have really been the cherry on top. However, we still love the pockets it does have, especially the skinny ones that are perfect for a wooden spoon or spatula. Some people will be able to tie this one around the front, but the straps are fairly short, and it seems to be designed as a back tie. There were a few loose threads on the back, particularly around the grommets, but we still found this contender to be high quality. If you want a functional apron with cool style at an approachable price point, the Mignon Fille is a great choice.
A striped take on a traditional style, the ALIPOBO Kitchen Chef Apron is functional and makes you look like you know what you're doing in the kitchen! The polyester/cotton fabric blend gives you some of the benefits of each fabric type — it's soft to the touch and washes up easily. In terms of fit, we love that the pockets are completely out of the way of the waist straps — there's even a phone pocket at the top, and the waist straps are plenty long enough to tie around the front. The fabric on the pockets is set at an angle, making the stripes contrast with the fabric on the main body of the apron for a nice stylistic touch.
While this is a pretty basic style, we think it's a great value and good enough quality to last you through many culinary creations. If you're a fan of the classic chef look but don't want to spend too much to get it, the ALIPOBO could be just what you've been looking for.
The Will Well Adjustable Bib is about as basic of a style as you can get, and it only comes in one color, but it's different from many of the rest because it's polyester. This comes with both pros and cons. There's a chance it could melt if close to heat for too long, but on the other hand, it didn't let a single drop of bacon grease soak through. It has an adjustable neck with no loose strap hanging down, and the waist ties are plenty long if you want to tie them in front.
While the fit is standard, the fabric feel of the Will Well isn't our favorite when compared to the cotton options. The pockets, too, are pretty basic, but they work perfectly well. Overall, if you're looking for a basic option of average quality but are explicitly wanting the qualities of polyester, this is a solid option.
The Syhood Cotton Linen 2-Pack contains a set of beautiful aprons that feature two different patterns. The cotton/linen blend has a slightly looser weave, which means that things like bacon grease will soak straight through the fabric, but we still felt like our clothes were sufficiently protected during regular cooking. This contender feels high quality, washes well (it should just get softer with time due to the linen), and we appreciate the adjustable neck strap.
One shortcoming of the Syhood is that the waist strap is too short to tie in the front. The apron itself is also on the shorter side, which is something to be aware of if you want coverage to extend farther down your legs. All in all, if you want an option that blends aesthetics and function, try out this attractive set of two.
The FSK Cotton Canvas has a simple design that brings a bit of interesting style for an overall cute option in the kitchen. A contrasting solid color pocket stands out against the striped fabric of the main body. We like the divided pocket and found that the apron washes well with most stains coming out.
One of the biggest drawbacks to the FSK is that the neck strap is not adjustable. Our reviewer found it to be way too large, making the bottom hem sit very low, not protecting the top of shirts, and gaping oddly. Although it's 100% cotton, the fabric was also slightly rough, and we were disappointed that the waist straps are too short to tie in front. We trust that the fabric of this apron is thick enough to keep food off of our clothes, but due to the odd fit, we'd mostly recommend it if you're a fan of its aesthetics.
The Puroma Adjustable Bib has a basic style and is easy to throw on quickly. We appreciate that it comes in a variety of colors, and the neck strap is easy to adjust. It is actually the longest apron in our review, which is especially helpful for people who are tall or those wanting to make sure more of their clothes are covered.
It does have a number of drawbacks, though, with the most notable being the quality of the fabric. It's so thin you can actually see through it, and we really didn't feel like it was doing much to protect our clothes from stains while cooking. Additionally, the fabric has an odd texture and feels a bit rough against the skin. Although the apron washed fine and the seams held up during our testing, we're not confident in this product's quality. Still, if you need just a simple, basic apron, the Puroma might be what you're looking for, and it will hardly put a dent in your wallet.
Why You Should Trust Us
This review was spearheaded by Paige Klugherz, who is an avid home baker and cook. Always trying to fuel well for her athletic pursuits, she loves making healthy, hearty dinners as well as cookies, cakes, pies — you name it! After working in multiple coffee shops in years past, she also takes pride in making herself a latte at home every morning, so there were ample opportunities to test the aprons in this review.
The best way to test an apron is to use it a lot, so that's exactly what we did. Over the course of a few weeks, every time we cooked, we had one on. We paid attention to how it felt, how well it held up to frequent use, and whether it did its primary job of protecting our clothes. Bonus points were given if it made us feel a little more professional in the kitchen.
Analysis and Test Results
When coming up with our testing plan, we decided that the main categories determining an apron's worth could be broken down into functionality, comfort, and quality. We then weighted those components equally in our rankings. We also included style as a metric but weighted in much less than the other three since it's highly subjective. Below, we'll expand on the specifics of each category, how we tested, and what products performed the best.
For function, we had a number of factors to check. One was whether or not our clothes were sufficiently protected while cooking. Pockets played a role in this metric, too. A dedicated phone pocket along with pockets deep enough to securely hold utensils made some options soar above the rest. The Hudson Professional Grade scored top marks here. The fabric is thick and kept us covered no matter how splattery a sauce we were cooking, and its pockets are truly top-notch.
To really push all our contenders to their limits, we cooked up a bunch of bacon and then poured a quarter teaspoon of the grease onto a corner of the fabric of each one. Since this is certainly more bacon grease than will reasonably splatter while cooking, we expected them all to soak through eventually, but we still did the test to see how quickly that happened and how easily it would wash out. The thick cotton of the Carrotez significantly slowed the bacon grease as it tried to seep through the fabric, giving the wearer plenty of time to react to such a big spill. The Mignon Fille Cross Back performed similarly well, also thanks to thick and durable fabric. Both of these contenders also have three very useful pockets. And, thanks to polyester fabric, the Will Well Adjustable Bib didn't let any bacon grease through at all, an impressive feat for this very basic option.
When analyzing comfort, we looked at a number of features, including adjustability, fabric texture, and fit. Standard bib aprons, such as the Syntus 100% Cotton, that have adjustable neck straps and waist straps long enough to be tied in the back and the front performed well in this metric. The cross-back style of the Hudson Professional Goods also really excelled here because of its ingenious method of keeping the straps always laying flat.
If an apron could fit a whole variety of body types, that boosted its score in this category as well. Both the cross-back Carrotez and the bib fit ALIPOBO have enough versatility to work for many different people, and both have very nice-feeling fabric.
One metric we always care deeply about is quality. If you're going to invest in something new, it's worth knowing how long you can expect that product to last. To provide you with accurate information, we scrutinize everything from the tightness of a fabric's weave to the quality of the stitching. We repeatedly yanked on straps to make sure they were secure and made sure that any additions like grommets, clips, or rivets were solid and reliable.
After cooking meals and pouring bacon grease on each apron, we threw them in the wash to see how they'd hold up. We ran them through a basic cold wash with standard, unscented detergent and hung them to dry. Afterward, we checked to ensure that no stitching had come loose and looked to see which stains came out. (To be fair, we poured more bacon grease on one spot than you'd ever reasonably spill, so we didn't immediately take away points if there was still a grease stain.) There were a number of high performers in this metric, with the best being the Hudson Professional Goods because of its fabric and all-around durability. Close runner-ups included the Carrotez Cross Back, Syntus 2-Pack, and Mignon Fille Cross Back.
For style, we didn't want to judge too harshly since it is so subjective. When scoring this metric, higher scores were given to products that offered multiple color or pattern options. Even though it has a basic style, the Syntus apron still scored well because it comes in so many different colors. The Maison d' Hermine also performed well because it comes in a variety of patterns that stand out among mostly solid-colored options.
We also gave high scores to contenders we feel will appeal aesthetically to a wide range of people. For example, the Carrotez and Mignon Fille share some cool features that make them stand out, such as leather detailing and grommets. The styling on the Hudson is a bit more pared-back, but with cleverly placed pockets, it still stands out style-wise.
Although an apron may seem like a basic purchase, when there are so many options out there, it can be hard to figure out exactly which one to purchase. We hope our review helps you narrow down the search to find the perfect one for your budget and needs.
— Paige Klugherz