Whether you’re a hobby chef at home or work in a restaurant, finding the best aprons for your particular situation is essential for creating a productive workflow as you cook. An apron not only protects your clothing from messes like mixing bowl splatters and hot oil, but it also assists with holding utensils, towels, and even your phone. Similar to oven mitts, aprons can help avoid kitchen mishaps, offering immense value for cooks and bakers.
Choosing aprons to suit your needs can be challenging with all the available options; however, there are key features to keep in mind as you shop. This guide explores the types of aprons and the variety of features they offer to help ensure you purchase the right apron (or multiple) for your cooking needs.
- BEST OVERALL: DII Cotton Adjustable Buffalo Check Plaid Apron
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Syntus 2 Pack Adjustable Bib Apron
- MOST STYLISH: Japanese Cotton Linen Cross Back Apron
- MOST COMFORTABLE: DII Cotton Chambray Bistro Half Waist Apron
- MOST DURABLE: Hudson Durable Goods – Professional Grade Chef Apron
- BEST MULTI-POCKET: ARAWAK BRAVE Professional Cooking Apron
- BEST PATTERNED: Maison d’ Hermine Colmar 100% Cotton 1 Piece Kitchen
- BEST THEMED: ICUP Star Wars – Darth Vader Be The Character
- BEST FUNNY PICK: BBQ Grill Apron – Your Opinion Wasn’t in the Recipe
Types of Aprons
First, consider the type of apron that is best suited to your needs as you cook. Aprons are available in four common types, and they each serve a specific purpose. Understanding each type makes it easier to narrow down your options when you begin shopping and ultimately decide on the best apron for your kitchen adventures.
A four-way apron is almost exclusively used in a restaurant setting. This type of apron only covers the waist and does not provide protection for the upper body. It features four layers that can be continually switched and folded to offer a clean surface when each layer becomes dirty. A four-way apron is ideal for individuals who need to use an apron many times before they can wash it, such as a chef working a long shift at a restaurant.
This type of apron could also function well for someone who needs to wipe or dry their hands a lot but doesn’t have time to put on a clean apron. No matter the situation, having four available layers to switch around for cleanliness is convenient and also saves on laundry costs.
Similar to a four-way apron, a bistro apron doesn’t offer protection for the upper body and is also mostly used by servers in high-end eateries. As a result, this type of apron is usually difficult to find in your typical kitchenware store.
One distinct difference is that a bistro apron is longer than a four-way apron, often falling below the knee and almost to the ankle. This length offers excellent protection for pants. This type of apron almost always includes pockets to hold essential items, such as pens, guest checks, or straws.
A bib apron is the most traditional type of apron and what you most likely envision in your mind’s eye when you think of an apron. This type of apron loops around the neck and extends to the knees to protect both the upper and the lower body. A tie secures the apron around the waist, and it usually offers pockets. A bib apron is ideal for bakers, chefs, and home cooks because it provides coverage from splattering pans, clouds of flour, and water when cooking and cleaning up.
A bib apron is one of the most common types to find in different styles, sizes, and colors because of its popularity.
A tuxedo apron is very similar to a bib apron, but it offers a bit more of a distinguished flair. However, this type of apron is exclusively used in fine-dining restaurants and almost never in a home cook’s kitchen. It lies against the chest and provides an adjustable strap that loops around the neck. A tuxedo apron ranges in length from the upper thigh to the knee and is generally solid black in color or features a striped pattern. The top portion of this apron is a V-neck style that adds to its more sophisticated look.
A tuxedo apron can be difficult for nonprofessionals to locate, and—as noted above—color and pattern options are quite limited.
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Apron
When shopping for the best apron for your cooking needs, consider four primary factors: the intended purpose, the color and pattern choices, the fabric, and the washing options. Exploring these factors can help to narrow down your choices and make your search for the best apron for you both easier and quicker.
Once you decide on the purpose an apron needs to serve, it should be easier to determine the best one for you. Think about what you need the apron to protect, what you’d like it to hold, and the color or pattern you prefer.
The four above-mentioned apron types are all suited for different purposes. Do you need an apron that primarily covers your upper body or one that reaches your ankles? Do you own a bakery and need an apron that looks professional but is also functional? Perhaps you are a home chef and are simply looking for a cute apron to wear while you bake cookies with your little ones.
Consider the color and pattern options you might want in an apron. This factor may not be important to you if you’re merely selecting a functional apron to protect your clothing. However, if you’re a baker looking to supply your shop with branded aprons—or even if you just want you and your child or spouse to have matching aprons for special baking and cooking events—color and pattern might be an essential feature.
The type of fabric with which an apron is made is crucial in terms of durability, water resistance, and aesthetics. For home use, cotton is usually the most logical option. It’s lightweight, comfortable, and holds up against typical home kitchen use. For a more water-resistant option, consider leather or waxed cotton. If a durable and long-lasting apron is the goal, linen or denim is ideal. These fabrics are strong and hold up well over hours of use.
Not all of the abovementioned fabrics are easy to clean. While leather is both aesthetically pleasing and durable, it is not a convenient option since leather is not machine washable. While waxed cotton is a more waterproof option, it is also not machine washable.
For the convenience of being able to toss your apron into the washing machine after you’ve finished baking or cooking, cotton, denim, and linen are ideal options. However, keep in mind that aprons can be made with more than one kind of fabric, and not all of them are machine washable. If this feature is important to you, carefully check each product you’re considering to be sure it’s safe to place in the wash after you’ve completed your cooking tasks.
Our Top Picks
Our top picks for the best aprons for cooking take into account the variety of types, purposes, fabrics, and added functionality in a variety of categories. Whether you are searching for style, comfort, durability, or just something fun, read on to discover some of the best aprons available on the market for your cooking needs.
This bib-style apron from DII is an ideal option for a home cook or hobbyist baker. It features adjustable neck and waist straps and one large front pocket to hold utensils or other cooking essentials. Made with 100% cotton, this apron is soft and breathable. While the apron is machine washable, be sure to wash it with cold water on a gentle cycle and then tumble dry on low. Cotton can shrink significantly, and it could ruin the apron if it’s washed inappropriately.
Due to this apron’s affordability and the eight colored-plaid options, owning several of these so you always have one handy or ready for a visitor to your home to use is a definite possibility. This is a “one-size-fits-most” apron, and it measures 32 inches wide and 38 inches tall. The manufacturer also offers an embroidery option for a customized look and feel.
If you’re looking for an inexpensive option, this two-pack from Syntus offers dual soft polyester bib aprons that are easy to clean and fits most adults. The neck and waist straps are adjustable, and two large front pockets can hold all of your cooking or baking essentials.
This two-pack of aprons offers affordable flexibility for a professional baker or chef to purchase for the staff or simply a hobbyist cook who wants a backup apron when the other one is dirty. The unisex silhouette makes it suitable for men and women alike, so you don’t have to buy two different aprons if you and your spouse enjoy cooking together. These aprons are machine washable and available in 12 colors.
The design of this bib-style apron from NEWGEM is unique and elegant while still being functional and durable. The fabric is a breathable cotton-linen blend that hangs loosely around the hips but still provides a barrier between your clothes and potential cooking or baking messes. The folded skirt gives this apron a retro look that is comfortable and also fashionable. The apron’s two shoulder straps cross at the back and connect to the waist section of the apron. While a few of the style options of this apron do not feature these waist ties, most of them tie in the back at the waist to fit most adults.
There are two pockets on both sides of the apron. It is available in one size that should fit most adults and comes in eight colors.
While bib aprons are optimal for keeping the clothing on our upper bodies clean, they can also be a bit restrictive as you move about in the kitchen. If you desire more freedom of movement but still want to protect your bottom half from messes, consider this bistro apron from DII. It is made of 100% cotton that is soft, breathable, and durable while also being machine washable.
This apron features extra-long waist ties to allow for individuals of various sizes to use it with ease. The large front pocket can hold utensils, your phone, or other essential items while you create your culinary masterpieces. It’s available in eight colors and can be paired with matching oven mitts, dish towels, and potholders that are also created by the manufacturer.
As the manufacturer’s name implies, this bib apron from Hudson Durable Goods offers extra durability since it is made of heavyweight 10-ounce cotton, while most standard aprons are made of 8-ounce cotton or less. The heavier cotton material makes this apron thicker and less likely to wear down with more frequent or intense use. There is a kangaroo-style front pocket in which to comfortably rest your hands, along with two additional large pockets directly below to hold utensils. The apron also features a chest pocket for smaller items, such as your phone, and a towel ring positioned where the apron rests against your hip.
The shoulder straps on this apron cross at the back to prevent neck pain and then connect to the hip grommets. A strap with a quick-release buckle connects the two hip grommets and cinches in the middle of the back with one easy click. The unisex sizing and adjustable nature of this apron make it suitable for smaller individuals up to a men’s XXL size, and once you adjust it to properly fit you, you won’t have to wrestle with tying a knot behind your back again.
This apron is machine washable; however, since it is 100% cotton, wash it in cold water and tumble dry it on low to ensure it doesn’t shrink.
This bib-style apron from ARAWAK BRAVE has all the bells and whistles to assist in your cooking endeavors. There’s a kangaroo pocket in the front for your hands and two large pockets below them to store utensils. Another pocket on the chest is ideal for holding your phone. This apron extends from the chest and down to the knees. However, unlike most bib aprons, it features straps that cross at the back to eliminate neck pain and better secure it to your body. These straps also loop around the hip grommets, allowing you to cinch and adjust the apron in one go.
The apron also includes a convenient loop near the chest to keep your headphone cords out of the way of your workspace and make it easier to listen to your favorite music or audiobook while cooking. A strategically placed ring on the hip holds a towel, so you won’t have to search the kitchen while keeping your wet hands over the sink.
The apron boasts five color options and two fabric options, including cotton and denim—both of which are machine washable.
Created by Maison d’ Hermine, this bib apron is available in 11 different delicate patterns. Some of the choices include birds, florals, and a gingham-style pattern, and each one has its own whimsical style. It’s made of 100% cotton, which makes it super soft and comfortable for an all-day baking marathon or just cooking up dinner. While it is machine washable, make sure to use warm water and tumble dry on low heat per the manufacturer’s instructions to avoid shrinking.
The apron features one large front pocket, and the neck and waist straps are adjustable. Matching tablecloths, oven mitts, table runners, and potholders are available for purchase.
Ideal for the Star Wars lover, this bib apron from ICUP features an officially licensed Darth Vader design on the front ensuring that his mechanical suit enhances the cooking experience.
The waist straps are adjustable, allowing this apron to fit most adults. However, the tie around the neck is not adjustable, and there are no pockets to hold utensils or other items. Machine wash this apron with cold water and tumble dry. If the apron is wrinkled, do not iron over the design; simply hang dry to allow the wrinkles to come out.
This bib-style apron from ApronMen is made of 100% cotton and makes family and friends chuckle when they come for dinner. The funny saying is located on the chest and reads, “Your opinion wasn’t in the recipe.” It’s available in six colors and patterns, so be sure to find the right one for you or to gift to a friend who loves to cook.
The apron features adjustable neck and waist straps that fits most adults. Three large pockets are located in the front, with a smaller fourth pocket to hold your phone. It is machine washable, but use cold water and tumble dry on low to protect the screen-printed design.
FAQs About Your New Apron
Given the multitude of options to consider as you shop for the best apron for your cooking needs, you may still have questions. Check out some of the most frequently asked questions about aprons and their corresponding answers.
Q. What kind of aprons do chefs wear?
Most chefs wear bib or bistro aprons.
Q. Is linen a good material for aprons?
Yes, linen is an ideal material for aprons. It’s durable, lightweight, and machine washable.
Q. How long do aprons last?
How long an apron lasts depends on the fabric with which it’s made, the kind and amount of use it receives, and the time and effort that goes into its care. If you invest in a high-quality apron and care for it properly, it is likely to last for years.