Aprons have long been part of culinary traditions around the world to keep people protected from stains and injury. Whether you’re an avid home cook or an industry professional, there are many types of aprons available to protect you and keep you clean while you work.
Hedley and Bennett Essential Apron
Wide variety of colors and patterns
Hedley and Bennett has made itself a staple brand in restaurant and home kitchens alike. Its aprons come in a variety of colors, sizes, and washes, and they're known for durability and comfort. Made of medium-weight denim, the Essential Apron features two lap pockets, a pocket for pens on the chest, and an adjustable neck strap made of 100 percent cotton. It can be machine-washed and tumble-dried.
As a testament to how well this holds up over time, one reviewer said, "I am writing this after 6-8 months of daily use/washes and the quality of these aprons is something to be noted. I paid half the amount on an apron from amazon that fell apart after just 1-2 months. These aprons are definitely worth the investment if you work in a commercial kitchen." It's a professional-grade apron that's lightweight and attractive to boot.
Price at time of publish: $85
Material: Cotton canvas | Size: 30 x 33 inches (standard option) | Machine Washable: Yes
Syntus Adjustable Bib Apron
Adjustable neck strap
Comes in many colors
Must line-dry (no tumble drying or dry cleaning)
These aprons by Syntus are beloved by many for everyday use. The set comes with two knee-length aprons in 11 colorways. They're adjustable, breathable, and machine-washable. They have two convenient front pockets that are large enough to store your phone and kitchen tools, as well as extra-long tie strings for easy adjusting. To top it all off, these aprons are semi-waterproof, which makes keeping them clean super easy.
Price at time of publish: $14
Material: Polyester blend | Size: 33.07 x 27.17 inches | Machine Washable: Yes
Maison d’Hermine Colmar Apron
Charming watercolor designs
Adjustable neck strap
Has matching oven mitts, hot pads, and towels
Fabric is fairly thin
The Maison d’Hermine Colmar apron comes in multiple stylish prints. It's made from 100 percent cotton to keep you cool while working. The delicate designs are inspired by a small region in France, Colmar, known for its charm and elegance. With extra-long waist ties and adjustable straps, this apron is made to fit anyone. Plus, there are matching oven mitts and kitchen towels that are sold separately.
Price at time of publish: $18
Material: Cotton | Size: 27.5 x 30.5 inches | Machine Washable: Yes
“I like a simple apron; just a string long enough to wrap around my waist and a place to cinch a towel to. I like as few pockets as possible, and breathable but durable material that I don’t mind getting messy while I work.” — Vanessa Dora Lavorato, Founder of Marigold Sweets
Hudson Durable Goods Heavy Duty Waxed Canvas Work Apron
Several utility pockets
Wax treatment wears down over time
This rugged, heavy-duty work apron from Hudson Durable Goods comes in a variety of neutral colors and is adjustable for anyone who wears a size medium to an XXL. Made from waxed canvas material and having reinforced metal grommets, this apron is water-resistant and highly durable for a multitude of uses that extend outside the kitchen. The waxed material makes cleaning super easy, with no machine-washing necessary.
Price at time of publish: $32
Material: Waxed canvas | Size: 10.67 x 10.47 x 2.44 inches | Machine Washable: No
Best for Grilling
Hudson Durable Goods Professional Grade Chef Apron
Several colors and fabrics available
Double-stitched and reinforced with metal rivets
Cross-straps can be tricky to put on and take off
Hudson Durable Goods makes the list again with its professional-grade chef apron. Rated the top pick for grilling by many users online, this apron is made from breathable cotton, which is sure to keep you cool while you stand over a hot grill. It features four pockets and a kitchen towel loop, which could also be used to hold your favorite pair of grilling tongs. The apron comes in six colors and features an easy-to-use, quick-release buckle, as well as adjustable straps. It's a stylish and functional apron that's sure to be a hit at your next barbecue.
Price at time of publish: $30
Material: Cotton (denim also available) | Size: 27 x 34 inches | Machine Washable: Yes
Best for Bakers
Kaoru Sanchez Rainbow Explosion Adjustable Apron
Kaoru Sanchez, based out of San Francisco, originally got its start by creating gift cards. Now it's moved on to other textiles, and its aprons are loved by home and professional bakers. The aprons come in a variety of unique patterns, colors, and lengths. Some are crossback and others are bistro-style, but all are adjustable and fit most people. They're lightweight, breathable, and made from 100 percent cotton and linen, and they're sure to keep your favorite baker cool near a hot oven.
Price at time of publish: $60
Material: Cotton | Size: 37 x 28 inches | Machine Washable: Yes
Best for Bartenders
Carhartt Unisex Apron
Variety of pockets
Initially stiff (softens with washes)
Carhartt has been a staple brand for hardworking individuals since 1889. The very first motto was “honest value for an honest dollar,” and although the motto has changed over the years, its commitment to affordable, high-quality products remains the same.
This apron is made from the same top-of-the-line materials as its well-known and trusted overall bibs. One standout feature: the crossback straps that also have an additional back tie, providing extra security while not compromising on comfort for the wearer. It has multiple pockets and straps, ensuring that your favorite tools are always in place and within arm's reach. Although the apron isn’t waterproof, it is machine washable and extremely durable. Plus, it comes in black and the traditional Carhartt brown, so this apron will hide any stains that may come its way.
Price at time of publish: $40
Materials: Cotton duck, polyester | Size: 33-inch length | Machine Washable: Yes
“I love my Carhartt full-bib duck canvas apron. As a bartender, you definitely want to opt for the Carhartt brown over the black.” — Nicky Beyries, Cocktail Expert and Former Bar Director
Lake House Design Art Personalized Apron with Pockets
Customizable text, logo, and colors
3 segmented pockets
A bit on the smaller side
If you want to add a personal touch to your apron, check out Lake House Design Art over on Etsy. The shop has a number of customizable apron options, including custom text or even printing a logo. Each apron is machine washable for easy cleaning.
Made of a cotton-polyester blend, the aprons have an adjustable neck strap so you can find the ideal fit. That said, the overall apron is a bit on the smaller side in terms of coverage. Still, the three-sectioned pocket spanning the apron’s width might just make up for it thanks to the utility.
Price at time of publish: $25
Material: Cotton polyester blend | Size: 22 x 24 inches | Machine Washable: Yes
Tilit Luxe Chef Apron
Lots of coverage
Adjustable leather neck strap
Can add custom embroidery
Whether you’re a professional chef or just king of your own kitchen, this apron from Tilit is a high-end option. The Luxe Chef Apron is the widest and longest model that Tilit offers, meaning it will keep your clothes clean with nearly full coverage. Made of durable canvas—with beautiful leather straps—the apron is heavy-duty and durable. There are three pockets on the apron: two deep waist pockets ideal for tongs and a breast pocket where you can put your phone or a pen.
This apron is machine washable, has adjustable sizing, and even comes with an extra-long 38-inch waist strap. If you want to add a pop of personalization, there are also embroidery options for names, a small logo, or both (for an additional fee).
Price at time of publish: $105
Materials: Canvas, leather | Size: 36 x 39 inches | Machine Washable: Yes
Best for Kids
Williams Sonoma Dog & Cat Kid Aprons
Two pouch pockets
Adjustable Velcro neck strap
Dog and cat aprons sold separately
These kiddie (or should we say kitty?) aprons are downright adorable. Made to look like a cartoonish dog and cat, these aprons will get kids excited to be in the kitchen. The two “kangaroo” pockets in front are double-stitched, so they’ll hold up well over time.
Kids growing up too fast? Thanks to the adjustable Velcro neck strap, the aprons can grow with them—for a little while, at least. Cleaning up after kids’ cooking adventures in the kitchen may not be a breeze (between the spilled batter and clouds of flour), but cleaning the apron sure is. Just pop it in the washer when you’re done.
Price at time of publish: $25 (for one)
Material: Cotton twill, Velcro | Size: 20 x 24.5 inches | Machine Washable: Yes
The Hedley & Bennett Essential Apron is our No. 1 recommendation because it's lightweight, comfortable, attractive, and made of high-quality materials that will last you years to come (just ask thousands of five-star reviewers). If you're looking for something inexpensive to get you started, we recommend the Syntus 2-Pack Adjustable Bib Apron.
What to Look for in an Apron
Level of Protection
In the kitchen, an apron mainly serves as an extra layer of fabric to protect you from soiling your clothing while cooking or baking, and a cotton or linen apron usually does the job. For activities during which you could easily get wet, you may want to look for a water-resistant or waterproof material.
An apron that you wear during grilling should be a material such as denim or leather that's thick enough to also protect you from heat and sparks. More rugged or hazardous activities require an even more heavy-duty, extra-long apron made for your personal safety.
While all of our picks offer good coverage, if you're looking for more, go for an apron that has a higher neckline or longer hem to cover more of your legs.
It may go without saying, but you're going to want to choose an apron that's comfortable to wear, especially if you plan to wear it for extended periods of time. Take into account the type and weight of the material, any straps, and the different ways those straps tie around and secure to your body. Cotton will likely be the most lightweight and comfortable, while leather, denim, canvas, and waxed cotton tend to be heavier. The latter will, however, hold up better to daily use.
Apron size also ties into comfort. While many are adjustable, you should consider your exact height and weight to make sure the width (which usually doesn't include the waist ties) and length (typically neckline to hem) offer sufficient coverage and, in turn, have you feeling your best.
Not speaking to your personal aesthetic (though there are many colors and patterns available for that), there are different styles of aprons to consider, including bib aprons (ties around the back of the waist and has a loose neck loop), waist aprons (these tie around your waist and don't include coverage for the torso), cross-back aprons (these take the pressure off your neck and disburse it across your shoulders and back), cobbler aprons (these are similar to a smock), and more.
Almost all aprons have a pocket for tucking away your phone, but to accommodate other items or tools that you want to keep within easy reach—a towel, Sharpie, thermometer, gloves, bottle or wine opener, etc.—select an apron with more pockets in sizes and locations that suit your needs. A zippered pocket keeps items safe during activities during which you move around a lot.
When they're dirty, aprons made of cotton and other lightweight fabrics can just be tossed in the washing machine. Heavy-duty protective aprons are stiff and usually not washable; they're usually wiped clean instead.
What does an apron do?
An apron covers the front part of your body to protect you. In home cooking, the primary purpose of an apron is to keep your clothes clean. It other settings where you are exposed to hot or otherwise dangerous materials, an apron is a piece of personal safety gear.
Is an apron for food safety?
An apron not only keeps your clothes clean when preparing food and cooking, but it also improves hygiene and food safety because it prevents dirt, dust, lint, hair, and other things that might be on your clothing from getting into the food.
Do you tie an apron in the front or back?
This all depends on personal preference. If you want to tie it in the back to keep it out of the way, you can. If the waist straps are long enough, you could also bring it to the front. This makes it easier to adjust during the day and gives you a convenient place to hang your kitchen towel, too.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Amethyst Ganaway is a freelance food writer and restaurant veteran who’s worked nearly every position, from server and bartender to line cook and kitchen manager in the last decade. Whether she’s working in a busy restaurant or cooking at home, she uses her many different styles of aprons to stay neat and tidy. While researching for this guide, she got firsthand opinions and read through hundreds of reviews to make sure the best items were picked for each category.
Cooking and special events go hand-in-hand. When celebrations come and writer Allison Wignall is cooking in the kitchen, she doesn’t want to mess up her outfit, so she wears an apron to stay clean. Plus, it makes her feel like a pro cook—even if she is wearing a threadbare family-favorite apron that’s faded over several decades. Her work has been featured in publications including Food & Wine, Travel + Leisure, and Southern Living.
Vanessa Dora Lavorato is the founder of Marigold Sweets in Los Angeles.
Nicky Beyries is a cocktail expert and former bar director of Foreign Cinema in San Francisco.