Best Men's Sun Hats

Updated August 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
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How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

25 Models Considered
6 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
170 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.

Buying guide for best men’s sun hats

Last Updated August 2019

If you’re a man who spends time outdoors, you might want to invest in a sun hat. Of course, sunscreen is a good way to protect yourself from the UV rays of the sun. But sunscreen wears off, requiring multiple applications. What’s more, there may be times when you don’t want to get sunscreen on your hands, like when you’re golfing or fishing. A sun hat has extra fabric to provide not only the top of your head but also your ears, neck, and face. Sun hats are comfortable, stylish, and fun to wear, too.

Select a light-colored sun hat if you don’t want the fabric to heat up. Darker fabrics tend to attract and retain more heat from the sun.

Sun hat design

Sun hats for men come in various designs, and some provide a greater level of sun protection than others. For example, some men’s sun hats have extra flaps of fabric that hang off the sides and back, shielding the ears and neck.

Here’s a list of some of the most common sun hat designs for men.

Baseball cap: A baseball cap sun hat has a brim in front that shields the face and eyes from sunlight. However, unless it has an extra flap of fabric that hangs off the back, this type of hat won’t protect the ears and neck.

Bucket hat: A bucket-style sun hat has a mid-size brim that points downward. It’s traditionally used as a fishing hat, and it shields the ears nicely, though it may not fully protect the skin on the neck.

Cowboy hat: A cowboy sun hat is highly stylish with a wide brim for added protection. Some cowboy hats have brims that curl, thereby reducing the width of the brim. Due to the curl, the degree of sun protection provided isn’t consistent from one cowboy hat to the next.

Fedora: This is a stylish men’s sun hat with a tall crown and a mid-size brim. For looks, the brim of the fedora may be pointed upward. In this case, the hat won’t provide a high degree of sun protection.

Floppy sun hat: A floppy sun hat has an extra-wide brim that flops around (hence the name). Floppy hats often come with chin straps for added security. These hats are available in many colors and have a fun, relaxed look.

Straw hat: A straw sun hat typically has a very wide brim that maximizes sun protection. Because the straw material is firm, the hat may crush under pressure. It’s not a durable material, either.

 

EXPERT TIP

If the fabric in the men’s sun hat has a UPF rating of 50 or higher, it should block 98% to 99% of the sun’s UV rays.


Staff  | BestReviews

What to look for in a mens’ sun hat

Material

A sun hat may be made of cotton, nylon, canvas, polyester, or straw. Other than straw, most of these materials are quite durable. You may wish to select a hat made of a fabric that has an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) rating of at least 50. If the hat is not labeled with a UPF rating, hold the fabric up to the light. For maximum sun protection, no light should penetrate the fabric.

Breathability

Some men’s sun hats have a mesh panel or another type of mesh component to encourage airflow and keep you cool. Unless the mesh is tightly woven, however, it will allow some light through the fabric. Another option is a moisture-wicking fabric. This will pull sweat away from your skin, keeping you cool.

Flexibility

Some men’s sun hats are made of flexible, soft materials — like the floppy sun hat or the bucket-style sun hat. These hats are easier to clean than a stiff-style hat. If you plan to travel with the hat and need to pack it, consider a flexible hat that will fold down to a small size.

Stiff-style hats, like straw hats and cowboy hats, are usually made of lightweight material and feel comfortable on the head. However, this type of hat requires quite a bit of space in a suitcase or bag, and it could become crushed or otherwise lose its shape if not packed properly.

 

DID YOU KNOW?

Nylon and canvas are two of the most durable sun hat materials. If you want your hat to last a long time, consider products made of these materials.

Men’s sun hat prices

A sun hat is a moderate investment that can provide your skin with excellent protection from the sun. Most hats last several years, so you can get a lot of use out of yours if you keep it handy. (Consider stashing it in your car.)

Many simple sun hats for men cost between $5 and $15. Some floppy-style sun hats sit in this price range. You’ll find straw hats in this price range, too, along with baseball caps. Remember, however, that straw hats don’t provide much durability, and baseball caps don’t typically protect the ears and neck.

A mid-priced sun hat falls in the $15 to $40 range. Often, you’ll have multiple colors and styles to choose from when you opt to spend this much. Sun hats in this price range tend to be quite durable, too.

For a high-end men’s sun hat, expect to pay $40 to $100. Stylish cowboy hats fit this price range; in fact, some cowboy hats may cost even more.

 

EXPERT TIP

For the utmost in sun protection, select a men’s sun hat that has the widest possible brim (about four inches) and is made of solid fabric rather than mesh.


Staff  | BestReviews

Tips

  • Note the brim width. The brim on a sun hat should measure at least two inches in width. Wider brims grant more sun protection. Bear in mind, however, that some hat brims get in the way. For example, a  brim width of four inches provides a high level of sun protection, but for some people, this is too much width.

  • Consider a hat made of moisture wicking material. If you’re hiking while wearing your sun hat, moisture wicking material can keep you cool. This type of fabric pulls sweat away from your head. Check the product specs to see if the sun hat you’re considering is designed to wick moisture.

  • Check cleaning instructions. Some men’s sun hats are made to be washed in a washing machine. Others must be spot cleaned. If you’ll be participating in activities where the hat will become soiled frequently, you’ll want an easy-to-clean hat.

Other products we considered

The Camo Coll Boonie Hat looks quite traditional, but it’s available in multiple colors that may deliver a little more style than the typical men’s sun hat. For a stylish shape, it’s tough to outdo the Sunday Afternoons Havana Hat. This is a fedora-style hat with a wide brim. If you want matching hats, consider the Friendly Swede Sun Hat: these ship as a two-pack and look great on men or women. The Top Level Fishing Sun Cap has a style that resembles a baseball hat. It has a longer brim than normal, and it includes a long ear and neck flap for additional sun protection.

Some of the skin on your shoulders or neck may be exposed to the sun when you turn your head while wearing a sun hat. You may wish to apply sunscreen to these areas.

FAQ

Q. How do I know I’m picking the right sun hat size?

A. Use a flexible tape measure or a piece of string to figure out the circumference of your head. Wrap the string or tape measure just above your eyebrows and around your head. This should give you an accurate measurement, as this is where the hat will sit. (If you used a string, just measure the amount the length of string you used with a straight ruler.)

Q. Why would I pick a darker color in a sun hat? I don’t want the fabric to feel hot.

A. The best reason to pick a dark hat is to avoid the appearance of dirt and stains. Lighter fabrics tend to show stains more clearly than darker fabrics. However, it is true that a dark-colored sun hat may feel warmer on your head. It may also fade over time due to sunlight exposure.

Q. Should I select the widest brim I can find?

A. A wide brim provides excellent sun protection, but you also must consider what you’ll be doing while wearing the hat. If you’ll be playing sports, for example, a wider brim may not be desirable. As you turn your head to look around, the brim may hit your shoulders or back, knocking the hat loose. A wider brim limits your visibility, too.

 

The team that worked on this review
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    Web Producer
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