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The 10 best thermal hoodies

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Science says that when you enter a cold environment, your body prioritizes blood flow to your vital organs over blood flow to your skin — but luckily, a heat-trapping article of clothing can help keep you feeling comfortable. Unlike a standard hoodie, the best thermal hoodies use certain qualities to redirect your body’s warmth back to your skin. That said, not all of them are created equal, so be sure to consider how much warmth you’re looking for as well as the material and fit.

According to Merriam-Webster, “thermal” just means “of, relating to, or caused by heat.” As a result, it’s a common phrase that might not mean a whole lot — just as there are plenty of brands which don’t use the word at all, but still successfully manufacture warm, heat-trapping clothing. Insulated, heavyweight, fleece-lined — these words all indicate that a product is designed to keep your body heat in, even if the word “thermal” isn’t present. And, as always when shopping for clothing online, it helps to consult the buyer reviews in order to confirm a brand’s claims.

Most extra-warm hoodies are made from cotton, polyester, or a combination of the two. This is because those two fabrics tend to be breathable, durable, and insulating — but they’re also really versatile. For example, fleece and waffle-knit are just two fabric construction techniques that can use either cotton or polyester (or, often, a blend of the two), but their dense constructions and soft textures make them insulating.

Last, consider a hoodie’s fit and size. While the fit is largely a matter of personal preference, know that a higher neckline, tighter sleeve cuffs, and a cinched waistband are more likely to prevent body heat from escaping. A zip-up hoodie can be convenient for layering or unzipping if you get too hot. And, finally, when choosing your size, take layering into consideration if you plan on wearing the hoodie over a shirt (or a sweater) or under a coat. (The styles below were designed with men in mind, and consequently feature men’s sizing, but they can be worn by anyone.)

1. The fan-favorite fleece-lined hoodie

If Amazon reviewer feedback is especially telling to you, opt for the Gildan fleece zip hoodie, which has an incredible 33,000-plus reviews and a 4.7-star overall rating. Its cotton-polyester construction features a preshrunk fleece lining, pouch pockets, and double-needle stitching at the points that could benefit from some reinforcement. It’s also offered in a huge range of colors (including rarer ones like safety green and purple).

One reviewer wrote: “I was a U.S. contractor in Afghanistan, assigned with Special Forces on the side of a high-altitude mountain, maintaining some communications gear and needed a little fleece jacket to supplement the GORTEX jacket that they military issued me. This little Gildan fleecy fit the bill and kept me warm on some COLD nights!!”

  • Material: 50% cotton, 50% polyester
  • Available colors: 19
  • Available sizes: Small – 5X-Large

2. The best budget pick

Even though most sizes and colors won’t cost you more than $30, the Hanes full-zip ultimate hoodie keeps you plenty warm for the price. It’s made from heavyweight (mostly cotton) fleece and has a jersey-lined hood that resists the cold. Reviewers also note that it’s “plush,” “classic,” and “comfortable,” and they love that it comes in a wide range of colors, all of which explain why it’s so popular, with a 4.5-star rating overall after 23,000-plus reviews.

One reviewer wrote: “The fit on this item is perfect, and wears well. Fabric keeps you warm without overheating.”

  • Material: 90% cotton, 10% polyester
  • Available colors: 14
  • Available sizes: Small – 3X-Large

3. The best water-repellant hoodie

Yes, it’s made from heavy-duty cotton and polyester to keep you extra warm in cold weather, but the Carhartt Rain-Defender Paxton is also coated with a water-repellent finish to keep you dry as well. In addition, it has a kangaroo pocket, inner security pocket, and ribbed trims to help it keep its shape even when wet. While the zipper-free version is very popular, note that the brand also offers a similar water-resistant hoodie in full- and quarter-zip designs in a range of fits.

One reviewer wrote: “This thing is probably three times the thickness of a regular hoodie while still being soft and not restricting movement. It is warm without being overly hot or sweaty and works great for layering. […] In light drizzle, water beads on the fabric and runs off pretty well. It would take standing out in steady rain for several minutes to really get this thing wet, so it works better than any other hoodie I’ve ever worn in that regard.I liked it so much I bought a second one, albeit directly from Carhartt, as Amazon didn’t have any in peat green at the time. This brand and type of hoodie will be the last kind I ever buy.”

  • Material: 75% cotton, 25% polyester
  • Available colors: 19
  • Available sizes: Small – 5X-Large

4. A lightweight zip-up hoodie

“Thermal” doesn’t necessarily have to equate to “thick” or “constricting,” and this Nike Dri-Fit hoodie proves it. It’s ultra-warm because of its heat-managing polyester fabric. It also has a three-panel high-neck hood, but it’s thinner and more streamlined for layering or an unencumbered workout. Even the invisible side pockets are sleek.

One reviewer wrote: “Fits perfect and looks great. Probably will order the grey one next.”

  • Material: 100% polyester
  • Available colors: 4
  • Available sizes: Small – XX-Large

5. A thermal-lined hoodie with 4.7 stars overall

The Dickies thermal hoodie has more than 2,000 reviews and a near-perfect overall rating of 4.7 stars. It’s made from primarily cotton and has a warm, thermal fleece lining inside that one reviewer wrote makes it “the warmest and the most comfortable jacket” they’ve ever owned. In addition to its ribbed cuffs and waistband, split kangaroo pockets, and well-made components, it’s offered in five colors. Overall, it’s a classic, high-quality option that fits a lot of cold-weather needs whether you wear it over a T-shirt or a sweater.

One reviewer wrote: “The thermal lining is comfortable and slips over long sleeve shirts without an issue. The knitted cuffs and waist is of high quality. If you’re looking for that traditional hoodie with all the quality aspects then this is the one.”

  • Material: 80% cotton, 20% polyester
  • Available colors: 4
  • Available sizes: Small – 5X-Large

6. The best hoodie for layering

For those who prefer to layer their way to optimal warmth, a thin, bulk-free hoodie is the way to go. The Nike Therma pullover fits the bill with its lightweight, silky polyester fabric and pull-over design, but it’s still made to keep your body heat in and the cold out. Most importantly, because it has a scuba hood, drawstring, and flat kangaroo pocket (instead of a collar, zipper, and bulky storage), it can be worn both over an undershirt or under a coat.

One reviewer wrote: “This is real warm I love it I work in a cold environment and this works out perfectly”

  • Material: 100% polyester
  • Available colors: 9
  • Available sizes: Small – XX-Large

7. The best tall hoodie

If you’re looking for extra tall hoodies, these from Carhartt hoodie has tall options in most sizes and are incredibly well-reviewed — they’ve garnered a 4.8-star overall rating after nearly 1,000 reviews, to be exact. The exterior is made from a plush cotton-blend, while the interior features a polyester thermal lining. The hoodie also features a brass zipper and spandex-reinforced ribbing to lock in heat without being uncomfortable.

One reviewer wrote: “From the moment I put this sweatshirt on, I knew it was going to be my new favorite, go to hoodie. This a fantastic product. The thermal lining is soft and comfortable.The outer shell is soft but not too soft. The shoulder cut is perfect and creates a great line. Get this hoodie if you are like me and love to throw on a hoodie when running to the store or if you work outside all day (would be great as an extra layer under your Carhartt jacket).”

  • Material: 53% cotton, 47% polyester
  • Available colors: 3
  • Available sizes: Large – 3X-Large

8. The one with the most pattern options

You can find thermal hoodies in a relatively expansive selection of solid colors, but this men’s sherpa hoodie from Amazon Basics comes in some great patterns (like plaid and camouflage) as well. In addition, reviewers love the plush sherpa interior, warmth-sealing ribbed cuffs, deep split pockets, and hood. Most importantly, they note that it’s “warm” and “very soft,” especially for the price.

One reviewer wrote: “Nice garment–quality is as good as those items costing twice as much. The outer sweatshirt is heavy weight fabric and the faux sherpa lining is thick. This will keep you warm for sure.”

  • Material: 56% cotton, 44% polyester
  • Available colors: 19
  • Available sizes: X-Small – XX-Large

9. The hoodie with UPF protection

For those who want to ensure their hoodie comes with some sun protection, the BALEAF pullover hoodie is genius. Not only does the UPF 50 polyester fabric block the sun’s rays, it’s also breathable with a fleece lining that makes it a handy layer when the weather is cold. The quarter-zip style has a stand-up collar to keep your neck warm and a zippered chest pocket for small essentials — and the design even features thumb holes and reflective stripping on the back and sleeves.

One reviewer wrote: “Whether you are looking at this for outdoor activities or for couch lounging, this hoodie is perfect for it all. Soft, fits great, not too thick but plenty warm. I purchased one, tried it on, and immediately ordered a second.”

  • Material: 100% polyester
  • Available colors: 4
  • Available sizes: Small – 3X-Large

10. The Heated Hoodie

If you tend to get really cold, this electric hoodie isn’t just thick and warm with a double layer of fleece — it also has a built-in battery-powered heater that targets your chest and back with wonderful warmth. The zip-up hoodie has two side pockets and one internal picket. You can adjust the heat between low, medium, and high, and it can keep you toasty for up to 12 hours. The rechargeable battery can also charge your phone in a pinch. You can even machine wash the hoodie when you’re ready — just be sure to remove the battery.

  • Material: Cotton / polyester
  • Available colors: 3
  • Available sizes: X-Small – XX-Large

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