How To Pick The Best Work Overalls

Work overalls and coveralls make dirty jobs cleaner and can protect you from cuts and scratches. Here’s how to pick the right kind for the job you plan to do.

man in coveralls in his workshop
Dirty jobs mean dirty clothes. Wear overalls to keep yourself and your wardrobe clean.Clark Young/unsplash

Overalls come in all shapes, sizes and colors, and some people even wear them for fashion purposes. (If you’re looking for fashion advice, you’ve come to the wrong place.) To choose the perfect work overalls, you should consider the weather you’ll be working in, the ruggedness of the work you’ll be doing and how much storage space you think you’ll need for tools and such.

Weather

Red Kap Men's Long Sleeve Twill Action Back Coverall
These overalls, made of a polyester/cotton blend, are made for warm-weather work.Red Kap

As anyone who has ever worked outdoors for a living knows, sometimes it can be hot enough to fry an egg on the sidewalk, while at other times it can be so cold you can't feel your extremities. And then there are the more temperate times in between. For extremely hot weather, ultralight bibs or lightweight coveralls usually are best for the job. When it's so cold outside that snot freezes solid on your mustache, heavy, insulated bibs are well suited, and insulated coveralls can be even better, depending on the task at hand.

Ruggedness

Carhartt Men's Rugged Flex Rigby Bib
Rugged bib overalls like this pair will hold up better when working under conditions that would tear less durable models.Carhartt

If you're in a shop sliding around on a dolly back and forth under tractors or implements all day, a heavy-duty pair of overalls probably isn't necessary for your particular task. But if you're working with fencing materials or doing hard work in brushy, thorny areas, you're going to want a pair of bibs or coveralls that don't tear the first hour after you put them on. You'll be sorely disappointed if you get a pair that rips to shreds the first time you cross a fence or walk through a plum thicket.

Storage

Red Kap Men's Long Sleeve Twill Action Back Coverall
These coveralls feature two set-in front pockets, two patch hip pockets and a rule pocket.Red Kap

Pockets are important in overalls, and there’s little wonder why. No matter the task you’ve set yourself to, you’re going to need tools and supplies. The more pockets you have—and bigger—the greater the likelihood that you’ll be able to carry everything you need right on your person, and that can save a trip or two back to the barn. Don’t settle for a pair of overalls or coveralls with just a couple of tiny pockets. You’ll never be happy with them, and life’s too short to hate your overalls!