It is critical to find the best work t-shirt for hot weather if you want to last during a grueling day in 100-degree summer heat. Most people want a cooling work t-shirt that wicks sweat away from the skin and has a lightweight, airy feeling that doesn’t trap in heat.
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These are our choices for the 10 best summer work t-shirts for hot weather:
- Dickies Short Sleeve Performance Cooling Tee (click here to view)
- Arctic Cool Instant Cooling Pocket Workwear Shirt (click here to view)
- Carhartt Force Cotton Delmont Short-Sleeve Tee (click here to view)
- Ariat Men’s Heat Fighter Ventilated Work T-Shirt (click here to view)
- Duluth Trading Co. Armachillo Cooling Work T-Shirt (click here to view)
- 32 DEGREES Mens Cool Short Sleeve Crew T-Shirt (click here to view)
- Hanes Short-Sleeve Cool Dri Tee; 2-pack (click here to view)
- *Women’s* Under Armour HeatGear Short-Sleeve T-Shirt (click here to view)
- *Women’s* EDGY Land Coolmax Moisture Wicking T-Shirt (click here to view)
- *Women’s* Duluth Trading Co. Armachillo Cooling T-Shirt (click here to view)
Finding a summer work t-shirt that wicks away sweat and helps control body temperature is crucial. I like the Dickies cooling tee that uses the evaporation process to help pull heat away from my body. I own this shirt in several colors. Here’s mine:
I also own the Arctic Cool shirt. The main difference compared to the Dickies shirt above is this Arctic Cool shirt uses a stretch fabric blend. So if you prefer a flexible t-shirt, this Arctic Cool shirt will be the better option. Here’s a look at the fabric on my Arctic Cool shirt:
No, these cooling work shirts won’t feel like you’re wearing an ice pack, but it does provide a little bit of extra relief. And as we all know, even a little bit of relief in the summer heat can go a long way.
In this article let’s take a closer look at the best summer work tees, including the three that I own. Let’s also discuss the moisture wicking process, how it helps, and how it can differ a bit brand to brand.
Best Work T-Shirts for Hot Summer Weather
Dickies Short Sleeve Performance Cooling Tee
The Dickies Short-Sleeve Performance Cooling Tee is my choice for best work t-shirt for hot weather. I like the way it fits, and it has a breathable comfort that is noticeable.
Here’s what this Dickies cooling work t-shirt looks like:
This is the current price of this Dickies cooling work t-shirt available at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com). Here’s what you need to know about this shirt:
- Breathable – The fabric is breathable and doesn’t wear like a heavyweight cotton t-shirt that would trap heat in.
- Moisture Wicking – This shirt wicks away your sweat to help keep you dry throughout the day. This is a must for a summer work t-shirt.
- Cooling Effect – This shirt has a cooling effect that is triggered by your perspiration to help control your body temperature in the extreme heat.
- Material – This shirt uses a 5.5-ounce cotton/poly fabric blend that fights stains and, in my experience, resists shrinking more than other tees.
- Work Pocket – The chest pocket gives you a place to store essentials on the job, and it also has a pencil slot.
I own this shirts in several colors. It’s become my main summer work tee over the years.
This t-shirt has a regular fit that, in my experience, runs true to size. It has plenty of length for full coverage when bending.
Here I am wearing a size medium (I am 6’2″ 200 pounds):
Here’s my hi-vis version (size medium) compared to a size medium Hanes undershirt:
Why is this my favorite summer work tee? For me it comes down to fabric – I personally like my shirts to have a cotton feel to them. Even though this shirt uses a cotton/poly blend, it still feels like cotton to the touch:
Yes, the material has a lightweight feel to it, but I wouldn’t describe it as too flimsy. In my experience, it holds up on the job about as well as you could possibly expect for a lightweight summer work t-shirt.
If you prefer more of a stretch fabric for your cooling work t-shirt, then I’d suggest the Arctic Cool t-shirt we discuss next because it uses a spandex blend.
Another thing I like about this Dickies shirt is it has a pencil slot on the pocket. That might not impact your decision, but worth considering.
Click here to buy this Dickies cooling work t-shirt available at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com). This shirt is machine washable.
Arctic Cool Instant Cooling Pocket Workwear Shirt
Arctic Cool is a company that specializes in making summer friendly clothing. The fabric in this t-shirt is designed in a way that helps keep you cool and comfortable on the job.
Here’s what this Arctic Cool summer work t-shirt looks like:
This is the current price of this Arctic Cool summer work t-shirt available at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com). Here’s what you need to know about this shirt:
- Fabric – This breathable work shirt uses Arctic Cool’s unique HydroFreeze X Fabric, a type of fabric designed with channels which allows perspiration to efficiently evaporate.
- Cooling Effect – Yes, this shirt has a cooling effect that is triggered by the evaporation process which helps control your body temperature in the extreme heat.
- Sun Protection – This shirt is rated for UPF 50+ Sun Protection.
- What Makes This Shirt Different – The biggest difference between this shirt and the Dickies shirt we discussed first, is this shirt uses a poly/spandex stretch blend. The Dickies shirt has more of a traditional cotton feel to it, this Arctic Cool shirt definitely has a lot of stretch.
Here’s a close-up look at the stretch material used for this Arctic Cool cooling work t-shirt:
Again, think stretch. This will not feel like cotton. If you rely on freedom of movement on the job, this might be a nice option.
One thing that really sticks about this shirt, is it has plenty of length. Might be a nice option if you, like me, are tall. Here’s my size medium compared to a size medium Hanes undershirt:
Out of the three summer work t-shirts that I own, this is definitely the longest. Despite that, this size medium weighs the same as my Dickies medium t-shirt we discussed first:
This mainly comes down to fabric. If you prefer cotton, I’d stick with the Dickies cooling work shirt or the Carhartt shirt we discuss next. If you prefer a spandex stretch blend, choose this Arctic Cool shirt.
Click here to buy this Arctic Cool cooling work t-shirt available at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com). This shirt is machine washable.
Carhartt Force Cotton Delmont Short-Sleeve Tee
It’s hard to discuss workwear and not discuss Carhartt. And although they are well-known for heavy-duty cotton canvas clothing, they also make summer work t-shirts.
Here’s what this Carhartt Force Cotton summer work t-shirt looks like:
This is the current price of this Carhartt hot weather work t-shirt available at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com). Here’s what you need to know about this shirt:
- Moisture Wicking – Yes, this shirt wicks away your sweat to help keep you dry throughout the day.
- Material – This shirt uses a 5.75-ounce cotton/poly fabric blend, which means this fabric weight is a bit heavier than the Dickies shirt we discussed earlier.
- Work Pocket – This shirt has a chest pocket for storing essentials like safety glasses, cell phone, or small utility tools.
This shirt has a cotton feel to it. Here’s a close-up look at the fabric:
As I mentioned throughout, I personally prefer a cotton feel for my work shirts. But I use the Dickies shirt we discussed first more often because it uses a fabric that weighs a bit less (5.5-oz to this 5.75-oz).
Despite that, the difference is minimal. In fact, my size medium Carhartt shirt weighs the exact same as my other two summer work shirts:
In my experience, this shirt has a regular fit that isn’t too tight or too baggy. Here’s my size medium compared to a Hanes size medium undershirt:
For those of you who prefer to wear Carhartt, this is their best work shirt for hot weather. I tend to wear the Dickies cooling shirt more, but this is another perfectly fine option for summer.
Click here to buy this Carhartt work t-shirt for hot weather available at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com). This shirt is machine washable.
Other Summer Work T-Shirts to Consider
- Duluth Trading Co. Armachillo Cooling T-Shirt – Duluth is another well-known workwear brand. These shirts are made to feel soft like cotton, but they use fabric technology that produces a cooling sensation and wicks away sweat. They use a lightweight 4.8-ounce fabric that is breathable. Odor fighting. Multiple colors available. Click here to view this shirt at Duluth Trading Co.
- Hanes Short-Sleeve Cool Dri Tee – Budget-friendly option gives you you 2 t-shirts per pack. Hanes Cooldri fabric wicks away moisture to keep you dry. Shirt has UPF 50+ sun protection built in. Double-needle stitching for added durability. 100% polyester. Fits true-to-size. Click here to view this shirt at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com).
- *Women’s* Duluth Trading Co. Armachillo Cooling T-Shirt – Duluth also offers their popular Armachillo cooling work t-shirt in a women’s version. Lightweight 4.4-ounce poly/spandex blend fabric, that offers sun protection and is designed to keep you cool on the job. Under arm gusset for added range of motion. Click here to view this Duluth summer work t-shirt.
- *Women’s* Under Armour HeatGear T-Shirt – Under Armour is well-known for making HeatGear, and they make a summer shirt that can function quite well as a women’s summer work t-shirt. This shirt uses a poly/elastane blend that will have some stretch. Designed to wick away sweat and dry fast. Click here to view this UA summer work t-shirt (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com).
Moisture Wicking T-Shirt vs Cooling T-Shirt
You will see both moisture-wicking work shirts and cooling work shirts advertised. The truth is, these types are shirts are very similar, and often are one in the same.
Moisture wicking shirts are designed to pull sweat away from the body and disperse it across the fabric in a way that allows it to dry quickly. The evaporation process naturally pulls body heat away from the skin, and helps regulate your temperature.
But to be clear, the fabric design can differ, and can have an impact on how efficient these shirts are at wicking sweat, and regulating temperature. Some fabrics will have a channeled design to help increase evaporation.
There are also ways that these companies can design fabric to help trap cooled air near the skin. Unfortunately, most of the science behind this is vaguely described by companies, and is often hard to understand.
In general, even though most all moisture-wicking shirts can provide some relief, I tend to lean towards the products that specifically mention a cooling effect, and are designed with fabric intended to produce that cooling effect.
4 Things to Consider When Buying a Summer Work T-Shirt
How important is material to you? Some work t-shirts for hot weather use a poly/cotton blend, while others use more of a stretch fabric.
I personally prefer a cotton blend, but I know several workers who prefer a stretch material. This likely comes down to personal preference.
Odor and Stain-Fighting
How important is odor-fighting technology to you? Some work shirts will have an odor fighting fabric that may keep things a little more “fresh”.
Some fabrics will also be designed to resist stains. This may be particularly important for dirty jobs. The Carhartt Force T-shirts I featured earlier in the article has stain-fighting qualities.
Shirts that keep you cool in the heat are important for regulating body temperature, but not all will provide the same amount of sun protection. Some cooling work t-shirts will also be made to protect you from UV rays.
UPF is the rating system used to detail the amount of protection a garment provides while in the sun. If you need a sun protective cooling work t-shirt, the Arctic Cool Shirt I featured earlier in the article is rated as UPF 50+ for the sun.
Although many breathable work t-shirts have a reasonable price point, one way to find value is to buy a multi-pack. As I mentioned earlier, the Hanes Cool Dri summer work t-shirts come in a 2-pack.