Sleeveless work shirts may seem simple enough, but there are some important design differences to consider. Some of these tank top work shirts will use a cooling fabric. This type of fabric helps fight the heat, but might not be durable enough for all jobs.
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These are our choices for best sleeveless work tees for summer:
- Carhartt Men’s Workwear Pocket Sleeveless Midweight T-Shirt (click here to view)
- Caterpillar Men’s Trademark Sleeveless Pocket T-Shirt (click here to view)
- Hanes Sport Men’s Performance Muscle Tee (click here to view)
- Key Apparel Men’s Sleeveless Work Shirt (click here to view)
- Arctic Cool Men’s Instant Cooling Moisture Wicking Tank Top (click here to view)
- Fruit of the Loom 5 oz HD Cotton Tank (click here to view)
- *Big & Tall* Kingsize Shrink-Less™ Lightweight Muscle T-Shirt (click here to view)
- *Women’s* Dickies Cotton Sleeveless Tank Shirt (click here to view)
If you want a shirt that uses fabric designed to keep you cool, then you’ll want to choose either the Hanes Muscle Tee (#3) or the Arctic Cool Tank (#5).
Another thing you will want to consider when buying a tank top work shirt is the amount of shoulder coverage. Less shoulder coverage means more breathability, but it also exposes more of your skin to the sun.
Usually, “sleeveless” shirts offer more shoulder coverage than “tank tops”, but these two terms can be used interchangeably at times. You’ll also need to decide if you want a chest pocket to store small essentials like your glasses and phone.
In this article let’s take a closer look at the best sleeveless work shirts so you can find an option that fits your needs. Let’s also discuss things to consider when shopping for these types of shirts.
Comparing the Top Sleeveless Work Shirts
I own all of the top five options on our list. Here’s how they differ in weight and material. *Weight in pounds based off size medium.
Here’s a few things I noticed from wearing these shirts:
- Lightweight – If you want something ultra-lightweight, the Hanes or Arctic Cool shirts might be your best options. Both of these shirts are very lightweight, but might not provide the durability that some jobs need.
- Stretch Fabric – The Arctic Cool tank top is the only shirt on this list that uses a stretch fabric blend. It is very lightweight and comfortable to wear.
- Durability – The Carhartt sleeveless work t-shirt is by far the sturdiest. It isn’t a heavyweight fabric, but it is classified as a midweight. It definitely feels more durable to the touch than the other shirts.
- Cooling – The Hanes and Arctic Cool Shirts are designed to wick away moisture and help regulate body temperature. No, don’t expect it to feel like a cool breeze. The cooling effect is minimal, but it does help. By wicking away sweat and causing it to evaporate, the evaporation process naturally pulls heat away from your body.
- Shoulder Coverage – The Carhartt, Caterpillar, and Key Apparel shirts offer the most shoulder coverage.
Let’s take a closer look at these tank top work shirts including photos of the shirts that I own.
Best Sleeveless Work Shirts for Summer
Carhartt Men’s Workwear Pocket Sleeveless Midweight T-Shirt
This Carhartt sleeveless work tee is made with a midweight fabric, and is perfect for those who need a work shirt that isn’t flimsy. You’ll notice the shoulder coverage extends down near the end of the shoulder.
Here’s what this Carhartt sleeveless work tee looks like:
This is the current price of this Carhartt work shirt available at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com). Here’s what you need to know about this shirt:
- Material – This shirt is made with 6.75-ounce, 100% cotton jersey. This is a midweight fabric that will give you some durability, but wont be too hot for the summer.
- Pockets – This shirt features a left-chest pocket ideal for storing essentials like your glasses, phone, or other small tools.
- Design – Crewneck design with coverage that ends at shoulder. The tagless neck label has a smooth feel and eliminates tag irritation.
As I mentioned earlier, this Carhartt shirt is definitely the sturdiest fabric on this list. No, it isn’t a heavyweight fabric, but this is a midweight that can stand up to tougher work environments than some of the other options on this list.
My size medium weighs 0.45 pounds:
Here’s a close-up look at the 6.75-ounce midweight cotton fabric:
In my opinion this sleeveless work tee has the best blend of comfort and toughness. It also offers a nice amount of shoulder coverage to help protect the skin.
Click here to buy this Carhartt sleeveless work shirt available at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com). This shirt is machine washable.
Caterpillar Men’s Trademark Sleeveless Pocket T-Shirt
This Caterpillar sleeveless tee is similar to the Carhartt tee in that it offers full shoulder coverage and has a chest pocket for storing essentials. The main difference is this shirt uses a lighter-weight 4.75-ounce cotton fabric.
Here’s what this Caterpillar Sleeveless Pocket T-Shirt looks like:
This is the current price of this Caterpillar tank top work shirt available at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com). Here’s what you need to know about this shirt:
- Material – This shirt is made using 4.75-ounce, 100% cotton fabric. The trademark CAT® logo is featured on the left chest as well as the back and also on a label at the side seam.
- Pocket – A left-chest pocket can easily keep smaller items close at hand. The wire management loop on the outside back neck keeps your earbud wire out of the way, providing added safety at work.
- Fit – The rib trim has spandex which helps retain the shape of the shirt and the tag-free back neck enhances its overall comfort.
This Caterpillar shirt uses a lighter-weight fabric than the Carhartt shirt we discussed first, but this shirt does not feel flimsy. My size medium weighs 0.32 pounds:
Here is a close-up look at that 100% cotton fabric:
One bonus with this shirt is it has a small wire loop on the backside of the collar where you can slip earbuds through to help keep the wires out of your workspace. This is the only sleeveless work shirt on this list that has this wire loop.
Click here to buy this Caterpillar sleeveless work shirt available at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com). This shirt is machine washable.
Hanes Sport Men’s Performance Muscle Tee
If you are looking for a lightweight, breathable tank top for work, this is my favorite option. It has a moisture wicking fabric to help keep you dry and cool, and the fabric is a ventilated mesh for extra breathability.
Here’s what this Hanes sleeveless t-shirt looks like:
This is the current price of this Hanes sleeveless t-shirt available at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com). Here’s what you need to know about this shirt:
- Material – This shirt is made with 100% polyester pique mesh, which is lightweight and ventilated for extra breathability. Two-needle stitching at the straight hem and arm openings provide additional durability.
- Features – This shirt is loaded with technology designed to help you maintain optimal comfort, keeping you cool and dry no matter what your day brings. X-Temp™ adapts to your body temperature and activity while Cool Comfort™ quickly wicks sweat away and Cool DRI™ dries faster than average performance wear.
- Fit – The cut of this tee offers optimal range of motion, allowing you to move without restriction. It has a tagless back and taped seams so the shirt moves smoothly across your neck as you bend and reach.
Think lightweight. You aren’t buying this shirt for its toughness. You are buying this shirt if you want something lightweight and breathable. My size medium weighs 0.26 pounds:
Here’s a close-up look at the breathable mesh fabric of this shirt:
Click here to buy this Hanes sleeveless t-shirt at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com). This shirt is machine washable.
Key Apparel Men’s Sleeveless Work Tee
Key Apparel is a popular workwear brand that is well known for providing budget-friendly work clothing. This shirt is offered in a neon green color in case you need something that stands out.
Here’s what this Key Apparel tank top work shirt looks like
This is the current price of this Key Apparel sleeveless work shirt available at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com). Here’s what you need to know about this shirt:
- Design – This sleeveless t-shirt is made with a cotton/poly fabric blend. The fabric weight is not listed, so I reached out to Key Apparel and they told me this tee is made with “approximately 5 ounce” fabric.
- Pocket – There is a chest pocket with durable stitching so you can store your essentials while working.
- Comfort – This sleeveless tee has a taped neck, shoulder, and back seams in addition to a heat-transfer to help ensure that it won’t drag against your neck as you move on the job.
- Fit – This shirt features ample room in the armholes for comfort that won’t restrict your movement on the job.
This Key Apparel shirt is another nice option from a well-known workwear brand. It is the second-heaviest shirt out of the top 5 on our list. My size medium weighs 0.36 pounds:
Here’s a close-up look at the cotton/poly fabric blend used in this shirt. This is not a stretch fabric. Feels like cotton to the touch.
Click here to buy this Key Apparel tank top work shirt at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com). This shirt is machine washable and does come in big and tall sizes.
Arctic Cool Men’s Instant Cooling Moisture Wicking Tank Top
Arctic Cool is a company that specializes in making summer friendly clothing. The fabric in this sleeveless t-shirt is designed in a way that helps keep you cool and comfortable on the job.
Here’s what this Arctic Cool tank top looks like:
This is the current price of this Arctic Cool tank top available at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com). Here’s what you need to know about this shirt:
- Fabric – This shirt is made with a poly/spandex stretch fabric blend. It uses Arctic Cool’s unique HydroFreeze X Fabric, a type of fabric designed with channels which allows perspiration to efficiently evaporate. This shirt is rated for UPF 50+ Sun Protection.
- 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.
- Tank Top Design – This shirt has a tank top design, meaning there won’t be full shoulder coverage. This gives you extra breathability around the shoulder area, but also exposes more of your body to the sun.
Another ultra-lightweight option that you are buying for its breathability, not toughness. My size medium weighs 0.24 pounds. This is the lightest weight out of the 5 shirts I own.
This is the only shirt on this list that uses a stretch fabric blend that will move with you as your twist and work. Here’s a close-up look at the fabric:
Click here to buy this Arctic Cool tank top available at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com). This shirt is machine washable.
Other Tank Top Work Shirts to Consider
- Fruit of the Loom 5 oz HD Cotton Tank – Fruit of the Loom is well known for making loungewear, including tank tops. This tank is made with a 5-ounce cotton fabric and is available in a wide range of colors, including neon green. Click here to view this tank top available at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com).
- Kingsize Shrink-Less™ Lightweight Muscle T-Shirt – Kingsize is a well known big and tall brand, and they offer this lightweight muscle shirt up to a size 9XL in certain colors. Designed to not shrink. Taped seams so it moves comfortably across your neck as you work. Click here to view this sleeveless t-shirt (affiliate link takes you to kingsize.com).
- *Women’s* Dickies Cotton Sleeveless Tank Shirt – If you are shopping for a women’s sleeveless work shirt, this Dickies shirt is a nice option. This shirt is made with 100% cotton and offers full shoulder coverage. Regular fit with a tagless design. Click here to view this women’s tank top work shirt (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com).
5 Things to Consider When Buying Sleeveless Work Shirts
How important is material to you? Some sleeveless work shirts are made using cotton, while others use a stretch fabric blend.
I personally prefer a cotton fabric, but I know several workers who prefer a stretch material. This likely comes down to personal preference.
Tank top and muscle tee are often used interchangeably, but muscle tees offer more shoulder coverage. There’s basically two ways to look at this.
Less shoulder coverage means a more breathable design up around your shoulder. But it also exposes more of your skin to the sun, which might be a problem. You’ll need to decide what type of design best fits your needs.
Do you prefer a chest pocket to store small essentials like your glasses, phone, or small utility tools? Most sleeveless shirts made by workwear companies will have a chest pocket.
If you don’t want a pocket, most of the tank tops made by regular apparel companies don’t have a chest pocket. This has always been something I personally am indifferent on. I wear shirts with the chest pocket, but never use it.
Although many breathable work t-shirts have a similar price point, one reason I do like the Dickies Cooling Tee is it also has a very reasonable price point compared to other work t-shirts.
If you are looking for a very budget-friendly summer work t-shirt option, as I mentioned earlier, the Hanes Cool Dri Tees come in a 2-pack at a very reasonable price.
Yes, a sleeveless work shirt is a nice way to help fight the brutal summer heat. But if you don’t love any of the options, you could also just consider a regular short-sleeve t-shirt.
There are several short-sleeve work shirts designed specifically for summer. They wick moisture and can help you stay cool and dry. To read more, visit our article about the best summer work t-shirts.