You’ve got a hot date with your grill, and you’re ready to get dirty. But what about your clothes?
There’s no need to walk out of your date smelling like smoke or grease. Just like these aprons, we’ve got you covered.
We bought five of the most popular aprons on the market and put them through their paces. Read on to find the best apron for BBQ.
Top aprons for BBQ and grilling
1. Best Overall – Hedley & Bennett Crossback Denver Apron
The Hedley & Bennett Crossback Denver Apron is a multipurpose workhorse. H&B offers a large line of high-quality aprons, but the Denver apron may be their all-around best.
I liked how it is made of 100% cotton canvas, making it light enough to wear all day, but rugged enough to repel grease and heat. The adjustable crossback design provides you with all-day comfort and a custom-like fit.
Form meets function with its two large lap pockets, double pen chest pocket, and utility loop on the right side, giving you plenty of space and quick access to your high-volume cooking tools of choice – whether that’s a favorite pair of tongs or a bottle opener for those long BBQ days.
I found myself using the utility loop much more than I thought I would, most often hanging a hand towel and tongs for quick and easy access.
Hedley & Bennett is known for its craftsmanship, being the brainchild of pro chef Ellen Bennett who needed a quality, professional-level apron to withstand the rigors of high-volume restaurant work.
The Denver Crossback apron is no exception. It’s as good around the grill as it is in the kitchen. An excellent combination of style, comfort, and craftsmanship gives you a professional apron in quality and in style, which is why we’ve chosen it as our best overall choice.
Why we think it’s the best:
- 100% cotton canvas fabric is lightweight (10oz), but rugged and durable.
- Crossback design is fitted, comfortable and takes stress off the neck when wearing for long periods of time.
- Easy to clean compared to waxed canvas or full leather aprons. Machine washable.
- Roomy pockets and storage for cooking utilities.
The Hedley & Bennett Crossback Denver apron was the most comfortable out of all the aprons we tested. I initially thought the crossback design would be too cumbersome to throw on and off as needed, but quickly realized it’s an awesome design that helps the apron stay in place and offers great comfort when worn for long periods of time.
With unrivaled comfort, secure fit and great protection out of all the aprons tested, I can confidently recommend this as the #1 all-around apron for your culinary needs.
2. Runner-Up – Premium Rhino Heavy Duty Waxed Canvas Work Apron
The Rhino heavy-duty waxed canvas apron is rugged and built to last thanks to the waxed canvas material, which is liquid resistant and durable enough to withstand heavy grilling and barbecuing, and even work extending outside of the kitchen.
The reinforced metal grommets, padded shoulder straps and crossback design offer a comfortable fit that adjusts to big or small. It also offers two roomy lap pockets, one chest pocket and utility loops that would fit a number of tools.
What we like:
- Heavy duty waxed canvas resists liquids and heat, and is thick enough to resist rips or tears that would otherwise poke holes in ring-spun cotton.
- Adjustable crossback design fits well on most frames up to 50-inch waist.
- The price point is a value compared to other aprons in this space.
What we don’t like:
- Durability also means added weight and stiffness. At 16oz, it’s a heavier apron that can wear on you throughout a long shift or BBQ day. Personally, as the day wore on, the weight noticeably pulled you forward and shifted as it sways. I found myself wanting to take it off and on in between grill moments.
- Cleaning can be an endeavor for bigger stains or food residue as it’s not recommended you put it through a washing machine.
I loved the protection offered by the Rhino Apron, but its weight kept it out of the top spot. Its rigidity made me always notice that you’re wearing an apron whereas the Denver Crossback falls back into your subconscious and you barely notice it throughout cooking.
This apron will get a nice patina-style coating too as food and grease pile up. With moderate long-term use, I feel it needs a good hand-scrubbed cleaning once every ten cooks or so (give or take what you’re making). You won’t be able to throw it in the washer, but that will help retain its protective integrity.
At a fraction of the cost of some of the big names out there, the Rhino apron offers great value.
If you’re on a budget and want a long-lasting, durable apron, the Rhino should be considered.
3. Best apron over an open fire – Outset F240 Leather Grill Apron
The Outset F240 brown suede leather adjustable grill & BBQ apron is perfect for cooking over open flames.
It comes with a flame-retardant lining that gives superior protection and heat-resistance. Its adjustable neck strap makes it one-size-fits-most, accommodating those of most heights, while the bib styling protects clothes from grease splashes and other messes.
Though it’s great for resisting high temperatures, it’s the heaviest apron of the bunch. The added lining and protection comes with added weight that stacks up over the course of a long day of cooking. Be aware that it’s a heavy apron coming in at 1.6lbs.
Whereas the Rhino apron was crossbacked, the outset hangs on your neck. I found this style to weigh more noticeably throughout testing than a crossback design. I wouldn’t call it strenuous, but I was definitely stretching my neck and adjusting the strap more often than the other aprons tested.
If you’re cooking over open flames and constantly dealing with large chunks of meat, the Outset is a great value option.
4. Best everyday kitchen apron – Misen
The Misen apron is a fantastic choice for everyday kitchen use. It’s lightweight, durable and easy to clean. The Misen may look like a regular apron at first glance, but it offers a couple unique features that make it stand out.
The apron’s pockets are lined with absorbent terrycloth, making it great for wiping and drying hands instead of wiping them on the front of the actual apron.
Adjustable straps work for most sizes, but the apron has a fold line that turns it into a bistro style apron rather than a full-body, bib apron.
This was the easiest apron to clean of the bunch. Made of 100% cotton, I threw this in regular loads of laundry when needed and didn’t have to give it a second thought. Though grease splatter will leave stains in this one, and that will take some added attention to clean by hand if the washer doesn’t get it out.
Machine washable and only 12.4oz in weight, the Misen apron is surprisingly practical for average kitchen work as well as heavier grill use.
5. Best lightweight apron – Hedley & Bennett Bravo’s Top Chef Essentials Apron
Hedley & Bennett aprons are so good, they make the list twice. Their Top Chef Essentials Apron shines in its enduring quality and featherweight feel. Boasting the same pockets and utensil loop as its Denver crossback counterpart, the Top Chef bib style apron weighs only 7oz.
Made of 65% polyester and 35% cotton twill, it’s not as coarse as the cotton canvas Denver, but still offers that H&B style and is machine washable. The dark color hides a lot of stains and messes, while offering a modern, fitted look.
What I really like about this apron is that it’s so lightweight you almost forget you’re wearing it. It is versatile in usage, going from kitchen to the grill seamlessly. It might not offer as much heat protection as the thicker canvas or leather aprons, but it makes up for that in longtime comfort.
It’s also quick to put on and off, and I found myself reaching for this one a lot compared to crossback counterparts. Perfect for weeknight cooking or quick prep. I found this a very convenient option for most everything around the kitchen and grill.
Other aprons to consider
There are a number of aprons in the market ranging in purpose and price, but here are some of the better alternatives out there to consider.
Quality materials and moderately priced, the Dalstrong Workshop aprons are worthy to be on the list, but the American Legend Denim apron might be the best value of the bunch.
100% denim cotton is low maintenance and comes with a water repellent coating, making it a stylish and functional essential for any culinary endeavor.
The Berkeley Bib Apron is a versatile, stylish and professional-looking addition to any BBQ. Made of cotton with double-needled stitching and reinforced stress points, this apron has chest and hip pockets. The back suspenders on this apron can be switched out giving you a level of customization. Durable, professional-looking and thought-out design.
This medium-weight apron has several handy design details, including a D-ring next to its front pocket for hanging or clipping items. The cotton strap loops over the neck and is adjustable with a brass buckle. Simple and straight-forward.
How to choose a high-quality grill apron
A good apron is one of those tools that will make your grilling experience better. It can keep you protected from grease splattering onto your clothing and skin, as well as keep you safe from hot surfaces.
But with so many options out there, how do you know which one is best? We made this shopping journey simple and easy for you by providing everything you should consider when looking for grill aprons.
Comfort of apron
The most important feature of any apron is how comfortable it is. You want something that will be easy to move around in and won’t get in the way of whatever you’re doing. It should also be made from breathable materials so that you don’t get too hot while cooking or grilling.
The Denver Crossback and the Rhino both offered the best comfort of the group, thanks to the design of the straps placing the stress on your shoulders evenly vs. solely on your neck. Loop-neck styles are fine so long as the material isn’t too heavy, and you’ll want to keep it in mind when choosing your perfect apron.
Second to comfort is the quality of your apron’s fabric. Since you will be standing in front of direct heat, the chances of feeling suffocated and too hot are high, which is why it’s important to think of an apron’s breathability. Plus, a good grill apron should be able to withstand spills and moisture without making your clothes dirty. We’re looking for a fabric that offers a balance between comfort and quality – one that feels good, but does not fall apart with rigorous use.
The H&B Denver Crossback had my favorite fabric of the aprons tested. 100% cotton canvas was the best combination of protection, comfort and ease of care. It held up to heat and splatters, while not taking extensive time to clean and maintain. On top of it all, it’s still lightweight and not as burdensome as heavier options.
Style of apron
There are many different styles of aprons available, so it’s important to know what’s out there in order to choose the right one for your needs. There are tons of different styles of aprons – some have pockets, some don’t. Some have ties at the waist, others just have strings. There’s crossback, loop-neck and waist styles. You can even find aprons with designs on them.
Style is more a matter of preference. I like a more simple approach to aprons while some want to make a statement, so make sure your apron choice reflects your personal style.
Purpose of aprons
What do you plan on doing in your apron? Think about what kind of cooking you do most often, and how much protection you’ll need.
For example, if you are planning to cook over an open flame or grill – either at home or professionally – you’ll want to invest in an apron that has extra-thick fabric to protect against grease and other liquids that may drip off your food while it’s cooking. If you’re only cooking at home, and don’t worry about spillage from other foods onto yours, then any old cotton apron will do.
Once you’ve decided on what kind of protection level your new apron needs, consider where it will be used most often: Is it going to be in the kitchen? Will it be worn outside? These decisions will factor into which is best for you.