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Like it or not, we spend about a third of our lives at work.
And whether you’re painting, building, or stuck in an office, what you wear while you work needs to reflect what you do.
Comfortable work pants are a key part of this, but with so many different products on the market, it can feel overwhelming to try and find the right ones for you.
The best work pants are not only right for the job – they’re durable, comfortable, and even look good, too.
This is why we’ve dedicated this review to reveal the 9 very best work pants for men that we’ve found anywhere.In a hurry? Here are our top picks:
Put simply: we’ve got you covered, whatever you need.
And we’re not only going to be looking at work pants: we’re also going to be looking at some great accessories you can put with them, as well as exploring the various types of work pants and answering some of the most common questions about work pants we hear.
Before any of that though, let’s look at the 6 key factors you need to consider when buying work pants.
|Wrangler Riggs Workwear Men's Ranger Pant||Check on Amazon|
|CQR Men's Tactical Pants, Water Repellent Ripstop Cargo Pants, Lightweight EDC Hiking Work Pants||Check on Amazon|
|FREE SOLDIER Men's Army Cargo Work Pants with Multi-Pocket||Check on Amazon|
|Carhartt Men's Relaxed Fit Washed Twill Dungaree Pant||Check on Amazon|
|Dickies Men's Flex Regular Straight Fit Double Knee Work Pant||Check on Amazon|
|Dickies Men's Relaxed Straight Fit Lightweight Duck Carpenter Jean||Check on Amazon|
|5.11 Men's Traditional Tactical Lightweight Cotton Pro Work Pants||Check on Amazon|
|Caterpillar Men's Trademark Pant||Check on Amazon|
|Carhartt Men's Rugged Professional Series Pant||Check on Amazon|
Before you buy: 6 Things you have to consider when purchasing work pants
1. The specifics of your job
Every job will require something slightly different, and you need to be very clear about what that is. Some jobs require you to look smart, while others will need to be tough.
If you’re a painter – you need pockets; if you’re working outside, you’ll want relatively lightweight pants.
While it’s probably clear to you what your job requires, if you need a little nudge it’s worth a simple google to see what other people are wearing on the job. And always remember that function should come before fashion when it comes to work pants!
The material tells you a lot about the quality of a particular piece of clothing, and you should always be aware of what you’re buying in this regard. But you also need to know how the material will respond and react in the environment you’ll be wearing it in.
For example, nylon or polyester are moisture-wicking, and might therefore be ideal for working in a moist environment. But cotton is more breathable and generally thicker, so might be best for the colder months.
3. Comfort and durability
Obviously, you need to feel totally at ease while working – that’s the whole point of having specialized work pants. And a lot of that comes down to the comfort and durability of your pants.
While most work pants are comfortable and durable – they’re designed to be as such – it’s important for you to know what you personally find most comfortable.
4. Size and fit
Clearly, you need your pants to fit. But more than that, you need to think about how your work is going to interact with the fit you need. Slim-fit pants, for example, are great when you’re moving around a lot – or have a particularly slim build – but won’t be ideal for flexibility or bending.
Beyond just consulting the sizing guides and measuring your waist, you really need to look closely at reviews from other users and be aware that sizes can vary rather a lot more than most folks think.
While many great work pants are produced by relatively unknown companies, it’s often reassuring to know that you’re buying from an established, experienced maker who has a reputation for quality.
Several brands appear more than once on this list, and that is absolutely a testament to the quality they produce. So take note: who makes the pants your considering and what makes you trust that they’re good quality?
6. Cost and value
Finally, it’s vital that you have a clear sense of the amount of money you’re willing to spend and what you expect to get from it – we say this in a lot of our reviews, and it remains extremely important.
Especially with something practical like work pants, having clear boundaries and expectations is necessary to ensure you get the quality you need without overspending.
Hopefully, this review will give you a good sense of the market and what you should expect for what price, but it may also be worth you having a general glance around the internet and asking friends or colleagues how much their work pants have set them back.
The 9 best work pants for men in 2020
1. Best Durable & Heavy Duty – Wrangler Riggs Workwear Men’s Ranger Pant
• 100% Cotton Ripstop Fabric
• Reinforced construction
• Extra pockets for tools
The best work pants for:
Durability and sheer quality
Chances are, your work pants are going to take a bit of a beating. If you’re buying pants specifically to work in, and are going to wear them day after day on the job, you should really expect them to
That’s why durability – toughness – is such a vital quality in work pants, and Wrangler Riggs’ Workwear Ranger Pants are the most durable ones we’ve ever come across.
Made from 100% Cotton Ripstop Fabric, they provide solid, layered pants which will never split or snag, even under grueling conditions. They are seriously heavy-duty, with reinforced construction and cordura lining, and ideal for anyone who needs to really get stuck in and hands on.
But just because they’re tough, doesn’t mean they’re not comfortable.
In fact, they are designed with a very relaxed, Room2move fit, which gives you plenty of space. And with plenty of extra room for tools, with a hammer loop, a tape measure clip, and lots of deep pockets, so you’ll be absolutely thrilled you found pants.
Of course, the construction does mean they’re quite heavy, and some will find that a little too much.
But any man who doesn’t mind that – who cares more about durability and toughness – will love them.
Plus there’s even a decent selection of colors to choose from.
- Really tough and durable
- Lots of room for tools and equipment
- Surprisingly comfortable, too
- A little too heavy for some
Overall, these are the most durable work pants we’ve come across, and anyone who has a hands-on job should give them some serious consideration.
2. Best Lightweight – CQR Men’s Tactical Pants, Water Repellent Ripstop Cargo Pants, Lightweight EDC Hiking Work Pants
• Lightweight construction
• 8 cargo pockets
• Wrinkle resistant
The best work pants for:
Working in the smoldering heat
When you’re outside in the summer, with the sun beating down on you, it can be torture to feel restrained by tight jeans or work pants that lack breathability.
And that’s why CQR’s Tactical Pants are on this list – they are absolutely the best lightweight, breathable pants you’ll find, and in the heat that can truly be a lifesaver.
Not only are they made with an unusually light combination of polyester and cotton – which is somehow also highly durable – but they are extremely elastic and flexible, giving you all the room you need to move around as much as you need to, which is important for manual work outside.
And because they’re so light and elastic, they can double as hiking pants and even be worn every day if you live in a hot climate.
They feature loads of room for storage, including Velcro secured pockets and a mag clip pocket. And the Duratex fabric actually repels contaminants, making them very safe for work in compromised spaces.
There are some issues with sizing – a few reviewers note inconsistencies – but generally speaking, these pants do exactly what they need to, and for any man who’s felt overwhelmed by the heat at work they will be an absolute must.
- Extremely lightweight and breathable
- Flexible material and plenty of maneuverability
- Surprisingly durable for such light material
- Some reviewers complain that the sizing is inconsistent
The ideal work pants for any man who works in the heat – stylish, practical, and super affordable, too!
3. Best Waterproof – FREE SOLDIER Men’s Army Cargo Work Pants with Multi-Pocket
• Ergonomic Durable Design
The best work pants for:
You might not always expect to get wet at work, but if you work outside, there’s always a chance the rain will catch you out and you’ll be left shivering and uncomfortable in soaked pants. But if you happen to be wearing FREE SOLDIER’S Army Cargo Work Pants, that will not a problem.
They are designed with this exact scenario in mind, and use 65% Ripstop Polyester fabric which has been treated be water repellent. The result is pants that act against the rain and keep you dry and warm, no matter how bad it pours.
This also makes them ideal for any man who wants to tackle the elements in other ways, like fishing or hiking.
They feature an ergonomic design too, which allows them to be highly flexible and comfortable, leaving you to feel totally at ease and free to move as you wish throughout whatever activity you’re engaged in.
The fit is snug – though some feel this means they end up slightly smaller than advertised.
With several 6 large pockets, there is more than enough space to store your tools, too – as well as your phone or any other tech you might need to carry.
And they are very durable, too, ultimately lasting ages and proving a really solid investment.
- Water and liquid resistant
- Highly flexible and easy to move in
- Very snug, comfortable fit
- Sizing runs a little small
The best choice for any man who needs to stay dry at work.
• Machine Washable
• Relaxed comfortable fit
• 100% Cotton
The best work pants for:
A totally relaxed, easy shift
Most of us don’t find work relaxing at all, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t feel at ease and calm when you’re putting in a shift.
Carhartt’s Relaxed Fit Dungaree Pants are absolutely ideal man for any man really wants to put comfort before everything else – though that’s not to say they’re not practical, too!
They also feature multiple tool and utility pockets, including a left-leg hammer loop which can prove particularly useful. Plus they’re plenty durable, with very fine but solid stitching, meaning you won’t have to constantly be repairing them.
Made from 100% cotton and feature a very soft, luxurious inner lining, they are supremely comfortable. And with their relaxed fit, they will put you at total ease.
It is worth noting though, that the sizing does skew small, and if you want to get the most comfort possible you should consider ordering a size up to make sure the waist fits appropriately.
They come in a decent range of colors, and particularly for big, built guys, these are a fantastic choice. They’re even machine washable and fit for a dryer, too!
- Extremely soft and comfortable fit
- Lots of space for storage, including a hammer loop
- Easy to look after and keep clean
- You have to order a size up!
A comfortable pair of work pants for men who want to feel relaxed on the job.
• Wrinkle resistant
• Stain release
• Flex fabric
The best work pants for:
Dickies have been making work pants for a long time, so they know a thing or two about the craft. You can really feel that when you wear these pants: they’re truly a cut above your average work pants, both in terms of quality, durability, and comfort.
While the belt loom is a little too small – which is a bit of a problem for many, and the one reason these aren’t no.1 on our list – they do fit a smaller belt, and if you can look past that issue, they offer a huge amount.
For example, they are made with Flex fabric which not only makes them incredibly easy to move in but also super comfortable for the whole day, never chafing or wearing on your legs or thighs.
They are also extremely durable and tough, lasting way longer than almost any other work pants we’ve come across and proving particularly great at surviving stains and liquids.
And they’re wrinkle-resistant, staying straight and clean where other pants would almost certainly give up.
Of course, they only come in a few colors, and their style is acceptable if not amazing. But let’s be real: when they’re tough like this, are you really gonna worry about how your work pants look?
- Super flexible and comfortable all-day
- Extremely durable and tough
- Wrinkle and stain resistance is unusual in work pants
- Belt loop is too small
A great pair of work pants let down by the bel buckle – otherwise, they’re a total home run.
• Deep front/back pockets
• 100% cotton
The best work pants for:
Another exceptional pair of work pants from Dickies, but this time we’re not just focusing on the quality of the pants – we’re focusing on the value they offer.
With the good name of Dickies, you can expect a certain level of construction and durability, which these pants absolutely deliver. They are lightweight carpenter pants with plenty of utility pockets and a hammer loop. But perhaps more importantly, they are a total steal at this price!
They are a more lightweight design, made from 100% cotton which makes them extremely comfortable. And if you’re a man looking for a deal, this is absolutely it.
From the brass rivets to triple-stitched seams, you’re getting a superior construction and material here, and the durability is as you’d expect from Dickies.
And while the fit is a little baggy for some, if you can get on board with that you’ll find these a serious contender.
- Price is very low for the quality
- Super lightweight and comfortable
- Plenty of space for tools and accessories
- Fit is pretty baggy and a little loose
Dickies work pants at a shocking price – brilliant.
• Teflon-treated fabric
• Fully gusseted construction
• Spacious Pockets
The best work pants for:
We’ve covered several pants already which are very flexible and great to move around in, but if flexibility is your number 1 priority, then 5.11’s pants should absolutely be top of your list.
From premium polyester (65%) with a gusseted inseam, they offer a level of flexibility – and comfort in that flexibility – which no other pair of work pants seems to offer.
So, if you need to move around and bend – kneeling, stretching, etc. – at work, these are for you. They won’t rip or tear, and they don’t even put any pressure on you as you stretch.
But that’s not all they offer: they’re also very comfortable, with supremely soft legs that feel almost like pillows. And the Teflon-treated fabric offers a protective finish that keeps them safe from liquids and soiling.
They’re also easy to clean and keep in good condition, which – combined with their durability – makes them an excellent investment, long term.
Plus they feature 8 spacious pockets for storage, with easy Velcro to keep your equipment safe.
The only real downside is their aesthetic, which is hardly appealing, and they offer no options in terms of color.
- Extremely flexible and easy to move in
- Highly durable and tough
- Easy to wash and maintain
- Not the best looking pants ever
The perfect work pants for moving around a lot and extending yourself.
• Multi-purpose tool pockets
• Extremely durable
• Scuff guards
The best work pants for:
Heavy-duty work calls for very specific qualities in pants, namely a level of durability and toughness which few pants can realistically offer. But if you’re in search of a pair to put to work at such a job, Caterpillar’s Trademark Pants are exactly what you need.
Regardless of how dirty, destructive, or harsh the environment you work in is, these pants will absolutely rise to the occasion and take whatever’s thrown at them.
With cordura on the outside and brushed fabric on the inside, you not only get that tough as boots exterior but real comfort and softness on your leg, making you feel totally in control.
And the ripper tape on the waistband keeps them fitting very tight – though some feel it’s too tight, and complain about overheating!
With the multi-purpose tool pockets, you have tons of space to keep your kit, and they offer easy access to the foldout pouches which are very durable and convenient.
They are also extremely easy to wear with even the biggest, toughest boots, as they feature a 20 inch opening with scuff guards to fit over your boots.
- Cordura is exceptionally tough
- Tool pockets are spacious and easy to reach for
- High-vis options available
- Some find the fit too tight
The perfect best heavy-duty work pants – tough, well designed, and tight-fitting.
• Modern look
• Wrinkle resistant
The best work pants for:
Looking cool on the job
Another mention for Carhartt, here – clearly, they’re doing something right over there. And these pants, rounding off our list, are easily the most stylish and ‘normal’ looking work pants we’ve found. So if that’s what you’re after, this is where they’re at!
While they look like normal, stylish pants – and can be easily worn to a traditional office or a building site – they are actually very effective outdoor work pants and can hold their own with plenty of the other pants on this list.
For one thing, they’re surprisingly tough considering they’re largely made from cotton, and can take a real beating without tearing or wearing out. Plus they’re wrinkle-resistant, so they’ll stay looking stylish even if they do take some shots.
They fight against stains, too, which is ideal if you’re wanting to stay presentable in a hardcore environment.
And not only that: they feature Rugged Flex technology, which makes them very flexible and easy to move in. And the fit – while some feel it’s a little too small – is very comfortable and snug for most.
Ultimately, these are the ‘professional’ pick for our list, and we’ve chosen them in part because they offer a perfect meeting of both worlds – they look stylish and modern, but can hold their own in the trenches. A great choice for managerial positions or very style-conscious men.
- Very stylish and relaxed modern style
- Can be worn to any kind of work
- Stain and wrinkle-resistant
- Sizing is a tough too small
Great looking, easy to wear professional work pants that will survive the elements.
The method to our madness: How we chose the best working pants for men
There aren’t just lots of work pants on the market – there are also lots of types of work pants. And with such a large category, we felt it was important that we work extra hard to try as many different products as possible.
Our process involved scouring the web for the very best regarded pants possible, then whittling that list down to a manageable size so that we could sample them all.
Once we’d actually tried these pants, we made sure that we were catering to as many different needs as possible – particularly with work pants, we were aware of how many different requirements our readers would have.
So the list you see here really is the best of the best, and while we feel we’ve made the right calls on every product, we realize there’s a chance we’ve missed something truly spectacular.
If that’s the case, please – as ever – feel free to let us know in the comment section!
4 Essential work pants accessories
As important as work pants are, it’s unlikely they’ll provide everything you need on the job. And that’s why it’s so important for you to have high-quality accessories to pair your pants with.
Here are 4 of the most important:
1. Utility Belt
Any man who’s needed a tape measure, a hammer, or virtually any hand tool knows exactly how irritating moving back and forth from a toolbox can be. But a utility belt solves that problem, allowing you to carry all of your equipment with you, saving a bunch of time and effort.
ToughBuilt’s Handyman Tool Belt Set is a godsend in this regard – it provides 10 pockets, with space for everything you could possibly need, and looks pretty damn cool at the same time.
2. Work Boots
Work boots are as foundational as work pants and in a number of jobs – particularly any construction job – you will struggle to get by without them. The price and quality of work boots range hugely though, so you must be really selective when choosing them.
We’ve looked at tons of great work boots in our special review of them, but our favorites at the moment are Caterpillar Men’s Second Shift Steel Toe Work Boots, which combine solid weighty construction with real durability and style.
3. Work Gloves
When you’re working with tough materials, your hands can take a beating. And while there might be something manly about rough, worn-out hands, most of us would prefer to avoid long-term damage.
That’s why a good pair of gloves is so important to have for work, and our current recommendation are the Ironclad General Utility Gloves, a really good all-rounder that won’t blow your budget and fit like a dream.
4. Work Jacket
Leather, denim – jackets tend to be pretty iconic. And while work jackets don’t tend to be as obviously cool, they are truly necessary for all sorts of jobs and scenarios.
High visibility jackets in particular are often mandatory, and can legitimately save your life. The New York High-Viz Bomber is a solid option here, boasting high quality, durable construction that will keep you safe for years to come.
Being in the know: 6 Different types of work pants
As we’ve discussed, work pants come in a variety of styles and modes. And while you’ll likely only need 1 or at most 2 different types, it’s always worth knowing a little more about what’s on offer.
So here are 6 different types of work pants:
1. Cargo pants
Cargo pants are probably the most common type of work pants, in part because they tend to be extremely comfortable.
They’ll usually have tons of pockets and loops, which are great for any guy who needs to have tools handy. And they tend to offer a loose fit which is snug and relaxing – particularly when you’re on your feet all day!
You’ll see men wearing these in all kinds of work, but particularly physical jobs like construction or handyman jobs like plumbers and electricians.
The main thing to look out for with cargo pants is excessive looseness.
2. Canvas pants
Somewhat similar aesthetically to cargo pants, canvas pants differ in an important way: they are made with stained and wrinkle-resistant fabric, which makes them ideal for any job where things are likely to get messy.
The fit tends to be less relaxed than cargo pants, too, and they tend to be highly breathable.
3. Carpenter pants
There are no prizes for guessing what line of work carpenter pants tend to be worn for, though they’re actually great for any number of jobs that involve lots of reaching and flexing for tools.
Made with extremely flexible and durable material, they’re very adaptable and tough, allowing you to really get down and dirty with whatever job you’re working on.
They also tend to feature a lot of loops, pouches, and pockets, which makes them very versatile.
4. Cordura pants
Cordura pants, shockingly, are made from cordura, which is an exceptionally tough material – very difficult to tear, even if you really, really try.
They often look quite a lot like combat trousers and are ideal for anyone who has physical activity as part of their everyday work.
Because they’re so tough, cordura pants are particularly great for men who want to buy a single pair of work pants and not have to worry about replacing them.
Dungarees are definitely a ‘function over fashion’ choice, but the truth is they can be extremely useful on the job, particularly if you have to wear boots with them.
With their wide leg openings and the ease of movement they provide, it can be super relaxing to slip on a pair of dungarees and just get at it. Plus they tend to be made from tough denim which won’t snag, however much you have to bend.
6. Cheap jeans
While they’re not strictly speaking ‘work pants’, cheap jeans are a very popular choice for men to work in – in large part because they’re durable and easy, and most men have old pairs lying around anyway.
While they don’t offer the benefits of other pants on this list, guys tend to feel at ease in their old jeans, and especially if they’re likely to get them dirty or damaged, it can be reassuring to know that you’re only damaging some cheap old jeans, anyway.
Frequently asked questions
What are the best work pants?
As we’ve discussed, this depends on many factors, including the line of work you’re in and your personal preferences. As you can see from our list, there are many great options on the market, and we’ve done our best to include only the absolute best – so that’s a pretty useful start for you!
What are the best work pants for hot weather?
In hot weather, you want loose-fitting, breathable work pants that will give you plenty of flexibility and keep you cool. Our list features several great options, but our top pick would be CQR Men’s Tactical Pants, which are as light and breezy as you could want.
What pants work best in the rain?
FREE SOLDIER Men’s Army Cargo Work Pants are the best work pants to wear in the rain. They are totally waterproof, and because of their construction and durability, they’ll not only keep you warm and safe but also resist any damage tough climates might cause in lesser pants.
What are the best breathable work pants?
In our opinion, CQR Men’s Tactical Pants combine breathability and comfort with the quality of construction.
However, there are several other works pants on our list which are also highly breathable, so feel free to consult the entire list and decide which seems most appealing to you.
Now you’ve seen our list, we’d love to hear about your own choices.
What do you like to wear for work? Have you tried anything from our list? What did you think?
Let us know in the comments below.