Carhartt Apron vs. Hedley & Bennett Apron: Which Will Win Out?

Hedley & Bennett

It’s no secret that we’re fans of a well made apron, and a Carhartt apron is we must say, pretty stand-up. Our founder Ellen Bennett was inspired to start Hedley and Bennet because of the terrible aprons she found herself wearing in restaurant kitchens, that tore and stained at the drop of a hat. That’s why our aprons are designed to last—and look cute doing it!

But recently, we’ve started hearing more about the culinary possibilities of the Carhartt tool apron design. While most of us picture a Carhartt nail apron wearer in a workshop, rather than a kitchen, we were intrigued by the possibilities. Could this be our new (second) favorite apron brand? We tried on their most popular models to find out.

Category One: Sturdiness

The classic Carhartt duck nail apron design has a reputation for sturdiness, and they’re not afraid to put their money where their mouth is! One thing we noticed immediately was that each Carhartt work apron comes with the same guarantees you get with your Hedley & Bennett apron purchase—that as long as you’re using it for its intended purpose (ie not putting out kitchen fires), we stand behind our products for life. We love their commitment to sustainability, and the fact that they share our commitment to making high quality products that last a lifetime.

However, we couldn’t help but think that their repair process is a lot more complicated than ours!

If you tear a hole in your Carhartt carpenter apron, you may have to fix it yourself. The company sells patch kits, buttons, and zippers, so you can DIY yourself a solution—if you have the time and know how necessary to repair it yourself, or are ready to call in a favor with a craft loving friend. A little bit annoying, but no big deal if you’re the handy type. If you rip your Carhartt wip apron beyond repair, you can also mail it to them to be fixed, paying for postage yourself, and wait at least a month for your damaged apron to be returned.

We love their commitment to making it easy to fix your Carhartt aprons, but Hedley & Bennett’s process is way easier. All you need to do is snap a photo of the damage caused by normal wear and tear, and if your apron qualifies for replacement we’ll send a brand new one your way, that should last you for life, no handiness necessary. Yep, it’s that easy! 

Category Two: Style

Carhartt aprons are all about simplicity. Typing “Carhartt apron black” into Google will get you just that, a basic black no frills apron that gets the job done, and the ever popular Carhartt guinness apron keeps that somber tone with some light branding from everyone’s favorite brew. Basic black, and definitely basic, with no frills like our built-in towel loop, or intuitive pocket design that allows you the room to store all your favorite ingredients and supplies.

A Carhartt wip canvas apron is great if you’re looking for an apron design that’s fairly all purpose, with little excitement but a great classic silhouette. However, they tend to sell just one style at a time, and rarely switch up designs, meaning that if you don’t like the particular look on offer you’re likely out of luck. Hedley & Bennett aprons offer a little more variety. We love to design aprons that work perfectly for every type of chef, so you can easily discover the perfect apron for you! 

Of course, we have aprons in every solid color you could dream of, from staples like midnight blue and the sun kissed gold of our popular Denver apron, to playful grape purple and vivid bordeaux. And then, there are the patterns! Polkadots, florals, and even tie dye—we’ve got em all! That’s not to mention collabs with brilliant pop culture icons like Sesame Street and The Grateful Dead. Our aprons let you express your personality and style more than the simplicity of the monochrome Carhartt kitchen apron allows.

Category Three: Size Inclusivity

Carhartt work aprons take the one size fits all approach to styling. Their aprons are unisex and one size fits all, so a Carhartt apron womens design is cut no differently than the largest Carhartt barber apron. This is perfect if you’re someone who’s comfortable wearing an apron that has an easy but imprecise fit, but we found in our testing that it didn’t quite get the job done. 

Each design in our apron line was created to promote inclusivity, so we intentionally make apron options that work for every body! While we have kids aprons and an extra roomy big apron design for those who prefer a more voluminous cut, you don’t need to seek out a special size because the adjustability is built in to any apron you purchase—especially the classic crossback apron.

Our ever popular crossback design is not only comfortable, it’s designed to fit you perfectly whatever your body type, adjusting to accommodate any height, width, or curve. This automatic size inclusivity makes it easy to wear your Hedley & Bennett however you please, and share it with your fellow chefs, whatever their size. More cooks in the kitchen = more fun!

Category Four: Versatility

It’s hard to beat a Carhartt black apron when it comes to taking on the toughest tasks. While we like to think that a Hedley & Bennett waxman apron is just as ready to handle rough and tumble tasks like hunting, cooking over a campfire, or serving as a work apron, there’s a reason the Carhartt duck apron has such a great reputation as a classic shop apron. They’re seriously tough designs inspired by blue collar grit.

We can’t help but think, however, that what Carhartt has in a reputation for toughness, they somewhat lack in versatility. There’s something a little incongruous about the thought of icing fluffy cupcakes or preparing a souffle in a Carhartt cooking apron, and while the Carhartt brown apron is a classic look, it only goes so far.

When Hedley and Bennett approaches apron design, we pride ourselves on leading with versatility. Our aprons can be found everywhere, from shop floors to bodegas, from tableside at the finest of fine dining kitchens to slaving over a hot stove in homes the world over. Our aprons can go anywhere, do anything, and get the job done, a trait we work hard to achieve.

Plus, that waxman? Instead of the cotton Carhartt uses, it’s built from nearly indestructible thick waxed canvas, a leather towel loop, and antique brass hardware that’s built to last.

Category FIve: Comfort

Last but not least, let's talk about comfort. Boasting about wearing the roughest, toughest Carhartt a09 duck nail apron in town is all very well, but how does it actually feel? 

Any apron Carhartt designs puts toughness first—a trait that helps them fit right in at construction sites and machine shops, just like our ultra substantial waxman design. But unlike our aprons, that toughness means that the carhartt duck nail apron a09 is lacking in coziness. The super stiff material means that you’re aware at all times that you’re working, making it a less than ideal option for working in your workshop, or unwinding over a good meal at home.

We’ve built a catalog of apron designs as comfortable as they’re hard working, so you can sit down with a good book while your cake bakes, or go out on the terrace for the worry free enjoyment of a glass of red wine as you wait to baste your barbecue ribs. We’ve even had reviewers tell us they wear their aprons to the grocery store or farmer’s market, or keep them on in the garden to avoid getting mud on their clothes. It’s the kind of comfortable design that’s hard to remember to take off—but so far, we haven’t heard any reports of Hedley & Bennett fans wearing our aprons to bed!

When it comes to comfort, it’s hard to beat a Hedley & Bennett apron.

Our Takeaway

There’s no denying that the design of the Carhartt men's duck nail apron is a workshop classic. But while we’re here for their amazing work pants, overalls, and yep, even those beloved beanies, after spending some time exploring our options we think we’ll stick with Hedley & Bennett designs.

Not only are Hedley & Bennett’s aprons comfortable and substantial (peep that lifetime guarantee!), we loved the built-in flexibility they offer. With such a wide range of designs and sizes, you’re sure to find a style that’s perfect for your personality and body type. Plus, our commitment to sturdiness and our lifetime guarantee means that you’ll never have to worry about losing out on practicality at the expense of good looks. Hedley & Bennett does it all!

That doesn’t mean we don’t still like a good Carhartt shop apron in the right time and place. Maybe a potential collab is on the horizon—email us, Carhartt folks! And in the meantime, shop our most popular aprons now to find the perfect design to suit your style.