If you’re a professional painter, you know that a great pair of work pants can improve your workflow. With the right set of pockets, you can forgo a tool belt and carry everything you need right in your pants. But how do you find the pair of painter pants that will best meet your needs?
We know that you have better things to do than shop for pants, so we’re here to simplify your shopping experience. We’ve tested all of the major brands and put together this ranked list of the seven best painter pants available in 2019. For each brand, we’ve written detailed reviews, comparing price, material, pockets, durability, and fit so that you can shop confidently. And if you’re wondering about the merits of the various features, take a look at our handy buyer’s guide, which will walk you through your options.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
The 5 Best Painter Pants – Reviews 2020
1. Portwest Painters Trousers Work Pants – Best Overall
Our top pick is the reasonably-priced Painters Trousers Work Pants from Portwest. These durable cargo-style pants offer a great set of pockets and even have built-in sun protection.
In testing, we found that the painter pants from Portwest were comfortable and flexible. They come in white with a choice of regular or tall fit. There’s a half-elastic waist, which is comfortable and eliminates the need for a separate belt.
These pants have two side pockets, a rear pocket, a lower leg pocket, and a ruler pocket. They also have convenient knee pad pockets, though you’ll have to buy compatible knee pads separately. Our favorite feature was the UPF 50 sun protection.
2. Dickies Men’s Relaxed-fit Painter’s Utility Pant – Best Value
If you’re working with a tighter budget, we recommend Dickies Men’s Relaxed-Fit Painter’s Utility Pants as the best painter pants for the money.
These utility pants, made from cotton woven into a durable twill pattern, are machine-washable and come in a choice of white or off-white colors. The price is very reasonable. The straight leg fits well over boots, and the seams are triple-stitched and felled.
There are front, back, and side pockets, including a deep ruler pocket, along with two hammer loops. We found that these pants felt less durable overall, and the cotton, though breathable, didn’t hold up well to heavy-duty work. The fit also isn’t great, and the pants don’t have knee pad pockets or any extra knee reinforcement.
3. Blaklader Painter Pants – Premium Choice
If you have room in your budget, you may prefer the Blaklader Painter Pants, which come at a higher price but have excellent, reinforced pockets and a more stylish design.
We found these painter pants fairly attractive, with a sporty design. They have many useful features, including a reinforced ruler pocket with pen and knife slots, hammer loops, a sturdy metal fly zip, and optional reinforced nail pockets, which can be placed inside the front pockets. They’re also compatible with knee pads and include a work bandana.
Though these pants are more expensive, they have quite a few useful features. We did find that they weren’t very breathable and may be too hot to wear while working in the summer.
4. TMG Style Work Pants
The TMG Style Work Pants are made of durable, breathable materials and have many useful pockets but are also very expensive and don’t fit especially well.
These two-tone painter pants come in a range of colors and are fully machine-washable. They’re made of cotton and polyester, meaning they’re both durable and breathable, and the knee pad pockets are made of the company’s extra-sturdy CORDURA fabric, which is a resistant polyamide form of nylon.
These pants have a large side pocket, a double folding rule pocket, knee pad and thigh pockets, and two back pockets with hook and loop fasteners. If you work at night, you may appreciate the reflective stripes on the pockets and lower legs. We found that these pants don’t fit particularly well, and the knee pad pockets are too low to be useful.
5. Rugged Blue Painters Pants
Rugged Blue’s 5250-01-30×34 Painters Pants are a low-cost 100% cotton option with significant drawbacks.
These cotton pants are not pre-shrunk, so they may shrink quite a bit when you wash them. They have hammer loops, tool pockets, and back pockets, though we found the pockets too short for many useful tools. You don’t get a choice of color, and the thin material, though lightweight, isn’t strong enough for heavy-duty outdoor work.
In testing, we found that the zippers were likely to fall off and the pants didn’t fit well. Though the price is low, these pants are not strong enough for serious painting work, and the lack of knee pad pockets is very inconvenient.
Now that you’ve seen our list of the seven best painter pants on the market, it’s time to pick your pair. But which brand will work best for you? Keep reading for our detailed guide to the features you’ll want to look for.
Pants designed for painting are typically made of either 100% cotton or a cotton and polyester blend. Cotton is a lightweight, breathable material that’s easy to wash and comfortable on your skin. It’s not as durable for heavy-duty use, though. A more durable form of cotton, which is often found in work clothes, is twilled cotton, which has been woven into a pattern of small ribs called twills. This reinforces the fabric, extending its life and resisting rips.
A good balance of breathable and durable can be blended fabrics. If you choose a pair of pants made of a blend of cotton and polyester, you’ll get the benefits of each material: lightweight breathability from the cotton and tough durability from the polyester.
The seams on your painter pants will also make a big difference in their durability. Even if your pants are made of durable fabric, if the seams aren’t well-sewn, they’ll fall apart with frequent use. The strongest seams are triple-stitched, meaning they’ve been sewn three times. They may also be felled, where the raw edge of the seam is folded into the fabric. Felled seams won’t fray and will, therefore, last quite a bit longer.
The pockets are a key feature of your painter pants. If you choose a pair with durable, well-designed pockets, you won’t have to carry heavy tool belts or kits. You may want to consider what tools you typically carry while painting, like rulers, phones, or nails, and choose a brand that’s designed for those tools. For example, many utility pants have hammer loops, which will allow you to hang a hammer from them.
Do you need to protect your knees while you work? You may want pants that can accommodate knee pads. Many of the models we reviewed have pockets that are designed to hold knee pads, though you’ll have to buy the inserts separately, and you’ll want to pay attention to the dimensions.
If your pants don’t have knee pockets, another good option is reinforced knee fabric. This will extend the life of your pants, keeping them from ripping or wearing out if you work on your knees.
If you frequently work in the dark, you may be interested in additional features like sewn-in reflective stripes, which will make you more visible to cars and pedestrians. If you often carry nails, knives, or other sharp objects, you may want to look for reinforced pockets that won’t easily get ripped or cut. And if you work in strong sun, you may want sun-blocking features like built-in UPF which is ultraviolet protection factor. A UPF rating of 50+ will block almost 100% of the sun’s damaging ultraviolet rays.
The results are in! Our top pick is the Portwest Painters Trousers Work Pants, which are comfortable and flexible, with plenty of useful pockets and built-in sun protection. If you’re shopping on a budget, you may be interested in Dickies Men’s Relaxed-Fit Painter’s Utility Pants, which offer great value, as breathable cotton twill painter pants with deep pockets. Are you looking for a premium pair of pants? Take a look at the high-end Blaklader Painter Pants, which are stylish and have durable reinforced pockets.
The right pair of painter pants can make your work as a painter much easier. We hope this list of the seven best painter pants, complete with comprehensive reviews and a detailed guide to the available features, helps you find a great pair in no time.
Featured Image Credit By: TMG Style Work Pants for Men, Amazon