The 9 Best Ear Warmers of 2021

Keep your ears toasty in style

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For the outdoor enthusiast hoping to maintain their active lifestyle in the cold winter months, it might be time to consider purchasing ear warmers. With a wide range of styles available on the market, this small piece of gear can be a game-changer in keeping you warm and insulated.

Whether you're hitting the slopes, heading out for a long bike ride, or pounding the pavement by foot, there are different ear warmer styles that can meet your needs. Given the range of fabrics and designs out there, we’ve rounded up some options for you to scope out.

Here are the best ear warmers on the market.

Our Top Picks
This double-layer fleece headband comes in multiple colors at an affordable price point.
With a plush trim, this anti-slip option is made with recycled material, making it a purchase you can feel good about.
Stay prepared for unpredictable weather in this headband, which can be layered under a helmet and worn reversed for a new shade.
This multipack of ear warmers showcases five different colors for every chilly weekday.
Constructed with a stretchy fabric, it's adjustable and customizable while providing maximum coverage.
Protect your ears from the wind and minimize pesky flyaways with Turtle Fur's unisex fleece headband.
Crafted from a thick merino wool that provides protection from the elements, it can fit comfortably under a helmet.
Offers water and wind resistance with an ergonomic cut and a low-profile ponytail port.
It offers Bluetooth capability and a moisture-wicking QuantumHeat lining in a washable material.

Best Overall for Men: Turtle Fur Adult Double Layer Headband

Turtle Fur Adult Double Layer Headband
Pros
  • Unisex

  • Multiple colorways

  • Extra warmth

Cons
  • Less trim detail

Since 1982, Turtle Fur has been a leading outdoor headwear and accessories brand. With this history, it comes as no surprise that their Adult Double Layer Headband really delivers a high-quality product.

This fleece headband comes in multiple colorways and provides added warmth with its double-layer design. With easy care instructions, a seriously affordable price point, and versatility, it will keep your ears warm during any outdoor activity.

Size: One size fits all | Materials: Fleece | Care: Machine wash

Best Overall for Women: Patagonia Women's Re-Tool Fleece Headband

Patagonia Women's Re-Tool Fleece Headband
Pros
  • Multiple colorways

  • Fair Trade-certified sewn

  • Quick-drying

Cons
  • One size

  • Narrow band

The Patagonia Women’s Re-Tool Fleece Headband offers the ideal balance of function and luxury. The incredibly soft high-pile fleece will keep your ears warm during any outdoor activity while the plush microdenier fleece trim ensures it stays in place.

With deep-pile polyester fleece that has extra-long fibers, you’ll be able to retain warmth and brave the cold. And if you plan on getting really active and breaking a sweat, this headband is moisture-wicking and quick-drying. To top it off, you can feel good about this product as it is Fair Trade-certified sewn and Bluesign approved.

Size: One size fits all | Materials: Polyester, fleece | Care: Machine wash

Best Unisex: Smartwool Merino 250 Reversible Headband

Smartwool Merino Headband 250
Pros
  • Reversible

  • Easy care

  • High-quality fabric

Cons
  • Limited colorways

  • Might be too wide for some

For anyone scoping out unisex ear warmers, the Smartwool Merino 250 Reversible Headband is perfect for use in high aerobic activities on winter days. The 3.8-inch wide band is made with Merino wool fabric that is breathable and warm—ensuring your head won't overheat.

Smartwool designed this as one size fits all with a double-layer interlock knit construction and clean-finish seams. Making your purchase all the more worthwhile, the headband is reversible and offered in two different colorways including Black/Charcoal Heather and Sunset Coral Heather/Woodsmoke.

Size: One size fits all | Materials: Merino wool | Care: Machine wash

Best Budget: The Lakeside Collection Cold Weather Earbands

The Lakeside Collection Cold Weather Earbands
Pros
  • Multiple colors

  • Comes with five warmers

  • Well-insulated

Cons
  • Not unisex

  • Better for casual activities

If you're in the market for budget-friendly ear warmers or just want to test them out without making a big investment, this value pack is a solid choice. This affordable set includes five warmers in different colors (pink, black, light blue, white, and burgundy).

With a compact profile, these are easy to transport and can be used for a range of outdoor activities. They are one size fits all and a wider style that ensures maximum coverage against the cold weather.

Size: One size fits all | Materials: Polyester | Care: Machine wash

Best for Running: Nike Women's Seamless Headband

Nike Women's Seamless Headband
Pros
  • Wide band

  • Seamless construction

  • Good for cycling

Cons
  • One size

  • Less warmth

For the committed runner, the Nike Women’s Seamless Headband is an ideal option for staying warm in the cold winter months. “Headbands provide more coverage and warmth to your ears and head," says Liz Crafford, CPT, CNC, and RRCA Run Coach. "For women, headbands are also helpful for keeping hair out of the face during activity.”

This Nike headband accomplishes all of that. Coming in at 3 inches wide with seamless construction, it provides maximum coverage. The stretchy fabric and style make it adjustable and easy to customize.

Size: One size fits all | Materials: Viscose, nylon, spandex | Care: Machine wash

Best for Skiing: Turtle Fur Chelonia Fleece Headband

Turtle Fur Chelonia 150 Headband
Pros
  • Affordable

  • Unisex

  • Multiple of colorways

Cons
  • One size

  • No adjustment

It comes as no surprise that Turtle Fur’s Chelonia 150 Classic is an optimal design for hitting the slopes and staying warm as you ski. The universal fit has just enough stretch and coverage for most men and women. Plus it comes in a wide assortment of fun colors. 

Turtle Fur’s Chelonia 150 Fleece is one of the softest and warmest you’ll find, and it's quick-drying which is ideal for a long day on the mountain. The fleece is also itch-free making it a great option to hug your ears and sit comfortably under a helmet or goggles. To top things off, Turtle Fur launched #Projectwarmth in which if you share a photo wearing your Turtle Fur project and tag them in the caption, they’ll send a hat or cold weather accessory to someone in need.

Size: One size fits all | Material: Polyester, fleece | Care: Machine wash

Best for Cycling: Rapha Merino Headband

Rapha Merino Headband
Pros
  • Breathable

  • Generous repair program

  • Durable design

Cons
  • Not unisex

  • One colorway

For the avid cyclist interested in ear warmers for cold weather rides, look no further than the Merino Headband from premier cycling apparel company Rapha. This headband is a great thickness that provides protection from the elements while still fitting comfortably beneath your helmet.

The soft merino wool won’t bother your skin after a long ride, and the generous width will keep the back of your neck warm. To boost your confidence even more, Rapha is not only known for the high quality of their products but they also stand behind a generous repair and replacement program.

Size: One size fits all | Material: Merino wool | Care: Hand wash cool

Best for a Ponytail: Pearl iZUMi Barrier Headband

Pearl iZUMi Barrier Headband
Pros
  • Unisex

  • Reflective elements

  • Ponytail port

Cons
  • One colorway

PEARL iZUMi's Barrier Headband is an ideal option for anyone looking for ear warmers that can also accommodate a ponytail. The headband has a P.R.O. Barrier fabric panel across the forehead that creates wind protection and water resistance. There is also thermal dry fabric that provides optimal moisture transfer, dry time, and odor absorption all of which enables warmth.

With an ergonomic cut and a low-profile ponytail port, this headband can fit underneath a helmet and easily accommodates a ponytail. There are reflective elements on the headband which add extra protection.

Size: One size fits all | Material: Polyester | Care: Machine wash

Best Bluetooth: 180s Exolite Earwarmer

180s Exolite Earwarmers
Pros
  • Compact

  • Travel pouch included

  • Good for cyclists

Cons
  • Narrow headband

  • One size

  • Harder to clean

If you’re looking for ear warmers that also offer Bluetooth capability, the 180s Exolite Earwarmer packs a serious punch. The patented behind-the-head design will fit comfortably over your ears and allow you to wear these with your cycling helmet or even under a hat if you need that extra layer in extreme temps.

The sleek frame is compact and collapses easily making them ideal for quick storage and transport. However, they don’t sacrifice warmth given the moisture-wicking QuantumHeat lining. And while they might be high-tech, these ear warmers are still easy to care for and washable when the speakers are removed.

Size: One size fits all | Material: Polyester, nylon, spandex | Care: Washable (when speakers are removed)

Final Verdict

For men looking to warm up with a pair of ear warmers, the Turtle Fur Adult Double Layer Headband (view at Dick's Sporting Goods) really delivers a perfect combination of comfort and function. Whether you'll be running, skiing, or cycling in the cold, this product will keep your ears warm with Turtle Fur’s incredibly soft fleece.

Women gearing up for outdoor activities should consider the Patagonia Women’s Re-Tool Fleece Headband (view at Dick's Sporting Goods) for adding an extra layer of added warmth. With a design that will not only keep your ears warm but your hair out of your face, Patagonia uses a polyester-fleece blend that is Fair Trade-certified sewn and Bluesign approved—so you can feel good in more ways than one.

What to Look for in Ear Warmers

Fit

With such a wide range of styles on the market, it’s important to think about what ear warmers will meet your outdoor needs. "Fit is so important," says Jeff Tissue, HIIT Fitness Instructor and Running Coach. "Ultimately you wouldn't want them to be too tight or loose for obvious reasons."

As you browse, it's helpful to keep sizing, width, and seams in mind. Liz Crafford, CPT, CNC, and RRCA Run Coach, encourages buyers to consider how the ear warmers hug your ears as they shouldn't constrict or add too much pressure to them. "Coverage is key, so when considering an ear warmer, make sure the band is wide enough to provide full coverage to your ears," she adds. 

Material

The materials used in the ear warmers are another key factor to consider. "Look for breathable, moisture-wicking, and stretchy materials that will allow for maximum comfort throughout your activity and exercise,” says Crafford. Materials can even impact the fit of the ear warmers. “Some brands offer grips on the inside of the ear warmer which are a great addition to avoid slipping,” she notes.

Care

It’s likely these ear warmers will encounter some wear and tear so the least fussy the care instructions for cleaning the better. Crafford says you want to find ones that are machine-washable and ones that won't stretch or shrink.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How to wear ear warmers?

    Generally speaking, most ear warmers are one size fits all and designed with relatively flexible fabric. Ear warmers are a great product for keeping warm in colder temps because they keep your extremities from getting cold. Depending on how thick they are, in the extreme cold ear warmers can be layered under a hat or helmet if needed.

  • How to clean ear warmers?

    Cleaning will likely vary based on the fabric and whether there is any technology incorporated in the design. Many standard fabric ear warmers are easy to care for and machine-washable. The drying instructions seem to vary by brand. When in doubt and as a general rule of thumb, we encourage you to read the care instructions on the label.

  • How to measure your head for ear warmers?

    To get the proper measurements for ear warmers, take a measuring tape or even a piece of string and measure all the way around your head. Be sure to measure the place on your head that you plan to wear the ear warmers.

    Tissue notes that you should also consider any additional gear you may be wearing such as a helmet or earbuds for workouts. Given that they are typically one size fits all, you may need to try a few styles and fabrics before figuring out which one actually fits your head.

Why Trust Verywell Fit?

A health and wellness enthusiast, researcher, and writer, Melissa Forrester is careful to only recommend products that actually work to her readers. Melissa understands the importance of selecting and investing in proper equipment to help elevate your performance and achieve your fitness goals.

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