Which fleece jackets are best?

If you enjoy being proactive about prepping for the cooler months ahead, a versatile fleece jacket will be an excellent addition to your closet, especially in areas where the weather may be unpredictable. It is crucial to layer properly during the fall and winter and not weigh yourself down with heavier clothing options.

The best jacket for you depends on which features best complement your lifestyle and current weather conditions. For example, if you’re planning a hike in the mountains or woods on a misty day, then you will want to get a mid-weight fleece that is both breathable and waterproof, like the Columbia Bugaboo II Fleece Jacket.

What to consider before buying a fleece jacket


Microfleeces are usually the most lightweight outerwear material you can buy but have a low level of insulation compared to other fleeces. However, since they aren’t very thick, you can do physical activities without much restriction. Midweight fleeces are the most common type and are thick enough to be used as an outer layer in cooler environments. 

Heavyweight fleeces are best suited to be used in freezing weather. Still, they can limit your range of motion and exercise capabilities. Overheating can be an issue if used in warmer weather. The textured fleece is similar to heavyweight ones, except their patterns allow them to be dressed up or down depending on the occasion.


Although fleeces can be worn by people of any gender, they’re still usually divided into fleece jackets for women and fleece jackets for men. Sizing varies between these, so a men’s large is likely to be bigger than a women’s large. You can also buy fleece jackets for kids in youth sizes. 

Colors and prints

You can find fleeces in a wide range of solid colors, as well as a variety of prints. If you like basic, muted hues, you’ll always be able to find a fleece in black or gray. However, you can also find bright hues, like red or neon orange, and bold prints, such as leopard print or polka dot. 


Fleece is a long-lasting material. It washes and dries well, so it stays in good condition for a long time. Some jackets are longer-lasting than others. A cheap fleece might last a few winters, while a more expensive North Face fleece jacket might last a decade. 

Fleece-lined jackets

In addition to standard fleece jackets, you can also find fleece-lined jackets. These usually consist of waterproof outer shells with inner fleece linings. Fleece-lined jackets are sometimes one-piece, but you can often find versions where you can unzip the fleece from the outer shell. This lets you wear them as fleece-lined jackets or individually, wearing either just the fleece or just the waterproof shell. 


While the jacket brand isn’t inherently important, you’re more likely to get a quality jacket from a high-end brand. For example, you could expect a North Face fleece jacket or a Columbia fleece to be of better quality than one from an unknown brand. That said, if you rely on brand name alone, you can have an unpleasant surprise. Even big name brands sometimes make poor quality products. As such, you should avoid buying a product based on name recognition alone. It’s a good idea to check customer reviews before making a purchase. 


The fit of your jacket is just as important as how comfortable it is. Many will utilize stretchable fabric that allows for a full range of motion. At the same time, some that feature a combination of different materials will adjust to your body’s unique shape for ultimate comfort. The shape and thickness of fleece will also determine whether or not the jacket will be easy to pack. You can usually find a range of cuts and fits, including classic cuts, slim fits and oversized fits. 

Fleece jacket features


Hoods can provide protection from the elements and keep you warm and conveniently fit under helmets if you go biking or climbing. Hoods also offer some protection from rain showers, although fleeces aren’t waterproof.

Zipper styles

When looking for a fleece, you will notice two different zips available. A full-zip is similar to a jacket fit, while a quarter-zip fits similarly to a jumper. Quarter-zip fleeces may be referred to as fleece pullovers. Some people find fleece pullovers warmer because there’s less zipper for wind to get through. However, others find full-zip fleeces more versatile than fleece pullovers. 

Adjustable hems

Adjustable hems tighten with a toggle to trap heat. This is a feature to note if you want to create a more windproof layer that acts as a barrier against the elements. 

Anti-pill treatment

Most fleeces will also have an anti-pill treatment done to the fabric so that you can maintain quality. Fleece pullovers and jackets that pill heavily start looking worn and tired more quickly than those that don’t pill significantly. 


Pockets are useful for carrying essentials, such as your keys and phone, while you’re out and about. Some fleeces have zippered pockets, which keep your items more secure than those without zippers. Pockets may be lined with a different fabric to protect your hands from the elements. Front pockets will also accommodate any necessities you need to bring along the way.

How much does a fleece jacket cost?

Depending on your jacket’s thickness and features, prices can vary from moderately expensive to pricey. Most brands will cost $15-$250 due to varying lengths, linings, versatility and fabric capabilities.

Fleece jacket FAQ

What kind of material is fleece?

A. Fleece is an artificial cloth considered an ideal mid-layer due to it being lightweight, soft and warm. Whether you’re taking an outdoor stroll or mountain climbing, a fleece will perform similar functions regardless of style or design. 

What different types of fleeces are there?

A. Made from 100% polyester, each jacket will have unique types of weight and appearances that range from textured, microfleece, heavyweight and mid-weight. You will want to remember which category you’re searching for when shopping.

How does fleece weight affect activities?

A. Before purchasing a fleece, you should consider which outdoor activity you will participate in. 100g/m² is great for intense sports that require more activity, such as running or climbing. 200g/m² will offer the most breathability when at rest and an underneath waterproof mid-layer. 300g/m² should be used for frigid weather and are best for winter walks and expeditions.

Best fleece jackets for women

Top fleece jacket

Best Columbia Bugaboo II Fleece Jacket

Columbia Bugaboo II Fleece Jacket

What you need to know: This is a very practical option thanks to the jacket featuring a three-in-one design.

What you’ll love: You can wear the jacket’s inner fleece and the outer layer as two separate clothing pieces. The outer layer is made of 100% nylon and is completely waterproof.

What you should consider: This is one of the most expensive options on the market.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top fleece jacket for the money

Best Columbia Womens Benton Springs Fleece Hoodie

Columbia Women’s Benton Springs Fleece Hoodie 

What you need to know: This cozy option features a range of colors and a long design for extra coverage.  

What you’ll love: A mid-weight fleece, it features a front zipper closure, a soft hood and two zippered pockets. It has a high collar for extra warmth. 

What you should consider: The hood, which doesn’t come with strings for securing it, may not stay on well if it’s a windy day. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Best Helly-Hansen Kids Daybreaker Full-Zip Fleece Jacket

Helly-Hansen Kids Daybreaker Full-Zip Fleece Jacket

What you need to know: This choice has a moisture-wicking inner layer, while the outer layer features various designs and colors.

What you’ll love: The fabric consists of 100% Merino wool for extra warmth. The chin guard feature helps with additional heat retention. The flatlock seams prevent snagging on the jacket.

What you should consider: Some reviewers mention that incorrect sizes have been shipped to them.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Best Columbia Mens Steens Mountain 2.0 Full Zip Fleece Jacket

Columbia Men’s Steens Mountain 2.0 Full Zip Fleece Jacket

What you need to know: Well-constructed and super soft, this jacket is great for layering under a waterproof jacket or wearing as an outer layer. 

What you’ll love: It’s available in five muted color combinations, including collegiate navy, black and charcoal heather. The side pockets have zippers to help keep your belongings safe. It’s machine-washable and quick-drying. 

What you should consider: The zippers feel a little cheap and flimsy, considering the brand’s overall quality. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

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Ashton Hughes writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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