Many beekeepers choose a full-length suit when they first start out. However, full suits can be uncomfortable, difficult to move in, and very hot. After a few years of wearing a full a suit, I decided to switch to a bee jacket instead.
I think a bee jacket with hat and veil is a great alternative if you want to give yourself a high level of protection, while staying at a more comfortable temperature and giving yourself that extra degree of maneuverability.
I’ve put together a list of suitable choices for anyone looking for a new bee jacket. All the jackets listed below are suitable for both men and women, and come in a variety of sizes from XS to at least XL. I’ve sorted the choice into categories – best bee jacket overall, best for hot weather, best for rain, best for a beginner, and the best budget option. You’re sure to find a jacket that suits your needs on the list.
Please note: Some of the products in this article contain affiliate links. This means, at no extra cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you click the link and make a purchase.
Summary – Best Bee Jackets
|Best Overall||Ultra Breeze Beekeeping Jacket|
|Best Budget (Under $60)||Forest Beekeeping Supply Jacket|
|Best For Beginners||Humble Bee 310 Beekeeping Jacket|
|Best For Hot Weather||Humble Bee 320 Aero Beekeeping Jacket|
|Best For Rain/Bad Weather||Mann Lake Weathertek Pollinator Jacket|
What To Consider When Buying A Bee Jacket
If you do decide to buy a bee jacket, there are some characteristics you’ll need to consider. These include:
Protection is the primary function of a bee jacket. You want something that has a thick enough material (and enough layers) to protect you from stings. No jacket will keep bee stings out completely, but some are much better than others.
One particularly important area when it comes to remaining protected is the hat and veil. Bees tend to attack the face more than other parts of the body. You want to make sure the jacket keeps the veil away from your face so bees can’t sting you through it.
Make no mistake – wearing heavy protective clothing is uncomfortable. It can get extremely hot and make it a burden to move around freely. Of course, wearing no protective clothing will make things more comfortable… but you’ll be left at risk of getting stung.
It’s up to you to decide how you want to balance risk vs comfort when choosing your protective clothing. However, in my opinion, its best if you’re a beginner to lean more towards protection than comfort until you get more experience.
A quality bee jacket is an investment and should last for many years. A lot of jackets these days are quite poorly made, with cheap zippers that get stuck and ultra-thin material that provides no protection whatsoever.
It’s important not to cut corners with a bee jacket because your safety is at stake. I recommend buying the best quality jacket you can comfortably afford, then taking proper care of it so it lasts you years.
Jackets can range in price from the very cheap (around $20) to the very expensive ($200). You want to consider your personal financial situation, and work out a budget to determine how much you can afford to spend.
Of course, a beekeeping jacket is an investment, so you shouldn’t sacrifice quality – but you don’t want to overextend financially either. If you’re forgoing food on the table to buy a fancy new jacket, then I wouldn’t recommend it. But if you’ve got the cash to splash and want to buy the best, that’s where I’d start.
Top 5 Beekeeping Jackets (By Category)
Now we’ve got the necessary information out of the way, let’s get into the best 5 bee jackets for 2022. All choices are sorted into categories based on the types of people each jacket will suit best. This makes it easy for you to find one that fits your particular circumstances and budget.
Best Overall – The Ultra Breeze Bee Jacket
Jump onto any beekeeping forum discussing beekeeping jackets and you’ll likely come across someone who swears by the Ultra Breeze. It’s definitely a favorite among hobbyist and professional beekeepers and it’s not a big surprise why.
This jacket eliminates one of the main complaints beekeepers have about protective clothing (getting hot) without sacrificing the one thing bee jackets are supposed to do (keep you protected). This is thanks to the layers of ventilated fabric that provide protection against stings while still allowing air to pass through – most other jackets, on the other hand, opt for a solid fabric that doesn’t allow for any airflow.
The Ultra Breeze bee jacket is also a great fit. It’s large enough to give you freedom of movement, without being so big as to make things awkward.
Being made in the U.S.A, the jacket is renowned for its exceptional quality. The durable fabric and heavy brass zippers should withstand many years of use, as long as you follow the care instructions and treat it well.
The only downside with the Ultra Breeze jacket is the high price tag, as it’s one of the more expensive bee jackets available. However, most owners will tell you the same thing – it’s an investment that’s worth every penny.
Best Budget (Under $60) – Forest Beekeeping Supply Bee Jacket
If you’re looking for a quality, no-frills jacket that does its job and doesn’t cost you a fortune, then this cotton jacket with round veil from Forest Beekeeping Supply is your best bet. It’s about 1/3 of the price of the more expensive choices available, but it’s still a great bee jacket for the price.
My favorite part about this bee jacket is the wide-brimmed hat. I don’t love the jackets with the fencing veil – they don’t do a great job of keeping the netting away from your face, which leaves you vulnerable to stings.
The Forest Beekeeping jacket has a nice wide-brimmed hat that keeps the netting away from your face at all times. It’s also big enough so you can wear a baseball cap underneath to increase the sturdiness and keep the veil away from your face. This way, if a bee lands on the veil, you’re still protected by the space between it and your skin. This is an underrated feature in my opinion and I wish more companies made hat-and-veil combos like this one.
The jacket itself is made from cotton, which means it’s more breathable than the polycotton varieties you’ll find available, while still providing a great layer of protection against stings.
The brass YKK zips are sturdy and durable and, though the jacket is affordable, it doesn’t cut too many corners on quality. This is a popular choice among beekeepers so if you’re on a budget it’s a great jacket!
Best For Beginners – Humble Bee 310 Polycotton Beekeeping Jacket
If you’re a beginner, you may want to consider starting with a full-length suit while you’re still learning the ropes. The most important thing as a new beekeeper is to get your confidence levels up – and this can be difficult to do if you’re always afraid of being stung. I found a full-length bee suit gave me good overall protection so I could concentrate on the task in front of me.
In saying that, even a full-length suit can’t give you 100% protection against stings. So if you’re happy to opt for a jacket instead and enjoy the greater level of freedom and comfort it provides, the Humble Bee 310 Polycotton Beekeeping Jacket with Round Veil is a fantastic option.
It’s a medium-weight jacket made from 50% cotton and 50% synthetic materials, so it keeps you protected while still offering a decent level of breathability. If you live in a hot climate, I’d tend to opt for an aerated option like the Ultra Breeze or Humble Bee Aero Jacket, because I think you’ll just get too hot in polycotton… but in most climates you’ll be fine with this option.
The round hat and veil provides a covering that protects your face against getting stung, and there are plenty of pockets which is handy as a beginner because you can carry tools with you as you move around the hive. I can tell you from experience that Humble Bee make great quality jackets, so you can rest easy knowing it’s built to last. Overall, this is a fantastic option if you’re looking to get started in beekeeping.
Best For Summer (Best Mesh Jacket) – Humble Bee 320 Aero Jacket
The Humble Bee 320 Aero Beekeeping Jacket with Round Veil is the perfect option for Summer. I bought one recently because my full suit was just too hot when the temperatures soared. I found myself dripping with sweat before I even reached the hive.
What I like about the Humble Bee 320 is the aerated design and ultra-breathable fabric. This allows for air to pass through and keep you at a comfortable temperature. The jacket is padded out with a lightweight foam which adds the necessary protection – so you can stay cool without feeling like you’re over-exposed to stings.
Underneath the jacket, I typically wear a long-sleeved cotton top. Of course, you’re still going to get warm in this much clothing if it’s a hot summer’s day, but you’ll find a noticeable difference, especially if there’s a pleasant breeze passing by.
I had some doubts regarding the overall level of protection, but so far it’s been great – no stings yet! It’s not going to provide the same level of protection some of the other options on this list will, but you’re getting a more comfortable jacket as a payoff.
A good tip is to search through the different colors available, as they can vary in price. I bought the ‘olive’ jacket for a significantly cheaper rate than the ‘summer beige’ option. The color looks great and it gave me more money to spend on some gloves to go with the jacket!
Best For Rain/Bad Weather – Mann Lake Weathertek Pollinator Jacket
Typically, you don’t need to check on your bees as often during cold weather. However, there may be days where you still need to open the hive for one reason or another in bad weather. Alternatively, if you live in a warm, tropical area where there is a lot of rain, you might need to venture out to your hive even when there is a downpour.
In these scenarios, the Mann Lake Weathertek Pollinator Jacket with veil is a fantastic choice. It has a nylon-faced material that’s treated with a Teflon film. This encourages the water to bead and run off the jacket, rather than soak in. It’ll keep you far dryer than a usually jacket, helping you to stay as comfortable as possible in the rain while you inspect hives. Plus, it’s a lot quicker to get in and out of than a full-length suit, in case you need to pop out to your hive in a hurry.
It’s an expensive option because the material has been treated with water repellent, but if you want something that’s great for the rain, this one is for you.