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The 8 Best Merino Wool Sweaters

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While a good merino sweater can often be an investment piece — and sometimes that’s very much true, if you’re paying for a heritage knit or premium Italian wool — the best merino wool sweaters aren’t always the priciest. In fact, 100% merino wool knits can be found at every end of the spectrum, from athletic hiking layers to the softest cardigans. Since you’re already working with good material — merino wool’s fibers are so fine that they actually bend when they hit your skin — the difference is indeed in the details.

A high-end base layer will be designed with the body in mind: flat seams to eliminate chafing, or targeted stretch panels that keep you warm while offering the range of motion you need for serious activity. Everyday merino sweaters, by contrast, are the classic workhorses you’ll reach for when you need a reliable turtleneck or crewneck for school or work, because they're lightweight yet so warm and versatile. Look for tailored details like fitted sleeves and monochrome buttons for a quality piece you'll reach for constantly.

Almost all of the wool sweaters below are made with 100% merino (except for one that has luxe cashmere blended in), and most of them can be washed at home for convenience. Merino wool can absorb up to 30% its weight in water before you feel any wetness and naturally banishes odors (really!), so for sweat-wicking pieces that you can wear day in and day out, having the maximum amount of wool is key.

From chunky cable knit pullovers with heritage appeal to the clean-cut crew neck, here are seven wool sweaters that look and feel more expensive than they are, no matter what your budget.

1. A Crew Neck Sweater That's Made With Italian Merino Wool

Polish brand KNITTONS designs high-quality basics — like this Italian merino wool sweater — and now you can shop their premium, "made in Europe" collections on Amazon. Their classic crewneck sweater feels just as comfortable as your favorite sweatshirt but comes in a chic package that you can wear with jeggings on casual days or tuck into a pencil skirt. It falls to the mid hip and has just enough room in the body to layer over a button-down. "I brought this with me hiking at high altitudes, and it provided a great lightweight layer for me. It was also nice enough to wear as a light sweater out at night with some jewelry or a nice scarf. I washed in the machine but hung it dry and it didn't shrink. Very soft and not scratchy at all," one shopper reported. If you're on a budget, consider this great affordable merino wool sweater, too.

  • Available colors: 11
  • Available sizes: X-Small – X-Large

2. A Minimalist Merino Turtleneck For Your Capsule Wardrobe

A drapey turtleneck sweater, in an ultralight 100% merino wool knit, is a versatile layering piece that will keep you warm without adding bulk. Amazon's Meraki line is also designed in Europe, with minimalist capsule wardrobes in mind. A fitted neck and sleeve balance out the menswear-style cut through the body, which can be layered over camisoles for added warmth but isn't too heavy to go under a blazer, either. Because a good wardrobe staple should also be easy to care for, this merino wool sweater is machine washable, as well. "This top is perfect for layering or on its own, with a thin stretchy fabric that looks and feels great," one reviewer reported, and noted wool's all-season versatility. "With something underneath or on top, it’s perfect for cool weather."

  • Available colors: 6
  • Available sizes: 0 – 18

3. A Super-Soft Merino Cardigan With Luxe Cashmere

This sleek merino wool cardigan is made from a cushy two-ply knit blended that's with 10% long staple cashmere and 90% anti-pill merino wool for softness you can feel. The minimalist open-front design is all clean lines, with a slightly flared hem and fitted sleeves. It looks effortless over leggings but nice enough to wear into work, and you'll probably want to wear it everywhere in between, too. "So great I bought two more," one shopper weighed in. "Sooooo impressed with this lovely cardigan," another fan added. "It's really soft! It feels rich and elegant." The brand recommends sizing up two notches if you want a more relaxed fit, and gentle hand washing is recommended – don't forget to let it dry flat.

  • Available colors: 6
  • Available sizes: Small – X-Large

4. A Merino Wool Quarter-Zip With UPF 50+

This 100% merino wool quarter-zip sweater was made for the trail, with the clean lines and stand collar that all add up to a nicer-looking alternative to your trusty fleece. The brand, Minus33, has spent over a century perfecting their merino wool, and the details are noticeable. Its knit is stitched together with flatlock seams to reduce rubbing and a tagless construction for comfort. The midweight merino refuses to itch, resists odors, and has a UPF rating of 50+. What's more? It's fully machine washable and it can go in the dryer. "These are perfect. Thin enough to go under your jacket without bulk. Warm enough to withstand the chill outside. Great extra layer at outdoor games or indoor hockey games. Soft, EXTREMELY comfortable and nice looking!" one fan raved.

  • Available colors: 8
  • Available sizes: X-Small – 3X-Large

5. A Classic Cardigan That Looks Expensive

For peak J.Crew-preppy-chic circa the Jenna Lyons era, style this merino wool cardigan with a patterned button-down and a statement necklace paired with a saturated shade on the bottom. The ultra-classic piece has a crewneck cut that falls fairly straight to the mid-hip, with long sleeves and matching buttons running discreetly down its front (several reviewers recommended sizing up for a roomier fit). The 100% merino is machine washable, but will need to be dried flat. "Perfect extra sweater to wear with everything. It’s not to long or too short," one shopper noted. "I ordered both the navy and wine color and wear one of them almost daily."

  • Available colors: 3
  • Available sizes: 0 – 18

6. A Super-Soft Chunky Irish Cable Knit Sweater

It doesn't get much more indulgent than this lush merino wool cable knit sweater from Aran Woolen Mills, Ireland's iconic sweater brand. It has a cozy oversized cut that falls to the low hip, with a thick cowl neck and exceedingly nice scaled-up cable knit pattern that looks extra luxe. "It is hard to believe this is wool, it is so soft and not at all scratchy," one reviewer remarked of the 100% merino. "I originally bought this sweater (in a different color) while traveling in Ireland and immediately regretted not buying a second," another confessed. "People compliment me every time I wear them. I adore how soft and warm they are."

  • Available colors: 3
  • Available sizes: X-Small – XX-Large

7. This Pretty Patterned Merino Base Layer Created By An Olympic Athlete

The Norwegian Olympic skiier Kari Traa launched her line of "sportswear for girls, by girls" to create gear built for a female body. Literally: they're designed using what's called "bodymapping," whereby clothes are designed to fit a body in motion. In the case of this merino wool base layer, that looks like a combination of high-quality 100% merino wool with four-way stretch stitched together in targeted contouring that supports your natural range of motion. It's designed to be worn next to the skin, where it is naturally moisture-wicking and odor-resistant; you'll be warm wet or dry. Machine wash yours, then let it air dry. "I’m obsessed with this brand. The quality is amazing and all the items are super comfortable. They wash really well if you follow the instructions, and I didn’t have any shrinkage," one reviewer gushed. Also check out this highly reviewed crewneck merino wool base layer if you're looking for a classic base layer option from this brand.

  • Available colors: 10
  • Available sizes: Small – X-Large