Several weeks ago, I was contacted by Mike Cregan, a 20+ year veteran of the hanger business and the man behind Butler Luxury. He told me how much he liked our product reviews, which he felt were balanced and objective. This is certainly our goal with reviews. Mr. Cregan also expressed an interest in having a review done of his hangers, which I would like to share with you today.
Butler Luxury History
Mike Cregan has been making hangers for years in the wholesale business, for many designer brands, a few tailoring houses on Savile Row, and 5 star hotels such as the Dorchester, Claridge’s, The Connaught, and The Savoy.
While his business has been quite commercially successful, Mike has a deep-seated passion for wooden products in general. Hangers are of particular interest to him, and so he set out to produce a hanger to befit a bespoke suit. In his large scale company, hundreds of thousands of wooden hangers are produced every month using CNC equipment, but since he wanted to do provide a state of the art hanger, he opened a second factory were hangers are actually made entirely by hand, not just hand polished or finished.
In our conversations, it became obvious that Mike’s primary focus is not necessarily the money; the goal to produce the best luxury hanger. Now, I have talked to many craftsmen, and many are quick to announce that they want to produce “the world’s best” product. In my experience, the proclaimer of this kind of statement offers little evidence to the fact and expects that their claims will go unresearched by a trusting customer. As such, I always seek to verify the claims of the producer, no matter how vehemently they are declared. Furthermore, the world is a big place, and the term “best” is usually applied subjectively.
Butler Luxury Hanger vs. Hanger Project Hangers
When it comes to luxury hangers in the US, the best know brand is likely the Hanger Project. We reviewed these hangersa while back and found them to be good. Therefore, I used these hangers as a benchmark against which to test Butler Luxury Hangers. Shortly after my conversation with Mr.Cregan, I was provided with two Butler Luxury suit hangers and a trouser hanger in the mail.
The first thing I noticed when I took them out of the box was the nice weight and the matte finish – but more about that later. First, let’s look at the similarities between the hangers.
Similarities & Differences
For our comparison, I chose the 18.5 inch Hanger from the Hanger Project and the 18″ Hanger from Butler Luxury, which measured both 18.5″ in width. Both hangers have a trouser bar and gold metal parts. Both were made in China: The Hanger Project hangers were made by Beverly Hangers and Butler Luxury in Mike Cregan’s own factory. Both are made of wood but this is pretty much were the similarities end.
Wood & Shape
First let’s look at the wood. The Butler Luxury hangers are made of of 100% solid Grade A beech wood and each weighs 17 ounces. On the other hand, the Hanger Project, weighs just 10.5 ounces and is made of solid maple wood. While the Butler Luxury hangers have two arms that are made from two pieces of wood, the Hanger Project Hangers are made from 4 pieces of wood. This allows them to have wider shoulder pads, but it is also less expensive to produce, since less wood goes to waste. Optically, you can see the wood grain on the Hanger Project Hanger is interrupted, while the Butler Luxury grain is uniform.
Both have velvet trouser bars and while the Hanger Project bars are slim and measure 16 1/4″ in length, the Butler Luxury bar is thicker with 13 5/8″ shorter length. To me, the bar of both is wide enough to accommodate even my fullest cut trousers; if own a particularly wide pair of pants, you may want to measure before you invest.
When comparing them side by side, you can see that the Butler Luxury hanger is more curved and has slimmer, but thicker thick shoulder pad ( 2.5″ vs. 2. 1/8″). Compared to most shoulder pads of hangers, both are very wide in an effort to replicate the human shoulders, preventing puckering on the sleevehead. In theory, the wider shoulder pad of the Hanger Project is better, but in practice,
I could not determine any puckering on after using either brand. However, with larger gentlemen, I think a wider shoulder pad is better. However, bear in mind that wider pads also mean more wasted spaces in your closet. So, in the same space, you can either hang 4 Butler Luxury Hangers or 3 Hanger Project Hangers.
In terms of wood, I definitely prefer the heftier Butler Luxury. Both are not suited for traveling because of their sheer size and bulkiness, but in the closet, I like the heavier wood. In regard to shape, there is not a clear winner. You have to decide whether you want wider shoulder pads or more space to hang coats; you can’t have both.
Mike Cregan told me that Butler Luxury will release a number of different sizes and a different shoulder pad. Considering they are the manufacturer, changes like that can be made quite easily.
Workmanship & Finish
The construction of both hangers is way above average, but so is the price and hence that is a minimum expectation. Side by side, the Butler Luxury Hanger has a thicker hook and overall seems to be more solid. I consulted several carpenter friends as to which hanger was better made, and both indicated that the Butler Luxury.
In terms of aesthetics, the finish of the hangers had a big impact on desirability. In my opinion, shiny varnishes make wooden objects look cheap or dated, and this was one of the things I really disliked about the Hanger Project hangers. On the other hand, the Butler Luxury Hangers have a beautiful matte varnish that is applied by hand, and it looks far more attractive. Note that the picture on the Butler website makes the hangers look shiny, although they are not. For reference, use our pictures for a better idea of the true finish.
While the Hanger Project / Beverly Hangers are made by machine, the Butler Luxury hangers are made by hand. Therefore, the Hanger Project ones are uniform in shape, although the varnish varies in thickness between the hangers. Just as every handmade suit from a tailor is never exactly the same, none of the handmade Butler Luxury hangers match exactly. If you inspect them meticulously side by side, you can spot tiny differences but when they hang, you can never tell. Overall, this is a matter of preference.
While the hook on the Hanger project is turned up and rounded, the Butler hook is cut straight and a little more pointy. The edges are not really rough and hence they will not damage to your garment. In terms of looks and function, I would probably prefer a ball head, which neither of them has, but Mike Cregan said they will probably add that soon – we will see.
Sizing & Color
Currently, Butler Luxury offers 16.5″ and 18″ hangers with more sizes to come in the near future. They also offer a two beautiful matte finishes in either walnut espresso or butterscotch. The Hanger Project offers a brown, shiny varnish and a natural option for an upcharge of $15. At the end of the day, color and finishing are a matter of personal taste. Since nice hangers are an investment, it makes sense to choose carefully during your initial purchase.
Three Butler Luxury Hangers will set you back $79 (plus shipping) while the Hanger Project charges $74.85 for the shiny varnish and $89.85 for a three-piece set in natural.
Both are not inexpensive, but they fall roughly in the same price range.
Overall, I prefer the Butler Luxury Hangers over the Hanger Project because of their superior workmanship, looks, and the fact that I can get more of them in my closet. However, if you have very wide shoulders and don’t mind the shiny varnish, the Hanger Project may be better for you at this point in time.
I look forward to seeing what other hangers Butler Luxury will come up with in the near future, so stay tuned.
Does Butler Luxury provide the best wooden luxury hangers in the world? I do not know, but to me they are certainly the best suit hangers I have come across so far.
For more information, take a look at their website:
Caveat: After I had seen the hangers and was convinced of their quality, Butler Luxury decided to advertise with us. But as always, this did not have an influence on this review. For more information about our testing ethics, read our Manifesto.