Best Life Vests

Review & Comparison, Last Update September 21, 2017
Before you go in for aquatic sports, it's vitally important to take care of your safety while on water. Hopefully, our review will help you pick the best Life Vest for you and your family! ...Read more ...Read less
BEST 2017
PROS
CONS
OUR VERDICT
Type
Designed for
Personal Flotation Device
Intended Use
Safety
Material
Convenience
Visibility
Size
 
PROS
Several available sizes and exceptional adjustability make this neoprene vest the best for men. The convenient design doesn't hinder movements, allowing you to go in for sports.
CONS
Light reflection inserts aren't very bright, which might reduce visibility.
OUR VERDICT
O'Neill life jacket protects you from injury while going in for aquatic sports. And, of course, it'll save your life if the situation gets out of control.
detailed parameters
Type
Inherently buoyant
Designed for
Men
Personal Flotation Device
Flotation Aid (Type III)
Intended Use
Surfing, Waterskiing, Wakeboarding
Safety
Additional rigidity, High back protection from water-caused injuries
Material
Coated polyester shell, Lightweight polyethylene foam filling
Convenience
4 adjustable straps secure the vest and don't hinder movements
Visibility
Light-reflecting inserts
Size
S - 4XL
PROS
It's the best infant life jacket since its innovative double collar holds a child's neck and head above the water. Convenient zipper and adjustable crotch strap don't allow a toddler to slip out of it.
CONS
Might be bulky for an infant.
OUR VERDICT
Stohlquist is an ideal solution that provides a toddler with the total safety on the water and allows parents not to worry about their little one.
detailed parameters
Type
Inherently buoyant
Designed for
Infant/Toddler
Personal Flotation Device
Near Shore Buoyant Vest (Type II)
Intended Use
Calm inland waters
Safety
Front zipper for additional security, Dual collar for head support, Quick release buckle
Material
200D nylon outer shell, 200D Oxford liner
Convenience
Adjustable crotch strap, Convenient grab handle
Visibility
High visibility red, yellow or blue life vests
Size
One size
PROS
The durable construction and materials ensure extra safety. Adjustable straps allow using this jacket for several years while your child is growing up. Additionally, it's a good value for money.
CONS
It isn't suitable for rowing.
OUR VERDICT
This life jacket is appropriate for children with the weight from 50 to 90 lbs. It provides your child with necessary protection even in unforeseen situations.
detailed parameters
Type
Inherently buoyant
Designed for
Youth (50 - 90 lbs)
Personal Flotation Device
Floatation Aid (Type III)
Intended Use
Boating, Waterskiing, Jet-skiing
Safety
Secure 1'' webbing, Three buckles, Open-sided vest
Material
Durable nylon construction shell, Durable Crosstech flotation foam filling
Convenience
Three adjustable straps for the maximum safety
Visibility
High visibility red or blue life vests
Size
One size
PROS
Being unisex, compact, and lightweight, this inflatable life vest is ideal for anyone! Besides, the LED light helps rescuers find you if you get in trouble. Another peculiar advantage is that you can adjust the buoyancy level.
CONS
You need some time to inflate it.
OUR VERDICT
IMAX Inflatable Life Vest Jacket is adjustable and fits all statures. Moreover, it's easy to use and transport. No doubt, a lot of people will appreciate its minimalist design!
detailed parameters
Type
Inflatable
Designed for
Adults, Unisex
Personal Flotation Device
Floatation Aid (Type III)
Intended Use
Surfing, Swimming, Boating, Kayaking, Fishing, Rafting
Safety
Adjustable waist and crotch straps secure the vest in place and fit people of different statures
Material
PVC
Convenience
Oral inflation tube, Buoyancy control, Carrying bag
Visibility
High visibility yellow or orange life vests with LED light
Size
One size
PROS
Absolute Outdoor Kent Adult Compliance PFD Type II Life Jacket doesn't require much space since it is really compact and lightweight. The eye-catching color ensures excellent visibility.
CONS
It's not appropriate for sports.
OUR VERDICT
When sailing a boat or yacht, it's vitally important to have life vests on board. This bright life jacket is the ideal choice that will save you in case of accident.
detailed parameters
Type
Inherently buoyant
Designed for
Adults, Unisex
Personal Flotation Device
Near Shore Buoyant Vest (Type II)
Intended Use
Calm inland areas
Safety
Suitable for holding an unconscious person with his or her face up
Material
Flotation foam
Convenience
Compact design, Universal fit
Visibility
High visibility orange
Size
XL - XXXL

What is a Life Vest

If you’re fond of such extreme sports as kayaking and windsurfing or if you prefer sailing trips and fishing, you certainly need a life vest. It’s not a usual kind of tourist equipment. A life vest is essential for making people float in water and saving them from drowning. You can feel safe with such a reliable clothing. The buoyancy of life jackets is achieved due to the use of special floating materials or air.

We would like to draw your attention to Inflatable Boats that will allow you to enjoy aquatic sports to the full!

What Features to Compare

Intended Use

There’re many aspects to consider while choosing the best life vest for you. First of all, you have to think of the conditions you’re going to use it in. For example, it can be surfing, kayaking, sea or ocean rafting, etc. You can pick an appropriate type of a life vest  according to your needs. Most people require additional buoyancy, which is provided by the vests from 7 to 12 lbs that keep people's heads out of the water. There are the following categories of life vests that differ in the level of flotation they provide. Type I – 22 lbs, Type II – 15.5 lbs, Type III – 15.5 lbs, Ring Buoy – 16.5 lbs, Boat Cushion – 18 lbs, Hybrid inflatable – 22/7.5 lbs, Special use device – 15.5 to 22 lbs.  Each type is suitable for using in different conditions.

  • Offshore Lifejacket (Type I) – is appropriate for surviving in the harsh open sea. Such lifejackets ensure the buoyancy of more than 22 lbs, which makes them ideal for rescuing unconscious patients with their faces up. So, these lifejackets are the best for distant journeys.
  • Near Shore Buoyant Vest (Type II) – is a classic type of a life vest that is offered in different sizes, so it is suitable for adults and kids. It’s perfect for using in calm inland waters where the chance of a fast rescue is very high. Such vests are less bulky than Type I and are also appropriate for turning unconscious patients face up.
  • Flotation Aid (Type III) – this type of life vests is considered to be the most convenient. These vests are ideal for going in for various aquatic sports. It’s worth mentioning that they are appropriate for inland waters.
  • Special Use Device (Type V) – is the special-purpose life vest designed for use in marine environments by sailors and service personnel. Mostly, such life vests have a complex design, combining inflatable parts and inherently buoyant materials.
  • Inflatable Life Jackets – are made of two or more isolated inflatable bladders. The main advantage of such life vests is that they don’t require much storage space.

Design and Peculiarities

A life jacket design is extremely important for buoyancy. It’s worth mentioning that different vests are suitable for people of different age and sex. For example, life vests for women are designed according to women’s stature, while children’s life jackets correspond to their age and weight. It's worth mentioning that the intended use depends on the construction features. Thus, life vests for active sports mustn't hinder movements but ensure the necessary safety and rigidity, allowing you not to hit the water and remain unharmed. Also, the material a life jacket is made of matters a lot.

Convenience

It's extremely important how fast you can put a life jacket on and fit it according to your stature. We advise you to draw your attention to fittings of a life vest - fastenings, clasps, belts, etc. Visibility is another significant feature of a life jacket. A high-visibility life jacket allows rescuers to detect you faster if you get in trouble.

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O'Neill 3557

Pure Functionality

No doubt, the main purpose of a life vest is to save the life in unforeseen situations. And O'Neill Wake Waterski Men’s Superlite Vest will save you in case of any accident on water. Its variable design with fittings is very significant. First of all, this life jacket won’t dangle and slip off. Secondly, it doesn’t hinder movements and it's appropriate for active kinds of sports. This life vest is a preferable choice for people who go in for extreme aquatic sports since it complies with the safety legislation of water sports and active recreation in the water environment. Besides this life vest has an attractive stylish design with light-reflecting inserts that ensure visibility for rescuers.

Review of O'Neill 3557 Superlite USCG Approved

Safe Anywhere

This wakeboard vest is designed to save an adult from drowning and hold his head above the water. It’s made of neoprene developed by the American company DuPont. Moreover, the fabric has a comb-like structure. These parted cells are filled with nitrogen. Wear-resisting neoprene is very popular in manufacturing sports gear since it increases the safety of your backbone in case of a hit. The supporting spine effect is another peculiar advantage of neoprene.

O'Neill 3557 Superlite USCG Approved in the use

Interesting Facts

This year the O’Neill company celebrates its 64th anniversary. It has been in the business since 1952 when Jack set up his first store for surfing admirers. The store was in a garage near Great Highway in San Francisco, close to the place where he liked to go surfing. He made several vests by gluing pieces of neoprene. Hence, surfing began to expand from this very garage.

The O’Neill company still remains a family business. Jack O’Neill’s children – Pat, Mike, Katie, Bridget, Sean, Tim and Jack were involved into father’s business from the very small age. Over the past 50 years, the company has been holding pride of place among the leading manufacturers of aquatic sports suits. And it’s now expanding the activities by producing snowboard and triathlon clothing and accessories.

More Products to Consider

We'd like to recommend considering SeaSpecs Extreme Sports Sunglasses Stealth Black to protect your eyes from the salt water.

To avoid hand slipping in marine conditions, pay your attention to Hyperflex Wetsuits Men’s ¾ Finger Glove.

 

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


O'Neill 3557
O'Neill 3557
 

Stohlquist Nemo Infant

Parental Care

All parents want to be sure of their kid’s safety during all kinds of water activities. Obviously, safety is extremely important while traveling. Choosing a life vest is the best you can do to ensure your child’s safety. Stohlquist Unisex Infant/Toddler Nemo Infant Life Jacket is a right solution for a sailing trip. It’s designed for the smallest and answers to infant peculiarities. Firstly, a collar design allows not only holding the baby face up but also supports his neck and head in a proper position. Fittings are also essential allowing to adjust a vest, providing convenience and safety.

 

Review of Stohlquist Nemo Infant Blue/Black

Well-thought Details

A lot of parents wonder how fast this vest can be put on and how comfortable it is for a child. But the most important thing bothering parents is what design features allow controlling and keeping a kid safe. After all, when it comes to children, everything must meet the highest safety standards. While designing this life vest, Stohlquist engineers have done their best to provide it with the necessary security. An entry zipper and an easy-to-adjust crotch strap ensure security. Additionally, it has a grab loop on the collar to control your child. The manufacturer represents vests in the following color designs: blue and black with yellow inserts, yellow and blue, red and yellow. Thanks to such a bright design, your can be sure you won't lose sight of your kid!

Stohlquist Nemo Infant Blue/Black in the use

Do You Know?

Despite the inexorable statistics, some yachtsmen don’t wear a life vest considering it as a cowardice. It’s well known that a lot of people drowned because of neglecting security precautions. Statistics claims that 90% of people who died during some water activities weren’t wearing a life vest. In other cases, a life jacket was worn in a wrong way or people died because of other cause (for example, hypothermia).

More Products to Consider

If you don’t want your little one to answer a call of nature right in the swimming pool, take into account Bummis Swimmi Cloth Diapers, Clown Fish and set your mind at rest!

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


Stohlquist Nemo Infant
Stohlquist Nemo Infant
 

Stearns 3007

Convenient & Safe

Everybody knows that the younger generation is hyperactive and always wants adventure. Speaking of fun pastime on the water, parents should take care of their children's safety beforehand. Stearns Youth Boating Vest is the best solution to the problem. In the course of time, vests have evolved a lot. Now it’s a personal protector from any possible injury on the water. Streams life jacket is not an exception providing your child with safety while its comfortable design allows having fun on the water without hindering movements. Besides, durable Crosstech flotation foam filling protects a young swimmer from hits and bruises in case of bumping against the water.

Review of Stearns 3007 U.S. Coast Guard Approved

Usability

As for usability, we would like to mention the fittings this life jacket has. Three adjustable belts ensure a secure fit when your kid wears this vest. The upper belt adjusts the chest capacity while the other two belts allow fitting according to your stature. The plastic buckles fix the vest accurately, so you can be sure that your child will stay afloat. The strengthened back of the life vest has additional rigidity, providing a good back protection. Furthermore, it’s available in bright red and blue colors providing visibility.

Stearns 3007 U.S. Coast Guard Approved in the use

Interesting Facts

Life jackets experienced transformation in years.

 

Detailed review of Stearns 3007 U.S. Coast Guard Approved

More Products to Consider

You should also take care of your child’s vivid impressions. To enjoy swimming and to protect eyes, consider getting AEGEND Clear Swimming Goggles.

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


Stearns 3007
Stearns 3007
 

IMAX Inflatable Life Vest

Bright Original

IMAX life jacket has several distinctive features. We’d like to draw your attention to the LED light that provides extra visibility. It’s worth mentioning that the lighting transmits SOS signal for rescuers to find you fast. This life jacket has a highly visible color. These features make IMAX Inflatable Life Vest Jacket unique. Owing to the tube located in the front part of the vest, it doesn't require much time to inflate it. Thus, you can use this multifunctional life jacket as a diving equipment or make it a floating device in a minute in case of necessity.

Review of IMAX Inflatable Life Vest

Multipurpose Life Vest

The life vest provides you with security while on the water. It’s suitable for kayaking, snorkeling, surfing, diving, boating as well as swimming. This life vest is ideal for those who prefer multitasking functionality. Significantly, you’ll have no trouble while transportation as it folds up easily and doesn’t require much space. Sometimes you might forget that you are wearing a life vest at all because of its compact design! Two belts provide extra safety. The first belt girds your body while the other passes between your legs. Besides, this fishing vest is slip-over. Simple yet 100% efficient!

IMAX Inflatable Life Vest in the use

Interesting Facts

In March 2012, the old friends Ken Henderson and Ed Coen were fishing in the Gulf of Mexico when their 9-meter long boat started leaking. Henderson tried to dewater it but it was too late as salty water had already damaged the pump. They received no answer on the radio and Henderson’s mobile phone could not catch a signal. They took some provisions and life vests, and right after that their boat disappeared in the deep water below them. They stayed there for 30 hours. They talked to distract each other, hugged to keep body heat and struggled with fatigue, dehydration, and a terrible cold as long as they could. When it was obvious that Coen was really bad, Henderson decided to make a desperate attempt and to swim in the direction of a far located oil-derrick. He lost bearing, wandered from a course and saw hallucinations while swimming. When he hardly reached there it was 2 o’clock in the morning. He was 50 miles away from the place where their boat sank. After he had found a galley, he called his wife who informed coastal guards about what happened. If Henderson hadn’t done his valiant snatch, the coastal guard would have found two dead bodies instead of one.

More Products to Consider

As we’ve mentioned before, this life vest is ideal for diving. To have all the necessary equipment for your favorite pastime, have a look at U.S. Divers Adult Cozumel Mask/Seabreeze II Snorkel/Proflex Fins/Gearbag that is easy to use as well as transport.


IMAX Inflatable Life Vest
IMAX Inflatable Life Vest
 

Absolute Outdoor 427-AC-66

Necessary Safety Measures

Absolute Outdoor Kent Adult Compliance PFD Type II Life Jacket is a must-have on any ship. This unisex life vest is appropriate for rescuing people suffering distress in coastal waters. In accordance with USCG PFD standards, it is classified as Near Shore Buoyant Vest (II type). Its main purpose is to hold a person face up on the water. Its unique design allows you to put it on in several seconds. And thanks to its compactness, it doesn’t require much room on a boat. Another pleasant advantage is that these life vests have been designed to fit people of different statures. Thus, you can provide everyone in your family with these affordable life vests.

Review of Absolute Outdoor 427-AC-66 U.S. Coast Guard Approved Type II

Magic Bullet

This life vest is of really bright color, providing visibility under any conditions. It’s slip-over and is secured on the chest with one move. Besides, it turns a person face up. All these features make it easy to use even on an unconscious person. A simple design allows saving a life! If you are a boat owner, then this life vest is an ideal addition to all the safety equipment on board.

Absolute Outdoor 427-AC-66 U.S. Coast Guard Approved Type II in the use

Interesting Facts

Lucio Rendon, Salvador Ordóñez, Jesús Vivand and two fishermen went on 3-day shark fishing on the 28th of October in 2005. After they had placed traps, they returned there the next day but found neither equipment nor catch. Fishermen spent all fuel on a quest, and then strong winds and a current carried them far away into the ocean. The food was enough for only 4 days and they ran out of water. Fortunately, it rained and they got life-giving water. They managed to catch a turtle. Two fishermen died because couldn’t eat raw meat. But the others managed to stay alive. On the 9th of August, 2006, the radar of a Taiwanese fishing vessel detected them. They earned a spot in the Guinness Book of Records as the longest survivors at sea where they spent 9 months. They were found 200 miles off the northern coast of Australia. Thus, they had crossed the Pacific Ocean.

More Products to Consider

Shoreline Marine Emergency Survival Whistle and Falcon Safety Super Sound Horn are extremely important for search-and-rescue operations.

 

Absolute Outdoor 427-AC-66 U.S. Coast Guard Approved Type II application

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


VIDEO
How to wear a Type 2 Personal Floatation Device
Absolute Outdoor 427-AC-66
Absolute Outdoor 427-AC-66
 

Sources:

1. What is a Life Vest? wiseGEEK.

2. Life Vest, How Products are Made.

3. Jennifer Taylor, Best Infant and Toddler Life Jackets (For Boat Fun!), MomTricks. August 2016.

4. Anish, Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Life Jackets on Ships, Marine Insight. July 21, 2016.

5. Child Life Jacket Buying Guide, eBay. March 3, 2016.

6. Tom Burden, Selecting a Life Vest, West Marine.

7. Tom Burden, Do-It-Yourself: Check Your Inflatable Life Vest, West Marine.

8. Donna Sundblad, 3x Life Jackets, LoveToKnow.

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