The Top 5 Life Jackets Reviewed
There’s nothing like the feeling of being out on the water when the sun is shining and the skies are clear. If you enjoy boating or water-based activities and sports, the most important investment you can make is buying a good-quality life jacket. Whether you’re jumping on board a boat with some friends on a warm, bright day, or you enjoy water sports or adrenaline-pumping activities, you need to put safety first. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a seasoned pro, or you’re a novice, wearing a life vest is always a good idea.
If you are thinking of buying a life jacket, you’ll come across a range of products, so how do you go about choosing the best life jackets? There are several factors to bear in mind when shopping around and creating a short-list. These include price, safety, protection, and comfort. When you’re on the water, or you’re preparing to sail away from the dock, you want to ensure you feel confident that your safety vest will protect you if a crisis arises.
With so many life vests on the market, it can be difficult to make a decision. The good news is that we’ve done the legwork for you. Here’s our list of the best life jackets.
For those of you in a hurry, our choice for the Best Life Jacket is the Onyx MoveVent Dynamic.
Best Life Jackets
Ideally suited to recreational kayaking, boating, sailing, and paddle boarding, the Onyx MoveVent Dynamic Paddle Sports Life Vest is a versatile product that comes in a wide range of sizes. Designed to fit your body perfectly, this is a comfortable, robust life jacket that will keep you safe and snug.
This Move Vest life jacket is made from foam, which is sculpted to mold to the body, providing a comfortable fit for every buyer. Made from lightweight materials with adjustable shoulders, the jacket is sleek and agile, making it ideal for paddle sports. With this life vest, you can move around very easily, at the same time as enjoying peace of mind.
The MoveVent Dynamic life jacket boasts a range of features that are bound to appeal to those who enjoy life on the water. With expandable pockets and a lash tab for small items and accessories, you don’t need to worry about transporting personal items. The vest also has high-visibility markings, so you can navigate your way around safely even on a dull day.
The outer shell of the jacket is made from durable 200 denier nylon ripstop, and offers ventilation at the front and back to keep you cool and comfortable. The jacket is available in sizes from XS-S to XL-XXL. Prices start from under $40.
- US Coast Guard approved
- Range of sizes and colors
- Accessory pockets
- Durable outer shell with ventilation for comfort
- Ideal for paddle sports
- Slightly bulkier than some other products on the market
If you’re a fan of paddle sports or boating, and you’re looking for a life jacket that will enable you to move around in comfort, this could be a great option for you.
- Mesh in lower back fits high back seats;
- Shoulder adjustments with neoprene comfort pads
- SOLAS grade reflective material for visibility
- Expandable zippered pockets with mesh drainage
- Heavy duty nylon fabric; soft, lightweight flotation foam
A versatile life jacket that can be used for all kinds of activities, from sailing and boating to tubing and swimming, the O’Neill Superlite USCG life vest is available in a range of sizes and colors. A stylish jacket that is lightweight, this is one of the most relaxed-fitting jackets on the market.
One of the best things about this life vest is the streamlined design. Aimed to provide you with protection, at the same time as enabling you to move freely, this life vest is an ideal companion for people using a spincast fishing reel.
The exterior shell of this life vest is made from durable coated polyester and it has a cool, sporty look. The inner, which comprises polyethylene foam, is comfortable and breathable.
This O’Neill life vest comes in sizes small-4XL and it is priced from $35-$68.
Who should buy the O’Neill Superlite USCG life vest?
If you’re a fan of activities that involve a lot of movement, for example, kayaking, wakeboarding, and waterskiing, and you’re searching for a lightweight, comfortable life jacket that looks cool and doesn’t cost the earth, this is a great option for you.
- US Coast Guard approved
- Relaxed fit for enhanced comfort
- Lightweight and mobile
- Sporty design
- Suited to most water sports
- Large range of sizes
- Some people may be looking for additional accessories and features
- USCG Approved Personal Flotation Device; Perfect For Wake Sports, Waterskiing, Tubing, And Swimming
- Minimal Bulk Design Allows Full Mobility
- Durable Coated Polyester Shell Creates A Strong Exterior
- Lightweight Polyethylene Foam Is Soft and Comfortable
- Our Most Relaxed Fitting Vest, For A Wide Variety Of Body Types
A US Coast Guard approved type III life jacket, the O’Brien Men’s Flex V-Back is designed to move with your body, making it ideal for almost every water-based pursuit. Boasting BioLite construction, which reduces weight, increases breathability and accelerates drying time, this advanced life jacket is an excellent investment for avid boating and water sports fans.
One of the key features of this life jacket is the V-shaped back. This allows for superior flexibility and makes this life jacket suitable for all body shapes. The fit of the jacket is also designed to provide both comfort and unrivaled protection, with a wrap-around feature that makes you feel like you’ve ordered a custom-fit vest.
Available in a range of colors and sizes, this is a jacket that delivers both style and substance. It looks robust and rugged with a sporty edge, but it also gives you the freedom you need to paddle with ease.
Who should buy the O’Brien Men’s Flex V-Back life vest?
This O’Brien product is a brilliant option for people who like to participate in watersports on a regular basis. It’s an impressive life jacket that is durable and hard-wearing, but also lightweight and streamlined. With this life jacket, you’ll be safe, but you’ll also be able to achieve superior results. The aesthetic is appealing, there’s a vast range of sizes available, and the BioLite technology provides comfort and convenience. This isn’t the cheapest life jacket on the market, but it is more advanced than others, and you can see where the extra money has been spent.
- Lightweight and breathable
- Fast drying
- Suited to all body types
- Color and size options
- Level III USCG rating
- BioLite technology
- Price: at $72-$116, some buyers may be put off by the price tag
- Neoprene outer for comfortable fit
- Front hinge for movement
- Zip closure and 2 belts for security
- V-back stretch panel
- Coast Guard approved
An affordable life jacket that is designed for adults weighing over 90lbs, the Stearns Classic Series is a fantastic choice for consumers looking for a life vest for tubing, waterskiing and wakeboarding. Priced at just $26, this is a great budget-friendly option for those who want a sturdy, protective jacket.
This Stearns adult life jacket has durable nylon coating and an inner comprising lightweight PE foam. With open sides and adjustable straps, it suits adults of all shapes and sizes and it offers breathability for superior comfort.
This jacket comes in a choice of red, yellow, and blue, and it has oversized armholes to enable you to move freely when you’re paddling.
- Price: at under $30, this is one of the most affordable USCG products on the market
- Color options
- Simple, stylish design
- Durable nylon shell
- Large armholes for easy movement
- May be too simplistic for seasoned watersports pros
In summary, the Stearns adult life jacket is a functional, practical life vest, which has 4 adjustable straps that make it suitable for most adults. Priced at under $30, this is a great product for those who don’t want to splash out on advanced, high-spec life jackets.
- US Coast Guard-approved adult life jacket
- Great for wakeboarding, water skiing, and tubing
- Soft and durable 200D nylon shell and lightweight PE flotation foam
- Open-sided design and 4 adjustable buckles for breathability
- Designed for adults weighing 90 pounds or more
Ideally suited to families of watersports fans, the Onyx General Purpose Boating Vest comes in child, youth, and adult sizes. Designed for leisurely days out on the water, this life jacket is a perfect investment for those who own boats and those who like to hire boats on vacation.
The Onyx general purpose boating vest is ideal for boating fans, but it’s also suited to a broad spectrum of other watersports, such as snorkeling. With a 200 denier nylon shell and a lightweight foam inner, it’s the perfect blend of rugged and nimble.
This vest has open sides and large armholes for freedom of movement, and child vests have leg straps for enhanced safety. Most sizes are available for less than $25.
Who should buy the Onyx General Purpose Boating Vest?
This life jacket is an option that is likely to appeal to families and individuals that are looking for a versatile, practical life vest that offers protection without blowing the budget. A simple but effective product, this is ideal for those looking for a life jacket for occasional use. It may not have all the bells and whistles of more high-spec life jackets, but if you don’t need anything too fancy and you’re not overly fussed about the look of the life vest, this is an excellent choice.
- Great value for money
- Wide range of sizes
- Simple and functional
- May be too basic for some buyers
- Provides comfort and safety for all types of water activity
- Constructed of nylon oxford fabric with adjustable belts for secure fit
- Soft foam contours to your body and won't hinder your mobility
- Open-sided styling for adjustability
- Large armholes for greater range of motion
If you’re searching for the best life jackets on the market, this guide should give you food for thought. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or you’re on the hunt for a basic, budget-friendly life vest, these reviews should come in handy.
Choosing The Best Life Jacket
Here is a video explaining what the different types of life jackets are, and how to choose the right one for you: