Inflatable life vests are a great alternative to traditional life jackets for those who enjoy spending time on water such as kayakers, rafters, boaters, and fishermen. They are typically more comfortable than traditional life jackets, and in the event a wearer is drowning, inflatable life vests can turn them face-up faster than a traditional life jacket.
Some things to consider before buying an inflatable life vest is the age and weight of potential wearers. The United States Coast Guard (USCG) does not recommend these be worn by anyone under the age of 16 or anyone who weighs less than 80 pounds. Something else to consider before buying an inflatable life vest is the routine maintenance and inspection they require. Though they are reusable, their CO2 cylinders need to be replaced following each use. They do not prevent or remedy hypothermia.
If you are interested in buying an inflatable life jacket for your outdoor adventure, then continue reading this guide as it will cover everything you need to know about the 5 best inflatable life vests that are available today.
Top 5: Inflatable Life Vests Review
Product Image & Rating (Out Of 10)
This Mustang Survival Corp Inflatable Life Vest has auto Hydrostatic Inflator Technology that will automatically inflate once the jacket is under water pressure. This jacket will not inflate because of rain, humidity, or a spritz of water.
It is visible in water thanks to its bright fluorescent yellow-green inflation cell. The inflation cell of this one also features SOLAS (safety of Life at Sea) reflection tape, a safety whistle, and a strobe light attachment.
The closure stays shut, even in high winds, thanks to its SecureZip technology. Even still, the closure of this inflatable life vest opens easily on inflation despite its tight closure. When it is inflated, it provides thirty-five pounds of buoyancy.
That is more than twice the amount of buoyancy provided by traditional foam life jackets. It has a D-ring and is rated 4.5 stars on Amazon.
The Mustang Survival Corp Inflatable PFD with HIT (Auto Hydrostatic) and Bright Fluorescent Inflation Cell life jacket is easily adjustable. It was designed for even the most treacherous marine conditions, and its low profile design allows for flexible mobility.
It can fit chest sizes ranging from 30 to 52 inches, and the collar of this inflatable life vest does not irritate the back of its wearers’ necks. Overall, this option is a comfortable, affordable, and adjustable alternative to a tradition life vest.
This inflatable life jacket is approved by the United States Coast Guard. It is approved as a Type 5 life vest with Type 3 performance. This life vest is convertible from manual/automatic inflation to manual-only inflation and back.
This low profile life jacket will not cause wearers to overheat in warm weather; instead, it will keep wearers cool. The ABSOLUTE OUTDOOR Onyx Inflatable Life Jacket has a stretchable Flex-Back insert, and it uses A/M Rearming Kit 1352.
It will inflate automatically when immersed in water, or wearers can manually inflate the life jacket by pulling its “Jerk to Inflate” handle. This life jacket is also equipped with backup oral inflation.
It is recommended for people age 16 years old or older, and for people who weighs at least 80 pounds. It is not recommended for those who can’t swim or those who are weak swimmers.
22.2 pounds is the minimum buoyancy of this one when it is inflated, and it is designed to work for bigger people as well as those who are smaller.
The Onyx A/M-24 Automatic/Manual Inflatable PFD Life Jacket is approved by the United States Coast Guard. It automatically inflates when it is immersed in water. This life jacket can also be inflated by pulling its “Jerk to Inflate” handle.
This comfortable and lightweight product has a backup oral inflation, and it features a low profile design that allows wearers to move freely. Purchasers of this one can return this life jacket and receive their money back if it's returned within 30 days.
This life jacket is not recommended for anyone who can’t swim well. It has a minimum buoyancy of 22.5 pounds, and it has a comfortable soft neoprene neckline. This life jacket is for anyone who is at least 80 pounds, and it is recommended for anyone who is at least 16.
Though people who are under the age of 16 but also meet the minimum weight requirement can wear this life vest more safely if it is set to manual inflation only, it is still best recommended that this life vest be worn by people who are at least 16.
This product has a Type 3 performance rating by the United States Coast Guard.
The Lesberg Inflatable Snorkel Vest has a buoyancy range from 80 pounds to 220 pounds when snorkeling. This inflatable life vest has excellent water visibility thanks to its bright fluorescence. This one inflates and deflates quickly.
The style of this life vest over the neck is akin to a horse collar. This design makes it easy to put on and take off in an emergency.
It is constructed to fit most adults well. Its crotch and waist straps are adjustable, and they latch both vertically and horizontally and have easy pinch buckles.
This inflatable life jacket is compact which makes it easy to store and pack. For even easier storage and transportation, a bonus mesh bag is included with each purchase of this inflatable life vest.
The Rrtizan Adult Inflatable Swim Vest Life Jacket is adjustable up to a 46-inch waist, and it is suitable for anyone who is at least 80 pounds and little more than 220 pounds. This swim vest is made out of polyester (60%) and PVC (40%), and it does not include leg straps.
This life jacket is closed with a zipper which is convenient for easily putting on and taking off this life jacket. This lightweight inflatable life jacket comes with a one year warranty, and it is durable enough to withstand punctures or holes.
best inflatable life vest
If you’d like a simple and affordable life jacket for emergency situations while snorkeling or enjoying calmer waters, then the Rrtizan Adult Inflatable Swim Vest Life Jacket or the Lesberg Inflatable Snorkel Vest may be best for you. If, however, you need something a but more sturdier in rougher waters, then you need to get one of the three other alternatives.
The best overall inflatable life vest and the one that we recommend is the ABSOLUTE OUTDOOR Onyx A/M-24 Automatic/Manual Inflatable Life Jacket. It is less than half the price of the Mustang Survival Corp Inflatable PFD, and it is convertible between automatic and manual inflation.
We also recommend the ABSOLUTE OUTDOOR Onyx A/M-24 Automatic/Manual Inflatable Life Jacket because it is approved by the United States Coast Guard and it comfortably fits a wide range of sizes.
The only drawback to the ABSOLUTE OUTDOOR Onyx life vest is that it isn’t suitable for people who can’t swim, but that is the case for many inflatable life jackets, so go ahead and check your ABSOLUTE OUTDOOR Onyx inflatable life jacket out today.
inflatable life vest Buying Guide
Adjustability and Weight
Though most are adjustable, they still have their limits. Ensure that yours will fit you or anyone else who may have to wear it.
You also need to make sure the weight recommendations are met and not exceeded to ensure that the inflatable life vest will be able to work as designed without fail or causing further harm. All size and weight recommendations should be taken seriously.
Buoyancy refers to how well something floats in water. A vest with more buoyancy will allow you to float better in water which will remove some of the work from the wearer and allow them to float more effortlessly.
Those who can’t swim or those with less stamina will be better served by a more buoyant life vest like the Mustang Survival Corp Inflatable Life Vest.
The water sensitivity of your inflatable life vest is very important. You do not want a life vest that inflates at the touch of a little droplet of rain. Likewise, you also want one that will inflate in water when you need it without fail.
So, if you get an automatic life vest, you need to make sure it has the best technology it can to ensure it inflates when it needs to, especially if it doesn’t come with an option for you to inflate it manually during an emergency.
Visibility and Closure
In the case that you’re left stranded floating in the vast sea with little more to aid you than your inflatable life jacket, you want to make sure you can be seen as soon as help arrives.
If you’re someone who will be out in the ocean, it’s crucial that yours is as bright and fluorescent as it can be. It is also important that you take into consideration the way an inflatable life vest closes prior to purchasing it.
You need to ensure it is a reliable closure that will stay shut during high winds, but can also be opened easily in the case of an emergency such as a need for CPR.
If you are bringing a dog with you on your trip you can checkout our dog life jacket reviews.
Kayaks, Canoe & Boating Equipment
If you are looking for any of this type of equipment you can checkout Austin Canoe & Kayak to get started.
Frequently Asked Questions On inflatable life vests
Are Inflatable Life Vests reusable?
The answer to this question really depends on this specific type of inflatable life vest that you purchase. It is always a good idea to read through the manual that you receive when you purchase the life vest. With that being said, we are going to discuss some of the reasons that they may not be reusable. After consistently using the same Inflatable Life Vest, there is a chance that the CO2 cartridge will need to be cleaned or replaced after a few months.
The durability of the life vest is also important. Some life vests are not designed for long-term usage, but you will have to refer to the manual for an in-depth explanation from the manufacturer.
In most cases, it is perfectly acceptable to use an inflatable life vest multiple times. You should always make sure that the inflatable life vest is in perfect working order before using it in a real life situation. By using the life vest as directed, you give yourself a better chance of maintaining a functional life vest for a long period of time.
How do you Inflate a Life Vest?
There is typically a handle that users can pull on when they intend to inflate their life vest. Some life vests also automatically inflate when they are submerged in the water for a period of time. Inflating the life vest will give you the greatest chance to stay above water.
It is important to note that some life vests take time to inflate when they are placed into the water. This can be extremely dangerous for non-swimmers, so make sure to take all of the necessary precautions to ensure that you stay safe in this situation.
We always recommend that you take a look at the instructions from the manufacturer before using a life vest in a real situation. It is always important to follow these instructions properly to ensure that the inflatable life vest works as expected.
The handle to inflate the life vest is typically located on the front end of the vest. As we previously mentioned, you can trigger the inflation process by giving a slight tug on the handle. You should then immediately start to notice that the life vest begins inflating.
How expensive are high-quality Inflatable Life Vests?
You can expect to pay anywhere from 50 dollars to 300 dollars for a high-quality Inflatable Life Vest. There are many different types of life vests available with different design specifications. You should make your selection based on what your specific needs and expectations are. It is also always a good idea to take a look at the customer feedback before finalizing a selection for the best Inflatable Life Vest.
The average price for inflatable life vests are about 99 dollars. This is a solid price range with a lot of high-quality products that you should consider. It can certainly be challenging to balance the quality and value of these types of products, but it is typically important to look for durable life vests with built-in safety features.
Most people that go outside and spend a lot of time in the water should certainly invest in a high-quality life vest with safety features. The price won't seem like a whole lot when it serves as a life line in an emergency situation. Sometimes it is worth to pay a little bit of extra money to ensure that everyone's safety is taken care of when enjoying outdoor activities in the water.
Are Inflatable Life Vests Safe for Non-Swimmers?
Inflatable life vests are designed for many different types of individuals, including people that don't know how to swim. The key for using a life vest is to inflate it at the appropriate time. There are some situations where inflating a life vest at the wrong time can be extremely dangerous and actually make the situation worse.
This is particularly true when you are trapped with something above you while in the water. For example, if you were to inflate your life vest while significantly under water, and there were something heavy above you between yourself and the surface, there is a chance that the inflatable life vest would pin you to the heavy object above you and it would prevent you from getting to the surface. This type of situation has happened before to a non-swimmer, but it is extremely rare.
You should always conduct the appropriate research before using any life vest in the water. The information within the owner's manual will be extremely valuable for individuals that choose to use it in the water. We highly recommend that you filter through the large collection of Inflatable Life Vests to ensure that you are selecting one that is ideal for your specific circumstances.
These inflatable life jackets are all great alternatives to traditional life vests. Before deciding on one of these jackets, it is best that you decide what your purpose for it is and who will be wearing it.