Inflatable Life Vests

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, then continue reading this guide as it will cover everything you need to know about the 5 best options that are available today.

Top 5: Inflatable Life Vest Reviews

1

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, priced at an approximate $209, this one is a comfortable, affordable, and adjustable alternative to a tradition life vest.

Overall, priced at an approximate $209, this inflatable life jacket is a comfortable, affordable, and adjustable alternative to a tradition life vest.

PROS

  • Comfortable.
  • Easily adjustable.
  • Will only inflate when under water pressure of 4 inches or greater.
  • Provides 35 pounds of buoyancy.
  • SecureZip closure stays shut in high winds.
  • Inflation cell is easily visible and has a safety whistle and strobe light attachment.

CONS

  • The hydrostatic inflator cartilage must be replaced every 5 years.

2

This inflatable life jacket is approved by the United States Coast Guard. It is 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 it 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.

PROS

  • Convertible inflation method from Automatic/Manual to Manual-Only.
  • United States Coast Guard Approved.
  • Low profile and comfortable.
  • Fully adjustable.

CONS

  • Not recommended for poor swimmers.

3

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.

PROS

  • Adjustable.
  • Automatic and manual inflation.
  • Backup oral inflation.
  • Lightweight.
  • United States Coast Guard Approved.

CONS

  • Not recommended for those who can’t swim.

4

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.

This comfortable and lightweight option has a 4.9 rating and costs a mere $16.95, that’s less than a large pizza at most pizza shops.

PROS

  • Very affordable.
  • Lightweight horse collar design.
  • Compact and comes with a bonus mesh bag for storage and easy transport.

CONS

  • Not suitable for rough waters.
  • Not ideal for larger people.
  • Not approved by the United States Coast Guard.

5

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. 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.

This life vest is not Coast Guard approved as a proper personal flotation device, and it has a 4.2 rating and costs approximately $24.

PROS

  • Affordable.
  • Adjustable.
  • Lightweight.
  • Closes with a zipper.

CONS

  • Not approved by the United States Coast Guard.
  • Not ideal for larger people.
  • Not suitable for rough waters.

Top Pick

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.

Rrtizan Adult Inflatable Swim Vest Life Jacket

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.

Lesberg Inflatable Snorkel Vest

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.

ABSOLUTE AutomaticManual 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.

Mustang Survival Corp Inflatable PFD

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.

Onyx Automatic Manual Inflatable PFD Life Jacket

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.

Things to Look for When Selecting an Inflatable Life Vest

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

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.

Water Sensitivity

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 yourr 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. 

Final Verdict

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.

REFERENCE & RESOURCES


Official Top 5 Review Team
 

The Official Top 5 Review team is dedicated to testing and researching the top products available for many different industries. We do the research and testing so that you don't have to! We welcome you to provide your feedback on your experiences with any products that you have experience with.

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