Top 10 Best Life Jackets for Personal Safety – Complete Guide 2021

Whether you are on a kayaking venture or you want to hunt fish in deep waters, there is always a risk especially when you are not a professional swimmer. In this case, the only thing that is going to keep you protected from deep waters is the best life jacket.

Best Life Jackets

Investing in the life jackets will mean that you have peace of mind while you are either kayaking or just roaming around in a lake on your boat. Therefore, ignoring the importance of a life jacket is plain dumbness.

Are you in a Rush? Here are our Top Picks

Best Overall
O'Neill Men's Superlite USCG Life...
Best Inflatable
Onyx A/M-24 Automatic/Manual Inflatable...
For Women
O'Brien Women's Impulse Neo Life Vest,...
O'Neill Men's Superlite USCG Life...
Onyx A/M-24 Automatic/Manual Inflatable...
O'Brien Women's Impulse Neo Life Vest,...
Best Overall
O'Neill Men's Superlite USCG Life...
O'Neill Men's Superlite USCG Life...
Best Inflatable
Onyx A/M-24 Automatic/Manual Inflatable...
Onyx A/M-24 Automatic/Manual Inflatable...
For Women
O'Brien Women's Impulse Neo Life Vest,...
O'Brien Women's Impulse Neo Life Vest,...

Henceforth, to make sure that you choose a perfect life jacket for swimming or other ventures, I’ve compiled a list of some of the best picks in this regard.

Have a look at them:

Top 10 Best Life Jackets in 2021 – Updated Picks

Best Life JacketsUSCG ApprovedSuitable For
1. O'Neill Men's SuperliteYesAdults
2. Stearns AdultYesAdults
3. ONYX MoveVentYesProfessionals
4. AIRHEAD Type IIYesBeginners
5. Stohlquist Fit AdultYesAmateurs
6. Onyx A/M-24YesProfessionals
7. Onyx CurveYesProfessionals
8. O'Neill Wetsuits YouthYesKids, Teenagers
9. SALVS Life JacketYesAdults
10. O'Brien Women's ImpulseYesWomen

1- O’Neill Men’s Superlite – Best Life Jacket 2021

O'Neill Men's Superlite USCG Life Vest

O’Neill is a famous brand whenever it comes to discussing the best life vests or PFDs (Personal Floatation Devices). That said, the Men’s Superlite surely tops our list for being an ideal pick to ensure safety and protection while paddling or swimming. The overall construction of the life jacket is simply amazing. Premium quality materials being used in this life vest makes sure that you can perform different water activities with agility and without any worries. There are different size ranges available that you can choose from i.e. small medium and large. Other than that, extra-large options are also present. In short, Superlite from O’Neill is your best shot if you want to enjoy different underwater activities in an ideal manner.

Some notable features regarding one of the best life vests are as follows:

Features You Should Know

  • The life vest, first of all, comes with USCG certificate. That is, it has been approved by the official United States Coast Guard as a personal floatation device. So, it’s simply easier for you to trust in this life jacket for different activities.
  • Contrary to that, the life jacket is more than just a personal safety device. That is, it can be used for other purposes as well. For instance, the jacket is a perfect choice for Wake sports, swimming, tubing, and or waterskiing.
  • Even though the jacket from O’Neill is a bit bulky, it is never going to add extra burden to your body. That said, the minimalist design of the vest allows it to remain lightweight so that you can enjoy different activities with ease.
  • As far as the stuffing is concerned, the best life vests for swimmers comes with Polyethylene foam stuffing which is durable, soft and lightweight at the same time. So, you’ll have better opportunities to float on water with this life jacket.
  • Last but not the least, upon choosing O’Neill Superlite life vest, one thing is sure that the vest will get fitted to your body no matter how thin or fat you are. The brand claims that this vest is one of their most relaxed fitting vest in the market.
  • USCG approved life jacket
  • Multipurpose use
  • Suitable for adults and kids
  • Different size ranges available
  • Premium construction
  • Polyethylene foam stuffing
  • Some sizes are a bit expensive
  • Not recommended for women

Final Views

O’Neill Superlite is indeed one of the life jackets available in the market. Make sure that you invest in this PFD to ensure a comfortable and safe swimming experience even in deep waters.

2- Stearns Adult – Best Cheap Life Jacket Under 30

Stearns Adult Watersport Classic Series Vest

Stearns Adult, in my opinion, is one of the cheapest life jackets available in the market. Costing you no more than 30 bucks, the life vest ensures that you can perfectly float in water without facing any problem. While you are at it, keep in mind that Stearns life jacket is made only for adults. There is only one universal size available that can be adjusted according to your personal preferences. As far as the build-quality is related, it’s quite up to the mark. That is, the jacket will be able to keep you safe and protected while you are performing different swimming activities. On the other hand, even though the vest is not rated as much as other life jackets, it’s still is one of the best choices for those who have got a limited budget range.

Some notable features regarding one of the best life jackets are as follows:

Features You Must Know

  • Firstly, the cheap life vest even with an affordable price tag has already been approved by the United States Coast guard as a personal floatation device. Hence, you’ll have no trust issues while choosing Stearns life jacket.
  • Apart from kayaking or fish hunting, the life vest can also be used for other activities. For instance, you can learn swimming while wearing this life vest. Besides, wakeboarding, waterskiing, and tubing are some other activities that you can try.
  • As I’ve mentioned above, the build quality is simply top-notch. That said, this life jacket has been made from 200D Nylon shell. Apart from that lightweight Polyethylene foam is stuffed to make the vest less dense than water.
  • The design, on the other hand, is open-sided. That said, there are four buckles available on the front that can be used to adjust the vest perfectly. Keep in mind that this vest is not meant for children.
  • In the end, the life vest with so many features is still affordable than the likes of O’Neill life vests. It’ll surely support you while you are performing swimming drills for a long time.
  • USCG approved
  • Perfect for adults
  • For waterskiing and tubing
  • Can be used to learn swimming
  • Universal size adjustment
  • 200D Nylon base with PE stuffing
  • Not for fat persons
  • No other cons

Final Views

Stearns Adult life jacket is a perfect option for those who have a limited budget range. Better get your hands on it or else it will get out of stock in a short time.

3- ONYX MoveVent – Best Sports Life Vest Under 50

ONYX MoveVent Dynamic Paddle Sports Life Vest

ONYX MoveVent is a unique life jacket meant for professional swimmers who want to perform different swimming drills for a long time. Apart from that, this life jacket being approved from USCG will allow you to float perfectly in water. Besides, the unique construction quality along with many qualities is the main reason this jacket has received almost 98 percent of positive customer feedback from the market. So, as far as personal safety and protection is concerned, this sports life jacket is surely going to offer you more than expected. Plus, even with so many qualities, ONYX life jacket will be costing you no more than 50 bucks which is a win-win situation for you.

Some of the general qualities related to ONYX life jacket are as follows:

Features You Need to Know

  • ONYX life vest being approved from USCG has got a full-fledge nylon construction. That said, Nylon is a strong and lightweight fabric that will surely enhance the productivity of this vest for a long time.
  • On the other hand, one of the good life vest in the market has got a mesh backside which easily allows you to adjust the vest accordingly. The mesh backside also helps the vest to remain in a single position.
  • Moreover, the best feature in this life jacket, according to me, is the presence of SOLAS grade reflective material which enhances visibility and adds to more protection at the same time.
  • Lastly, the life jacket being stuffed with lightweight and soft foam allows better maneuverability and floating on the water. So, the vest is thus a perfect choice for those who want to learn swimming and other water activities.
  • Durable Nylon construction
  • Stuffed with soft foam
  • USCG approved vest
  • Mesh backside
  • Vest is long-lasting
  • Perfect for beginners
  • No major cons
  • Not recommended for kids

Final Views

ONYX MoveVent is without any doubt, the life jacket available in the market if we talk about having a 50-dollar budget only. Check it out if you need long-term investment.

4- AIRHEAD Type II – Cheapest Life Jacket for Beginners

Airhead Adult Universal

Type II from Airhead is surely the most typical and simple life jacket you could’ve seen. It is simply a single piece stuffed with foam and there is a large hole on the top that is used to wear the jacket. Yeah, it’s that simple. You could’ve seen many people at the beach or lakes wearing an orange life vest while they are sitting in a boat right? Well, that vest is actually from Airhead and is named as Type II. As far as the price is concerned, Type II is the cheapest life jacket available in the market with a price tag of less than 10 bucks. Yeah, now you can’t just come up with an excuse of having extremely low on budget while choosing a life jacket as Airhead has got you covered in this regard.

Some notable features regarding Type II are as follows:

Features You Need to Know

  • The vest is specifically designed for people who are unaware of swimming and have zero knowledge about it.
  • Contrary to that, the construction is rather durable as Nylon fabric along with PE foam stuffing has been used to build this life jacket.
  • In addition to that, the Type II life vest comes up with universal size adjustment for adults. So, everyone can wear it and can adjust it as buckles are available for adjustment process.
  • For beginners
  • Size adjustment is possible
  • Durable Nylon fabric construction
  • Comes with an extremely affordable price tag
  • Stuffed with lightweight and soft foam
  • Only for floating
  • No other cons

Final Views

Check out the latest life jacket introduced by Airhead especially if you have an extremely low budget range.

5- Stohlquist Fit Adult – Pack of 4 Life Jackets

Stohlquist Fit Adult PFD

Stohlquist Fit Adult is a life jacket made by following modern technologies to ensure personal safety and protection while you are inside the water. That said, one of the best life jackets in the market comes in with a rugged shape. In addition to that, the use of premium quality materials ensures that you can trust this life vest especially when you are on a fish hunt. As far as the price range is concerned, you’ll be getting this life vest package in less than 80 bucks. Keep in mind that the package contains 4 life vests from Stohlquist. So, if you want to go on swimming with your friends, then this jacket package is a perfect choice for you.

Some notable features regarding this life jacket are as follows:

Features You Need to Know

  • The life jacket being approved from USCG has got a universal size fit. Therefore, you’ll have no size adjustment issues especially whole wearing it.
  • Besides, the jacket comes up with a special design that allows you to perform different activities with agility and quickness. That said, the high placement of upper buckle plays an important role in this regard.
  • Stohlquist life jacket comes with durable construction. It’s been given a fine finish to make sure that it can last for many years to come.
  • Durable construction
  • High placement of upper buckle
  • Universal size adjustment
  • Pack of 4 life vests
  • Not meant for kids
  • No other cons

Final Views

Stohlquist with a pack of 4 deal is a suitable choice for those who want to enjoy floating in the water or who want to perform different watery activities without any fear.

6- Onyx A/M-24 – Best Inflatable Life Jacket


Sophistication has been a favorite of human nature and with modern techniques, we get to see sophisticated gadgets everywhere these days. Same is the case with Onyx A/M-24 life jacket which is not an ordinary vest stuffed with foam. The jacket, in short, is inflatable. Yeah, you heard it pretty much right. That said, Onyx has made sure that there is no compromise on the quality of this life jacket which is imminent from the positive customer reviews.

Features You Need to Know

  • The jacket, first of all, comes with an automatic or manual inflation system. Other than that, it has already been approved by the USCG.
  • Besides, the design of this life vest is simply amazing. It won’t cover your whole body and is low profile to keep you cool during warm weather conditions.
  • Last but not the least, one of the best life jackets have got a neoprene neckline which ensures comfort and convenience while you are floating on the water.
  • Inflatable life vest for adults
  • Low profile design keeps you cool
  • Durable construction.
  • Can be changed to a manual inflation option
  • Ideal for floating in the water
  • Neckline keeps you at the comfort
  • A bit expensive
  • No other cons

Final Views

In case you want sophistication and a life jacket with a minimalist design, opt for Onyx inflatable life vest and you’ll be happy with your decision for a long time.

7- Onyx Curve – Life Jacket with Variable Size Adjustments

Onyx Curve MOVEVENT Paddle Sports PFD

The latest life jacket available on our list is Onyx Curve and it comes within different size variations. That said, it can be considered for children, for adults or for oversized persons at the same time. On the other hand, there is no compromise on the quality of this vest as it’s been made by Onyx. So, you can easily trust the build quality of Curve life vest without any fear. Apart from that, the vest will cost you a bit expensive especially on specific size ranges.

Features You Need to Know

  • One feature to know regarding Onyx Curve is that it will conform to your body just like a glove gets adjusted to your hand. It’s a great feature that allows you to float in water without any extra burden.
  • Durability isn’t compromised at any cost as Onyx Curve has been made with Nylon fabric and is stuffed with soft and lightweight foam.
  • Finally, one of the top jackets offers better mobility options to you while you are paddling, or are on a fish hunt with your friends.
  • Nylon fabric with stuffed foam
  • Suitable for beginners
  • Glove like conformation on body
  • Size variations are present
  • A bit pricey on specific sizes
  • No other cons

Final Views

Try out Onyx Curve if you want to float in the water or to keep yourself protected from deep waters at all costs.

8- O’Neill Wetsuits Youth – Best Life Jacket for Kids

O'Neill Wetsuits Youth

O’Neill is yet again on our list but this time with a life jacket designed only for teenagers and kids. There is no doubt about the build quality of Wetsuits Youth as it has been prepared with fine and strong fabric. Other than that, the universal size adjustment feature allows it to get fitted to almost every teenager without any issues. All in all, the life vest is perfect to keep you safe from deep waters especially when you are confronted with an accident. The price is not too high as you can easily acquire this jacket for your child in less than 30 bucks.

Features You Need to Know

  • One of the best life vests for kids comes with a minimum bulk design to ensure better mobility while performing different activities.
  • Besides, USCG has also approved this vest to be a personal floatation device which means that it’s perfect for your kids and you can trust it.
  • Lastly, the internal foam stuffing is lightweight and durable enough to last for many years. Thus, it’s more of a long-term investment.
  • Minimal bulk design
  • Prepared for kids and teenagers
  • Size adjustment is universal
  • Stuffed foam is soft and lightweight
  • Not for adults

Final Views

Better check out the latest life vest for kids and teenagers in case you want your kid to enjoy the deep waters without any fear.

9- SALVS Life Jacket – Perfect for Kayaking

SALVS Automatic

SALVS has got another inflatable life jacket in the market with a minimalist design for sure. The life jacket comes in with a manual and automatic inflation system that you can use accordingly. Other than that, it comes with a premium quality construction. There won’t be any leakage issues while you are trying to perform different activities related to water. The price, on the other hand, is a bit expensive and that’s what you’d expect from an inflatable life vest.

Features You Must Know

  • SALVS life jacket comes with a simple design that offers full mobility without compromising your safety at any cost.
  • The jacket is perfect for swimming, kayaking, or for hunting fish in deep waters.
  • Finally, USCG has also approved this inflatable life vest which means that you can put trust in this PFD device for a better floating experience.
  • Inflatable life jacket
  • Simple design
  • It offers full mobility
  • A bit pricey
  • Not recommended for kids

Final Views

Try getting SALVS life vest in case you want full mobility while kayaking or paddling in the middle of a lack.

10- O’Brien Impulse – Life Jacket for Women

O'Brien Women's Impulse Neo Life Vest

Lastly, O’Brien Impulse is a life vest that I’ll be recommending to the ladies who want to remain safe while they are swimming or kayaking. The life vest comes in with a vibrant color variation as ladies want fashionable wear no matter if it’s a shirt or a life vest. Well, the durability is never compromised as O’Brien is a well-reputed brand and has made sure that premium quality materials have been used in the construction of Impulse life jacket.

Features You Must Know

  • One of the best life vests in the market has got a 1.5mm Neoprene outer to ensure a comfortable fit for the ladies.
  • Zipper design allows the vest to get adjusted to the body in a short time.
  • Finally, the best women’s life jacket has been officially approved by the United States Coast Guard to be used as a PFD.
  • Ideal for ladies
  • Zipper front closure
  • Vibrant colours
  • Comfortable fit
  • Not recommended for men

Final Views

Consider getting this life vest from O’Brien especially if you want to enjoy different recreational activities in water without any worries.

How to Select the Best Life Jackets in 2021 – Complete Buyer’s Guide

Choosing a suitable life jacket is not as easy as one might think. One needs to look at different perspectives before making a final decision as it’s for your safety and protection.

life jackets review

Therefore, some important factors that you’d need to consider before choosing a life jacket in 2021 are as follows:

  1. Make Sure that It’s USCG Approved

The very first thing that you need to make sure regarding a life jacket is its approval from USCG. USCG stands for the United States Coast Guard that makes different rules and regulations regarding underwater activities.

So, the topmost priory for you should be to ensure that no matter how cheap or expensive your life jacket is, it’s been approved by USCG. In other case, if it’s not been approved, simply discard that life vest for your safety.

  1. Comfort Matters

Comfort matters a lot when you want to choose a life jacket. That being said, there are many life vest brands available in the market offering affordable life jackets, but to be honest, they are not comfortable as you might think.

For this purpose, you’ll need to wear the life jacket for at least 5 to 10 minutes to see whether you are feeling frustrated or not. If that’s not the case with you, then you should opt for that specific life jacket.

  1. Size Adjustment

Life jackets usually get adjusted to your body via the buckles that are available on the front. On the other hand, life vests have got different size variations depending upon your body size.

So, the point here is that you should make sure that the vest has no issues from size perspective. Otherwise, it will cause frustration to you for sure.

  1. Budget Matters

Last but not the least, budget also matters. A simple life jacket will cost you around 100 bucks if you are looking for better features.

However, the new life vests i.e. the inflatable ones are an exception. Such life jackets will easily cost you around 200 bucks. So, keep this budget thing in mind before and make your decision accordingly.

FAQS Regarding the Best Life Jackets in 2021

  1. What is the best life jacket for adults?

O’Neill Men’s Superlite is indeed the top life jacket available in the market with a plethora of features to offer in an affordable budget.

  1. What are the best life jackets for boating?

I’ll be recommending you to go for SALVS Life Jacket especially if you want to do boating or kayaking.

  1. How do I choose a life jacket?

Figure out your size, make sure that the jacket is approved from USCG, check out its build quality and make your decision accordingly.

Wrapping Things Up

So, what are you waiting for? Go check out the list above so that you can consider a life jacket to ensure safety and protection from deep waters. On the other hand, also have a look at the top 3 recommendations as:

  1. Stearns Adult Life Jacket if you have a low budget range.
  2. Onyx A/M-24 if you require an inflatable life vest.
  3. O’Brien Impulse if you are a lady.