Whether it is the first time you are out on a snorkel adventure or snorkeling is a fun family tradition, safety comes first. With the right buoyancy vest, the thrill of swimming with all sorts of sea creatures and exploring the vast world just beyond the surface of the sea can be enjoyable and safe.
The best snorkel vests are compact, easy to put on/off, made from strong materials for maximum durability, they incorporate features like adjustable straps/buckles for a custom fit, bright colors for visibility, and additional pockets for valuables.
These come in different styles; jacket and horse collar. The jacket style is the most ideal for non-swimmers since it offers more protection and comfort compared to the horse collar type. However, in most cases, the choice depends on personal preferences and the amount you’re willing to spend. Following is a list of our top picks
Amazon’s top 10 bestseller list;
Jetty Inflatable Snorkel Vest-Jacket Style
The Palawan/Jetty vest is a product of Wildhorn Outfitters, a company that specializes in creating snorkeling, beach travel gear, and other outdoor accessories. This vest specifically made for snorkelers as opposed to most vests in this list which are meant for general buoyancy.
Most customers agree that it is a little pricey but it is worth it. First, the overall look or design is great. It can be inflated quickly and it provides incredible buoyancy. If the sizing measurements are followed, it fits well.
- The side entry makes wearing very easy.
- super easy to inflate and deflate.
- Comes in various sizes
- Compact and easy to pack
- Also protects your back from sunburn.
- Very comfortable-It does not ride up.
- It allows you to adjust your buoyancy seamlessly depending on where you are snorkeling and how much float you need or desire.
- Can also be used for other low-impact water activities including paddleboarding and swimming
- It comes only in one color meaning that visibility is compromised.
- Even from watching the video below, after inflating it does not look exactly like the photo. However, some people like the ridged look while others dislike it.
- A little pricey compared to other vests.
Lyuwpes Inflatable Snorkel Vest.
This horse collar style over the neck vest that comes with an attractive price tag.
The outer is made of Polyester 60% while the inner is made from PVC 40% as a result, it is lightweight and very portable.
It comes in bright green, orange, pink, yellow and blue. Lyuwpes Snorkeling Vest accommodates small footprint, large buoyancy (from 80 to 220 lbs) while snorkeling.
- Attractive price.
- light-weight hence perfect for travel
- So long as you adjust the straps properly, it works as intended.
- Variety of colors for excellent visibility.
- Inflating and deflating is easy
- Crotch strap rides up. Very uncomfortable but according to the seller, it due to not adjusting the straps properly.
- No size for kids
- Some reviewers point out that due to the fact that it is lightweight, it may not be reliable if you’re snorkeling miles away from the shore.
Rrtizan Inflatable Jacket Style Snorkel Vest
This jacket-style inflatable snorkel vest is designed to provide the flotation both novices and experts need when participating in water activities including swimming and snorkeling.
This inflatable life vest has passed “Pony Testing”, being made of 210D nylon ripstop outer shell and thicken PVC inner liner.
These vests come in bright neon colors for added visibility at a distance.
The design includes heavy-duty front zipper closure and a breathable mesh-style back. It also designed with an extra leg strap to avoid unnecessary movements
- Requires about 10s fully inflate it with mouth.
- This swim vest suitable for 80 to 220 lbs.
- 46 inches waist strap, you can adjust the length through the buckle according to your weight,
- Compact, portable and travel-friendly. When deflated, the folding size is about 28*18*2 cm, Weight is 0.64 lbs.
WACOOL Inflatable Snorkel Vest
This is a cheap (under $20) horse-collar-over-the-neck style snorkel vest for both adults and kids.
Main construction materials include; Polyester 60% (outer) + PVC 40% (inner).
It comes with large buoyancy (from 80 to 220 lbs); Variety of colors (neon green, orange, and sky blue)for excellent visibility, ideal for learners & swimmers.
It features adjustable Waist & Crotch Straps: Latch straps vertically and horizontally, providing a secure and worry-free snorkeling experience, easy pinch buckles for fast removal.
- Simple to put on and take off
- Large enough for most adults.
- inflatable for increased buoyancy while snorkeling, give you more confidence to explore in the water.
- Comes with Mesh Bag.
- No UV protection
- Likely to ride up
OMOUBOI Inflatable Snorkel Jacket
OMOUBOI snorkel vest comes with high density fabric and quality built-in air bag. You can fully inflate/deflate in few seconds.
According to the manufacture features include;
- Lightweight, with large buoyancy
- Adjustable straps with durable buckle to fit individuals’ body type.
- Neon colors provide excellent visibility at a distance, great for learners.
- Convenient self-service air mouth valve that saves costs and efforts on inflating devices.
- Outer material is polyester while the inside 0.25mm PVC
- Suitable for 88-220 lbs.
The reviews are not many but the available reviews indicate that overall, it is a good jacket.
- Easy to use
- Be sure of size when ordering. Sizing is the most popular complaint. According to one buyer, if it is the wrong size, it may end up choking you when it is fully inflated.
- Also remember, it is not a life jacket but a flotation device.
Scubapro Cruiser Snorkeling Vest
The Scubapro Cruiser Snorkeling Vest is among the most popular snorkeling vests out there, coming in various sizes that fit children as well as adults. Its bright color combination offers visibility from afar to allow jet skiers, boats and others to spot the wearer.
It comes with advanced buoyancy capacity, featuring a dump valve for inflation in addition to its oral tube. Scubapro Cruiser snorkeling vest has a strap running from front to back between the legs, allowing the vest better grip—however, some wearers do complain about it being uncomfortable.
- The vest is made of 1/8” Neoprene, making it warmer in cold water.
- There is a pocket on left-hand side of the vest with a zipper and Velcro on top to allow the user to store personal items.
- It offers increased protection, covering the wearers’ back completely, against the sun’s ultraviolet rays.
- The bright color combination makes it clearer to spot while in water.
- The wide range of sizes available makes it a perfect fit for children and adults alike.
- Not suitable for snorkeling in warm water as its neoprene material insulates heat and makes the wearer uncomfortable.
- Its main criticism is that the vest is a bit on the expensive side.
- Its buoyancy can be overwhelming for some new swimmers.
It is one highly reviewed vest on Amazon. Most verified buyers are happy with the product and they have given Scubapro Cruiser Snorkeling Vest 5/5 stars. However, some customers complain about the product that it tends to ride up, resulting in the back getting sunburned.
Rrtizan Inflatable Snorkel Vest
Rrtizan Inflatable Snorkel Vest is another horse collar vest that is compact and durable. It has an oral inflator that can be used to adjust the vest’s buoyancy.
Customer Reviews-Pros & Cons
Most users a gree that this vest is is affordable, lightweight, comes in different colors, easy to inflate/deflate and adjustable straps
One critical review that most shoppers have found useful is that does not last long mainly because of the quality of the material that it is made up of.
The other common problem faced by snorkelers is that the vest’s straps are somewhat small. However, after extending the straps, this problem goes away.
Phantom Aquatics Snorkel Vest
The Phantom Aquatics Snorkel vests come in two variations, the jacket style and and horse collar vest. Both variations come in two colors, orange and bright yellow, to ensure maximum visibility in the water
Features of the Jacket style version include;
- Deluxe snorkeling vest highlighted with 3M reflective tape for added visibility at a distance.
- Pocket Equipped with Buckles Closure
- Heavy-Duty Front Zipper Closure
- Adjustable Waist Strap, Easy to Reach Locking Oral Inflation Valve
- Neoprene Back for Added Comfort, Durable Bright Yellow Nylon Construction, Comfortable Rolled Edge Collar
The horse collar Phantom aquatics vest features
This a cheaper version that comes with two straps, waist and crotch, that secure the horse collar vest onto the user tightly in rough waters. It also comes with
- An oral inflation valve just on the left to allow users to adjust their buoyancy as they wish.
- An inflator on the left-hand side of the user allows them to adjust their buoyancy as they wish to get more control. The inflator is well on the side, which means it doesn’t obstruct the users’ view.
- A wide range of sizes, ranging from junior to large.
- Folds into a small size, allowing easier storage
However, since this is only a horse collar vest, it offers no protection against the sun’s UV rays, which may result in severe sunburns to the users’ backs. Most users have also repeatedly complained about the too-short waist strap.
Scuba Choice Snorkeling Vest for Kids, Youth and Adults
Scuba Choice is most popular snorkeling vest on Amazon. The ratings and reviews from users are say a lot about the item. Generally, it is a good vest.
- Comes with a reasonable price
- Oral inflator
- Comes with specific designs for kids, youth and adults over 200 lbs.
- Waist and crotch strap
- High visibility colors
Pros & Cons
Based on the customer reviews and ratings, over 60% of individuals who have used this product would recommend it.
Most complain is that it is not a good choice for taller individuals.
Promate Snorkeling Inflatable Jacket Vest
The features include;
- Oral inflation tube allows quick inflation
- Over-the neck horse collar style
- Waist and crotch straps keep the vest secure
- Attractive price
- Portable hence good for travelers
- Most buyers who have given 5-star rating say it works perfect
- Fits well in the three sizes (large, medium and junior)
Basing on verified buyers who have given this vest a one-star rating;
- It leaks meaning that you have be sure it leak-proof before use. Some buyers also claim the materials are of low quality.
- Comes only in two colors (Orange and bright yellow)
Innovative Scuba Concepts Snorkel Vest
This is an inflatable jacket style vest that incorporates a neoprene cummerbund and back panel. The combination produces a vest that is comfortable to wear, stays in place and looks great.
It is made from durable 210 denier urethane-coated nylon for maximum durability. There is a 5 x 5 inch back pocket to hold valuables that are either sealed or waterproof.
Intuitive screw-down oral inflation mouthpiece (plastic) provides in-water inflation
Adjustable straps deliver a customized fit, while over the neck style provides comfort
Sizes are Kid (up to 100 pounds), Adult (100-190 pounds) and XL (190-230 pounds)
Scuba Max Snorkel Jacket Style Vest
Scuba Max Snorkel Vest is a jacket-style vest made of comfortable and strong fabric that can support more weight. Its sizes range from juniors to extra-large individuals, meaning children and adults of all sizes can enjoy snorkeling with Scuba Max Snorkel Vest. Vs in this vest: there is no need to repeat
- Two front pockets sealed with Velcro and buckles on top to store your personal items.
- The straps hold the user’s waist tightly to ensure the jacket does not lift while swimming.
- There is a wide variety of sizes, including for small children.
- Covers the user’s back, providing protection against the sun’s UV rays.
- For small sizes, the vest may ride up without the crotch strap.
- Maybe a bit on the expensive side.
Most customers have found this vest of value and hence given it good reviews and rating. However, some customers complained about the size and the vest riding up in case of smaller vests. Make sure the size you order fits you perfectly.
Some customers claimed to have found a solution to the riding up problem by installing a crotch-strap sown in manually.
You may buy the most expensive, most highly rated vest available out there, but it would all be for nothing if that specific vest type is not suitable for your specific needs. When buying a snorkeling vest for yourself or child, keep the following factors in mind:
Style/Design: Jacket Style vs Horse Collar
A snorkeling vest is available in 2 basic designs:
Horse collar Design
These vests consist of a single hole in the middle, which users wear over their heads. It has several straps that are used to keep the vest strapped on to the user’s torso.
Jacket style vests are worn more like jackets, allowing more protection from the sun’s UV rays. It is secured to the body either by straps or zippers.
Size & Fit
This is one of the most important decision to make when selecting a vest. Selecting the right size can make all the difference between you enjoying your trip or regretting your purchase.
The size of the vest depends on the user’s height, but the major factor to consider when selecting the size it the user’s weight. This is to assure that the vest can effectively help the wearer float on their own without you constantly having to lift them up.
Usually, the appropriate size for children falls into the ‘small’ category. It is essential that you use a chart to scale your size and try the vest before buying it because sizing may vary from manufacturer to manufacturer.
For example, one manufacturer may claim that the small size is for those under 88lbs while the other might say that it is for those under 110lbs.
Clips, Straps and Zippers
Some vests may include straps that have buckles or clips on each side to sit in perfectly while others might feature a zipper or Velcro. Or the zippers used may either be plastic or metal and the metal may be corrosive or corrosion resistant. Straps may use a nylon webbing or simply use elastics.
You should take care when buying a vest that the zippers on it are corrosive-resistant and the material used is nylon webbing.
The inflator tube may either be plastic or metal, and each has its own features. The plastic tube is more flexible while metal is more durable.
Vests these days come in a lot of different colors, allowing users a wider variety to choose from. Even if a dark blue snorkeling vest may seem interesting or appealing, it is better only to choose bright colors that stand out easily in the water, for safety purposes.
Additionally, you may look for vests with pockets, safety whistles, neoprene and streamlined designs.
Snorkel Vest vs. Life Jacket—what’s the Difference?
The most obvious difference between a life jacket and snorkel vest is that a life jacket is designed to keep your head out the water, while the snorkeling vest levels your body with the surface. Another difference is that most life jackets aren’t designed to deflate as easily as snorkel vests.
Can I Snorkel with a Life Vest on?
Wearing a life vest for snorkeling will only make things difficult for even the most experienced swimmers. This is because a life vest/jacket is designed to keep your head higher than the water’s surface.
This means that you will have to struggle each time you wish to see under the water.
Do I need to know How to swim if I Have a Snorkel Vest?
Although not recommended, you can go snorkeling with your vest and other equipment if you don’t know how to swim. Just be sure to stay close to the coast and with someone at all times! Swimmers can still use the vests especially if they want to float effortlessly as they relax
The safety list for snorkeling is a long one, however, here are a few important points to keep in mind when going out snorkeling.
Good Quality Equipment
Make sure that the equipment you take with you doesn’t falter, because it can be life-threatening if you find yourself with a punctured vest miles from the shore.
Do not Snorkel Alone
Always take a friend with you so that you can keep an eye on them and they can keep an eye on you. In case of an emergency, you both will have each other’s backs.
Do not Snorkel Right after a Meal
Going to snorkel with a full stomach can spell trouble for you as the waves and saltwater can mix up your stomach and result in discomfort or sickness.
Stay hydrated in the water because you will be doing strenuous exercise in salty water, under the bright sun. As the two try to drain your body of water, it will be best if you keep a bottle of drinking water close-by, just in case.
Protect your Skin
Always wear a t-shirt under your vests to protect your back from the sun. Because you are swimming on the surface, your back will be exposed to the UV rays and that can result in severe sunburns.
Don’t Venture out too Far
The farther you go, more dangerous it gets. The risk of losing your way becomes more and more as you hit open water. Another problem being so far from the shore is the waves.
Never Touch the Corals
And most importantly, keep an eye out for the beautiful sea-life but never touch them. Though not all, some corals are poisonous to the touch.
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Last update on 2021-11-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API