Top 10 Best Life Jackets And Snorkelling Vests

A Guide To The Best Life Jackets And Snorkelling Vests

When participating in any activity involving deep waters, your life can be in danger as the unpredictable waters can even catch strong swimmers off guard.  By having one of the best life jackets suited to your situation, you can potentially prevent a fatality from occurring.  It also helps your body retain heat if you were to fall into cold waters. 

A life jacket aka buoyancy jacket & personal floatation device (PFD) is a very reliable buoyancy aid which helps to keep your head above the water.  Certain activities may require a different type of buoyancy device, for example some people wouldn’t wear a life jacket for snorkelling, they would wear a snorkelling life vest.  Check out our guide to see what the best buoyancy aid is for certain sports or activities.

 1) Helly Hansen Sport II Buoyancy Aid 2) Leader International Buoyancy Vest Aid3) Auto-Vox Adult Inflatable Life Vest4) Helly Hansen Rider Vest Buoyancy Aid 5) TBF 100N Life Jacket
Average User Rating (4.6 / 5) (4.9 / 5) (4.7 / 5) (4.7 / 5) (4.8 / 5)
Outer MaterialNylonHeavy duty fabricNylonSoft foam & PE foamNylon
Floatation MaterialPVC closed cell foamPolyethylene foamAirFoamFoam
Sizes30 - 40kg
40 - 50kg
50 - 60kg
60 - 70kg
70 - 90kg
90+kg
30 - 50kg
50 - 70kg
70 - 90kg
90+kg
Adult30 - 40kg
40 - 50kg
50 - 60kg
60 - 70kg
70 - 90kg
90+kg
20 - 30kg
30 - 40kg
40 - 60kg
60 - 70kg
70 - 90kg
90+kg
ClosureBuckle & stringZip, buckle & stringBuckleZip & buckleBuckle
Buoyancy Level50N40N - 50NN/A50N165N
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 6) Crewsaver Crewfit 165N Sport7) Phantom Aquatics Snorkel Vest8) TBF Fly Adult 50N Life Vest9) Gul Impact Vest 10) Floattop Adult Automatic Inflatable PFD Life Jacket
Average User Rating (5 / 5) (4.5 / 5) (4.8 / 5) (4.6 / 5) (4.9 / 5)
Outer MaterialNylonNylonNylonNylonNylon
Floatation MaterialFoamAirFoamFoamFoam
SizesAdultAdult30 - 50kg
50 - 70kg
70 - 90kg
90+kg
40 - 60kg
60 - 70kg
Adult
ClosureZip, buckle & stringBuckle BuckleBuckleBuckle
Buoyancy Level100NN/A50N50N150N
PriceCheck Price Check Price Check Price Check Price Check Price

How To Choose The Best Life Jacket

Buying the best life jacket is very important as it can potentially save your life.  When choosing what buoyancy life jacket to buy, there are several factors you should take into account.

It’s always best to wear a life jacket

Outer Material – The outer material for most life jackets will be made from the same material.  It’ll determine how durable the life vest will be, as over time some vests can tear and will probably need to be replaced.

Floatation Material – There will usually be foam inside life vests as it helps you keep afloat, snorkelling vests are usually inflated with air but they are a lot lighter.

Sizes – It’s important to get the right fit as a life jacket too big or too small won’t be as effective at doing its job.  Most of the jackets will fit according to the user’s weight, but you also need to take into account the user’s chest and waist size.

Closure – Most of the life jackets will be fastened securely, but if you want to be extra safe then some jackets will have a zip and several buckles should one snap or break.

 

Buoyancy Level

As your body already has some buoyancy which is the ability to float in water, you don’t need much force to keep your head floating above the water.  An average adult will only need 20-30N of buoyancy to float, but some people such as ones with high muscle mass might require more buoyancy to float.

Life jackets will usually mention how much buoyancy force it will provide to the user, the buoyancy is measured in Newtons.  Here is a guideline of what level of buoyancy you should require:

50N

  • Only suitable for competent swimmers.
  • This will only provide support for conscious people who are able to help themselves.
  • Use on sheltered waters where help is close at hand.
  • Usually used for: Dinghy sailing, kayaking, jet skis, board sports & snorkelling in some cases.

100N

  • Suitable for swimmers and non-swimmers.
  • Will not guarantee to protect the airway of an unconscious person in rough water.
  • Use in relatively calm waters, inshore & coastal waters.
  • Usually used for: Dinghy sailing, sports boat & powerboat.

150N

  • Suitable for swimmers and non-swimmers.
  • Will give reasonable reassurance from drowning, to people who are not capable of helping themselves.
  • Use in all other than the most severe weather/water conditions.
  • Usually used for: Yachting, sports boat & powerboat.

275N

  • Suitable for swimmers and non-swimmers.
  • The majority of the times, it will save the user from drowning even if they are unconscious.
  • For use in offshore and severe conditions.
  • Usually used for: Yachting, sports boat and powerboat.

 

What’s The Best Buoyancy Aid To Buy For Snorkelling

A snorkelling vest provides extra buoyancy

When it comes to buying the right type of buoyancy aid for an activity, many people seem to be unsure on what’s the most suitable type to get.  For example a lot of people would buy a life jacket to go snorkelling but a life jacket is designed to keep your head out of the water, and to snorkel your head needs to be in the water.

Snorkelling life vests are more practical for snorkelling as it provides you with enough buoyancy to help you float.  It’s not however impossible to snorkel with a life jacket, so if you are a non-swimmer you might feel safer wearing a life jacket especially if the water is deep and you can’t touch the ground.

Here are the main reasons why a snorkelling vest might be a better choice for snorkelling:

  • It provides extra buoyancy.
  • The buoyancy can be adjusted by blowing more air into the tube or releasing it.
  • Fully deflates when not in use, so it’s easier to pack and carry.
  • Inflates and deflates within a minute.
  • Will usually come in bright colours so you can be seen easier.