Best Snorkel Vest [ 2020 Reviews & Guide ]
Here's our top choices for best snorkel vest on the market in
- Scubapro Cruiser Snorkeling Vest >> oral inflator, dump valve for extra flotation control, pocket for storing personal affects
- Jetty Inflatable Snorkel Vest >> snorkel jacket with balanced flotation, secure lock and comfort fit
- SealBuddy Inflatable Snorkel Vest >> fast inflation and fast deflation
- WACOOL Inflatable Snorkel Vest >> large buoyancy from 80 to 220 lbs, fully inflated in 15 seconds
- Typhoon Sports Quality Snorkel Vest >> youth size for up to 80 lbs, adult size for adults 80 - 180 lbs, adult X-Large for adults 180 lbs+
- OMOUBOI Inflatable Snorkel Jacket >> vest weighs only 1 lb, After deflated folded size is about 12 in x 9 in x 2 in
- Phantom Aquatics Jacket Styled Zippered Snorkel Vest >> heavy duty front zipper closure
The United States Coast Guard’s 2018 report revealed total of 633 deaths and 2511 injuries during boating accidents. Of those drowning victims (77% of total fatalities) with reported life jacket usage, 84% were not wearing a life jacket. A snorkel vest is perhaps the second thing you shall buy after your snorkel mask for your safety. Snorkel vests offer a wide array of options for snorkeling that make it more desirable than a personal flotation device (PFD or life jacket). Here are our reviews of top 10 choices in the market:
Our Top 10 List for Snorkel Vests in 2020
Finding the right balance between the comfort and stability provided by a snorkel vest is far from easy, but Jetty Inflatable from Wildhorn Outfitters shows that it’s not impossible either.
This inflatable float assisting vest provides safety without sacrificing comfort and style.
It’s made from premium quality materials that resist wear and tear beautifully. Adjustable design makes it easy to fit, but we like that it doesn’t come in a one-size-fits-all formula. You can pick from four sizes the one that best fits your weight and height; the vest is ideal for most people, from pre-teen to adults.
A single-sided entry design allows for an easy on and off, while the lack of an annoying crotch strap is an invaluable added benefit.
Another nice thing is the simple inflation and deflation through the secure lock valve fitted on the vest. Its ergonomic position allows you to adjust buoyancy on the fly, so you can dive or stay afloat depending on your preference or circumstances.
Designed for leisure surface snorkeling and other low-impact water sports, this vest packs compactly and fits into a carry-on or backpack.
The next snorkel vest on our list is this innovative model by Scubapro. Designed for low-impact water activities, the Cruiser combines the warmth of neoprene with a reliable floatation device that keeps you safe while cruising the reefs.
An easy-to-use oral inflator gives you the possibility to increase or decrease buoyancy as needed, whether you want to stay afloat or dive for closer exploration of the wildlife.
The nylon and neoprene construction adds strength and durability to the product. This vest is not only built to last; it’s also extremely comfortable to wear. Stretchy neoprene provides a snug fit while the convenient zipper closure allows for an easy on and off.
Scubapro Cruiser also protects your back from sunburns (here are our coral safe sunscreen suggestions) while keeping you warm if you decide to stay in the ocean for longer.
Another thing we like – and that’s missing on most vests – is the convenient pocket for storing personal effects. All you need is a waterproof pouch for your phone, money, and other valuables, so you can keep them near you for the whole snorkeling time.
While it does tend to ride up in the water, the Cruiser is usually snug enough to stay fit throughout the day. You’ll have to pay for all these features, though, as Scubapro Cruiser is rather expensive.
Ideal for a variety of low-impact water applications from boating to snorkeling, the OMOUBOI inflatable jacket appeals to the snorkeler on a budget. It’s not as fancy as our top picks above, but it does its job brilliantly.
The vest is made from double-layer high-density fabrics and provides a large buoyancy area designed to support your float.
It is ideal for beginners who need more buoyancy than that provided by vests like Scubapro and boasts many perks that make it a star.
While the vest comes in a one-size-fits-all model, you can easily adjust it to your size with a convenient waist strap. It suits all adults weighing between 80 and 220 lbs, and two leg straps keep it from moving upwards as you’re swimming.
Inflating and deflating is also easy, and you can expect the vest to pack to the dimensions of a book. It fits easily in a backpack or carry-on and is perfect for travel.
OMOUBOI snorkel vest also has a breathable mesh back and comes in various bright colors that make you easily visible in the water. Quite bulky when inflated but comfortable, this surely is one of the best snorkel vests for those on a budget.
The Innovative Scuba Concepts is another product worthy of the best snorkel vest title. At first glance, it’s not as fancy as other vests on this list, but it brings true value for money while coming at a price that won’t break the bank.
Perfect for travel, this minimalistic vest provides just the right level of inflation and buoyancy you need for ideal balance in the water but doesn’t prevent you from diving deeper to explore the bottom of the ocean.
An intuitive screw-down oral inflation mouthpiece lets you inflate the vest even in the water, while adjustable straps deliver a customized fit.
Made from 210D urethane-coated nylon, this vest is also durable. You can pick from three sizes for kids and adults and three colors. While black might be the most popular, we strongly recommend going for one of the brighter options, especially if you’re a newbie.
Highly comfortable and suitable for a host of water activities, this is another great vest to consider.
Perhaps not the most comfortable snorkel vest out there, the Rrtizan has made it to our list due to its unmatched affordability.
This vest is a pain to put on due to the system of straps used to keep it in place, but apart from this, it’s quite intuitive to use. Like the other products on this list, it comes with a simple inflation and deflation system that lets you adjust buoyancy in the water.
Great for both learners and experienced swimmers, it gives you the confidence to explore the deep blue in all peace of mind; it’s also lightweight and easy to pack compactly, so it doesn’t take up too much space in your luggage.
While the strap system is a tad complicated and uncomfortable, it lets you adjust the vest to fit your size both in the waist and crotch area. It suits people between 80 and 220 lbs and is designed to resist a long time of use.
Rrtizan is made from a PVC membrane covered in durable canvas and comes in several bright colors. Just what you need for safe underwater adventures.
If you don’t like the Rrtizan for one reason or another, but you like the concept or price, the Lyuwpes is strikingly similar.
This snorkel vest has the same design, but even if the two look alike, there are a few important differences.
Perhaps the most noticeable is the choice of colors. Lyuwpes doesn’t come in black but in a selection of vibrant, fluorescent colors that really make you visible in the water. The polyester outer is also very easy to clean.
Impressing with a small footprint when deflated, it fits easily in your luggage and inflates in just seconds. The ergonomic mouthpiece also allows for quick buoyancy adjustments while you’re swimming.
Similar to the Rrtizan, it has two sturdy waist and crotch straps you can use to adjust the vest to your weight and height; suitable for people between 80 and 220 lbs, it fits most pre-teens, teens, and adults.
The horse collar style over the neck allows for a simple put on and take off. This vest is relatively comfortable, lightweight, and flexible. A great choice for occasional use throughout your vacation.
Similar to the Rrtizan vest for adults featured above, the Rrtizan Children is designed for endless family fun. It suits youngsters aged 5 to 14 and up to 130 lbs and is made from the same durable materials as the adult version.
It inflates in seconds and features the same convenient mouthpiece that lets the child adjust buoyancy while in the water.
The adjustable level of inflation makes it safer for kids to enjoy snorkeling; when they get tired, this vest does an excellent job keeping them afloat without having to move their feet.
Just like the adult version, the vest comes with two adjustable straps for the waist and crotch area.
One thing to keep in mind is that it isn’t resistant enough to withstand child use at the beach. If you also plan to use it as a protection device in case your kid gets in the water accidentally, it is recommended to check it constantly for punctures.
That said, we wouldn’t expect it to last for a lifetime considering its price. Inexpensive yet reliable for its intended use, this snorkel vest for children brings outstanding value for money.
Experienced snorkelers might like this buoyancy aid vest by Scuba Donkey. While it gives you no control over the inflation or deflation, it helps you stay afloat when you get tired. At the same time, it’s also suitable for free and scuba diving.
The vest is made from high-quality soft nylon material designed to be gentle on the skin and has an ergonomic design. It comes in a variety of sizes, from XS to XXL and fits most teens and adults.
A zipper and fastener design allows for an easy on and off, as well as easy adjustability to your body shape. You can also slightly adjust the length of the vest.
One of the biggest pluses is the lack of leg or crotch straps. While the vest has the tendency to ride upwards a bit, the neoprene material and fastener system do a great job keeping it in place.
We also like the water leakage design that ensures a quick dry out. This vest might be a bit more cumbersome than the other models we picked and is less travel-friendly. Nevertheless, is one of the best professional-grade choices.
Another inexpensive choice for a tropical vacation is this snorkel vest by SealBuddy. Defined as the ultimate snorkeling vest, it impresses with a super-compact footprint and excellent buoyancy capabilities.
Fast inflation and deflation enhances safety and adds versatility, while the bright, neon colors provide excellent visibility.
Ideal for swimming, snorkeling, and other light water activities, the SealBuddy is an excellent choice for beginners.
The waist and crotch straps make it easy to adjust both vertically and horizontally to fit your weight and height. An important difference compared to similar models is the presence of two straps in the crotch area, a design that makes it slightly more comfortable, especially for the gents.
Another nice thing is the included mesh bag that provides the perfect storage space for your snorkeling vest.
Ending our best snorkel vest roundup is this inflatable vest by Scuba Choice. It fits adults over 200 lbs and is an excellent choice for larger adults or those with a few extra pounds.
The design is similar to the Rrtizan vest, but you won’t have such a vast choice of colors. Indeed, the Scuba Choice comes in neon yellow only. Considering that this is the safety color par excellence, we highly appreciate the choice.
A waist and crotch strap keeps the vest in place while you’re in the water, while the simple inflation device lets you adjust buoyancy to your liking.
A nice perk compared to other vests is the name tag space on the front. If you’re enjoying beach activities with friends or family, it makes it easier to identify your vest from the bunch.
Scuba Choice comes at a great price and is also available in other sizes. Compact and lightweight to pack, it can be a great vacation companion.
Snorkel Vest Buying Guide
Do I need a life vest for snorkeling? Reasons To Use A Snorkel Vest
If you are a competitive swimmer and highly confident in the water, then using a life vest or a swimming fitness tracker while snorkeling is more of a liability, rather than a safety asset, to your swimming performance since it will reduce your swimming speed as it creates drag in surface waters. You may in that case, consider marking your snorkeling spot with a divers flag. However, many of us who explores the reef at the surface does not possess these Olympic swimming qualities and wearing a snorkel vest while snorkeling becomes a mandatory piece of equipment.
Many have considered a snorkel vest as a life-saving piece of equipment. It does not imply that if you wear one, it could mean that you do not know how to swim, not confident in the water and may be considered a newbie in this water-based hobby. In fact, many avid snorkelers prefer to use a snorkel vest for the following reasons:
You don’t need to thread in the water consistently. Many of us can swim, but only a few can string at the surface. Initially, doing water threads can be natural. But as you do it over time, it can become exhausting and the longer you need to thread in surface waters would require more energy as your body becomes exhausted. With wearing a snorkel vest, you do not need to thread. All you need to do is relax, tuck in your legs and let the floatation characteristics of the snorkel vest do the floating for you.
Snorkel vest can keep you warm. When you go snorkeling, you are most likely to be spending more time on the surface rather than underwater, especially if you are wearing a snorkel vest. Being on surface exposes yourself to the elements especially with wind and for the fact that water is generally colder than your core body temperature. Wearing a snorkel vest reduces body heat loss and acts like an upper wetsuit that traps body heat.
Builds confidence and allows you to relax. Wearing a snorkel vest eases your mind about safety and as a precaution against drowning. With this, this eliminates your worries and the need to do constant threading where you can proceed in developing other snorkeling skills instead kicking your legs constantly to stay afloat. This, in general, builds your confidence and relaxes your body without consuming too much energy. Afterall, snorkeling should be fun and not an exhausting adventure.
Who needs a Snorkel Vest?
Unless you are a proficient swimmer and can swim for hours with no point of exhaustion I would highly recommend this to everyone. I am a swim coach and I even wear one because you never know what can happen in the ocean. If winds pick up or a current comes through the area you are snorkeling, anything can happen.
For children and beginners it is perfect because it is a great way to get comfortable in the water but still have the freedom to swim under the sea surface and get a closer look at the fish or coral. Always think, what if, even if you have it around your body, it doesn’t need to be inflated but there just in case. If you have a couple children snorkeling in different areas it can put your mind at ease because you know they will be safe.
Types Of Snorkel Vests
Generally, a snorkel vest is a floatation device and may contain a positively buoyant material that can lift the weight of a human and stay afloat at the surface. Regardless of the positively buoyant material a snorkel vest is made (like inflatable rubber, neoprene, and styrofoam), snorkel vests are classified according to how they are fabricated.
Horse Collar Snorkel Vest
This type of snorkel vest employs an inflatable rubber that is embedded inside the vest. It is worn like a horse’s saddle over the head and has straps that help it secure in place. When deflated, this vest allows you to go underwater. But when you need to stay afloat at the surface, all you need to do is blow through the pipe where blown air inflates the rubber and will act similar to a buoyancy compensator device or BCD.
Jacket Type Snorkel Vest
This type of snorkel vest is the easiest to use as you only need to wear it like a jacket and to fasten its strap and buckle guarantees that it will stay in place even in occurrence of waves and strong current. This snorkel vest is usually made out of neoprene embedded with styrofoam packs. With this characteristics, you are guaranteed to stay afloat on the surface all the time. On the other hand, many have considered this feature a limitation as you cannot go underwater and cruise over coral reefs as the material is highly buoyant. Nonetheless, you are 100% sure that you will stay relax at the surface.
Hybrid Snorkel Vest
There are new models out in the market that is a combination of the air inflated rubber bladders and embedded with small pockets of neoprene and styrofoam. This hybrid snorkel vest will initially give you optimum buoyancy courtesy from the small integrated styrofoam pads. However, as you need more buoyancy, you have the option to add air into the rubber bladder by blowing air from its pipe on the side.
Children’s Snorkel Vests
Make no mistake to allow the use of adult snorkel vest to minors. It’s a no-no. You have to be aware that a snorkel vest has to be worn with the right size. Extra large vest worn on a tiny body causes it to constrict the lower extremities and may cause swimming difficulties. On the other hand, an extra small vest worn on an extra large rib cage would squeeze its fit where its user can experience difficulty in breathing. Take note that most children’s snorkel vest is equipped with an understrap that is used to secure the vest without going up to the head portion while fully afloat at the surface and will not interfere with your child’s vision and/or breathing. Check our article about best snorkel sets for kids here.
Inflatable Snorkeling Vests
For the many options of the snorkel vest you can swim with it inflated for your comfort especially if it is your first time or you have children who are just getting used to the water. As you progress you can keep it half inflated so you will be able to go under the water but then pop back up. When you are starting to get more experienced you can completely deflate the jacket and go under and back up as much as you want and when the day is coming to an end to get on the boat or you are getting tired you can just inflate the jacket and lounge out.
How to size a Snorkeling Vest for Adults
Just like with shoes and clothes every brand, and type fit differently. So how do you make sure you get the right fit? The biggest factor is weight. Knowing how much you weigh is key. If it is in pounds, make sure you divide by 2.2 to get to kilograms or vice versa. If in Kilograms, times by 2.2 to get the accurate reading. The reason I say this, is because in some vest sizing charts it may be in kilograms or pounds so you want to make sure you have an accurate weight.
With snorkeling vests there are different styles and types so you can look for length of straps. It will say how long the straps are so you can picture where the straps will be on your body and measure that with a tape measure. If you don’t have a pliable tape measure, use string or something that is pliable and then measure with a ruler after. In some cases you may see other sizing charts but if you are unsure, always go with weight.
If you cannot find any size chart, take an extra peak at some of the other vests we have provided and hopefully we can help you find something that will work for you! Here is an example of what to look for.
Snorkeling Life Vests
Now this may seem exactly like a snorkeling vest but the snorkeling life vest is a bit different. Instead of having a horse collar shape with straps around the groin and waist, this looks like a full personal flotation device but it only inflates on the front.
For example, the ScubaPro Cruiser Skin Dive Safety Snorkeling Vest is one of our favorites and I will explain in full detail why it is different that your regular snorkel vest. Just like with the regular snorkel vest it increases buoyancy control and has an easy to us oral inflator and dump valve. However, this vest wraps around the whole body and has a 1/8" neoprene back sleeve that is more comfortable (for some) and adds that extra bit of warmth in case you are in a cooler climate or have not as great blood circulation.
The full wrap around tends to make it easier sometimes and more comfortable when you are in and out of the water. The unfortunate things is that it is a bit bigger and bulkier so when you are storing your snorkeling vest in your bag or at home it does take up a bit more room. Also for traveling it can take up a little more space, even if you are already trying to cram more items into your suitcase.
On the positive side though, most Snorkeling Life Vests have more space so they have a pocket that you can store items in such as your keys or water proof underwater camera or any other water proof item.
For sizing on Snorkel Life Vests you want to measure from around the waist and in most cases if you are in between sizes always go up a size. When you are measuring around the waist you also want to make sure you are measuring parallel to the ground so the tape measure or string is not around your bum and then up by your chest, otherwise you will not get an accurate measurement. You want to find the middle point in between your belly button and your hips and have a straight line all the way around.