The 10 Best LED Vests
This wiki has been updated 35 times since it was first published in October of 2015. If your busy schedule requires you to exercise in the early mornings or late evenings, make sure you stay safe with one of these high-visibility LED vests. They shine brightly enough to alert motorists that you're there, so you never have to worry about being seen. We've added those that are perfect for cycling and running, as well as a few that might suit road crews and construction personnel. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
November 10, 2020:
While there are plenty of ways to keep yourself safe and visible when out at night, from safety armbands to headlamps, a good LED vest is hard to beat. You won't have to worry that their reflective materials are reflective enough, and they cover a decent portion of your body. With this update, we've kept models for runners, joggers, walkers, and cyclists, as well as those that might work for construction workers, surveyors, and anyone else working on a dark job site.
Note, though, that if you're considering an LED vest for construction or work purposes, you'll need to ensure that it meets all applicable safety regulations and guidelines. For instance, the Global Glove FrogWear meets ANSI Class 3 standards, while the Yoa Safety, while advertised for construction workers, does not meet such standards, so it may be better for casual use.
As for models designed for runners, the futuristic Noxgear Tracer360 still comes out on top. You won't be forced to choose just one color, as its LEDs provide a range of colors in both static and flashing modes. It does tend to eat up batteries rather quickly, but you can use rechargeable AAAs to save some cash over the long haul. And we kept the Noxgear Lighthound for your four-footed exercise partner.
A new addition of note is the Eceen Turn Signal, which does indeed light up with handy turn signals, making this an excellent choice for both runners and cyclists. You'll need to sync the included remote with it, a task that can be somewhat frustrating. But, on the plus side, the remote control is available for separate purchase, should you happen to lose yours.
December 24, 2019:
The Vizpet Running joins our list as an easy-to-use, budget-friendly model that comes in handy if you’re looking to buy one for multiple family members. It’s available in either fluorescent yellow or green, and features bright red LED tubes on the back, so you won’t be missed by motorists or fellow runners. It attaches to your waist with two easily adjustable buckles. Another choice that’s well suited for runners is the lightweight Amphipod Xinglet Flash, which is highly adjustable to accommodate most waists, and it’s designed not to trap sweat. This one shines red on both sides and features an easy on/off button, as well as reflective strips that run nearly for its entire length.
The Global Glove FrogWear is designed specifically with the likes of emergency workers, surveyors, and parking attendants in mind. It’s packed with handy components like an interior pocket and four exterior ones, mic tabs on the shoulders, a sewn-in D-ring pass-through on the back, and two grommets on the top and another two on the bottom.
For those who want to make sure their four-legged friend stays safe when outside after dark, we added the Noxgear Lighthound to the list in this update. It shines in eight vibrant colors that can be displayed in static, strobing, and slow-rolling modes. It’s easy to slip over your dog’s head and buckles securely around his or her chest. It comes with a handy leash attachment and will ensure visibility for up to a quarter mile. The harness component is conveniently machine washable.
To practice safe running or walking after dark, in addition to wearing a light-up safety vest, also pay close attention to your surroundings, choose a familiar route, go against traffic, and be sure to bring your ID and cell phone. As much as you may enjoy listening to music, leave the headphones at home so that you can hear approaching cars, trains, or people.
Superior Police Illuminated Vest with ID Panel Ideal for EMS workers and firefighters, this ANSI 2 certified choice offers the same illuminated strips on the shoulders, front, and back. It can light up in flash, strobe, and steady modes, each of which produces an eye-catching effect. Its rugged build can withstand years of use, and it can be seen for up to a mile, making it a lifesaver during adverse weather conditions. buysuperiorled.com
Choosing An LED Vest For Work
But standard safety vests see greatly diminished efficacy after darkness when not caught in direct beams of light.
If you have ever driven down a highway or strolled down a city street, you have seen workers wearing bright safety vests. Wearing high visibility garments has become standard operating procedure for road crews, construction workers, surveyors, security personnel, and many others as well. Anyone working in an area near roadways, in proximity to construction machinery or other large equipment, or among large volumes of moving material such as one finds in a warehouse or on a dock must be able to see his or her coworkers with ease and to be seen by their associates and the public.
The easier it is to be seen, the safer you are at work. Just as daytime driving lights reduce automobile accidents on the road, high visibility belts and vests reduce the chance of injury (or worse) at worksites. A good reflective vest will catch light and will be clearly illuminated when hit by light such as that from an approaching car's headlights. But standard safety vests see greatly diminished efficacy after darkness when not caught in direct beams of light. Thus the growing popularity of LED safety vests.
LED bulbs are lightweight, bright, and energy efficient. They also produce minimal heat, thus a safety vest sporting multiple LEDs is comfortable for use in all climate conditions. Choosing the right LED vest for use in a professional setting first means considering other type of gear you have to wear. If you work in cold conditions, or you wear bulky safety gear, then a highly adjustable belt and suspender style of LED garment is ideal, as these units can easily fit over thick jackets or protective suits. While few LED vests are likely to restrict your range of motion in any marked way, these minimalist options will preserve the best freedom of movement.
However, an LED vest with more overall surface area can serve better during daytime; many safety vests are essentially the same bright "neon" vests that catch sunlight by day, simply fitted with LEDs to shine after dark. If you vary between day and night shifts, one of these vests will be your best bet, provided it works suitably with the rest of your gear. Fortunately, most LED vests are affordable enough that the responsible professional can buy more than one, thus always being able to choose the right safety gear for the situation.
The Sportsman's LED Vest
If you frequently jog, bike, or skate at night, then you have likely had your share of close calls with motorists or with other pedestrians out after dark. Unless you restrict your nocturnal exercise to brightly lit city or suburban areas, you will likely regularly find yourself in low light while in close proximity to others, with motorists presenting the largest danger.
Many of the LED vests that serve the worker well won't work for the person looking to exercise safely.
Many of the LED vests that serve the worker well won't work for the person looking to exercise safely. A loose fitting safety vest can be an annoyance as it flutters in the breeze and is jostled by your movement, and it can prove less effective as some of its LED bulbs are potentially obscured by said movement.
Other options, such as the belt and suspender style of LED vest might work well for the cyclist whose torso stays predominately still, but are not the best option for the jogger. The jarring motion inherent in running can lead many LED vests to ride up on the runner, creating chafing or simply being a frustration as the garment bounces around distractingly.
An ideal choice for a sportsman's LED vest is one that anchors around his or her chest, ensuring a secure fit that won't move during exercise. This helps keep the runner or cyclist focused and comfortable, and ensures that the safety lighting they chose stays in place and visible. It's a good idea to select an option that concentrates maximum lighting on your back and features only a bit of illumination on the front. This setup won't impact your night vision; your own eyes can help to keep you safe from threats ahead of you.
A Sobering Look At Statistics
The following statistics are both unnerving and informative; there is no denying that grim information can be gleaned through studying the reports compiled each year by agencies such as the Transportation Research Board or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but it's information that motivates safe behavior.
Many of these accidents involve people simply walking across a street on their way to work or while shopping, but a large percentage of the accidents involve joggers.
Each year, experts estimate that approximately 1,100 workers are killed in automobile accidents involving work zones. And more than 50,000 Americans are injured annually in crashes taking place in work zones. Most take place on roadways with speed limits set at 55 miles per hour or higher, where reaction time is limited (and damage worse due to the forces involved). Wearing bright, illuminated safety gear is the best way for a worker to keep himself or herself safe, as it gives the motorist a second or two more time to see the person and potentially correct their course.
The deaths and injuries among pedestrians are even more severe: more than 4,700 people on foot are killed by a vehicle in most years, and a staggering 150,000 are badly injured in many years. Many of these accidents involve people simply walking across a street on their way to work or while shopping, but a large percentage of the accidents involve joggers.
As for cyclists, as many as two percent of the fatalities involving a motor vehicle accident were people riding a bike. The best way to stay safe while on your bike or on your feet is to stay alert and highly visible.