The 10 Best Safety Armbands
This wiki has been updated 28 times since it was first published in October of 2015. When winter closes in, chances are your evening jogging or walking routine will take place in the dark. Protect yourself from motorists by wearing one of these high visibility safety armbands, which use LED technology or reflective materials to make you stand out at a distance. Keep in mind, models with an integrated light are perfect for nighttime activities, but do require batteries or charging. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
May 07, 2020:
When it comes to safety armbands, the most important choice to make is that between LED battery-powered models and non-powered reflective tape versions. We've kept both, since they both have their place when used correctly. In the former category, the BSeen LED remains a popular choice, and we've added the Nite Ize SlapLit. The Nite Ize model is rechargeable, whereas the BSeen, as well as the GlowHero GlowBand, is not. This makes the Nite Ize a better choice for most, even though it does not come with a charging cable, since it is likely that you already have a micro USB cable at home. There's also the Eddie Bauer Unisex, but it requires two batteries rather than one, as with many models, and has a shorter run time than most. On the other hand, it offers sleek styling, a wallet-friendly price, and comfortable adjustability, so it's a fine choice for some.
As for options that don't require power, there's the HiVisible Straps and the Mr. Visibility Tape Straps, both sets that make it easy to add a pop of visibility to all of you limbs. For even better coverage, we added the Freemove Vest Set, a multi-piece set that comes with a great safety vest. It has a pocket, which is a nice touch, and comes in plenty of sizes. Keep in mind, though, that no matter how bright your vest and armbands, you still need to follow proper road safety, like walking against traffic when there's no sidewalk and staying aware of your surroundings rather than becoming lost in your noise cancelling headphones.
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Safety First at Work and Play
One easy solution is to affix the bicep band to your clothing using a clip or by passing it though an available or fabricated loop in the cloth.
If you are outside working, exercising, practicing a hobby, or otherwise about after dark, you need to account for your safety if there is even the slightest chance of your proximity to vehicles, bicycles, or even other pedestrians who might not easily see you by night.
Wearing high-visibility safety gear is essential for the worker assisting with a project on a roadside, for the runner out jogging after the sun has set, for kids playing in the neighborhood at dusk, and for anyone else who is outside at night anywhere but in a fully-lit area. Such gear almost always features high-shine surfaces that reflect even minimal light, and most also have bright "neon" colors that further increase their visibility and readily attract attention. Other options use lights built into their fabric that either glow steadily or feature bulbs that shine brightly, even flashing with strobe-style effects.
Much visibility safety gear takes the form of the vest or the harness, and for many people these are fine options. These are most commonly seen being worn by construction crews and police and fire personnel.
Safety armbands are often better choices than full reflective (or lighted) vests for a number of reasons, however. If your work or hobby requires a wide range of motion -- as might be necessitated by someone working with various types of handheld machinery or navigating a cliff face while rock climbing, to name two prominent examples -- a vest or harness that could limit your motion, get snagged on a tool or piece of gear, or might otherwise compromise your performance of the tasks at hand might leave you highly visible but may in fact make you less safe due to said impediments.
Regardless of when and where you are going to use safety armbands, and regardless of the specialized functions of the bands -- such as illumination or flashing lights -- you will need to choose between the two basic types of unit offered. There are bands that are worn on the wrists, and there are those designed to be wrapped around the bicep. Each has merits, and each has drawbacks, depending on who is using them and how. Wristbands can make a jogger or walker easy to see at night time from the front and sides, and are a good choice for the person who runs on a road facing opposing traffic. However, with one's hands in their proper placement for good running form, safety straps worn on the wrists will be almost impossible to see from the rear.
Safety bands worn on the bicep can be easily seen from all vantage points (provided both arms are sporting a band) but can also inhibit the comfort and performance of the athlete or the effective labor or a worker, as they may squeeze the arm too tightly when it is flexed and can slip out of place when the biceps are relaxed. One easy solution is to affix the bicep band to your clothing using a clip or by passing it though an available or fabricated loop in the cloth.
And of course the best way to ensure your safety armbands help you to be seen after dark is to choose both wrist and upper arm bands. That way you will be readily visible from all directions, and need not worry about cars coming from ahead or behind nor about other pedestrians spotting you from afar.
Beyond the Band: Other Gear Worth Getting
The best way to stay safe at night is to be easy to see; that much few people will debate. But being easily-seen extends beyond just making your arms visible, especially if you are not on foot or are accompanied by anyone else, namely a canine companion or a child in a stroller. If you are jogging with your dog after dark, the animal needs high-visibility safety gear just as much as you do -- and in fact more so, in truth, as were the dog to slip his or her leash, it likely lacks the same common sense you do around cars, streets, and other people.
Consider reflective tape, clip-on lights, and bright glow sticks to help ensure your things and/or your companions can be seen.
As for the bicyclist or runner using a stroller, make sure to affix plenty of reflective hardware and/or lighting to your hardware. Your own reflective bands may be obscured by your gear or your position at times, so it's important that the bike, stroller, or cart you are pushing is itself readily visible. Consider reflective tape, clip-on lights, and bright glow sticks to help ensure your things and/or your companions can be seen.
And keep in mind that of almost equal importance as being seen in the dark is ensuring that you can clearly see the road, sidewalk, or path ahead of you. A headlamp is the single best way to illuminate the dark areas ahead of you, as it keeps your hands free and is always directed where your eyes are facing anyway. Headlamps also have the immense benefit of being highly visible from afar thanks to their elevated position on your body. In fact, with bright safety armbands on your biceps and headlamp shining atop your brow, you will be almost impossible to miss even in near total darkness.
The Basics of Nighttime Outdoor Safety
The best way to stay safe while working, walking, or biking outside at night is to simply avoid places where an accident is even a potential. When possible, stick to jogging paths instead of sidewalks near busy roads; run on sidewalks instead of the street where no path is available; and when you must run, walk, or bike on a street, always move in opposition to oncoming traffic.
For keeping yourself safe against the belligerence of other people, you can assume a defensive approach, an offensive response, or in some cases, both.
But don't consider this enough to ensure your safety -- especially in the days of the driver distracted by the phone and with increased driver fatigue at night, moving against traffic should be treated more as a way for you to see threats than for the threat to see you. In other words, move to the extreme side or even out of the roadway when vehicles approach, even if it breaks your stride.
Preventing pedestrian-vehicle accidents is of primary importance at night, but it's important that you are ready to deal with other unpleasant situations that can arise outdoors after dark, such as robbery and assault. For keeping yourself safe against the belligerence of other people, you can assume a defensive approach, an offensive response, or in some cases, both. All runners are well-advised to keep a loud whistle on hand, or even to have one electronic alarm as part of their exercise ensemble. Carrying a deterrent like peppery spray or a taser can help when deterrence fails, but these items can also be used against their owner if dropped or wrested away.
Ultimately, the safest nighttime pedestrian is easy to see, easy to hear, and in an area they are comfortable. Also be sure at least one other person always knows your plans and will be on the lookout for your safe return.