The 10 Best Safety Vests

Updated May 06, 2018 by Melissa Harr

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We spent 44 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top options for this wiki. When you’re hiking, going for a jog, or on a job site at night, don’t risk an accident by being invisible in the dark. Even during the day, these safety vests ensure that you stand out at all times so that motorists, cyclists, and other people can’t miss you. They’re reflective, come in a variety of sizes, and some even include special features, like pen pockets and transparent ID compartments. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best safety vest on Amazon.

10. KwikSafety Big Kahuna

If you’re worried about dealing with a bulky garment, the KwikSafety Big Kahuna will pleasantly surprise you. It's lightweight with mesh side panels for air circulation, so you can do your job without being weighed down by heavy fabric or getting too hot.
  • double horizontal reflective strips
  • very large sizes available
  • lower pockets wear out quickly
Brand KwikSafety
Model K56342
Weight 9.6 ounces
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

9. Radians Surveyor

Equipped with standard safety attributes, the Radians Surveyor comes in either highly visible yellow or orange with a variety of useful pockets, making it great for different needs. The mesh is resilient and sturdy, though the seams may fray with extensive use.
  • breathes well in hot environments
  • flaps protect pockets from rain
  • snaps are rather weak
Brand Radians
Model SV59-2ZGD-M
Weight 10.4 ounces
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

8. Neiko Neon

Designed to be as eye-catching as possible, the Neiko Neon sports a pair of vertical reflective strips to go with a pair of horizontal ones for maximum visibility. It’s not a heavy-duty option, but you’ll remain conspicuous while wearing it day or night.
  • easy to put on and take off
  • zipper is smooth and durable
  • does not have any pockets
Brand Neiko
Model 53941A
Weight 1.6 ounces
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

7. Misslo Breathable

The Misslo Breathable is a logical choice if you often find yourself carrying lots of accessories. It’s designed with multiple secure Velcro pockets, one clear plastic window for displaying an identification card, and compartments for pens and a cell phone.
  • reflective bands are 2 inches wide
  • bright fluorescent yellow fabric
  • must be hand washed and air dried
Brand misslo reflective
Model pending
Weight 7.2 ounces
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

6. Tuvizo Reflective

The low-profile, versatile Tuvizo Reflective is an effective option for when you want to be seen, but still be comfy enough to enjoy yourself, such as when running or cycling at night. It comes with a satisfaction guarantee and works for a wide range of body types.
  • multiple adjustment points
  • available in pink or yellow
  • feels somewhat flimsy
Brand Tuvizo
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

5. Active Kyds Yellow

For anyone with a child who loves riding bikes and other outdoor activities there’s the Active Kyds Yellow. And if your little ones enjoy playing construction worker or builder, it’ll add some authenticity and fun to their games.
  • simple velcro fastening
  • available in pack of three
  • comes in only two sizes
Brand Active Kyds
Model pending
Weight 2.1 ounces
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

4. GripGlo Bright

Whether you work in construction, paving, traffic control, or even law enforcement, the GripGlo Bright is a straightforward model that will make your job safer and easier. It’s also suitable for motorcycle enthusiasts who want to ensure they’re noticeable at night.
  • does not flap around when cycling
  • 360 degrees of reflectivity
  • sizes seem to run small
Brand GripGlo
Model pending
Weight 8.8 ounces
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

3. Radians SV6

A basic polyester option, the Radians SV6 may not have a lot of bells and whistles, but it has what it takes to keep a worker safe while on the job site. If you need to buy in bulk for a large team of employees, this is a good way to go.
  • handy interior flashlight pocket
  • solid knit front and mesh back
  • four pen and pencil slots
Brand Radians
Model SV6-GRN
Weight pending
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

2. TheHiViVest Class 2

Thanks to a total of nine pockets in a variety of shapes and sizes, TheHiViVest Class 2 provides you with storage and quick access to whatever items you need on the job. It’s a nice option for those who have to keep mobile devices or small tools on them at all times.
  • two large-capacity pockets
  • clear compartment for credentials
  • professional in appearance
Brand TheHiViVest
Model 51112L
Weight 9.1 ounces
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

1. ML Kishigo Black Series

Constructed with reflective piping along the sides and around the arm holes for consistent visibility in low light conditions, the ML Kishigo Black Series actually looks somewhat stylish, as far as these garments can. It’s heavy-duty, utilitarian, and extremely breathable.
  • durable and weather-resistant
  • 7 size options available
  • cargo pockets with adjustable flaps
Brand ML Kishigo
Model 1513 2X
Weight 12.8 ounces
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

Why All Safety Vests Are Not Created Equal

A safety vest, by and large, is a utility. That being the case, it's important to purchase a vest that will satisfy your needs without making it more difficult for you to complete any task.

The first thing anyone notices about a safety vest is the color. Yes, you want that color to be bright, preferably even neon and reflective. Bright safety vests aren't only a precaution, they could make a significant difference if a workplace injury or any similar lawsuit ever goes to trial. The point being, you want a safety vest that prioritizes substance over style.

Every safety vest is meant to be worn as an outer layer, which means you'll want that vest to give you access to deep pockets. These pockets should be capable of storing pens, cell phones, and perhaps even a flashlight, or a whistle, at the very least. Ideally, a vest should be durable, and made out of a polyester blend. Depending on the climate, you may want that vest to have mesh flaps for ventilation, and you may also want that vest to be weatherproof, assuming that you work outdoors.

If you need a safety vest for something minor, perhaps a one-time event, you may be able to save a few bucks by purchasing a muted vest that only features one or two reflective strips. Be sure to keep in mind, however, that once you buy that vest, you own it. And you never know when you might need to reuse that vest a little further down the road (please see below).

Several Little-Known Uses For a Safety Vest

Perhaps you need a safety vest for work, or for some volunteer organization that you're a member of. On the surface, you might think that this is a necessity purchase. And yet the reality is that owning a safety vest could be a lot more valuable than you'd think.

Certain parents, specifically chaperons, prefer to wear safety vests in crowded areas so that children can always spot them. Runners and bikers wear safety vests when weaving along dark roads at night. It pays to keep a safety vest in your trunk so that you can alert traffic, police, or a tow truck in the event that your car breaks down. There are studies that have proven motorcyclists are actually less likely to get hit if they're wearing high-visibility clothing on their backs.

Safety vests are worn by race volunteers so that athletes know how to spot water stops, and first aid tents, and turns along the course. High-visibility vests should always be worn in dense woods during hunting season, regardless of whether someone is hunting or not. Anyone who volunteers during a rescue effort (e.g., an earthquake or a flood) should wear a safety vest so they're more visible to any locals in distress. Any locals in distress can put on a safety vest so that they're more visible to emergency personnel.

A Brief History of The Safety Vest

Florescent safety vests were originally worn by British railway workers during the 1960s. These vests, which were referred to as "fireflies," became part of a high-visibility initiative that was largely geared toward reducing injuries - and possible derailments - along a specific British Railways line. Railway engineers reported feeling so reassured that firefly vests almost immediately spread to various parts of the UK, including Birmingham, Liverpool, London, and more.

Over the next 10 years these lightweight vests made their way to America, where construction crews and crossing guards began wearing them to minimize the risk of any accidents. Soon after, a number of plants and factories made safety vests a requisite part of their PPE (i.e., Personal Protective Equipment).

By the 1980s, a litany of studies had concluded that high-visibility clothing was an effective means of reducing injuries, along with workplace accidents, and related costs. Whereas a lot of PPE was worn to protect a company's workers, a safety vest was also effective at protecting the company itself. As an example, imagine a paving company that's been slapped with a lawsuit due to the result of a driver suffering injuries after veering onto a closed road. Said company is in a better position to defend itself assuming the entire paving crew was wearing florescent vests that could be proven visible from a half-mile or more.

Today, safety vests are widely mandated by OSHA at every major plant, factory, and volatile facility across the U.S. These vests continue to be worn by traffic officers, construction workers, road crews, group leaders, event directors, hunters, and emergency personnel.

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Last updated on May 06, 2018 by Melissa Harr

Melissa is a writer, editor, and EFL educator from the U.S. She's worked in the field since earning her B.A. in 2012, during which time she's judged fiction contests, taught English in Asia, and authored e-courses about arts and crafts. In her free time, she likes to make stuff out of sticks and string.

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