The 10 Best Safety Vests
10. KwikSafety Big Kahuna
- double horizontal reflective strips
- very large sizes available
- lower pockets wear out quickly
|Rating||3.9 / 5.0|
9. Radians Surveyor
- breathes well in hot environments
- flaps protect pockets from rain
- snaps are rather weak
|Rating||4.1 / 5.0|
8. Neiko Neon
- easy to put on and take off
- zipper is smooth and durable
- does not have any pockets
|Rating||3.9 / 5.0|
7. Misslo Breathable
- reflective bands are 2 inches wide
- bright fluorescent yellow fabric
- must be hand washed and air dried
|Rating||3.6 / 5.0|
6. Tuvizo Reflective
- multiple adjustment points
- available in pink or yellow
- feels somewhat flimsy
|Rating||4.3 / 5.0|
5. Active Kyds Yellow
- simple velcro fastening
- available in pack of three
- comes in only two sizes
|Rating||4.0 / 5.0|
4. GripGlo Bright
- does not flap around when cycling
- 360 degrees of reflectivity
- sizes seem to run small
|Rating||3.8 / 5.0|
3. Radians SV6
- handy interior flashlight pocket
- solid knit front and mesh back
- four pen and pencil slots
|Rating||4.9 / 5.0|
2. TheHiViVest Class 2
- two large-capacity pockets
- clear compartment for credentials
- professional in appearance
|Rating||4.8 / 5.0|
1. ML Kishigo Black Series
- durable and weather-resistant
- 7 size options available
- cargo pockets with adjustable flaps
|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.