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- Best Snorkel Vests
- Why Wear A Snorkel Vest
- What To Look For When Choosing A Snorkel Vest
- What’s Next?
Snorkeling is one of our favorite activities. Not only does it offer an incredible view of the underwater world, but it’s also great exercise and easily accessible.
Unlike scuba diving, you don’t need a certification or specific training. And snorkeling gear is much more affordable than dive gear.
What’s more, there are many places around the world where you can snorkel for free straight from the shore.
But if you’re not confident in the water, or you’re not much of a swimmer, then snorkeling can be quite daunting.
And that’s where a snorkel vest comes in!
A good snorkel vest helps keep you afloat so you feel safe and comfortable whilst snorkeling.
Whether you’re a complete beginner or a seasoned snorkeler, a snorkel vest is a great investment in your personal safety.
Not only does it provide additional buoyancy if you get tired, but it also makes you much more visible. Both to passing boat traffic and those looking out for you out of the water.
So how do you choose the best snorkel vest for you or your family?
In this article, we’ll be reviewing the best snorkel vests on the market. As well as taking you through the most important factors to consider when buying a snorkel vest.
If you’re looking for a quick answer, these are the top snorkeling vests that we recommend:
- Head Snorkel Vest (Best For Travel)
- National Geographic Snorkel Vest (Great For Storage)
- Rrtizan Snorkeling Jacket (Best Budget Option)
- WildHorn Inflatable Snorkel Vest (Most Comfortable)
- OMOUBOI Inflatable Snorkel Vest (Best Front Zip Option)
- AquaLung Sport Snorkeler Vest (Best For Visibility)
Keep reading to learn more about what each of these snorkel vests has to offer.
Best Snorkel Vests
First up we have this reliable and compact snorkel vest from Head. It offers all the basics you need in a lightweight and ultra-packable design, making this a great choice to bring on vacation or long haul trips.
Adjustable crotch straps help keep the vest comfortable and secure. It’s available in enough sizes to suit just about everybody and covers all the basics for a reasonable price. It’s reliable, ergonomic, and easy to spot.
- 3 different sizes available
- Reasonably priced
- Ultra-lightweight and packable
- Durable construction
- Waist and crotch straps keep vest secure
- Quite basic
- No D-rings or pockets
- Not suitable for small children
If you’re looking for a snorkel vest with storage, then this is the one for you. The National Geographic Snorkel vest features a handy D ring, perfect for clipping on your underwater camera or other accessories. As well as a secure zippered front pocket, ideal for storing your keys or other valuables.
This snorkel vest is also very well made. Its solid construction and durable material is sure to look after you for several years worth of snorkeling adventures.
The only downside to this vest is that it’s a one-size-fits-all, which as we all know, usually isn’t true. Although the waist and crotch straps are fully adjustable to comfortably accommodate most sizes.
However, if you’re particularly heavy or shopping for a smaller child, you may want to go with one of our other recommendations in order to have a suitable size option.
- Well-constructed from high-quality materials
- Handy storage features
- Comfortable to wear
- Fully adjustable waist and crotch straps
- Only 1 size available
- A little pricey
For those on a tight budget, the Rrtizan Snorkeling jacket is fantastic value for money. It’s comfortable, easy to inflate, and comes in 3 different neon colors that are highly visible. Everything you need from a basic snorkeling vest.
What’s more, is that this snorkel vest comes in an impressive variety of sizes for both children and adults. Combined with its low price, this makes a great option for families.
- Very cheap
- Wide range of sizes for both adults and children
- Highly visible
- 3 different colors available
- Not as durable as other options
- Straps can ride up a little
If you’re looking for the most comfortable and best-looking snorkel vest, then this ergonomically designed jacket from Wildhorn is for you. Even at a glance, you can quickly see that this is a top-quality snorkel vest.
The side entry design and spandex panels make this snorkel vest super easy to put on and take off, as well as incredibly comfortable to wear. A snug fit around the waist keeps it from riding up without needing that uncomfortable crotch strap (this means no wedgy!).
Thanks to its balanced design, you can easily maintain your preferred position in the water without having to fight. There’s also an attached air valve that allows you to swiftly adjust the buoyancy. This means you can dive down when snorkeling to get a closer look and then easily re-inflate once you’re back on the surface.
It’s also versatile. This snorkel vest can also be used for a wide range of watersports including paddleboarding, kayaking, and swimming.
Although the Wildhorn Snorkel vest isn’t the most affordable option, when it comes to stability, comfort, and style, it simply can’t be beaten. If you have the budget available, this snorkel vest really is worth the investment.
- Unrivaled comfort and mobility
- Incredibly stable and balanced
- Highly versatile
- Rugged and long-lasting
- Easily adjustable buoyancy
- A little pricey
- Not as visible as other models
The Omouboi Snorkel vest is designed for convenience and comfort, as well as safety. The front zip design makes this snorkel vest easier to put on and off than the traditional overhead designs. Plus the mesh sides and back offer superior breathability.
Its compact and lightweight design is easy to store and pack when deflated. The adjustable waist strap helps create a snug fit without being constrictive. Plus it’s available in 2 different high vis neon colors. All of this for a very low price makes this one of our favorite snorkel vests.
The main downside is that it’s another one-size-fits-all snorkel vest, which means if you’re especially large it probably won’t fit. And if you’re especially small then it tends to ride up without a crotch strap.
- Breathable design
- Easy to put on and take off
- High visibility
- Compact and lightweight
- 2 colors available
- Rides up a little
- Only one size available
If visibility and durability are your priority, then the AquaLung Sport Snorkeler vest is your best option. While all of these snorkel vests are brightly colored and easy to spot, the AquaLung is in its own league here. This snorkel vest is exceptionally bright.
It’s also the most rugged snorkel vest we’ve come across. It can certainly handle some wear and tear. The Mares, Head, and Wildhorn vests are well-made and rugged, but this is definitely the overall winner in durability and longevity.
This snorkel vest also comes in three different sizes, so it’s a better option for small children and particularly heavy adults.
It is quite expensive for a basic-looking snorkel vest. So it’s not the best option for a one-off trip. However, if you’re a frequent or lifelong snorkeler then it’s worth the investment.
With such high-quality materials and solid construction, this vest will take great care of you and your loved ones throughout all your snorkeling adventures.
- Exceptional visibility
- Very rugged and long-lasting
- Available in different sizes
- Very comfortable
- Quite expensive
Why Wear A Snorkeling Vest?
A snorkel vest will help keep you effortlessly afloat in the water. If you can’t swim well then a snorkel vest actually enables you to go snorkeling. Or if you’re particularly nervous in the ocean then a snorkel vest can make you feel much more comfortable and secure.
But if you can swim comfortably, you might be wondering if you really need to wear a snorkeling vest?
While it’s very much down to personal preference there are a few benefits that even strong swimmers can enjoy by wearing a snorkel vest. The main one being safety.
Firstly, with a snorkel vest, you are significantly more visible. If you end up adrift, you’ll be much easier to spot and any boat traffic can easily see where you are and keep a safe distance.
Secondly, if you end up exhausted or unconscious, a good snorkel vest with its buoyancy on the chest and behind the head, will turn you on your back and keep your airways out of the water.
The other main benefit of wearing a snorkel vest is that it just makes snorkeling easier and more relaxing. You barely need to put in any effort at all, which helps extend your snorkeling sessions as you won’t tire as quickly. They also allow you to rest during the snorkeling session. This is particularly helpful when you’re snorkeling in deeper areas.
Lastly, some people are just natural sinkers. If you find it difficult to float around at the surface then you need to try a snorkeling vest. It’ll make a big difference!
How To Choose The Best Snorkel Vest
These are our top tips to help you find the best snorkel best for your future adventures.
Check The Size Carefully
As with any piece of scuba or snorkel gear you buy, it’s important to make sure you check the specs on your new snorkel vest and make sure it’s suitable for your needs. In particular, you need to pay close attention to the sizing charts and weight ratings.
Not only is a bad fitting snorkel vest uncomfortable but it can also be dangerous. If a vest is too big you could end up tangled up or slip out completely. On the other end of the scale, if the vest is too small it won’t provide enough buoyancy to keep you afloat.
The weight ratings for snorkel vests indicate how much weight they can reliably keep afloat. Make sure that the vest you chose can support a little more than your weight, as this will ensure you have enough positive buoyancy to stay safe in the water.
Look for a snorkel vest with adjustable straps, as this will give you the most flexibility to get a perfect fit.
Consider Your Needs
As you’re comparing the different snorkel vests we’ve recommended above, be sure to consider exactly how you plan to use your new piece of gear and what features will suit your needs best.
Will you only be using this snorkel vest for a one-off trip? Or do you plan on snorkeling several times a year? If you’re only going to use the snorkel vest a few times then it’s more cost-effective to opt for a more budget option. But if you plan on using the vest often then investing in a more robust model makes sense.
Similarly, do you want to use the jacket for a variety of watersports? If so, then a jacket style snorkel vest will be more versatile then the basic over the head models.
Are you going to be taking pictures with a waterproof camera, such as a GoPro or an iPhone in a Lifeproof case? If so, you’ll probably want to choose a snorkel vest with a pocket or a D-ring. But if these added extras aren’t important to you, you can save a little with a more basic version.
Don’t Be Tempted By Super Cheap Knock-Offs
Since most snorkel vests follow the same basic design, it’s no surprise that there’s a ton of cheap, shoddy knock-offs available. These are usually sold for $10 or less with brand names you’ve never heard of. While the price is very tempting, it’s really not worth the risk.
They’re usually very badly made and break easily. And when you’re buying a piece of personal safety equipment, either for yourself or your family, it’s just not worth taking a chance on. Spend a little extra money for the peace of mind you get when you purchase a well-made vest from a legitimate manufacturer.
Now you know everything you need to choose the best snorkel vest for you or your loved ones.
Be sure to check out our guide to the best snorkeling gear to make sure you’re fully prepared for your ocean adventures.
Have you tried out any of these snorkel vests? Let us know your experience in the comments.
Alexa Worswick is a PADI and SSI scuba diving Instructor, recreational freediver and freelance copywriter. She first learnt to scuba dive in the UK aged 15 and has since travelled and dived in multiple locations across 3 different continents. After quitting her marketing job in London in 2016, Alexa is now based in Indonesia where she can pursue her passion for the ocean fulltime.