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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

51 Models Considered
8 Hours Researched
2 Experts Interviewed
129 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for Best men’s reflective jackets

While we were all taught at an early age not to play in the road, in later life we often find it difficult to avoid either playing or working near one. Whether you’re walking, running, riding a bike, or working in construction or emergency services, you want to be clearly visible to everyone around you. You can accomplish this by wearing a reflective jacket.

Reflective jackets can greatly increase your visibility in hazardous situations, making one of these jackets a necessary piece of safety equipment, right up there with a helmet and proper footwear. In addition to helping you stand out in low-light conditions, these jackets also incorporate some of the features found in other quality jackets, such as pockets and a hood.

This buying guide explores the range of factors to consider when shopping for a reflective jacket, from durability to materials to reflective elements to price. We also offer some of our favorite men’s reflective jackets to get your shopping started.

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If you’re searching for a reflective jacket primarily for athletic use, consider buying one that incorporates a moisture-wicking material to draw sweat away from your skin.

Key considerations

Reflectivity

Your primary consideration when purchasing one of these jackets is obvious: how reflective is it? You want a jacket that provides a high degree of reflectivity to help you stand out in a variety of low-light conditions.

Some of these jackets are made entirely of reflective material right down to the zippers. Others have specific reflective elements added, usually stripes. If you choose a jacket with reflective stripes, note how large/wide the stripes are and where they’re located, such as on the arms, body, or both. Wherever they’re positioned, the reflective elements should be visible from every direction.

Durability

A reflective jacket and its reflective abilities should last for several seasons. The seams, preferably double-stitched, should be strong to keep from fraying. Zippers should be of a high enough quality that they won’t easily catch or break. The reflective elements, whether stripes or the whole jacket, should not easily fade or flake off.

Whether you wear your jacket for sports or work, you’ll probably wear it primarily outdoors. As such, it should be designed to withstand both wind and rain, both of which affect the wearer’s comfort level. Most men’s reflective jackets are designed to be water-resistant, water repellent, or waterproof. They aren’t the same thing, so make sure your jacket choice matches the conditions in which you expect to wear it.

Size

It’s important to buy a reflective jacket in the right size. Too small and it will be tight and uncomfortable. Too large and it will be too bulky and loose, which can be a safety hazard in some situations.

Sellers should offer a variety of sizes and the listing should include a clear, easy-to-understand sizing chart.

Style

While a jacket’s appearance is less important if you’re wearing it for something like working outdoors, it’s still a consideration for some people. Some offer a more stylish look for casual or sports use, while others are more utilitarian.

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Did You Know?
A reflective jacket that offers wind and rain protection helps keep you comfortable and also helps regulate your body temperature.
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Features

Materials

Men’s reflective jackets are either just a shell or a shell with an inner liner. The one you need will depend on the climate or season in which you’ll be wearing the jacket. While a simple shell works better for warmer months, it’s too thin to be comfortable in cooler months. The reverse is true for a reflective jacket with a liner, which can be too hot to wear in the summer.

There are a few different materials used to make these jackets.

Shell: While polyester is the overwhelming favorite for this type of jacket shell, nylon and Gore-Tex are also common. The shell should be lightweight yet strong. Some include built-in venting or moisture-wicking, which can help to control perspiration.

Lining: You can find heavier reflective jackets lined with double layers of fabric, fleece or quilted fabric for warmth and comfort. Some liners are removable, which adds greatly to the jacket’s versatility.

Other components 

Pockets: Men’s reflective jackets can have two, four, or more pockets. Some reflective jackets include a chest radio pocket, a convenient feature for emergency personnel, construction workers, and others.

Pockets with zippers are useful for securing items, and flaps over the zippers can help to keep out water. If you need pockets, make sure that your chosen jacket has real pockets and not fake ones that are merely design elements with no utilitarian purpose.

Hood: While not all of these jackets come with a hood, some do. A hood on these jackets typically doesn’t take up much space or add much weight. Some simply fit into the collar when you’re not using it.

Belt/drawstring: Some men’s reflective jackets include a built-in belt or drawstring either at the waist or the hem that you can use to tighten the bottom of the jacket. This helps to keep the jacket from riding up and keeps out wind and rain.

One benefit of buying a men’s reflective jacket that’s made of polyester is the material doesn’t wrinkle.

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Men’s reflective jacket prices

Inexpensive: Men’s reflective jackets start between $20 and $35. In this range, you can find thin polyester shells, usually with reflective strips. These jackets offer limited water resistance.

Mid-range: At $35 to $50, the men’s reflective jackets are more durable and many are water repellent or waterproof. While these are mostly jackets for warmer weather, some in this range offer limited protection in cooler months.

Expensive: Men’s reflective jackets in the $50 to $90 range are the most durable and reflective and offer more protection from the elements. These jackets are typically geared toward people who work outside, and most are fully waterproof and include a lining for use in colder weather.

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Did You Know?
While not standard, some reflective jackets include a shoulder loop for securing a radio mic.
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Tips

  • Check the IP code. Even with waterproof jackets, there are differences in the effectiveness of the waterproofing. The jacket should have an International Protection Code, also known as an Ingress Protection Rating or IP code. The higher the rating, the more waterproof the jacket.
  • Check the ANSI code. To make sure that your men’s reflective jacket meets the strictest safety standards, check the listing for ANSI 107 compliance. This verifies that the jacket meets the American National Standards Institute, Inc. standard for high-visibility garments.
  • Check for a removable liner. If you need a three- or four-season reflective jacket, go with one that has a removable liner. 
  • Check the color. For the best visibility, go with a men’s reflective jacket in a bright color like yellow, orange, or lime green.
  • Check for side-seam zippers. For maximum ventilation, buy a men’s reflective jacket that includes side-seam zippers. These also provide easier access to a tool belt or police duty belt.
  • Check the return policy. Comfort is a factor, particularly if you plan to work in the jacket for hours at a stretch. Before you order, be sure you can easily return the jacket if the fit isn’t right.
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When choosing a men’s reflective jacket, choose a size larger than you regularly buy if you plan to wear the jacket over additional layers.

FAQ

Q. Are these jackets machine washable?

A. Some are, some aren’t. This can be a real consideration with jackets of this type because their light color shows dirt and grime more easily. Polyester jackets are usually machine washable and can be hung up to air-dry or machine dried on low. Other jackets will last longer if you simply spot clean them with a bit of mild soap and water. Your best bet is always to follow the manufacturer’s care recommendations for the jacket.

Q. Water resistant, water repellent, waterproof. What’s the difference?

A. There are different degrees of protection in men’s reflective jackets, which tell you how effectively a jacket can handle water. 

Water-resistant: While these jackets repel some moisture, they won’t stay dry in even a light rain for long.

Water repellent: These jackets are treated so that moisture beads up and runs off the fabric, but they won’t stand up to a heavy downpour.

Waterproof: These jackets offer the best moisture protection and should keep you dry no matter what Mother Nature throws at you.

Q. Is a hood necessary in a men’s reflective jacket?

A. While not all of these jackets have a hood, some do. The question is do you really need one?

A hood can help to keep you drier and warmer in some conditions. It also provides you with more flexibility, allowing you to be comfortable in various weather conditions without the need to bring along a hat.

On the downside, a hood could restrict your hearing, which can be a safety issue if you’re wearing the jacket while running or working alongside a road. A hood may also be redundant if you already dress in layers that include something like a hooded sweatshirt.

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