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Best Weighted Vests

Updated October 2018
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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.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
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.
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

  • 87 Models Considered
  • 12 Hours Researched
  • 1 Experts Interviewed
  • 135 Consumers Consulted
  • Zero products received from manufacturers.

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

    Why trust BestReviews?
    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.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
    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.

    Shopping guide for best weighted vests

    Last Updated October 2018

    If you work hard at staying fit, there are lots of ways to make the most of your exercise regimen. Gyms offer numerous types of equipment to help you reach your goals, and the outdoors is ideal for getting your body in motion, whether by walking, hiking, or running. But maybe you’re looking for something out of the ordinary to give your fitness activities a boost. A weighted vest could be exactly what you need.

    You may be new to this type of fitness gear, or perhaps you’ve considered purchasing one but didn’t know where to start. We can help you weed through the particulars of weighted vests so you can choose one to fit your body type and athletic needs.

    If you’re ready to take your workout to the next level, start by working your way through our information, facts, and tips, which will help you find the best weighted vest for your needs and goals. When you’re ready to buy, look at our top picks for weighted vests.

    Weighted vests provide a great way for individuals who are weight training to add extra resistance while lifting.

    What are weighted vests?

    Weighted vests are garments with pockets for sandbags, metal bars, or other dense, hefty materials that are distributed evenly throughout the structure. The vests can be worn by men or women. Some of their features include the following.

    • Padding to help prevent chafing

    • Belts, Velcro, or other adjustable closures for customizable fit

    • Different styles and weight levels for a variety of needs (including slim-fit vests to wear under clothing)
       

    Weighted vests are commonly used by athletes or individuals in law enforcement or the armed forces to make the most of resistance, strength, and endurance training, but even people who do light workouts or leisure walks to stay in shape can benefit from the distributed weight of these unique vests.

    Weighted vest benefits

    No matter your fitness goal – from losing weight to building muscle mass to simply staying active and fit – using a weighted vest can help you achieve it. Benefits of weighted vests include the following.

    • Weight training builds lean muscle mass.

    • Adding weight to the body increases the heart rate to help maximize the cardio benefits of exercise.

    • Added weight helps build bone density and strength over time.

    • Added weight helps you burn calories more quickly when walking, running, or doing calisthenics.

    • The weight distribution helps strengthen your core.

    • Mid-level athletes can advance more quickly toward their goals.

    • The added resistance helps well-trained athletes further increase endurance.

    DID YOU KNOW?

    Studies have shown that adding the distributed weight of a weighted vest during training may help distance runners improve their stamina.

    Weighted vest styles

    Weighted vests are not one-size-fits-all fitness tools. Rather, they come in a variety of weight limits – some fixed, some adjustable –  to match each consumer’s body structure and fitness level. Whether you choose a vest with embedded or fixed weights, each type has its advantages and disadvantages.

    Embedded-weight vests

    Pros:

    • Easy to use

    • Range from minimal weight to about 12 pounds

    • Comfortable, simple structure; better for outdoor use on warm days


    Cons:

    • Weights not removable

    • Weights not adjustable

    • Not heavy enough for some athletes

    Even if you don’t engage in rigorous exercises, wearing a weighted vest for mild exercise or walking can help build strength.

    Adjustable-weight vests

    Pros:

    • More structured design

    • Cover more of torso

    • Pockets for weights

    • Adjustable weights
       

    Cons:

    • Warmer

    • More restrictive

    • More expensive

    • Sandbag weights can leak

    Weights

    • Vests with 6 to 10 Pounds: Weighted vests in this range are a good option for those who are new to this type of gear. These vests are suitable for anyone who wants to add a small amount of weight to their fitness routines.
    • Vests with 12 Pounds: This is a very popular size for both men and women. It is ideal for taking your workout up a notch without adding so much weight that the vest becomes uncomfortable.
    • Vests with 12 to 25 Pounds: These vests are for exercisers with more stamina and strength and a good choice for athletes in training.
    • Vests with 25 Pounds and More: These vests are for well-trained athletes, weight lifters, and those who want to maintain high levels of endurance and strength. If you fit this category, 40 pounds is a popular choice, but vests with up to 80 pounds are available.  
    EXPERT TIP

    For most fitness enthusiasts, a good rule of thumb is to use a weighted vest that adds between 8% and 15% of their body weight.


    Staff  | BestReviews

    Weighted vest prices

    If you are serious about working out or weight training, you may find the benefits of a weighted vest worth the investment. This gear is not extremely expensive. You can expect to pay between $30 and $100.

    • Vests with lighter weights cost $30 to $40.

    • Vests weighing around 20 pounds may $60 to $100 or slightly more.
       

    Some brands may be more or less expensive not because of the weight but because of the quality and detail of the design. For example, a vest with adjustable weights or patented closures will cost more.

    Tips

    • Make sure you’re up for the challenge. If you’re just starting a fitness routine, a weighted vest may be too much for you at first. If you have any doubts, it’s a good idea to check with your doctor before you begin using one.

    • Start slowly. Begin with light exercises to get your body used to a new activity before you put on a weighted vest, especially if you’ve been sedentary for a while. Advance to lifting three- to five-pound hand weights before donning a weighted vest.

    • Make sure you can perform an activity before adding a vest. If you plan to walk wearing a weighted vest, first make sure you can go your chosen distance without one.

    • Remember to warm up before exercising. Even if you’re comfortable working out with a weighted vest, start your exercise session with jumps, stretches, and a bit of jogging in place to get your body ready to work out wearing your vest.

    • Expect some discomfort at first. You may experience some stiff or sore muscles after exercising with the vest until you get used to wearing your new fitness gear.
    Some weighted vests have handy compartments for carrying small items like keys, phone, and water bottle.

    FAQ

    Q. What is the best way to cool down after an intense workout wearing a weighted vest?
    A.
    Once you’ve finished cycling, walking, or doing calisthenics or other activities while wearing your vest, walk slowly for five to ten minutes and stand for a few minutes before resting.

    Q. I’m looking for my first weighted vest, and I’ve heard they can be uncomfortable if not adjusted properly. How should a well-adjusted vest feel?
    A.
    The best fit is snug but not too tight. You want your vest to be tight enough to stay put and not move around but loose enough for comfort. If it feels insecure or uncomfortable, try adjusting the closures.

    Q. I’m a woman and fairly athletic. What’s the best weight range of weighted vest for me?
    A.
    While you might want to try a 10- to 12-pound vest if you’re new to this type of gear, a 20-pound vest may work for you if you are active and physically fit. There are several unisex models available, which are more likely to give you the best fit.

    The team that worked on this review
    • Alice
      Alice
      Web Producer
    • Bronwyn
      Bronwyn
      Editor
    • Eliza
      Eliza
      Production Manager
    • Jennifer
      Jennifer
      Writer
    • Melissa
      Melissa
      Senior Editor

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