Best Life Jacket for Boating 2020 : Reviews and Buying Guide

Best Life Jacket for Boating 2020 : Its always safety first when it comes to all boating activities, no matter how good a swimmer you might be. In fact, even the US Coast Guard is ‘onboard’ with this one too, requiring all boaters to have at least one suitable life jacket for themselves and their passengers.

But there are different kinds of nautical activities, so you have to consider a different kind of jacket for each one. In this review, we’ve taken a look at some of the best-selling jackets for Boating online, also adding on our buying guide so you can make the right choice.

Best Life Jacket for Boating Reviews 2020

#1) Stearns Adult Classic Series Vest

This best life jacket for Boating is designed for you to enjoy comfortable days in a comfortable PFD. The Stearns Adult Watersport Classic Series Vest has been created using four adjustable chest belts, two large armholes for even better motion range. This jacket includes webbed 1-inch straps, a durable 200D nylon shell fitted nicely with the best PE foam on the inside., and is guaranteed to last several hunting runs, fishing outings, and summers on the pool.

Check Price Or Buy On Amazon


  • Nylon construction, Three buckle design, Biggest Size: Extra Large, Durable nylon, easy wear open sides


  • sizing can be a bit of issue with several returns before you find the right one

Value for Money:

This PFD is economical, comfortable, rigid and safe and all at a super low price. This high-quality jacket with flotation foam is an absolute ease to use. It is US Coast Guard-approved PFD and has three belts on the chest area so you’re always secured, even when in the water.

This really is the best family PFD as an all-purpose polyester vest for boating, tubing or swimming. They’ve even got a range of sizes, so someone who wears 2x in shirts will be able to wear this PFD easily. In fact, all jacket sizes can be extended to be made much bigger. The open sides make these very versatile and sit tight on the torso area – that’s probably a good thing so that when you’re sitting in a boat, it won’t push up into your neck/chin.

It basically fits like a kid’s apron…you can put it over your head, and it covers you in the front and back, but not the sides. There was one thing I was really surprised about was that the vest does not go fully around your waist, and this might affect the fit on kids, teens.

It is lightweight and the arm cutouts are roomy, which makes this best life jacket for Boating  good for rowing. The front by the neck/chest is very narrow, so it’s easy to move your arms too. It is bulky, but not too bulky.

#2) Kent Type II adult life jackets with transparent storage bag

The Kent Sporting Goods Company brings you this Kent Onyx transparent stowage bag without four types II life jackets. With this bag, you can keep your life jacketsready for use, making them easier to access and it suits the water safety standards as well. Inside the waterproof bag, you already have the four jackets.

Check Price Or Buy On Amazon


  • Set of four adult-size orange life jackets, comes with transparent storage bag, strap on the top of the bag makes it easy to carry, jackets designed for less volume and greater comfort


  • standard sizes of jackets may not suit everyone

Value for Money:

The kind of value you get out of these jackets is one of a kind, they come stored in a bag that doubles as a seat in the boat. And yes, the jackets are there when you need them. So, as for where you can use them, it’s mostly for inland lake and river boating according to the regulations set by state boating. Next, they’ve been made out of lightweight semi-solid flotation material that doesn’t have to be inflated nor will they lose their flotation characteristics if punctured.

They fit an adult and smaller children perfectly and store away neatly in the clear vinyl zip case.Some have described how the jackets were too small for an adult, maybe a smaller child but in no way a normal adult.

Not exactly the most stylish, but they do comply with legal boat requirements. The plastic case is clear and keeps them together in one place and from getting dirty or exposed to the sun. the idea is nice, even if the jackets are small and don’t have a universal fit.

#3) Stohlquist Fit Adult PFD 4 Pack Coast Guard Approved Universal

The Fit 4 pack from Stohlquist is a great value buy as you have many PFDs in a self-contained and quickly accessible package. It has been designed for paddling and general boating and has numerous comfort innovations making them suitable for paddling, waterboarding, kayaking, wake boarding and even a lazy day on the yacht.

Check Price Or Buy On Amazon

The PFD comes with sculpted front and back foam panels, strategically placed buckles to create an economic vest that works brilliantly. Stohlquist created a design that they thought would best including cut-away arms for full movement, secure fit with low-positioned waist buckle, wrap around sides for comfort, upper buckle that prevents ride up, high-mobility back and rounded foam on all edges.


  • Type II PFD, good for people over 90 lbs, three buckles, full arm movement, lightweight at 7 lbs, carry bag, front closure, and adjustments


  • weight limit is there but isn’t mentioned, maybe too big for small people

Value for Money:

Since it’s a Stohlquist, this PFD guarantees all-day comfort both in and out of the water even on hot days. You have value when it comes to the design, the PFD can be used for many occasions where it safe, stylish and comfortable. Part of this is made possible through the kind of design it has makes the jacket really thin, so you have all the floatation and none of the bulk, making for easy storage.

The thin profile permits minimal interference with most seatbacks, the wrap-around sides that stop the jacket from riding up.You get a ton of features on top of this like the hanging loop on the back, box-stitched sheathed strap sleeves for increased durability.Then, you have the three full-size front adjustable buckles for easy fit customization. Finally, the jackets come in this zip closure bag with a carry strap and mesh top for airflow.

The best life jacket for Boating comes with a weight restriction of 99 lbs and may not fit some people – this weight limit isn’t listed.Then, smaller people might have an issue with fitting as the back comes up very high.

#4) Stearns Classic Water Sports Series adult life jacket


  • universal fit, durable 200 Dnylon construction, 4 adjustable buckle design, comfortable open sides, US Coast Guard approved, multi-purpose, lightweight PE flotation foam


  • bulky fit, no crotch straps

Value for Money:

TheStearns Adult Watersport Classic Series Vest has a durable 200D nylon shell filled withPE foam inside and webbed 1-inch straps making it just right for water sports. All four adjustable straps open and open sides make for a better fit.This jacket does, however, work better on medium adults after it’s been adjusted out.

But the construction seems good, so it has excellent value, is well-made and feels comfortable for water activities.You can swim in it easily, get in and out of the boat without feeling too bulky. The jacket comes highly recommended for kids from other buyers, but check the weight recommendations before purchasing so that you order the appropriate size.

All said, the PFD is good for boating, swimming and once properly fitted doesn’t ride up all that much. Here too, the sizing is a big issue and a 210-pound adult may only be able to buckle the two snaps and women might this jacket a bit too tight. The PFD as described is better suited for kids between ages 10 to 12.

#5) O’Neill Wetsuits Youth Super-Lite USCG Life Vest

O’Neill Wet Suits brings you this USCG life jacket for kids and youth with minimal bulk and full mobility. the durable double coated shell is strong and lightweight with the Polyethylene Foam and can be secured fully with the quick release Delrin buckles.

Check Price Or Buy On Amazon


  • Lightweight polyethylene foam, Polyester lining, Soft and comfortable, Quick release buckles, USCG Approved, Minimal Bulk Design Allows Full Mobility, Durable Coated Polyester Shell Creates A Strong Exterior, Lightweight Polyethylene Foam Is Soft and Comfortable, Quick-Release Delrin Buckles


  • 90 pounds sizing limit that can restrict use on some kids, need to buy additional teen and youth sizes accordingly

Value for Money:

Some buyers have described how it too small for their kids, who were well below 90 lbs. Sizing issues aside, the PFD is lovely and the easiest to use.The PFD is also the perfect thing for your kid to wear when introducing them to the water, or the pool, to move them out of the floaties phase.

This best life jacket for Boating is thin enough, or less bulky in smaller water spaces. Some kids developed chafing under the arm, but this wasn’t a big issue and the PFD does have good quality.

There is a bit of an issue with sizes, where and the two lower straps are about 70-80% can be adjusted but the top one that is the problem – so its as loose as it can get but is still tight.In this way, the PFD could use some adjustments,especially in this top strap.

Take this aside, the PFD is well made, looks great and has a good price tag. Maybe a bit too hot for kayaking in the heat. Users have said how it’s thin, and better suited for taller, leaner kids. So, if the kid is65/70 lbs, it is highly unlikely this will fit.

#6) Lyuwpes Inflatable Snorkel Vest Adult Snorkeling Jackets

TheLyuwpes jacket is simple to put on and take off with the standard over the neck style and fits most adults easily.Fit can be customized using the adjustable latch straps given on the crotch, waist, placed both vertically and horizontally for a strong, secure fit. The PFD is lightweight, compact and flexible making it easier to pack and comes with a mesh bag.

Check Price Or Buy On Amazon


  • Polyester outer shell, largebuoyancy for 80 to 220 lbs,excellent visibility with fluorescence colors, suited for good swimmers and learners alike, easy inflation witha conveniently located mouthpiece


  • better suited for snorkelling, not so much lifesaving, suitable for trained swimmers, keeps riding up even after being tightened

Value for Money:

The PFD does the job of helping swimmers stay afloat for hours. You can easilyadjust the amount of air in it easily on the fly and that you can pack it down small in your luggage. The colors of the PFD are nice and vibrant, they are easy to put on and even have this little storage sack. With it, you can take a break any time in 10 to 20 feet of water to adjust your goggles. Even when treading water, you can snorkel, float around, swim, laze around watching the fish without tiring out easily.

So, the PFD stays afloat so you can do a ton of things. It is light and fits well but this PFD may not work out too well as a life-saving device.It does perform well is used for floating around horizontally and snorkeling without wasting too much energy!

The other con is that like most over the neck style PFDs, this one rides up your neck, even if the straps on the legs are tightened. Then, it moves around a lot making it a bit uncomfortable to swim. Still, it’s great to travel with, has its own mesh bag and is easy to inflate or deflate.

#7) XGEAR Adult USCG Life Jacket Vest Water Sports

The outer shell is made out of durable nylon oxford fabric, soft PVC foam flotation on the front and lightweight EPE foam on the rear for comfort. The PFD is good for swimming, surfing, kayaking, water skiing, tubing and more. It can be secured using the four heavy-duty 1.5-inch-wide belts with solid quick release buckles.

Check Price Or Buy On Amazon

The PFD is easy to clip and unclip and has this unique concealed-type back straps design. The jackets feature a whistle, interior pocket with Velcro.

Pros: stylish, secure fit, fits most sizes

Cons: a little short for very tall people

Value for Money:

This best life jacket for Boating is a must-have for people who own boats or live near the water. The size might look or feel a bit too big but after adjusting the straps it should work fine.If it is too snug, you may have to check the sizing and go one size up. The quality and feel of the jacket are good, it can keep you afloat and is decently priced.

The jacket might run a little too short for very tall people over 6’3”. Still, the vest is a great fit, affordable, great quality and is pretty stylish, even if it is for boating!!

#8) SALVS Automatic/Manual Inflatable Life Jacket for Adults

This jacket has a soft, waterproof polyester Oxfordneoprene neckline for all-day comfort wear with a slender design that keeps you cool in warm weather. It inflates in approximately 3 to 5 seconds, either manually using the inflation handle or automatically when immersed in water. The PFD ensures safety, comfort for sportsmen, flatwater paddlers, or recreational boaters, where you can wear it without even knowing it’s there. It can keep you afloat for 48 hours, with the buoyancy of less than or equal to 5% after 24 hours.

Check Price Or Buy On Amazon

It has reflectors on the Nylon-TPU airbag for greater visibility in darkness, durable ripstopnylon fabric, soft and lightweight with adjustable strap webbing for a universal fit for adults under 330 lbs. the quick-release buckles ensure easy to wear, removal and repacking.

Pros:Automatic/Manual Inflatable life jacket, full mobility, self inflates when submerged in water, can be used with kayaking, fishing, sailing, universal fit,fully adjustable along the waist and, weighs less than 2 lbs, 30-day money-back guarantee

Cons: not USCG approved, can’t be inflated or deflated easily, costly CO2 canisters used for automatic inflating

Value for Money:

It fits great on someone who’s about 6 feet, but the vest can accommodate smaller or larger shaped users.It’s made from top quality materials; however, one con that most users didn’t seem too fond of was theprice of the CO2 canisters – almost a 1/3 of the jacket. The vest can be worn in all kinds of weather and is light and comfortable. The whistle is conveniently placed next to themanual blow-tube, so it is within reach once inflated.

The only concern is the strength of the O-Ring that has been given of affixing to boat decks and if it can support the 185-200 lbs weight range. This PFD stands out as reasonably priced, has rave reviews, can be used automatic or manual, has zippered pockets and a nice collar. This is, however, a good solution for areas like calm lakes, slow rivers and inshore where you’re least likely to get in the water.

Given its slimness, only good swimmers should wear this PFD when surfing, paddling, or for switching out from a full vest once ins calmer waters. The, it packs small enough to fit in a small dry bag. If it feels a little stiff around the neck, adjusting the straps should help make it feel better. Inflating/deflating it is tricky, where you can’t deflate it without sticking sharp objects inside the tubes or inflate it manually.

#9) Jet Pilot Infant U.S Coast Guard Approved PFD Life Vest

Jet Pilot brings you this tiny vest for infants. The vest does have a weight limit of fewer than 30 lbs and has straps on the crotch and pillow. It is easy to wear and remove, with the classic center chest zip entry and comes in bright colors that are visible, even at night. The entire design is US Coast Guard approved.

Check Price Or Buy On Amazon

Pros:Snug fit, two buckle design, fits infant less than 30lbs, pillow and crotch strap, classic center chest zip entry, bright colors for visibility, US Coast Guard Approved

Cons: sizing issues, can ride up, lacks v neck design

Value for Money:

The jacket could use a V neck and an easy to use zipper. The jacket is a great design made using soft, pliable materials and is comfortable enough for long wear. It might feel too heavy once worn, but this is how the vest is built, fits toddlers perfectly and they would love wearing it.The top section doubles as a pillow when lying down, but the vest does ride up sometimes.

Kids can move around comfortably and it is a perfect fit for 6 months to 13 months, it is toxic-free, affordable made using materials that are better than expected.

#10) Seachoice Type II Personal Flotation Device

Seachoice is known for quality marine accessories and their replacement parts, and this vest satisfies fishing, boating and water sports enthusiasts. This company is made for and run by boaters offering loads of boating gear at affordable prices.This vest is made with rigorous standards to ensure proper function, the first-rate appearance for safety and enjoyment.

Check Price Or Buy On Amazon

Pros: U. S. Coast guard Type II PFD, fits youths from 50 to 90 pounds, bright color provides enhanced visibility

Cons: sizing issues, not a comfortable fit

Value for Money:

These are standard Type II life preservers but in bright yellow for better visibility. The straps seem secure, and they function as they should. So, it’s nice and bright, so it can be easily seen, and an XL fits an average guy, of about 170 lbs 6′-0″, just great. Ge this to go with your inflatable kayak as it seems to be made out of sturdy material.These vests satisfy the legal requirements too, but are not as comfortable or well fitted, but serve their purpose.

But they are smaller in size, and you do have to try on what you buy before taking them out on the water, just like all PFDs.

Affordable to premium, small to large, there’s a jacket for everyone. Vests today are made using nylon, and other similar materials so the choice is up to you. This review list of best life jacket for Boating gives you a good idea of what’s in store for you and your budget.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply