There are many reasons why someone might be looking for the best inflatable life jacket on the market, as they hold a few key advantages when to comes to the more traditional life jackets that you might find.

They are lightweight, compact and easy to wear so you’re able to stay safe while not being burdened by a large and bulky life jacket. Finding the best inflatable life vest isn’t easy though due to the sheer amount of options that are out there.

Thankfully, we’ve looked through the inflatable life jacket reviews so we would be able to find the top rated inflatable life vest for you. So look at the options and read through the buying guide to make sure you’re making the best choice.

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How To Choose An Inflatable Life Jacket – Buying Guide

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Type of activity

Whether an inflatable life jacket is suitable or not for you depends on what type of activity you’re going to be going. An automatic inflatable is not ideal in any situation where you could be in the water more than once like a kayak, as you’d have to worry about inflating it again, and it’s also not suitable for high-speed activities either. Instead, inflatable life jackets are perfect for sailing and other types of boating activities.

Flotation

Obviously, all life jackets need to provide a certain level of floatation in order to keep you safe and the industry standard for these types of life jackets are 22 pounds of buoyancy which should be more than enough to keep you well clear of the water. If you’re going to be out on rough seas where you need more clearance, then a minimum of 33 pounds would be required. These levels of floatation will keep your head out of the water and your airways clear.

Automatically or Manually inflate

The life jackets that we featured here will with automatically inflate, or inflate manually once you have pulled your cord. The advantage of automatic inflation is clear as this will activate as soon as you get in the water to keep you safe. If you’re doing an activity that might have a bit more contact with the water, then you might want to choose a jacket that inflates manually so that you’re not constantly having to replace the gas chamber that’s inside the jacket.

Harness

It makes sense for you to buy a harness as it will give you that added peace of mind that if you need to be rescued, then it’ll be easier for the rescue team to do it. Not a lot of life jackets come with a built-in harness, but this can be bought separately. The importance of this increases the further you are away from the shore.

Comfort

These life jackets that we’ve reviewed here are designed to be worn for a long time, so they have to be comfortable and they achieve that by being well-made and highly adjustable. If you’re putting on one of these life jackets and it doesn’t fit properly then there is something wrong. Make sure that the jacket is adjusted properly until it feels right. In terms of materials, neoprene is generally seen as the best water sports material, but other materials can feel great too.

FAQs

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Q: What type of inflation system inflatable life jackets have?

A: When it comes to inflatable jackets then they will either comes as automatic or manual. With automatic life jackets, they use something like a paper bobbin that will dissolve straight away when it contact the water. When it does, a CO2 chamber will be released which will inflate the jacket. Automatic jackets will come with a manual option as well, and this is where you pull a chord which will release the chamber. In both instances, that gas chamber would have to be refilled before you use the jacket again.

Q: Why Should I Choose an Inflatable Life Vest?

A: Inflatable life jackets have a number of strong advantages. One main one is how visible they are, as they expand to a much greater size when inflated than a regular jacket and often have bright colors and reflective strips. Due to their large floatation, they are also much more likely to turn a wearer face up than with traditional life jackets.

They are also very comfortable and are more likely to be worn for a long time than foam life jackets due to their light weight and the low profile of the jacket, and they offer more support when you’re in the water. If you’re not going to be repeatedly in the water and are only wearing one for emergencies, then an inflatable life jacket could be the perfect choice.

It’s important to note, however, that the US Coast Guard doesn’t recommend the use of inflatable life jackets for anyone under the age of 16 due to the added difficulty of using the jacket when compared to a traditional life jacket. They also require regular inspection and don’t offer any protection from the cold.

Q: Which type of Inflatable Life Vest is the Right Choice for Me?

A: One of the big drawbacks to life jackets is the fact that they have to be refilled after every use, so you always have to make sure that you have a kit close by which you will have to re-arm your CO2 cylinder with. If that’s an issue, then a manual jacket might be the best as you’d only need to use it when you absolutely have to. If you’re on a sailing boat though, then it might be best to have an automatic in case something bad happens such as losing consciousness.

Globo Surf Overview

Getting an auto inflatable life vest can be a great alternative to the traditional type of life jacket for a number of reasons. A self inflating life jacket will give you that extra bit of safety knowing that you’ll have a lot of support should you ever find yourself in the water. They have a much lower profile than foam life jackets, but when they are activated they are much bigger.

This means that they are more comfortable and easy to use when they are not in use, and then offer you an increased amount of support should you ever need to use one. If you’re starting out learning how to sail, then you need a life jacket and getting an inflatable is a great option.

Sailing isn’t easy which is why you often need gloves as well as other comfortable clothing in order to have a full range of mobility and to be as comfortable as possible. Modern foam life jackets do a great job in giving your arms freedom, but they still aren’t anywhere near as good as an inflatable jacket.

Despite their advantages, if you’re doing an activity life waterskiing or if you’re going to be on a kayak then they would be too much hassle due to the increased chances that you’re going to end up in the water. This is where having a CO2 life vest becomes a chore as you’d constantly have to refill it. They have their place though, and they are perfect for all types of sailing.

Having an inflatable PFD will give you a huge amount of buoyancy before you get rescued and it’ll keep your head comfortably clear of the water so that you won’t be in trouble. Should the worst happen and you get knocked unconscious, then an automatic inflatable will inflate on contact with the water and almost always keep you face up.

Hopefully this buying guide has given you all the information that you need in order to pick the best life jacket for you. Life jackets are an essential part of anyone’s equipment when they are out there on the water. An inflatable life jacket will be comfortable and easy to wear, but then if anything goes wrong you know that you’re going to be protected.

Globo Surf Inflatable Life Jackets Review

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Great article. Now I don't have to worry where to store my life jacket when I don't need it. Just deflate it and done. Thank you!

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My name is David Hamburg. I am an avid water sports fan who enjoys paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Anything with a board or chance I can get in the water I love! I am such a big fan I decided to start this website to review all my favorite products and some others. Hope you enjoy!