The Best Weighted Vest – The Ultimate Guide

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The Most Important Information

Very few companies in today’s market are consistent with the quality of their weight vests because they’re difficult to assemble properly and require expensive materials. In other words, the best weighted vest will cost quite a bit.

In my opinion, if you aren’t prepared to pay for the quality, you aren’t ready for a weight vest. Things like weight belts, sandbags, or backpacks filled with rocks may be better options if you aren’t ready to bite the bullet.

Consider the list below. I don’t believe you should buy a weight vest unless you meet the following criteria:

  • You want to increase the efficiency and difficulty of an existing training regime
  • You intend to use the weight vest for exercises that a dip belt cannot be used for
  • You are an intermediate or advanced level athlete

If you meet all the criteria above and you want to jump straight to exploring your options, feel free to take a look at my recommendations. Otherwise, please continue reading to understand the reasons behind them.

Quick Navigation

Material

I recommend you get a weight vest that is breathable, especially if you choose a full-length weight vest. When you’re making a purchase, make sure that the vest’s material can be washed. Vests that aren’t supposed to be washed tend to leave all their color behind when exposed to moisture (usually on your skin). 

You need to end a workout without blisters. Even with a shirt between you and a weight vest, tight straps without any padding can destroy the skin. If you prefer training shirtless, you’ll have to steer clear of weight vests that come with uncovered straps.

Weight

Capacity

If you only care to train for muscular endurance, such as long runs, high volume cross fit, etc, you won’t need your weight vest to be capable of holding more than 20 pounds (9.07 kilograms)

If you’re buying a weight vest to train for hypertrophy, strength, and power, make sure the weight capacity of the vest reflects your personal strength goals. 

Example: I for one, am working towards performing a handstand push-up with an intensity of 1.25x my bodyweight. So for me, an ideal weight capacity is approximately 45 pounds (20.41 kilograms).

A weight vest’s physical weights will either be metal bars, bags filled with metallic ore shavings, or sandbags. Metal bars are more than preferable because they’re easier to add and remove from the weight vest. Personally, I would never buy a vest that holds anything but metal bars. These other options are usually very annoying to load and unload.

Note: If you lift more than 100 pounds (45.34 kilograms) it’s generally a bad idea to buy a weight vest to replace a dip belt and/or a multi-purpose barbell.

Note: Many companies choose not to include weights with their weight vests. In these cases, it’s crucial to verify that compatible weights are accessible.

Style

Plate Carrier

In my opinion, there are better options than a plate carrier. From what I’ve seen, high-quality plate carriers are quite expensive and have very little to offer compared to a quality weight vest. A weight vest can have a higher degree of adjustability, up to double the weight capacity, come with physical weights, and include a lifetime warranty all for a lower price.

Full-Length

A full-length weight vest distributes weight naturally. However, if you need to be able to bend beyond 90 degrees at the hip while wearing your weight vest, you’ll be better off with a shorter style.

Short Stack

A short weight vest on its own is, in my opinion, the best option for any athlete. The problem occurs when you add an extra ‘stack’ of weights. Short ‘stack’ weight vests protrude more than full-length weight vests and distribute weight less naturally. However, this style is a better option if you need to bend your hip beyond 90 degrees while wearing a weight vest.

Sizing

A weight vest should have some degree of adjustability so that you can fit it to your body comfortably. More often than not, if you go with a non-adjustable weight vest you’ll be stuck with a vest that moves around. It isn’t uncommon for a non-adjustable weight vest to fall off during semi-inverted or fully inverted exercises.

If you’re a woman, consider the extra space you’ll need through the chest.

Depending on who you are this may or may not be something you need to consider. There are specialized weight vests for women that provide extra space through the chest.

Bells & Whistles

If you’re a long-distance runner a pouch for water can be quite nice. If you run at night, I recommend you get reflective strips as well.

Some vests are not washable, others are washable, few are machine washable. If the option to put your vest through a machine wash is important to you, this is another detail you’ll have to look for. 

Weight vests can also come with extra padding to prevent chafing. This is ideal no matter how you train and essential if you’ll be wearing your vest longer than an hour or so.

Checklist

  • Washable
  • Has a weight capacity that reflects your strength goals
  • Full length if you don’t need to bend at the hip
  • Short stack if you need to bend at the hip
  • Well padded
  • Doesn’t overdo it with bells & whistles

Recommendations

Weightvest.com

There are no weight vests that I could find in the world that are as high-quality, functional, hand-washable, well-padded, customizable, and aesthetically pleasing as those provided by weightvest.com. Since 1983 they’ve been building vests for athletes, officers, firefighters, military personnel, and others.

Advantages

Weightvest.com has a huge selection of weight vests and weight vest variations. You’ll be able to get exactly what you need to facilitate your strength goals and overall style of training. You’ll get a lifetime warranty on their products and free shipping in the United States.

Drawbacks

If you live outside of the U.S. you’ll have to drive to the border to pick up your order. Shipping to other countries can easily cost more than the weight vest itself. If you don’t live in or near the United States, you can use this article as a guide to research other vests available in your area.

Click here to check out Weightvest.com.

Last Words

After looking pretty close to everywhere, I strongly believe that what weightvest.com has to offer is superior in every respect. If you’re thinking seriously about buying from weightvest.com, you’ll need to think about your weight vest’s shoulder width. This video will explain the advantages of a narrow shoulder width and this video will explain the advantages of a wide shoulder width. Weightvest.com also has some pretty great accessories which you can check out here.

I hope this helps! Please leave a comment if you feel like something was missed or if there’s a topic you’d like to see covered in the near future. 

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