You don’t need to be a gym hero to wear a weighted vest. Yes, you read that right. You don’t need to be one of those guys wearing 50-pound vests while doing some high-intensity workouts. Though there’s nothing wrong with that. But weighted vests aren’t just for the sole use of the muscled individuals in your local gym. Even the average Joe and Jane can benefit from using weighted vests, namely powerful calorie burn, improved metabolism, and increased weight loss. Then there’s also increased bone and muscle strength. It definitely doesn’t hurt to add this to your exercise routine. Of course, you can’t just buy the first weighted vest you see. These usually come in different weights and styles. Check out our list of the best weight vests below.
Top 10 Weight Vests Of 2019 Reviewed
1. ZFOsports Weighted VestBest Weight Vest For Working Out
If you’re ready to push your limits to the next level, the ZFOsports Exercise Weighted Vest is your best bet. This full-sized weight vest looks like battle armor which is extremely cool. It has a black exterior and an adjustable velcro strap so you can easily customize the fit. Because of its contour design, you can adjust it so that it’ll be snug on your body. You can get this vest in 20lbs, 40lbs, 60lbs, and 80lbs. Take note that only the 40-pound to 80-pound vests come with a pocket for your phone or music device in the front and a water bottle holder.
All of these vests are adjustable which allows you to build up your strength and resistance slowly. Adding and removing weights are easy to do. But there are some flaws. It doesn’t come with instructions so be sure to check YouTube for help with assembling the vest. Some individuals with a smaller/shorter frame may have problems getting the perfect fit. Also, this not a vest built for running since it is too bulky and will bounce around. For the money though, this is a weight vest that can’t be beaten.
- Easy to add and remove weights
- Customizable fit
- Pocket for devices
- No instructions included
- Individuals with shorter frames may find it too large
- Not for running
2. Tone Fitness Weighted VestBest Weight Vest For Running
If running is your go-to exercise and you want a weighted vest to make it more challenging, the Tone Fitness Weighted Vest should be your first choice. This is an embedded weight vest which means that you can’t add or remove weights from the vest; it will stay a constant 12 pounds. What we love about this vest is that it doesn’t look like a vest at all. It sort of resembles a small backpack that you strap on which is perfect because a full-sized weight vest may alarm people on the street, thinking you were a terrorist carrying bombs.
Plus, the slim profile means you can wear it under your clothes if you don’t want people to see you wearing it. The material is soft neoprene which feels very comfortable. The fit is quite snug, especially with the adjustable belt in the front. We love the addition of reflective strips so you can safely use this at night. It even comes with a removable case on the upper shoulder/chest area which can fit your keys, nothing else. Take note that it will bounce around a bit if you use it for running or exercises like burpees, especially if you have a small frame. And the weight isn’t evenly distributed as most of it is at your back. Also, it’s hard to wash.
- Slim profile
- Customizable fit
- Reflective strips included
- Does bounce a bit, especially if you have a smaller frame
- Weight is unevenly distributed
- Hard to clean
3. CAP Barbell Adjustable Weighted VestBest Weight Vest For Boxing
This adjustable weight vest has one of the widest ranges of weights available, from 40 to 150 pounds. You can easily adjust the weight according to your fitness level. You can also adjust the fit using the belt’s clips. The look of the CAP Barbell Adjustable Weighted Vest is similar to the ZFOSports.
The breathable mesh material and padding made of neoprene makes using this vest very comfortable. The quality of the build is top notch. However, we did notice that it can be a bit difficult to put the weights inside the pouches. Also, several buyers reported missing a weight or two when the vest was shipped to them. Like the ZFOSports vest, this one is not what you’d use for running.
- A wide range of weights available
- Breathable mesh material
- Solid construction
- Missing weights during shipment
- Difficult to put the weights inside the slots
- Not for running
4. Cross 101 Adjustable Weighted VestBest Weight Vest For Murph
This compact adjustable weighted vest from Cross 101 looks badass and built to last. It has a maximum weight of 40 pounds, each iron ore weight is 4 pounds. This is a one-piece design and features two Velcro belts for adjusting the fit. Individuals with small frames can create a snug fit with this vest. Even better, it doesn’t bounce around or rub against your skin when you use it for running. You can get this in other weight categories, from 20lbs to 120lbs in 20-pound increments.
We like that you can store a water bottle and your phone with this vest which, along with the no bouncing feature, makes this really one of the most stable running weight vests we’ve found. Take note that there will be soreness on your shoulders initially just like when you use any other weighted vests. You can get shoulder pads to make it more comfortable but these are sold separately. Also, the Desert Camo design might alarm a few people when you’re out running with this thing.
- Two Velcro belts for a customized fit
- Lots of weight categories
- Storage options for phone and water bottle
- Shoulder pads sold separately
- The Desert Camo design can cause alarm in some people
5. RUNFast/Max Pro Weighted VestBest Affordable Weight Vest
The RUNFast/Max Pro Weighted Vest is one of the best available for beginners because it comes in 12lbs, 20lbs, 40lbs, 50lbs, and 60lbs models. All of these are adjustable which makes them ideal for anyone who wants to build their strength slowly or customize the weights according to the type of exercises they are performing. What we love about this weighted vest is the fact that it is incredibly comfortable, especially if you buy the vest with the added shoulder pads. There are two Velcro belts to customize the fit.
The weights are easy to put in or pull out of the pouches. You also get a pocket for your phone and storage for a water bottle. However, despite its name, it’s not really designed for running since it bounces around. It is ideal for doing other exercises as well as for walking and hiking. Also, it is a little bit longer which have made it awkward for some individuals to use during lunges and squats.
- A wide range of weights for almost all fitness levels
- Very comfortable
- Easy to adjust weights
- Bounces when running
- A little long on the torso
6. Empower Weighted Vests
The Empower Weighted Vests are embedded weight vests that are specifically designed for women. It has a contoured x-shape silhouette that follows a woman’s curvy body shape. There are adjustable side straps for creating a more customized fit; It can be worn by women with waist sizes ranging from 24″ to 48″. There are also reflective strips along the edges of the vest (front and back) which makes it safe to use for nighttime jogging or walking. And the shoulders are wide and padded to provide additional comfort.
This weight vest has 8 pounds so it’s more for beginners who want to try out exercising with this kind of gear. Because of the X shape, the fit is quite snug and it doesn’t seem too bulky. Plus, it doesn’t bounce around at all. The biggest drawback to this vest is the fact that you can’t add more weights once you’ve moved past the 8-pound mark. You’ll need to purchase something else afterward. Also, the straps tend to loosen while you jog though it’s quite easy to tighten with one hand.
- Designed specifically for a woman’s shape
- Customizable fit
- Good for individuals who want to try out using a weighted vest
- The straps tend to loosen while jogging
- Can’t add weights
7. Hyperwear Hyper Vest PROBest Weight Vest For CrossFit
Unlike most of the weighted vests we’ve reviewed, the Hyperwear Hyper Vest PRO does not offer a one-size-fits-most. Instead, it actually offers a variety of sizes ranging from small to XL. We love that they have a detailed description of the height and weight of individuals who will fit a particular size. For example, individuals who are between 4’10” to 5’4″ tall and weigh 90 to 130 lbs should get a small size. That’s not all.
Aside from providing different sizes, you can still customize the fit of the vest using the side laces. Another standout feature of this vest is the thin profile due to the patented fabric which is odor resistant, cool, comfortable, and wicks away moisture. The sides of the vest are open so you get more ventilation there too. Even better, there’s a zipper in the front which makes wearing this vest and taking it off super easy.
However, it is a very expensive vest and several reviewers have reported that the fabric easily wears down due to the weights, causing holes to appear over time and the weights to fall out. It is really an amazing product, just doesn’t last long enough.
- Variety of sizes
- Very breathable design
- Zipper front
- Very expensive
- Fabric easily gets worn down over time
8. MiR Adjustable Weighted VestBest Weight Vest For Military Training
If you want a compact weighted vest that won’t restrict movement, then the MiR Adjustable Weighted Vest is just what you’re looking for. This weight vest is only 11 inches long. It features two velcro straps and four D rings to secure the vest to your chest and create a customized fit. It fits very snugly but you can still enjoy the full range of motion of your shoulders, neck, and torso. What we love is the fact that it says comfortably in place while you jump and move around.
The vest comes in several weight categories, ranging from 20 lbs to 60 lbs. You can adjust the weights, each weight is 3 pounds heavy. However, we did notice that removing the weights for the first time is quite difficult. Also, it doesn’t come with instructions for assembling. Some users who have slightly thick necks did notice that the vest feels too snug around the neck which can cause chafing.
- Compact design
- Several weight categories available
- Snug fit
- Too snug around the neck for some individuals
- No instructions included
- Hard to remove the weights initially
9. Harbinger HumanX
The Harbinger HumanX is an adjustable weight vest that is offered in 10, 20, and 40-pound categories. We love this vest because of its patented FLEX weight design which contours to your body and, with the fully adjustable belt, creates the perfect fit. It comes with dual padded cushions in the chest and shoulder area so you feel comfortable wearing it. The compact design ensures it doesn’t restrict your movement in any way.
The outer shell of the vest is abrasion-resistant to prevent tearing. It doesn’t bounce around much no matter how much you jump which is excellent. However, some users have reported that the weights leak sand. Also, some didn’t find removing and adding weights into the vest easy.
- Does not restrict full range of motion
- Dual padding in shoulders and chest area
- Wide, adjustable belt
- Some owners have reported their weights leaking sand
- Removing and/or adding weights may be difficult for some
10. Perfect Fitness Weight Vest
The Perfect Fitness Weight Vest is similar to the Harbringer HumanX 20-pound weight vest. It also has a slim fitting design to ensure your movements are not restricted. The weights can be customized in 1-pound increments. But there are also features that make this weighted vest stand out. First, it had flat, flexible weights that will move with your body. The dual belly band ensures you can get a customized fit.
The vest also features reflective materials to ensure visibility at night. The shoulder is padded at no extra cost to ensure a comfortable fit. And there’s even a pocket for your phone or MP3 player. However, it isn’t ideal for jogging as it tends to bounce up and down. There is a pocket for your phone that won’t fit any smartphones of today. Also, the mesh pockets for the weights tend to “loosen” over time causing the weights to start falling off.
- Slim-fitting design
- Flat, flexible weights
- Reflective material
- The pocket for the phone is too small
- The mesh pockets loosen over time
- The vest bounces when jogging
Weight Vest Buying Guide
You’ve probably already seen some serious bodybuilders or athletes in your gym wearing some sort of combat armor while they go through their routine. And no, they aren’t members of the SWAT team or any military organization (we think). These gym heroes are simply using weighted vests to boost their workout. If you’re looking to give your fitness activities a boost, then you should consider getting one for yourself. If you’re not sure what kind to do or even where to start, don’t worry. We’ve got this guide to help you find the perfect weighted vest that will fit you and help you meet your fitness goals.
What is a weighted vest?
A weighted vest is a piece of fitness gear that enables you to add more weight to your body. It typically features pockets that contain sandbags, metal bars, or other “heavy” materials that will add weight to the vest. These pockets are distributed evenly throughout the structure.
Some weighted vests will feature adjustable closures such as belts or Velcro to create a customized fit. Some will have padding for comfort. Others will enable you to add or remove weights as needed. And then there are the different styles and weight levels that are specifically designed to suit the needs of a variety of individuals, including a slim-fit vest that you can wear under your clothes.
What are the benefits of using a weighted vest?
In the gym, it is typically used for resistance, strength, and endurance training. It can help you build lean muscle mass and bone density. It also helps increase your strength over time. The even weight distribution in the vest can help you strengthen your core. And for those who wish to use this while walking, running, or other aerobic exercises, you’ll be able to boost your metabolism, increase the calorie burn, and lose weight more quickly.
Weighted vests are also utilized in therapy for individuals with ADHD, autism, or problems with stress. For our purposes, we’ll be sticking to those that are only used for fitness.
When do you use a weighted vest?
Obviously, weight vests can be used when doing cardio workouts such as walking, climbing, and jogging. Research also shows that using this fitness gear when performing bodyweight exercises such as pull-ups, pushups, dips, and squats do produce results. Using these in agility type drills is also quite common because it increases the difficulty level of the exercises.
However, experts do not recommend that you simply put on the vest once you decide on your fitness program. You’ll need to be honest about your fitness level. Beginners aren’t supposed to use weighted vests simply because they need to condition their body first. Focus first on building strength and form. Make sure you’re doing all your exercises correctly first. Once you hit a plateau in your fitness journey, then you can think about adding a weighted vest to take your fitness program to the next level.
Types of weighted vests
Just like any type of vest, there is, weighted vests come in a variety of sizes. There is no one-size-fits-all option. When shopping around, you’ll see that manufacturers offer a variety of weight limits, some of which are fixed while others are adjustable. This is because everyone has different body structures and fitness levels. The two main styles you’ll see are the embedded-weight vests and the adjustable-weight vests.
Embedded-weight vests like the Empower Weighted Vests are, as you probably already figured out, vests that feature built-in weights that range from minimal to 12 pounds. While these are simple and easy to use, it doesn’t allow you to remove or increase the weights. For some athletes, the low weight range is not enough.
Adjustable weight vests like the RUNFast/Max Pro Weighted Vest are almost always the style recommended by experts because it provides pockets for weights and you can increase/decrease the number of weights according to your fitness level. Aside from being more versatile, this style of vest is more structured and provides more cover for your torso which results in better weight distribution. However, it can feel more restrictive. You may feel warmer wearing this and can even overheat. Also, these vests tend to cost more.
How do I choose a weighted vest for me?
While your fitness level and needs will differ from someone else, there are several factors that everyone should consider when looking for the right weight vest.
Fit and Comfort
Look for the right fit. What that means is that the vest should not be too tight or too loose on your body. Make sure it feels comfortable while you’re wearing it. It’ll be hard to focus on your workout if you’re feeling uncomfortable due to the poor fit. If you can, try before you buy.
Avoid weights that swing freely since it could be awkward when walking. Make sure that the weight of the vest is evenly distributed around your torso. Also, go for a vest that allows you to add and remove weights as you see fit like the ZFOsports Weighted Vest. This allows you to customize the intensity of your workout based on your capabilities. It also enables you to reposition the weights to help you get the right balance and level of comfort.
Good airflow is key. Look for weight vests that have excellent breathability (like mesh used in the CAP Barbell Adjustable Weighted Vest) or are made of materials that wick away moisture. Remember, some weighted vests will cover your entire torso which means that there’s a likelihood that you may overheat during your exercises. An antimicrobial fabric would be ideal. Also, make sure that the weights included in the vest are coated metal or made with neoprene material to prevent rust.
Since you’ll be sweating through this vest, you’ll want to make sure that washing it isn’t going to be a pain. Look for a weighted vest that is machine washable. Check if you need to take out the weights before washing or if you can remain in the vest if you choose to wash by hand.
Check if there are types of accessories that have been added or can be added to the vest. Is there a pocket or pouch for your phone or music player? The has Cross 101 Adjustable Weighted Vest that. If you’re planning on doing night runs, will your vest feature reflective strips like the Tone Fitness Weighted Vest? While these features aren’t necessary to the workout, they can add value, versatility, and convenience so you might want to consider checking them out.
Because there is no one size that’s best for all, you really need to make sure that you choose something that fits YOU – your body structure, your exercise regimen, and your fitness level. While we can recommend the best ones we’ve come across, the only person who can say which one is truly the best-weighted vest is you.