Reading the detailed information about the best inflatable life vest is time-consuming. So if you’re in a hurry, we can lend you a hand. Just read this short paragraph and you’ll have sufficient data to make a smart purchase. We’ve gathered a lot of information about these products by exploring expert review sites, sales figures, and actual feedback coming from people who have bought them. The Onyx M-24 Manual Inflatable Life Jacket is the noticeable product among our other choices. The CO2 cylinder has an indicator tab allowing you to stay safe and check its level at all times. It’s easy to operate with a pull of a string. The product is lightweight and comes with a comfortable design, so you’ll be able to move without restriction. Since it doesn’t cover your skin, you’ll be cool on hot summer days. In case you need to wear it for many hours at a time, it has a neoprene neckline that makes it comfortable. If the Onyx M-24 Manual Inflatable Life Jacket is not available right now, you can just as well purchase the second top-option, the Onyx A/M-24 Automatic Vest-Universal Adult.
Life jacket vs. PFD?
While all the products that are in these categories have the same main purpose, which is to keep you safe in the water, there are differences between them. You should be able to make the difference and choose according to your needs, so we’ve underscored some issues.
A life jacket will save your life. It is designed to turn you face up when you’re unconscious in the water, so you can breathe. A PFD (Personal Flotation Device) is meant to keep you afloat when you’re conscious in calm waters.
Life jackets have more buoyancy compared to PFDs, and most of the material that allows them to float is in the front. Flotation devices have most of the buoying material on the back, which makes them more comfortable to wear and enables them to allow you to move better.
Life vests are designed to give greater chances for survival, and they are ideal for poor swimmers. PFDs are better suited for recreational activities and confident swimmers.
Type of activity
Inflatable vests are great for most water activities, almost all that you could think of. But there are some exceptions.
There are some activities in which you are supposed to be in the water often or most of the time, so being rescued is not what you need. These include dinghy sailing, windsurfing, kayaking or ski jetting.
Also, it’s not a match for any other activity that implies high-speed impact with the water, because it might damage the material and render the device useless.
When you shop for a life vest, you could come across some numbers, and it’s important how you read them. They usually state the buoyancy of the device, calculated in Newtons.
Most of our bodies are made of water, roughly 70% and about 20% is made of fat. The rest is what should be kept afloat. The fitter you are, the less buoyant you are.
Typically, a 100 Newtons capacity is enough to keep a person afloat and with the mouth above the water. It translates into about 22 lbs. That is a minimum standard, and it works for most average people in normal conditions. For severe weather circumstances and offshore navigation, the recommended flotation is 150 Newtons.
Coast Guard approval
When you’re in the U.S., you can make sure that the product you’re buying keeps to the standards if it has the USCG certification.
Approval by the USCG falls into five categories. The first two categories are probably what’s more interesting for you at the moment. Understanding the categories will help you define your own target on the market.
Type I is good for all waters. It’s mainly designed to keep you afloat on the open ocean or troubled seas. When rescue missions are presumably slower and take more time, that is what you should be wearing. The offshore life jacket has bright colors and reflective tape as well as high buoyancy.
Near-shore vests fall into the type II category. They’re not all designed to turn you face up because they’re made for inland waters and quick rescue.
There aren’t as many options as one would think. There’s manual, and there’s automatic.
Manual inflatable vests are what you would preferably wear if you expect to be in the water but want to decide if and when the vest should inflate. All you have to do is pull an inflation handle or push a tab.
There are some inflatable devices that provide cartridge viewing. It’s important to re-arm the cartridge after every inflation and replace it when it’s low, but in case you forget to inspect it, the possibility to see the status of the cartridge is essential.
Automatic inflating PFDs are the ones you need to buy if you don’t want to be in the water. When the unexpected occurs, the vest does its job and inflates automatically, and that’s all thanks to an auto-firing mechanism. They have one or more indicators for the firing mechanism and the CO2 container.
Top rated Inflatable Life Vests in 2018
Life vests are basically designed to save people from drowning in an event of any water-related accidents or calamities. And though it serves one major purpose, life vests actually come in different styles. It is also made of different materials. The best inflatable life vest reviews talks about the most effective designs for life vests that are available on the market. Here is what our team has compiled from the internet.
While most life vests are too bulky and tend to restrict movements, the Onyx M-24 Inflatable life jacket allows the widest range of motion. This unique vest design basically makes it the best inflatable life vest in 2018. Aside from maximum mobility, the slender vest design is also advantageous during hot weathers as it keeps the user cool and comfortable. The soft neoprene neckline does not keep the user in a stiff position, unlike the bulky life vests. It is also the most convenient life vest because it can function both automatically and manually.Buy from Amazon.com for ($92.49)
Onyx A/M-24 Automatic
Another highly-rated from Onyx is the CO2 Automatic Vest designed for adults. It features the same slender design that the Onyx vests are known for. It has the same construction and is built using the same materials. It also has the soft neoprene neckline which adds comfort and reduces stress in the neck area. It can function automatically when submerged in water, and it can also be operated manually by pulling the attached T-cord. It has reflective piping which allows greater visibility, especially in distressed weather conditions.Buy from Amazon.com for ($89.98)
Mustang Deluxe Auto Hydrostatic
Built primarily for rescue operations, the Mustang Deluxe Auto Hydrostatic Inflatable Personal Floatation device justifies its perfect 5-star rating posted in the best inflatable life vest reviews. It features an automatic hydrostatic inflation system that expands only when it is submerged at least 4 inches of water. There is no premature inflation caused by rain or water sprays. With its 420-denier nylon construction and polyurethane coating, this floating device is expected to last for a long time – even without maintenance for the first five years.Buy from Amazon.com for ($287.49)
Mustang Survival MIT
All of Mustang’s products are inspired by the best inflatable life vest in 2018, just like the Survival MIT Manual Inflatable personal flotation device. This PFD is lighter than other products because of its Membrane inflatable technology that reduces its weight while providing a flexible and more comfortable fit. The high quality of this life vest is apparent with its material as well as the craftsmanship. Every detail of the vest, such as the straps and buckles, is well-made. Unlike the previously mentioned PFD, this unit is operated manually.Click to see the price on Amazon!
Mustang Survival MIT Flotation Device
Since Mustang has established a name in the PFD industry, most of its products on the market are well-recognized. The Survival MIT Automatic inflatable PFD, for example, is well-known for its convenient automatic activation system. The integrated membrane inflatable technology reduces the weight of the vest, providing a lighter and more comfortable fit. The floatation properties of this vest are quite impressive, providing about 26 lbs of buoyancy. Aside from its professional-looking design, the bright neon accents allow it to be easily spotted during rescue operations.Click to see the price on Amazon!