Are you in the market for a snorkel life vest? If so, you’re not alone. Outdoor enthusiasts use these specialized vests for added safety when engaging in water activities. As I’m sure you’re aware, snorkel life vests are unique and differ from traditional life vests in several ways.
Most notably, snorkel vests are less bulky than traditional vests. You can even leave it deflated when not in use since it couldn’t be easier to instantly inflate it within seconds with a few big breaths. In fact, deflating the jacket is useful because it allows you to dive deeper to explore the ocean.
What to Look for in A Snorkeling Life Vest
I’m going to make this simple for you. When looking for a snorkel vest, make sure it meets these three criteria:
An air valve that can be controlled orally
As I said earlier, many snorkelers find this to be a useful tool when they want to submerge deeper to check out the sea life.
Highly visible colors
Make sure to select a snorkel vest that is bright and colorful to ensure that you stay visible on the water.
Folds up compactly
If you plan to take your snorkel vest on your next tropical vacation, look for one that can easily fit into your luggage.
Below you’ll find a wide variety of quality snorkel life vests. I’ve listed my favorite features of each one to help you determine which one best fits your needs. Happy shopping!
Top Snorkel Vests
|Rrtizan Inflatable Snorkel Vest|
|Rrtizan Swim Vest|
|Absolute Outdoor Onyx|
Lyuwpes Inflatable Snorkel Vest
You won’t find many snorkel vests more economical than this one from Lyuwpes for under $20. I guarantee that you’ll pay more than that to rent one at any tourist destination! And this one is ideal for packing in luggage since it is lightweight and just a little bigger than an iPhone when rolled up. It even comes with a mesh bag!
You can choose from multiple colors, all of which are fluorescent and highly visible. However, you should know that there is a crotch strap between the legs which can be irritating to some people.
- Inflates in 15 seconds
- Great price
- Supports anyone 80-220 lbs
OMOUBOI Inflatable Snorkel Vest
The OMOUBOI is another affordable snorkel vest which is small enough to pack in a suitcase. Like any good vest you plan on using in open water, it is brightly colored so everyone will know where you are.
One of the reasons people love it is because it was clearly designed with comfort in mind. It fits the body closely and is not bulky at all, making it a favorite among kayakers and paddle boarders.
- Breathable mesh
- Small enough to to pack in a suitcase
- Very comfortable
Rrtizan Inflatable Snorkel Vest
Here is another excellent choice for a more than reasonable price. The Rrtizan inflatable snorkel vest is everything you’d want: brightly colored, buoyant, easy to use, and compact.
The only con is the crotch strap, which may not be a big deal to you. I always feel compelled to mention when a life vest has a strap between the legs, mostly just because it irritates me and I’d want to know about it beforehand. But all in all, this product from Rrtizan meets all my criteria for a worthwhile snorkel vest!
- Easy to pack
- Inflates in 15 seconds
Wildhorn Inflatable Snorkel Vest
Personally, I want a snorkel vest that will get the job done but also be comfortable and stylish. If you relate, look no farther because the Wildhorn vest meets all three requirements, although it is a bit expensive.
I really like that they offer multiple sizes instead of saying “one size fits all.” This ensures that the vest fits securely around any body type and won’t ride up. But the in my opinion, the best feature is the lock valve that allows you to adjust your buoyancy quickly and conveniently.
- Easy side entry to put on or take off
- Fully adjustable straps for a perfect fit
- Inflates and deflates in seconds
Rrtizan Swim Vest
This Rrtizan swim vest is comparable to the OMOUBOI Inflatable Snorkel Vest. Both feature mesh backs and similar designs. What’s great about this option is that it weighs less than a pound so that you can barely tell it’s on. And when it’s deflated, it’s only the size of a small book. You can’t go wrong with the Rrtizan swim vest!
- Safe air blowing valve
- Adjustable straps
Scubapro Cruiser Snorkel Vest
Perhaps cost isn’t an issue to you; you’d rather spend a little extra in order to get a high-end snorkel vest that will last you for years to come. If that describes you, the Scubapro is the snorkel vest for you! While it is significantly more expensive than other products on this list, it will not disappoint.
With a small discrete pocket, you can pack along any small accessories you might want to bring. But best of all: it’s made of durable nylon and neoprene which keeps you warmer and better protected from the sun exposure. This is the picture of comfort and quality!
- Equipped with a pocket to store accessories
- Neoprene provides warmth and protect from the sun
- Highly visible colors
Absolute Outdoor Onyx
I really like to paddle board, but I don’t like wearing a vest that is cumbersome and rubs against my skin. But since I am not a strong swimmer I really need to wear a vest. This Absolute Ourdoor Onyx life vest has a slender design and is so light weight that I forget I am wearing it. And because it’s not bulky, I don’t get hot and sweaty when I wear it.
I also love how easy it is to inflate. You can manually inflate it or it will automatically inflate when you fall in . . . I try really, really hard not to fall in so I haven’t tried this feature yet.
This is a vest made for those of us who are older than 16 or over 80 pounds. Be aware that it is a little pricier than some of the other vests (over $100) but in my opinion it is worth the money. Who knew that a life vest could be comfortable?
- US Coast Guard Approved
- Durable – resists tears
- Inflates by pulling a T-cord or when immersed in water
O’Neill Reactor Vest
Here we have another top of the line vest, this time from the reputable company O’Neil. It differs from other vests listed here because you can’t control the buoyancy; rather, this is a traditional personal flotation device, even approved by the U.S. Coast Guard.
However, it would obviously still work for snorkeling and other water sports. You will appreciate the neoprene material which ensures a snug, sleek fit so that you can move around freely and comfortably.
- Snug fit
- Durable, comfortable material
- Very buoyant
Scuba Choice Snorkel Vest
This highly rated snorkel vest will serve your needs perfectly. It folds up small, is reasonably priced, and keeps you buoyant when in the water. What else could you ask for in a snorkel vest? Do yourself a favor and try this one out: you will be so happy with your decision!
- Oral inflator that is easy to use
- Bright neon yellow
- Straps can be removed
Airhead Trend Life Vest
If you’d like to get a more versatile vest that could be counted on as a personal flotation device, this vest from Airhead may be what you’re looking for. It features closed sides and adjustable straps across the middle. I’m quite impressed with all of the style and size options; you can choose from stripes and solid colors and any size between XS and XXXL. It will certainly get the job done!
- Adjustable straps
- Approved by the U.S. Coast Guard
- Not too bulky
This Soly vest is a good choice to take on a snorkel trip to Hawaii or on a cruise. I love that it can be folded up and packed, whether you are going on an extended trip or to the lake on Saturday.
This vest comes in 2 sizes: adult and kid. It also has 2 straps (one for around the waist and the other for the crotch) and both are adjustable. You can’t go wrong with this vest, especially for the price.
- 7 fun colors
- Safety whistle
- Easy to inflate/deflate
What are the Differences Between a Snorkel Vest and a Life Vest?
Unlike a regular life vest, snorkel life vests are designed so that you can swim with your face submerged. Many people find these life vests perfectly suited for snorkeling, swimming, paddle boarding, and kayaking.
However, it should be mentioned that snorkel life vests are not a buoyant as regular life jackets. Precautions should still be taken when in the water when wearing them. For instance, always swim with a buddy and test the vest out prior to use to make sure it inflates properly.
But snorkeling life vests can give beginner swimmers confidence to enjoy water activities mentioned above. They allow you to safely relax while on the open ocean since waves can tire you out quickly. Kayakers also enjoy snorkel vests because they can be worn deflated, making it more comfortable to paddle without a bulky life jacket hindering movement.
Now if you’re like me, you want to make sure you’re getting a great value. Just think about how much more use you’ll get out of purchasing a snorkel life vest as opposed to renting one for a few hours.
Plus, it seems much more sanitary to me since you can limit the number of people who use your vest. Now that we’ve established why it’s a good idea to get a snorkel vest, let’s get started reviewing some of the best options!
How is a snorkel life vest different from a regular life vest?
Snorkel life vests differ from regular life vests in several ways. First of all, snorkel vests are less bulky than traditional vests. You can even leave it deflated when not in use. Unlike a regular life vest, a snorkel life vest needs to be inflated but it only takes a few seconds to do so. Also, snorkel vests are designed so that you can swim with your face submerged.
Does an inflatable life vest really work?
While an inflatable life vest is not a substitute for a personal flotation device, it does offer enough buoyancy to keep you afloat while in the water. Many beginner swimmers find that it gives them confidence to engage in water activities such as snorkeling that they wouldn’t otherwise feel comfortable with. Even more experienced swimmers know it is prudent to wear one in case they get fatigued.
Can snorkel life vests work for large adults?
Snorkel life vests can keep people of all sizes afloat. They are even suitable for large adults since the straps can be adjusted for a perfect fit. However, check the specifications of a vest to ensure it will accommodate your weight before purchase. Most snorkel life vests work for adults up to 220 lbs.