Weighted vests are an ideal accessory for making your workouts just that bit more effective and worth it.
They can be adjusted to any weight you prefer for the ultimate workout or for making a long walk a bit more interesting, so you can choose to add weight on your vest for some additional resistance.
There are different variations of weighted vests to suit any need, such as the full-body vests that are designed for strength training and are generally heavier and tighter, or the shoulder weighted vests that are lightweight for more excessive movement such as running or CrossFit.
I have created a list of the 5 best-weighted vests along with a buyers’ guide and FAQ to help you choose the right vest for your body.
In a rush?
My top pick is the Gravity Fitness 20kg Weighted Vest – a fully adjustable made from breathable nylon.
The weights themselves, held by the durable fabric, are solid cast-iron weights and are completely removable.
This allows for adjustability in your workouts and maximum comfort.
This vest is suitable for any form of activity and any fitness level, from avid bodyweight trainers to the occasional jogger.
Best Weighted Vest Reviews
This is a good, all-around box ticker for anyone looking for a weighted vest.
With 20kg of removable solid cast-iron weights, you can easily adjust the weight of this vest without affecting the performance – ideal for beginners who would eventually like to build the heaviness.
This vest is made from durable nylon and features foam padding to avoid discomfort or injury, and has a velcro strap to ensure there is no movement or bouncing.
The stitching is of high quality and made to support at least 20kg of weights with excessive movement. This is the most expensive vest on my list, but the highest quality.
If you are serious about enhancing your exercise, this is the weighted vest for you.
- Adjustable straps and removable weights for any exercise and fitness level
- Durable nylon fabric and good quality cast iron weights
- Most expensive on this list, but the highest quality vest
This particular model of Xn8 weighted vest weighs 15kg, but they also offer 10kg and 20kg alternatives.
Designed to increase the intensity of any workout, this vest features two velcro straps and pockets for additional sandbags to enhance the performance.
This allows for preventing movement as well as adjusting to the fitness level of the individual.
Soft neoprene stitching prevents the sand weights from breaking or falling out. These weights are evenly distributed at the front and back of the vest for comfort and are removable.
This is an ideal vest for beginners who want to test out different weights to suit their needs.
- Affordable and good quality for the price
- Removable sandbag weights, with extra pockets for additional weights
- Two velcro straps to prevent movement and allows a firm fit
- Sand weights are generally not the highest quality weights
- Not the most attractive design if aesthetics is an issue
The Jolitac weighted vest is the best option for beginners, weighing at either 5kg or 8kg.
Don’t be fooled by the lightweights, because they can be used effectively to achieve progress and results.
The design is a rose colour and is a shoulder vest, ideal for anyone who wants to avoid the bulkier full-body vests.
This lightweight vest means it is good for faster exercises such as running, aerobics, or cycling, without causing aches and pains.
The vest is made from double-layer lycra and the weights are zinc-iron sand, which is not removable.
Mesh pockets make this an ideal vest for outdoor usage, as they can hold small necessities such as a phone.
This vest is around the mid-range in terms of pricing, being affordable for what you get.
- Lightweight and affordable
- Available in 5kg or 8kg, ideal for beginners
- One buckle strap to adjust the fit
- Awarded ‘Amazon Choice’
- Sand weights are generally not the highest quality weights
- Weights are not removable
BodyRip is a trusted brand for durable and good quality fitness accessories and equipment…
…and this vest is no exception.
Featuring a package deal, this product comes with an additional skipping rope to enhance your exercise regime.
Made with comfort in mind, this vest is fully padded to avoid rubbing or bruising after longer periods of usage.
Weights can also be added and removed when necessary, making it an ideal vest for both beginners and avid fitness-goers.
This full-body vest comes with strong velcro support around the waist to avoid movement or bouncing. This vest is more affordable than some of the other vests I’ve listed.
- The vest is padded for ultimate comfort
- Additional skipping rope for a new addition to your personal fitness equipment
- 5kg weights can be removed and added to
- Not the heaviest vest if you have a higher level of fitness such as weight training and bodybuilding
The second shoulder vest on my list, and the most affordable, is the Viavito vest. It is a great purchase for anyone who wants to take their fitness to the next level.
It has a lightweight and comfortable design with even weight distribution for a comfortable and rub-free feel.
This is ideal for runners and outdoor fitness enthusiasts, as it is compact and features hi-viz reflective strips and a mesh pocket for phones or a water bottle.
This is the lightest vest on the list at 2.5kg, great for beginners and fitness lovers who just want to add something to their workouts.
This is also good for people with health problems, as the gentle weight will help to slowly and comfortably build muscle.
This vest can be worn normally or upside down for women who may find the strap gets in the way.
- Very lightweight and comfortable, an ideal addition for any fitness level
- Adjustable strap for a snug fit
- Very light at 2.5kg, not ideal for those wanting something heavier
- Sand weights are not removable
Best Weighted Vest Buyers’ Guide
Why you should buy a weighted vest
Weighted vests are a great way to make any workout more exciting and intense. They are designed to strengthen and tone your body whilst enhancing endurance and stamina.
The idea is that if you do your training runs in a weighted vest, your body will adapt to handle the extra weight.
This means when you do your races without the vest, you will be that much more powerful.
As they can range between 5 pounds to over 150 pounds, it is important to understand what your body is best suited for depending on your physical ability and skill.
It is not a matter of ordering the type of vest you think you can handle and finding yourself with back pain a month later as you continue your exercise as normal.
You have to start with the lower weights and work your way up, but don’t undermine the power of the lower weighted vests!
They are designed to strengthen every part of your body, from your calves to your core, and even a lower weight can help accomplish this over time.
You will know if your vest is too heavy if back, shoulder, or neck pain begins.
Lower weighted vests are also ideal for those with health problems, as they work to slowly build muscle without creating discomfort.
It also depends on what exercise you plan to do and what your fitness goals are. If you are an avid runner, your needs will be different from a boxer.
Generally speaking, vests under 20 pounds (around 10kg) are the most ideal for endurance and speed training such as running or cardio. This will create the changes required without adding too much extra stress on your body.
Howevrr as mentioned earlier it is a VERY good idea to start at a lower weight (eg 5 pounds/2.5 kg) vest and gradually increasing the weight.
Think about it – your body will adapt to whatever weight you’re using, so starting with a lighter vest will improve your strength one step at a time.
If muscle mass and strength building is your objective, a heavier vest than 20 pounds is your best bet.
Anything heavier is useful for those who need a heavyweight to train for hiking or any form of endurance training to push to their limits.
Again, however, even if strength increase is your main objective, make sure you start low and increase gradually so as not to cause stress injuries.
Design and comfort
There are most commonly two forms of weighted vests: a full-body vest and a shoulder vest.
Either can be used for any exercise, though both have their advantages and disadvantages.
A full-body vest is useful for holding more weight and often comes with adjustable pockets allowing you to take out weight.
This is useful for strength training such as boxing, as full-body vests often have the potential to move around in more vigorous exercise as they don’t always have adjustable straps for different body sizes.
Shoulder vests don’t usually have adjustable weights but can often have weight added, and usually come with straps to adapt to different bodies.
These are ideal for running and high-intensity workouts, as they are designed to fit a body and not move.
Make sure your vest is made from good quality fabric, such as neoprene or nylon, which does not rub and dig into the skin. It is best to wear a vest over clothing to prevent friction.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are weighted vests bad for your spine?
This depends on the type of weight you use, as it must be enough for your body to handle.
Weighted vests aren’t designed to injure, so it is best to start with a lower weight as it will help build up the muscles in your spine to help you progress with higher weights.
The golden rule is start low and build up and very importantly, if you feel ANY sort of discomfort, reduce the weight or stop using the vest for a while.
Can I wear a weighted vest all day?
It is advised to wear a vest between 20 and 50 minutes during your exercise time.
This is to prevent any damage and to concentrate that time on strength building.
It is therefore not wise to wear a weighted vest all day.
The effects of a weighted vest will show within time, they are not a shortcut to looking like a bodybuilder, so wearing them all day could do more damage than good.
Is a 20-pound vest good?
20-pound vests are generally the heaviest of the lighter vests, so these are comfortable and good to use.
If you are a beginner and you would like a 20-pound vest, try purchasing one with adjustable weight pockets in case it gets too heavy.
I will repeat myself because I think it is important, go slowly, start with lower weights and listen to your body!
Do weighted vests build muscle?
Yes! Weighted vests are designed for muscle and strength endurance. This does also depend on the type of exercise you do, too.
Cardio will have a different effect on weight training, with or without a vest, so you can’t expect to see results immediately.
This will also take time and patience, and is best to start with a lower weight.
This is because your body will naturally be tired at first until it adapts accordingly to the extra weight, which is a sign of your muscles improving in strength.
To increase the results, changing the weight of a vest just before your muscles adapt will not get you fitter quicker! Indeed you are highly likely to injure yourself and find yourself having to start from square one again.
Can you lose weight with a weighted vest?
As with any exercise, this depends on how intense the workout is. Weighted vests are great for increasing intensity, and therefore sweat and oxygen, which is a great calorie destroyer.
The higher the heart rate, the more oxygenated blood to feed your muscles and lungs, therefore more energy!
So as long as you are not expecting miracles, the extra effort the weighted vest requires does translate to more calories burned, which in turn equates to weight loss.
Do not do this with a heavyweight or for longer periods of time!