1. Cross 101 Adjustsable Weighted Vest Camo F

Best Weighted Vests For Your Money (Reviews And Comparison)

Best Adjustable Weighted Vest

You know that a weighted vest can boost the effects of your regular workout.

You also know that it can help you burn more calories while doing your regular everyday chores.

But did you know that the wrong weighted vest can have the opposite effect?

If it does not fit right, or it isn’t well-balanced, it can hinder your workout and even lead to injury.

So how do you know which ones are good and which to avoid?

You research the market. For hours and hours and hours.

Or you keep reading.

We’ve already done that research and have listed the best weighted vests below.

All of our recommendations work well, but still sell for a reasonable price.

We made sure to include multiple styles and price levels, to ensure there is something for everyone.

So check out the comparison table below. You’re sure to find the perfect weight vest for your needs!


Best Weight Vests: Comparison Table

ImageNameAdjustable?Weight+ or -PriceRating

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Cross 101Yes40 lb to 60 lb2.5 lb to 4 lb$$10 / 10

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Empower VestNo8 lbN/A$9.8 / 10

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RUNFast VestYes40 lb to 140 lb3 lb$-$$$$9.8 / 10

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ZFOsportsYes40 lb2.5 lb$$9.7 / 10

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CAP Barbell Short VestYes20 lb to 50 lb1 lb$$9.5 / 10

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HarbingerYes20 lb to 40 lb1 lb to 2 lb$$$9.6 / 10

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CAP Barbell CB020CYes20 lb0.75 lb$9.4 / 10

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Valeo VW40Yes20 lb to 40 lb1 lb to 2 lb$$9.2 / 10

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Pure Fitness VestYes20 lb to 40 lb0.88 lb$$$9.0 / 10


Features To Look For

Most weighted vests are quite similar, but there are minor variations that can be the difference between a vest that you can use for years and one that you can’t even use for a day.


Shoulder Pads

The heavier the vest is, the more shoulder padding you’ll need. It’s as simple as that. However, everyone has a different weight threshold of where the pain becomes unbearable.

Also, if your shoulders get bruised after you wear the vest once, don’t worry. Your shoulders should adjust after a week or so. However, if it doesn’t get better after 2 weeks or so, you should consider getting a new vest or simply sow in some shoulder padding yourself.


Is It Adjustable?

Most weight vests are adjustable, but some of them are locked down to only one weight. Being able to change the weight might not seem like a big deal, but if you want to use the vest for a while, it’s highly important.

You’ll be surprised at how quickly you will feel comfortable with whatever weight you pick, and if you have an adjustable vest you can keep challenging yourself, but if you have a simpler one your body will adapt pretty quickly.


What Shape is it?

Some of the vests are bigger than the others and some of them have different shapes.

Look for a smaller vest if you’re 5’6” or below, and consider looking at a different shaped vest if you’re a female with a bigger bust as regular weight vests can get quite uncomfortable.


Top Weighted Vests

We went through dozens of different weight vests and finally settled on 9 that we think are the best.

Aren’t you glad you don’t have to spend the same amount of time as us researching and testing these products?

You’re welcome. 😉


1. Cross 101 Adjustable Vest- Ultimate Winner

Cross 101The Cross 101 is the champion of weighted vests.

It has shoulder pads, it’s adjustable, and it highly durable. (However, we don’t recommend using it for running.)

The biggest downside is that it is only available in camo which might get you some weird looks if you wear it in the gym. (But if it works, it works, am I right?)

It’s very versatile and will fit various body times from petite 5’2” females to 6 foot bodybuilders.

The vest is very reasonably priced and is available in 20 lb, 40 lb, and 60 lb. They even offer fixed price for shipping on all the weights so you pay the same if you buy a 60 lb or a 20 lb product.

You have a choice of buying it with or without shoulder pads, but I’ll make you decision simple: buy the shoulder pads! Your shoulders will thank you.

Even if you get the lightest version your shoulders might still get bruised when you just start out, and the shoulder pads will decrease the bruising and distribute the weight more evenly.

As for the weight increments, the different versions came with different increments, but generally they were around 2.5 lb – 4 lb per baggie, which means that you can find the precise amount of weight you need for the perfect training session.

You can fit two baggies per pocket, and while this can be somewhat difficult don’t worry if one of them sticks out because the flap should keep it secure and safe.

While the vest is great, if you’re looking for something to run in don’t buy this one. There’s a high chance that it’ll rub in multiple places and give you carpet burn.

This doesn’t happen when doing squats, jumping jacks, or walking around so don’t worry about that.

The vest is quite durable, and while we noticed that a couple people had issues with the stitching no one else experienced it so they probably got defective units.

All in all, the Cross 101 is one of the best weighted vests out there and you can’t go wrong with buying it.


2. Empower Vest- Most Comfortable for Women

Empower VestThe Empower Vest is hands down the most comfortable weighted vest for women.

It fits great, even for those with a bigger bust, and it is also versatile enough that it can fit petite women.

However, the weight probably won’t be enough for most people for doing resistance training., but if you’re using it while running, walking, or doing something similar to crossfit then it’s perfect for you!

It is one of the cheapest and best made options on the market, and it provides a secure fit so you can be sure that it won’t fall off when you’re running.

This also means that there is almost no up and down movement of the vest which makes sure that you don’t get that nasty carpet burn that other vests are known for.

It has a “phone” pouch, but the pouch is too tiny for most current phones. However, if you have a flip phone you can use it, or you can put your keys in there or a GPS tracker if that’s how you track your workouts.

They also provide a 4 lb version that lights up which is useful for running in the dark, but 4 lb of extra weight isn’t enough to produce noticeable results.

You also can’t add weight to the vest, but it’s hard to design an adjustable weight that also fits women without getting uncomfortable and tight.

The Empower Vest strikes the perfect balance between versatility and price. It can fit users between 5 ft and 6 ft with all types of bust sizes, and best of all, it’s very comfortable!


3. RUNFast Adjustable Vest- Highest Capacity

RUNFast VestThe RUNFast has the best durability and highest capacity of all of the vests we looked at.

You can add up to 140 pounds of weight to it!

That’s right, 140 pounds!

Some people might think that there is no point in a weighted vest once you start getting over 80 lb as you can just use dumbbells or barbells, but that’s not always the case.

You can’t use dumbbells when doing pullups, and you can’t use them while walking without quickly tiring your arms.

The weighted vest distributes the weight more evenly which allows you to push past your limit without worrying about dropping something heavy on yourself.

There are multiple options, but be careful! If you get anything less than the 100 lb one, you won’t be able to order extra weight later to add weight to it because the construction of the vest will be different.

The weighted bars are also different between the over 100 lb and under 100 lb vests. Under 100 vests use iron ore baggies while over 100 vests use 3 lb solid metal bars.

The weights come pre-installed, and it’s somewhat hard to remove them from the vest, which is good because this means they won’t fall out during one of your workouts.

You can use this vest for jogging, although we don’t recommend using anything heavier than the 40 lb one for that as it can damage your tendons and will hurt you instead of helping you.

However, feel free to use whatever weight you want when walking as you can get it to fit snugly around you and not bounce up and down when you run or walk.

It’s also quite durable and well worth the money. You won’t regret buying the RunFast!


4. ZFOSports Vest

ZFOsportsThe fourth spot belongs to the ZFOSports Vest. There are 30 lb, 40 lb, 60 lb and 80 lb options available, depending on the level of resistance you’re looking for.

There are frequent sales, and the 60 lb option can be nearly 3 times more expensive than the 40 lb one when there’s a good sale going on.

The weights come in 2.5 pound increments and are easy to remove and put into the vest.

It is a bit long, so if you’re on the shorter side then doing squats and lunges might be uncomfortable as it could go past your hips.

However, it’s a great option for walking or running as the straps allow you to get a very tight fit and not worry about getting rug burn on you back.

Setting it up is simple as they provide detailed instructions on the Amazon page, but it can be hard to make it fit perfectly the first time you put it on.

It’ll get easier after a couple times, but you might want to have someone assist you the first time you wear it.

The shoulder straps are a bit thicker than most which means that the weight will be distributed over a larger area and you won’t bruise as much. However, they’re not very well-cushioned which means you might get some bruising the first couple of times you wear it.

All in all the ZFO vest is a great option unless you’re under 5’5” and are planning on using it for squats or lunges.


5. CAP Barbell Short Weighted Vest- Best for Crossfit

CAP BarbellIf you’re 5’6” or below and you want a vest that doesn’t look like a skirt on you then the CAP Barbell is perfect for you!

It’s adjustable, and although it only goes up to 20 pounds, it should still be enough to get in a hard workout. Many people use it to train for the MURPH challenge. 1 mile run, 100 pullups, 200 pushups, 300 situps, 1 mile run, in a 20 pounds weighted vest. Plus, there is a 50 lb version available, but it does cost quite a bit more.

I’m in great shape, but that sounds like a terrible way to spend your afternoon to me…

Anyway, the vest if well-made and if you need to you can always remove the weights and use it for plyometrics or hill sprints. (Some weights are 2 lb and some are 1 lb though, so make sure you take out the right ones!)

The shoulders are well-padded and you won’t be hurting as much after wearing it for the first time.

It’s one of the best crossfit weighted vests out there.


6. Harbinger Adjustable Weight Vest

HarbingerThe Harbinger men’s vest is also another great option for crossfitters who are training or who want to participate in the MURPH challenge.

You can either get the 10 lb option with .5 lb increments, the 20 lb option with 1 lb increments, or the 40 lb option with 2 lb increments.

I recommend going with the 40 lb one even if you’re training for MURPH as you can decrease the weight if you need to, but you can’t increase the weight if you buy the 20 lb option.

It’s also good to up the resistance to 25 lb or 30 lb when training for a couple reps and then go back to a lower weight, and you won’t be able to do that if you get the 20 lb option.

It is one size fits all, and it is very comfortable and doesn’t bounce when you run. However, getting the straps adjusted perfectly can be difficult the first couple times you put it on, but you should get used to it fairly quickly.

The vest doesn’t restrict movement and you should have a full range of motion during squats, pushups, and whatever else you might want to do.

We had no issues with the weighted baggies, but a couple people have complained about theirs breaking, so if you want to guarantee that that doesn’t happen you can wrap the weights in tape, or put them in a ziplog baggie if you feel like it might break.

All in all, this is great weight vest for crossfitters or anyone else who doesn’t want to shell out hundreds of dollars on what should be a simple purchase.


7. CAP Barbell 20lb — Cheapest MURPH vest

CAP Barbell CB020CThis is yet another option for someone training for the MURPH challenge.

This CAP vest is the cheapest 20 lb one that can actually take the beating of the challenge.

All of the other ones are either twice the price of this one, break incredibly quickly, or are too uncomfortable to use while running.

Your shoulders will get beat up the first couple of times you wear it, but eventually your body will get used to it and wearing it won’t hurt anymore.

It’s incredibly easy to assemble, and the weights easily fit in the pockets.

It has a phone holder, and while it’s big enough for the Samsung Galaxy S7, it doesn’t go all the way in in the pocket. It has never fallen out, however, so I wouldn’t be too worried about that.

The weight baggies seem sturdy, and there’s no huge issues that this vest has. It’s a great option if you need a lower-budget, but comfortable, vest for MURPH.


8. Valeo VW40

Valeo VW40The Valeo VW is a good vest that balances the weight in front and back which and lets you keep a neutral posture. However, it does lack good shoulder padding so if you use the full 40lb, you’ll either have to deal with very bruised shoulders or sew some padding into the shoulders yourself. (Which is a pain.)

Like most weight vests, putting on the Valeo will be somewhat difficult the first time you do it, but if you put in the weights in the back, put on the vest, and then load in the weights in the front, that’ll make it a bit easier.

The vest says that it’s “one size fits all,” and it actually is one size fits all. You’ll need to adjust it for a while, but it can fit people up to a men’s XXL.

The vest might seem flimsy when you first see it, but don’t be fooled. It’s actually quite strong and resilient.


9. Pure Fitness Vest

Pure FitnessEven though the Pure Fitness Vest is the last product on our list, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t buy it.

All of the products on our list have their own pluses and minuses, and this one is no different.

This vest for example is the only that that has a reflective trim that makes you easier to see at night, so if you plan on running later in the evening, this might be the right choice.

It also provides a great, snug fit which is perfect for running and walking, but it’s not necessarily the best for squatting as it is somewhat long, so for people under 5’6” it might hinder your range of motion and make for a less comfortable experience.

The shoulder padding isn’t the greatest, but also isn’t the worst, which is somewhat surprising considering that this is a fairly expensive 20 lb vest.

You can also buy the 40 lb version which is only 30 dollars more expensive than the 20 lb one.



Why should I get a weight vest?

If you want to feel like a badass superhero obviously. 😉

In all seriousness, it is great for nearly anyone.

It will help you lose weight, increase explosiveness, and can even help you increase your VO2 max and get better at distance running- all with one simple piece of equipment.

Here are a bunch of great weighted vest workouts to do.


Is it safe to use it when running?

Since you’re adding weight to your body, we recommend consulting your health professional beforehand. However, as a general rule of thumb, you can safely get to about 200 or 210 lb total weight (body+weight vest) without risking injury.

Of course if you run on the pavement instead of the grass, or if you have previous joint issues then you shouldn’t use one as it places more stress on your joints.


Can I wash it?

Some of them you can wash and others you can’t.

Most of the ones we recommend are washable, but remember to remove the weight pouches or you’ll end up destroying them.


Best Weighted Vest: Conclusion

As you can see there are a ton of great products on the market and it’s hard for me to tell you which is the perfect one for you.

However, we chose a variety of products that are good for crossfitters, runners, weightlifters, and more.

We hope that you found the right one for you, but if after reading this whole thing you still have no idea then we recommend getting the Cross 101 because it’s better to just start with something now instead of agonizing over it forever.

Working out in a weighted vest

Weighted Vest Workouts For Maximum Effectiveness

Working out in a weighted vestThe use of weighted vests is becoming more and more popular.

But actually, exercising in weighted clothing is nothing new. Knights did the same thing, when they trained for battle in their heavy armor, to get used to wearing the extra weight.

Granted, the weighted vest is much less of a necessity than armor was for knights. It’s not going to protect you from a sword. But the principle of training while wearing added bodyweight still holds true.

Weighted vests aren’t as cumbersome as a full suit of heavy armor. They are a simple vest that features a number of pockets that can hold weights. The best weighted vests are comfortable and don’t hinder your movement.

Usually, the added weights come in the form of small sandbags. Generally, these vests can hold a maximum weight of 20 to 50 pounds.

Let’s take a quick look at the benefits of using a weight vest and then cover some general tips, before getting into the best workouts to do while wearing one.


Benefits Of Using A Weighted Vest

Push-ups with a weighted vest


1. Increased Strength For Bodyweight Exercises.

Typically, body weight exercises are limited when it comes to progression. You can increase the number of total reps you perform or you can find a variation that is slightly harder.

Aside from those two variables, there really isn’t many other ways to make body weight exercises more intense in order to drive progression. Once you have found the very hardest variation of an exercise, you are pretty much stuck with adding more reps.

Eventually, you get to a point where adding more reps helps your endurance but has limited impact on your strength.

By putting on a weighted vest for those body weight movements, you can begin to make them more challenging again.

The added resistance will allow you to keep the number of reps in a more strength-focused range, while still keeping the exercise technique the same.

Over time, you can continue to add weight and build strength to any body weight exercise.


2. Burn More Calories.

Carrying around extra weight makes your entire body work harder. When your body is working harder, it is burning more calories.

One of the reasons that people stop losing weight after they have been successful for a while with a weight loss diet, is that their muscles don’t need to work as hard to move their body mass around anymore.

For example, your leg muscles have to work much harder to move your body up a flight of stairs if you weigh 300 lbs versus weighing 150 lbs. Working your legs harder means burning more calories.

Wearing a weight vest has that very same effect. You can wear them to increase calorie burn of any activity you wish.


3. More Effective Cardio Workouts.

Similarly to how your muscles have to work harder when wearing a weighted vest, your heart and lungs will also be tested more.

During cardiovascular activities, wearing added weight and forcing your muscles to workout harder, also forces your heart and lungs to become more effective at supplying those muscles with oxygenated blood.

After your cardiovascular system adapts to working under those more strenuous conditions, any work you do without wearing the vest will feel a whole lot easier.

A study performed by Finnish exercise scientist, Heikki Rusko, showed the improvement that weighted vest training can have on running.

Rusko had twelve subjects wear a weighted vest totaling ten percent of their body weight. The subjects wore the vest throughout the day and for at least three workouts each week.

The initial results, after four weeks, were not promising. The effects were actually negative.

However, after taking the weight vests off and continuing a further two week period of normal training, the results were quite different.

It seems the body needed time to adapt and realize the effects of the training. A 25% rise in sprint endurance and a 3% rise in stair running speed were seen upon retesting the subjects.


Tips For Using A Weighted Vest

Pull-ups with a weight vest


Start Slowly In The Beginning

This tip goes for most new exercise and fitness protocols. Load the vest up with around 2% of your total body weight to start with.

Get used to working with the added external weight by walking with it before building up to jogging and running.For resistance exercises like push-ups and squats, begin with just a few reps and sets to analyze how your body reacts and recovers from them.


Be Sure To Drink More Water

Working harder as a result of the added weight means you will sweat more.It is very easy to forget that the extra sweating means you have to replace more lost fluid than usual. Be sure you increase fluid intake to account for it.


Pull The Vest Tight To Your Body

Weighted vests are usually made of very rugged materials.If the vest is loose on your body and has room to move around, chafing and blisters can occur quite easily. Pulling the vest tight and wearing a suitable shirt underneath will help to combat the problem.

Adding a total of 10-15% of your body weight should be enough. Adding too much weight can cause harmful stresses on your joints.Secondly, a high amount of extra weight could change the technique of the exercises you are performing. Running style, push up form and other exercises could all be altered if the weight is too heavy.Carrying 10-15% of your own body weight will be enough to make a workout very challenging while still maintaining normal technique.


Weighted Vest Workouts

As mentioned, a weighted vest can be added to pretty much any kind of workout to make it more challenging.

To give you some ideas of different methods that you could incorporate into your routine, we have come up with a list of sample weighted vest workouts below.

Before any workout, make sure you are performing a solid warmup routine that gets your heart rate up and works all of the muscles needed for your main workout.


Workout #1 – Bodyweight Strength Circuit

Perform the following exercises in a circuit fashion, one after the other. Each exercise should be performed with good technique, using the full range of motion and under control.

Each exercise is to be done for 40 seconds. Take 60-90 seconds rest between circuits. Complete a total of 5 full circuits.


With your knees around shoulder width, drop down into a bodyweight squat. You should descend low enough for your hip crease to be below the top of your knee cap at the bottom. Focus on keeping your knees out, heels down and chest facing forward.


This is a standard push up. Start with your hands directly below your shoulders. Keep your abs braced for the entire movement and make sure your whole body is moving up and down as a single unit.


Grab a bar with your hands outside of shoulder width and your palms facing away from you. Each rep should start with your arms completely straight. Get your chin above the bar for every rep without craning your neck.


Keeping your chest facing forward, descend into a forward stepping lunge. Your front thigh should be parallel to the ground with your back knee a couple of inches away from the ground. Forcefully drive off of your front leg back to the start position. Alternate legs each rep.


Hold a plank position from your forearms. Keep your abs and glutes braced, flex your quads and focus on maintaining a straight line with your body.

Russian Twists

Begin seated on the floor. Lean your upper body backward until you feel your abs engage. Lift your legs off of the floor. Rotate your entire upper body to one side and lightly touch your hands on the ground before rotating to the opposite side. Repeat the movement from side to side in a controlled fashion


Workout #2 – Hill sprint intervals

Hill sprints are great for improving acceleration, speed, and cardiovascular endurance. Sprinting is also very effective for burning fat and adding a hill into the mix makes it even better.

This workout focuses on using short intervals that allow you to push for maximum speed on each one.

The rest times are given in ranges. If your goal is to improve your speed and acceleration, make sure you are fully recovered between sprints by taking longer rest periods.

If the goal is cardio and fat burning based, use shorter rests to keep your heart rate elevated.

The actual workout is ridiculously simple:

Sprint as hard as you can up the hill for 15 seconds, take between 30 seconds and 2 minutes to recover. Repeat the drill for 8-12 total sprints.


Workout #3 – Crossfit’s “Murph” Hero WOD

This one is not for the beginner, it is extremely tough. You can adjust the number of reps and distance for the run to cater for your individual fitness level.

This is a good example of how weighted vests can even be used for CrossFit style workouts to present a whole different challenge.

The Murph workout is traditionally done by cross fitters on Memorial day in the US. The workout honors Navy Lt. Michael Murphy, who was killed in action in 2005.

The workout was originally created by Lt. Murphy for his own use. He would perform it in his tactical vest, which weighed 20 lbs. For that reason, a weighted vest of 20 lbs is suggested for the workout. However, feel free to use less for your first time trying this one.

The workout:

  1. Run 1 mile
  2. Perform: 100 push-ups, 200 pull-ups, and 300 squats
  3. Finish by running another mile.

The bodyweight exercises can be broken down however you like, as long as the total number is completed for each by the end of the workout.

Just to warn you, an elite time for this is around 30 minutes. So, it will probably take a while.

Again, this isn’t recommended for beginners.


Workout #4 – Cardio And Strength Combination

This one is another circuit style workout. It combines cardio and strength based exercises into one routine.

Perform each exercise for the stated time or reps. Rest 60-90 seconds after each round. A total of 4-6 full rounds is to be completed.

Treadmill or bike – 60 seconds

Shuffle push-ups – Perform a regular push-up. At the top of the rep, shuffle both of your hands around to one side. Keep your feet in place, your body should now be at an angle of roughly 20 degrees from where you started. Perform another push-up before shuffling your hands to the opposite side. Repeat. – 12 reps

Squat jumps – Quickly descend into a half-squat position then reverse it and propel yourself hard into the air. Land as soft as possible by absorbing the landing with bent knees – 12 reps

Treadmill or bike – 60 seconds

Pull-ups – Grab a pull-up bar with your hands outside of shoulder width and your palms facing away from you. Each rep should start with your arms completely straight. Get your chin above the bar for every rep without craning your neck. – 12 reps

Skater jumps – Starting your right leg, take a lateral jump over to your left and land softly on your left leg. Try to get as much distance as you can with each jump while keeping one leg off of the floor at all times. – 12 reps total/ 6 from each leg

Treadmill or bike – 60 seconds


Best Weighted Vest Workouts: Final Thoughts

As you can tell from the numerous different methods explained above and in the example workouts, weighted vests are a versatile piece of equipment.

Almost any workout can be adapted to be done while wearing a weighted vest for an added challenge.

It should be noted that weighted vest workouts should be treated the same as any other kind of workout. They must be planned properly for both progression and recovery time.

It is also wise to keep you workout program varied by going through periods of training with and without the weighted vest.

All in all, weight vests are another tool that can be added to your training arsenal in order to enhance your progress. They are affordable, versatile and effective, which makes them well worth trying out.