If your workouts have stalled and you’re looking for something to give you that extra oomph, consider a weighted vest.
Similarly if you want a simple way to lose weight while doing everyday things, a vest with weights is perfect for you.
The benefits of a weighted vest are backed by science.
Wearing it while exercising improves strength, power, and endurance while simply wearing it around the house while doing chores increases the rate at which you burn calories (which means that you lose weight!)
Of course not all weighted vests are created equal, and there are tons out there that look good and are comfortable, but break after a couple exercises.
My team and I took a look at as many products as we could find, messed around with them, and came up with this ultimate list.
You’re bound to find a weight vest perfect for you here!
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.
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
The 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.
The 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!
The 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!
The 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
If 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.
The 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.
The 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.
Even 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.
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.