The best reflective safety vest


Reflective safety vests should be worn by anyone performing an activity in low light conditions where vehicles may be present. This includes road workers, parking lot attendants, cyclists, joggers, and even people who walk their dogs at night or early in the morning.

When choosing a reflective safety vest, there is a lot more to consider than just the fit and style. You’ll also want to look at features like the number of pockets, the closure style, and the type of material. If you are purchasing one for roadside work, you will need a vest that carries at least ANSI / ISEA Type R and Class Two ratings, like the JKSafety Nine Pocket High Visibility Safety Vest.

What to know before buying a reflective safety vest

Understand the type and class classifications of high visibility clothing

High visibility clothing designed for use on the job site has a type and class rating. Type is a designation for expected usage parameters, while class identifies how much reflective material and other design attributes that can improve visibility are incorporated into the garment. Here is a brief explanation of each of these types and classes.

Type O: Intended for off-road use where workers can potentially be trapped by moving vehicles or machinery, but are not exposed to traffic on highways and public roads.

Type R: Acceptable for professional environments where workers will be exposed to traffic on public roads and highways, or work vehicles and construction equipment in the temporary traffic control area of ​​a roadway.

Type P: Designed for first responders, law enforcement and other emergency personnel working in locations exposed to public traffic, work vehicles and construction equipment in temporary traffic control areas or at those entering or leaving these areas.

Class 1: These garments contain the minimum amount of high visibility material required for the wearer to stand out in non-complex work environments. This designation is only found in clothing intended for off-road applications.

Class two: The reflective safety vests classified in class 2 contain additional high visibility materials to create a better definition of the human figure. This is the minimum acceptable rating for use around public roads and temporary traffic areas.

Class three: Garments classified in class three have the most visible material for the wearer to stand out in the busiest work environments. It should be noted that reflective sleeveless safety vests alone cannot meet class three classification.

Class E supplement: This is an additional designation for additional garments that you can combine with your main high visibility garment to increase the overall rating. For example, by combining class E pants with a class two high visibility reflective vest, the whole set would meet the class three standard.

Features of reflective safety vest

Sizes of reflective safety vests

Just like other clothing, reflective vests come in a range of sizes. They should be loose enough that they don’t restrict movement, but not so loose that they could potentially become a danger. When choosing your size, consider what other clothes you will wear with the vest. If you live in cold climates and wear a thick jacket or sweater under your safety vest, you may need to purchase a vest one size larger than usual.

Types of closures on a reflective safety vest

Manufacturers use several methods of closure on their reflective vests, including zippers, Velcro closures, and buckles. Of these, hook-and-loop fasteners are the least secure, but they can be unavoidable if you are looking for the cheapest vest possible.

Pockets on a reflective safety vest

Some reflective safety vests have multiple pockets, while others have none. The former is practical for people who need to carry a lot of items for their work and want to keep them easily accessible, while the latter is better for those who prefer a contoured vest without the bulk. If you choose a model with pockets, determine if you need closures and which type you prefer.

Identification window on a reflective safety vest

Those working on job sites requiring identification at all times should look for a safety vest with an identification window on the front. These are usually located in the chest area for easy visibility.

Reflective buckles for safety vest

If your job requires you to carry a radio or other item that you need to access regularly, choosing a reflective vest with attachment buckles is a good idea. These give you a secure, yet out of the way, place to strap your gear so you don’t have to constantly search a pocket to retrieve it.

Cost of reflective safety vest

Reflective safety vests are affordable by almost everyone’s standard, but the added safety they provide is invaluable. You can expect to spend between $ 5 and $ 20 on most reflective vests, depending on the build quality, type of closure, and various additional features.

Reflective Safety Vest FAQ

Can I put a reflective vest in the washing machine?

A. Most reflective vests are safe to put in the machine, but you should never assume it. Be sure to check the care instructions that came with your vest before throwing it into the machine. This will indicate if it is machine washable and at what water temperature.

Who Should Wear a Reflective Safety Vest?

A. Anyone whose safety can be increased by improving the ability of others to see you should consider wearing a reflective vest. This includes construction, forestry and warehouse workers, parking lot attendants, baggage handlers and emergency response personnel. This also applies to cyclists and joggers who exercise along the road.

Which reflective safety vest should I buy?

The best of the best reflective safety vests

JKSafety Nine Pocket Class 2 Safety Vest High Visibility Zipper Front: Available at Amazon

Our opinion : A sturdy vest with multiple pockets of varying sizes, this one is well suited to workers in a variety of settings.

What we like: It comes in large and large sizes, is fully ANSI / ISEA compliant, and is machine washable for easy care.

What we don’t like: It doesn’t breathe well and can get too hot in hot climates.

The best value for money reflective safety vest

Neiko 53941A high visibility safety vest: available on Amazon

Our opinion : The Neiko 53941A is just as reflective as other brands but at a fraction of the price, making it a good choice for companies that need to buy a lot of vests for their employees.

What we like: It has a lightweight, breathable construction that wearers will appreciate on hot, sunny days, and it features thick vertical and horizontal reflective stripes for maximum visibility.

What we don’t like: It has no pockets which can be a snap for some.

Honorable mention reflective safety vest

Flectson reflective vest: available on Amazon

Our opinion : A good choice for runners and cyclists, the Flectson reflective vest is breathable and has a fitted design.

What we like: Hook-and-loop closures around the midsection allow you to adjust the size to your needs, and it has a small zippered pocket inside for a phone or other valuables.

What we don’t like: It is not suitable for field applications.

Brett Dvoretz is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a single mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best choices to most consumers. BestReviews and its partner newspapers may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.

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