Best Life Jackets for Men, Women, and Kids

12 Best Life Jackets - Best USCG Approved Life Jackets for Watersports

Do you love being by the water? We do too! Whether boating, tubing, wakeboarding, skiing, paddle boarding, kayaking, or whatever your water sport may be... safety is always an important priority. We've shopped around to share our favorite USCGA lifejackets on the market. Our favorite place to find life jackets is on Overton's, Scheel's, or sometimes you can snag great deals on Amazon too!

We just refreshed the list in June 2024 to ensure everything was top notch and working for all our fellow lake lovers!  Please leave a comment with your favorite life jacket brand, we'd love to hear more from you! 

12 Best Life Jackets for Men, Women, and Kids

A life jacket is a must for any activity near the water to ensure safe adventures. The ultimate purpose of a life jacket is to keep your head above the water and provide buoyancy for your body. When choosing a life jacket, you should always ensure a good and comfortable fit with safety and security your highest priority. We want to ensure you have a jacket that fits and supports comfortably with our suggested life jackets for her, him, kids, and toddlers.

Hyperlite life jackets tend to be our favorite brand. We find that they are the most comfortable, durable, and features fun, vibrant colors, and designs. We found some really cool designs this year and they're really stepping up in the functional mobility space for watersports!

Best Life Jackets for Women

Best Women's Life Jacket
  1. Ronix Daydream Life Vest, $99
  2. Hyperlite Tie-dye Purple, on sale $79 
  3. Hyperlite Ombre Purple, $119

There are 3 things we seek when looking for a life jacket for women: comfortable, not super thick (to add to our figure), and fun colors/designsHyperlite takes the cake in the design category and lilac is the color of the season, as you see it as in accent in all of these. There are other color options but these ranked as our top favs and they're all soft, lightweight, and breathable. We don't need new life jackets, but these are so cute, we just might need to purchase now.  They all feature the flex v-back design so it wraps around the contour of your body while providing mobility and comfort. We love the fit of these for all our water sport adventures, like wakeboarding, skiing, and tubing.

Ronix is a newer brand in the water sports market and one we're less familiar with but you'll see across most categories we found some great options and deals from this brand. Designed with safety and style in mind, Ronix life jackets strive for superior protection and comfort. 

Best Life Jackets for Men

Best Men's Life Jacket
  1. O'neill Reactor, $99 
  2. Hyperlite Domain, on sale $69
  3. Hyperlite Caliber, $149

Our men like the lighter-weight, comfortable life jackets like the Hyperlite Caliber, but very few are CGA so we're mindful of that. This Hyperlite Caliber has segmented panels and streamlined performance elements designed specifically to provide mobility. With it's basic colorblock design the grey panels provide a subtle, yet unique look. This one has received rave reviews as the best fitting and functioning life jacket currently available.  

Our material preference for life vests is those made of neoprene that's lightweight, durable, and dries quickly. This fabric doesn't seem to accumulate mildew and mold like the old polyester jackets. All the life vests we have featured are made of durable neoprene material that's made to last you multiple years.

Best Life Jackets for Kids

Best Life Jacket for Kids
  1. HO Pursuit Junior Life Jacket, up to 125 lbs, $65
  2. Ronix Vision Youth, up to 90 lbs, $80
  3. Hyperlite Indy Jacket, up to 75 or 90 lbs, neutral orange, or the leopard girls design on sale for $60

Choosing the right life jacket for kids is so hard. It's difficult to find the right fit for their age/weight, but we have so many that we know just what to suggest. AND there's some great deals on them right now too! Our kids have all had the Hyperlite Indy Neo Vests from their toddler phase to young adult (up to 90 lbs). Hyperlite updates their colors and designs each year and the ones these are awesome! I'm obsessed with the bright orange and the leopard one... if we only had 1 little girl in this family (we have 5 grandsons and no girls!!!). The Indy Neo Jacket is by far the most comfortable and durable of all life jackets for kids. (and they make the same exact design for men, women, and infants too!) Because kids tend to spend a significant amount of time in the water with their life jackets, we highly recommend you focus on the neoprene fabric for them to prevent molding within the layers of the jacket. 

The Ronix Vision life jacket is a fun and eye-catching design and can match the infant and toddler sizes too! is great for transitioning from the toddler style jacket to a kids jacket, it still features a crotch strap for added security, but no longer has the neck flap. The HO Pursuit Junior Life Jacket, for up to 125 lbs, is great for middle aged to teenage kids until they transition to an adult jacket. This jacket provides mobility while tubing, skiing, and wakeboarding or surfing. It's at a great price too, $65!  

Best Life Jackets for Toddlers

Best Life Jacket for Toddlers
  1. Hyperlite Infant, up to 30 lbs, budget-friendly at $49
  2. Speedo Splash available from Target, up to 55 lbs, only $25 Shark design & Sunkissed design, but theres like 12+ options!  (Must-have the shoulder straps or DON'T buy it!) 
  3. Hyperlite Indy Life Vest, up to 50 lbs, on sale $49. 

We highly recommend the swim trainer style pictured in the middle above for the Infant-Toddler age. Be cautious when buying these that you purchase the one with the shoulder straps. They are extremely important and provide increased safety. When the shoulder straps are not present, our toddler was able to slip his arms out of the floaties, which would have made him unable to stay above water if he had gone in. All of our little's in our family have utilized these swim trainers, which allow them to swim and stay afloat on their chest as they would if they were truly swimming. Once they turn 6 or 7, they are ready to swim without the trainer. With a standard life jacket, the neck flap pushes them to their back, which is important to ensure they don't drown but makes it difficult for them to practice and get comfortable swimming.

If they are younger and not yet ready to learn to swim... we recommend the Hyperlite infant Indy Neo life jacket or the Hyperlite Infant jacket for up to 30 lbs. Both of these are made of a neoprene-type fabric to prevent molding and ensure a comfortable and secure fit. All life jackets should fit very snug to ensure proper safety. They are all weight-based so be sure to match their weight with the proper jacket size. With the crotch and chest straps, your infant is sure to be safe and secure in these.

Best Inexpensive Life Jacket

If you just need life jackets to have onboard for guests going out for a ride, we recommend you invest in a 4-pack. The standard, well-known orange Type-II life jackets below come in a fancy clear storage bag to keep them clean but accessible in case they're needed. We know that no one really wants to wear those silly orange jackets but in an emergency, who cares what it looks like. We also like these blue water print universal life jackets that come in a 4-pack. They're made of nylon and have adjustable belts to accommodate most adult sizes as needed for support.

When boating, it's important to note that most states require each individual aboard to have a floation device. Most states have a requirement for the minimum age to actually wear it, not just have one aboard. In states where no minimum age is enforced, the United States Coast Guard recommends children under 13 years old always wear a life jacket. More than following regulations, lakes typically do not have clear water, they're murky and you typically don't know what's under the surface. Wearing a life jacket is so important for the safety of all swimmers, even experienced adults. We highly recommend you have one of the 2 cheap options (above) on hand at all times for guests.

While on a float trip a few years ago, we were watching people dive off a cliff. One after the other, these people dove over 30 feet off a cliff into unknown waters. Most came up fine with no issue, but suddenly my husband, Matthew, dove into the water on a mission. He swam over and pulled a guy up out of the water who had clearly dove into a rock and cracked his head open, with no floatation device. I don't know how he knew, but that could have easily been fatal for a 20-something kid having a great time with friends. Thankfully he was conscious and knew he needed to seek medical attention quickly. In a matter of a few seconds, things changed dramatically for him.

While we hope you're never in a situation like that, we want you to have a USGA-approved life jacket and be smart on the water. It's a fun and exciting place to spend time making memories, but it's a dangerous one too! Be safe out there friends!

Signature Team Anchored 
Best USCG Approved Life Jackets



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