To lose weight, sometimes you may have to add more weight. Does that make sense? After all, when you are doing weight training, you do add more pounds to your machine or dumbbells, don’t you? How about adding some weights to your body as well? This can help improve the intensity of your fitness routines. Using the best weighted vest, you might be able to push harder and reach your fitness goals faster.
In our buyer’s guide and product review, you will learn all you need to know about these innovative fitness products. If you are in a hurry, you can check out our handy comparison table to get a quick lowdown on the best weighted vests that were a part of our review process.
Best Weighted Vest of 2018
|Product||Weight, lbs||Adjustable weights||Color|
|RUNFast/Max Adjustable Weighted Vest (Editor’s Choice)||12-140||+||Black|
|Cross101 Camouflage Weighted Vest||20-120||+||Camouflage|
|Empower Weighted Vest For Women||8||Black|
|TNT Pro Series Iron Weighted Vest||11||Black|
|Hyperwear Hyper Vest Pro||10||+||Black, Silver|
|Tone Fitness Weighted Vest||12||Blue, Black|
|ZFOsports Exercise Weighted Vest||20||+||Gray|
1. RUNFast/Max Adjustable Weighted Vest – Best All Rounder Weighted Vest For Beginners and Fitness Pros
The manufacturers of this vest seem to have adopted “catch as many as you can” policy while designing this vest. And they have managed a decent job at it, creating one of the most versatile weighted vests on our shortlist. It has a very sober design, clad in all black like a SWAT tactical vest.
The main strength of RUNFast is the fact that it is available in a multitude of configuration. If you are a beginner, you can try the lightest version, which weighs in at 12lbs. And if you want something heavier, there are nine other weight categories, with the heaviest going all the way up to 140lbs!
And you can also tweak the weight once you buy this vest. All vest models have the option of removing and adding weights. The vest has empty pockets for the purpose, and you can buy extra weights separately from the manufacturer. For some extra comfort, you can opt for shoulder pads which are available as an optional extra.
Overall, the fit and finish levels on these vests are pretty decent. They have a one-size fit most design, which works well for the most part due to the velcro straps on the vest. You can use these straps to give your vest the perfect fit for your frame, without having it sag uncomfortably while running.
For vests weighing between 100-140lbs, 140lbs is the maximum weight capacity of the vest. Also, you cannot remove the weights in the lighter models like the 12lb vest.
The catch-all approach has resulted in some noticeable flaws on the Runfast vest. For starters, some people will find the sizing not at all comfortable, especially at the heavier configurations. Even with the shoulder pads, this vest does not give adequate padding to protect your shoulders. And they have used sandbags instead of metal weights in some vests. The latter is easier to manage and less prone to tearing in the long run. It also lacks any pockets for accessories like mobile or water bottle.
2. Cross101 Camouflage Weighted Vest – Best Adjustable Weighted Vest For Outdoor Running
The manufacturers have gone for a more military-inspired design here, with the Cross101 camouflage vest decked out in a light desert camo pattern. This is another all-rounder among weighted vests, with flexible weight options and some extra features thrown in for good measure.
The weight options here range from 20lbs at the lighter end to 120lbs at the heaviest, and several options in between. The vests are available in 20lb increments. As usual, you can remove the weights, or add more, depending on your strength and fitness levels and exercise plans. There are empty pockets to add more weights, which can be purchased separately from the manufacturer.
Another great feature is the addition of special pockets for storing your phone and a water bottle. This is very useful for outdoor runners. The vest also has velcro straps to provide you a better fit. This is an essential feature since the vest has a “one size fits most” design.
Normal folks should have fewer issues with this vest. But if you have a smaller or heavier than average frame, you might find some issues with the fit and comfort levels. Otherwise, the Cross101 works as advertised, providing excellent resistance during cardio and bodyweight exercises.
The Cross101 is overall a very well designed vest. We could not find any major faults with it. Shoulder comfort is often an issue for most weighted vests, and this one is no better. You have to pay extra for a shoulder pad, and we feel they should have provided this as part of the standard package. Also, the weights are sand-filled bags, not metal bars.
3. Empower Weighted Vest For Women – Best Non-Adjustable Weighted Vest For Women
With an X-shaped design, the Empower vest reminded us of….the X-men suit, but in a good way of course! This is a vest that has been specially designed for women. And it has some nice touches that add to the overall value as well.
The petite size and contoured shape ensure that this vest will fit perfectly on most female frames with ease. At just 8lbs, it is perfect for beginners who are trying a weighted vest for the first time. The x-shape also ensures that the weights are evenly distributed across your torso. This vest fits snugly and does not sag or obstruct your movements in any way.
There are reflective strips along the edges of this vest. This is a very thoughtful addition that should help make the wearer more visible when out on the roads, especially in low light conditions and at night. The strips are present both at the front and rear of the vest.
The “one size fits most” vest is best suited for women with waist sizes ranging between 24-28 inches.
The most conspicuous flaw with this vest is the absence of adjustable weights. You only get an 8lb permanently sewn weight option with this vest. You cannot reduce the weight, nor can you add to it. The stitching also needs some improvement.
4. TNT Pro Series Iron Weighted Vest – Best Unisex Weighted Vest For Walking
Not everyone likes to be seen in a bulky weighted vest that makes them look like they are headed for a tactical showdown somewhere. If you belong this category, the TNT Pro Series weighted vest might be the best option for you. This is a very minimal vest that doesn’t cover your entire torso.
The TNT Pro Series vest is designed as a unisex product. It should fit both men and women equally well. And visually, it doesnt stick out like other vests, owing to its compact design. The vest doesnt extend below your ribs, and much of the bulk is towards the back portion. From the front, it looks more like the oversized straps of a backpack than a full-size vest.
Another great feature is the use of iron pellets instead of sand. Metal is preferable, as it has less chance of creating bad odors with repeated use than sand. That even weight distribution also improves comfort levels, helping reduce the chance of bruises and injuries.
The male version has a yellow logo in front, while the female version has a predictably pink logo to differentiate it. This vest is available only in an 11lb size.
Though it has some neat features, this vest does not have adjustable weights. So you are stuck with a vest that packs 11lbs. If you want something heavier, you will have to look elsewhere as it has no option to add more weights. Also, the wight is not perfectly distributed as there is more bulk towards the back of the vest. It might be harder to do certain exercises with this vest.
5. Hyperwear Hyper Vest Pro – Most Comfortable Pro-Grade Weighted Vest For Crossfit & Workout
The Hyper Vest Pro looks less like armor plating and more like a thick corset, albeit a very masculine one at that! And we quite like it for this reason, as well as several other features that help this unisex vest stand out from the rest of the pack.
This vest uses fabric, which is much more comfortable than the synthetic plastics used in other vests. It also uses slim weights made from high-density steel. They are more compact than sandbags, allowing this vest to have a slim profile that sits close to your skin. And with a stretchable wicking fabric, it is very comfortable to wear as well.
The side lacing provides several advantages to the Hyper Vest. The lacing allows you to get a tighter, more comfortable fit than a single velcro strap. It may look a bit awkward like a corset, but the comfort and snug fit make this a minor inconvenience at best. The Hyper Vest also has extra slots for weights if you want to add more later.
The base variant of the Hyper Vest comes with 10lbs of steel weights. You can buy more from the manufacturer separately.
The Hyper Vest is very expensive. It has some durability issues, as the steel weights tend to rip through the fabric with regular use. That is the main flaw of this otherwise stellar product.
6. Tone Fitness Weighted Vest – Most Compact Unisex Weighted Vest For Training
In appearance, Tone Fitness closely resembles the TNT Pro Series weighted vest. It looks more like a small backpack with thick straps. So if you don’t want to call attention to yourself in the gym, this vest might be the best option for you. It is available in two colors, blue and black.
The vest is made from soft neoprene, which makes it very comfortable on your torso. Its compact shape is one of its best features. The vest fits snugly to your body. Like the TNT Pro, this one also has reflective strips which make it a great option for running outdoors. You also get a pocket that can hold your phone or MP3 player.
Though this is a women’s vest, it has a largely unisex design and even men can use it. The vest comes with a standard 12lb weights attached.
The weight distribution is pretty poor in this vest, as there is a marked bias towards the shoulders and back. This imbalance might lead to extra strain in these areas. The lack of adjustable weights is also a big miss, though 12 lbs are more than enough for most beginners. Also, the neoprene material is not idea for long use on bare sweaty skin.
7. ZFOsports Exercise Weighted Vest – Best Adjustable Weighted Vest For Beginners
This is a simple full-size weighted vest from ZFOsports. It has that tactical armor look, with a black exterior, lots of rectangular pouches, and velcro straps. This is a unisex product, with some neat adjustable features.
The main advantage of the ZFOsports exercise vest is the weight distribution. It is evenly distributed between the front and back. Though this vest is available with just one weight setting (20lbs), you can reduce that to suit your fitness plans. All the individual pieces are removable, allowing you a fair degree of flexibility in choosing your ideal weight.
The vest also has a very contoured design. It fits snugly to your body, and you can use the large velcro strap to tighten the vest up if necessary. This is a “one-size-fits-most” vest that seems to work well for most people.
Each weight piece is a sandbag that weighs around ¾ lbs. The vest has a max capacity of 20lbs.
The vest might be too bulky for folks with smaller frames, especially petite women. The build quality is also average, and the vest is prone to ripping with regular use. It is also not the most comfortable option out there.
Weighted Vest Buyer’s Guide
What are weighted vests?
A weighted vest can look very impressive at first sight, a bit like a bulky combat armor worn by soldiers. But it is a simple, wearable vest with a straightforward objective: to add precise amounts of extra weight to your body. These vests are used in specific workouts that involve the core concept of resistance.
If you go to a big gym, you may have already seen a weighted vest. These are often worn by athletes and hardcore gym fanatics who want to push their bodies harder. Depending on who you ask, they may look very cool or very lame and wannabe. But there is no denying the impact it can have on your workout immediately, from the moment you put it on.
Incidentally, some weighted vests are also used for therapeutic purposes, to treat conditions like autism, ADHD, stress, and PTSD in adults and children. In this article, we are only focusing on the products used for fitness. So if you come across articles talking about therapeutic use online, don’t get confused.
What is the point of using a weighted vest?
As we mentioned briefly above, resistance is at the core of the logic behind these vests. In fitness, resistance is a central concept that denotes anything that exerts pressure on your body muscles and bones. In resistance training, you aim to force your skeletal muscles to contract.
Gravity helps create this resistance, using heavy objects like dumbbells, barbells, and kettle balls. You can even use your bodyweight to create resistance to several muscle groups. Anything in which some kind of weight is causing a muscle to contract can be called a resistance exercise.
When using a weighted vest, you are adding extra pounds to your bodyweight. This naturally leads to increased resistance against every movement you make. Exercises that felt easy before will now feel more punishing. Your muscles will work harder, and your body will burn more calories in the process.
How to use weighted vests?
Fans of weighted vests use them for anything from running and other cardio-workouts, to regular weight-training in the gym. These vests are very versatile, mainly because of their passive nature. They are constantly exerting resistance to your body muscles. They can be used for your preferred fitness routine, whatever that may be. That being said, you may get maximum benefits from cardio-workouts (jogging, treadmill, climbing, etc.) and bodyweight exercises like pushups, pull-ups, dips, and squats.
What are some advantages and benefits of weighted vests?
Improved Cardio Workouts
The main purpose of cardio workouts is to increase your heart rate. When a weighted vest is strapped to your chest, it is exerting more pressure on your respiratory muscles. And when you do your exercises, this extra pressure causes your heart rate to skyrocket much quicker. You can burn more calories and hike your metabolic rates faster.
Improves Muscular and Skeletal Strength
These vests can amp up the intensity of your bodyweight exercises. Your muscles are forced to do more work in lifting your body in pushups and squats. This extra work helps build up strength is your core muscles. The extra weight also results in more pressure on your bones, forcing them to increase their density and mass.
Excellent when you reach a plateau
We have all been there. Sooner or later, you reach a point where your current workout feels too effortless. Weighted vests are a great way to overcome this kind of slump. Using heavier free weights may not work, often because your grip strength is less than your whole body strength. Going down that road will often lead to injuries. Slapping some extra weight onto your body can be a very useful workaround. You can get more done, even with less intense workouts.
What are the disadvantages of using these products?
Risk of Injury
This is the main drawback of a weighted vest. Much like many other fitness products, if they are not used properly, you can end up stricken by stress injuries and fractures. After all, you are exposing your bones and muscles to more stress and pressure. So you have to be careful and sensible while preparing to wear a weighted vest.
Not suitable for certain health conditions
If you already suffer from medical conditions related to your heart, lungs, or the spine, weighted vests may do you more harm than good. Always consult your doctor if you suffer from such conditions. The extra stress to your heart and lungs can be dangerous. The same also applies to senior citizens.
Can affect running style
If you plan to use a weighted vest while running, you have to be mindful of this potential side effect. The added weight affects how you use your legs, leading to changes in your stride pattern while running with a vest. Using very heavy vests will result in shorter stride patterns, which can slow you down even when you run without the vest.
Not very useful for focused workouts
Weight training exercises that target specific muscle groups, like biceps curls, for example, are not very much affected by these vests. If you focus more on lifting weights, a weighted vest will provide little to no improvement.
Should you buy a weighted vest?
A weighted vest is not a fitness necessity, especially for beginners. But if you are a gym regular who invests a lot of time in cardio and bodyweight exercises, adding a weighted vest can take your fitness regimen to the next level. If you are a beginner, you should focus more on improving your strength and form. You can always consider a vest as an accessory, further down the road when you hit your plateau.
In our shortlist, we have includes both adjustable and non-adjustable weighted vests. There are variants suitable for both men and women, beginners and fitness pros. Comfort, flexible weights, snug fit, and durability are all important factors to consider when choosing a weighted vest. These are serious performance resistance enhancers, and you should seek expert advice before using one of these in your workout routines. That is the only way to avoid potential injuries. But when used properly, a weighted vest can take your fitness to the next level, guaranteed.