Last updated: August 11, 2021

Our method

10Products analysed

25Hours spent

12Evaluated articles

61User reviews

Work waistcoats are suitable for everyday work as well as for work at home. Unlike conventional waistcoats, they are almost indestructible and can also get dirty from time to time. Depending on the weather, work waistcoats can be perfectly combined with jumpers or T-shirts and are very useful and functional at the same time.

With our large work vest test 2021 we want to help you find the best work vest for you and your situation. We have compared standard work vests, high-visibility waistcoats and tool waistcoats and listed their advantages and disadvantages. Hopefully, this overview will make your purchase decision easier.




Summary

  • Work vests differ from normal waistcoats in that they are mainly used for work purposes and are therefore more robust. With normal waistcoats, it is much more about the design.
  • Basically, depending on the purpose, one differentiates between standard work vests, high-visibility waistcoats and tool waistcoats. All three types of work vests are available in different models, sizes and price ranges.
  • Standard work vests are suitable for a wide variety of purposes, while high-visibility waistcoats are mainly used for work in the dark, in road traffic or on construction sites. Tool waistcoats have many pockets for storing tools and other items. They are therefore ideal for craftsmen.

The Best Work Vest: Our Picks

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a work vest

What is a work vest ?

As the name suggests, a work vest is a special type of waistcoat used for work purposes.

Arbeitsweste-1

A work waistcoat is part of the standard equipment of workers in trade and industry
(Image source: pixabay.com / voltamax).

Whether it is work in leisure time or on the job - work clothing plays an important role. In contrast to normal waistcoats, which are mainly about design, the resistance of work vests is relevant above all. Work vests can get dirty and have to withstand a lot.

For whom is a work vest suitable?

If you do physical and dirty work and need robust clothing, a work vest is the right choice. Work vests are sleeveless and are therefore suitable for anyone who often sweats in summer or needs a warming layer over their jumper in winter. Work vests are not only suitable for men, but also for women and children.

Work vests are especially indispensable for craftsmen.

Bricklayers, carpenters, joiners, gardeners, electricians, woodworkers and many other craftsmen resort to work vests to better manage their everyday lives.

But work vests can also serve their purpose in non-professional contexts. For example, some dog owners also wear classic work vests to prevent their everyday clothes from getting soiled or damaged during dog sports.

For what purposes is a work vest suitable?

Work vests can be used very flexibly - whether in the trades or in industry, in outdoor or indoor areas, at work or in leisure time.

Work vests are mainly used in a professional context (both in trade and industry). There are work vests on the market that are specifically intended for the respective occupational groups.

Arbeitsweste-2

On construction sites, work waistcoats with reflectors are indispensable to protect workers
(Image source: unsplash.com / Ahsan S.).

But work vests can also be a good alternative in non-occupational contexts. For example, work waistcoats can be found in the fishing sector or in dog sports.

What size should I choose for my work vest?

In principle, you should make sure that the work vest fits snugly and perfectly. Only if you feel comfortable in it will you enjoy wearing it. However, don't forget that you may be wearing a jumper underneath the waistcoat, so a size larger might be better.

When choosing the right size of work waistcoat, chest circumference, waist circumference and height are all relevant.

To find the perfect size for you, you should take your measurements and look at the manufacturer's size chart before buying. Some work vests allow you to adjust the size after purchase.

Especially in winter, it is an advantage if the waistcoat is as long as possible. There are work vests that have a long back. Since they completely cover the lower back and keep you warm, they protect you from possible back problems.

Only a few work vests are available in women's sizes. As a woman, you should therefore convert your size to find a suitable work vest.

How much does a work vest cost?

The price range of work vests is between 2 and 222 euros. Prices vary depending on the type, functionality, material and quality. While tool waistcoats are the most expensive, high-visibility waistcoats are a lot more affordable.

Type Price
High-visibility waistcoat 2 - 120 euros
Standard work waistcoat 8 - 155 euros
Tool waistcoat 14 - 222 euros

In the case of high-visibility waistcoats, the price differences can be explained mainly by the material, the protection factor and the pockets. The higher the quality and the more pockets, the higher the price.

For a standard work vest, prices vary depending on the material, quality and functionality. The higher the quality of the material and the more pockets, the higher the price. Especially work vests for winter are in the upper price segment.

The tool waistcoat is the most expensive type of work vest. With its numerous pockets for various tools, it offers many advantages for craftsmen. Most tool waistcoats have reinforced pockets for nails and sharp objects. They are therefore very robust, which is also reflected in the prices.

What is the alternative to the work vest?

An alternative to work vests are work jackets. Unlike sleeveless work vests, work jackets have sleeves. The following pro-con list shows the advantages and disadvantages of the work jacket compared to the work vest.

Advantages
  • Very suitable for cold winter days
  • protection is also provided on the arms
Disadvantages
  • Unsuitable for hot summer days
  • Too warm indoors

You should choose one of these depending on your personal preference and your sensitivity to heat or cold.

Decision: What types of work vests are there and which is the right one for you?

If you want to buy a work waistcoat, you can choose between three different alternatives:

  • Standard work vest
  • High-visibility waistcoat
  • Tool waistcoat

The three types of work vests each have advantages and disadvantages. To give you a better idea and help you weigh up your decision, we will present the differences as well as the advantages and disadvantages in the following chapters.

What distinguishes a simple standard work vest and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

A simple, standard work vest fulfils all the necessary conditions to be used in all kinds of situations. Many standard work vests even look stylish and can also be worn at the same time in leisure time or at customer meetings. These are often softshell or quilted waistcoats.

Advantages
  • Universal use
  • Often beautiful design
  • Suitable for client meetings
Disadvantages
  • Fewer pockets
  • Lower safety factor
  • Usually less robust

Compared to tool waistcoats, however, standard work vests have few pockets and are less resistant. In contrast to high-visibility waistcoats, they offer little safety on construction sites or when working in road traffic.

What distinguishes a high-visibility waistcoat with reflectors and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

A high-visibility waistcoat is characterised by its neon colour and many reflectors. Yellow and orange high-visibility waistcoats are the most common on the market.

Advantages
  • High protection factor on construction sites and in road traffic
  • suitable for dangerous professions
  • perfect for activities in the dark
Disadvantages
  • Little choice in design
  • Mostly few pockets
  • Conspicuous soiling

Thanks to their bright colours and reflectors, high-visibility waistcoats provide a high level of protection on construction sites and when working in road traffic. This can prevent accidents, especially in dangerous occupations and when working in the dark.

Due to the design specifications (neon colour, reflectors), however, you don't have much leeway when it comes to the look. In addition, the smallest smudges on a yellow or orange waistcoat are immediately noticeable. In contrast to tool waistcoats, high-visibility waistcoats also have only a few pockets.

What distinguishes a tool waistcoat and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

A tool waistcoat is a work vest with many different pockets in which a wide variety of tools for work can be stowed. For example, there are special hooks for keys, tabs for measuring sticks, mobile phone pockets or reinforced pockets for sharp objects such as nails.

Advantages
  • Very many pockets for stowing tools and other items
  • High resistance
  • Perfectly suited for professional craftsmen
Disadvantages
  • Limited areas of use
  • Comparatively not so nice design
  • Not suitable for permanent storage of tools

It is perfectly suitable for craftsmen who need all kinds of tools. Thanks to the tool bag, they do not have to fetch each tool individually and can do their work without interruptions.

However, unlike the standard work waistcoat, the tool waistcoat is mainly intended for the craft sector only and is rather unsuitable for other areas. Because of the many pockets, it is also quite heavy.

In terms of appearance, the tool waistcoat also cannot compete with the standard work vest. If you want to store tools for a longer period of time, a toolbox would be better for you.

Buying criteria: You can compare and evaluate work vests based on these factors

In the following, we will show you which aspects you can use to decide between the different types of work vests.

The criteria you can use to compare work vests include:

In the following paragraphs we will explain what each criterion means.

Suitability for the seasons

Depending on the season in which you mainly want to wear the work vest and how sensitive you are to heat or cold, you should choose between different work waistcoats.

  • Summer: If you wear the work vest mostly only in summer, it should be as air-permeable as possible so that you do not sweat too much. In this case, the work vest should be breathable, thin and light. There are also work vests with back ventilation on the market that are perfect for hot summer days.
  • Transitional: If you need a work waistcoat for the transitional period, a water-repellent waistcoat with wind stopper, hood and a collar with weather protection flap, which may also be lined - depending on your individual sensitivity to cold.
  • Winter: As soon as you plan to wear the work vest in winter, the warming properties of the waistcoat are important. Lined work vests, quilted waistcoats, padded work waistcoats or even thermal waistcoats are suitable for winter. You can even find heated work vests on the market. You should make sure that the collar optimally protects your neck and insulates the heat.

Standard work vests are best on cool days, as tool waistcoats and high-visibility waistcoats are often not as warm.

Material and fastening

The material of a work vest is a decisive quality factor. The higher the quality of the material of your work vest, the more resistant and resilient it is. The type of fastener is also an important point to consider before buying.

Work waistcoats made of a polyester and cotton blend are the most recommended. Softshell and quilted waistcoats also perform well, especially on colder and rainy days. The material of the lining plays an equally important role. The more the lining weighs, the warmer and heavier the jacket. The lining can be made of cotton, fleece, woven fur, polyester or woven fur, for example.

There are also corduroy or wool work vests. However, wool waistcoats are rather unsuitable in the rain. Tool waistcoats are usually made of nylon so that they are very robust and do not tear.

When buying a tool waistcoat, make sure that you can close all pockets that are above your pelvis. Otherwise, tools may fall out when you are bent over.

You can find waistcoats with zips, Velcro, press studs, buttons or open pockets. As an automotive mechatronics technician, you should not choose an exposed zip, as this can scratch the car's paintwork.

Pockets

A work vest should always have many options for stowing tools or other items. The more pockets the work vest has, the more can be stored in it.

If you are a professional craftsman, you should choose a tool waistcoat because it has many pockets for different items.

But standard work waistcoats and high-visibility waistcoats should also have enough pockets. You should also consider the number of inner pockets before buying. Inner pockets are perfect for storing expensive items such as mobile phones. This way you can carry them safely on your body and they won't get damaged or lost.

Length

If you wear your work vest mainly on cooler days, a work vest with an extended back is recommended. This protects your kidneys and lower back from the cold, wind and wet. Such work vests are especially suitable for people who often suffer from back pain or bladder infections.

In summer, an extra-long work waistcoat is not necessarily the best choice. Because of their long back, you may sweat more quickly.

Quality and safety

Choose a work vest that meets the quality and safety requirements of your job. Depending on what you do, a different work vest will be suitable for you.

If you will be wearing the work vest very often or even every day, you should only consider high-quality products when making your purchase decision. Especially for more dangerous work, where protection must be guaranteed by the work vest, you should not go for the cheapest items.

If you work in the dark, in traffic or on construction sites, you should choose high-visibility waistcoats with sufficient reflectors. These should comply with both EN ISO 20471 for professional use and EN 1150 for non-professional use. Only consider high-visibility waistcoats that comply with one of these two standards, depending on the intended use.

For electricians and industrial workers, on the other hand, fire-resistant work waistcoats are indispensable to protect the body from heat and fire.

Wearing comfort

You should also take comfort into account when making your decision.

You will only enjoy wearing a work vest if you feel comfortable in it.

While you may prefer a softshell waistcoat, someone else may find cotton work vests more comfortable. The comfort factor for work vests therefore varies from person to person.

In order to find out which work vest suits you best, you should try it on beforehand and take a close look at it. Whether with a fur collar, with a stand-up collar, without a collar, with or without a hood, with or without a waistband, extra long or rather short - all these factors depend on personal preference.

Facts worth knowing about work vests

Where and how can I have the work vest printed after purchase?

If you want to have work waistcoats printed, you have the choice between different methods: Direct embroidery, embroidery/click emblems, laser engraving, screen printing and transfer printing. Laser engraving is mainly used for fleece and softshell work vests.

Arbeitsweste-3

With a work waistcoat printed with the company logo you advertise and at the same time increase the identification of your employees with the company
(Image source: pixabay.com / voltamax).

Most brands and internet providers of work vests give their customers the option of having their clothing printed as an additional service. Whether a logo, a company name or other things - in principle, anything can be printed or embroidered on work vests.

Ask the manufacturer or supplier for advice on which process would be best for you.

How should I wash the work vest?

You should consider the following aspects when washing work waistcoats:

  • Empty pockets: Before washing, make sure that there are no objects in the pockets of the work vest. Otherwise, the washing machine may be damaged.
  • Closed pockets: close all pockets before the wash cycle - whether zipped, press-fastened, buttoned or Velcro.
  • Care instructions: Always follow the care recommendations on the label. Each work vest needs to be cared for differently.
  • Detergent: Powder detergent should preferably be used.
  • Always wash separately: Always wash work vests separately from the rest of your laundry.
  • Candle wax if the zip is stuck: If the zip cannot be opened after the wash cycle, you should rub it with candle wax.
  • Warning or protective clothing: You should be particularly careful with warning or protective clothing, as there are special care instructions for this. If you are unsure, a professional cleaner may be a better option. For high-visibility waistcoats, make sure that the reflective surfaces are not contaminated.
  • After washing: The washing machine should be cleaned regularly with washing machine cleaner, as work vests are often oily or dirty.

Image source: Budabar/ 123rf.com

Reviews