8 Common Mistakes to Avoid while Buying Safety Vests

Bob and JoeSafety vests were invented back in 1930s by Bob Switzer in Berkley, California. It’s not that just one fine day he woke up and decided to invent the safety vests. There was a heart wrecking reason behind it.

It happened so that while unloading crates, Bob suffered an injury which ultimately damaged his eyesight. It was then when he decided to invent something which would improve the safety of the workers at the job site.

Back then, his brother Joe was researching with fluorescent chemicals for several years and with his help, Bob invented the first fluorescent paint called “Day-Glo” which they then applied to clothing. 

The clothing thus produced shone in the daylight as well in the night time with high visibility. This is how high visibility safety vests came into existence.

Such accident happened with not only Bob, but with thousands of workers in the job sites just because they were not visible to the approaching threat such as a moving vehicle or a person carrying heavy load or sharp object. 

Thus, once the high visibility safety vests were invented, there was no stopping to its manufacture as they grew in demand in no time. This was inevitable because safety is the utmost privilege one can offer to oneself.

And if safety vest is the thing you intend to buy, then this article is for you as in it I will be sharing with you the things you need to know before buying a safety vest and the 8 mistakes to avoid while buying them.

1.) Know Your Size Correctly

You might call me over protective but I take no chance with my safety and therefore, I like wearing safety vests even while driving so that I become visible to the heavy traffic. 

But wearing the wrong size will make you feel uncomfortable in them while at work and more than providing you safety it might become an additional danger for you.

Know Your Safety Vest Size

For example, if you go for the one size safety vests, the vest might not fit to you properly if you are a thin person like me.

On the other hand, if you are a size small for your normal t-shirts, you might like to have a medium size for your safety vest because you are going to wear them over your t-shirt and going by the same size as that of your regular wear will end up the safety vest fitting too tight ultimately making you feel uncomfortable and suffocating for the entire day.

So, better if you go the store and try them before you plan to buy even from the online stores so that you know the exact size that gives you a comfortable fit.

2.) Know Your Job Requirements

There are different sectors where safety vests are mandatory. But the nature and environment of all jobs are not the same and the safety vests to be worn for a particular job might not be suitable for the others.

Let me explain you the point in details.

There are various natures of jobs like construction, traffic guards, surveyors, engineer, security guards, roadside workers, railway line workers, etc. not all job as you can see will be based on the same environment or will not encompass the same hazards.

The ones working as a security guard in a school gate will have to deal with much lesser traffic and hazards than the ones working in railway line tracks and traffic point guards.


There are safety vests with sleeves and without sleeves also the reflective material and the fluorescent background material differ in various safety vests which again depend on the class they belong to (I am going to explain the different classes of the safety vests in the point).

The point you need to consider is the traffic in your work area. If the traffic and risk is more then go for the sleeved safety vests and if the traffic and risk is less, then go for the sleeveless ones.

3.) Know the Different Classes of Safety Vests well

There are three (3) classes of safety vests according to the OSHA & ANSI standards. For the details of the classes you might want to have a look into our article (What are the 3 Classes of High Visibility Clothing). But, for now I am going to explain you in short about the 3 classes.

What are the 3 Classes of High Visibility Clothing

Class 1 safety vests are sleeveless and are used in traffic areas of less than 25 mph. class 2 safety vests are also sleeveless but have a greater surface area of reflective material and are used in traffic areas more than 25 mph.

Class 3 safety vests are with sleeves and have the largest surface area of reflective material and are used for areas with traffic more than 50 mph.

So, you need to know the traffic area in your work site and select the particular class of the safety vests accordingly because selecting the wrong class will only end you up in problems.

4.) Know Where to Buy them from

Not all stores and online sites are authentic as you don’t know the sellers. Obviously, it’s not possible for you to know every shop in your area or every seller selling in the online sites.

So, if you are buying from an unknown seller, you cannot have the guarantee of the materials used for making the safety vests and thus will have no idea if a few washes would run away all the reflective paints from the safety vests.

I personally do a lot of research before going to any place through my contacts or search in the Google for places to visit nearby, tally the ratings, consider the reviews and then make a list of the shops to visit.

Well, for online I have suggestions for you:


Not only me but this site is trusted globally by each one of us and they proved their authenticity round the years. Amazon does not entertain unknown sellers and authorizes verified sellers alone.

So, trust them blindly. Still, do not be lazy in doing some research and read customers reviews of at least 10 products before selecting the final one.


This is another site you can trust as they have earned their reputation around the globe over the years too. You just need to check which site delivers in your location within the specific time period of your requirement.

5.) Do NOT Invest Unnecessarily

Investing unnecessarily means investing in the wrong class and the style of safety vests. Class 3 safety vests will obviously cost you more than class 1 or class 2 safety vests. The mistake you sometimes make is while your job site requires the wearing of class 2 safety vests and you go for the class 3 safety vests.

What is the difference between class 2 and class 3 vestsWhy pay more for class 3 safety vests when your safety can be assured by the class 2 safety vests? So, know the traffic in your job site (as explained earlier) and select the class of the safety vest apt for your job area.

Also, the safety vests with zippers and more pockets will cost you more than the ones with lesser pockets. You should know your requirements and thus avoid paying unnecessarily.

6.) Do NOT Get Swayed by the Brand names

Now you might cross me on this point that “Stephen, branded ones are sure to excel in quality in durability even if they are priced high than the non-branded ones.” I am extremely sorry to tell you my friend that if you think so, it’s very wrong on your part.

There is no guarantee that the branded ones are going to be a one-time buy for the life time and the material used by them are the finest ones.

Sometimes, they are just overtly priced for the brand name sake! While there are some non-branded manufacturers who might be using the best material following the safety standards, yet at a much lower price range.

So, just don’t always get swayed by the brand name and judge the product right before buying them, for which you need to do your research well. 

7.) Do Your Research Well

This point will encompass several other points already mentioned and you might think why Stephen is repeating the same point again and again, but wait I have something very important to tell you in this section and that is share some secret tips to do your research very well before you go to buy your safety vest.

Doing the research well on safety vests will include the material of the safety vest which is generally nylon or polyethylene. So you must now if your seller is giving you a cotton or plastic material which would be of no use to your safety.

Another point is to know the number of pockets and whether they are secured with Velcro or not. The ones with normal flaps or open pockets will not be able to hold your tools and belongings securely while at work and up end up losing on your belongings. The measurement of the reflective tapes is yet another point to be considered.

I suggest you to read a number of articles on the internet on the requirements of a good safety vest and then start with your search for the safety vest. Why don’t you try workgearz.com I am sure they give the best advice (LOL)!

8.) Do NOT Trust your Eyes Every time

That said, looks are decisive! Never get swayed by the appearance of your apparel; instead judge the quality of the material and the OSHA and the ANSI standard followed while making of the safety vest.

The one that might seem attractive to your eyes might not be made of a good quality material and might get damaged after a few washes.

It’s time to Bid Adieu!

Don’t forget to take into consideration the above mentioned points while buying your safety vest and you will thank me for all of it later!

I hope I could give you some insight on the mistakes that had been making since ages and hopefully you are not going to repeat any of them again.

Have a great day ahead!

Take care until we meet again in the next article!

Happy Safety Vest buying guys!

Stephen Luettgen
I have 12+ years of experience in construction, inspections, handy work, and currently working as a Construction Site Manager. In today’s day we spent a significant part of our time at workplace and a right work gear can have significant impact not only on your safety but also work quality.

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