Buying Guide For Self-Inflating Automatic Life Jackets


Are you planning on working out in the sea, ocean, or any kind of open water? You will need to make sure that you keep yourself safe throughout. While you might think that you’re an excellent swimmer, it is not enough to guarantee your safety out at sea. Why is that so? 

Well, for starters, water current and tides make it difficult for you to figure out how to go about ensuring your safety. You want to stay above the water at all costs. For this, you will need to invest in a life jacket, but not just an ordinary life jacket; you will have to get yourself a self-inflating automatic life jacket. Here, we will talk about the features and specifications you should consider when getting a self-inflating automatic life jacket while also helping you know about the top seven self-inflating life jackets available in the market. 

What Is A Self-Inflating Automatic Life Jacket?

It is pretty evident that a self-inflating automatic life jacket helps you remain above water as you go about your time exposed to large water bodies. This is essential if you wish to stay afloat. Getting a self-inflating automatic life jacket should be on the top of your checklist. But what does it do anyway?

As the name suggests, a self-inflating automatic life jacket works in a way where it inflates on its own. There are different timings set for each type of self-inflating life jacket. The average time, however, is considered to be 5 seconds. Therefore, any life jacket you go for should ideally fall in this time. This type of jacket has proven to be quite beneficial and efficient when it comes to ensuring your safety. And, there are a range of options available for you to choose from as well. 

In this buying guide, you will find all you need to understand what makes the perfect self-inflating life jacket. More than that, you will also get to know about the best kind of self-inflating life jackets out there for you. 

What Features Should You Consider? 

First, you will need to assess different features for your self-inflating life jacket. Below are some of the prominent things that you will need to make note of. Make sure to keep a close eye on the details so that you can get the best product possible. 

  • Comfort

Since you will be in the water for a long duration, you need to have a life jacket on that is comfortable to wear. Making sure that you focus on the comfort is essential. This will help you make sure that you actually wear your life jacket rather than discarding it because of how uncomfortable it is. No matter what kind of activity you’re going for, you need to ensure that you’re comfortable throughout. You will find that many water services don’t allow you to get on board the activity unless you have a life jacket on. So, it is best to ensure that you have a comfortable one for a long duration. 

  • Breathability

Most of the time, when you’re out enjoying your time on different water bodies, you have a lot of exposure to the sun. This means that you might get hot quicker than usual. You want to ensure that your life jacket is breathable so that you do not have a hard time grasping for air as it can get extremely hot. With a more breathable life jacket, you ensure you remain cool throughout your adventure. This way, you also remain relaxed as you enjoy your time out at sea or whatever water activity that you’re doing. 

  • Automatic Inflation 

Now, if there is one thing that you should focus on is the automatic inflation of the life jacket. This has been a game-changer ever since it was introduced. You want to make sure that the life jacket you go for is convenient in the sense that you do not have to inflate it. Otherwise, it can be quite tiresome. With an automatic inflation life jacket, you don’t have to do anything. As soon as you hit the water, you will feel your life jacket inflating pretty soon. So, you do not have to worry about manually filling it up before. 

  • Safety

One thing that you need to always make sure to take a look at when buying a self-inflating life jacket is the safety it offers. You want to ensure that you’re offered a safe and secure life jacket. What does this mean? You will have to take a look at any safety features on the life jacket, such as adjustable straps for the life jacket to fit your body perfectly. Ensuring that the life jacket is close to your body will keep you much safer than having it too loose. So, always take a look at how adjustable the life jacket is. 

  • Visibility

When you’re out in the water, you also want to ensure that others are able to see you clearly. Your life jacket should have reflective tape on to help make sure that this is possible. Otherwise, in case you’re going out to the waters at night, then others might not be able to see you as clearly. Self-inflating life jackets that have reflective feature on them will be much better than those that don’t. It will offer you better visibility and keep you safe as well. 

  • CO2 Cylinder

Now, the one thing that you should always keep a check on for your lifejacket is the CO2 cylinder. This feature is what helps your life jacket to inflate. So, you must look at how this works. If you have to puncture the cylinder to make it work, then this is a manual life jacket. You’re looking for an automatic one that allows you to inflate as soon as you get into the water. Typically, it takes about 5 to 10 seconds for an automatic life jacket to inflate. Anything that offers you a longer time should be avoided when you go about in the water. 

  • Color

One of the most important features for you to consider is the color of the life jacket. While it might not be as important as the automation aspect of it or the cylinder, it still proves to be highly relevant. So, you want to make sure that you get a bright color that is visible to other people. Visibility is essential for you when you’re out at sea since it helps you avoid many accidents. Always get a bright color for your life jacket to avoid any unwanted circumstances. You will be grateful about this. 

What Specifics Should You Look For?

Now that we have talked about features of a life jacket that you need to know, we also need to talk about the other specifications you must look at. You need to ensure that you have the right life jacket, according to your requirements. So, how can you do that? Let’s take a look at some of the things that you will need to assess in a self-inflating life jacket. 

  • Weight Limitations

Your self-inflating life jacket is meant to keep you afloat in the water. So, you want to make sure that you’re keeping a lookout for the weight limitations mentioned for it. You do not want to use a life jacket that does not cater to your weight. Otherwise, it won’t make a difference for you. Always make sure to verify the weight capacity of your life jacket before buying one. This will save you from purchasing the wrong thing. More than that, you will know that it is safe for you or anyone else that you might be buying it for. 

  • Technology Used

Now, another thing to focus on is the technology being offered. You want to make sure that you have the most effective possible option for you. There are two main technologies in place when it comes to an inflatable life jacket. One is where you pull a cord that breaks the CO2 cylinder inside, allowing your life jacket to inflate. The other option is using an automatic life jacket that inflates as soon as you hit the water. Both of these are effective, and your decision entirely depends on your choice. Most of the time, the automatic self-inflating option is the better choice if you wish to not go through the hassle of pulling the cord. 

  • USG Approved

When you’re out at sea, you want to make sure that you have the best equipment with you. One of the most important things that you will need to check is whether or not the life jacket you’re choosing is USG approved or not. This is important if you want to go on your adventure without any worries. USG-approved life jackets offer you a great level of security since they go through a range of tests to be deemed as safe. If your life jacket is USG approved, then you don’t have to be tensed during your time out in the waters. 

  • Buoyancy

Essentially, buoyancy refers to the force that will keep you afloat while you’re in water. Your life jacket should have a sufficient level of buoyancy to ensure that you remain on top of the water for as long as possible. Most of the time, you will find that the level of buoyancy is directly related to the limitations on weight. So, you might need to verify the details of the buoyancy and weight before getting yourself one. Typically, you will find that an inflated life jacket allows a range of 26 to 28 lbs. of buoyancy. 

  • Size

Now, you want to see that you fit in your life jacket perfectly. So, you will need to pay careful attention to the size of the life jacket you’re getting. Whether you’re an adult or a child, it is important to get the right size of life jacket to make it effective. Otherwise, it might not be the ideal size for you. Getting the right chest size and adjustments is important and you should make sure to pay attention to this feature as well. You must pay attention to the structure of your body, and what size will work the best for it. Don’t overlook this as it proves to be highly essential for you to get a good life jacket. 

  • Method Of Inflation

There is one more thing that you will need to do before you purchase a self-inflating life jacket, and that is to test the method of inflation. You want to make sure that you’re getting exactly what you require. Since there are different types of inflatable life jackets available, you should go for one that is ideal for you. Most of the time, you will find that people prefer self-inflating automatic life jackets over the traditional manual ones. This has more to do with the fact that they’re more convenient. While manual inflation allows you to go around swimming and inflate the life jacket when you want, the self-inflating automatic life jacket inflates in 5 seconds that you hit the water. It all depends on what you’re going for. 

Top 7 Self-Inflating Automatic Life Jackets

We have come up with seven of the best possible self-inflating automatic life jackets for you. Each of these has its own unique aspect. While all of them are highly effective, they also come with some cons. So, let’s take a look at what these offer you. 

  1. Absolute Outdoor Onyx A/M-24 Deluxe Auto/Manual Inflatable Life Jacket

First up, we have the Onyx A/M 24 Deluxe Inflatable life jacket that promise you many things. It offers you a 4-denier back that offers you the maximum comfort. You will surely feel at ease wearing this all day since it is so lightweight as well. So, you essentially get comfort plus easy wear all day.

Now, another thing to note on this exceptional life jacket is the fact that it has a series of utility pockets available to you. This makes it easier for you to attach relevant items for your adventure out in the open waters. One of the main things that you can add to this utility pockets is an additional CO2 cylinder for your safety. Backups are essential, so why not make the best use of the utility pockets available. 

You get a buoyancy of about 20 pounds when it is inflated, which meets the standard. One thing that you will need to be wary of is that fact that not anyone can wear this. Only people older than sixteen should make use of this inflatable life jacket. 


  • Effective and durable
  • Comes with utility pockets
  • USG approved
  • Comfortable to wear
  • Lightweight


  • Not suitable for children under 16
  • Not ideal for weak swimmers
  1. Eyson Neoprene PFD Inflatable Life Jacket

Next, we have the Eyson Neoprene PFD inflatable life jacket. This is one is another top contender when it comes to high-quality self-inflating life jackets. You will find that this one is available in plenty of colors, so you can easily pick your favorite. More than that, this offers you better visibility since the colors of the jacket are mainly bright. But that is not all. The Eyson Neoprene is made using the best quality neoprene, making is long-lasting. 

The life jacket isn’t difficult to work with since it is extremely lightweight and will not get in the way of your enjoyment out at sea. One thing that you will need to note is the fact that it is not USG certified. However, while it might not USG certified, it is CE certified that allows it to put up reflectors on its structure to improve visibility. The jacket comes with high adjustments so that anyone can easily wear it when they’re heading out for a water adventure. 

A great thing to note is that the weight capacity for this inflatable jacket is about 330 pounds. So, there is not much restriction on who can and cannot make use of it. The adjustments and breathability of the life jacket ensures that you remain calm and cool throughout your adventure. 


  • Durable quality
  • Lightweight
  • Comfortable
  • Ideal for anyone under 330lbs.
  • Adjustable belts


  • Not approved by the USG
  1. Mustang Survival M.1.T 100 Auto PFD

Next, we have the Mustang Survival M.1.T 100 Auto PFD. This is yet another great example of a great self-inflating automatic life jacket. This PFD comes with a specific function called the Membrane Inflatable Technology that allows you to have an enhanced experience. What this means is that you feel more comfortable as it helps you feel like you’re not carrying much weight on your body. The technology helps you to automate the entire process of inflation. So, as soon as you hit the water while wearing this jacket, you will find it to inflate within a few seconds. So, you will not have to worry too much about pulling any cord or anything else. 

When it comes to the buoyancy, you get an astounding 26 pounds of it. This happens when you inflate the jacket to its maximum level. If you wish to replace the CO2 cylinder in your life jacket, then it safe to say that you can easily do that as well. There are no issues when it comes to this because it comes with a remarkable flap that offers easy access. 

Lastly, you will find that there are plenty of colors that you can get of this PFD. The colors give you better visibility and allows you to remain free of any difficult situations. 


  • 26lbs. buoyancy
  • Durable quality
  • Comfortable
  • Easy replacement of CO2 cylinder
  • High visibility


  • No back support
  • Minimum adjustability 
  1. Onyx A/M-24 Inflatable PFD Life Jacket

Next, we have the Onyx A/M-24 inflatable PFD. This is different from the one that we talked about earlier as this one is a PFD. One of the most essential things about this self-inflating life jacket is that it comes with a dual mechanism. So, you can use a cord with a ring attached to inflate the life jacket or you can wait for it to inflate itself. It all depends on the situation you’re in. Another thing to note about this life jacket is the fact that almost anyone can wear this. It is highly adjustable and is a universal size. So, it will be able to stretch up to 65 inches. 

This is perhaps one of the most comfortable life jackets out there, so you’re bound to have an easy time wearing it. All you have to do is put it on, adjust it to your size, sing the dual adjustment and you’re good to go. The only thing that you might need to take a look at is that manual ring for pulling. Essentially, you will not need to use it, but be wary of it being able to break easily. 


  • Size suitable for all
  • Reusable bag
  • Lightweight
  • Comfortable
  • Backup oral inflation
  • In-sight technology
  • Dual inflation mechanism


  • Manual ring prone to breakage
  1. Lifesaving Pro Premium Quality Inflatable Life Jacket

Next, we have the Lifesaving Pro Premium Quality inflatable life jacket. This one proves to be quite useful on your days out on the water. It offers you durability since the jacket is made using the best quality material. You will see it to be highly comfortable, easy and simple to use, and one that doesn’t take up too much space either. So, you don’t have to worry about feeling bulky as you wear this since it is extremely lightweight and easy to make use of. 

The best feature about this life jacket is the fact that it allows you to inflate within five seconds of you hitting the water. That’s pretty quick. Not many other self-inflating life jackets can do this. Typically, they require a minimum of five seconds. So, if something is offering less than that, it is quite efficient. The life jacket has many added features as well. For instance, you will find reflective bands that come with this. So, you can attach them to your life jacket and make yourself as visible as ever. It features a zip pocket as well, so you can keep your belongings safe inside without having to ruin them in the water.


  • CE certified
  • Comfortable
  • Highly adjustable
  • Less than 5 seconds inflation
  • Durable
  • Lightweight


  • Stiff straps for adjustments 
  1. SALVS A/M Inflatable Life Jacket

Next, we have SALVS A/M inflatable life jacket. This inflatable jacket works wonders as you can use it either manually or automatically. It all depends on your preference. If you wish to utilize the automated part of this, then you should be glad to know that it works in 5 seconds. So, as you hit the water, you will find the life jacket to be inflated 5 seconds after. It is quite efficient and you will not have to worry about any issues with it. Another great thing it offers is the fact that it has a compact design. So, you will not have to worry about carrying a heavy life jacket on you. It is compact and lightweight, so you will not feel much trouble while wearing it. 

When taking a look at some other specifications of this life jacket, you will find that it has quick-release buckles in case you wish to take it off. More than that, it also has additional straps that allow you to make sure that can adjust it according to your requirements. 


  • Ideal for everyone
  • Adjustable easily
  • Dual inflating methods
  • Lightweight
  • More than 48 hours of floating
  • 5-seconds inflation


  • Not approved by the USG
  • No manual inflation with mouth tube
  1. Slimline Inflatable Advanced Automatic PFD

Lastly, we have the Slimline Inflatable Advanced PFD. This PFD offers a great range of features to you. From being easy and simple to use to being USG approved, you will find this PFD to be a great addition to your journey to the seas. There is a specific range set in for this type of PFD, though. Only those that have a chest of about 30 to 65 inches can make use of it. So, children might not be able to use it in case you’re searching for them. The best bit about this PFD is the fact that it is made using high-quality material. So, you do not have to worry about any malfunction in the system as it is made using 300 denier polyester. 

The USG-approved life jacket ensures that there is a zip pocket present where you can keep some of your belongings. More than that, you will find that it takes only a few seconds before the life jacket starts inflating once is it immersed in water. The specific technology allows it to offer you a quick result when it comes to this. 


  • Lightweight
  • Comfortable
  • Durable and high-quality material
  • USG approved
  • Type III PFD
  • Mesh chassis backing


  • No D-ring

Benefits Of Using An Automatic Self-Inflating Life Jacket

When it comes to an automatic self-inflating life jacket, you must know of all the benefits it comes with. There are plenty of them, so we have picked out some of the most important ones.

  • Less Heavy

One thing is for sure; you do not have to wear a bulky life jacket for the whole time you’re on the water. The automatic self-inflating life jacket will only be inflated when you’re in the water. So, you do not have to worry about carrying a heavy load throughout your trip. 

  • Comfortable

These jackets are known to be highly comfortable because of the mesh material used in most of them. They are breathable that allow you to keep your cool when you’re exposed to high temperatures. So, you do not have to worry about being uncomfortable while wearing this. 

  • Easy To Use

The best thing about these self-inflating life jackets is that they are easy to use. You do not require any sort of instructions on how to use them. As soon as you hit the water, they do all the work themselves. Since the technology used in them allows them to inflate upon submersion into water, they are highly easy to use. 

  • Added Protection

They’re best for almost every water activity. For instance, there is always a possibility of slipping. Even if you slip with this on, you will be floating on water without having to do anything else or panicking. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Now, let’s take a look at some of the most frequently asked questions. 

  • How Do Auto-Inflatable Life Jackets Work?

Auto-inflatable jackets have a technology in place that allows them to inflate as soon as soon you immerse in water with this on. 

  • How Is A Manual Inflatable Life Jacket Different?

Yes, a manual inflatable life jacket is different as it requires you to pull on cords to make it inflate. Typically, there is a ring attached to manual jackets that you pull when you wish for the inflation action to take place. 

  • How Durable Are Automatic Inflatable Life Jackets?

Automatic inflatable life jackets come in all shapes and sizes. The durability mainly depends on the type of material used to create the life jacket. Typically, high-quality polyester and mesh is used to make these jackets. 

  • Can Anyone Use Self-Inflating Life Jackets?

Each automatic self-inflating life jacket is different from another. The specification of use will be dependent on the details offered by the manufacturer of the jacket. 


All in all, when choosing a self-inflating automatic life jacket, you will need to talk a look at a lot of this. Doing so is important so that you can minimize all sorts of risks that come with you being in open water. Do thorough research before choosing a particular life jacket. According to us, the Onyx A/M 24 Deluxe Inflatable life jacket seems like the perfect choice. However, if you’re a weak swimmer, then you can go ahead and make use of Onyx A/M-24 inflatable PFD for your life jacket needs. Always try to figure out what works best for you by looking at the relevant features of the life jacket. Doing so will land you to the ultimate self-inflating automatic life jacket that you need. 

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