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Which puffer vest is best?

With advances in insulation technology, puffer vests have become warmer than ever. They can be used in winter or breezy days in the spring. They have also become more stylish, are available in a variety of colors, and the best ones come with water-resistant and windproof fabric. 

For a durable, warm and ultra-lightweight puffer vest, the Eddie Bauer Downlight Vest is the best choice. 

What to know before you buy a puffer vest

Fill power 

Fill power is an indicator of the quality of the down. Puffer vests with higher fill power provide better insulation from cold. Fill power is more important than fill weight, as certain lightweight materials, such as goose or duck down, can offer excellent insulation. A vest with 400-500 fill power offers decent insulation. The vests that offer the best insulation are around 800-900 fill power, but they might not be easily compressed for storage as higher fill power can make the vest thicker.  


The vest needs to be the right fit to provide adequate warmth. If it’s too loose, it won’t properly retain heat. It should also not be too tight or your movement will be restricted. You should leave some extra room in case you need to wear layers underneath it. The armholes should be large enough for comfortable wear and a full range of motion for your arms.  


Fill power might be more important for the insulation but the weight of the vest is still an important factor to consider. A lightweight jacket will let you be more comfortable and active. Most puffer vests are designed to be lightweight, but if they are too lightweight they might not provide adequate warmth. 

A vest that uses down for the insulation offers an excellent warmth-to-weight ratio. If you don’t want materials sourced from animals, you can get a vest made from synthetic down. 

What to look for in a quality puffer vest


If you plan on using the vest for activities such as camping or hiking, consider getting one that’s water-resistant. These types of vests are typically made from nylon or strong polyester. The best water-resistant vests have moisture-wicking properties to keep the interior dry. 


Windproof vests are typically made from a high-density fabric that minimizes airflow. Micro-polyester, tricot and high-density nylon are the most commonly used windproof fabrics. Keep in mind that nylon can make a lot of noise in the wind. 

Extra features 

High-quality puffer vests often come with extra features, such as zipper pockets on the sides and chest, a large interior pocket for secure storage, or a detachable hood and elastic cuffs. Some high-end vests also offer a tapered design for slim-fit look. 

How much you can expect to spend on a puffer vest

Inexpensive vests can be bought for less than $40, while high-end versions will be around $200. 

Puffer vest FAQ

When should you wear a puffer vest? 

A. One of the advantages of puffer vests is that they are extremely versatile. They can be worn on a mild day in spring or a cold day in winter. They won’t provide the same level of protection from the cold as a winter coat or full-sleeve puffer jacket, but are ideal when you will be active in cold temperatures.  

Are there variations in design for a puffer vest? 

A. There are a few. There is a V-neck version that’s less common but does not provide the same level of protection from cold. Most puffer vests come with a zipper but some versions offer buttons instead. The addition of a hood is another design variation. 

What’s the best puffer vest to buy?

Top puffer vest 

Eddie Bauer Downlight Vest

Eddie Bauer Downlight Vest 

What you need to know: For a durable, warm and ultra-lightweight puffer vest, this is the best choice.  

What you’ll love: The vest is longer than the typical puffer vest and has a drawstring at the waist for extra warmth. The vest is designed to be windproof and water-resistant. Its zippered hand pockets offer plenty of room for storage. 

What you should consider: It’s designed to be extra lightweight, which makes it less suitable for extremely cold conditions. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon 

Top puffer vest for the money

Amazon Essential Puffer Vest

Amazon Essential Puffer Vest 

What you need to know: This vest offers excellent warmth at a fraction of the cost of other brands. 

What you’ll love: The lightweight design makes the vest packable for easy storage or travel. It features a stand-up collar, zipper hand pockets and elasticized armholes. The outer shell is water-resistant and windproof. 

What you should consider: There is no drawstring. The package design means this vest might be too light for winter use.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon 

Worth checking out

Columbia Voodoo Falls TurboDown Vest

Columbia Voodoo Falls TurboDown Vest 

What you need to know: Made from patented Heat Reflective materials, this jacket is designed for optimum heat retention. 

What you’ll love: The water-resistant fabric is breathable to help get rid of moisture for extra warmth. The interior has an extra-large pocket for storage and also features an adjustable hem. 

What you should consider: Some users have reported the vests are oversized, so consider getting a smaller size for a snug fit.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon 

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Ali Azhar writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them a lot of time and money.

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