A weighted blanket is great when your child is at home or in their bed, but it’s not very portable for on the go settings like school and other activities.

A weighted lap pad works well in these circumstances if your child is mainly seated and not moving around. However, the most portable weighted solution is a weighted sensory vest.

A little boy wearing a yellow vest with yellow leaves in the background

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What Is a Weighted Sensory Vest?


A weighted sensory vest is exactly what you’re probably picturing. It’s a vest that’s worn like most vests, over  or under the clothing on the upper body, and contains some form of weight to apply pressure on the body of the wearer.

Some weighted vests also fit snuggly and use compression like compression sheets for autism.

A Variety of Options

The vests come in different materials and styles. The weights are either sewn into them, or they have pockets for adding and removing the weights as needed.

They come in different sizes and many are adjustable with features like removable weights and velcro straps to accommodate a range of individual sizing needs.

What Is a Weighted Sensory Vest For?


Weighted sensory vests, like other weighted products, provide deep touch pressure (DTP) that is believed to create a calming effect and reduce restlessness and anxiety.

This has value for children trying to focus on tasks and achieve outcomes in the school setting and other similar situations.

Positive Anecdotal Reports

Like weighted blankets, studies are scarce and formal documentation of benefits is limited, but the anecdotal reports from parents, teachers, therapists, physicians, and the children themselves is mainly positive and encouraging.

Useful for Many Situations

A weighted sensory vest is useful for any situation where it will benefit the wearer, such as waiting rooms, social events, or appointments.

However, they are most associated with the classroom setting where some children find themselves feeling very restless and having difficulty focusing on immediate tasks like seat work.

Below, we’ve highlighted 3 top-rated weighted sensory vests:

1. Harkla Weighted Compression Vest


Harkla is a popular name in the world of weighted blankets, but they also provide quality weighted compression vests for children.

The same thoughtfulness goes into designing the vest as it does the Harkla weighted blanket. They also donate 1% of sales to the University of Washington Autism Clinic.

Highlights of the Harkla Weighted Vest:

Here are some highlights of the Harkla compression vest:

  • The vest is made from soft and durable neoprene and breathable mesh for comfort.
  • It combines weights with snug compression for a calming effect.
  • It has velcro for adjusting the fit and pockets for the added weights, which can be added or removed.
  • The entire digital library is included with your purchase for added support for your child.
  • Recommended to be worn for short periods of time to start and to check with your child’s therapist for longer use.
  • Comes in 3 sizes (small, medium, large), and they recommend measuring your child to get the best fit for their vest.
  • Because of the material and construction, it can probably be worn underneath clothing to conceal it, if the wearer chooses to.

Pros:

  • Comes in 3 sizes
  • Combines weighted pressure with snug compression
  • Velcro to adjust size
  • Made with soft neoprene and breathable mesh
  • Includes a digital library
  • Can add and remove included weights
  • 1% of sales donated

Cons:

  • Plain style
  • Sizing can be tricky for growing children

Shop Now: Harkla Weighted Vest on Amazon

2. Fun and Function Weighted Compression Vest


The highly-rated weighted compression vest by Fun and Function is a valuable product because it combines weighted pressure with snug compression to produce a calming effect.

Highlights of the Fun and Function Vest:

These are the highlights of the Fun and Function weighted compression vest:

  • It’s made from neoprene for comfort, extra durability and long-lasting use.
  • There are velcro fasteners to adjust for a snug fit for the compression feature.
  • The weights can be added or removed for individual preferences.
  • There is a mesh insert in each side for breathability and comfort.
  • It can be worn outside or underneath clothing, which is great if the person wants to conceal it.
  • The manufacturer doesn’t recommend using it for more than half an hour at a time. However, some people report using it safely for longer periods. Check with your physician or therapist for advice.
  • This product is recommended to be used under supervision, so it is not meant for sleeping at night.
  • Comes in a wide range of 6 sizes (xx-small, x-small, small, medium, large, x-large).

Pros:

  • Comes in 6 sizes
  • Made with neoprene and mesh for comfort
  • Adjustable with velcro fasteners and removable weights
  • Can be worn over or under clothes
  • Combines weighted pressure and compression

Cons:

  • Plain looking without many style options
  • Sizing can be tricky for growing children

The Fun and Function weighted compression vest is an affordable quality product. They also have other options that are popular and offer more style choices.

Shop Now: Fun and Function Weighted Vest on Amazon

3. ZooVaa Weighted Vest for Kids


The ZooVaa weighted vest is another popular product for kids that is a good choice for smaller children. It doesn’t have larger sizes for teens and adults. This manufacturer also emphasizes quality and comfort.

Highlights of the ZooVaa Weighted Vest:

These are the highlights of the ZooVaa weighted vest:

  • This weighted vest has a dark denim style exterior, with a soft plush lining for a good look in any setting or at special events.
  • The weights are removable for individual needs and the pockets have a velcro flap for security.
  • The vest is designed with a zipper for ease of putting it on or taking it off and the sides are elastic to adjust the size for a good fit.
  • With removable weights, the vest is also machine washable if you take them out.
  • The plush lining interior could create added heat for children who get warm easily.
  • This weighted vest doesn’t have a broad size range for teens and adults.

Pros:

  • Stylish design
  • Zipper closure
  • Elastic sides for better fit
  • Removable weights/velcro pocket flap

Cons:

  • Plush lining might be too warm
  • No teen or adult sizes

Shop Now: ZooVaa Weighted Vest on Amazon


A weighted compression vest might be just the portable option your child needs for getting out and about, where a weighted blanket or lap pad would not make the best choice.

8 thoughts on “What Is a Weighted Sensory Vest?”

  1. I knew about weighted blankets but I had absolutely no idea that weighted vests existed until I read this. Thank you for the awesome information! A good friend of mine uses a weighted blanket for her son so I’m definitely going to refer her to your site to check this out. Thank you!

    1. Hi Lana;

      Yes, your friend would find a weighted vest much more portable and convenient than a weighted blanket for on the go activities like school and errands. She could also check out weighted lap pads for sitting activities like seat work in the classroom. They’re great if the vest gets too warm or they need a break from it.

      Best to you,
      Stella 🙂

  2. Hi! Thank you for introducing me to weighted sensory vests. I have heard good reports about other weighted products and I have a good feeling about these vests.

    In our opinion, our best choice would be ZooVaa Weighted Vest for our kids. I love the stylish design and the ability to remove weights is cool. And I can picture our little ones wearing them and they would look lovely. Thanks for this post!

    1. Hi Henry;

      Yes, weighted products are becoming more and more popular because the deep touch pressure is helpful for many people in terms of better sleep and less anxiety.

      The ZooVaa vests are nice, and if you’re looking for stylish, they do offer a lot in that department.

      Best to you,
      Stella

  3. So I could use this, as I work closely with five children with autism in a school. This article has opened up my mind to a product that could help. Previously I had never heard of this, so you have sparked me to investigate more into the benefits. One of our larger autism boys gets quite restless, so this could indeed help him feel secure.   

    Many Blessings 

    1. Yes, there are many reports of these weighted sensory vests helping children with autism in the school setting, and in other places, too.

      I hope you have success with them for your students,
      Stella

  4. I have never heard of a weighted vest before so thanks for sharing as I have learned something new. If a vest can help a child to focus especially in school, then this is a great thing. It would help I think if there was research to back up the findings and experiences of those who have used a weighted vest because there would probably be much wider use and perhaps schools might even invest in the vests themselves if it helps their students. More and more people are trying to turn away from perscription medications these days and are more interested in alternative products such as this. So, thanks again for sharing!    

    1. Hi Rina;

      Yes, these types of products are certainly a natural way to help people remain calmer and more focused. There is some evidence for the use of compression and deep touch pressure, but not a lot of studies yet. However, there is a fair amount of anecdotal reporting the benefits of these products.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts,
      Stella

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