What is the difference between 50N, 100N , 150N and 275N lifejackets?

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What is the difference between 50N, 100N , 150N and 275N lifejackets?

Bouyancy aids will often have 50N on them and lifejackets 100N, 150N or 275N. But what does this mean?

The 'N'

The 'N' on each stands for 'Newtons'. A newton is how much force is required to make a mass of one kilogram accelerate at a rate of one metre per second squared. 1N is the force of Earth's gravity on an apple with a mass of about 102g. On the Earth's surface, a mass of 1kg pushes on its support with an average force of 9.8 N. In lifejacket terms the 'N' indicates how much buoyancy is offered. As an example, a 150N lifejacket will support someone with an in water weight of 15.3kg / 33.71lbs (150 / 9.8)

50N (ISO 12402-5)

(11lbs / 5.5kg of buoyancy)

50N Buoyancy Aid

All buoyancy aids are approved to the 50N standard but some are designed to have a greater amount of buoyancy and are designed for particular uses. For example, 70N is recommended for whitewater canoeing / kayaking and sports with fast running water. They are suitable for competent swimmers and they will only aid buoyancy for a conscious person.

Generally used for:


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100N (ISO 12402-4)

(23lbs / 11kg of buoyancy)

100N Lifejacket

A 100N lifejacket is the most basic lifejacket and is recommended for use in sheltered, calm waters for swimmers and non swimmers. They will not keep the wearer afloat if they are wearing wet weather clothes.

Generally used for:


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150N (ISO 12402-3)

(33lbs / 16kg of buoyancy)

150N Lifejacket

A 150N lifejacket is used in scenarios where you are likely to be wearing wet weather clothing and may encounter rough weather conditions either inshore or offshore. They are suitable for everything but the most severe conditions.

Generally used for:

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275N (ISO 12402-2)

(62lbs / 28kg of buoyancy)

275N Lifejacket

A 275N jacket is a high performance jacket for offshore, extreme weather conditions. They are designed to support the wearer in heavy wet weather clothing.

Generally used for:

  • Offshore sailing yachts
  • Ocean sailing yachts
  • Ocean motor yachts


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About Tornado Lifejackets
Tornado Lifejackets are passionate about safety on the water and we want you to enjoy your activities with peace of mind. We therefore sell quality jackets that are affordable and accessible for adults and children. Our lifejackets are all from Europe's largest manufacturers complying to the highest standards for safety include ISO accreditation and CE approval. Our knowledgable team of experts are always on hand to answer any water safety questions you may have.

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