The Best Plate Carriers Ranked

Our Top Picks

Best Overall

AR500 Armor Testudo Plate Carrier Gen 2

  • Value: 9/10
  • Performance: 9/10
  • Cost: 8.5/10

A standout piece of gear in the world of plate carriers.

Best on a Budget

GloryFire Tactical Vest

  • Value: 9/10
  • Performance: 7/10
  • Cost: 9/10

Offers a great balance of price and performance.

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Best Lightweight

Crusader 2.0 Tactical Molle Buckles Vest

  • Value: 8/10
  • Performance: 8.5/10
  • Cost: 8/10

Lightweight yet sturdy.

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Looking to build out your tactical gear kit? Don’t stop at pants! A plate carrier gives you next level protection that may literally save your life.

If you think choosing the perfect plate carrier is as simple as grabbing the first piece of armored awesomeness you see, you’re in for a reality check, buddy! You might as well be picking out a new pair of dancing shoes, because the details matter. Strap in, folks, we’re about to embark on an epic quest to unearth the best plate carriers out there!

Features to Consider When Choosing the Best Plate Carriers

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Before you start throwing your cash at the screen, let’s chat about what you should be eyeballing in a top-notch plate carrier:

Material Quality

Think of it as the armor’s own armor. A plate carrier with poor material quality is like bringing a water gun to a paintball fight. Just like buying other tactical gear, check for durability, water-resistance, and good stitching.

Comfort and Fitting

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A plate carrier that doesn’t fit is like an annoying in-law; it’s just going to make you uncomfortable and want to escape. It should hug your body, not strangle it!


Choose a carrier that won’t make you feel like a pack mule. Remember, you’ll add the weight of the plates themselves, so be kind to your back and get a carrier that’s sturdy but keeps your base weight down!

Minimalist or Accessories Heavy?

Do you like to travel light, or are you the Swiss Army knife type? Consider whether you want a simple plate carrier or one with more storage and attachment points than a kangaroo on steroids!

5 Best Plate Carriers

Ready to meet the contenders? Let’s dive in:

Best Overall: AR500 Armor Testudo Plate Carrier Gen 2

The AR500 Armor Testudo Plate Carrier Gen 2 is a standout piece of shooting gear. It offers solid protection without compromising on comfort with its padded shoulder straps and its fully adjustable cummerbund ensure all-day wearability. It also boasts multiple pockets and MOLLE webbing that offer loads of storage and customization options. Plus it accommodates a variety of plate sizes for maximum flexibility. If Batman needed a plate carrier, this would be his pick!


  • Constructed from high-quality materials
  • One size fits all
  • Generous padding


  • Pricey
  • Heavy

What Customers Say

The materials used are of high quality, very sturdy product holds the chest plates very well and most of all it fits me perfectly.


I’m very happy with the vest so far. I’m a very large guy and I wish the Cumberbund was larger. Great budget option.

Jeffrey P.

Best on a Budget: GloryFire Tactical Vest

Ballin’ on a budget? No problem! The GloryFire Tactical Vest offers a great balance of price and performance. 

With a full padding of breathable 3D mesh, these carrier vests provide all day comfort and keep you cool with proper air circulation. The soft shoulder pads are detachable and low profile, ensuring more protection and reduced load pressure through your shoulders. The GloryFire tactical vest features a map pouch, three modular well-constructed mag panels for your accessories, and MOLLE webbing attachment points for customization.


  • Affordable
  • Easy to wear and take off
  • Comes with one-year warranty
  • Adjustable shoulder strap and cummermund


  • It can be too big for those with smaller frame
  • Average-quality materials
  • Poor stitching

What Customers Say

I bought this as a gift for my grandson, and he loves it! It is of a very high quality and is extremely functional. He likes to camp and this is perfect for him.


Looks presentable but seem poorly sewn. Fits level 3 plates easily. Overall great value for money.


Best Lightweight: Crusader 2.0 Tactical Molle Buckles Vest

Lightweight yet sturdy, the Crusader 2.0 is like the nimble ninja of plate carriers. Perfect for those who need speed and agility on their side. It features easy-to-access pockets and a stacked mag pouch so you can conveniently store three large magazines along the back row and 3 small magazines in the front. The Crusader 2.0 also sports quick-detach buckles (on the shoulders and waist) that guarantees speed in wearing it and taking it off. It also comes in a variety of sizes for different body frames.


  • Lightweight
  • Affordable
  • Comes with anti-sweat mesh pads
  • Comfortable


  • Poor stitching
  • Runs small; you might need to size up

What Customers Say

Good quality vest, feels comfortable with plates in it and there’s lots of room for adjustment as well! I have 1 inch 10×12 plates and 6×8 side plates and they fit nice and snug with no problems.


Use this for airsoft, everything is adjustable and it fits nice.

Marty Belton

Chase Tactical Modular Enhanced MEAC

The MEAC is all about customization. Its MOLLE webbing allows for numerous accessory attachments. Its design accommodates a range of armor plates. The MEAC comes with adjustable straps and a well-padded interior that provides top-notch comfort. Its sturdy build and durable materials ensure longevity.

All in all, the Chase Tactical Modular Enhanced MEAC is a dream come true for those wanting a personalized tactical setup.


  • Fully adjustable
  • Comes with a triple magazine front panel
  • Well padded


  • Expensive
  • Not for those who prefer simple setups

What Customers Say

This seems like a solid carrier. I believe it’s made in the USA so that’s a plus. Also this carrier is not bulky and heavy. Has great padding.


Would buy again. Padding is great and just an overall great plate carrier.


Eagle Sky Tactical Vest

The Eagle Sky Vest brings the thunder with a solid build and ample storage without breaking the bank. It comes with durable side straps and is made of 1000D industrial fabric and heavy duty PALS webbing. It’s equipped with airflow panels constructed from breathable 3D mesh, that offers increased breathability and reduced friction, so you’re comfortable and well-ventilated no matter the temperature.


  • Very affordable
  • Adjustable shoulder straps
  • Customizable
  • Made from breathable material
  • Plenty of pockets


  • Straps require two-handed operation
  • Runs small

What Customers Say

Overall I’m impressed with the construction, adjustability, and features. It seems well built and has a variety of accessories that come with it. Haven’t tried putting plates in it yet but I believe it will hold up well. Overall very comfortable and customizable.


This is the best airsoft purchase I have made since the start; it is already pre-equipped with everything you see; radio pouches, mag pouches, etc. It’s durability is exactly what I needed and this was a steal.


Our Key Takeaways

Navigating the world of plate carriers can be a jungle, but with the right guide (that’s us!), you’ll come out the other side with a plate carrier that has your back, front, and sides! Whether you’re a budget buyer, a minimalist mover, or a pack-it-all punter, there’s a plate carrier waiting to be your body’s new best friend. Now, go forth and armor up, friends!

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Last update on 2024-06-12 / Images from Amazon Product API