A goalies chest protector is one of the most important pieces of equipment on the ice. Today, we’re diving into the best goalie chest protectors for 2021.
I want to quickly mention that myself and the team here at goaliecoaches as we do in every one of our goalie equipment review articles is this, we’re not here to convince you of a certain brand. We’re not getting paid by these companies, as you’ll notice in many of our breakdowns.. there is never just “one” company to trust.
When it comes to chest protectors, it’s no different. We tend to recommend Vaughn chest and arm protection for goalies, simply because we’ve used them the longest, and we know who uses them at the pro level.
Like picking the helmet you’ll use, choosing a chest protector is one of the most important decisions you’ll make equipment wise. Yes, even above the pads you’ll use. Why is it more important? Because every single movement you make as a goalie between the pipes starts with your core. If you choose a chest protector that’s not mobile, or lower quality, movement is affected. When movement is affected, you’re slower. When you get hit with pucks and they hurt, bad, you lose interest in jumping in front of the next one.
Remember, no two pieces of goalie gear are created alike. While they may look the same, or be manufactured by the same company, there is always slight changes to the equipment.
Before we jump into this, let me just add that there is a reason Vaughn is the #1 most worn chest protector in the NHL. If you’re the take my money type of person, buy a Vaughn V9 Pro Carbon Chest Protector at either Goalie Monkey or Pure Goalie.
These are the best goalie chest protectors for 2021.
- Vaughn Velocity V9 Pro Carbon (Best Overall)
- CCM E Flex 5 (Newly Added)
- Warrior G5 Pro+ (Best Mobility)
- Vaughn Ventus SLR2 Pro Carbon
- Bauer UltraSonic
- Brian’s Optik Pro 2
- Warrior Ritual GT2 Pro
Best Goalie Chest Protectors 2021
In the paragraph above, we touched briefly on the importance of buying a top of the line chest and arm protection unit. What is the advantage of buying a high end (pro level) chest protector?
- Max protection for an area that gets hit the most
- Reduce “stingers” in turn, reduced flinching
- Increased range of motion with upgraded material
- More comfort and breathability
- Increased confidence
When it comes to chest protection, Vaughn is typically the most popular. We here at Goalie Coaches have been using Vaughn chest protectors for years now, and are giant fans of the product they’ve built.
That said, this doesn’t mean Vaughn is the only option on the market when it comes to C/A protectors.
What does C/A stand for hockey?
It stands for Chest and Arm. Many refer to the chest protector used by goalies as a C/A protector.
While yes, most NHL goalies are using Vaughn chest protectors right now and they’re widely known for their durability. It doesn’t mean you can’t go with a Warrior or a Bauer and get great results.
If you are wondering, Vaughn is the largest market holder for the best goalie chest protectors. This is not uncommon for brands to specialize in certain pieces of equipment although. (Bauer skates and masks, Warrior sticks, etc…)
We are totally neutral when it comes to goalie gear reviews, which is why Vaughn isn’t close to the top of our top goalie pads article.
Enough of the chit-chat. Let’s jump into this review of the best goalie chest protection systems that money can buy.
Vaughn Velocity V9 Pro Carbon (Best Overall)
The overall best goalie chest protector that you can get in 2021 is the Vaughn Velocity V9 Pro Carbon. It is a very protected and durable protector, and a favorite amongst many pro goalies.
In a recent deep dive into the new CCM E Flex 5 chest protector, I pointed out that this is the first time Vaughn may be rivaled in the chest and arm protection for goalies department, but I’m not ready to dethrone them just yet.
- Highly protective
- #1 ranked chest protector
- It’s one of the most expensive chest protectors on the market
- The collarbone protection is inferior to CCM E Flex 5 when comparing apples to apples
The V9 Pro carbon has been updated and improved on since the previous Vaughn chest protector. A couple of significant upgrades have been in the overall design.
Vaughn has now made it far more mobile than their previous chesties (not an easy task). To do this, they’ve added additional breaks in padding and moved foam pieces around.
It now gets out of it’s own way when you are skating around in the crease. Dropping into the butterfly, RVH, T-Pushes, etc are a lot easier to handle. The vision is better than ever and you can move your head without any obstructions.
Mobility-wise, Vaughn really did improve their game.
But, in typical fashion, this chest protector is built like a tank.
And that’s no joke.
It features ballistic kevlar (yes the material used in bulletproof vests), pure carbon, pure composite and HD foam.
Each and every one of those materials is lightweight, impact absorbent and strong. Which is why it’s at the top of our ranking for highest rated goalie chest protectors.
And that’s not all though.
The protection in the arms is just as good, if not better.
It’s made of HD foam and molded Zote foam, with additional pure carbon strips implemented throughout. The design now has flat arm caps that take up more room in the net, while also offering better protection.
The molded Zote foam is strong and durable. The arms also have what is called ShockShield technology. Its technology that is designed to disperse the impact of pucks without any shock reaching the arm.
Not only that, but this is one of the most durable chest protectors on the market. Vaughn has a great reputation for protectors.
The arms, chest and back pad are all adjustable. There is straps throughout for you to lengthen or shorten/ take off whatever you would like.
So even if you get this chest protector and you think it isn’t mobile enough, you can adjust it to give yourself the best possible feel.
Overall, this goalie chest and arm protector is the best one that you can get. It’s very mobile, adjustable and it’s highly protective. Vaughn chest protectors are always durable as well. Read our full review of the V9 Pro Carbon Chest Protector here.
CCM E Flex 5 (Newly Added)
I absolutely love it when a piece of gear gets dethroned. It means that goalies are benefiting. Companies being forced to innovate is critical for the development and increased performance / protection of goalie equipment. The Warrior G5 Pro chest protector previously my 2nd recommendation whenever I was asked about best performance chest protectors for goalies, but today, I can safely say that the C/A system I’ll be recommending now is the E Flex 5 unit.
This thing is built like a tank, but it’s got three areas why I consider this to be the next best chest protection system for goalies.
Below, I’m going to list out the three big changes CCM added to this years chest system, but I’d like to ask you not to take them in this order. Particularly because I’m downplaying the double rib cage protection.
What makes the CCM E Flex 5 unique to other chest protectors?
- The most protective collarbone area
- Increased mobility in the waist area (this is a huge deal)
- Double rib cage protection
Above, I mentioned I downplay the double rib cage protection. In fact, in my deep dive review of the E Flex 5 chest protector, I spent little time on it. Maybe it was because I’m more impressed with the improved collarbone protection
Watch, the company will add “D3o to the waist” on the next model and bill it as the gift to goalies everywhere.
All jokes aside, if you’re not a fan of Vaughn chest protectors (do you really play goalie?) or if you’re looking to try something new, to support a company at least trying to innovate, you will not regret this chest protector.
I’m hyping myself up. Moving on to the G5 before I make this EF5 unit the #1 for this year.
Warrior G5 Pro+ Chest Protector (Best Mobility)
The G5 Pro+ chest and arm protector is one of the best options you can get for 2021. It's very innovative and highly adjustable for the perfect fit.
The G5 Pro+ goalie chest and arm protector is Warrior’s newest creation. It’s an extremely protective and mobile protector.
- Very adjustable
- One of the most mobile chest protectors
The biggest features you will get in these chesty is adjustability and movement. Along with the great mobility, the G5 Pro+ is super light. Like, feathers light.
A couple of changes that Warrior made in the new G5 Pro+ chesty, is they’ve reduced the size of the sternum plate for better mobility. The shoulder floaters now have new breaks in the pads, which allow for improved vision and movement.
The front face and side extension flaps of the chest protector are removable as well. So you can literally adjust this protector for any fit or feel that you would like.
The arms feature ShockShield and AxyFlex (previously in the G4 lineup) which is super mobile. The arms are adjustable as well.
And lastly, the protection in this goalie chest protector is top of the line. It uses lightweight yet heavy duty HD foam.
The foam is patterned in a way that creates the optimal protection that you need. While the foam isn’t very heavy, it doesn’t need to be. You aren’t going to take any stingers with this one.
This is the second best chest protector that you can get. Simply because it is so adjustable and extremely mobile. This chest protector is worth it. Read our full review of the Warrior G5 Pro+ Chest Protector here.
Vaughn Ventus SLR2 Pro Carbon Goalie Chest Protector
The third best goalie chest and arm protector in my opinion goes to the Vaughn Ventus SLR2 Carbon Pro. It’s biggest features are it’s durability and protection.
- Super protective
- Bit bulky, may need suspenders
A high percentage of NHL goalies are using Vaughn chest protectors. The SLR2 Pro Carbon chesty is one of the most popular.
It’s highly protective with carbon strips implemented throughout the padding. The carbon is very good at reducing the impact of pucks while also keeping the chest protector very lightweight.
The arms of the protector are made up of mesh which creates faster break in periods. It has molded side elbow caps for better protection compared to other chest protectors on the market.
The back of the chest protector is adjustable so each goalie can have the right fit they desire.
The wrists of the chest protector are also narrow, so the transition from gloves to chest protector is super smooth. It allows for really good mobility in the wrists as well.
This is a very light weight chest protector that provides incredible coverage.
With that though comes it’s biggest downfall. It is a little bit bulkier than some of the other chest protectors on this list. While that might be a good thing for some goalies, it does create some issues with visibility and movement.
You may want to consider wearing suspenders and tuck it into your pants.
If you are one of those goalies, you will have no problems with this chest protector.
Overall though, we’re big fans of Vaughn chest protectors over here at Goalie Coaches, and for some good reasons. They simply blow competition out of the water in terms of quality. Read the full review of the SLR2 Pro Carbon Chest Protector here.
Bauer UltraSonic Goalie Chest Protector
The Bauer UltraSonic Goalie Chest Protector is built like a tank. It’s our next best goalie chest protector for 2021, and for some good reasons.
- Very lightweight
- Technologically advanced
- Bauer is notorious for short life gear
Bauer consistently creates light weight gear, but sometimes it has issues with durability. I think that in this case the gear will hold up. This chest protector uses Aerolite technology which is why the gear that is light. It also uses flex-free edge technology throughout the piece, so when a goalie has to twist and turn in a split second, there will not be any restrictions from the chest protector.
The main portion of the protector is made up of CurvComposite and HD foam to absorb pucks so rebounds stay in the chest, and pucks won’t hurt when they come flying in. On the inside, Bauer put ThermoCore on the chest and back plate to reduce heat while playing, the goal is to stay a little bit cooler.
Along with the impressive chest padding, Bauer also beefed up the arms as well. They have CurvComposite and Dynamic 3 flex technology to keep the arms protected and mobile. The protection in the arms as well have adjustability so each goalie can change how the arm feels based on how large the goalie’s arm is.
Overall I like this chest and arm protector a lot because it features a lot of new technology. The only reason that it isn’t ranked a bit higher is simply because the other goalie brands are known to create elite levels of durability. And Bauer? Well, this might be the one that really puts them in a position to be credible with durable gear. Read our full review of the Bauer Supreme UltraSonic chest protector here.
Brian’s Optik Pro 2 Goalie Chest Protector
The next best goalie chest protector will be going over to Brian’s.
- Custom built
- Highly protective
I’ve always been a fan of Brian’s because of how they build their products, but quite honestly I usually prefer their leg pads and gloves. The Brian’s Optik Pro Chest and Arm Protector might change that opinion.
It uses E foam technology throughout which is going to be good for absorbing pucks daily. It’s a very adjustable protector that many goalies will appreciate because one can get a tighter or more mobile fit to the body. It’s a lightweight piece of equipment that uses airknit construction.
Along with quality of the protector, Brian’s is a brand that uses a lot of customization in their gear, such is the case with this piece as well. Stock gear will come with only different color options and such, but everyone has the option to buy directly from the source to get that extra look or feel you want. The customization part might honestly be my favorite thing about Brian’s equipment.
In conclusion, while the Optik 2 chest protector is a bit bulky and may restrict some movement, it makes up for it by being very adjustable. It’s also one of the best goalie chest protectors in terms of protection, and durability-wise you’ll have no problems. You also can read our full review of the Optik 2 chest protector here.
Warrior GT2 Pro Goalie Chest Protector
The GT2 was the first chest protector that put Warrior on the conversation of making high quality protectors. It's very adjustable with great protection.
Next on my list of top goalie chest protectors is going to be the Warrior GT2 Pro Chest and Arm Protector.
- Previous years model
This protector is very light weight and mobile. A big focus in chest protectors is, how well can you move around in them? When Warrior created this protector, they wanted as little helmet interference as possible. So that’s what they really big a lot of emphasis on here – mobility. This is one of the more mobile chest protectors that you can get.
This goalie chest protector is not only mobile, it’s also very well protected. It has HyperComp material added to the bulk of the chest to eat more pucks for you. The HyperComp also keeps the weight down so it doesn’t feel like you’re dragging around a weighted vest all the time.
The arms of the chest and arm protector are also redesigned. The elbows feature more of a squared look to prevent any puck from slipping in and causing pain. Warrior also added double shield protectors that sit tightly against the arm to create a tight fit, mobile feel to the protector.
Overall Warrior is very advanced in terms of technology and they brought the best out of it in this protector.
What To Look For In A Chest Protector
A couple aspects or features that you want in your chest protector are protection, mobility, comfort, adjustability, and durability.
There are a couple other features such as weight and bulkiness that should be considered as well.
Starting off with protection.
In most goalie chest protectors whether it be one used by NHLers or just a standard $200 chesty, it will typically be made of HD foam.
Some brands will use carbon, composite, kevlar or other something else that they’ve created separately from the pack of goalie brands.
But, they will mostly be made of HD foam.
So what makes a chest protector good bad or the best?
It really comes down to the design of the chest protector and the quality of foam.
The better and higher quality of foam will obviously result in a better protected chest protector.
But, the more important of the two is design.
You see, with different designs of chest protectors, you can add more foam in one place or another, or stack foam on top of each other.
The brand can then add other, stronger materials if they would like to, to increase the impact absorption.
But, it’s not necessarily needed.
So really it’s all in the design of the chest protector that makes the difference from an elite protective chest protector and one that isn’t.
As goalies, most of us have probably worn a chest protector that had weak padding and hurt like crazy when pucks bounced off the chest.
Protection is the most important thing to look for in buying a chest protector.
Protection = design.
But protection isn’t the only reason that design plays a large role in.
Mobility is huge because if you can’t see the puck, or move around in your gear – you can’t stop the puck.
Save percentages will drop.
You confidence will drop.
These are problems that can easily be solved.
Get yourself a mobile chest protector.
It’s easy! (But not cheap)
Durability in a chest protector is important.
Think about it, this is the one piece of equipment that separates your upper body from pucks moving at 50+ mph speeds.
If your chest protector isn’t durable, it will break down.
Quickly, you will start to feel the wrath of the pucks, slamming into your stomach.
Your cheap $200 dollar chest protector will fall apart.
The game of hockey will slowly become less enjoyable.
But again, it doesn’t have to be like this.
If you scroll up a little bit, choose of those chest protectors and buy it, you won’t have these problems.
The final “big” category to consider when buying a new goalie chest protector is comfort.
How well does it feel while playing hockey in.
How about cooling/ ventilation?
Can you adjust so you can create the best possible feel that you would like?
These are all questions to consider.
I said it earlier, but I would personally rather play goalie in a chest protector that fits me and feels good.
There’s no reason for it not to be like that.
That’s what we have to say about the best goalie chest protectors
Your chest and arm protection is absolutely critical for your performance between the pipes.
There are a couple ways you could do this.
Buy a chest protector that is great right from the get go, have fun, stop pucks and feel good.
Or, get a chest protector that isn’t worth much, have fun for a little bit, then realize that there is some scratching under the arm, pucks feel like they’re bouncing directly off your chest, and ultimately your save percentage goes down.
Now, playing goalie isn’t all about save percentage, but hockey is whole lot more fun when you are stopping pucks, rather than getting scored on every time.
There’s a reason that pros use $500-$700 dollar chest protectors.
Yes, they are standing in front of 100 mph shots, but also they have huge benefits.
The choice is yours, you know where I stand!
Thanks for reading.