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 2023.
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 2023.
- Vaughn Velocity V9 Pro Carbon (Best Overall)
- CCM E Flex 5 (Newly Added)
- Warrior G5 Pro+ (Best Mobility)
- Bauer Vapor Hyperlite (Latest Innovation)
- Vaughn Ventus SLR2 Pro Carbon
- Bauer UltraSonic
- Brian’s Optik Pro 2
Highest Rated Goalie Chest Protectors Overview
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 2023 is the Vaughn Velocity V9 Pro Carbon. It’s a highly protective and durable chest protector. This is, arguably the most popular C/A amongst NHL and 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
- Vaughn is know for their durable equipment
- One of the most mobile protectors (has adjustable arms)
- #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 dramatically improved the mobility on the V9 compared to their previous chest and arm protectors. To do this, the first thing they’ve done is added additional breaks in the padding and adjusted foam pieces around. Each piece of foam is strategically placed so you can move freely while still staying protected.
This is also good news because now when you drop into the butterfly, the chest part of the protector won’t press up into your helmet. You’ll have full field of view at all times, allowing you to see and make every save. You don’t have any obstructions when you move your head and skating is smoother.
Mobility is cool and all, but what really makes this chest and arm protector next level is that actual protection it provides. The Vaughn V9 features ballistic kevlar, pure carbon and additional composite + HD foam.
Specifically you might wonder why Vaughn chose to put kevlar into their chest protector and the reason is simple. If it improves the shock absorption and keeps the weight of the suit down, why not?
Now for the arms of the Velocity V9…
They’re made of mostly HD foam and molded Zote foam with a touch of pure carbon strips strategically placed throughout. The design features flat arm caps that will take up more room in the net while also offering better protection. The arms also have what is called ShockShield technology. What it does is disperse the impact of the puck before the energy can hit your arm.
But, this wouldn’t be a full review without any negatives. For one, the collarbone area of this protector is protective, but not as much as the CCM E-Flex 5. Now, does this make a difference to you? Maybe not, but it also might. A lot of goalies (myself included) use a neck guard so this is a bit of a non-factor.
The price tag is also expensive. You really are paying for top of the line gear. That being said, all of the chest protectors in this tier are quite expensive.
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. Read our full review of the V9 Pro Carbon Chest Protector here. It may sound like I’m pumping the tires of this chest protector pretty hard and you’d be correct.
But it’s for a good reason.
When I see and use a chest protector that truly elevates my game, I have reason to recommend it to the next goalie. Vaughn has a really good reputation for crafting well made chest and arm protectors and I think that you will enjoy the Velocity V9 Pro!
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 latest and greatest. Now you might be wondering why a Warrior chest protector is near the top, but this protector is underrated in my opinion.
- Very adjustable
- One of the most mobile chest protectors
- Slightly bulky
The first thing you will notice in the Warrior G5 Pro+ protector is that it’s lightweight. Not so lightweight that it doesn’t protect against pucks, but light enough where you feel like it doesn’t weigh you down at all. This is in due fact to the high density material Warrior used to craft this C/A.
However, you probably have noticed that this is the “Most Mobile Chest and Arm Protector” on this list. There’s a reason for that. It’s mobile mainly because you can adjust and move pieces around that allow you to get the best fit. You can actually remove parts of the stomach and side areas.
The shoulders are also slightly redesigned from previous C/As from Warrior. They’ve added a couple small breaks in the padding so you can move and rotate your head easier. The sternum plate has also been reduced a little bit for better mobility (this didn’t compromise any protection either).
There are elastic straps and lace that can be switched, shortened and lengthened to change the length of the arms. So you’ll always have the ability to change how your protector fits.
The arms also feature ShockShield and AxyFlex technology (previously in the G4 lineup) which are protective.
A couple negatives would be that this isn’t the most popular chest protector amongst pro goalies. I don’t think that enough people give them a chance, but there is something to be said about that. The price isn’t very cheap and it also isn’t the sleekest of chest and arm protectors out there. That being said, it still is very adjustable and customizable for optimal fit.
This is the third best chest protector that you can get. Simply because it is so adjustable and extremely mobile. Read our full review of the Warrior G5 Pro+ Chest Protector here.
Bauer Vapor Hyperlite
The Bauer Vapor Hyperlite is the next best chest and arm protector for 2023. So what do I really like about this piece of equipment? Well for one, it’s one of the few C/As that actually put a little emphasis on cooling and ventilation. Most brands are trying to get the most beefed up or mobile chest protector and generally miss the cooling aspect of it.
The Hyperlite also specializes in rebound control. The foam is designed to dampen the shot of the puck immediately after hitting your body. Which you might be thinking “well doesn’t every chest protector do that?” And the answer is to an extent, but you can build a protective chest protector that sends rebound bouncing off too fast and far. What’s nice is the Hyperlite combats this, allowing you to cover up more rebounds.
Overall, this is a quality C/A. The price tag isn’t cheap but the protection and new innovative features are!
The Hyperlite is the best chest protector that Bauer has released to date...
Vaughn Ventus SLR2 Pro Carbon Goalie Chest Protector
The fifth best goalie chest and arm protector in my opinion goes to the Vaughn Ventus SLR2 Carbon Pro. Its biggest features are it’s durability and protection.
- Super protective
- Takes up a lot of space in the net
- Vaughn C/A are known for their durability
- Bit bulky, may need suspenders
As I was saying earlier, a ton of pro goalies like wearing Vaughn chest and arm protectors. The SLR2 Carbon is one of those favorites.
It’s a bit taller and slightly less mobile than the Velocity V9 protector, but still in the elite tier nonetheless. You might need to wear it with a pair of suspenders.
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 are also narrow, so the transition from gloves to chest protector is super smooth. This allows for you to have a ton of mobility in the wrist area. Something we don’t always see in chest protectors.
Coverage-wise there aren’t many that compete with it. It’s got a tall chest with a lot of protection. The carbon strips that are placed throughout the HD foam absorb shock better than most.
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.
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 and heavy protection. 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 brick wall. It’s our next best goalie chest protector for 2023, and for some good reasons.
- Very lightweight
- Technologically advanced
- Bauer is notorious for short life gear
The Bauer Ultrasonic chest protector is a solid option for goalies that like using Bauer equipment. This is one of the lighter protectors on the market.
This chest protector uses Aerolite technology which is why the gear that is so light. It also uses flex-free edge technology throughout the piece, so when you have 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 you likely won’t feel pucks come flying in. On the inside, Bauer implemented ThermoCore on the chest and back plate to reduce heat while playing. Which is nice since playing goalie sometimes feels like taking a sauna.
Along with the impressive chest padding, Bauer also beefed up the arms as well. They feature CurvComposite and Dynamic 3 flex technology so the arms are protected and mobile. The padding in the arms have a ton of adjustability as well so you can change it to how you want it to feel!
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 more 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. That being said, this is no chest protector to look over without giving it a chance.
It features E foam technology throughout which is a thick foam designed to absorb pucks all day and night. It’s a very adjustable protector that is nice because it allows you to get a perfect fit to your body. It’s a lightweight piece of equipment that uses airknit construction.
What is really cool about Brian’s is that they offer full customization on their equipment. You can obviously get the stock version of the Optik Pro 2, but if you want to get creative you can basically create it how you would like! A lot of goalie brands offer customization nowadays, but not many were doing it before Brian’s…
In conclusion, while the Optik 2 chest protector is a bit bulky it makes up for it by being very protective and also highly adjustable. Brian’s makes high quality equipment as well…. 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 lightweight 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.
One of the final “big” category to consider when buying a new goalie chest protector is comfort.
How well does it feel while playing hockey in? Any scratching? 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.
Goalie Chest Protector Sizing Guide
Each goalie pad manufacturer has their own specifications when it comes to sizing equipment. Listed below you’ll find the size guides for each major chest protector manufacturer. Sizing a chest protector for goalies isn’t actually as hard as you’d think. While many of the manufactruers use different ways of sizing their chest protectors, the same two measurements come in to play every time. Chest width and arm length.
How to size a goalies chest protector?
To find out which size chest protector a goalie wear, use a tape measure to determine the width of the chest from armpit to armpit, and the length of the arms (shoulder to wrist). Then, use the correct chest protector size guide from whichever gear manufacturer you’ll be using, below.
Bauer Goalie Chest Protector Sizing Chart
|Model||Size||Body Height (Inches)||Body Height (Centimeters)|
|Senior||S||5'3" - 5'5"||160 - 165|
|Senior||M||5'6" - 5'9"||167 - 176|
|Senior||L||5'10" - 6'||178 - 183|
|Senior||XL||6'1" - 6'5"||185 - 196|
|Intermediate||S||4'8" - 4'11"||142 - 150|
|Intermediate||M||4'11" - 5'1"||150 - 155|
|Intermediate||L||5'1" - 5'3"||155 - 160|
|Junior||S||3'9" - 4'1"||114 - 124|
|Junior||M||4'2" - 4'6"||127 - 137|
|Junior||L||4'7" - 4'11"||140 - 150|
|Youth||S/M||3'7" - 3'10"||109 - 117|
|Youth||L/XL||3'10" - 4'1"||117 - 124|
Vaughn Chest Protector Size Chart
|Model||Size||Arm Span (Inches)||Body Height (Inches)|
|Junior Small||Small||48" - 51"||4'0" - 4'3"|
|Junior Medium||Medium||52" - 55"||4'4" - 4'7"|
|Junior Large||Large||56" - 59"||4'8" - 4'11"|
|Junior Extra Large||Extra Large||59" - 61"||4'11" - 5'1"|
|Junior XXL||XXL||61" - 64"||5'1" - 5'4"|
|Senior XS||XS||60" - 62"||5'0" - 5'2"|
|Senior S||S||63" - 65"||5'3" - 5'5"|
|Senior Medium||Medium||66" - 69"||5'6" - 5'9"|
|Senior Large||Large||70" - 72"||5'10" - 6'0"|
|Senior X Large||X Large||73" - 77"||6'1" - 6'5"|
CCM Chest Protector Size Chart
|Model||Size||Chest Width (Inches)||Arm Length (Shoulder to Wrist) (inches)|
|Intermediate||Small / Medium||12"||18"|
|Intermediate||Medium / Large||13"||19"|
|Junior||Small / Medium||11"||16"|
|Junior||Medium / Large||12"||17"|
|Youth||Small / Medium||9"||14"|
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.