There are no shortage of chest protectors to choose from, and they come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. Deciding which one is best for you often takes some contemplation and experience.
If you are coming into the world of chest protectors fresh and need a little direction, allow me to explain why the reversible Hogu is such a popular item.
The term "hogu" is often used interchangeably with "chest guard", so get used to hearing it both ways. The reversible hogu is easily spotted by the trademark three dots on the body of the protector. These dots symbolize the three primary target areas on the mid-body for striking. The center dot is based around the solar plexus, and the sides on floating ribs and kidneys. Since these are the best places to strike they are also the most important to protect.
The dots serve a dual purpose. First, they give students a visual guide when trying to hit effective locations on the body. Second, they helps judges in determining what techniques scored a "point" during tournament play.
Each hogu contains blue dots on one side and red on the other, allowing the practitioner to reverse sides whenever necessary. For tournament bouts this helps the judges keep the combatants straight, especially if they are using a flag system of red and blue to indicate at the end of a round who scored a point.
Even if tournaments aren't a big part of your system the reversible protector still holds great value. The design and padding used has been tweaked over many years to offer good comfort and protection. Especially well received is the Adidas brand hogu. These are also great if you need a bunch of chest guards to have around the dojo/dojang for general use as they are non gender-specific.
Try having some fun too by developing games such as having one student wear blue and the rest red; the red students being allowed to gang up on the blue "victim" (multiple opponent practice).