Choosing the best ski helmet is important for stylistic purposes, but it’s even more important for safety. A high-quality helmet will protect your head, deliver great comfort and improve your performance.
Since there are hundreds of different helmets to choose from, you need to know how to sort through the inferior products and find the best product for your needs. To accomplish this task, you must know what to look for in a high-quality helmet.
Hard and Softshell Helmets
Ski helmets are made of several different materials, but there are two major types. You can choose between hard and softshell helmets. However, you’ll find that most products are made with a hard plastic shell. Most entry-level helmets are created from thick ABS plastic.
The ABS is a great material for new and intermediate skiers, and it has no trouble handling hard bumps and drops. Since it’s a heavier material, ABS plastic is more likely to crack during a huge impact. If you’re looking for a superior helmet, consider products made from polycarbonate.
Helmets made from polycarbonate are lighter, thinner and stronger than ABS plastic. Although they’re quite a bit thinner, they’re very effective at crunching during a major impact, so the foam inside of the helmet receives most of the impact energy.
Helmets that are made with a polycarbonate shell tend to be more expensive, but they’re lightweight, reliable and stylish products. Softshell helmets are still somewhat new, and they have their fair share of skeptics. Softshell helmets are made with flexible ABS plastic, which is molded with a vinyl nitrile liner.
These helmets are primarily used for freestyle snowboarding and skiing and can withstand several tough impacts. If you’re looking for something that will conform to your head and deliver a low-profile style, softshell helmets are where it’s at.
Helmet Construction Types
To find the best ski helmet, you need to understand helmet construction types. There are three major types to be aware of. The first is the traditional ABS helmet. It has a hard plastic shell, and a foam liner is glued to the inside of the helmet.
This construction style is tough and has no problem absorbing strong impacts. The only downside is the excessive weight. The simple two-piece construction also doesn’t provide the best ventilation. However, ABS ski helmets tend to be very affordable.
You can find many ABS helmets for half the cost of the high-end products. The second construction type is called an in-mold helmet. Most mid to high-end helmets have an in-mold style. These helmets are made with a thin polycarbonate shell and EPS foam liner.
These two pieces are molded together, so you end up with a strong, lightweight design, which also offers great ventilation. The third major type is a hybrid of in-mold and ABS helmets. Manufacturers are always looking for ways to keep safety high while improving performance, so the hybrid in-mold ski helmets have become quite popular.
These products are made with an in-mold design and have panels of hard ABS plastic. If you want one of the strongest ski helmets available, consider getting something with a double-wall design. The exterior is a hard shell, and it wraps around an in-mold shell. The end result is a very strong, well-ventilated helmet.
The Importance of Ventilation
When searching for the best ski helmet, ventilation is crucial. A helmet should have good ventilation, so it can be versatile enough to use for all ski conditions. However, proper ventilation consists of more than a few holes in a helmet.
The air that you encounter while skiing is cold enough to give you a brain freeze. Some of the newest helmets have excellent ventilation, so they can direct air through multiple channels and keep your head cool. There are some products that have as many as 21 different air vents.
Many of the cheaper models are made with no more than a handful of vents, but they can still be great products to consider. When you’re an active skier, more ventilation is almost always better, so you might want to consider choosing a helmet that has plenty of air vents.
No ski helmet would be complete without interior liners. When searching for the best ski helmet, it’s very important to pay attention to the liners. The liner should be comfortable because there is a good chance that you’ll be skiing for several hours.
Many helmets are made with cheap liners, and although they might feel good for the first 15 minutes, you’ll quickly realize that you should’ve chosen a high-quality liner. Some of the best liner materials feel less abrasive and plusher than inferior materials.
They provide exceptional comfort and can be washed easily. If you’ve ever owned a ski helmet, you can appreciate the ability to wash the liners because they can become extremely soiled and stinky.
A high-quality liner can deliver excellent comfort, but it’s also important for optimal safety. A decent liner should conform to your head and deliver plenty of warmth.
Many consumers end up buying a heavier helmet, and once they start using it in the real world, they quickly realize that it’s too heavy and negatively impacts performance. If you choose a helmet that is too bulky, you might that it’s difficult to have fun on the mountain.
However, on the flipside, choosing a helmet that is too light could jeopardize safety and comfort. Many of the heavier helmets come with luxurious padding and provide excellent coverage. Ultralight helmets tend to work best for backcountry skiers.
Although everyone is different, most people prefer a helmet in the range of 14 to 19 ounces. Helmets that weigh more than 20 ounces can feel excessively bulky.
Reviews of the Best Ski Helmets
There are hundreds of different helmets to choose from, so the thought of finding the best product can feel overwhelming. Since it can be a difficult task, we’ve selected a few of the best products, so you can choose from a list of helmets that meet the requirements that we discussed.
Lucky Bums Snow Sport Helmet with Fleece Liner
Here is a top pick. This Lucky Bums helmet has an external cap that is made of ABS material. The supporting outer shell is made of EPS material, so you get the additional strength that you need to stay safe. Before buying this product, you can choose from five different sizes, and it has a padded chin strap for easy adjustments.
If you’re looking for a great fit and decent comfort, this is a top helmet to consider. The padding inside of the Lucky Bums snow helmet has anti-bacterial and hypo-allergenic properties.
It has fleece padded liner, and you can make adjustments using a built-in control wheel, which is located in the back of the helmet.
This particular helmet has ear covers, and since they allow plenty of sound to pass through, you should have no trouble hearing while wearing it. The Lucky Bums snow helmet meets most of the needs for adults and children.
POC Receptor BUG Adjustable 2.0 Ski Helmet
Another top product is the POC Receptor Bug adjustable helmet. It features hybrid double shell construction and has a weight of 18.3 ounces. Some of its best highlights are excellent impact resistance and great style.
If you’re looking for a ski helmet that offers some of the best impact resistance available, this product is worth considering. It’s ideal for anyone who enjoys pushing their limits.
Although most helmets featuring this type of construction aren’t great for ventilation, this particular model is the exception. Since it has large air vents, it efficiently directs air through both shells. Aside from the incredible protection, this helmet also offers plenty of style.
One of the only disadvantages of the POC Receptor Bug adjustable helmet is the thin padding that it comes with. However, depending on your preferences, this might not even matter.
Smith Vantage Unisex Adult Snow Helmet
If you’re not on a tight budget and want one of the best ski helmets that money can buy, consider the Smith Vantage. This helmet is made with several modern materials and features the latest technology.
It features hybrid in-mold construction and delivers low-profile style. When compared with helmets that have standard EPS foam, the Smith Vantage performs significantly better. It has a whopping 21 air vents, which are slider regulated.
You can adjust the air vents depending on the type of weather you’re skiing in. This helmet uses Boa technology, so it can be quickly adjusted while sliding down the slopes.
The Smith Vantage has several other remarkable features, but we’ll let them surprise you. This is one of the best ski helmets on the market, but if you want high-quality materials and features, you must be prepared to pay for them.