Of all the pieces of protective clothing used in hockey, the helmet is probably the most important. As you know, hockey is a high contact sport and head injuries are sadly all too common. That’s why it’s absolutely vital to get a good hockey helmet to prevent concussions and irreversible damage. It’s the one piece of equipment you don’t want to skimp on.
In this post, we’re going to cover all the various aspects you need to consider before making a purchase along with reviews of what we think are the 10 best hockey helmets on the market today. Let’s get started.
How to Choose A Hockey Helmet: A Guide For Buyers
Before we look at our reviews of the top helmets, we’re gong to first take a look at what makes the best hockey helmet along with the features you need consider before buying yours.
Parts of a Hockey Helmet
Hockey helmets are made up of three main parts.
- The Shell
- The Liner (foam padding)
- The Cage or Visor
Here’s a picture with some of these parts (and others) labeled so you can see.
The exterior part of the helmet, which is made out of mostly hardened plastic, is called the shell. This part needs to be the toughest as it will be taking the brunt of any blows and collisions out on the rink. Although all helmets have a similar hard plastic cover, they may differ in style and number of vents available.
Attached to the shell of hockey helmets is the chin strap to ensure it stays on and provides the best protection. The straps are typically adjustable and should be worn under the jaw with enough room that it’s comfortable but that the helmet won’t move around too much. That’s when you know your helmet is properly fitted.
As the name suggests, the Liner is the inner lining of the helmet. It’s there to give another level of protection for any shock or blow to your head. Previously, hockey helmets used to have a simple foam sheet lining inside, but nowadays experts suggest that gel padding, memory foam, or internal straps give better protection.
Despite being played on ice, Hockey is a very intensive sport and players can get very hot. The lining can also absorb sweat and prevent it rolling down your face too.
The final and another critical component of a helmet is the cage or visor. These are the clear plastic strip around the front or the mesh-like cage structure attached to the front of the helmet. It’s there to prevent pucks, sticks (and punches) from damaging your face during a game.
Depending on your age and where you play, you might be required to use a cage instead of only a visor. For under 18s cages are compulsory. But for the Canadian players, junior and pro league players, visors are a mandatory element. We’ll cover the differences between the two in detail a bit later on in this article.
Hockey helmets typically come in four different sizes:
- Extra small
Extra small helmets are designed for kids who are just starting to learn hockey as a sport.
Small helmets are made to fit players of junior hockey up to the age of around 12.
Medium should be for junior high players or teenagers.
Large helmet are made to fit seniors or adult players.
But don’t assume that these sizes are final. Every player’s head size is unique. It’s worth measuring the circumference of your head before purchasing as for every helmet brand, the sizes and fit may be different, so have a check before buying.
The standard sizing chart below will give you a rough idea of sizes though:
|Extra small||Kids||19.7 – 21.3 inches|
|Small||Junior||20.4 – 22.4 inches|
|Medium||Youth||22.2 – 23.6 inches|
|Large||Senior||23.6 – 25.2 inches|
If you are at home and trying to buy a helmet online, get a measuring tape and wrap it around the most significant portion of your head to start measuring the right size.
Once you’ve chosen the size (and that the brand uses the same sizing) you can then adjust the straps to get a perfect fit. There shouldn’t be any wiggle room for the helmet to move. That’s when you know you have made the right choice.
Concussion and Protection Ratings
There’s a reason that helmets are compulsory equipment in hockey and it’s all to prevent concussions. If you’re not aware, a concussion is a blow in the head which can bear long term symptoms.
CTE, also known as Chronic traumatic encephalopathy, can be caused due to repetitive and severe head injuries. In rough games like football and hockey, concussions are a big problem and lots of research and development is going to into preventing them.
A mild concussion can have a wide range of symptoms. might mean you get the odd headache, but if left untreated and concussions persist, in the future it may lead to memory loss or other neurological damages.
Due to the dangers faced by players, the NHL has formed a concussion protocol to accurately diagnose them and be able to treat them quickly and appropriately.
In ever game since 2016, there is a centralized concussion spotter present looking out for them. They identify the players who are likely to undergo concussions and advise the club or team to get them removed from the game.
Helmets play a vital role in reducing head injuries and while they won’t completely eliminate the risk of getting concussions they’ll give you the best chance of not suffering one.
These days, hockey helmets have a rating system based on their potential to prevent head injuries or concussions which was established by Virginia Tech. The high ratings in Virginia Tech are complicated to achieve as there have been not many advancements and improvements in helmets over the years.
However, all the helmets available today meet all prerequisites for safety, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are safe. In 2015, in an impact test conducted by Virginia Tech, 1 in 32 helmets had just a 3-star rating. And after 2000 helmets put to the test, no helmet reached 4 or 5 stars.
Protection Level and Lining
Another consideration that you’ll need to make is to choose the right protection level and lining. Usually, most helmets provide multi-level protection from impacts with the help of foams and inner linings.
Generally, but not always, a lower price means a lower quality of foam hence a lower level of protection. But, not all helmets have the ability to handle every type of impact.
We recommend always spending the most you can afford on your helmet as avoiding head injuries is critical to safety and should not be overlooked.
Visor vs Cage
To protect your face and eyes, all hockey helmets will be required to have either a hockey visor or cage. Depending on your age and where you play, one might be mandatory. Let’s take a look at the differences now.
The visor is a clear plastic molded attached at the front of a helmet to protect the face, eyes, nose from a flying puck, an unwieldy stick, strong elbows, or any other blow. The visors are made up of tampered plastic, which is see through to allow wide vision but also is highly durable to withstand knocks.
The main advantages of a visor are the increased visibility. As they’re made from see through materials they can allow players to get a wide field of vision which is essential. They are also a lot more comfortable than cages plus it’s a lot more convenient for taking a drink and wiping your face.
However, the down side of visors is that they doesn’t provide as much protection, especially as they only comes as far down as the player’s nose. Hockey players often suffer from broken noses and missing teeth so if you’re worried about that opt for a cage. They can also fog up and get in the way of vision. If not looked after they can become scratched which can also affect vision. Although highly durable, hockey visors are fragile in comparison to cages.
On the other hand, hockey cages or face masks offer much more reliable protection. They are literally a wire cage that covers the whole face. They attach to the helmet via a hinge at the top allowing the player to move the cage upwards to take their helmet off.
The advantages of using a cage over a visor is primarily for added protection. As they don’t just protect up to the players nose but the whole face. As it also allows the flow of air so cages can’t fog up and so can offer better visibility inside. They won’t scratch and are generally a lot easier to maintain.
But, the disadvantages are that they can make the helmet a lot heavier. They’re made from solid metal and so this weight can make them a lot less comfortable to wear. Not only that, but the inconvenience of having to lift it up to drink or wipe your face can get annoying too. They can also block eye contact with players and view of the puck
For younger players and in certain leagues, it’s mandatory to wear a hockey cage and visors are not an option.
When it comes to the best brands of hockey helmets you’ll have a few to choose from. The main players are CCM, Bauer, Easton, Mylec, and Warrior. We’ll be covering some of our best rated ones in our hockey helmet reviews shortly but if you’re opting for one of these you’ll be fine.
Before we get to our round up of the top 10 hockey helmets here are a few frequently asked questions that people looking to buy a helmet might ask.
Q. How long do hockey helmets last?
Like all items, helmets too have an expiry date, and you must not ignore that. Helmets can be used for up to ten years, but if you are hitting your head regularly, then you’ll need to replace it sooner. In accredited testing, it has been noted that the helmets can be safely used for 6.5 years.
Q. How do you fit a hockey helmet?
To be able to properly fit your hockey helmet, you will have to follow the below steps:
- Choose the right size by measuring your head, and the way to do that is by wrapping a tape around the widest point of your head.
- Once you buy the helmet, loosen it up to its most significant setting.
- Place it over your head with the rim a finger’s width above the eyebrows.
- Slide the chin strap under your jaw and tighten the helmet so that it’s comfortable and doesn’t move too much.
Q. Should you buy a used hockey helmet?
Never buy a used hockey helmet. Ever. When you buy a used helmet, you do not know how long it been used for or how many times it has been hit. The helmet can look new and the price might look tempting, but it’s not worth the risk and you or your child’s safety should be the number one priority.
Q. Can you remove the ear protection?
Most senior category players tend to remove the ear protection in their helmets even though there is a risk of getting hit. Players often complain that the ear guards prevent them from listening effectively and make the helmet heavier, making their game poor. If you are senior removing ear protection it’s s your choice and it’s not a requirement. But, for kids, it is always advisable to keep the helmet’s ear protection on before going into any game.
Our Best Rated Hockey Helmet Reviews
Now that we’ve covered everything you need to know about hockey helmets let’s take a look at what we think are the top 10 hockey helmets on the market this year.
#1. Bauer RE-AKT 200 Hockey Helmet: Best Overall
In at number one of our best hockey helmets round up we have The Bauer RE-ATK 200. It’s one of the most popular helmets on the market because of the XRD, VTX, and MD foams that it features to distribute the impact of any blows and helps to dissipate the force across a larger area. They’re definitely a step up from the regular EPP foams that a lot of other helmets use. It is also very light and breathable, which gives a good comfortable feel to the wearer.
Looking at its construction, it’s made with a 2-piece shell design with tool free adjustment meaning tweaking the fit a lot easier. The helmet features some of Bauer’s next generation impact absorption technology called Suspend –Tech system. This is designed to withstand both rotational and linear impacts and spread out the energy of impacts
Overall, a high quality, durable hockey helmet that’s lightweight and comfortable to allow you to play your best hockey. Highly recommended.
- Uses Bauer’s next generation Suspend -Tech to dissipates energy from a blow and spread the impact
- Tool free adjustment to get the perfect fit easily
- Very popular option with almost 20% of players choosing it
- Lightweight and due to the use of the VTX foam liner system
- More expensive than other models
#2. Warrior Alpha One Pro Hockey Helmet
Our 2nd choice helmet is one of the newest models, The Warrior Alpha One which has quickly gained in popularity since its release
The brand offers multiple color choices and a hard-rigid plastic shell. It is a one-piece shell with the OmniShock Protection Mechanism, which makes it firm and dense, but extremely lightweight.
This model has the shell and liners combined into one unit to make the padding stay together in a place. Padding consists of EPP foam and Impax soft-touch foam. The helmet comes with Flow Comfort Polygeine liners to make it breathable and well ventilated.
It is considered a good helmet for having BOA AdaptFit 360 system, which allows a perfect fit on your head. At the back of the helmet is a dial, which can be rotated to make it small or large.
- It provides a whole new approach to safety and comfort, primarily concentrates on certain significant and fragile portions of your head.
- One true fitting system is called BOA Fit, which allows little adjustments for getting the right fit.
- The Polygeine liners make the helmet absorb sweat and keep the head dry and fresh.
- This helmet can be used for all kinds of high impact games
- A great choice within the budget.
- According to popular reviews, the one fit system at times become a little tricky to operate.
#3. Bauer RE-AKT 150 Hockey Helmet
Bauer has been highly recommended for good quality helmets, and Bauer RE-AKT 150 is one such model. This model provides complete protection, keeping comfort in mind. Its low-density material built makes its lightweight. The model is black, sleek looking with a modern touch. It comes with a Comfort Pod liner that gives an excellent overall adaptive comfort.
The helmet uses two kinds of foam: XRD foam and IX foam, which gives better protection from all types of impacts and a higher level of comfort. Bauer RE-AKT 150 concentrates on protecting the most common impact points, namely front, rear, and top, using the VTx technology inbuilt in the helmets. The fit can be easily adjusted using the Freefoam adjustment system, also inbuilt in this helmet.
- Inbuilt system of VTx technology
- Easily adjustable helmet fit
- Lightweight yet sturdy low-density material, making the helmet lightweight
- Two types of foam which provide dynamic protection
- The ventilation ports in the helmet keep the head dry
- The memory foam protects the temple, and a special bacterial lining removes odors and infection.
- It is slightly costly compared to other hockey helmets
#4. TRUE Dynamic Pro 9 Hockey Helmet
True to its name, the TRUE Dynamic Pro 9 is a high-end helmet in terms of both the highest quality comfort and protection. The shell comprises a single piece of polypropylene shell, making it the lightest helmet of its class. The EPP foam protects it from all kinds of impact.
Talking about its features, the helmet is made up of considering the MIPS Brain Protection System. This, in simple words, means that the low friction lining reduces any chance of rotation and thus reduces any chance of receiving a concussion.
Additional to back and forth adjustable pads, TRUE Dynamic Pro 9 has sides and rear adjustments available for achieving the best possible fit of the helmet. It comes in a variety of colors to choose from. The lightweight does not compromise with quality.
- The MIPS Brain Protection brand that manufactured helmets for cyclists’, motorcycles and hockey, is well-reputed.
- The adjustable fit pads are in 3 different shaped foams, which gives an overall protection
- This helmet is the lightest in the market.
- The cage or visor does not fit well.
#5. CCM TACKS 710 Hockey Helmet
Under the brand CCM, most helmets perform brilliantly, and CCM Tacks 710 is no exception. This helmet provides an overall concussion prevention mechanism by adding a few exciting features. It was designed for round heads, but wide heads also can fit into this helmet.
Although it does not have a cage, it has a multi-directional fitting, which implies that you can adjust the helmet from all sides. The RED is a liquid-filled padded bladder that prevents the head from getting jarred and undergoing concussion.
In addition to this, the D3O lite foam pads give an extra layer of protection to the head. For a different level of comfort, the inner lining consists of IQ. Shion foam.
The easily adjustable helmet, especially without a tool, CCM tacks 710 is one of the best choices you are starting to learn Hockey.
- RED the system provides the best possible shock absorption mechanism.
- Comfortable fit for both round and wide heads.
- D3O lite protects your head using an extra foam.
- Comfortable and easy fit for most head types
- If you have a narrow head, then there is no way you can get a good fit.
#6. Bauer RE-AKT 95 Hockey Helmet: Best Budget Model
Lighter on the pocket, Bauer RE- AKT 95 is a great helmet, also from the renowned brand Bauer. They have an HDPE Pro shell with a varied thickness, which makes this helmet comparatively lighter than others. Do not be alarmed by lightweight as there is no compromise on safety. The helmet comes with three different height adjustment settings and a pair of removable ear guards.
Like other Bauer models, this also has PORON XRD foam at the temples, which can easily withstand any energy level impact. Another level of lining or foam is the Suspend-Tech liner, which allows the free movement of liners inside the helmet.
It gives you proper ventilation and a bit of moisture channel to keep the head dry.
- The HDPE Pro shell makes the helmet lighter without sacrificing protection.
- For multiple adjustments, Occipital Lock 3.0 is inbuilt in the system.
- PORON XRD foams for impact protection in the temple
- There is no tool involved for adjustment.
- Removable ear guards which can be very dangerous.
#7. CCM Tacks 910 Hockey Helmet
A brand-new launch of CCM in 2020 is the CCM Tacks 910. This helmet is best suited for aggressive and experienced players. The main motive behind this new model is to provide maximum protection. The Fluid Inside Pod Technology is integrated into this helmet. The outer shell is pro-approved, which means excellent overall support against impact.
CCM is setting up an example to show the importance of protection in helmets.
IQ. Shion Memory Foam liner is an essential feature of this CCM model. Due to the dual-density, they provide an excellent contour to the head and are easily molded.
The occipital support tends to cushion the head, and a front and back adjustment makes it capable of an adjustable fit.
The helmet is surprisingly comfortable but also features a stiffness that protects the head in the game.
- The tool-free adjustment and enabling personalized fitting
- Fluid Inside Pod and IQ. Shion Memory foam together gives excellent protection.
- It also has the RED—liner system responsible for distributing energy away from the head.
- Excellent reviews by users about the shell protective layer.
- It is preferably not the lightest helmet available
#8. Bauer 5100 Hockey Helmet
Providing overall comfort, Bauer 5100 is another outstanding model by Bauer. The helmets are well ventilated with multiple perforations letting out the bad smell. They have padding 3-times the density.
The liner of the helmet is Hx-sorb and comfort foam, which adds additional support to the helmet. However, the brand has not made additional charges from the last one. One rear side is not very adjustable in terms of fitting.
The shell is of single uniform density and thus not disturbing your balance and symmetry. The helmet has transparent ear protection, which can cover the ears from potential physical damage.
- Adjustable fitting with no extra tool needs for fitting
- Gives away a stylish appearance and looks elegant.
- The primary sizes available are small, medium, and large.
- The different part of foam gives individual attention to the face, head, ears, etc.
- The holes made in the helmet for ventilation as massive.
#9. Warrior Covert PX+ Hockey Helmet
A helmet best suited for a wide head is the Warrior Covert PX+. Keeping comfort as a priority, this helmet is designed to give the customers an optimal fit and a wide range of protection, starting from the head and moving down to the neck.
With the multiple layers of foam and plastic, The VN Foam layer gives a protective and comfortable fit. It is considered to be one of the best performing helmets.
For a 360- degree fit, the single dial is used to adjust and active shell without any tool. Like most other warrior helmets, it is also made up of EPP foam, which gives a layer of protection against impact.
The helmet also comes with a cage, which controls concussion in the head and prevents any injury on the face. The warrior has genuinely taken care of the protection, from the eyebrows to the neck and the face.
- Overall, 360-degree protection from impact and accidental blows
- The total weight of the helmet is warmly distributed across the helmet
- It has a single dial adjustment system and a very sleek look
- It is best suited for wide head players
- The price is reasonable for a high technological helmet
- Do not fit other had sizes very well.
- It is slightly bulky.
#10. CCM Fitlite 3DS Hockey Helmet
The newer and elite version of CCM is the advanced technology-based CCM Fitlite 3DS. This is the next-gen helmet sue to its 3 DS systems: the fit system, the materials combined and customized.
The shell comprises PE and ABS material. This combination gives the helmets excellent durability.
D30 smart foam makes up the internal lining of the helmet and is said to handle high-intensity impacts. The bigger or larger the effect is, the foam tends to grow harder.
The most notable feature for any other helmet is the Microdial III, which is now used to adjust from front to back along with 360-degree adjustments. However, EEP is the baseliner, and scientists recently address it that EEP can better impact quality.
- In CCM Fitlite 3 DS, the shell is capable of absorbing high-intensity impact due to D30 foam along with EPP foam.
- The Microdial III system provides an overall 360-degree fit.
- The helmet’s fit is beyond comparison, and that’s is due to Microdial III.
- The PE shells are of high density and have the liner system for a very comfortable fit.
- The helmet is so lightweight that it gives away the feel of you wearing it.
- CCM has inserted the newest impact resistance technology without much impact testing
Conclusion: Which One Should You Get?
At no point in time, especially in a rough, physically challenging game like Hockey, can you compromise on the quality of the helmet you are wearing. We are not stating that other body parts are less important, but the head is the most fragile, and the center of most functions should not be allowed to withstand any impact, light, or strong. Brain injuries are the worst to treat and are often irreversible, and a good quality helmet lessens that chance.
Bauer RE-AKT 200 is in every parameter the best Hockey helmet, according to us. And the popular customer reviews about this helmet proves our statement too. We hope this helps you make the right choice.