In this side-by-side product review Outside Pursuits leads you through everything you need to know in order to pick the best snowboard helmet for your specific needs and type of snowboarding.
We’ll take a look at what makes the best snowboard helmet for the money and what to avoid. Also see How To Choose The Best Snowboard Helmet later in the article. What is the best snowboard helmet for you?
Best Snowboarding Helmets
Quick Answer: The 7 Best-Rated Snowboard Helmets – 2019
- Smith Optics Unisex Adult Vantage Snow Sports Helmet
- Giro Range Men’s Snowboard Helmet
- Anon Prime MIPS Helmet
- POC Receptor BUG Communication Snowboard Helmet
- Traverse Vigilis 2-in-1 Convertible Snowboard Helmet
- Lucky Bums Multi Sport Helmet
- Smith Optics Aspect Adult Snowboard Helmet
Snowboard Helmets Reviews
If you’ve never spent a ton of time on the mountain then let me tell you – the Smith Vantage is one of the most popular and common sights on snowboarders around the world.
This Smith snowboard helmet has taken the snowboarding world by storm over the last several years for a few reasons.
It’s an adjustable helmet system which means the protective exterior shell sits on top of a isolated suspension which can be adjusted to fit your head perfectly.
There’s a single ratchet adjustment located at the back of the helmet which can be easily adjusted on the fly. You’ll still need to measure yourself though as the adjustments are limited.
Smith makes this helmet in about two dozen variations of color and design. That way there’s sure to be something for everyone’s snowboarding styles which I love!
It’s ready to be integrated with Skullcandy bluetooth speakers which fit right into the removable ear pieces of the helmet.
Best For: Snowboarders with round shaped heads looking for the ultimate helmet system.
Giro is my helmet of choice for one main reason. While Smith helmets tend to fit round shaped heads, Giro snowboard helmets tend to fit heads that are a bit longer front to back.
For me, this is the perfect size and shape helmet to accommodate my big ol brain bucket. This helmet packs an updated feature that’s new to the world of snowboarding helmet technology.
MIPS systems, like the one in the Giro Range, allow the shell of the helmet to move independently of the suspension.
There’s a layer of movable padding which reduces torque and torsion on impact, helping to increase the overall safety of the helmet.
Features of the Giro Range Snowboard Helmet:
- Construction: MIPS – Multi-Directional Impact Protection System, Articulating Hard Shell construction, Low-profile design
- Fit System: Conform Fit System
- Ventilation: Thermostat Control Adjustable Venting, Stack Ventilation
- Features: vPOV camera mount included, Fidlock® magnetic buckle closure, XT2 ® anti-odor padding, Compatible with all Giro aftermarket audio systems by Outdoor Tech, Seamless Compatibility with all Giro goggles
- Certification: CE EN1077
Giro helmets are compatible with Giro audio systems, but you’ll usually find that you can fit just about any standard helmet audio system in them without trouble.
I do love the easy to use vent adjustment located top center. A row of raised ridges can be slid back and forward to open or close the ventilation.
Overall these helmets are among the best available. The upgraded easy-clip magnetic chin strap is a nice touch on a great helmet!
Best For: Snowboarders with longer heads looking for bleeding edge tech!
Anon isn’t quite as popular in the US as Smith and Giro but their helmets are all over the hills nonetheless. I know several people who love their Anon gear and swear by it, as do the 5-star reviewers online.
This helmet is rocking the MIPS system just like Giro’s Range helmet. It never hurts to have extra protection and the new MIPS systems receive outstanding safety ratings. Better make sure your next helmet is equipped with it!
I like that they made the helmet universally compatible with aftermarket audio systems. That means you can take your pick of sweet helmet speakers to rock your favorite jams.
Just like the Giro range Anon put in an easy to use magnetic buckle. These buckle systems are simple to operate even with gloves on and they’re designed to retain the helmet during crashes.
The magnets won’t unlock and leave you helmetless as you tomahawk down the couloir. Overall you’re going to get all the top end features of modern helmets and the price tag stays about the same.
The only drawback is that the Anon Prime is only offered in a couple of colors, compared to the rainbow of colors available with Smith and Giro.
Best For: Snowboarders who want the MIPS system and a sleek look for a bargain price.
POC makes a great line of gear that is always sleek, elegant, and svelte. Their gear has a signature minimalistic look and feel that stands out on the mountain. The same can be said of the Receptor helmet.
This helmet is only available in white or black. It features built in speakers and microphone with a cord for your smartphone. These audio systems often cost $100+ aftermarket and you get them built in!
Unfortunately, that also means that you lose out on some advanced helmet features to make up for the price. There is no MIPS system in this helmet.
The ventilation is generous but not particularly well designed. You’ll also be unable to adjust the vents – they’re always open.
I wouldn’t want to give up these features to gain helmet audio, but that’s just me. You can always add helmet audio to a top of the line helmet after you purchase it.
However, you can’t upgrade the helmet itself after you buy it. Food for thought on the POC Receptor helmet.
Best For: Snowboarders who are audiophiles.
I have to admit, this is a brand I’m not familiar with. However, the great price and excellent reviews make it a hot contender.
It does feature an adjustable inner suspension to dial in the fitment. Overall, though the interior is quite bland and closed cell foam is poorly padded for an ideal fit.
This helmet isn’t going to win any awards for comfort and fit. Ventilation is generous but only on the top of the head and the vent holes gape open with no mesh.
There’s nothing to keep falling snow or powder from dumping in on your warm noggin. There’s also zero adjustability for opening and closing the vents – they’re always open.
It is meant to be a bike / snowboard hybrid helmet which always worries me. Whenever helmets are made for more than one sport, they always compromise somewhere.
It is an affordable helmet though and some protection is better than none. I’d really like to see some fundamental improvements to this helmet however.
Best For: Beginner snowboarders who are on a budget.
Lucky Bums is a brand that finds most of its users in the kids age range. However, they’re bringing out the adult helmets with this multi-sport compatible helmet at a budget end price.
Available in a ton of colors, there’s something here for everyone. These helmets are definitely aimed at beginner snowboarders and I think most of you will want to upgrade pretty quickly after your first season.
There’s no adjustability on the ventilation. However, unlike the Traverse there is at least wire mesh to keep sticks, debris, and snow out as much as possible.
There’s a single buckle strap in the back of the helmet to retain your goggles in case they slip off or get knocked off in a crash.
Overall it’s a very simple helmet with minimal adjustability and flexibility. If you plan to do much snowboarding at all, your money would be better spent saving up and upgrading.
If you’re on a tight budget or just aren’t sure how much time you’ll put into the sports, this could be a helmet you might consider.
Best For: Beginners, budget snowboarders and those looking for a multi sport helmet.
Smith, again, is one of the better manufacturers in the helmet world. For snowboarding helmets that won’t let you down, it’s hard to steer wrong with Smith.
The Aspect helmet is one of the beginner end models with less features and a more affordable price.
Ventilation is minimal and the holes are non adjustable, which puts it in league with some of the other beginner helmets we’ve reviewed.
There’s nothing wrong with this, it saves you some money but also reduces the weather flexibility of the helmet overall.
I do like that it’s available in many sizes, like all Smith helmets, and features a pretty well crafted internal suspension system for dialing in the fit. There’s a single ratchet adjustment at the back of the helmet that uses a simple turn dial fit.
The earpieces are generous and well made with soft micro fleece on the inside. Overall, it’s a budget helmet with lower end features.
Best For: Intermediate to beginners snowboarders who want a quality name that don’t want to spend top dollar.
Snowboarding Helmet Comparison Table
|Best Snowboarding Helmets||Materials||Special Features||Customer Ratings|
|Smith Optics Unisex Adult Vantage Snow Sports Helmet||ABS Plastic||Snap-fit Ear Pads / Skull Candy Audio option||4.4 / 5.0|
|Giro Range Men’s Snowboard Helmet||ABS Plastic||GoPro Camera Mount||4.0 / 5.0|
|Anon Prime MIPS Helmet||ABS Plastic||Audio Accessory Compatible||5.0 / 5.0|
|POC Receptor BUG Snowboard Helmet||ABS Plastic||Smartphone compatible cord control and hands free||3.5 / 5.0|
|Traverse Vigilis 2-in-1 Convertible Ski & Snowboard/Bike & Skate Helmet||ABS Plastic||A simple one-handed twist of the dial, clockwise to tighten and counter-clockwise to loosen||4.1 / 5.0|
|Lucky Bums Snow Sport Helmet||ABS Plastic||Rotective layers, a padded chin strap, and goggle loop||4.3 / 5.0|
|Smith Optics Aspect Adult Snowboard Helmet||PC shell and EPS foam liner||Adjustable dial fit system (DFS2). Lightweight in-mold construction.||4.6 / 5.0|
How to Choose the Best Snowboarding Helmet
- Fitment and Shape
- Impact Protection
- Sound Systems
- FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions
When you start snowboarding, there are a million things on your mind. Unfortunately we often don’t think about what helmet to wear until it’s too late. Or we buy a cheap helmet just thinking that it’s “good enough”.
Is mediocre really the word you want to describe the most important piece of protective gear in your arsenal? I think not!
I’ve spent well over 100 days per season on the mountain over the last handful of years. I can tell you that upgrading to a well fitting helmet that’s lightweight, comfortable, and right for me was one of the best moves I made in 6 years!
Picking out your next snowboard helmet is a process that deserves your full attention. When I bought my first helmet I just got an inexpensive helmet in my favorite color thinking it would suffice. I ended up buying a better fitting one the next season.
Fitment and Shape
I had no idea when I first started that each helmet maker has a distinctly different size and shape. Buying a large helmet from Smith is much different than a large helmet from Giro.
In my case, Giro fits my longer head (front to back) much better than Smith which tends to be wider and shorter. So what’s a snowboarder to do?
My suggestion is that you try on every helmet you can find from each manufacturer. Every manufacturer has several different sizes and shape helmets.
Of course this only works if you happen to be near a ski shop. If not, buy a few online from someone like Amazon where you can easily return the ones you don’t like.
Almost all modern snowboarding helmets are fully adjustable. The only exception to this would be on the extremely budget end of the spectrum. For that reason I suggest paying a little more and moving into the mid to high end range of helmets.
Why is adjustability so important?
Because you’ll want to be able to change the size and shape of your helmet. When it gets crazy cold and you need to wear an extra hat, make the helmet larger.
If you’ve got a headache, loosen it up. If you’re about to drop into a crazy chute, tighten it up.
Almost all helmets are rated for a single impact. No, that doesn’t mean you need to throw away the helmet after a gentle fall.
However, if you take a digger hard enough to break certain internal components, dent the exterior, or shatter parts then you’ll want a new helmet.
Unfortunately, today’s helmets just are meant to be disposable. They’re made from lightweight parts that stand up to only one major impact and then need to be replaced.
This is good because it keeps the helmets light, airy, yet protective. It’s bad because it may cost you several hundred dollars if you take a nasty fall.
Good ventilation is key to enjoying your time on the mountain in varying conditions. Gone are the days of open or closed ventilation.
Even worse is the option of no ventilation at all. Instead most decent helmets today have easily operable levers which open and close the helmet vents.
When you’re looking for a helmet with good vents, make sure you can move the vent lever with gloves on. You don’t want to have to take off your gloves to adjust the vents on your helmet.
Personally, I end up opening and closing the vents on my helmet several times throughout each day to keep up with the changing temperatures, snowfall, and winds.
If you spend a lot of time snowboarding alone, you might want a helmet with included speakers. These usually come built in or can be added after market to certain helmets.
There are bluetooth and wired versions depending on what you prefer. Wired versions can be a pain because it requires an extra connection between your helmet and you.
This can get restrictive or distracting – the last thing you want on the hill. For that reason I suggest bluetooth helmet audio.
In the spirit of upholding responsible use of the mountain I have to mention that audio systems should never be used if they impede your ability to snowboard safely.
In situations where the hills are crowded and hearing is a critical component of staying safe with skiers and snowboarders around you, just skip the music altogether.
Choosing the right gear for snowboarding can be challenging. And it doesn’t help that picking out your gear can seem like a chore! If you want the best helmets and great technology to keep you safe, look to the Anon, Smith, and Giro helmets with MIPS systems.
If you want to keep it on a budget and don’t care about features, there are several helmets that can get you started without shrinking the bank on our list!
FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions About Snowboard Helmets
Question: How important is it to have vents on my helmet?
Answer: You know, since it’s usually freezing cold out there on the mountain when you’re boarding, you’d think vents aren’t really a necessity, right?
Well, think again. Even during days when you’re snowboarding with temperatures in the teens, vents can be critical. In fact, I only ever close my vents on the coldest days or when I’m experiencing very low activity levels on the mountain.
I will say that adjustable vents are nice though. I often find myself using half closed vents for a balance somewhere in the middle.
During spring conditions if it happens to rain or as the snow melts off the chair bars and drips on your head, closing the vents can be nice to keep your head dry a little longer.
Question: For park boarding, what kind of helmet offers the best head protection?
Answer: Right now the best helmets on the market for all-around protection are the MIPS systems.
Helmets using MIPS have an internal sleeve which is able to rotate independently of the exterior helmet shell. The outside of the helmet protects from impact while the inside of the helmet protects from twisting forces.
We all know that park boarding and park skiing comes with serious risks. It’s worth investing in a helmet that has the best chance of saving your noodle, I think.
Question: I took a fall and my helmet broke, can I replace it?
Answer: I will say from firsthand experience that if you take a serious hit with the helmet it can break. If that happens, don’t bother calling up the manufacturer for replacement parts.
These helmets are designed with certain destroyable parts. Shells are made to dent and cave to absorb force. Helmet straps are sometimes designed to pull apart under extreme forces (so it doesn’t twist your head off).
Once your helmet has taken a nasty hit, it’s intended to be replaced. Unfortunately, this is an expensive prospect but that’s just the way it is.
What price is too high for protecting your noodle? I can’t say.
Question: What is the best way to find a good helmet fit for me?
Answer: If you really want your helmet to fit right, you can’t just order the first one you find online.
How do I know? Because I’ve tried it before.
Here’s what you really need to know:
- Each helmet manufacturer has a different “fit”
- There will be one brand of helmets that fit your head better than other brands
- Within that brand, there will be one specific helmet that matches your head shape correctly
- The best way to find that helmet is to try on many different helmets
In order to do this, you can just stop into the pro shop at your local mountain and try on every helmet they have. If none fit, go to a shop with a bigger selection.
Note whether the brand of helmet fits right, is too tight side to side, or too tight front to back.
In general, Smith helmets tend to be short front to back and wide side to side. Giro tends to be narrow side to side and long front to back. There’s a starting point for you!
Thanks for reading The 7 Best Snowboard Helmets Reviewed. We hope this article has helped you to discover the best choice for a snowboard helmet to meet your needs and type of boarding. You might also be interested in our informative article entitled, How to Snowboard – A Beginners Guide.
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