While football is a fun sport to play, it is undeniable that injuries are common. To prevent the latter, you should invest in the best football helmet, including those that will be briefly mentioned in the rest of this post.
With the right helmet, the head will be protected from serious damage in case of an unfortunate event. Even prominent players have suffered from a concussion and serious brain injuries, making it important to wear a helmet.
Not all helmets, however, are the same. From their safety ratings to the comfort that they can deliver, they differ in more ways than one. If you are undecided which one to buy, read on and learn from some of our recommendations.
- Our Tops Picks for the Best Football Helmet
- Schutt Sports Vengeance VTD II Football Helmet
- Riddell SpeedFlex Adult Football Helmet
- Schutt Sports DNA Pro+ Varsity Football Helmet
- Schutt Sports Youth Air Standard V Football Helmet
- Riddell NFL Full Size Replica Speed Helmet
- Rawlings Momentum Plus Youth Football Helmet
- Football Helmet Ratings
- The Anatomy of a Football Helmet
- Sizing the Football Helmet
- Youth vs Adult Football Helmet: What Makes Them Different?
- Choosing the Best Football Helmet
- Care and Maintenance for Football Helmets
Our Tops Picks for the Best Football Helmet
Below, we’ll have a quick look at some of the top-rated products and some of the reasons why they are exceptional.
Schutt Sports Vengeance VTD II Football Helmet
This premium helmet comes with a custom-made TPU cushioning, which has been exclusively developed by the manufacturer for increasing the ability to absorb both low and high-velocity impacts. It also has an air liner and a front cushioning, which adds to the protection it provides the wearer. However, take note that the faceguard is not included, so you have to purchase it separately. In the official rating system of helmets, it has five stars, which already speaks of the quality that you can expect from this product.
Riddell SpeedFlex Adult Football Helmet
Based on the Virginia Tech Helmet Ratings, it has a five-star rating, providing you with the assurance that the quality will be hard to match. Among others, one of the revolutionary features of this football helmet is the Patented Side Impact Protection, which is helpful in the reduction of force that can be felt from side impacts. The shell, meanwhile, is made of polycarbonate, which has been thoroughly tested to be sure that it will be able to withstand impact. It is also worth noting that more than two million data points have been used as a reference to construct this helmet.
Schutt Sports DNA Pro+ Varsity Football Helmet
This helmet features a mechanically attached TPU cushioning system to guarantee the highest level of protection even in the most intense football games. It also comes with the revolutionary Surefit Ventilated Air Liner, which is one of the reasons why ventilation is not a thing to be worried about. This ensures your highest level of comfort when playing while also guaranteeing protection that the head needs. It comes with a massive shell that allows the use of a larger cushioning for better absorption upon impact.
Schutt Sports Youth Air Standard V Football Helmet
To provide the maximum protection, this helmet features an expanded polypropylene, which enhances the ability to absorb impact. There are also Air Max TPU jaw pads, which will provide more protection from impact to minimize the likelihood of an injury. Meanwhile, with the EVA fit liner, the fit is comfortable and snug. The ABS plastic shell, on the other hand, is made using a durable material while also promising the best in terms of comfort, basically because of the strategically positioned ventilation holes that are found at the top of the helmet.
Riddell NFL Full Size Replica Speed Helmet
For fans of NFL, this replica helmet will prove to be an excellent investment. It is quite expensive, but the steep price should not matter given the fact that this is an exact copy of what the pro athletes wear in their games. However, it should be noted that this helmet is not intended for competitive play. There are decals in the shell of the helmet depending on the team that you are supporting. When worn, comfort is also not an issue. Again, since it is not meant for competition, do not expect that the protection level will be the highest.
Rawlings Momentum Plus Youth Football Helmet
One of the defining features of this helmet is the heat exchange technology that guarantees your highest level of comfort. There is also a rear inflation port, which provides proper adjustment to make sure that the fit will be perfect. This will allow you to have it customized based on individual needs. The outer shell is made of high-impact ABS plastic, which is a common material of choice within the product category. Take note, however, that this helmet is available only in youth sizes.
Football Helmet Ratings
When you are choosing from the plethora of options available on the market, one of the best points of reference would be the helmet ratings, making it easier to decide which one is capable of delivering the highest level of protection.
The Department of Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics of Virginia Tech released a STAR rating reference for football helmets in 2011. Since then, it has been used as a basis for determining the safety of helmets. Each helmet is subjected to a lab test and based on the results, they are rated in six categories.
Based on Virginia Tech rating system, the best helmets are awarded five stars, which means that they are amongst the best available options on the market. Those with inferior quality, on the other hand, are given zero stars, which means that they are not recommended to be used.
However, take note that even if the helmet has a five-star rating, no product is concussion-proof. Even with the best head protection, there is no 100% guarantee that the player will not suffer from an injury in case of an accident. The helmet ratings are only for reference.
The Anatomy of a Football Helmet
To be a well-informed buyer and arrive at the right decision, it is important that you are familiar with the different parts of the football helmet. This will also make it easier for you to determine how their quality differs from one another.
- Shell: Often referred to as the outer shell, this is the part of the helmet that covers the head and is the one giving the head the protection it needs. It is often made of two materials – ABS plastic or alloy.
- Padding: This is what makes the interior of the helmet. It provides not only cushioning but also an additional layer of protection. It should have a snug fit while offering shock absorption. It can be inflated to fit the head size of the wearer.
- Jaw Pads: You should choose a helmet that comes with inflatable jaw pads, which will make it possible to have the fit customized.
- Air Liner: This is one part that you can see in modern models of football helmets. They have inflatable air pockets that can be inflated or deflated to suit the size of your head. This allows a degree of personalization for better comfort.
- Face Mask: The helmet protects not only the head. With the face mask, it also protects the nose, mouth, and eyes, among other parts of the face. The face mask offers a different type of protection, including oral, jaw, and nose protection. The choice of the face mask would often depend on the position of the player.
Sizing the Football Helmet
The right size of the football helmet is one of the most important buying considerations. If it is too small, it won’t fit or you might end up being uncomfortable. If it is too big, on the other hand, it can be wobbly and will be unable to provide the protection that you need.
- Ask help from a friend when measuring the head.
- Wrap the tape measure around the head. The right position would be one inch above the eyebrows.
- Take note of the circumference of the head.
- Refer to the sizing chart of the manufacturer. Often, different manufacturers will have different sizes, so it would be best to consult. In most cases, a small helmet is for a head with a circumference of 20.75 to 21.25 inches for youth and 19 to 20.5 inches for an adult. On the other hand, a large helmet is for head circumference that is 22.25 to 23.75 inches for youth and 22 to 23.5 inches for adults.
There are some points to remember that will be indicative of the proper fit of the helmet. For instance, one of the most important is to not have a space between the padding of the helmet and the temples. There should also be no gap between the jaw pads and the jaw. Plus, when you are moving your head, the helmet should stay in place. It must also be sitting properly on the forehead, which will provide you with a clear view of what is in front.
Youth vs Adult Football Helmet: What Makes Them Different?
The most obvious difference between the two is the size. Those that are meant for youth are usually smaller compared to those that are for adults.
Aside from the size, the more significant difference between the two is the material that is used. In the case of youth helmets, they are usually made of ABS plastic. It is lightweight but durable. On the other hand, in the case of helmets for adults, polycarbonate is the main material used. It won’t compress upon impact and is known for having better structural strength compared to ABS plastic.
Choosing the Best Football Helmet
As you try to weigh the pros and cons of the options that you are confronted with, below are some of the most important things to take into consideration:
- Cushioning: The cushioning is important for your comfort and protection. While there are several cushioning materials, one of the best is TPU. The latter is known for being exceptional in terms of impact absorption and heat management.
- Comfort: Pay attention as well to the features that will be indicative of comfort, such as the right size and shape. More importantly, there should be ventilation holes, which will allow air circulation. It is important that you are comfortable with the helmet you are wearing as it will directly impact your performance on the field.
- NOCSAE Seal: NOCSAE stands for National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment. It is a U.S.-based organization that provides certifications to helmets to ensure their safety. When a helmet has this seal, it means that it has been through a series of rigid tests to prove its quality and safety.
Care and Maintenance for Football Helmets
Even if you choose the best football helmet available on the market, there is no guarantee that it will withstand the test of time. Below are some things you have to do to keep the helmet in its peak condition even through the years:
- Keep the helmet in a place away from direct heat and sunlight when it is not used. It would be best to wrap it first in plastic and keep it in a box before storing in the cabinet.
- Clean the helmet right after every use. Fortunately, this does not require too much effort on your end. All that needs to be done is to use wet wipes to clean the shell and the other parts that can be prone to dirt.
- You can also use gentle cleansers when deep cleaning the helmet. A mild liquid detergent soap will be enough for the job. A shampoo without harsh ingredients is also ideal. Do not soak the helmet in water. Instead, use a damp cloth with soap to spot treat the dirt. Dip it in warm water and dry.
- It is also advisable that you use a disinfectant spray. The helmet can be a breeding ground of bacteria from sweat. A disinfectant spray will solve this problem while also leaving the helmet smelling fresh.
With the best football helmet, the likelihood of suffering from an injury will be significantly lesser! Whether you are a novice or a pro in the sport, this protection is a must-have in every game. Take note of the products mentioned above to enjoy superior quality!