Our Choice for the Best Football Helmets
It’s pretty clear these days the number one safety concern for young and professional football players is head and brain injuries. No one would play full contact, tackle football without wearing a helmet. But what exactly is the best football helmet to wear when it comes to overall head protection and preventing concussions?
Through the years, there have been many alterations and advances in football helmet protection technology. No more is it just cushioning with a hard exterior. The advances include everything from strategically placed padding, custom inflatable air liners, and even portions of the helmet that can move independently of the shell (like tectonic plates on Earth) to maximize rotational force absorption.
Check out our short guide at the end of this article to help you choose a good helmet. One that gives you peace of mind, to protect your mind. Plus get some helpful sizing tips for youth football helmets.
We looked at football helmets that will give you the best protection and comfort and help supplement the protection offered by your football gloves and complement your overall uniform.
- This helmet does a really great job of protecting you from both rotational and linear forces
- This helmet comes with enhanced ventilation and has antimicrobial properties
- The Xenith X2 Youth Custom Football Helmet is light enough that you can wear it for long periods of time
- Comes with its own chinstrap
- This is a youth helmet and may not fit those who need a bigger helmet
Every football player requires adequate protection during play. Although most uniforms these days are made with safety in mind, one of the most important things to any football player is their helmet. If you are looking to stay safe during play, then you ought to get the best helmet that you can get. Starting off out list of best football helmets is the Xenith X2 Youth Custom Football Helmet. Although this is a youth helmet and may not fit those who need a bigger helmet, there are various reasons why it is number one on our list.
One of these reasons is the protection that it affords its wearer. It comes with X2Y shock absorbers. These shock absorbers do a really good job of adapting to the amount and direction of the shock that you receive. In this way, this shock absorber does a really great job of protecting you from both rotational and linear forces.
The other reason is the level of ventilation afforded by the Xenith X2 Youth Custom Football Helmet. This helmet comes with enhanced ventilation and has antimicrobial properties. Apart from keeping you cool and dry, it also ensures that you remain clean even when playing for long periods of time.
The Xenith X2 Youth Custom Football Helmet is light enough that you can wear it for long periods of time. It is also comfortable enough for those who have concerns about that. The helmet and its attached chinstrap also do a pretty good job of molding to the head for an even more comfortable fit. The fit system that is employed in this helmet ensures that it does not come off easily, a property that is supported by the comfortable fitting shin strap.
- This helmet is made using high performance polycarbonate which is strong enough to protect you even from the hardest hits
- It is very light and very comfortable even when worn for long periods of time
- The heat exchange vents found all over this helmet are enough to keep you cool and dry during play
- It comes with attachments for most of the visors and face masks
- It does not come with a facemask or visor
At number two we have a helmet that is very well known for its comfort and ventilation, the Rawlings Adult Impulse Football Helmet. This helmet is made using high performance polycarbonate. This material is strong enough to protect you even from the hardest hits. The Rawlings custom comfort cushion also goes a long way to ensure that this helmet is not only comfortable but that you can be able to wear it for long periods of time. The Rawlings Adult Impulse Football Helmet is also light enough so that it does not bog you down during play.
The heat exchange vents found all over this helmet are enough to keep you cool and dry during play. All of the extra hardware that is found on the Rawlings Adult Impulse Football Helmet is made out of stainless steel. This is so that it does not rust, is durable and you are able to clean it very easily. The Rawlings Adult Impulse Football Helmet comes with attachments for most of the visors and face masks that are available in the market and so you will have a very easy time finding those the accessories you need for your helmet.
The clips for the facemask are durable suryln type. The one thing that may put people off concerning this helmet is the fact that it does not come with a facemask or visor. You will have to get those separately. That said, the Rawlings Adult Impulse Football Helmet is approved by the NOCSAE and you should therefore keep your head high and play to your heat’s content when you have this helmet on. With its protective inner lining as well as ventilation vents, you will fall in love with the Rawlings Adult Impulse Football Helmet.
- Comes with an extra later of protection in addition to the outer shell
- It also has enough vents to ensure that you remain cool and dry during play
- It is really easy time to put on and remove the visors and facemasks on this helmet
- the Schutt Sports Adult Vengeance DCT Football Helmet does not come with a facemask
Closing out our top three best football helmets is the Schutt Sports Adult Vengeance DCT Football Helmet. This helmet is built for fiery players who are not afraid to go out onto the field and butt heads. This is made possible by the single layer, dual compression TPU that comes standard on this helmet. This extra later of protection in addition to the outer shell do a great job of keeping all the players who use this helmet safe from both rotationary and linear impacts and forces.
DCT stands for “Dual Compression Technology”. This technology brings you dual layer durometers which are specifically added to absorb shock and help protect you from both low- and high-impact hits and forces.
The Schutt Sports Adult Vengeance DCT Football Helmet also comes with enough vents to ensure that you remain cool and dry during play. One of the things that ought to push every football player to get this helmet is its attachments for facemasks. The helmet that we got fit all of the facemasks and visors that we have lying around.
Apart from that, we had a really easy time putting on and removing the visors and facemasks. It is important to note that however, the Schutt Sports Adult Vengeance DCT Football Helmet does not come with a facemask. You will have to get that one separately. The patented twit release system is the one that makes that possible.
Apart from one possible drawback in that this helmet does not come with its own facemasks, the Schutt Sports Adult Vengeance DCT Football Helmet is a pretty sturdy helmet that will be able to provide you with all of the protection that you need on the field.
- It is able to provide consistent protection over a wider range of temperatures due to its inner cushioning
- The SUREFIT liner that is included affords added ventilation
- The helmet comes with Air maxx TPU jaw pads
- This helmet does not come with a fancy design
- The Schutt Sports AIR XP Varsity Football Helmet does not come with a facemask
At number four we have a helmet that bears the tradditional look and feel of a helmet, the Schutt Sports AiR XP Varsity Football Helmet. This helmet does not come with a fancy design but it does the job really well. The Schutt Sports AiR XP Varsity Football Helmet comes with TCP cushioning on the inside which is a major improvement over other traditional foam padding. This is because it is able to provide consistent protection over a wider range of temperatures.
In comparison to the older foam padding, the older foam padding’s performance deteriorates as the temperature increases. It is though that this type of padding thins out under high temperatures. The TCP cushioning has also been shown to have better impact absorption, improved management of temperature and the ability to stay hygienic even under long periods of play.
The SUREFIT liner that is included affords added ventilation and helps keep the helmet as lightweight as possible. It also ensures that the helmet you get fits really well while still maintaining sufficient airflow to keep you both dry and cool during play.
Although the Schutt Sports AIR XP Varsity Football Helmet does not come with a facemask, you should really consider getting this helmet and for various reasons. One is the varsity softcup chinstrap that it comes with. The second is the Air maxx TPU jaw pads that are included that are super important especially if you know you are going to be playing a high impact game.
Lightweight, high impact and super strong are some of the phrases that have been used to describe the Schutt Sports AiR XP Varsity Football Helmet and from our personal experience and with the time we spent with this helmet, we are incline to believe that this is accurate.
- This helmet offers amazing protection as well as comfort
- The TPU cushioning, apart from making the inside comfortable, also ensures that this helmet is as lightweight as possible
- The helmet fits snuggly and will not come off during play
- It offers enough ventilation for when you need to stay cool and dry when playing in very hot weather
At number five we have another amazing helmet from Schutt. Well, to be fair they do make really good football accessories. The Schutt Sports Vengeance VDT Football Helmet is a 5-star helmet. This is because of the amazing protection as well as comfort that this helmet offers. As with other Schutt helmets, the Schutt Sports Vengeance VDT Football Helmet has TPU cushioning that absorbs all impact during play to ensure that you stay safe and are protected as adequately as is required.
The TPU cushioning also ensures that this helmet is as lightweight as possible. You will be able to wear it and play in it for long periods of time without feeling the weight. One of the things that endears the Schutt Sports Vengeance VDT Football Helmet to a huge number of players is its SUREFIT Air Liner. This liner ensures that the helmet fits into your head very easily and in this way ensures that the helmet does not come off during play.
The Schutt Sports Vengeance VDT Football Helmet offers enough ventilation for when you need to stay cool and dry when playing in very hot weather. Apart from that, it has enough attachments for all kinds of helmet visors and facemasks. You can use the Schutt Sports Vengeance VDT Football Helmet with your favorite facemasks and visors. It is important to note that the Schutt Sports Vengeance VDT Football Helmet does not come with a visor or a facemask and you will have to get those separately.
- It does come with a facemask
- It is very lightweight
- The Xenith Youth X2e Football Helmet will provide you with all the protection you need
- It offer enough ventilation so that you are able to stay cool and dry during games
- There are some visors that do not fit really well on this helmet so be sure to check before buying visors for this helmet
Next up, we have another youth helmet from Xenith. One of things that you will notice immediately about this helmet, unlike most others, is that it does come with a facemask. This makes this helmet of a higher value than most others we have on this list. The Xenith Youth X2e Football Helmet is poised to provide you with all the comfort that you need in a helmet. Apart from that, it is very lightweight having been made out of very light material.
The fact that it is this lightweight does not mean that it will not offer you adequate protection. Nothing could be further from the truth. From our own experience, the Xenith Youth X2e Football Helmet will provide you with the protection that you need even if you are playing in high impact games.
The Xenith Youth X2e Football Helmet offers enough ventilation so that you are able to stay cool and dry during games. The inner lining is also very hygienic helping you stay clean and fresh through out your games or training sessions.
It is important to mention that the Xenith Youth X2e Football Helmet comes with a Fit seeker and Shock bonnet system. Both of these systems ensure a snug fit without the use of a pump. This should make this helmet easy to fit without any worries or hustle.
We forgot to check whether the Xenith Youth X2e Football Helmet With Facemask comes with attachments for a visor but we believe that it does. If you are looking for a helmet that will offer you protection, is lightweight, comes with amazing ventilation and is not a hustle to fit, then the Xenith Youth X2e Football Helmet With Facemask is the perfect choice for you.
- It is one of the most comfortable helmets on this list
- This helmet comes with DNA Jaw Pads
- This helmet is available in a number of sizes
- The Schutt Sports Youth Air Standard V Football Helmet also comes with a facemask
At number seven we have the Schutt Sports Youth Air Standard V Football Helmet. This is a premium helmet with the most comfortable interior among all of the helmets included in this list. This is mostly due to the comfort liner that increases the surface coverage of the liner inside the helmet. There is also a comfort foam included inside the helmet that further help improve the feel and the comfort of this helmet.
The Schutt Sports Youth Air Standard V Football Helmet comes with DNA Jaw Pads that are comfortable enough for long periods of play. Apart from that, these jaw pads are made out of vinyl which not only makes them comfortable, it makes them very durable. The space between the player’s head and the helmet shell, known as the standoff, is enough to ensure that you have enough room to move an breath while ensuring that the helmet is snug enough to provide support and protection without falling off during a game.
If you prefer a helmet with a traditional standoff, you are going to love the Schutt Sports Youth Air Standard VFootball Helmet. This helmet is available in a number of sizes despite the fact that is is labeled as youth. In addition to that, it also comes in a number of colors so that you are able to find one that goes a lot better with your football uniform.
The Schutt Sports Youth Air Standard V Football Helmet also comes with a face guard so you will not be forced to go out and find one that fits your helmet. If you would like to change the facemask that is included, you can do so very easily. This is because the Schutt Sports Youth Air Standard V Football Helmet comes with various attachments for your visors as well as facemasks.
- The mechanically fitted TPU cushioning system helps make the helmet very comfortable and provides protection
- This helmet is very well ventilated
- It also fits very well and cannot come off during play
- Has enough attachments for your visor, facemask and chin straps
The Schutt Sports DNA Pro+ Varsity Football Helmet is a full sized helmet which is in direct contrast to most of the helmets that are included on this list which are youth helmets. One of the things that you will notice pretty fast when you get a hold of the Schutt Sports DNA Pro+ Varsity Football Helmet is that it does not come with a facemask or a visor. You ill have to go out and find those yourself.
Fortunately, Schutt has people standing by to help you with that. All you have to do is go to their website and get their contact details. When we gave them a call, there were able to show us which facemasks work best with out helmet. Apart form that, the Schutt Sports DNA Pro+ Varsity Football Helmet comes with a lot of attachments for your facemasts. Therefore, regardless of whether you get the facemask that you are directed to get by Schutt or another one that you pick out for yourself, you are going to have an easy time fitting your facemasks.
The Schutt Sports DNA Pro+ Varsity Football Helmet has a large standoff shell. You will also be fascinated with the interior of this helmet as it features a mechanically fitted TPU cushioning system. The functions of this cushioning are two-fold: it helps make the helmet very comfortable while at the same time providing you will all the protection that you may need in a helmet.
The Schutt Sports DNA Pro+ Varsity Football Helmet also features the SUREFIT ventilated AIR liner which is somewhat a standard in all the Schutt helmets we have seen so far. The Schutt Sports DNA Pro+ Varsity Football Helmet is durable, super strong, lightweight, well ventilated and fits like a glove. This is a helmet to get if you are not sure about what helmet you would like to get.
- The Schutt Sports Youth Vengeance DCT Hybrid Football Helmet is made out of a high powered shell that will give you all the protection you need
- Helmet fits very easily and snugly and stays on even when you play very intense games
- There are various sizes for this helmet available
- The dual compressed TPU liner absorbs both low- and high-impact
- Has enough attachment for all your chinstraps and visors
velocity keeping you safe from both rotationary as well as linear forces
Remember that we looked at the adult version of the Schutt Sports Youth Vengeance DCT Hybrid Football Helmet earlier on on this list at number two. At number nine, we have a look at the youth version of the helmet. The Schutt Sports Youth Vengeance DCT Hybrid Football Helmet is made out of a high powered shell. This shell should suffice in providing you with all the protection that you need. Apart from that, its interior is very comfortable so that you are able to wear this helmet for long periods of time.
The Schutt Sports Youth Vengeance DCT Hybrid Football Helmet fits very easily and snugly and stays on even when you play very intense games. Sadly, as with the adult version of this helmet, the Schutt Sports Youth Vengeance DCT Hybrid Football Helmet comes in only one color, white so you do not have a lot of choice there. Schutt seems to make up for this by providing you with various sizes for this helmet so all is not lost.
Another thing that may irk you about this helmet is that it does not come with a facemask so you will have to get one for yourself. That said, the Schutt Sports Youth Vengeance DCT Hybrid Football Helmet does come with a lot of attachments for your facemask as well as your visors.
The dual compressed TPU that lines the inside of this helmet absorbs both low- and high-impact velocity and impact thereby helping keep you safe from both rotationary as well as linear forces. Some of the accessories that come with this helmet include a twist release system, a youth chin strap as well as Air Mazz TPU jaw pads.
- This helmet is matte black helmet and looks absolutely amazing
- It has inflatable back/neck/side liner and crown liners for added comfort
- This helmet fits snuggle if you get the correct size for you
- This helmet is very well ventilated
- The interior is also very hygienic and easy to clean
- Comes with its own chin strap
Last on our list of the best football helmets is the Riddell Revolution SPEED Classic Football Helmet. This is a matte black helmet that looks absolutely amazing, at least according to us. One of the things that truly stood out for us about this helmet is its inflatable back/neck/side liner and crown liner. We were impressed at how comfortable inflating all of these parts made the helmet.
The Riddell Revolution SPEED Classic Football Helmet is a large helmet so it is not suited for youth football players. That said, if you get the right size for you, you will find that this helmet fits snuggle and is pretty lightweight, although not as light as most of the other helmets on this list.
The Riddell Revolution SPEED Classic Football Helmet does not come with a facemask which might be a dealbreaker for a number of people. That said, the interior of this helmet is very well ventilated and we were able to play in it for a long time without sweating. The interior is also very hygienic and easy to clean which helps keep your helmet clean and fresh.
The Riddell Revolution SPEED Classic Football Helmet also comes with a chinstrap so you you will not have to get that as an extra item.
Best Youth Football Helmets
When it comes to kids and football helmets, only you as the parent and/or coach can truly look out for your young player. It takes time for kids to fully understand the importance of avoiding head injuries. You care about your child and want them to play with strength and intensity. Let’s make sure you outfit them so they can do so as safely as possible.
Sizing football helmets, for kids especially, can indeed be tricky sometimes. Fortunately, pretty much any store or online vendor like Amazon will allow you to return a football helmet that doesn’t fit or feel well. (Just make sure you haven’t tried wearing it on the field for very long as sending it back with dirt and scratches isn’t too cool!).
The best way to size a football helmet is to get a flexible tape or use a string to measure the head’s circumference. If you don’t have a tape, just take a string and wrap it around the player’s head from the forehead to the back. Mark or hold where the pieces join, then lay it flat and measure the distance. The following football helmet sizing chart can help give you an idea of the size helmet to get.
Here’s what to look for when you buy a new football helmet for both kids and adults:
Obviously, the quality of materials and durability of the helmet is crucial. You don’t want something that will crack under moderate impact. Good helmet shells will be made from polycarbonate material with durable helmet design and colorway applications to maintain appearance.
Inside, you’ll find a few different approaches. The best Schutt and Xenith football helmets will have shock absorbers in addition to padding. They also include shock suspension, which allows the helmet shell to move on it’s own, separately from the internal layers. Both provide increased head protection.
As for padding, you want helmets that cover all the key areas of your head and your outer face. You want padding for crown, sides, forehead, jaws and above your ears. The make-up of this cushioning can vary by brand and model. Look for types that indicate they work well across all temperature ranges.
You want a helmet that not only fits nicely but is comfortable to wear. It should be tight around your head but not so difficult to put on that it causes pain from straining. For kids getting used to their new football helmet, how it feels is just as important to them as for adults.
Foam, gel and air are the primary materials used to guard against impact AND help your head feel good when wearing the helmet. When it comes to “air” vs padding, air chambers or bladders win out for helmet liners. An air liner gives a more conformed fit, which is much more comfortable. The best way to describe it is that it feels more like a pillow than a”hardness” that comes with the more rigid foam types.
Proper sizing (see chart above) and heat control are two main factors for comfort. Look for models that promote heat reducing and venting systems. Oversized ventilation holes will of course improve breathability.
To help control bacteria as well as provide a good feel, material such as fireman’s leather is used in elite helmets. Either way, to help keep your helmet fresh and clean, look for moisture resistant and anti-microbial features for interior helmet liners.
Some football helmets come with facemasks and some don’t. It really just depends as there is no norm here. Others have front and rear bumpers you can remove and replace if necessary. The front bumper is the little piece where you see team logos stamped on. The same goes for chin straps. If your helmet comes with these, consider the caliber of their quality. It doesn’t hurt to invest in a better quality faceguard or chinstrap in the name of safety. You can also easily add helmet visors to further protect your face.
Good helmet brands have convenient ways of removing and replacing accessories. “Twist” styles are easiest like you’ll find on the Schutt helmets.
A few words about general safety
Remember, even the best football helmets can’t give you 100% protection against concussions. You’ll often see such warnings stating things like “NO football helmet can fully or guarantee complete protection for head or neck injuries.” Ground contact and collisions are just part of the game, but learn to take care of your head too. Just as you train for strength, agility and the specific skills to play football, always include the proper preparation to avoid injury in the first place. For example, intentional spearing of an opposing player with your helmet or faceguard just isn’t a good idea…ever.
Understand the signs of possible head injuries. You know the symptoms: losing consciousness, memory loss, becoming dizzy, getting a headache after impact, feeling nausea or being dazed (and confused) are the tell-tale indicators of internal head trauma. When you feel or sense these at any time, just stop playing for the moment and let your coach, trainers and parents know. As much as you want to get back in andplay, wait until any of these symptoms have cleared up. These symptoms are your body’s way of speaking to you. When it comes to your head, don’t ignore these “words”. Getting hit again while experiencing these can lead to some pretty serious brain injuries, even beyond concussions.
The best football helmets recommended on this page all follow the guidelines and have been approved by NOCSAE (National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment), the authority that tests and defines the performance levels of football helmets. Their guidelines and certification requirements help ensure, football helmet brands (manufacturers) produce an acceptable product when it comes to making the safest football helmets.