You need to ride with a helmet to keep you safe if you fall or hit an obstacle like a tree when you are out riding. A snowboard helmet can also provide you with comfort and other features – if you choose a quality option.
I’m a certified snowboarding instructor, and I’ve seen many different helmets over the years on my students. I also have first-hand experience with a handful of models that I’ve used during decades of riding.
The Smith Quantum MIPS is my pick for the best snowboard helmet for the year. This is a model that will keep your head safe in the event of an accident while providing warmth and comfort along the way.
There is a range of different helmet options out there to choose from. In this post, I’ll give you a detailed list of all my favorites so you can make a decision the best meets your needs as a rider.
Buckle up, and let’s dive in.
- Quick Summary
- Who Should Get This
- Top Snowboard Helmets to Get for 2021-2022
- How to Choose The Best Snowboard Helmet: Buying Guides
- Useful Tips & Resources
- My Verdict
- Best Overall: Smith Quantum MIPS
- Best Women’s: Smith Mirage MIPS Women’s
- Best With Audio: POC Obex Spin Communication
- Best for Park: Anon Rodan MIPS
- Best for Small Heads: POC Fornix Spin
- Best for Big Heads: POC Obex Spin
- Best for Comfort: Oakley Mod 5 MIPS
- Best for the Money: Giro Ledge MIPS
- Best for GoPro: Giro Jackson
Who Should Get This
If you snowboard, you need a helmet. There’s no way around that. Sure, it’s possible to ride without a helmet (and I’ll be honest, I have done it in the past), but it’s a dumb decision to do so.
Even if you’re highly experienced, accidents can happen. A helmet offers protection where you need it most and can prevent severe injury or even death.
I’ve had friends get seriously injured while not wearing a helmet, and they were lucky their falls weren’t a lot worse. Every snowboarder should ride with a helmet on, and it’s as simple as that.
Wearing a helmet on your head can quite literally save your life. It’s not worth risking it. If you take safety seriously and want to ride until you’re old, you should always wear a helmet.
Top Snowboard Helmets to Get for 2021-2022
Here are my top picks for the best snowboard helmets for the year.
- Best for: Overall
- Key features: MIPS technology, good ventilation, BOA fit system, removable ear pads, goggle lock, audio compatible
- Construction: Hybrid shell, ABS, Areocore
- Safety: MIPS, ASTM F 24/ CE EN 177:27 Class B standards
- Cost: $$$$
The Smith Quantum MIPS is the best snowboard helmet out there. This is my recommended top pick for several reasons, but the primary one is that it will keep your head extremely safe while also being very comfortable to wear.
Made with a hybrid shell construction, you get reliable safety and effective impact protection. The hardshell ABS outer layer is a great first line of defense, while the in-mold inner layer adds another dimension.
The Quantum uses MIPS technology to keep your brain safe. This system will be mentioned a lot on this list, and it allows for a sliding effect between the two helmet layers for added protection.
A BOA fit system allows you to dial in the perfect fit, and this uses a design that gives you adjustments around your head. Additional comfort is provided by an Aerocore design that increases airflow alongside excellent ventilation.
It also comes with a sweat-wicking liner to keep moisture to a minimum and removable ear pads so you can adjust your temperature on the mountain with ease.
The only thing I don’t like about the Quantum is its price. This is a very expensive helmet.
- Best for: Women’s
- Key features: MIPS tech, Aerocore build, adjustable ventilation, dial fit system, snapfit ear pads, audio compatible
- Construction: Two-layer In-Mold, Areocore
- Safety: ASTM F 2040/ CE EN 1077:2007 Class B
- Cost: $$$
The best women’s specific snowboard helmet is the Smith Mirage MIPS. This is another model from Smith that will provide you with superior safety and impact protection while also providing a ton of comfort.
A two-layer construction utilizes MIPS technology to keep your brain safe and makes the helmet very lightweight.
An Aerocore build is engineered to increase airflow throughout the helmet. This helps to assist with temperature regulation and adds another safety element thanks to a Koroyd honeycomb material.
Adjustable ventilation controls and 14 different vent holes give you the ability to increase airflow when you need it. An adjustable dial fit system lets you get the helmet snug and secure around your head.
Additional features include snapfit ear pads that provide added warmth and comfort but can be taken out when conditions warm up and full compatibility with the Outdoor Tech audio system.
The audio system is sold separately, and the dial fit system can be overtightened if you twist it too hard on the fly.
- Best for: Audio
- Key features: Communication enabled, comfortable, lightweight, good protection, adjustable ventilation
- Construction: ABS shell, Polycarbonate, EPS liner
- Safety: EN 1077-B ASTM 2040
- Cost: $$$$
If you want a helmet that comes fully audio enabled right out of the box, the POC Obex Spin Communication is the way to go. This option will give you high-quality safety features alongside a fully-equipped Bluetooth audio and communication system.
The helmet is made with an ABS top shell and a polycarbonate inner shell. This provides you with solid impact protection in a lightweight design that is comfortable to wear.
The communication system is easy to use and will work with your smartphone to provide you with a way to listen to music or talk to people when riding. The audio quality is crisp, clear, and works in all sorts of conditions.
You’ll also get an adjustable ventilation system that lets you dial in your preferred amount of airflow or block it out when the temperature drops. Goggle vents are also built into the design to limit fog and moisture buildup.
This is another very expensive option, and it also isn’t built with MIPS technology.
- Best for: Park
- Key features: MIPS tech, passive ventilation, low profile, lightweight, BOA fit system, Fidlock snap buckle, audio compatible
- Construction: In-Mold shell, EPS liner,
- Safety: ASTM 2040 / CE 1077 B
- Cost: $$$
The Anon Rodan MIPS is an excellent helmet for the park because of its lightweight, low-profile design alongside great safety features provided by MIPS technology.
The helmet uses an In-Mold shell construction to give you the slidable features that make the MIPS system work. This makes it very safe and can help reduce damage from any impacts in the park.
You also get good airflow, and the added comfort that comes alongside it, thanks to a passive ventilation system that lets the helmet pull in airflow as you ride and keep your head comfortable and cool.
A BOA fit system provides a customizable fit and feel. You don’t want to be thinking about your helmet when you are approaching a big feature in the park, and this fit system will keep it snug and secure.
I also like the Fidlock buckles that are easy to use and adjust on the fly. The fleece liner and earpads add quite a bit of comfort as well.
The Rodan is audio compatible, but you’ll have to dish out extra cash on an audio system.
- Best for: Small Heads
- Key features: Small sizes available, adjustable ventilation, good impact resistance, goggle vents, adjustable fit system
- Construction: Polycarbonate shell, EPS liner, POC spin pads
- Safety: EN 1077 B/ ASTM 2040
- Cost: $$$
If you have a small head, the POC Fornix Spin comes in small and extra small sizes to give you a secure fit that may be hard to find in other options.
You’ll also get a safe helmet that will provide you with good impact resistance. A polycarbonate shell, aramid bridges, and EPS liner all work together to keep your head and brain safe in case of a violent impact.
Adjustable ventilation allows you to dial in a customized airflow that is a great feature to enable you to adapt to changing weather conditions. Goggle vents help to reduce fog from building up by increasing airflow up front.
The Fornix also comes with a highly adjustable fit system to let you keep the helmet on safely, even with a small head.
The chin strap on this helmet can be a little challenging to adjust with gloves on.
- Best for: Big Heads
- Key features: Comfortable, lightweight, good protection, adjustable ventilation
- Construction: ABS shell, Polycarbonate, EPS liner
- Safety: EN 1077-B ASTM 2040
- Cost: $$$
The POC Obex Spin comes in XL and XXL sizes to accommodate big heads. This helmet features the same high-quality features as the Obex Spin mentioned earlier; it just isn’t audio-equipped.
Safety and impact resistance is made possible by an ABS top shell, polycarbonate main shell, and POC Spin pads. These pads increase rotational impact protection.
The helmet also has Adjustable ventilation that allows you to adjust the airflow based on your preferences or outside weather. Goggle vents are another nice touch that works to keep you fog-free.
The Obex Spin also comes with a fixed goggle clip to keep your lenses in place and a size adjustment feature that helps you stay secure and comfortable.
You’ll have to pay quite a bit extra to get the compatible POC Aid communication ear pads.
- Best for: Comfort
- Key features: MIPS tech, very comfortable, integrated ventilation system, BOA fit system, removable liner
- Construction: 2-layer hybrid shell, ABS, In-Mold
- Safety: ASTM F 2040 / CE EN 1077
- Cost: $$$$
Comfort can be king when you wear a helmet for long periods, and the Oakley Mod 5 MIPS is one of the most comfortable around.
No pressure ear cups, a modular brim system, and fidlock buckles all give you outstanding comfort and fit considerations. The ear cups are also removable for an element of customization.
You’ll also get outstanding safety and impact resistance thanks to a 2-layer hybrid shell construction that uses ABS material up front and In-Mold in the back. This utilizes MIPS tech to keep you safe while also being lightweight.
A Boa fit system allows you to adjust the tightness of the helmet quickly with the turn of a dial and a removable liner is easy to wash or take out if you want to wear a hat.
The downside to all of this comfort is again cost. The Mod 5 is another expensive option.
- Best for: For the Money
- Key features: Affordable, MIPS tech, stack ventilation, Auto Loc 2 fit system, vertical tuning dial fit, audio compatible
- Construction: Hard Shell, EPS liner
- Safety: CE EN 1077 B
- Cost: $$
The Giro Ledge MIPS is the best snowboard helmet for the money. This option will give you a lot of safety and comfort without costing an arm and a leg.
Hardshell construction combined with an EPS liner gives you the benefit of MIPS tech. This system usually costs a lot more, and finding a budget helmet with the added safety of MIPS is a nice find.
Ventilation is made possible by stacked vents that let warm air escape over the top of the helmet. Super Cool vents up front work to pull in colder air and help regulate your airflow when you ride.
Comfort comes in the way of an Auto Loc 2 fit system that is self-adjusting and uses an elastic band to cinch down around your head in an ideal way. Giro helmets also have a vertical tuning system that makes for a good fit.
The Ledge doesn’t have adjustable airflow or fit system, which is a tradeoff for the budget price.
9. Giro Jackson
- Best for: GoPro
- Key features: Comfortable, good mounting surface for GoPro camera, In Form 2 fit system, good ventilation
- Construction: In-Mold
- Safety: CE EN 1077 B
- Cost: $$$
If you want to mount a GoPro camera to your helmet, the Giro Jackson provides you with a good mounting surface with plenty of room to attach it down securely.
It’s also a very safe helmet thanks to an in-mold construction that gives you a strong polycarbonate outer shell and a foam liner that effectively absorbs impacts of all kinds.
The Jackson also comes with solid ventilation thanks to a passive venting system and stacked airflow vents engineered to improve airflow and reduce google fogging.
The helmet also has an In Form 2 fit system that provides you with a dial to let you customize your fit quickly and effectively.
The Jackson works better with Giro goggles than some other brands, which can be a downside if you have a preference for goggles.
How to Choose The Best Snowboard Helmet: Buying Guides
Look over the following sections and be sure to keep them in mind when shopping for a snowboard helmet.
I know that I’m talking about safety quite a bit here, but that’s for good reason. You absolutely need to wear a helmet. There is really no debating this. Just do it.
The snowboard helmets listed here are all high quality and offer great protection alongside premium comfort. You don’t need the best one to stay safe, and any option is better than nothing.
There are various certifications out there that indicate if a helmet is built up to a certain level that offers considerable safety.
Those are good to look out for when purchasing a helmet because they tell you if a helmet will be able to keep you safe during a hard fall. Many helmets will have multiple certifications that show they are built with specific standards for protection and have been tested for safety.
You don’t need to have specific safety certification, but it’s a good idea to make sure the product you choose is certified with at least one.
Good helmets have a good construction. A solid build creates a tough barrier between your skull and anything it might come into contact with while you’re out snowboarding.
Construction elements can vary depending on which option you choose, but the most popular is a layer of protective foam surrounded by a hard plastic outer shell. That construction is similar to helmets used in biking and other sports.
The most common type of foam used in helmet construction is EPS. This is a tough foam that holds its shape while also being lightweight, a combination that makes it an ideal material for snowboard helmets.
EPS helmets offer outstanding protection but are designed only to take one serious impact. If this gets dented, you need a new one.
In-mold is a less common construction that still provides quality protection and safety. This style is built by injecting plastic foam into a harder plastic outer shell or dipping an EPS layer into a stronger PVC outer layer. This tends to be lighter than all EPS varieties.
Fit is critical to consider because it plays a role in how protective your gear can be. A loosely fitting helmet can slide around your head in a way that potentially exposes your skull upon impact.
You want to make sure that your helmet fits snugly over the top of your head in a way where it won’t slide forward, back, or side-to-side when you shake your head.
Some helmets have a standard fit that comes as one size and cannot be adjusted. Others are adjustable and allow for a more custom fit. When getting a standard fit helmet, make sure you get the proper size so that it sits on your head firmly and securely.
Adjustable helmets can offer sliders, foam pads, and even BOA systems similar to snowboard boots that will give you control over the fit.
No matter what style you choose, always secure your chin strap when riding. A helmet without a secure strap can easily fall off if you take a gnarly fall.
Safety is a huge concern when snowboarding, but that doesn’t mean your helmet has to be expensive.
You simply want something that will keep your head protected. Budget options will do just fine. Just make sure they have some sort of safety certification.
If you want features such as audio capability, adjustable fit, and high-quality materials that can take multiple impacts, you will end up paying more.
Regardless of how much a helmet costs, remember that this small investment can save your life. In that way, it’s worth every penny.
Ventilation is vital with any snowboard helmet. Helmets can be designed with slots or holes in the construction to help circulate air in a way that cools you down and let heat escape from your head. That keeps you comfortable no matter how much you sweat.
Even though safety is always the primary concern, comfort is also important. Nobody wants to wear an uncomfortable helmet for hours on end. Almost all headgear is designed to be comfortable, but added elements such as ear pads and a liner can increase that comfort.
It is a good idea to try on a helmet before you purchase it to make sure it fits properly.
Once you have the basic needs of safety and comfort covered, you can look for additional features in your snowboard helmet. These are not necessary for safety purposes, but they can be nice to have while you’re zipping through the snow.
Audio capabilities are excellent because they let you listen to music or make a phone call without taking your helmet off. Some helmets also offer built-in headphones or are Bluetooth compatible.
A goggle clip is another great extra feature to have, as it will keep your eyewear in place as you ride. Some people like a camera mount so they can document their on-snow adventures.
Here are a few quick answers to some common questions relating to snowboard helmets.
Are helmets required for snowboarding?
They are not required but are more than recommended. A helmet can very literally save your life, and you should always ride with one. It’s a personal choice if you want to use one or not, but I highly suggest that you do.
Is it safe to snowboard without a helmet?
Snowboarding is a dangerous activity in general. Riding without a helmet makes it even more dangerous. You risk your safety if you ride without a helmet, and it’s not worth it.
What is the difference between a ski and snowboard helmet?
There isn’t much of a difference between ski and snowboard helmets other than branding. You’ll find many options on this list labeled as ‘snow helmets.’ This means they are suitable for any winter activity.
Can you use a bike helmet for snowboarding?
Not really. I suppose that a bike helmet would be better than no helmet at all, but a snow helmet has a different construction that is better suited for a winter environment. A bike helmet will not offer you much in terms of warmth.
Do you wear a hat under a snowboard helmet?
This is another personal choice. If you get a good-quality snowboard helmet, it will probably be warm enough that you won’t need to wear a hat underneath it. If you run cold, you can wear a hat for added warmth – just make sure to get a helmet adequately sized for that.
Are MIPS helmets worth it?
I think that MIPS helmets are worth it. They offer superior impact protection and added safety. They may cost a little more upfront, but you really don’t want to cut corners when it comes to keeping your head safe and protected.
Useful Tips & Resources
You might be sick of hearing about it by now, but I’m going to write a little more about safety. The overall safety message of this article is to wear a helmet whenever you ride. Always.
According to this sheet from CDC, while there is no concussion-proof helmet, a snowboard helmet can help protect your child or teen from severe brain or head injuries.
However, there are some other aspects you should take into account when it comes to safety. Always ride in control even if there aren’t that many people around. One wrong move, and you can injure yourself. Going all out is fun, but do so with caution.
Here is a good video that touches on some crucial aspects to keep in mind regarding snowboard safety.
The Smith Quantum MIPS is my choice for the best overall snowboard helmet. This is a high-quality option that will give you superior safety and protection while also offering a lot of comfort. You’ll be able to wear it all season long comfortably and effectively.
If you don’t have a snowboard helmet yet, all of the above options come highly recommended. The different styles and varieties listed here provide enough variation to meet the needs of many types of riders.About Lorraine