My name is Lorraine, I’m a certified snowboarding instructor. This is my review of the best snowboard helmets for 2021.
If you love snowboarding, and if you’re reading this you probably do, then you know a big part of that passion comes from non-stop thrills, ample jumps, and freestyle rides down the mountain.
Fresh tracks through deep powder, huge airs off of big jumps, or just cruising down a groomer brings endless joy to every snowboarder, regardless of their ability level or experience.
However, all of that excitement does come with its fair share of risks. It is very important that you do your best to always keep safety in mind, and nothing keeps you safer than a well-made helmet.
In this article, we will take a look at some of the best snowboard helmets available based on factors such as effectiveness, comfort, and value to help you make an informed decision on your purchase.
- Quick Summary
- Who Should Get This
- Best Snowboard Helmets: Top Picks
- 1. Best Overall – Bern Watts EPS
- 2. Runner Up – Anon Raider
- 3. Best Budget – OutdoorMaster KELVIN
- 4. Budget Runner Up – GIRO Ledge Snow Helmet
- 5. Most Comfortable – Smith Vantage MIPS
- 6. Most Comfortable Runner Up – Oakley Mod3 Factory Pilot
- 7. Best Helmet with Audio – Swagtron Snowtide Bluetooth
- 8. Best for Kids – Retrospec Traverse H3 Youth
- Best Snowboard Helmets: What to Consider
- Useful Tips & Resources
- Final Words
- The Bern Watts EPS and the Anon Raider are two of the best overall helmets on the market. These both provide serious safety and comfort for all types of riders.
- For budget models that will still keep your head safe, look at the Outdoor Master KELVIN and the GIRO Ledge.
- The Smith Vantage MIPS and Oakley Mod3 Factory Pilot are outstanding choices packed full of features and are the most comfortable options around.
- The Swagtron Snowtide Bluetooth Helmet is an option that incorporates amazing features that will allow you to listen to music or make phone calls with ease.
- Check out the Retrospec Traverse H3 Youth Helmet if you have kids that love to snowboard. This is the perfect option for keeping any little groms safe as they learn how to ride.
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 serious injury or even death. Every snowboarder should ride with a helmet on.
While it’s up to you if you want to wear a helmet, I need to stress again how important the items are when you’re out on the slopes. I’ve had friends get seriously injured while not wearing a helmet and they were lucky their falls weren’t a lot worse.
The simple task of strapping a helmet on our 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.
Best Snowboard Helmets: Top Picks
1. Best Overall – Bern Watts EPS
The Bern Watts EPS is one of the best overall snowboard helmets around thanks to its great value alongside its top-of-the-line protection and comfort. This model also looks awesome due to its baseball helmet-like visor that keeps falling snow out of your face, and it comes in multiple colors.
Bern Watts EPS features an ABS shell with an inner layer of EPS foam to offer a lightweight feel that doesn’t skimp on safety. A BOA adjustable fit system allows you to dial in customizable comfort, while a moisture-controlling lining adds a secure and solid feel.
Air channels on the top of the helmet provide nice ventilation, and it’s audio compatible when purchased with drop-in ear pads. Outstanding in terms of quality and comfort.
- Multiple safety certifications
- Lightweight but strong EPS/ABS construction
- BOA fit system
- Replaceable liners
- Good ventilation
- Multiple color options
- EPS foam only good for a single impact
2. Runner Up – Anon Raider
This is another top option thanks to its high-end enduro shell construction that uses an ABS plastic outer shell with a G-form RPT high-density foam inner layer. That allows the helmet to take multiple impacts without ever wearing down.
No matter how hard you ride, this will keep you safe and secure year after year. The helmet is built with a classic design that looks sleek and stylish out on the snow.
Other standout features on the Raider include an auto-adjust fit system that allows you to achieve customized comfort and a fleece liner that provides additional warmth.
Passive ventilation channels are built right into the helmet to keep you cool, but they are also designed to keep your goggles fog-free. Affordable, stylish, and strong, Anon Raider is an excellent choice for any boarder.
- Seriously strong RPT foam inner-layer
- Classic look
- Auto-adjust fit system
- Fleece liner and earpads
- Passive ventilation channels
- True to size
- Not audio capable
3. Best Budget – OutdoorMaster KELVIN
It is constructed with a reinforced ABS outer shell and an EPS core that has excellent shock-absorbing characteristics. The simple-but-stylish look adds to the appeal as well.
It is also available in several different sizes, allowing you to find the perfect option to meet your needs. The size adjustment dial provides comfort and cushioning on a precise and customizable level. Beyond that, the included ear pads and fleece liner are removable and easy to wash.
That keeps the helmet clean and removes any odor from those hard days on the snow. There are also fourteen vents, which allow for serious breathability when you’re riding tough.
- ASTM safety certification
- Strong ABS/EPS construction
- Size adjustment dial
- Removable liner and earpads
- Good ventilation
- Nine color options
- EPS construction only good for a single impact
- Simple look and design
- Sizing can run large
4. Budget Runner Up – GIRO Ledge Snow Helmet
It utilizes an in-mold style construction with an EPS inner layer to keep your head safe in the event of tough fall or hard impact. It has a cool skate-style look and is available in several colors.
A great feature of the Ledge is the Auto Loc 2 fit system that it comes with. This is a durable system that uses elastic bands and fixed position straps to automatically create a secure, comfortable fit around your head.
Stack Vent technology creates ample airflow no matter how hard you ride and the helmet is compatible with Giro goggles for those that want to create an integrated fit. Cheap and comfortable, it’s hard to find a better deal than this.
- Looks great
- Auto Loc 2 fit system
- Stack Vent technology
- Goggle integration capability
- Sizing can run small
- Fit not adjustable
5. Most Comfortable – Smith Vantage MIPS
If you love to ride, then you will be wearing a helmet for hours on end. That is why comfort is so important on the mountain, and why the Smith Vantage MIPS makes our list as one of the most comfortable helmets around.
A key aspect of that comfort comes from the Koroyd material. The energy-absorbing construction has great breathability and also offers serious protection from repeated impacts. It’s the best of both worlds in terms of both comfort and safety.
Comfort is not the only area where Smith Vantage excels. It also utilizes MIPS technology for increased safety that protects the brain in multiple directions of impact.
A BOA 360 fit system allows you to dial in an exact fit that adds to the comfort level, while the dual regulator adjustable ventilation allows your head to breathe. Tough and lightweight, this helmet holds up through every single season.
- Koroyd construction
- BOA 360 fit system
- MIPS technology
- Great ventilation
- Lightweight and tough
- A bit bulky
6. Most Comfortable Runner Up – Oakley Mod3 Factory Pilot
The one from Oakley is another high-quality option that stands out when it comes to comfort. There isn’t anything in particular with the design of this helmet that creates this comfort – it’s just one of the most comfortable helmets around.
It has a natural and secure fit, which is enhanced by a BOA closure system that provides 270 degrees of adjustment.
This helmet is constructed with an in-mold style that uses an EPS impact liner to create excellent impact protection. The modular brim system also means that you can easily integrate your goggles without worrying about them fogging up.
The ventilation system is adjustable and the chin strap is magnetic, which are two nice and somewhat unique features that add extra value here.
- Extremely comfortable
- BOA closure system
- Adjustable vents
- Magnetic chin strap
- Machine washable liner
- Modular brim system
- Liner isn’t very durable
- Won’t stand up to multiple impacts
7. Best Helmet with Audio – Swagtron Snowtide Bluetooth
New technologies have steadily improved the world of snowboarding, and such advancements are starting to spill into helmet design. This helmet is an awesome blend of safety, comfort, and technology all rolled up into a plastic shell.
If you like to listen to music when you ride or want the convenience of making calls on slopes, this is one for you.
It features a built-in Bluetooth system that easily allows you to connect to your phone or other enabled devices so you can listen to music or take calls without removing your gloves. The integrated app is easy to use and gives you the added bonus of tracking your stats out on the mountain.
The tech on this one is cool but the protection is also there with ASTM F2040 and EN 1077 safety certifications.
- Bluetooth enabled audio capabilities
- Integrated app
- Two safety certifications
- Comfortable fit
- Good ventilation
8. Best for Kids – Retrospec Traverse H3 Youth
Learning to ride at an early age is great, but even though your little ones might think they are invincible, safety still needs to be a top priority. The Retrospec Traverse H3 Youth helmet is a great option for kids of any age.
It is built with an ABS/EPS construction to give it excellent impact protection and it comes with an EN 1077 safety certification.
On top of that, it’s also available in a bunch of fun colors to help get the little rippers excited about safety.
- EN 1077 safety certification
- ABS/EPS construction
- Plush earmuffs
- Multiple color options
- Sizing can run small
Best Snowboard Helmets: What to Consider
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. The biggest consideration is whether to wear one or not. There is only one answer to this question: wear one!
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, 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 certain 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 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 expanded polystyrene, otherwise known as 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 great protection but are designed to only 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 either 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.
RPT style helmets are made of a material that’s soft and pliable in its regular shape but turns hard and protective during an impact. This style of helmet offers strong protection for your head and is able to take multiple impacts. It is also usually more expensive than other constructions.
Fit is important 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.
When getting any piece of snowboarding equipment, you need to pay attention to the cost. Boarding can be an expensive sport, and costs can quickly add up when you put your entire ensemble together.
Remember, you don’t need the most expensive helmet out there. 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 important 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.
The amount of ventilation you need comes down to how hard you work when you ride, but every boarder wants some breathability.
Even though safety is always the main 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 really nice to have while you’re zipping through the snow.
Audio capabilities are great 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.
While certain models have one built-in, you can also get an aftermarket mount and attach it yourself. A liner is another nice extra that can provide additional comfort and warmth.
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 serious 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 great, but do so with caution.
Here is a good video that touches on some important aspects to keep in mind when it comes to snowboard safety.
In addition to always staying in control, it also helps to look at things like right of way and where to safely take a break on a run. A certified snowboarding instructor goes a long way as well.
If you don’t have a snowboard helmet yet, the above options all come highly recommended. The different styles and varieties listed here will surely meet your needs.
Whether you want something simple and effective or the latest and greatest in technology, the above choices offer all of it.
Get yourself a good helmet and then get out there and have fun!