A good helmet is necessary for riding an ATV safely. Most state laws require ATV riders to wear helmets. However, how do you know what helmet is right for you?

The best ATV helmet is a full-face helmet that passes the Department of Transportation safety standards and is the appropriate size for the rider. A good helmet will have plenty of ventilation and will be lightweight, yet durable. A good ATV helmet will likely cost $80 to $100.

Here are things you will want to consider when shopping for an ATV helmet. Choosing the right helmet will ensure you have a fun and safe ride.

Types of Helmets

There are plenty of different types of helmets available that you could wear when riding your ATV. The best kind of helmet to wear is a full-face helmet because it provides the best protection and meets all of the legal requirements.

A half-helmet or open-face helmet will likely be lighter and cheaper than a full-face helmet. These types of helmets have less coverage, meaning they weigh less and have better ventilation. However, they will not protect your face, skull, and neck as well as a full-face helmet. Depending on your location, these partial helmets may or may not meet the legal requirements for protection when riding an ATV.

Modular helmets have good protection for the skull and face but lack the chin protection that you get from an off-roading or full-face helmet. Modular, off-roading, and full-face helmets satisfy most legal protection requirements.

Full-face helmets have a little bit more facial protection than an off-roading helmet, which is why they are the best option for ATV riders. The most important thing for a helmet to protect is the skull, but protecting your chin and face as well can prevent a lot of injuries if you end up crashing or falling.

Safety

There are a few different safety rating systems to pay attention to when selecting your helmet. If there is no safety certification on the helmet, you should not purchase it. Most places require that your helmet be DOT certified to legally ride an ATV.

Legally certified helmets will have a black and white DOT sticker located on the back of the helmet in the bottom center. Novelty helmets that lack safety certification will not have this sticker or will have a fake sticker. Shopping in person at any major retailer will make it easy for you to find a safe helmet because they will all be DOT certified. Retailers can only sell DOT-certified helmets.

If you are shopping online, you will have to be more careful because it is more difficult to regulate sales when products are produced and shipped from other countries directly to the buyer.

The DOT ensures basic safety standards, but a Snell rating is an even higher level of quality. In order for a helmet to be certified by Snell, it has to pass more rigorous safety testing. If safety is your top priority, look for a helmet that is both Snell and DOT-approved.

In general, it is best to buy your helmet new to ensure your safety. Once a helmet has been in a crash or received any damage, it should be replaced. If you buy your helmet used, you will not be able to guarantee the history of the helmet or what it has gone through. Old helmets may be more brittle and susceptible to breaks and cracks. It is best to buy helmets new so that you can be confident in how safe they are.

If a small part of your helmet is damaged, it may still be safe to use after you replace the broken part. For example, you can easily replace a cracked visor. When you choose your helmet, you might want to check if the manufacturer has replacement parts available. It will be cheaper to replace a few parts than to buy a whole new helmet if it gets damaged.

Cost of ATV Helmets

Price is definitely a big factor in deciding what helmet is right for you. You can definitely get a good helmet on a budget if you pay attention to safety certifications. A basic DOT-certified off-road helmet can be as cheap as $50. When you are looking to get something on the cheaper side, you will likely have to sacrifice some comfort and style. However, it will still keep you safe, which is the most important part.

A comfortable, well-ventilated, DOT-approved, Snell-approved, full-face helmet will likely cost closer to $150 or more. If you are willing to pay upwards of $200, you can get an ideal helmet in any style you like.

Most ATV riders will be satisfied with a helmet in the $80 to $100 range. A safe helmet with some comfort features will typically cost this much and will work great for casual drivers. If you are on your ATV daily and hitting some really intense routes, you may want to opt for some of the more expensive and comfortable helmet models.

Ventilation

Ventilation is important to make sure that you are comfortable and don’t overheat while riding an ATV. Of course, there is plenty of airflow if you are wearing a half-helmet or open-face helmet. However, they are not the safest options. You can still get good ventilation while wearing an off-roading or full-face helmet.

These full-coverage helmets typically have vents built in. The vents do not compromise the durability of the helmet but allow some air to flow in and out of the helmet to keep you comfortable and cool. Well-ventilated helmets will have multiple airflow paths so that air can circulate.

Poor ventilation is not the end of the world, as it won’t compromise your safety. However, many riders find themselves more comfortable with better ventilation, especially on hot days. If you don’t have good helmet ventilation, make sure you are taking breaks and drinking plenty of water so you don’t get overheated.

The Comfort of ATV Helmets

Comfort may seem like a luxury, but it can be really important. When your helmet is comfortable, you will be more likely to wear it and will therefore be more safe. To make sure your helmet will be comfortable, you will need to pay attention to both the weight and fit.

Bigger, safer helmets often end up weighing a lot more than less-safe helmets. It simply takes more material to make a full-face helmet than a shelf helmet. More layers of padding and thicker shells increase safety but also increase weight.

Some weight is inevitable, but a really heavy helmet will be uncomfortable to wear and put a strain on your neck. After a few hours, you may notice some neck and shoulder soreness from holding up the extra weight.

Many newer helmets are made from lightweight materials. Wearing a “lightweight” helmet can make a huge difference, especially if you have a smaller frame or frequently go on all-day rides. Make sure that the helmet has all of the protection you need even when it is lightweight.

Make sure you get a helmet that is the right size and shape so it will fit you comfortably. Helmets come in three different shapes: round oval (essentially a circle), intermediate oval (the most common), or long oval. Have a friend help you figure out what your head shape is. To determine the shape of your head, look down and have your friend look at the top of your head. The shape of your head is determined by the curvature of your skull, not the shape of your face.

Most people find that their head is not quite a perfect circle but is shaped slightly more like an oval. This is the intermediate oval shape. Long oval helmets are for people with heads that are wider in one direction than the other.

Many helmets default to the intermediate oval shape, so if you have a round oval or long oval-shaped head, you will need to pay close attention to the shape when you buy a helmet. You may have fewer options available.

Helmet size is typically determined by the circumference of your head around the center of the forehead or the largest circumference measurement. It can be helpful to have someone else measure your head to make sure the measurement is accurate. It is easiest to use a flexible measuring tape like the ones used for sewing. If you do not have a flexible measuring tape, you can wrap a string around your head, mark the measurement, and then line the string up with a ruler to find out how large your head is.

If you are shopping in a store, you will likely be able to try on the helmets and won’t have to worry about exact measurements. Many sporting goods stores will even have a sales associate available to help you determine which helmet fits the best.

If you are ordering a helmet online, the accuracy of your measurements is much more important. Most online retailers have a size chart available for their products. Use their chart rather than a generic chart to ensure you get a helmet that fits well.

Style

While you don’t necessarily have to worry about getting a stylish ATV helmet, many people don’t want to wear helmets that don’t fit their sense of style. Most ATV helmets are available in a wide variety of patterns, colors, and styles. You could even get a helmet that matches your ATV.

Custom colors and patterns will cost extra but might be worth it if you aren’t on a tight budget.

When picking a helmet style, consider the available shapes. For example, the forehead and chin protection on an ATV helmet can be close to the face or stick out further.

More popular helmet brands will have more style options and be more likely to have customization options than less well-known companies.

Browsing helmets online can help you determine what helmet style you like.

The Durability of ATV Helmets

The helmet manufacturer will have specific recommendations for when to replace your helmet. It is best to follow these guidelines. Most manufacturers recommend replacing the helmet after 3-5 years if you are using it regularly. Even if you aren’t using it regularly, most brands recommend replacing it after 5-7 years. Heat, time, and dirt will wear down the helmet and weaken it over time.

Many manufacturers say that you should replace your helmet if you have ever been in a crash. This is a similar concept to children’s car seats. After a crash, you cannot be certain of the integrity of the helmet anymore. Even if the externally visible damage is minor, there may be internal fractures that threaten the durability of the helmet.

Typically, helmets with higher safety ratings are more durable than ones that are just DOT certified without additional safety ratings. Also, more expensive helmets are often more durable as well.

Considering the manufacturer’s recommendations along with the frequency of use and the likelihood of crashing will help you figure out which helmet will last the longest. In the grand scheme of things, safety is most important, but it is also nice to know that you won’t have to replace your helmet frequently.

Best ATV Helmet Brands

Here are some of the most popular and reputable helmet brands and their best ATV helmet.

  • Fox: Fox is an extremely well-known name in sporting helmets because their helmets have great ventilation and high safety ratings. They are also some of the coolest-looking helmets on the market. However, they are relatively expensive. Their V3 RS Motocross helmet is available on Amazon.
  • Bell: You may have seen Bell bike accessories before, but they also make great sporting helmets. The MX-9 MIPS Torch helmet is an off-roading style helmet that comes in many different colors.
  • ILM: ILM helmets are not extremely well-known or popular but are very affordable. The ILM Adult ATV Motocross Off-Road Street Dirt Bike Full Face Motorcycle Helmet is a great option for people with a tighter budget.
  • Fly: These helmets are high-quality basic helmets that get the job done without a lot of extra frills to drive the price up. The Fly Racing 2023 Kinetic Helmet is the 2023 racing model.

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