best snowboard helmets

The 13 Best Snowboard Helmets Ever Made

by Ben

Whether you’re a park rat, resort ripper, or backcountry pounder-hound, one thing is certain: a top-notch helmet is essential.

There’s no excuse not to wear one these days!

Modern helmets are lightweight, comfortable and reasonably stylish. You’ll find entry-level models for under $100 and high-end options with advanced features like MIPS and BOA.

To help you choose the right one, we’ve compiled a list of this season’s best snowboard helmets. For more details, head to our comparison table and helmet buying guide (below the recommendations).

Our Top Snowboard Helmet Picks

The Best Snowboard Helmets 2023-2024

Best Snowboard Helmet 2023-2024
Smith Vantage MIPS

Smith Vantage MIPS

  • Construction: Hybrid In-mold
  • Weight: 500g
  • Vents: 21
  • Audio Compatible: Yes
  • Tech: Zonal Koroyd®, MIPS, BOA
  • MSRP: $270

Description:

The Smith Vantage has exploded in popularity over the past season, and for good reason! It's an extremely premium option, featuring Boa closures, dual-zone ventilation and a super plush liner. 

The safety features in this bad boy are exceptional too. It features MIPS technology (more on this later) and Smith's Koroyd tech - a super lightweight honeycomb material which safely dissipates impact in the event of a crash. 

My Thoughts:

The Vantage was the best snowboard helmet I tested this season. It has all of the bells and whistles... and then some. Is it slightly overkill for your average rider? Maybe. But if you're happy to pay top dollar for premium protection, then this is a great option. 

Certification: ASTM F2040, CE EN 1077:2007 Class B, CPSC, and CE EN 1078

Pros
  • Incredible quality
  • Lightweight
  • MIPS & Koroyd 
  • Super comfortable
  • Excellent goggle compatibility 
Cons
  • The price tag!
Editor's Choice
Anon Prime MIPS

Anon Prime MIPS

  • Construction: Hybrid 50/50
  • Weight: 532g
  • Vents: 23
  • Audio Compatible: Yes
  • Tech: Fidlock Buckle, MIPS, BOA
  • MSRP: $230

Description:

Another super-premium brain bucket, this time from Anon (Burton's subsidiary company).

The Prime is one of their top of the line offerings, featuring MIPS, a hybrid 50/50 shell (hard ABS shell with an EPS liner), 360-degree BOA system and the patented Fidlock Snap magnetic buckle. 

Anon have also taken your comfort seriously - they've added a super plush liner and excessive numbers of adjustable vents. 

They haven't forgotten about the ladies either, with the Nova MIPS Helmet offering all of the same tech! 

My Thoughts:

I'm a big fan of Anon. Their gear is well researched, well designed and made specifically for snowboarders. The Prime helmet is the perfect example of this. 

I found it super comfortable and lightweight. The Prime also paired effortlessly with my Anon M series goggles, which in turn reduced fogging.

The battle for the top spot was pretty close... but I ultimately gave it to the Vantage due to the extra tech features. The Prime is still one of the best snowboard helmets of the season!

Certification: ASTM 2040 / CE 1077B Certified

Pros
  • Excellent quality 
  • Super comfortable
  • Very effective venting
  • MIPS & 360 degree BOA
  • Paired perfectly with my Anon M4's
  • Designed specifically for snowboarders
  • Slightly better priced than the Vantage
Cons
  • Construction doesn't feel quite as premium as the Smith Vantage. 
  • Not everyone is a Burton fan (and Anon is basically Burton's little brother). 

Best Budget Snowboard Helmet

Best Budget Snowboard Helmet
Smith Holt

Smith Holt

  • Construction: ABS
  • Weight: 550g
  • Vents: 14 (fixed)
  • Audio Compatible: Yes
  • Tech: Dual certification, AirEvac™
  • MSRP: $80

Description:

Another great product from Smith Optics. The Holt is one of this season's best budget snowboard helmets. 

They've managed to pack an awful lot into an $80 lid!

The Holt features a relatively low profile design, removable ear pads, and audio compatibility. It is also all-season certified, meaning it can be used as a skate helmet too. These features put the Holt well above it's similarly-priced competitors.

There is also an elasticated adjustment band, enabling a degree of customization. Your goggles can also be worn both under or over the helmet. 

My Thoughts:

At a third of the price of the first two options, the Holt is pretty impressive. It does all of the basics well, and then some. 

Of course, it lacks premium features like MIPS, BOA and magnetic buckles. But you can't fairly expect these in an entry-level helmet. 

I did find that the construction is noticeably cheaper than The Vantage or Prime. Personally, as someone who rides 50-100 days per season, I'd spend a little more cash to upgrade to a mid-range helmet like the Mission (below). However if your main focus is well-priced protection, without needing premium features like MIPS, then the Holt is an excellent option!

Certification: ASTM F 2040, CE EN 1077:2007 CLASS B, CPSC, CE EN1078

Pros
  • The perfect budget-friendly option
  • All-season certification. The Holt is also licensed as a skate helmet!
  • Surprisingly comfy 
  • Feels pretty solid 
  • Fairly low profile (for an entry level model)
Cons
  • No MIPS
  • Fixed vents
  • Less-premium feel than higher end models

Best Backcountry Snowboard Helmet

Best Backcountry Snowboard Helmet
Salomon MTN Lab

Salomon MTN Lab

  • Construction: In Mold
  • Weight: 365g
  • Vents: 12 (fixed)
  • Audio Compatible: No
  • Tech: EPS4D, Merino Wool
  • MSRP: $200

Description:

This helmet is a game changer when it comes to providing protection without adding unnecessary weight. If you're planning to hike, split board or boot pack for your lines, this could be the one for you. 

Aside from providing industry-leading lightness, the MTN Lab also offers excellent goggle integration, dial-adjusted fit and sound-sparing ear-pads. You'll also received two merino liners (summer and winter). 

Impressively, the helmet is rated for snow sports and climbing. If you do both sports, you can save a bunch of money and use the same helmet year-round. This is achieved using Salomon's patented EPS4D technology which improves shock distribution, including against oblique and vertical knocks.

The downside to being so damn light is that the MTN Lab couldn't squeeze in tech features like MIPS, adjustable venting and audio compatibility. 

My Thoughts:

I was super impressed by the Salomon MTN Lab. I attached it to my backpack on a spring split-boarding mission and almost forgot it was there. This thing is feathery light!

It does therefore feel less sturdy and insulated than other options. I imagine the polycarbonate shell will be less resistant to knocks than thick the ABS or hybrid in-mold options. If you're a freestyle rider, there are better choices. But if weight and comfort in the backcountry are your priority, the MTN Lab is perfect. 

Certification: Alpine: CE-EN1077 / ASTM F-2040, Climbing: CE-EN 12492.

Pros
  • Insanely lightweight
  • Multi-norm certified for skiing, climbing, and biking
  • 3D Sound System Earpads allow unimpaired hearing
  • Summer and winter liners
  • Very comfortable
  • Great backcountry features like headlamp retainers and backpack helmet bag
Cons
  • Sacrifices some tech in order to stay super lightweight
  • No MIPS
  • Fixed vents

Best Value For Money

Best Bang For Your Buck!
Smith Mission MIPS

Smith Mission MIPS

  • Construction: In-Mold
  • Weight: 450g
  • Vents: 14 (adjustable)
  • Audio Compatible: Yes
  • Tech: Aerocore™ design, MIPS, Koroyd®
  • MSRP: $140

Description:

If you were tempted by the Holt, consider upgrading for a few extra bucks. 

Despite being 3 ounces lighter, the Mission offers MIPS, customizable venting and Koroyd (rather than full EPS foam). They also added an Adjustable Dial Fit System (DFS). This is a helluva lot more helmet tech for an extra 60 bucks!

You'll also be saving at least $100 on our top choices. Of course, this means going without additional features like magnetic buckles, BOA and split venting. The Mission also has a polycarbonate shell rather than a hybrid in-mold construction. This is lighter but more prone to dings and dents. 

Nonetheless, I challenge you to find this level of tech, performance and protection at this price-point.

My Thoughts:

Another helmet from Smith Optics? I appear to have accidentally become a fanboy. This was not intentional!

The Mission is yet another excellent snowboarding helmet from Smith. On first glance, it looks and feels like a top-dollar helmet. The inclusion of most of the top level technology is pretty impressive. It's super comfortable too. 

On the flipside, the vents are slightly smaller, and there is only one adjustable regulator. I also missed the magnetic Snaplock buckles and BOA fit system of the Vantage. But are these worth spending an extra 100 bucks? The choice is yours!

Certification: ASTM F 2040, CE EN 1077:2007 CLASS B, CPSC, CE EN178

Pros
  • Insane amount of tech at this price-point
  • Lightweight 
  • Very comfortable
  • Adjustability (vents and dial system)
  • Perfect integration with Smith goggles
Cons
  • Hybrid in-mold helmets are likely to be more durable
  • Ventilation not quite on-par with premium options like the Vantage and Prime

Best Freestyle Snowboard Helmet

Best Freestyle Snowboard Helmet
Giro Emerge Spherical MIPS

Giro Emerge Spherical MIPS

  • Construction: ABS (hardshell)
  • Weight: 500g
  • Vents: 10 (fixed)
  • Audio Compatible: Yes
  • Tech: MIPS, EPP Foam
  • MSRP: $159

Description: 

The Giro Emerge is the best snowboard helmet for park and pipe.

Whilst you can ride freestyle wearing any helmet on the list, the Emerge prioritizes durability and impact protection. It uses a hardshell construction with premium EPP foam, designed to stay strong after multiple impacts (unlike EPS). 

The Emerge also boasts MIPS® Spherical, the newest evolution of MIPS® technology. This uses a two piece dual density EPP (Expanded Polypropylene) system. In the case of an impact, one liner is free to rotate in any direction inside of the other. 

In plain english... this reduces the risk of brain injury after particularly nasty slams! 

The helmet's aesthetic is also on-point. It's fairly low-profile and can be worn with or without ear pads (for those that rock a beanie underneath). There is also a removable goggle retainer, customizable padding and a strap channel for wearing your goggles under the helmet. 

My Thoughts: 

I loved the fit and style of this helmet immediately. I was therefore super stoked that the safety features are also top-notch

My main concern with most park helmets is that they crack or weaken under pressure (or after minor impacts). This is particularly problematic with helmets using EPS foam, which technically need to be replaced after every moderate crash.

The Emerge instead uses EPP foam. This spreads impact more effectively and is therefore more durable. The external hardshell can also easily handle minor knocks from branches, ski lifts or stray skiers. 

I would have liked to see a BOA fit system and maybe adjustable venting, but at this price point the Emerge already offers excellent bang for your buck. In fact, this is now my personal helmet of choice for park riding. 

Certification: CE EN1077B

Pros
  • Great bang for your buck 
  • Durable hardshell construction
  • Can take small knocks without damaging helmet
  • Snowboard-focused aesthetic 
  • MIPS® Spherical protection!
  • Great range of colorways
Cons
  • Lack of adjustable vents 
  • Slightly heavier 
Bern Watts 2.0 MIPS

Bern Watts 2.0 MIPS

  • Construction: ABS, EPS
  • Weight: 470g
  • Vents: 11 (Fixed)
  • Audio Compatible: Yes
  • Tech: RibTech Liner, MIPS
  • MSRP: $169

Description: 

The Bern Watts Helmet combines style, comfort, and safety in one package. There are 2 versions, the EPS and the MIPS. 

If your budget can stretch to it, go with the MIPS! They've managed to make it lighter, all whilst improving the protection, adding better venting and of course, adding MIPS. The Watts also includes their RibTech EPS Liner, which crushes into channels upon impact. This provides protection during both low-speed and high-speed impacts. 

It also triples up as a bike and skate helmet. In fact, in the summer you can add Bern’s custom-integrated LED lighting for added safety. 

My Thoughts: 

The Watts has been around for years. It was actually my first ever snowboard helmet (and I'm pretty old). I was pleased to see that they've kept up with modern helmet innovation.

Overall, it's super comfortable, very practical and looks amazing. I would prefer to be able to close the vents; these are quite exposed in heavy snowfall. But this wouldn't necessarily stop me from buying the helmet. 

Certification: Complies with U.S. CPSC Safety Standard for Bicycle Helmets for Persons Age 5 and Older. EN1077B, EN1078

Pros
  • Best looking snowboard helmet (in my opinion)
  • 15% lighter and 15% more airflow than the OG Watts
  • Brim keeps snow off your goggles
  • Designed to handle the park
  • Doubles Triples up as a skate and bike helmet
  • Compass Fit System works really well
Cons
  • Large, fixed vents
  • Jump in price between the EPS and MIPS models
Anon Raider

Anon Raider

  • Construction: Endura-Shell (ABS shell, EPS liner)
  • Weight: 595g
  • Vents: 6 (Fixed)
  • Audio Compatible: Yes
  • Tech: Minimal
  • MSRP: $89

Description: 

The Anon Raider Helmet is a reliable and affordable option for riders looking for straightforward, solid protection. It features Endura-Shell construction, which provides excellent durability and strength.

The passive ventilation system ensures proper airflow, while the fleece liner and ear pads keep you warm and comfortable on the slopes. The helmet also has a removable goggle clip for added convenience.

My Thoughts: 

The Anon Raider Helmet is a budget-friendly option that doesn't compromise on quality. It fit well and kept me warm during chilly rides. The ventilation system works effectively, and I appreciate the removable goggle clip. It's pretty basic with nothing too mind-blowing, but it certainly does the trick. 

If you're stuck between this and The Holt, the Holt has better venting and a lower profile, whereas the Raider probably looks better (in my humble opinion). 

Certification: Multi-Season Certified – CE 1077B, ASTM 2040, CE 1078:2012 +A1:2012, CPSC

Pros
  • Durable Endura-Shell construction
  • Warm fleece liner and ear pads
  • Removable goggle clip
  • Looks pretty badass (stealth black)
  • Skate certified
Cons
  • Limited advanced features
  • Passive ventilation system
POC Fornix MIPS

POC Fornix MIPS

  • Construction: In-mold w/ ABS shell
  • Weight: 420g
  • Vents: 10 (Adjustable)
  • Audio Compatible: Yes
  • Tech: MIPS, Aramid Bridge
  • MSRP: $200

Description: 

The POC Fornix Helmet is a sleek and lightweight option designed for performance-oriented snowboarders. Its aramid bridge reinforcement system enhances structural stability and protection. The adjustable ventilation system allows you to regulate airflow, and the removable ear pads provide versatility based on weather conditions. The helmet's simple design and available colour options make it look pretty awesome too. 

My Thoughts: 

The POC Fornix Helmet is a fantastic choice for those seeking a lightweight and stylish helmet. It fits comfortably and offers excellent protection. The adjustable ventilation is handy for adapting to changing weather conditions - there are only 8 vents but they're pretty big. Make sure to close them in a blizzard! 

Certification: CE EN 1077, ASTM F2040

Pros
  • Aramid bridge reinforcement for added stability
  • Adjustable ventilation system
  • Removable ear pads
  • MIPS (added this season)
  • Great anti-fogging vents at the front
  • Stylish design
Cons
  • Relatively high price tag
  • Need to choose the right goggles to avoid a gaper gap
Oakley Mod 5 MIPS

Oakley Mod 5 MIPS

  • Construction: Hybrid In-Mold
  • Weight: 600g
  • Vents: 8 (Adjustable)
  • Audio Compatible: Yes
  • Tech: BOA, MIPS, FiDLOCK
  • MSRP: $260

Description: 

The Oakley Mod 5 MIPS Helmet is a high-end helmet built for snowboarders who prioritize safety and style. It features MIPS technology and BOA customization - a combination that Oakley have called Skull Matrix (sounds like a Batman villain).

The hybrid shell construction combines lightweight in-mould and durable ABS materials. The modular brim system allows for seamless integration with goggles, ensuring a secure fit and reducing fogging. The first iteration had interchangeable brims to suit all goggle sizes - the model we demoed didn't have this. Check before you buy!

My Thoughts: 

The Oakley Mod 5 MIPS Helmet had the right ingredients to be the best snowboard helmet... but lost points for a number of reasons. 

Sure it provides excellent protection and fits comfortably on my head. The modular brim system worked flawlessly with my goggles, however it did struggle with Tom's Anon M4s. The previous model with the interchangeable brim solved this issue, hopefully they bring it back!

The Mod 5 is also noticeably heavier than rival helmets, such as the Smith Vantage. The ventilation isn't perfect either.  

Overall, I really did like this helmet. But if I was spending this amount of money, I'd be drawn to helmets higher up the list. 

Certification: ASTM F2040, CE EN 1077

Pros
  • Loaded with tech: MIPS, BOA, Fidlock
  • Hybrid shell construction creates a smooth look
  • The brim framed my face excellently, providing a great seal around the goggles 
  • Feels solid and very high quality
  • Super comfortable padding
Cons
  • Heavy!
  • Expensive
  • Sub-optimal ventilation
Sweet Protection Igniter II MIPS

Sweet Protection Igniter II MIPS

  • Construction: In-Mold ABS
  • Weight: 530g
  • Vents: 26 (Partially Adjustable)
  • Audio Compatible: Yes
  • Tech: MIPS, Fidlock, Occigrip
  • MSRP: $219

Description: 

The Sweet Protection Igniter II MIPS Helmet is a high-performance helmet designed for demanding snowboarding conditions. Unusually for hard-shell ABS helmets, it's packed with premium features.

It features MIPS technology for advanced impact protection and a lightweight in-mold construction. The Impact Shield technology increases energy absorption, and the Occigrip turn-dial fit system ensures a secure and comfortable fit. The helmet also has an adjustable venting system for temperature regulation (though only at the front).

My Thoughts: 

I had high hopes for this one. It looks very well made and Sweet Protection have clearly paid close attention to detail. They've targeted the freeride market, although there's no reason it won't perform well in the park. 

The ABS structure holds up well and the minor knocks I took barely left a scratch. It fitted very nicely with all of the goggles I tested with it. 

Unfortunately the weight, price and partially fixed venting stopped this helmet from scoring higher. But if you like the design and increased durability, it's not a bad option. 

Certification: CE EN 1077, ASTM F2040

Pros
  • Relatively lightweight in-mould construction
  • Impact Shield technology for energy absorption
  • Occigrip turn-dial fit system works well
  • Magnetic buckle easy to use with gloves
  • Loads of venting!
Cons
  • On the expensive side
  • Only the front 2 vents are adjustable - although the remaining 24 have protective mesh to prevent major snow leaks 
Smith Scout

Smith Scout

  • Construction: ABS
  • Weight: 510g
  • Vents: 8 (Fixed)
  • Audio Compatible: Yes
  • Tech: MIPS, AirEvac™ Ventilation
  • MSRP: $105

Description: 

The Smith Scout Helmet is a fairly basic but effective brain bucket. They've managed to produce one of the cheapest MIPS helmets available (other than the OutdoorMaster Diamond). 

It's packaged in a super sleek, freestyle-oriented design. In addition, it does all of the basics really well. Got a rounder head shape? Smith also make the Scout in a "Round Contour Fit" version. This offers a little more width, for the same exact price.

My Thoughts: 

I like this helmet. It's comfortable, solid and looks great. If the venting and adjustment system were improved (or the price decreased even more) then I'd gladly have bumped it up a few places. 

Certification: ASTM F 2040, CPSC CE EN 1078, CE EN 1077:2007 Class B

Pros
  • One of the cheapest MIPS helmets!
  • Clean, freestyle aesthetics 
  • Pretty solid construction 
  • Removable goggle strap and ear-pads
  • Beanie compatible 
  • Surprisingly comfortable
  • All-season certified
Cons
  • Primitive adjustment system (no dial or BOA)
  • Fairly basic venting, though the AirEvac™ Ventilation system works well despite the limited vent numbers. 
OutdoorMaster Diamond MIPS

OutdoorMaster Diamond MIPS

  • Construction: In-Mold
  • Weight: 425g
  • Vents: 8 (Partially Adjustable)
  • Audio Compatible: Yes
  • Tech: MIPS
  • MSRP: $109 (15% Off: SBDAYS15)

Description: 

The OutdoorMaster Diamond MIPS Helmet is incredibly good value. They've managed to include MIPS, adjustable ventilation (albeit partial) and a lightweight in-mold construction for under $100 bucks ($83 with our discount code). 

The OutdoorMaster brand is certainly newer than most, but they've made waves in their first few years. In fact, they're now the official supplier of the U.S. Ski team

My Thoughts: 

This helmet was a surprise entry. It obviously can't quite compete with the list-topping $200+ helmets, but it certainly outperformed helmets in the $150 range. 

It's comfortable, lighter than expected and the ventilation is pretty decent. The adjustable dial system works well too (though you can't beat BOA).

I'll continue to test the Diamond throughout the season. If it proves to be durable, then it will certainly be moving higher up the list. If you're looking to kit-out the family in protective gear, OutdoorMaster is a very good option. 

Certification: ASTM2040F-18

Pros
  • One of the cheapest MIPS helmets
  • Anti-fogging vents work really well
  • Pretty lightweight 
  • Good bang for your buck
  • Fits seamlessly with OutdoorMaster goggles (especially the Ultra)
Cons
  • Only 4 of the vents are adjustable
  • Not skate or bike certified

Snowboard Helmet Comparison Table

Top Pick
Smith Vantage MIPS

Smith Vantage MIPS

  • Weight: 500g
  • Construction: Hybrid In-Mold
  • Vents: 21 (Adjustable)
  • MIPS: Yes
  • Price: $270
Editor’s Choice
Anon Prime MIPS

Anon Prime MIPS

  • Weight: 532g
  • Construction: Hybrid In-Mold
  • Vents: 23 (Adjustable)
  • MIPS: Yes
  • Price: $230
Budget Pick
Smith Holt

Smith Holt

  • Weight: 550g
  • Construction: ABS
  • Vents: 14 (fixed)
  • Price: $80

MIPS: No

Backcountry Pick
Salomon MTN Lab

Salomon MTN Lab

  • Weight: 365g
  • Construction: In-Mold
  • Vents: 12 (fixed)
  • Price: $200

MIPS: No

Value Pick
Smith Mission MIPS

Smith Mission MIPS

  • Weight: 450g
  • Construction: In-Mold
  • Vents: 14 (Adjustable)
  • MIPS: Yes
  • Price: $140
Freestyle Pick
Giro Emerge Spherical MIPS

Giro Emerge Spherical MIPS

  • Weight: 500g
  • Construction: ABS
  • Vents: 10 (Fixed)
  • MIPS: Yes (Spherical)
  • Price: $159
Bern Watts 2.0 MIPS

Bern Watts 2.0 MIPS

  • Weight: 470g
  • Construction: ABS
  • Vents: 11 (Fixed)
  • MIPS: Yes
  • Price: $169
Anon Raider

Anon Raider

  • Weight: 595g
  • Construction: ABS
  • Vents: 6 (fixed)
  • Price: $89

MIPS: No

POC Fornix MIPS

POC Fornix MIPS

  • Weight: 420g
  • Construction: In-Mold
  • Vents: 10 (Adjustable)
  • MIPS: Yes
  • Price: $159
Oakley Mod 5 MIPS

Oakley Mod 5 MIPS

  • Weight: 600g
  • Construction: Hybrid In-Mold
  • Vents: 8 (Adjustable)
  • MIPS: Yes
  • Price: $260
Sweet Protection Igniter II MIPS

Sweet Protection Igniter II MIPS

  • Weight: 530g
  • Construction: ABS
  • Vents: 26 (Partially Adjustable)
  • MIPS: Yes
  • Price: $219
Smith Scout MIPS

Smith Scout MIPS

  • Weight: 510g
  • Construction: ABS
  • Vents: 9 (Fixed)
  • MIPS: Yes
  • Price: $105
OutdoorMaster Diamond MIPS

OutdoorMaster Diamond MIPS

  • Weight: 425g
  • Construction: In-Mold
  • Vents: 8 (Partially Adjustable)
  • MIPS: Yes
  • Price: $109 (15% Off: SBDAYS15)

How I Tested Each Snowboard Helmet

Between myself and the team, we have over 50-years of snowboarding experience. We are therefore very particular about the products we use!

Every snowboard helmet we tested (over 30 this season alone) was put through a minimum of 3-days intensive riding. This involved all terrain and all weather conditions. 

We collate each of our scores, to produce a total overall rating. Only the top snowboard helmets made the list. 

As a snowboard instructor, I never support a product that I wouldn’t use myself or recommend to my students. Every item on this list gets my stamp of approval!

Snowboard Helmet Buying Guide

After looking through the above recommendations, you might be a little confused. I don’t blame you!

Helmet manufacturers have developed their own language. ABS, MIPS, EPS, EPP… what the heck does it all mean?

Fear not my confused compadre…

My snowboard helmet buying guide is here to help.

Snowboard Helmet Construction Types

There are three main helmet construction types:

  1. ABS: most durable 
  2. In-Mold: most lightweight 
  3. Hybrid In-Mold: the best of both worlds (but more expensive!)

Let’s take a closer look under the lid. 

1. ABS ( Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene)

ABS is a traditional helmet construction method where a durable, hard plastic shell is glued to an inner foam liner.

Pros:

ABS helmets offer excellent impact protection and durability, making them a great fit for freestyle snowboarding.

Their ding-resistance allows some ABS helmets to be dual-certified for skating or biking. Plus – they’re much cheaper. The Smith Holt and Anon Raider are two great examples.

Cons:

Compared to in-mold or hybrid in-mold models, ABS helmets are usually heavier and struggle to ventilate as efficiently. 

2. In-Mold

In-mold construction involves fusing the outer shell of the helmet with the inner EPS foam liner during manufacturing.

Pros:

This results in a lighter and more streamlined helmet design. In-Mold helmets are often favored by riders seeking a lighter, more comfortable option without compromising on safety.

You’ll see them featured in mid-priced models like the Smith Mission and OutdoorMaster Diamond. 

Cons:

In-mold helmets tend to scratch and dent more easily.  

3. Hybrid In-Mold

Hybrid construction combines the advantages of both ABS and In-Mold technologies.

A hard plastic shell is added to critical impact zones such as the top and sides, while incorporating in-mold construction in less critical areas.

Pros:

Hybrid helmets provide the durability of ABS and the lightweight comfort of In-Mold, making them a popular choice for riders needing a balance between protection and weight. 

You’ll notice that the very best snowboard helmets use Hybrid In-Mold designs, such as the Smith Vantage and Anon Prime. 

Cons:

More expensive. 
Often marginally heavier than in-mold designs.

Advanced Helmet Safety Features

1. MIPS Technology

MIPS stands for Multi-directional Impact Protection System. It is a leading helmet safety technology that reduces rotational forces on the brain during angled impacts. 

MIPS helmets are designed with a low-friction layer that allows the helmet to rotate slightly upon impact, redirecting the rotational forces away from the head.

These diagrams will no doubt explain MIPS better than I can. 

The newest MIPS innovation is their Spherical tech (employed in the Giro Emerge). In place of a plastic liner, they’ve used sliding layers of EPP foam to reduce rotational impact. They describe this as a “ball-in-socket” design. 

Spherical MIPS technology - snowboard helmet
Spherical MIPS Technology

It’s not just a marketing ploy either, MIPS really works!

If you can afford it, go for a helmet with MIPS. 

2. Koroyd

Koroyd is another innovative safety technology. Unlike MIPS, it’s exclusively found in Smith snowboard helmets.

It consists of a honeycomb-like structure made from thousands of small, co-polymer tubes. These provide excellent impact absorption and improved ventilation. Koroyd can effectively reduce the risk of head injuries by dissipating and redirecting the forces of an impact.

koroyd snowboard helmet technology (smith optics)
Koroyd Helmet Tech

3. WaveCel

WaveCel is fairly new and relatively under-utilized. I suspect we’ll see more from them in coming seasons (particularly with Anon). 

WaveCel is a structure within the helmet designed to collapse on impact, reducing rotational force. It crumples and flexes to absorb shock, and glides to redirect the impact. 

Due to these features, WaveCel-equipped helmets are unlikely to need MIPS. 

Snowboard Helmet Foam Types

The foam liner inside snowboard helmets plays a crucial role in absorbing and dissipating impact forces. The two most commonly used foam materials are Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) and Expanded Polypropylene (EPP).

1. EPS (Expanded Polystyrene)

EPS foam is the most widely used material in helmet construction. This is mostly due to its cost-effectiveness and reliable impact absorption properties.

EPS is lightweight, rigid, and designed to compress upon impact, effectively absorbing and distributing the force.

However, EPS foam liners are generally considered to have a single-impact capability, meaning that once they compress during a significant impact, they may lose some of their protective properties and need to be replaced.

smith mission EPS Foam
EPS Foam (inside my Smith Mission helmet)

2. EPP (Expanded Polypropylene)

EPP foam is a more advanced material used in certain high-end snowboard helmets. It offers superior impact resistance and durability compared to EPS foam.

EPP foam is engineered to withstand multiple impacts without significant loss of protective capabilities, making it ideal for riders who frequently engage in high-risk snowboarding activities.

Snowboard Helmet Certifications

When purchasing a snowboard helmet, make sure it meets the appropriate safety standards.

In the USA, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) sets the safety standards for helmets intended for use in recreational activities, including snowboarding.

Check for the CPSC certification label before buying. (Our top snowboard helmets are all heavily tested and certified).  

snowboard helmet safety certifications

Additionally, some snowboard helmets may comply with other safety standards such as ASTM F2040 (American Society for Testing and Materials) or EN1077 (European standard).

While not mandatory in the USA, these certifications provide an extra layer of assurance regarding the helmet’s safety performance.

All-Season Certification

You might have noticed that some of the best snowboard helmets have all-season certification (EN 1078).

These can therefore be used for skateboarding, riding bikes and even roller skating. Their ABS shell is designed to hold up to a real beating!

climbing and snowboarding combined helmet

Rarely, helmets such as the Salomon MTN Lab receive EN 12492 certification. These offer additional protection from falling objects and are therefore certified for climbing. 

This is great news for backcountry enthusiasts, especially as these helmets are usually super lightweight and breathable.

Comfort Is Key

While safety is paramount, comfort is also essential when it comes to choosing your snowboard helmet. Consider the following features. 

Adjustable Fit Systems

Look for helmets with adjustable fit systems, such as a dial or strap. These ensure a snug and secure fit, preventing the helmet from shifting during rides. The most premium of these is BOA, an innovative dial that allows micro-adjustments via a single cable. 

Liners

Only consider lids with adequately padded liners and ear pads. You’re going to need these on the mountain!

Several of the options above even provide multiple liners, offering different thickness and warmth settings. 

Cheaper models risk pressure points, muffled hearing and overly-compressible foam. If you ride regularly and ride hard, don’t cheap out on your helmet.

Keep in mind that a comfortable helmet is one that you’ll actually want to wear! 

Ventilation Matters

Snowboarding involves fluctuating weather conditions, ranging from chilly days to beaming sun. When choosing a helmet, pay attention to the ventilation features.

Look for helmets with adjustable vents. These allow you to regulate airflow and temperature. 

Fixed ventilation is usually reserved for cheaper models. When done correctly, passive ventilation systems can still be effective temperature regulators. But there’s no match for adjustable airflow. 

Smith Snowboard Helmet Ventilation

You should also check for the number of vents. Sadly, more vents often correlates with a higher price tag. But I’d argue this is worthwhile for a comfortable head and fog-free goggles.

Snowboard Helmet Weight

Weight is one of the most discussed features of snowboard and ski helmets. Truth be told, the average weekend warrior (myself included) won’t notice minor variations in weight once they’re strapped in. 

However, backcountry gurus certainly will. 

For most of us, comfort and fit is much more important. So if you love a helmet but the weight is marginally higher, consider what you’ll be using it for. 

In addition, every helmet on our list is within a reasonable weight range. Sure, some of the ABS options are a little heavier… but none are excessively bulky or weighty (we did test some cheaper brick-like helmets. They didn’t make the list). 

Additional Snowboard Helmet Features

Audio Compatibility

Pretty much all of the best snowboard helmets are audio compatible. This usually means there’s space within the ear pads for drop-in audio, like the Outdoor Tech Chips or Smith x Aleck kits

There are wireless (expensive) options and wired (cheaper options). Both work well. 

We discussed a few other options in our article about how to listen to music while snowboarding

Goggle Retainer Clips

Imagine watching helplessly as your expensive goggles fall (in slow-mo) into the abyss beneath the chairlift. Goggle retainers keep your straps firmly in place. 

Unless you rock your snowboard goggles under your helmet, you need these!

Action Camera/GoPro Mounts

Some helmets have GoPro mounts pre-attached. Personally, I’d rather have the option to attach/detach at will. 

I’d therefore recommend picking up an after-market Go-Pro snowboard mount (link to my article all about it). 

How To Size Your Snowboard Helmet

1. Measure Your Head

To find the right helmet, start by measuring your head circumference using a flexible tape measure. Wrap it around your forehead, about an inch above your eyebrows and ears. Write down the measurement in centimeters.

measuring tape - how to measure snowboard helmet size

Then check the helmet size charts. There’s quite a bit of variation between brands – 58 cm is a medium in some brands, large in others. 

Pro Tip: If you don’t have a soft measuring tape, use a piece of string and measure it against a regular tape measure. 

2. Try It On

Once you receive the helmet, stick it on your head and give it a shake. Your helmet should fit snugly all the way around. Avoid gaps, too much space or excessive sliding.

Never buy helmets with “growing room”. Oversized helmets are unsafe. 

3. Test Goggle Compatibility

Your goggles and helmet should fit seamlessly. Otherwise, you’ll experience fogging or the dreaded gaper gap (the frostbitten gap between your helmet and the top of your goggles). 

Snowboard Helmet Size Charts

Adult Sizing

SizeHead Circumference (cm)
S52 – 55
M56 – 59
L60 – 62
XL63 – 64

Youth Sizing

SizeHead Circumference (cm)
S – M48 – 51
L – XL52 – 55

Adult Sizing

SizeHead Measurement (cm)
S52 – 55.5
M55.5 – 59
L59 – 62

Junior Sizing

SizeHead Measurement (cm)
S / M51.5 – 54.5
M / L53 – 56

Kids Sizing

SizeHead Measurement (cm)
XS / S51 – 53
S / M53 – 55.5
Adult Sizing
Size Size (cm)
S 52 – 55.5
M 55.5 – 59
L 59 – 62.5
XL 62.5 – 65
Youth Sizing
Size Size (cm)
XS 48.5 – 52
S 52 – 55.5
M 55.5 – 59

Adult Sizing

SizeHead Circumference (cm)
Small51 – 55
Medium55 – 59
Large59 – 63

Adult Round Fit

SizeHead Circumference (cm)
Small53 – 57
Medium57 – 61
Large61 – 65

Youth Sizing

SizeHead Circumference (cm)
Small49 – 53
Medium53 – 57

Adult Sizing

Helmet SizeHead Circumference (cm)
XXS48 – 52
XS51 – 52
S53 – 54
M55 – 56
L57 – 58
XS / S51 – 54
M / L55 – 58
XL / XXL59 – 62

Adult Sizing

SizeStandard Sizing (cm)
XS49-53
S53-56
M56-59
L59-62
XL62-64

Youth Sizing

SizeStandard Sizing (cm)
S49-53
M53-56
L56-59

Adult Sizing

SizeRegular Fit
(cm)
Round Contour Fit
(cm)
Small51 – 5555 – 59
Medium55 – 5959 – 63
Large59 – 6363 – 67
X Large63 – 67N/A

smith snowboard helmet size chart

Holt & Junior Sizing

SizeHead Circumference (cm)
Youth Small48 – 53
Youth Medium53 – 58
Youth S/M48 – 56
X Small52 – 54
Small54 – 56
Medium56 – 58
Large58 – 60
X Large60 – 62

Adult Sizing

SizeHead Circumference (cm)
S/M53 – 56
M/L56 – 59
L/XL59 – 61

Final Thoughts

In a nutshell, when it comes to the best snowboard helmets, safety and enjoyment go hand in hand.

Finding the perfect snowboard helmet is all about considering what matters most to you.

Consider factors like fit, comfort, ventilation, and whether it meets the required safety certifications.

Remember, your helmet is your trusty companion on the slopes, so it’s worth investing in a reliable one. By choosing a high-quality helmet from our recommendations, you can ride with confidence (but not too much!). 

Stay safe, have a blast, and enjoy the ride!

FAQ's

Your most frequently asked questions about snowboard helmets.

Snowboard helmets have been proven to significantly reduce the incidence of head injuries. In some studies, the injury rate was reduced by as much as 35% in adults and 59% in children. 

Contrary to popular belief, there is no evidence that snowboard helmets prevent concussion. 

While there is no concussion-proof helmet, a snowboard helmet can still protect against serious brain or head injury.

The percentage of skiers and snowboards who wear helmets is around 80%. This represents a significant increase since 1996, at which point only 8% of riders wore helmets!

Notably, both serious and non-serious head injury rates fell over the same time period. Coincidence? Unlikely!

Wrap a soft tape measure around your head just above your eyebrows, roughly in the middle of your forehead. Note your measurement in centimeters (most helmet brands use cm). 

Click here for more details. 

Snowboarders are now required to wear a certified snowboarding helmet for most Olympic events. 

This practice has been adopted by most snowboarding competitions. 

If in doubt, switch it out. I know the added expense is painful, but a head injury or traumatic brain injury is much worse. 

Most helmet manufacturers recommend replacing your helmet every 3-5 years, or immediately after a major crash. You should also replace your helmet if there are any visible signs of damage.  

Snowboard helmets do not expire, however it is best practice to replace your snowboard helmet after 3-5 seasons of regular use. 

If the helmet has visible damage or has been involved in a significant impact, then it needs to be replaced immediately. 

Snowboard helmets are designed to withstand multiple minor hits (especially EPP helmets like the Giro Emerge).

However, you MUST replace your helmet if it has taken a serious impact or is visibly damaged. 

You may also like

Leave a Comment

Subscribe for discounts AND A Chance to win $50!

Sign up to our newsletter for entry into the annual $50 gift card draw.

Subscribe for discounts AND A Chance to win $50!

Sign up to our newsletter for entry into our annual $50 gift card draw.