Hockey isn’t a game for the faint hearted, and when you’re on the ice, you need to have your head as well protected as possible with the best hockey helmet you can get. This game is a very physical sport and you should be protected from top to bottom to avoid injury.
Your head is a very vulnerable area when it comes to hockey. And when it comes to safety when playing hockey, you should never settle for anything that is less than the best, especially when it comes to your head.
Protecting Your Head Should Be Your Top Priority
But getting the safest hockey helmet isn’t as easy as you may think. You need to have one that fits just right and has to be good quality. This is not the time to compromise on quality to save a few bucks.
Check out our hockey helmet review guide that helps you in knowing which helmets are good for your playing level and which helmets are the best hockey helmets you will need for a kick ass game.
How To Choose The Right Helmet For You
How do you decide which helmet is perfect for you? These are the key points you should keep in mind while looking for a new helmet.
Sizing & Proper Fit
A hockey helmet that does not fit right is as good as not wearing one. If it sits too loose on your head and you can wobble your head easily, it can even cause damage to your head. It needs to be snug, but not too tight where you can hurt yourself.
Most manufacturers will have a sizing chart that you should use to make sure that you are getting the perfect helmet for your precious head. When you are measuring your head, you will need to measure the circumference of the top of your head and match it up to the size chart.
If you are concerned whether you have the right fit, open your helmet to the biggest setting and put it on your head so that the rim sits about a quarter of an inch above your eyebrows. Then tighten the screws until it is snug. If it cannot tighten enough to be snug, you do not have the right size.
Helmets With Visor vs. Cage
You might have noticed that some hockey helmets come with a cage and some come with a visor, whereas some come with nothing at all. Some professional players will opt to not wear any type of visor or cage over their faces so they do not lose any field of vision.
In amateur and youth leagues, however, visors and cages might be required. This is because the added features will increase the amount of safety you have for your face. A cage can ensure that a puck will not hit you in the face and keep a high stick or elbow off of your face. Without it, your face is vulnerable to being injured.
A visor on the helmet is a piece of clear acrylic that will also keep your eyes and your face protected when in the rink. A visor can get annoying due to fogging as you sweat while playing on the ice, but they will increase your overall protection.
Before a hockey helmet can be approved to be sold, it has to pass a series of tests to prove that it will actually help you in the event that you hit your head. The impact-protection standard is a pass/fail system created by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
The supplemental hockey helmet rating is provided by Virginia Tech that will give a helmet a rating from zero to fifteen on how well a helmet can actually absorb impact.
Few helmets exceed three stars with the Virginia Teach rating system, which means you need to pay careful attention when looking at helmets.
Protection Level & Foam Lining
The final consideration you need to make when shopping for the best senior hockey helmet is the protection level and the foam lining. Sometimes it is not how hard you hit your head, but how you hit your head that can be the difference in receiving a concussion.
The protection level is what decides the type of hit that your helmet can take. Less expensive helmets often have a lower quality foam lining and therefore have a lower protection level than more expensive helmets do.
Regardless, helmets of all price ranges need to have protection against rotational impacts. Nearly all helmets are made to handle direct attacks, but few are made to handle a rotational hit. When looking at the protection level of a hockey helmet, pay close attention to the levels that are listed. Linear and direct protection is essential, but not enough.
10 Best Hockey Helmets (2021)
1. Bauer RE-AKT 150
2. Warrior Alpha One
3. CCM FitLite FL500
Safest Hockey Helmet
4. TRUE Dynamic 9
5. Bauer RE-AKT 95
Helmet + Cage Combo
6. Bauer RE-AKT 200
7. CCM Tacks 710
For Wide Head
8. Bauer RE-AKT 95
9. Bauer RE-AKT 100
10. CCM FitLite FL90
Helmet + Cage Combo
(Concussion Rating - The Lower The Number = The Better The Concussion Prevention)
1. Bauer Re-Akt 150 Hockey Helmet
Best Hockey Helmet (Editor's Choice)
The best hockey helmet that you can get is the Bauer Re-Akt 150. This is a lightweight helmet that still manages to not sacrifice comfort for protection.
The helmet is made with a low density material that allows it to be lightweight. It is designed with a sleek, modern appearance and comes in the standard black. You will also find that the Comfort Pod liner that is included with the helmet will give you a better fit all-around. With two different types of foams in place, the helmet covers comfort and protection to meet your needs.
The design of the Re-Akt helmet also includes XRD Foam, which offers a higher level of comfort and protection for your head. It is reactive foam that protects you from both high and low velocity impacts. There is also an IX Foam, which is a lighter weight level of protection.
You should be impressed by the awesome features that come with the Re-Akt 150. The helmet uses VTx technology, which is a proprietary foam liner system that goes along the front, top, and the rear of the helmet. These areas are considered the highest impact so protecting them is really important.
The Re-Akt 150 also has a Freeform adjustment system, which allows you to adjust the helmet easily to give you the proper fit. If your helmet is not properly adjusted, then it will not be as effective in protecting your head from injury. There are 18 millimetres of adjust room available with this system, so you really can get a custom fit from it.
2. Warrior Alpha One Pro Hockey Helmet
For a budget friendly helmet that will still offer you a good amount of protection, take a look at the Warrior Alpha One Pro. This helmet has enough protection for aggressive players and features to enhance that protection.
You get your choice of pigment with the Warrior Alpha One Pro. The helmet comes in red, blue, white, navy, and black, so you can get it to match your team or even your favourite pro team.
The Alpha One Pro has a one-piece shell with ultra-rigid plastic, making it incredibly still and dense. Even though the shell is meant to be hard, the plastic is lightweight. The design works to combine the shell and the liners as a unit, so the helmet should stay put and all the padding should stay in place when you are wearing it. Also inside of the helmet, you will find the Flow Comfort Polygeine liner that improves the breathability of the helmet.
Protection is the number one priority with this helmet. To being with, it has Omnioshock Protection, which is an impact system that uses Impax foam pods. The pods are used to absorb any shock and diffuse the energy so the impact is less directed at a single location.
Additionally, the Alpha One Pro has the BOA AdaptFit 270 system, which allows you to adjust the helmet to fit your head. The system has a wide range as well, so you should be able to get the perfect with. This is all done using a dial at the back of the helmet that you just turn to make the helmet larger or smaller as needed.
3. CCM Fitlite FL500 Hockey Helmet
Safest Hockey Helmet
You may look for the helmet that is the lightest on your pockets, or the best quality one where money is no object. However, if safety is paramount, you should check out the CCM Fitlite FL500, the safest hockey helmet available. Another favourite from CCM, the FL500 model is further proof that CCM is doing all that it can to protect players against traumatic injuries.
The outer appearance of the FL500 might be similar to other helmets made by CCM, but it is not the same on the inside. Instead, it has a high-density PE shell for superior protection. It is designed with a two-piece shell for the best protection possible
The FL500 features D3O Smart Foam for temple and occipital protection. It also offers a tool-free adjustment system that will give you a personalized and comfortable fit. One of the features on this helmet is that it has an I.Q.Shion liner, an open-cell memory foam material that is both comfortable and soft as well as a great way to keep the moisture off of your face.
The D3O Smart foam used in this helmet is actually rate sensitive. Rate sensitive is where it is pliable and soft to the touch. This is not a combo helmet, but it does have the ability to support a cage should you decide that you need one at a later date.
The thing that really makes this helmet different is the multi density VN foam liner that allows it to absorb direct hits better than ever before. The extra foam and padding can make the helmet feel heavy.
4. True Dynamic 9 Pro Hockey Helmet
If you are looking for a helmet that has the latest helmet technology available, check out the True Dynamic 9 Pro hockey helmet. This helmet manages to be incredibly protective without being heavy or bulky.
Let’s start by looking at the design of the True Dynamic 9 Pro. It is considered ultra-lightweight. This is achieved through the use of a one-piece polypropylene shell. The Dynamic 9 Pro is made to be the lightest helmet in its class, but that does not mean that they had to lose out on any safety features to keep it so light.
Since you could say that a hockey helmet is the most important piece of equipment, it is important that you get a helmet that has the right kind of protection.
For the 9 Pro, this is the EPP Foam inside of the helmet to help dampen any impact that you might receive out on the ice. As an added bonus, you can choose from a variety of colours to get a helmet that coordinates with your uniform.
Looking at the features of the Dynamic 9 Pro, it is important to note that its construction uses True’s patented MIPS Brain Protection System. This system uses a low friction layer, which will reduce the rotational motion transferred to the brain during impact. Thankfully, that means that there is a reduced risk of concussion if you’re hit.
The helmet also offers you a customized fit, meaning that the helmet comes with interchangeable side and rear occipital Fitpads, which can come in three different thicknesses. This way, you will get 360 degrees of adjustability. The helmet should fit your head perfectly with just a little bit of tweaking.
The only disadvantage we found with this helmet is that you will not be able to add on a cage or a visor if you prefer to use cages with your helmets. Some leagues require them, so this might be a problem for you.
5. Bauer Re-Akt 95 Hockey Helmet Combo
Hockey Helmet + Cage Combo
If you are looking for a helmet that has a cage attached, we suggest the Bauer Re-Akt 95. This model replaced two older Bauer helmets, the IMS 9.0 and IMS 11.0, keeping the features that made them so popular.
The design of the Re-Akt 95 includes a variable thickness HDPE shell, which gives you a lighter helmet with a high level of protection. In fact, even though it is lightweight, it has the same protective qualities that you would get from a heavier helmet, including a lot of great padding.
The design of the helmet also includes vents to improve the air flow throughout the helmet, keeping your head as comfortable as possible.
The features of the Re-Akt 95 include a single, tool-free lock that is on the back of the helmet. This lock is made to keep your adjustments in place so that your helmet stays exactly where it should be. The Occipital Lock 3.0 has three different height positions that you can adjust to. It is also spring-loaded, so you should get a perfect fit.
Inside of the helmet, you will find that there is Poron XRD foam at the temples of the helmet. This is Bauer’s most protective foam that can withstand repeated impacts at all velocities. The base foam of the interior is the VTX foam.
This is lightweight, but also will protect you against high impacts. There is also IX foam, which molds to fill the interior of the helmet, which is designed for low to medium impacts. Since the foams both protect against different areas, you should be sufficiently covered safety-wise.
6. Bauer Re-AKT 200 Hockey Helmet
Some of you might be thinking that you would prefer a higher quality or higher performance hockey helmet.
If this is the case, the Bauer Re-AKT 200 will be the perfect choice for you. Like the other Re-AKT models, you will be getting an awesome, high quality helmet, but with a little more pizzazz.
The design of the Re-AKT 200 has a base layer of VN foam, which is a high density material that will ensure more shock absorption. It also was designed with Poron Xrd pads which are included to give you the highest quality of padding that you can get in a hockey helmet.
If you are worried about getting sweat in your eyes, you will be happy with the Re-AKT 200 since there are channels built into the helmet to keep sweat diverted away from your face and eyes.
The high performance features on this helmet include the three different types of internal padding, including the VTX, XRD, and MD foams. These are all in place to give you the best protection that you could hope for. There is also a memory foam inner liner to make it all the more comfortable.
It is also adjustable without the use of tools, and even offers the ability to adjust the length of the helmet. Unfortunately, all of the padding can make it hard to fit into this helmet, so make sure that you follow the size guide closely when purchasing it.
7. CCM Tacks 710 Hockey Helmet
For Wide Head
This is an excellent quality hockey helmet that should meet your expectations of comfort and protection.
The Tacks 710 has some innovative design features that offer an elite-level of protection as well. This helmet was intended for players with rounded heads, so it might not work well for everyone’s type of head. Even so, it does have a multi-directional fit, which means you can adjust it in more than one spot, so it might still work for those who do not have round heads.
The design takes into consideration comfort as well as protection, ensuring that you will not be seriously injured during a game. It also will easily accommodate a cage if you were inclined to add one on.
A unique CCM system, and one you will find with the Tacks 710 is the RED system that we had mentioned above. The RED system is the liquid-filled bladders that will make sure that your brain does not get jarred or concussed during a game. There are also D3O lite foam pads that are inside of the helmet and further assist with impact absorption. This also contains the I.Q.Shion foam, which has been designed to provide the best comfort possible.
Another easily adjustable helmet, the Tacks 710 also can easily be tightened without the use of any tools. Unfortunately, if you do have a narrow head, you might find that this helmet will never quite tighten as much as you need it to.
8. Bauer Re-AKT 95 Hockey Helmet
If you or someone you know is just starting out with hockey, you can still get a pretty good helmet. Another great helmet from Bauer, the Bauer RE-AKT 95 has a high level of quality without all of the bells and whistles that more experienced players might look for.
Designed HDPE Pro shell, the Re-AKT 95 is lightweight and not clunky to wear. If you are just working on skills, you will not have to think about whether your neck is getting sore from holding up a helmet. Even though it is lighter, the helmet will still give you protection that you need.
There are also removable ear guards on the RE-AKT 95. It is also designed with three different height adjustment positions, helping you achieve the ideal fit for you. Another design feature is the amount of vents that are in place to help keep your head cool.
The Re-AKT 95 has a lot of amazing features, including Poron XRD at the temples, which is one of the most advanced types of protective foam you can get. It is made to absorb all levels of impact, keeping the shock away from your head. There is also an IX Foam which is a type of molded foam that is in place to fill the interior protection gaps and giving you just enough extra shock absorption.
The fit on this helmet is troublesome as it really works well for players with round heads, but cannot get the same level of snugness and comfort with other or smaller shaped heads.
9. Bauer Re-AKT 100 Hockey Helmet
Another top of the line hockey helmet that you can get in 2021 is the Bauer Re-AKT 100. This is a great helmet that is able to effectively combine comfort and protection.
The design of the Bauer Re-AKT 100 is a Suspend-Tech 2 liner, which gives more stretch and compression when you do have a blow to the head. Using the latest concussion prevention technology, the Re-AKT 100 is both responsive and secure by design. It also was designed with Bauer’s YourFIT system, which includes a CURV composite wrap all around your head. This is intended to give you a completely customized fit.
A downside to the customized fit is that there is more limited mobility with the head being thoroughly wrapped and protected. This might not bother all players, but it is a consideration when you are shopping for a new helmet.
The biggest selling point on this helmet is that it is made explicitly for impact management. So included in the features is PORON XRD Foam, which will give you a snug fit around your head. It also features a Suspend- Tech liner as well as FleXorb Tech. FleXorb is a feature that is exclusive to Bauer.
The VTX foam base of the Re-AKT 100 utilized Seven+ tech. Seven+ is made to be more versatile and durable than any other Bauer helmet out on the market. It means that the foam should hold up well when you do experience a hit.
10. CCM Fitlite FL90 Hockey Helmet Combo
Helmet + Cage Combo
Finally, we are going to take a look at one of the top rated hockey helmets that you can get that has a cage. The CCM Fitlite FL90 has an array of high performance protection, but is still a nice and affordable price.
Designed for elite-level comfort, the Fitlite FL90 was designed to be worn easily. This is due to the dual foam shell padding, but also because it is a caged hockey helmet. The cage itself was designed to be sure that the players could still see the ice just as well as they did before getting a cage. Part of this includes the FM 680 carbon steel cage for visibility
There is more than one way to adjust the helmet. These include the dual tool-less system with clips on the temples. This means the helmet can expand and contract. There is also the ability to fine-tune the fit with the micro-dial adjustment system. This will give you a tight lock so long as the helmet fits your head. Players with any head profile should be able to adjust this helmet to fit their heads, but it does seem to run a little large.
This helmet has many features, including a Hexagon Matrix padding which gives you shock-absorbing impact protection. There is also a two-piece PE shell with reliable venting to keep your head cool when you are out on the ice.
Another of this helmet’s features is the multi-density foam chin up. This provides moisture channels for dry comfort and stability. There is also an I.Q.Shion layer inside that is also made to help keep you cool and dry no matter how hard you are out there skating.
Virginia Tech Hockey Helmet Ratings
Researchers with Virginia Tech began providing star hockey helmet ratings on helmets back in 2011. The ratings are based on thorough research that is done to see how a helmet can handle the level of impact that could normally cause a concussion.
Once the safety of the helmet has been determined as to whether it offers real concussion protection, the stars will be assigned appropriately.
Rating the helmets allows the researchers to show consumers which helmets are more likely to prevent a concussion than others to help guide customers to the right helmet.
The hockey helmet ratings are given after a series of tests, including the weight of the helmet, how many players have received concussions already, and whether the velocity of impact can be lessened or diffused so that it is not honed in on one point.
It is also important to remember that even the highest rated helmet might not be able to prevent a concussion.
There is no such thing as a concussion-proof helmet, but most will reduce the force of impact, lessening the blow so that the damage will be much smaller. A concussion happens on the inside of the head, when the head has been hit hard, causing the brain to slide back and forth.
How Long Do Helmets Last And Do They Expire?
Unfortunately, hockey helmets do not last forever. A player can wear the same size of helmet for years, even youth players, but even if your head size is still the same, the foam will slowly degrade over time.
With regular wear and tear, your hockey helmet should be replaced about every six and a half years. The accredited testing certification is only good for six and a half years. Then, the helmets will naturally break down, the padding and lining becoming weaker to the point that the helmet would no longer be able to protect you from hits.
Of course, if you have had a heavy hit to your helmet or see any visible signs of wear, you should replace your helmet right away because its integrity could have been compromised. Some helmets will show cracks whereas others won’t, but you will know if you had a hard fall or hit your head.
Concussion In The NHL
It seems like science is only just now beginning to really understand what the long term damage of receiving a concussion is. A concussion is not simply a blow to the head, but it is a traumatic hit to the heat that causes your brain to rotate and swell. The repercussions of a concussion can range from a mild headache and onwards up to memory loss and other neurological side effects. Repeated concussions are especially dangerous because the extent of a concussion is not immediately visible on a brain scan.
In November 2018, the NHL reached a settlement with 318 former players who were claiming negligence in regard to concussions in the league. While the NHL did not admit fault, we should be seeing changes to concussion protocols in the future.
How To Fit A Hockey Helmet
Having your hockey helmet fit your properly is incredibly important. You can do it in a few easy steps.
- Take a measurement of your head: You need to start by measuring your head. Using a soft tape measure around the top of your head, wrap it just above your eyebrows in order to get the right circumference and know what to buy.
- Adjust your helmet. After buying your helmet, you need to open the helmet to its biggest setting.
- Put it on. Put the helmet on your head. The rim should sit one finger width above your eyebrows. The occipital lock needs to sit on your occipital bone as well.
- Tighten the helmet. Next, you will need to tighten the helmet around your head. Some helmets have tool-free adjustments, while others require a screwdriver.
- Adjust chin strap: Your chin strap should fit closely, but you still should have a small gap.
- That’s it!: Now you just need to move your head and make sure the helmet stays in place.
Hockey Helmet Components
The helmet shell is the exterior of the helmet. This will be the part of the helmet that takes on impact if you’re hit in the head.
The shell needs to be made up of a high-density material so that it will not crack and prevent anything from cracking your head as well. You can also get lightweight shells that still offer a high amount of protection. Your shell should be adjustable.
The liner of your helmet is the internal piece that touches the top of your head. It should have some kind of padding as well, softening any kind of blows to the head that you might receive.
The liner should be water wicking as well, to help prevent sweat from pooling on the top of your head or having it run down your face in the middle of a game.
Cage or Visor
A cage and a visor are both components that will prevent injury to your face during a hockey game. They can be attached to the front of many helmets, so you can add one on a lot of the time, even if the helmet didn’t have one.
Many leagues require cages or visors, so keep that in mind when you are shopping for a helmet. There are helmets that will not accommodate them at all, so watch out for that.
Don't Buy Used Hockey Helmets
Buying used hockey helmets is one of the most unsafe things that you can do in hockey. Because they do not have long life expectancy, you would never want to buy a used hockey helmet, even if you know that the expiration on the helmet has not passed yet.
Also, certifications become void when there is any resale of a helmet. You would have no history of its damage. Likewise, the more that a helmet experiences blows, the less protective the helmet will be.
Used helmets will give you no idea on how many hits the helmet has experienced, which could mean that the helmet is broken already. While a used helmet might save you money upfront, the risk that you put your head in for the sake of a few dollars is not worth it at all.
Take good care of your head and brain by wearing a new, certified helmet.
At the end of the day, you want a helmet that is going to sufficiently protect your head from blows and impact.
The best hockey helmet in this case is the Bauer Re-Akt 150 which is a versatile helmet that works well for most players. It is lightweight, easy to wear, and still has a high amount of safety features to keep your head from being injured.
If you are concerned about a budget, do not forgo the helmet to save cash. Instead, check out our budget find, which is the Warrior Alpha Pro One. This helmet still supplies a good amount of comfort and protection in order to keep you safe.
It is important to get the right fit of the helmet just right in order to get the most benefits from the helmet. While the Re-Akt is the best, the perfect helmet for you might be something else. As long as you are protected and comfortable, you will be able to skate with peace of mind.