Best Ski Helmets of 2021

Best Ski Helmets

Brand Helmet Category Price Style Safety Technology
POC Obex Spin Best Overall Ski Helmet $200* Soft Ear SPIN Learn More
Scott Couloir Mountain Helmet Best Backcountry/Mountaineering Helmet $180* Soft Ear EPS Learn More
Oakley Mod 5 Best Visor Helmet $200* Soft Ear MIPS Learn More
POC Dura Comp SPIN Best Ski Racing Helmet $450* Hard Ear SPIN Learn More
Smith Quantum MIPS Warmest Helmet $300* Soft Ear MIPS Learn More
Smith Vantage MIPS Best Ventilation System $260* Soft Ear MIPS Learn More
Sweet Protection Trooper MIPS II Best MIPS Helmet $300* Soft Ear MIPS Learn More
Giro Ledge MIPS Best Budget Helmet $90* Soft Ear MIPS Learn More

From a safety standpoint, a helmet is the most crucial piece of equipment that a skier or snowboarder owns. It is something everyone needs, regardless of skill level or experience. Because it protects your brain from the impact of a fall, finding a suitable helmet is obviously an important decision.

However, it can be difficult to consider the factors that go into each helmet design. Before we jump into reviews of our eight best helmets, we will outline some key considerations to make before you purchase.

Best Overall Ski Helmet

Product image of the POC Obex Spin helmet on a white background. helmet on a white background.

POC Obex Spin

Price: $200
Style: Soft Ear
Safety Technology: SPIN
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This is a helmet that truly has it all for a reasonable price point. POC’s SPIN safety technology protects the head by allowing it to spin relative to the helmet during a fall. (SPIN is POC’s equivalent to MIPS). The POC Obex Spin also contains an interior size adjustment to get the perfect fit, adjustable venting, and a low-profile goggle clip. It comes in a wide variety of color options, ranging from bright pink and green to gray and black, so there is an option to suit just about anyone!

Pros: Easy size adjustment, adjustable hidden vents, simple design with a wide color scheme

Cons: No major cons with this helmet

Best Backcountry/Mountaineering:

Product image of the Scott Couloir Mountain helmet on a white background.

Scott Couloir Mountain Helmet

Price: $180
Style: Soft Ear
Safety Technology: EPS
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The Scott Couloir Mountain Helmet is one that truly combines the necessities of a backcountry helmet and a mountaineering helmet. Its lighter weight and venting capabilities make it ideal for uphill mountaineering adventures, while the ear pads and typical helmet geometry make it a safe and comfortable option for skiing down, too.

Pros: Eliminates the need for two helmets for mountaineering and backcountry skiing, headlamp clips, venting and padding configuration allows for easy adjustment in cool or warm temperatures.

Cons: No MIPS liner

Best Visor

Product image of the Oakley Mod 5 helmet on a white background.

Oakley Mod 5

Price: $200
Style: Soft Ear
Safety Technology: MIPS
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The Oakley Mod 5 is another great overall helmet with the addition of a visor. This helmet hits all necessary criteria in terms of the MIPS liner, adjustable ventilation system, and an adjustable fit. The brim of this helmet is what sets it above others.  The visor acts as a goggle ventilation system, allowing hot air to flow from away the goggles so they don’t get fogged. The helmet comes with two brim and visor options, allowing for a better range of compatibility with whatever goggles you choose to use the helmet with.

Pros: MIPS liner, advanced visor features, magnetic buckle

Cons: Some issues with the helmet clip securing goggles

Best Ski Racing Helmet

Product image of the POC Skull Dura Comp helmet on a white background.

POC Dura Comp SPIN

Price: $450
Style: Soft Ear
Safety Technology: SPIN
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While there are a few different classifications for ski racing helmets, the hard ear helmet is primarily what sets them apart from others. Hard ear helmets are used in high speed events, and provide added protection in crashes, as the hard shell extends over each ear. While they aren’t necessary for everyday skiing, they are a great option for those who truly want the safest possible head protection. Our top choice for ski racing helmets is the POC Skull Dura Comp SPIN. Similar to a MIPS helmet, this product has POC’s SPIN technology which reduces force from an angled impact. It also contains an adjustable fit system, an aerodynamic construction, and comes in many color options.

Pros: Safest option, SPIN technology

Cons: Bulkier and heavier than soft ear helmets, much higher price point

Warmest Helmet

Product image of the Smith Quantum MIPS helmet on a white background.

Smith Quantum MIPS

Price: $300
Style: Soft Ear
Safety Technology: MIPS
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There is nothing worse than cold air flowing through your ears on a ski day. This can be an issue with many soft ear helmets, but it is avoided with the Smith Quantum MIPS. This helmet has a much thicker liner than others, and the noticeably thicker padding over each ear provides better insulation and is a game-changer when it comes to staying warm. The uniquely padded chinstrap adds an additional insulation to the neck and chin area. In addition to being the warmest option, this helmet also boasts of a MIPS liner, adjustable venting, and a visor.

Pros: Thicker padding and insulation make this the warmest option, MIPS liner

Cons: One of the bulkier options, design is not as sleek looking as other models, high price point

Best Ventilation System

Product image of the Smith Vantage MIPS helmet on a white background.

Smith Vantage MIPS

Price: $260
Style: Soft Ear
Safety Technology: MIPS
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While almost every helmet on this list offer some type of venting system for warmer days on the mountain, the Smith Vantage MIPS has the most efficient and effective ventilation system. While most options only have vents in the front, this helmet has 21 total vents across the surface of the shell. Each vent can be adjusted individually, meaning that you can adjust each one to determine exactly how much airflow you need. The result is a climate controlled helmet!

Pros: Great for warmer spring days, MIPS liner, 21 vents, visor

Cons: A bulkier option, high price point

Best MIPS Helmet

Product image of the Product image of the Smith Quantum MIPS helmet on a white background.

Trooper MIPS II

Price: $300
Style: Soft Ear
Safety Technology: MIPS
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While there are many helmets out there with MIPS, the Sweet Protection Trooper MIPS II is the top option for those wanting the most protection possible in a soft ear helmet. The carbon fiber reinforced outer shell of this helmet make it rigid and durable. That in addition to Sweet Protection’s impact protection technology and their MIPS Brain Protection System is what puts this helmet above and beyond. The result is an extremely safe helmet, but also one that doesn’t lack any style. The helmet has a signature design and comes in a wide array of colors.

Pros: Lightweight carbon fiber shell, MIPS liner

Cons: High price point

Best Budget Ski Helmet

Product image of the Giro Ledge helmet on a white background.

Giro Ledge MIPS

Price: $90
Style: Soft Ear
Safety Technology: MIPS
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If you are looking for a helmet that won’t break the bank but it still seriously safe, the Giro Ledge MIPS could be a great option for you. At only $90, the simple design is well worth the price, and the MIPS liner ensures that the helmet doesn’t skimp on safety precautions. This helmet features a removable goggle clip and ear pads, an adjustable liner system to get the perfect fit, and a venting system for warmer days. A great option for beginners, those looking to upgrade to MIPS for less money, or those who want a very basic looking helmet.

Pros: MIPS helmet under $100, wide color variety, sleek and minimalistic design

Cons: Less features than pricier options

Buyer’s Guide

MIPS

Some of the helmets have MIPS classification. MIPS stands for “Multi-directional Impact Protection System.” It is a safety technology that can reduce harmful force from an angled impact by allowing one’s head to move relative to the helmet. If you are looking for the highest regarded technology in terms of safety, or are someone who skis fast and crashes frequently, a helmet with MIPS may be the best option for you.

Goggle Compatibility

Every time you wear a helmet, chances are you are wearing a pair of goggles, too. Finding a seamless helmet and goggle duo is highly sought after to look sharp and to keep your forehead warm. No one wants the dreaded goggle gap! As a rule of thumb, it is safe to assume that helmet and goggles of the same brand will work well together. If you are trying on in a store, bringing your goggles in with you help can help to rule out what helmets may not fit well with them. Lastly, be aware that the brim of some helmets have a greater curve, and that is something that can limit goggle options. If you need some assistance purchasing a great pair of goggles, find our recommendations for Best Ski Goggles here.

Replacing a Helmet:

If your helmet has been involved in any major impact to the head from a ski or snowboard crash, especially if it resulted in a head injury, your helmet should be replaced prior to you returning to snow. Helmets are not built to endure more than one severe impact. Even if your helmet isn’t visibly damaged, it needs to be replaced after a major fall to the head. On the other hand, it is always a good idea to routinely inspect your helmet for cracks, dents, or damage to the inside foam. If any damage is found, it is a good idea to replace the helmet. Even if its minor damage, the cracks or dents can expand, resulting in an unsafe helmet. When in doubt, the best solution is to replace it. If you need to replace some of your other gear as well, find our recommendations for Best Ski Gloves and Best Men’s Ski Jackets.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I wear a hat under my helmet?

Most helmets are designed to rest directly on your head without a hat. However, if you feel that a hat might help to keep you warmer, make sure that the hat material is thin enough so that the helmet still fits correctly. If you wear something like a beanie under a helmet, it could result in an unsafe and improper fit of the helmet. Look for a hat that is a thin, tighter fitting material that won’t obstruct the fit of the helmet in any way.

How to Clean a Ski Helmet Liner:

If your helmet has a removable liner, you should follow the provided instructions to determine if it is safe to put in the washer or if it should be hand washed. If the liner isn’t removable, we recommend using a damp cloth to gently clean the interior of the helmet.

How to Measure for a Ski Helmet

Helmet sizes are determined based on head circumference, measured in inches or centimeters. While most are sized XS-XXL, it is important to look at the size guide for the brand that you are buying from. When measuring, make sure to use a soft measuring tape. Wrap the measuring tape around your head, just above your eyebrows, to determine the circumference of your head.

Who makes the best ski helmets?
  • POC
  • Sweet Protection
  • Oakley
  • Giro
  • Smith
  • Scott