When it comes to off-road riding, investing in the best ATV helmet is vital. While ATV bikes are generally known to offer more stability than dirt bikes, this can often mean it is easy to feel overconfident, and this is where accidents tend to happen. Of course, everyone wants to look cool. But practicing safety does not mean you need to sacrifice style.
Indeed, we’re about to show you some of the leading ATV helmets on the market – and part of the criteria for getting onto our list is the combination of safety, comfort, and style. So sit back, relax, and let’s explore some of the best ATV Helmets that are on the market today!
Top 5 ATV Helmets
OUR TOP PICK
Shoei is a world-renowned manufacturer of ATV and motocross helmets in Japan. With hand-laid interwoven layers of fiberglass with organic fibres and resin, the Shoei RF-SR shell is both light and surprisingly robust. So while the RF-SR’s structure ensures a supreme level of safety, its lightness also guarantees a level of comfort that is never compromised. Primarily, we recommend lightweight models as these minimise neck fatigue, which means you can safely ride for longer, and prevents long-term neck damage.
The interior lining of the RF-SR is a dextrous dual-layer multi-density EPS liner that provides a superb fit while enhancing impact absorption and ventilation. Each of the Shoei RF-SR’s interior parts and padding are also removable, replaceable, and washable. Indeed, the design philosophy that has made Shoei a world-renowned manufacturer is their uncompromising approach, ensuring superior comfort and safety with each of their world-class products. Ultimately, it is the Shoei RF-SR’s uncompromising design that makes it our top choice.
- World class manufacturer guarantees quality
- Comes in a variety of colors
- Extremely quiet with great airflow
- The most expensive product on the list
Offering both practicality and edgy sleek design, the ScorpionExo Covert is a certain hit with modern ATV riders. Featuring a stylish SWAT-like design with a matte black finish, it is easy to see what the design philosophy was for this model – “Radical By Design”. Despite this designer approach, safety remains key to ScorpionExo’s mission statement of ensuring confidence through quality craftsmanship. The ScorpionExo Covert features an advanced LG polycarbonate shell that is designed to disperse impact while minimising weight, being both sturdy and comfortable. This model also comes with a retractable tinted sun visor that helps ease light-strain in a variety of settings, coming equipped with a dark smoke shade installed. Reinforcing its commitment to safety, it also comes with a clear visor that helps with riding at night.
- Stylish design
- Advanced airflow system
- Features a retractable tinted sun-visor with dark smoke and clear vision
- The visor can feel a little rigid and restrictive
- The visor’s tabs are relatively weak and can feel cheaply made
O’Neal has been in the helmet business for over 50 years, and its years of passion, creativity, and experience helps it produce some of the leading ATV helmets on the market today. The O’Neal 0817-504 is a lightweight model with a shell built with Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS), a material that helps ensure the helmet doesn’t crack in freezing or hot conditions. Its visor features an integrated face shield with clear vision and UV protection. This model also features a high-tech ventilation system that uses a variety of clever vents. That helps to combat helmet heating, and lets you keep a cool head in all climates. The helmet shield is also height-adjustable, and it comes with a padded chin strap with a double-D safety lock, giving you maximum stability. That’s also a safety boost, as the last thing you want in the event of an accident is a loose helmet, or one that comes easily off and leaves your head exposed.
- Fantastic airflow
- Comes with integrated sunshade with a clear visor
- Height adjustable helmet shield
- The top vents are not closable which can let too much cold air in, especially when travelling at higher speeds
- A little tight around the cheeks, which can build up a rider’s resistance to wearing this helmet
The YEMA YM-915 is another model that provides a blend of stability and comfort. It features an aerodynamic ABS shell, with a multi-channel air flow system and high-density fully vented EPS. This model’s interior padding is also removable and washable, ensuring further longevity via replacement parts. In fact, this model even includes a comfortable laser cut foam that can be fully removed for cleaning purposes. The YEMA YM-915’s streamlined aerodynamic design provides this model with superior wind and drag resistance, while its high-density full ventilation system ensures it can be worn regardless of the weather conditions. The visor will likely require some tightening up, but despite being one of the cheaper models on our list, it is exceedingly comfortable, tough, and provides some impressive features exceeding the benchmark of this price range. Its design is incredibly stylish, and can easily conjure up images of a more law-abiding Batman. Grab a YEMA YM-915 and get your superhero – but not your masked vigilante! – on.
- More useful features than other helmets in its price range
- Aerodynamic design provides excellent wind resistance
- Fully-vented EPS
- Batman vibe for a fun feel
- The visor is a little loose and will require tightening up
- Size runs smaller than some other models – order one size larger for safety
BELL is one of the most renowned ATV helmet manufacturers, and it’s easy to see why when you take a close look at the BELL MX-9 MIPS. Employing a multi-directional impact protection system (the MIPS in the name), this model is designed to significantly reduce rotational forces from various forms of impact. The BELL MX-9 MIPS uses an advanced velocity-flow ventilation system that moves tons of cool air in, and pushes warm air out, keeping you cool and comfortable, regardless of the weather conditions.
This helmet also features a moisture-wicking liner that keeps you drier and more comfortable. The liner is fully removable and washable. BELL has also sought to make advancements with the BELL MX-9 MIPS’s flying bridge visor. Traditional ATV helmets use an attachment point in the center. BELL’s flying bridge visor by contrast employs a unique offset pivot system that improves ventilation by allowing for uninterrupted airflow over the top of the helmet. These are side-only attachment points that are adjustable and provide complete stability.
By making intelligent advances in helmet design and technology, the BELL MX9-MIPS pushes its way up our list of the best ATV helmets, and demands to be considered. If you’re reading this list, you probably wouldn’t have settled for ordinary anyway. But the MX9-MIPS is significantly above ordinary, keeping you safe, dry, cool and comfortable without breaking open your bank account and sucking it dry.
- Advanced flying bridge visor system
- MIPS design reduces rotational force for optimal safety
- Uninterrupted airflow with really good ventilation
- Moisture-wicking washable liner
- Not by any means the quietest helmet on the market
Premium ATV Helmets Buying Guide
Buying an ATV helmet is different to buying most other consumer goods. If you buy a TV and it doesn’t do everything you need it to, it sucks, sure, but it’s unlikely to land you dead on the ground in the middle of nowhere.
Get your ATV helmet choice wrong, and that’s a thing that could happen. So it’s a choice that needs to be made with more seriousness than many.
That said, there are plenty of perfectly functional ATV helmets out there – there are safety standards to meet, after all. But keeping you safe in the event of an accident should be a given. Beyond that, there are a handful of things to take into account when choosing the ATV helmet that’s especially right for you.
Splash Out, Don’t Crash Out
Because of the seriousness of the purchase, you should look on your ATV helmet as investment in your safety and survival. If you’d be prepared to pay more for a car with seatbelts, airbags, and heck even windshields, make the same commitment to your ATV helmet purchase.
Don’t buy an ATV helmet like every day’s a bright summer morning in springtime. Buy it like you’ve been thrown off your ATV, bounced on your head and thrown 30 yards along gravel. It’s more or less going to suck whatever you do. But buy the ATV helmet with the best chance of ensuring you feel exactly how much it sucks, rather than one that ensures you never feel how much anything sucks again.
Make sure you get a DOT certified helmet.
DOT certification guarantees that the helmet is manufactured in compliance with a set of health and safety standards outlined by the Department of Transport. It’s easy to tell if a helmet is DOT certified, you need only look for a sticker to certify that the model has met the minimal safety guidelines. Never buy a helmet that is not DOT certified. Without the sticker, it’s more or less a Darth Vader ornamental headpiece.
Lightening up a little, you should also train yourself to pay gladly for journey-enhancers.
There are helmets that will turn your head into a sweaty ham-roast if you keep them on for the length of a full ATV journey. And there are helmets that use clever ventilation systems, moisture-wicking liners and the like to make sure that doesn’t happen, and that you get to ride in relative comfort while keeping your head safe. Pay for all the ventilation and anti-sweat technology you can.
Wherever possible, splash out for a helmet with ESP lining, which is a shock-absorbent cushioning that lines the interior of the helmet. Choosing a helmet with cushioning that is replaceable and washable will also increase its longevity.
Not only should your ATV helmet be sturdy to protect your head, but it should also be lightweight. A heavier helmet does not necessarily translate to enhanced protection. Helmets that are light effectively reduce neck strain, allowing you to ride for longer and without complications due to frequent usage. Lightweight helmets also sit on your head comfortably which will prevent body tilt, and that can help reduce the risk of falling.
It is also crucial that your helmet is a correct fit to reduce injury and prevent it from falling off your head. Sizes can also vary between brands, so you should always measure your head to guarantee the helmet is the correct fit – never simply choose a size that you think will fit. We have provided some helpful guidance to help you measure your head correctly.
Ebay Is Not Your Friend
We of course mean no disrespect to the world-changing person-to-person selling site. It’s just that ATV helmets are not a purchase in which you want to allow any doubt. Buy new, always. You probably wouldn’t buy second-hand eggs, because there’d be no way to check how fresh they were until you cracked them open. Likewise with ATV helmets, second-hand might seem fine, but if you buy them second-hand, you’re relying on the word of the seller that they’ve never been damaged, re-touched, and re-sold. Always go with fresh out of the box ATV helmets – if nothing else, it’s how you know the DOT certificate is worth the paper on which it’s printed. It’s how you know the helmet hasn’t been weakened by real-world use and abuse between its rigorous testing and you strapping it onto your head. It’s how you make sure your ESP lining hasn’t deteriorated to uselessness before you ever put it on.
Similarly, in a pay-it-forward style gesture of respect as well as in the interests of your own safety, you should replace every helmet you own after a few years, or sooner if it sustains any damage.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I clean my ATV helmet safely?
To safely clean your ATV helmet, you should first clean the outer shell with water and a non-abrasive cloth. So far, so easy.
Next, apply either a helmet wax or a specialized plastic cleaning agent to shine the helmet. To clean the helmet’s interior, first remove all the removable parts such as the ESP lining, (which you can then clean either manually or in a standard washing machine). To clean the helmet’s internal non-removable cloth, you should use a standard cloth and any neutral detergent. Beware of scented detergents – remember, eventually, you’re going to put your head back into close proximity to these fabrics.
If you have sensitivities to particular scents, close proximity to them is going to make wearing the helmet a living nightmare. Go neutral, even if neutral costs you more, because it will allow you to get more use out of your helmet. Be careful with surfaces that are not solvent-proof, as cleaning these too abrasively could cause premature deterioration, which damages the effectiveness of the helmet.
When should I replace my ATV helmet?
Helmets should be replaced every 5 years for normal use, and even sooner if you ride your ATV more frequently. They should also be replaced immediately if they get damaged. The majority of helmet damage comes from the sun’s UV rays, so the casing will gradually deteriorate. You should, however, replace your helmet immediately if damaged through an accident or a fall as this will compromise its shell. Be safe rather than sorry if you find your helmet feels unexpectedly looser than normal too – change it, rather than running the risk of something being wrong with it.
How do I measure my head to make sure I’m getting the right ATV helmet?
Using a soft measuring tape, you need to measure the circumference of your head. Place the tape measure in the centre of your forehead, just above your eyebrows, above your ears, and over the occipital bone at the back of your head. Ensure the tape is skin tight without applying pressure. Try to get the two ends of the tape to meet, and, if the fit is snug, mark the measurement with your finger. Helmets come in a range of sizes, from 19 inches to 26 inches, and no two manufacturers offer the exact same fit, so make sure you check the listing’s sizes and compare them directly to your measurement.
What is DOT certification?
DOT stands for the Department of Transportation FMVSS No.218 safety compliance testing for motorcycle helmets – and FMVSS is the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard.
When buying a helmet, you expect a minimum standard of quality protection, and it is the Department of Transportation that ensures that this standard is met, via DOT certification. Essentially, the Department of Transport enforces a set of standards and guidelines for all manufacturers who wish to sell helmets within the United States. If the manufacturers create helmets that pass this standard, they are allowed to self-certify that their helmet has passed, and can put a DOT sticker on the helmet to show this. You should always ensure that your helmet is DOT certified before purchase.
Do I need a full-face covering helmet?
There is a range of ATV compatible helmets you can choose to use for riding your ATV, such as motorcycle helmets. Motocross full-face helmets are the most popular, but you aren’t restricted to wearing just this type of helmet. Open front helmets are another popular choice, however, we advise sticking to full-face helmets. Full-face helmets feature a chin bar that also protects the front of your face. As the name implies, open front helmets lack any form of facial protection, do not protect you from weather conditions and debris, and are therefore best avoided in an ATV setting.