Let’s be realistic! There is no way you’d survive 60 minutes in a football field without a helmet. I tried it as a junior high football player and I’m just lucky to be alive to tell the story. The collisions in football makes it one of the most rigorous sports ever.
But helmets help to significantly reduce the effects of collisions during the game, saving you from injuries and the hundreds of concussions that occur every year.
In case you’re searching for a good helmet to buy, look no further because this is a review of the ten best football helmets on the market chosen from the most trusted brands in the industry. Alright, let’s ride on.
10 BEST FOOTBALL HELMETS 2020
1. Riddell SpeedFlex Adult Football Helmet: TOP RECOMMENDED HELMET
The first on our review list is none other than the 5-star quality helmet by The Virginia Tech, the Riddell SpeedFlex Helmet remains as one of the top choices for football gear. It’s one of those products that most football players just can’t get enough of. From the outside in, this helmet was developed with the latest technology and materials to protect you from injury on the field. No matter if you’re on summer practice or in a heated competition, this varsity helmet has got you covered. It can also serve as a faceguard.
Its shell does not only appear to be robust, but it is actually made from a durable polycarbonate material that guarantees your protection as you play. Moreover, the Riddel SpeedFlex was also produced with Patented Impact Protection (PISP) which helps reduce force impact from the sides. The same system was also applied not only into the shell but on the facemask and the clip as well, making this helmet one of the most safeguarding football equipment available today.
The Riddell SpeedFlex is designed to look and feel like a helmet for the pros. It comes in different colors and sizes. That said, we think that this helmet is best for those who are involved in tough competitions and for those who have dreams of making it into the NFL.
2. Schutt Air XP Pro: Cheap Football Helmets
One of the best cheap football helmets you can find in the market today is the Schutt Air XP Pro. Specifically built for varsity athletes, the Air XP Pro lets you fully customize your helmet by choosing its paint, decal, and other add-on options to perfectly match your team’s colors. It has the features of a classic, traditional helmet, but allows you to create the edge you need when it comes to bringing style on the field.
Similar to other renowned Schutt helmets, the Schutt Air XP Pro also includes the latest generation of TPU Cushioning, which offers dual compression to protect against high and low impact hits. It also has the SUREFIT Air Liner, plus interlink jaw pads to provide utmost comfort to the wearer. With these features, you can be sure that your head has the maximum protection and security it needs during a game of intense football.
To further assure the wearer of comfort and security, the traditional standoff helmet shell of the Air XP Pro is made from lightweight materials such as polycarbonate. Additionally, to make it ready-to-use almost immediately, it comes with a ROPO-DW facemask and a soft cup chin strap. It also features a twist release system for quick and easy disengaging of the attached facemask, and a valve attachment system to conveniently adjust the fit for the wearer’s preference.
Schutt is known for its reliable football gear, and we can definitely attest that they did not disappoint with their Air XP Pro. It’s one of the most affordable adult football helmets that do not sacrifice quality.
3. Schutt F7 LTD: Safest Football Helmet
You might have noticed that Schutt products are always on our list of the best football gear. This is because this brand undeniably brings their A-game when it comes to offering quality sports products. So, coming in as the safest football helmet for adults is the Schutt F7 LTD.
The newest model in the Schutt F7 line, this LTD football helmet has received the best score in the history of the Virginia Tech STAR Rating System by a wide margin. The F7 LTD has everything you want in terms of safety and protection.
Only weighing 4.4 pounds, this low-profile helmet shell made from that features a Helmet Stabilization System and 3DM Tektonic Plate Technology that evenly distributes the impact you get from hits and blows from all sides. This is further promoted by the TPU cushioning and the HSS Stabilizer Pads.
Plus, the synthetic leather front pads, aside from adding extra support and security, ensures that the helmet is anti-friction and wicks away moisture more effectively. This allows you to play an entire game without worrying about uneasiness and impaired vision caused by sweat.
It comes with a Unique F7 Titanium faceguard and an SC4 Hard Cup Chin Strap. To make adjusting these features for a better and more comfortable fit, this helmet has a twist release system and a valve attachment system as well. This Schutt helmet is truly the best choice if you want a helmet that is designed to provide maximum protection and safety on the field.
You may also like to read our comparison on Schutt vs Riddell.
4. Schutt Sports Youth AiR XP Pro: Best Youth Football Helmet
At first glance, the Schutt Sports Youth AiR XP Pro Helmet may look like your plain old football helmet. But a closer look at it will have you believe that it is one of the best football helmets available in the market today. If you’re looking for a combination of comfort and protection, then we think that this may be the best choice of helmet for your young athlete.
The Schutt AiR XP Pro was developed with Schutt Sports’ newest patented TPU cushioning. This helmet is made with single-layer dual compression TPU which allows better impact absorption in comparison to helmets with a different material. The new TPU cushioning system has also significantly cut down the overall weight of the helmet, making the Schutt AiR XP Pro one of the lightest helmets in the market today.
On top of that, this helmet is also equipped with the latest SUREFIT AiR liner technology, providing softness and comfort to users. But what sets the Schutt AiR XP Pro apart from all the other Schutt Youth helmets is the new EVA comfort pad that surrounds the nose bumper. It’s a great additional support that may help absorb shock and impact.
Having said all that, we believe that the Schutt AiR XP Pro is a brilliant choice of helmet for young football players who are looking to become pro one day. The support and reliability of the Schutt AiR XP Pro will protect them from harm during rigorous games.
5. Schutt Sports Vengeance VTD II Football Helmet: Cheap Adult Football Helmets
The second item we are going to review is the top rated Schutt Sports Vengeance VTD II Football Helmet. In a cool way, a lot of folks omits the “sports” and just call it Schutt Vengeance VTD II. We’ve also discovered that when choosing a football helmet for the first time, most people tend to focus too much on the outer shell. They want to know how durable it is and how well it could protect the head from concussions, but choosing the right helmet has more to it than the shell alone.
While the outer shell is indeed an important aspect of the helmet, its cushioning also needs a closer inspection. After all, a helmet’s padded interiors are meant to reduce impact and provide extra head protection.
When it comes to cushioning, the Schutt Vengeance VTD II offers full and comfortable coverage. Unlike most options, this helmet has TPU cushioning even in the inter-link jaw pads, and that’s not all. The Schutt Vengeance VTD II features a liner that comfortable wraps itself around the user’s head. This feature distributes the pressure and the weight evenly instead, greatly reducing the amount of force.
Apart from the reassuring head protection, what we loved about this helmet was how simple and lightweight it is. It’s available in different colors and sizes.
6. Xenith Youth X2E+ Football Helmet: Best College Football Helmets
If you’re looking for a football helmet brand that understands the inner workings of injury-preventing gear, then you may be interested in the Xenith X2E+. This helmet is the product of extensive research on football-related head injuries and concussions. So if you’re a football player who is on the hunt for something dependable and durable, this may be the option for you.
The Xenith X2E+ adheres to the patented Adaptive Head Protection system. It strives to provide a secure and adaptive custom fit that can significantly reduce the impact of hits from the opposing team. Although this helmet is for a younger market, it is made with the same high-quality and craftsmanship as professional-level gear. From the material alone, it isn’t hard to identify the Xenith X2E+ as one of the better quality helmets in the market today.
Its shell is made with ABS plastic, making it lightweight but durable at the same time. Its shock absorption qualities allow the helmet to adapt to the hit, making it one of the best helmets in the market for reduced impact. On top of that, the Xenith X2E+ also comes with equally useful features such as the Dual Density comfort pads, the 3XD jaw guards, and the Hybrid chin cup. This helmet is best for youth players at intermediate to advanced levels. It also comes in different colors and sizes.
7. Riddell NCAA Revolution Speed Pro Line Helmet: Cheap Riddell Football Helmets
Are you more interested in getting a pro-level football helmet? The Riddell NCAA Revolution Speed Pro Line Helmet should be right up your alley. You would be pleased to know that this is the exact same helmet star players use on the field – and if the pros use it, then there must be a very good reason why!
As long as helmets are involved, the Riddell brand is one best producers of these products in the world. They have painstakingly done their research to produce a helmet that puts safety and injury prevention at the top of the priority list. The end result of their progress is the Riddell NCAA Revolution Speed Pro Line Helmet.
This full-size helmet features an aggressive shell design with comfortable internal padding and a four-point chin strap for extra support. Additionally, the Speed Pro Line features the special order face mask worn by popular star athletes who also own the same helmet. It’s no wonder why plenty of people consider the Speed Pro Line to be the best football helmet of all time.
Overall, the Riddell NCAA Revolution Speed Pro Line may be a smart investment for college athletes, competitive players, and advanced footballers. Who said you have to be an official pro to be able to enjoy the best level of quality a football helmet can offer?
8. Xenith Shadow XR: Best Football Helmet to Prevent Concussions
If you’re asking why that is, this 5-star rated helmet is made from Xenith’s proprietary polymer shell, making it superbly lightweight. Plus, it also features RHEONTM cells which is designed to compress and distribute energy coming from different impact types. These cells constrict linear impact and control rotational impact to reduce their acceleration speed that can be damaging to a football player’s head.
The inner cushion molds perfectly to the wearer. And as the player receives impact, the smart technology of RHEONTM cells is designed to bounce back to its original shape. It also features Xenith’s patented Adaptive Fit System to provide a more secure and customized fit.
The helmet is made to adapt to a wide range of temperatures, allowing the player to stay dry and cool as the heat of the game shoots up. It is waterproof and washable too, so maintenance would certainly not be an issue.
The Xenith Shadow XR football helmet is designed for NFL, collegiate, and high school varsity football players. It optimally protects and performs for up to 10 years, maximizing longevity with your investment.
9. Riddell Precision-FIT: Most Expensive Football Helmet
The Riddell Precision-FIT is the most expensive football helmet on our list. Outperforming its predecessor, the Riddell SpeedFlex, Precision-FIT is definitely an upgrade that delivers maximum protection through innovation. So, if you’re looking for a helmet that offers top quality like no other, this is your best choice.
Precision-FIT makes use of a 3D scanning technique to build a helmet that is customized specifically for the football player’s head. To provide a custom-fitting helmet, there is a specific process to follow to successfully capture the exact size and surface of the athlete’s head. From there will the Riddell’s engineering team build a helmet that is precisely oriented to the wearer’s specifications.
This helmet includes a personally-crafted liner system. Fitting an exact mold of the athlete’s head shape. The contoured padding can absorb high and low impact from tackles and blows. It ultimately secures the wearer’s head by moving and distributing the energy of any type of impact received.
The Riddell Precision-FIT football helmet is not only designed to match the wearer’s head. It also comes with the player’s name and signature, plus his choice of face mask, accessories and team decoration. Therefore, any football player in any type of position can get his hands on this helmet that can enhance performance on the field while ensuring maximum protection.
You cannot get any more personalization than getting a Riddell Precision-FIT helmet – it’s truly built for you and you alone.
10. Riddell Victor Youth Football Helmet: Best High School Football Helmets
Here’s a pick for the young football players with big dreams of making it big on the professional field. Just because it’s football for kids does not mean that it is child’s play; concussions and head injuries are not uncommon even among younger players. The good news is, kids today can take advantage of the reassuring safety of a pro-level football helmet.
The highly rated Riddell Victor Youth Football Helmet comes with everything you would expect from an adult size helmet. It has the same Patented Side Impact Protection (PSIP) as other Riddell helmets have, and it also features a fitted liner and inflatable S-jaw pads as well. But what we love most about this helmet is the added comfort liner.
The Riddell Victor Youth’s overliner does not just provide added comfort, but it also serves as additional padding that can help support the different head sizes and shapes of young players. You can take enough offensive hits from the other team without necessarily suffering much pain. Moreover, the overliner is made from cloth but it does not add any more weight to the helmet. If you’re looking for something reliable for your child’s safety, then the Riddell Victor Youth Football Helmet is a great choice.
11. Schutt Sports Vengeance A3+ Youth Football Helmet: Cheap Youth Football Helmets
The Schutt Sports Vengeance A3+ offers a beautiful balance of quality, safety, and design. It basically has everything your young football player may need to jumpstart their journey on the field. A lot of its good points are drawn from the choice of materials and the overall construction of the helmet itself. But we discovered that there’s still plenty to love about the Schutt Vengeance A3+ helmet.
First of all, it’s hard to miss its striking black and green color combo which makes a great accent to the helmet’s lower profile shell. Thanks to the shell, the Schutt Vengeance A3+ is lightweight without compromising on strength and durability. But what we loved most about this helmet, however, is what it has to offer on the inside.
The Schutt Vengeance A3+ is made with TPU cushioning which, according to experts, absorbs more impact whether high or low. The helmet is also equipped with the inflatable SUREFIT Air Liner, allowing users to customize the fit in the crown, back, and sides of the helmet. The inter-link jaw pads provide additional support in the lower part of the face as well, making the Schutt Vengeance 3+ a great candidate for the helmet with the most comfort.
Buying Guide – Factors To Consider Before Buying A Football Helmet
There are several things you will have to look out for before you decide to buy any football helmet. First, you’ve got to discover what works for you and what doesn’t. While we hope that the list above helped in scaling down your choices to a less overwhelming number, we still recommend that you take the necessary steps in finding the right helmet for you. After all, what may work for others may not always work for you and vice versa.
Our heads come in different shapes and sizes so it comes as no surprise that we all have varying needs. A football helmet can promise to have the best quality materials but injury prevention does not just boil down to the durability of a helmet. It’s also about it fitting well, practicing proper care, and many others.
Below is a step-by-step guide on how to purchase the right helmet.
#1. KNOW THE DIFFERENT PARTS OF A FOOTBALL HELMET
Football helmets are generally composed of the following parts: the shell, padding on the inside, a face mask, and a chin strap. It also has a tiny hole at the top for ventilation. Of course, the quality and design of each part will differ between brands. Some may even have additional features that may interest you. 
Having said all that, it is essential that you find out what makes you feel comfortable and secure. Being familiar with the different parts of a football helmet helps you identify your needs. Moreover, it can also help you understand how it protects your head from concussions.
#2. FIND THE RIGHT FIT
Having the right fit on a helmet is more than just the issue of comfort, it’s also about safety and injury prevention. That said, it is critical that you find a helmet that offers a proper fit above all else. To do this, you may need a friend to help you get accurate measurements of your head.
As a general rule of thumb, you would need to wrap your measuring tape around your head and make sure that it sits 1 inch above your eyebrows. Take note of the circumference because this is where your helmet rests on your head.
#3. CHOOSE THE APPROPRIATE OPTION
The appropriate type of helmet you should buy is very much dependent on your age. If you’re an adult football player, then it makes absolute sense to choose a size that fits your age. Likewise, a younger player must always opt for a children’s football helmet in order to find the right fit.
A helmet that doesn’t firmly stick to your head can potentially cause serious injury that may even lead to permanent brain damage. That said, it is best to be careful and choose the right size.
Additionally, you might want to look at how you intend to use your helmet. Do you play casually or are you preparing for a competitive game? Those who are participating in rigorous football games may want a more robust helmet for added protection.
#4. TEST YOUR FOOTBALL HELMET
The easiest way to test the integrity of your football helmet is to assess how it feels and how it rests on your head. You must pay attention to any noticeable shifting or twisting – none of them should occur as your helmet should fit snugly to your head to provide sufficient protection. There should also be no space in between your jaw and the helmet, as well as your temple and the helmet.
#5. READ THE CARE INSTRUCTIONS – PROTECTION
Reading the instructions and maintenance guide of your helmet will give you an idea of how much protection it offers. If a helmet is not cared for as specified, it may not be able to protect you as much as it should. It is critical that you avoid using substances without knowing their effect on your helmet. Some chemical solutions can deteriorate the condition of your helmet, further reducing its injury-preventing qualities. Be sure to read the care instructions that come with your football helmet.
Additionally, it may not also be a good idea to do any major alterations or customizations to your helmet without seeking professional advice first. If you are interested in retouching, always bring your helmet to an experienced professional.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
A football helmet is a piece of required protective equipment when playing football on the field. It is used to protect the player from possible concussions and head injuries caused by linear forces. Although football helmets do not offer a 100% protection from the adverse effects of contacts and collisions, studies show that they reduce the risk of traumatic head injury by 20%.
Additionally, a good helmet does not just protect the user, but it also prevents potential injury to other players. Most football helmets are made with tough material and without careful design, it can be used as an offensive tool that may cause more harm than good in an easy way.
The best way to fit a football helmet properly is to first take the measurements of your head with the help of a friend and a measuring tape. The next step is to try it on and see if there are any adjustments that need to be made.
Remember, the helmet should sit at 1 inch above the eyebrow and there should be no shifting or twisting as well. There should also be no spaces in between the helmet and your temple and jaw. A helmet that doesn’t firmly rest on your head can potentially can be disastrous to your head and lead to brain damage.
If you are unsure about your measurements, another method is to consult the sizing chart provided by the brand of your helmet of choice. Different brands may have varying helmet sizes so it is best to refer to their sizing guide for reference.
Moreover, there are now football helmets with inflatable jaw pads and airliners that may help fill in the gap. If this is your first time to purchase a football helmet, it may be best to seek the advice of an experienced professional in assessing the right size and fit for you. However, one of the things you should consider when making your pick of helmet is how easy it fits your head.
According to the National Athletic Equipment Reconditioners Association or NAERA, the integrity of a football helmet can last for 10 years. But it should be reconditioned every 2 years to keep up with the safety requirements. If your helmet has hairline cracks or damages in the interior components, it must be discarded as it may not provide the protection needed while playing. 
Despite the prescription from NAERA, you may change your helmet every year if you have the funds. This is to guarantee the highest safety. But generally, how long a helmet should last is based on its quality and how you care for it.
Generally, football helmets can be cleaned by using a rag, water, and mild liquid detergent. Each time you clean your helmet, make sure that your detergent does not contain any chemicals that may affect the quality of your helmet.
To clean your football helmet, the first step is to remove any accessory it may have – chin straps, ear pads, and the like. In a basin with warm water, add 1 or 2 drops of liquid detergent to make a soapy solution. Dip your rag into the soap and use it to wipe away any dirt or grime on your helmet, as well as areas that tend to collect sweat and odor. Rinse the helmet with water only to wash away the soap.
Next, wipe all the other accessories that were removed from the helmet using the rag and the soapy solution. After that, use a different rag dipped in water only to wipe away the soap. Do not soak the pads or the strap in water. Leave the helmet to dry and there you have it – a clean and fresh football helmet.
The most apparent difference between an adult-sized helmet and a helmet for kids is the size. Apart from this, the material may also differ in terms of strength and durability.
Football helmets for adults tend to have more robust materials because they are made for more rigorous games. Although there are no rules against adults wearing youth helmets, it is better to choose a more appropriate one that can fully protect the head from injuries.
No. The only reason to pump air into a football helmet is if the helmet features an inflatable jaw pads and an airliner then you do not need to pump air into a football helmet.
There are different types of football helmets out there and some of them contain inflatable jaw pads and airliners. This is especially true for the newer models of football helmets. These pads should fit snug and comfortable as they are meant to protect sensitive areas of the head.
As we all know, football helmets do not always fit perfectly. In most cases, there will still be gaps and spaces in certain parts. Earlier, we mentioned that an ill-fitting helmet may cause some serious blow to your head. So to remedy the situation, pads, and airliners are used to fill in the gaps by pumping air into the helmet.
No. Football helmet brand can guarantee 100% safety on the field. There has been a lot of controversy lately regarding the safety issues of football helmets. Some even say that new technology and added features on football helmets may be more damaging than good.
However, it is important to note that there are plenty of contributing factors that come to play in the occurrence of a football-related head injury. The overall condition of a helmet, the fit, and even the incorrect usage of the player may also add to the accident. Despite the controversial suggestions that put football helmets in a bad light, it is still better to engage in a sport with protective gear than without it.
1. NFL’s reported concussions at six-year high in 2017. Retrieved from https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nfl/2018/01/26/nfl-concussions-2017-season-study-history/1070344001/
2. Football Helmet. Retrieved from http://www.madehow.com/Volume-3/Football-Helmet.html
3. Football Concussion Prevention. Retrieved from https://rothmanortho.com/stories/news-and-blog/football-concussion-prevention
4. Helmet Reconditioning. Retrieved from https://blogs.usafootball.com/blog/819/helmet-reconditioning-is-critical-to-proper-equipment-maintenance