With the number of helmets available in the market today, it’s very difficult to pick the right youth football helmet. You need to get a befitting helmet as part of your young football player’s protective gear. The big question is, how do you get the right one?
After our recently published article about the best football helmets, we received a number of interest requesting for us to do a review on youth helmets.
And so, we’ve painstakingly analyzed the views of a good number of youth athletes, parents, and other authoritative sources to put up this article on the best youth football helmet in 2020. Ready? Here we go!
1. Riddell Youth SpeedFlex Football Helmet
In an industry crazed with fancy marketing and where gleaming, eye-catching products trump quality, Riddell is one of the few brands that acknowledge that youth football players also need something that fits and safeguards them from concussion-causing impacts when practicing or competing.
The Riddell Youth SpeedFlex Football Helmet boasts an aggressive design that guarantees maximum protection. This Virginia Tech-rated 5-star unit is manufactured with the Patented Side Impact Protection (PSIP) to reduce impact coming from the sides. It is also embellished with a well-fitted liner and S-jaw pads.
Furthermore, the overliner reassures protection for different head shapes of youth players. The overliner fabric implies the absence of additional weight on the helmet while providing air cushioning against collisions. The outer shell is robust because it is composed of poly-carbonate materials.
Unfortunately, Riddell is a renowned upmarket football gear outfitter, so it shouldn’t be a surprise to learn that the Youth SpeedFlex helmet is charging at premium. Nonetheless, the fact that it appears like it’s made for adult wear should be give your kid a boost in their confidence once they step onto the field to pursue their dream of playing in the big leagues.
2. Schutt Sports Vengeance A3+ Youth Football Helmet
For those who adhere to the maxim that protection is the most critical element of football, Schutt Sports Vengeance A3 Helmet is one skull-bone protector that must not be ignored by any parent.
Why so? The Schutt Sports Vengeance A3+ is engineered with a TPU cushioning enablement which, according to our research, absorbs a wide range of knocks.
The headdress is also fortified with SUREFIT Air Liner, which allows the wearer to make customized changes to perfectly fit the back, crown and sides of the helmet. The interlinking jaw pads provide ancillary support and an assured locked-in fit at the lower part of the face when strapped on.
The low-profile tapestry of the Schutt Sports Vengeance A3+ Youth Football Helmet ensures that the problem of weight is eliminated from your young one’s head. Once play begins and blows and shoves start flying in the air, the unit feels like a pillow in the head of the intermediate football player. At the same time, the inner lining wicks away most of the moisture that builds ups during perspiration.
We would have loved if the Schutt Sports Vengeance A3+ Helmet’s head covering came with an accompanying face-mask to make it ready-for-use. Unfortunately, it doesn’t, but it was built to be compatible with most common face-masks in the market.
Based on our investigation, this Schutt helmet has an ergonomic feel, is sturdy, affordable, and has superb longevity. Therefore, the Schutt Sports Vengeance A3+ Helmet gets the nod as one of the top youth football helmets this year.
3. Riddell Victor Youth Football Helmet
Any youth footballer with high aspirations for the elite leagues would be in dreamland if they laid their hands on the Riddell Victor Youth Football Helmet. Sharing the same design with the SpeedFlex, this helmet is a part of the youth player’s kit that also comes with Patented Side Impact Protection for the intermediate athlete.
The Riddell Victor Youth Helmet is built for maximum safety and comfort on the gridiron. It is remarkably lightweight, weighing just 2.05 pounds to prevent the heat from dropping, complementing the essentials of US tacking styles.
It ranks as one of the best youth football helmets on account of its inflatable S-jaw pads for added comfort and protection, plus its rear-inflatable liner that enables players to adjust for the best fit. The headgear also features an overliner that is made from cloth that is detachable and easy to clean.
The Riddell Victor Youth Football Helmet is one of the newest youth football helmets in Riddell’s line, which upgrades the popular Attack series. The shell is made of ABS plastic. And guess what? It features an S2B facemask suitable for running backs, quarterbacks, and other dynamic positions, making it a no brainer for any beginner gridiron athlete.
As with all other Riddell merchandises, the Victor Youth helmet is exorbitantly priced. But you know what they say: “Speed look without the speed price.”
4. Xenith Youth X2E+ Football Helmet
Middle school football players will be pleased to experience its ABS plastic shell, engineered with the Fit Seeker® and Shock Bonnet® technology that eradicates the need for pumps. The Xenith X2E+ also packs a repositionable 3DX jaw guard which is manufactured from XRD high impact foam for additional reinforcement.
Despite all of this, X2E+ is lightweight and keeps the young at heart cooled all game long, owing to its six-vent cooling mechanism which supplies a steady flow of air to the player.
Thanks to the Xenith’s Aware Flow® shock absorber technology, the Xenith X2E+ helmet benefits from a maximum response when pitched against linear forces that can concuss or maim the rookie. So, this innovative, confidence-boosting headgear rightfully makes the cut as one of the top youth football helmets around.
5. Riddell Youth Revolution Speed Football Helmet
The incredibly comfortable, antimicrobial, moisture-wicking helmet features a repositionable liner to deliver a secure fit to the back, neck, side and mandibular areas of your rookie’s head. Youth football players can also rely on the exclusivity of its high-impact, glossy ABS plastic outer shell that comes with a 3-year warranty.
Made mainly from energy management components, the inflatable jaw pads emphatically diffuse any force coming towards the face and sides. The S-Pad jaws are designed to give protection to your jaw.
Interestingly, you will be delighted to find over-sized ventilation holes with superfluous detailing for enhanced breathability. The Riddell Youth Revolution Speed Helmet has push-in valve retainers and plugs as well as a mid-high hookup soft-cup chinstrap.
Additionally, the overliner wicks moisture effectively and can be removed easily for laundering or periodic cleaning. It features a built-in T-nut wrench pump needed to inflate the pads in the helmet.
The Riddell Youth Revolution Speed Football Helmet meets NOCSAE standards. It’s one of the best helmets for your future football star.
6. Schutt Youth DNA+ Pro Football Helmet
The Schutt Youth DNA+ Pro Football Helmet was first released in 2003, and is an advancement of traditional padding methods. It is engineered with the enthusiastic youth, varsity, or intermediate player in mind as it provides better impact diffusion. This helmet is one of the most sought-after youth headgears around with its TPU cushioning for optimum corroboration and some added foam which wicks away moisture superbly during hot practice sessions.
And if you’re concerned about the helmet deflating in-play, you don’t need to worry as Schutt ingeniously imbued this head protector with Air-Loc technology that ensures the retention of air during gameplay. The visor has a wide interface to permit a wide field of vision and gain full awareness of all that’s going on around your youth footballer.
The DNA+ Pro is, like most other Schutt headpieces, is lightweight and designed to provide maximum protection against collisions due to its ABS outer shell. The youth will definitely appreciate its reassuring properties and they can play without fear of getting knocked off or slugged down.
When the temperature of the surrounding air starts to rise, this helmet has a well-crafted inner cushioning to snugly insulate the wearer. And in conjunction with the built-in SUREFIT liner, any player can be assured that they are securely cinched for a sporty afternoon.
More so, the DNA+ Pro’s head shell is built to have high resistance to fungi, bacteria, mold, and mildew while availing a better barrier to staph and MRSA concerns. It also meets NOCSAE standards.
7. Schutt Sports Youth Recruit Hybrid Football Helmet
Schutt products keep popping up in our list as an attestation of their excellence in biomedical and biomechanical research over the years. Hybrid, stylish, and solid, the Youth Recruit Hybrid Football Helmet packs a powerful combo of TPU cushioning and D30 Technology. Thanks to patented D30 Technology throughout its sides and back, this unit is flexible, lightweight and provides optimum breathability.
According to our investigation, many users have christened this headgear “The most advanced of all impact engineering on a helmet.” The Youth Recruit Hybrid football helmet features a padding material that is more hygienic than most of its counterparts.
And the advanced shock-absorbing powers are not all that there is to this helmet. One of its most significant merits is that it is designed with an adjustable faceguard provision that can fit almost every facemask on the market.
Much like the other Schutt rollouts, the Youth Recruit Hybrid football helmet features a padding material that is more hygienic than its counterparts. Youth players of any designation can strap it on for protection and comfort from ram-ins on the field.
8. Schutt Sports Youth AiR Standard V Football Helmet
At the heart of it, this contraption gives the much-needed edge while making the user feel like they’re wearing a helmet from a top pro’s locker room. And with all the investments that have gone into making the Schutt Sports Youth AiR Standard V Football Helmet headgear safe and cozy, this Schutt helmet also promises high-level protection.
It comes with an EVA and EPP foam liner that is uber-lightweight for great fittingness to the player. It pleases us to mention that this traditional standoff helmet is accompanied by an attached facemask.
The Schutt Sports Youth AiR Standard V Football Helmet’s outer shell is made from ABS plastic as it also features very comfy Air Maxx TPU 1-1 1/4” jaw pads, a soft cap chinstrap, and plastic buckles to snap this NOCSAE-standard headpiece in. Like the others, the Youth AiR Standard V holds up well as a veritable Schutt football helmet.
9. Schutt Sports Youth Vengeance DCT Football Helmet
The ever-reliable ABS plastic shell is lightweight and enables smaller players to withstand less powerful hits. It also prevents them from dropping their heads late in the game. The Vengeance DCT also comes with 1 1/8” AiR MAXX TPU jaw pads for superior support and comfort for the chin.
The DCT has a twist and release system designed to enable the player make adjustments to the helmet easily. It effectively eliminates the need for upper loop straps. Unsurprisingly, this headgear is inexpensive while the faceguard is not included but can be easily attached using a broad selection of Schutt facemasks.
Additionally, the Youth AiR Standard V Football Helmet helmets have an inflatable Air Liner attachment mechanism that holds the inflation port in place.
10. Rawlings Momentum Plus Youth Football Helmet
Since 1887, the Rawlings Sporting Goods company has been revered for its proclivity to conceptualize and deliver innovative high-performance football gears for entry-level players. The Rawlings Momentum Plus Youth Football Helmet is synonymous with adjustability.
This quality makes this youth football shell customizable to get the perfect fit for maximum head protection, thanks to its rear inflation port. In addition to its repositionable properties, the momentum plus is built with Heat Exchange® technology.
Furthermore, the outer shell is made of high-impact ABS shell, making it rust-resistant, weather-resistant, durable, and long-lasting, just like adult helmets. The Momentum Plus has an aesthetic design that keeps the player cool as they ply away at the field.
We are happy to reveal that it has a custom fit liner for a toned-down impact and comfortability. Another distinguishing feature is the shell design that parodies that of pro athletes; many who are role models to these aspiring players. Thus, the Momentum Plus serves as a real morale booster as the rookies thread through the field.
One drawback to this accessory is that it doesn’t include a facemask; it is sold separately.
Buyer’s Guide – What to Look Out For When Buying A Youth Football Helmet
When choosing a youth football helmet, the major consideration is to know what works for your rookie and what doesn’t. The shape of youth’s heads varies and therefore very specific needs arise when searching for a top-rated youth football helmet.
To ensure that your decision is not hastily done, keep these factors in mind during your selection process. It is imperative to find a helmet that is designed to provide the right fit above everything else. The perfect fit not only answers the question of comfort, but it also minimizes the risk of injury.
Simply encircle a measuring tape around your child’s head and ensure that it is 1 inch above his eyebrows. Record the circumference because this is where the headgear rests on his head.
Furthermore, we advise consulting a sizing chart if available, so you can view instructions in finding the right-sized fit. How then do you know you’ve got the right fit? Simple! Your rookie will feel that it rests tightly but comfortably as they try it on.
Apply hand pressure on top of the helmet. The right helmet should make them feel an evenly distributed pressure. Pay attention to any shifting or wobbling. None of these should occur as the helmet should fit snugly on the head. There should be no gap between the jaw and the headwear as well as the temple and the headwear.
Also, make sure that you’re purchasing a product from the youth helmet category so you don’t end up buying an incorrect, adult helmet. Adult helmets are heavier and might set the head of the developing player at risk.
This criterion is given top priority. Top-quality safe helmets should include a certification signage or the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE).
This seal designates the helmet as safe, well-made, and with top-of-the-line materials that can be relied upon not to fall apart or become weakened during play.
The best youth football helmets of 2020 will not be 100% safe if it doesn’t guarantee optimum comfort. To ensure the highest level of protection, spend ample time checking the cushioning the moment it’s snapped in.
Make a habit of customizing it based on your rookie’s head’s density and contours. Gauge the pressure of the helmet at regular intervals as this is essential in determining whether the padding gas not deflated – a situation which can increase the risk factor of injury to the young athlete.
#3 DURABILITY OF THE OUTER SHELL
Let us remember how aggressive a gridiron game can be even at the developmental level. Head-to-head collisions are a way of life rather than something we hope to completely minimize. And with the durable outer shell, the linear and rotational velocities directed towards your future star can be lessened.
You can make your search for a high-end outer shell more proactive by keeping abreast of the ever-changing standard safety measures, organizations, and ratings.
This attribute is also related to a helmet’s comfort level. Avoid buying heavy helmets that are tedious to carry. Dense helmets can also hinder performance on the field; make your young football player weak and more susceptible to injury. Instead, procure a lightweight helmet that disencumbers his head’s movement and improves your performance.
It is noteworthy to state that lightweight headgear practically diminishes the incidence of fatigue when put on.
#5 INNER PADDING
Examining the comfort enhancing properties of the inner padding of the helmet is also a smart best practice. Make certain that the padding and liners are soft, convenient and abrasion-resistant, giving your child freedom to play with zest and buoyancy, and only making slight adjustments on the field.
Find a well-constructed visor as you shop for an appropriate youth helmet because it will safeguard your rookie’s eyes from unexpected hits. Choose a face-mask configuration that enables visibility. There is a broad array of case designs on the market that allows for uniquely personal selections.
#7 DON’T BUY USED HELMETS
Given how exorbitant some youth football helmets can be, you may be tempted to purchase a second-hand helmet. This is an extremely dangerous decision to make, and your youth footballer may be liable to infection or injury. To add to your misery, the device may ultimately fail to serve its intended purpose. Thus, you will be kicking yourself for not buying a brand new one.
Should you insist on buying a handed-down helmet, ensure that it has been certified “Fully Reconditioned” by the NOCSAE. Helmets that have been put out for sale after refurbishment by a licensed re-conditioner are tagged with a recertification seal at the interior part of the helmet.
There are helmets that are regarded as “good’ or “brand new,” although, with a less pricey price tag. Reworked helmets need to carry the seal of reconditioning, as without it, the headwear may not be safe for use. Most grievously, you risk having your young player injured by a subpar helmet just because you wanted to save back a few bucks.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN YOUTH AND VARSITY HELMETS?
The most obvious difference between the youth and varsity helmet is the size. Other differences include strength and durability. Varsity head-wear is larger and packs more robust components because they are designed for boisterous, high-octane games. Youth helmets are typically feature thicker jaw pads but smaller chinstraps.
The strength of either helmet is a function of the material used to construct them. While varsity helmets and varsity helmets are made from poly-carbonate material, youth helmets are usually made from ABS plastic.
Poly-carbonate is a tough plastic that demonstrates remarkable compressive strength as it doesn’t compress or shatter significantly upon repeated impact. Conversely, ABS is an engineered plastic that is cheaper, lighter and has a lower tensile strength, making it suitable for less devastating blows.
As a consequence, some youth leagues prohibit the use of poly-carbonate helmets because it can damage an ABS upon helmet-to-helmet collision, causing injury to the weaker player.
There isn’t a hard and fast rule regarding when a player should start using an adult helmet, but generally, an upgrade to an adult helmet is made once the player reaches the age of 14 or starts to play in high school (source).
CAN YOUTH FOOTBALL HELMETS BE WORN BY ADULT PLAYERS?
Yes, youth football helmets can be worn by adult players only if they fit them well. The fitting is the most crucial part criteria here as it should not be too tight, close-fitting or tout. A youth football helmet cresting on an adult’s head may become weakened upon collision or at the end of a long season. In any case, it is better to wear an adult helmet.
DO YOUTH FOOTBALL HELMETS COME WITH A FACEMASK AND CHINSTRAP?
Most youth football helmets come with a facemask and chinstrap. Major football gear manufacturers Riddell, Schutt, and Xenith design their helmets to fit their individual brands. Other standalone facemasks may fit a variety of shells.
Popular facemask brands include Schutt’s DNA, and Schutt’s Super Pro facemasks. Thankfully, almost all youth football helmets come through with chinstraps.
How do I clean a football helmet?
To clean a football helmet, you need a soft fabric material and a mild detergent. After hours of intense practice and gameplay, you will be engulfed in sweat and grime. And if not cleaned immediately, the air will reek of smelly, putrid bacteria. Quite unlike the football girdle or other linen material, you can’t throw a helmet into the washing machine. Helmet cleaning must be a manual exercise.
You will need a soft fabric material as abrasive cleaning pads may ruin the helmets finish or the protective coating of the pads. Microfiber pads are the most suitable, but a plain cotton cleaning material won’t damage of your helmet either.
Get a gentle detergent; a dishwasher liquid would be just fine because it can cut through grease and grime without leaving behind any residue. Additionally, a disinfectant spray is needed when cleaning in order to destroy all the germs that have accrued in your helmet over time.
Start from the outside of the helmet. Simply remove the pads and spray down. If you desire some extra sheen fir a special outing, you can grab a car polish and a soft cloth. Afterwards, you can jump on the pads.
Immerse the pads in warm, soapy water and make a quick wipe with a soft microfiber or linen cloth to remove all the grime. Once dry, use the disinfectant spray to obliterate any lingering germs.
As soon as all the components are clean and dry, simply reassemble the headwear and keep securely; waiting for its next outing. For some, cleaning a football helmet is no fun, but if it’s dirty and unsightly, everyone around you will notice.
Avoid using harsh chemicals such as bleach, turpentine, or ammonia. If you can’t find surface-friendly cleaners around, you can clean your helmet with a warmly dampened rag, scrubbing gently.
WHAT KINDS OF YOUTH FOOTBALL HELMET VISORS ARE AVAILABLE?
Besides the usual youth helmet manufacturing brands, Nike, Under Armour, and Oakley are also popular visor brands. Visors come in a bevy of coloring options including clear, tinted, colored and reflective mirror visors.
Note: Before buying a helmet visor, double-check to see to make sure it’ll fit a youth-sized helmet. It is important to note that most youth leagues do not permit the use of reflective, tinted or colored visors.
Eye shields must be made from clear materials according to the national federation of state high school associations. Many youth leagues, the NCAA, and the NFL have similar rules.
Some parents are concerned about the sun’s rays impinging on their young athlete’s eyes during an afternoon game. Thankfully, many clear visors still provide advanced UV protection. Always check the product description before buying to know if the visor you have selected shields from UVC, UVA and other strains of harmful light.
Youth players who have optical impediments such as long-sightedness and short-sightedness know that it is not possible to design prescription visors. Football visors are usually manufactured with a single piece of curved material fastened to the helmet to provide safety.
Unfortunately, due to the curvature and distance to the eye, it is not possible to develop corrective visors. Players with vision impairments will need to get prescription sports contact lenses or goggles.