Top 10 Best Snowboard Helmets in 2020

Head protection is an essential part of any high-speed snow sport. We tested and reviewed the top 10 best snowboard helmets in 2020. Find our top picks below along with the ultimate buying guide.
Best Overall
Smith Holt
Smith Holt
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Best Premium
Smith Quantum
Smith Quantum
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Best Value
POC Obex Spin
POC Obex Spin
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Table of Contents

Whether you’re a younger or an older snowboarder, new to the sport or an experienced pro, it’s not hard to understand why your own personal safety and protection is so important on the slopes. 

Obviously, snowboarding can be a ton of fun. We all know that. But there are also many inherent dangers that come with shredding down the slopes, no matter how experienced you are. 

The fact is that snowboarders can easily hit 25 to 35 miles per hour while heading downhill, and when you lose control or wipe out at these speeds, the results can be devastating.

From broken bones to concussions, it’s not hard to get hurt on a ski hill. That’s why it’s important to wear a helmet, as well as all other protective equipment, at all times while snowboarding. 

So with that in mind, I’ve put together the following guide of the top 10 best snowboard helmets of 2020, ranging from different brand names, styles, and prices.

So keep reading, and we’ll go over the absolute best ways to keep your head safe, and looking stylish when you hit the slopes to shred some fresh powder. 

Top 10 Best Snowboard Helmets

1. Unisex Smith Holt Helmet

Best Overall
Smith Holt Helmet 2021
Ventilation: Fixed
Adjustability: Partial
Construction: Hard shell
Audio: Compatible

Available in Matte Black, Matte White, and Matte Charcoal, the Smith Holt is a must-have helmet for any snowboarder. Dent-resistant with a lifetime warranty, the Smith Holt is made with a hard shell, ABS plastic exterior for superior protection.

Inside, you’ll find a hard yet comfortable foam interior, plus the brand’s signature Bombshell earpads. Keeping everything in between airy and cool is a fixed 14-vent Airflow Climate Control design for proper thermo-regulation and a fog-free snowboarding experience.

Keeping your mind on the hill ahead, and not on the top of your head, is a self-adjusting Lifestyle Fit System, complete with a strong elastic hold that keeps your helmet tight and stable without hassle or discomfort.

Plus stay entertained from the lodge to the lift with the Smith Holt’s audio compatibility. 

2. Men's Smith Quantum MIPS Helmet

Best Premium
Smith Optics Quantum Adult MIPS Ski Snowmobile Helmet
Ventilation: Adjustable
Adjustability: Full
Construction: Hybrid
Audio: Compatible

As the best premium pick on our list, the Smith Quantum MIPS is a super lightweight helmet that offers grade-A protection and superior comfort during extended use with its 22 built-in airflow vents. 

This helmet comes complete with a newly designed Exoskeleton, which offers additional protection to the sides of your head. And with this, whether you’re a pro, pushing it on the most intense black diamonds, or a beginner who’s just getting comfortable on the bunny hills, the Smith Quantum MIPS is designed with your ultimate safety in mind. 

This helmet’s exterior shell is formed using Koroyd, a super strong and lightweight material. And its interior MIPS (Multi-Directional Impact Protection) liner is designed to rotate upon impact to absorb the most amount of energy possible. 

Smith’s Quantum weighs in at only 21 ounces and comes complete with an adjustable Boa 360-fit system, which makes adjusting the size of your helmet as easy as possible. Not to mention, it comes with a XT2 Moisture Wicking Liner, which helps keep your head cool and comfortable no matter how hard you’re hitting the slopes. 

3. POC Obex Spin Helmet

Best Value
POC Obex SPIN adjustable Snowboard helmet for Resort and Backcountry Riding
Ventilation: Adjustable
Adjustability: Partial
Construction: In-mold
Audio: Compatible

If you’re looking for the best combination between safety and style, look no further than the Obex Spin by POC. 

Similar to Smith’s Quantum helmet, the Obex Spin also has the ability to shift relative to the wearer’s head upon impact, which helps absorb as much of the shock as possible. However, this helmet is significantly more affordable than the Quantum. 

The Obex Spin is designed using in-mold ABS construction and comes with a lightweight EPS liner. It also has an adjustable ventilation system to help you keep air flowing through your helmet when you need to cool down after those harder runs. 

Furthermore, these integrated vents sit just above the rim of the helmet, which is great for preventing your snow goggles from fogging up on colder days. Finally, the Obex Spin comes with POC’s classic size adjustment, giving you the ability to perfectly match the size and shape of your head. 

4. Smith Vantage MIPS

Best For Women
Smith Optics Vantage Womens MIPS Snow Helmet
Ventilation: Adjustable
Adjustability: Full
Construction: Hybrid
Audio: Compatible

For any man or woman who’s looking for a lightweight, well-ventilated helmet that still offers superior protection, the Smith Vantage is designed just for you. 

Complete with a MIPS (Multi-directional Impact Protection System) liner, the Vantage helmet is designed to shift and rotate upon impact, absorbing as much energy as possible. Additionally, this helmet is built using Smith’s Aerocore Construction and Koroyd, which is super strong and lightweight for the ultimate safety and comfort on the slopes. 

Smith’s Vantage also has a total of 21 vents and two switches, which allows you to configure the helmet’s venting the way you want and need, depending entirely on current weather conditions. 

This helmet also has an adjustable Boa 360-Fit System, which makes it super easy to adjust the size and fit of your helmet at the turn of a dial. Not to mention it has an X-static Performance Lining, which helps reduce odor and bacteria build-up. 

5. Women's K2 Ally Pro Audio Helmet

Women's Runner-Up
K2 Ally Pro Audio Helmets
Ventilation: Fixed
Adjustability: Full
Construction: In-mold
Audio: Included

As an awesome pick for women, this stylish helmet, made in a bright, classic white - is perfect for jamming to your favorite powder-riding tunes while still keeping your head protected and comfortable at all times.

Made with a half-shell design, K2 has integrated fixed vents for consistent airflow capabilities plus full-wear adjustability for optimal comfort when strapping yourself in. While the plastic casing is thin, the Ally Pro Audio features a snug Full Wrap liner that’s easy to remove and easy to wash.

Got a date with the mountains soon? Get your playlists ready. This K2’s embedded Level 3 Baseline Audio System, with an on-cord controller, will have you rocking out all the way up, and all the way down, for hours on end.

6. Anon Highwire Men's Snow Helmet with Brim

Anon Men's Highwire Durable Ski/Snowboard Helmet with Brim
Ventilation: Fixed
Adjustability: Partial
Construction: Hard shell
Audio: Compatible

As another excellent value-driven snowboard helmet, Anon’s Highwire has an Endura-Shell construction, which feels extremely lightweight on your head, but doesn’t sacrifice any of your personal protection. 

Plus, Anon has also added Expedition Fleece to the interior liner and ear pads, which helps you extra warm on those colder winter days out on the hills. 

For a perfect fit, the Highwire comes with Anon’s Auto-Adjust Fit System and a FidLock Snap helmet buckle for quick and easy removal. The helmet also comes with Passive Ventilation, which allows for a steady flow of cool air in through the front of the helmet, while also pushing warm air out the back. 

Finally, the Highwire has a Goggle Ventilation Channel to prevent fogging. And although it doesn’t come with it built-in, the Highwire is audio compatible so you can pair your runs with your favorite tunes. 

7. Giro Jackson MIPS 2021 Snow Helmet

Giro Jackson MIPS Snow Helmet
Ventilation: Fixed
Adjustability: Full
Construction: In-mold
Audio: Compatible

For a sleek, stylish look, and ultimate protection out on the slopes, look no further than the Giro Jackson MIPS helmet. 

This helmet has an In-Form Fit-2-Fit System, which is extremely lightweight, and offers up to 6cm of adjustment. Not to mention the fact that it comes fully-equipped with an interior MIPS (Multi-directional Impact Protection System) liner, which uses low-friction technology to shift upon impact and reduce the amount of energy transferred to the head. 

Additionally, Giro’s Jackson MIPS helmet comes with a Passive-Aggressive Ventilation system, which offers low-profile vents on the exterior of the helmet, as well as interior ventilation channels, ideal for preventing goggles from fogging up. 

Plus, it comes complete with a TPU Injected Brim for that added touch of style. So if you’re looking for an extremely stylish, low-profile helmet, I’d highly recommend trying on the Giro Jackson MIPS helmet. 

8. K2 Phase Pro Audio 

K2 2018 Phase Pro Helmet
Ventilation: Adjustable
Adjustability: Full
Construction: Hard shell
Audio: Included

Weighing in at only 490g, the Phase Pro is a super lightweight, low-profile helmet, complete with an Active Matrix Ventilation system, which allows you to warm or cool your head at the touch of a button. 

It also comes complete with a K2 Dialed Fit System, allowing you to easily adjust and fit this helmet to the size and shape of your head. 

Finally, the best part about the Phase Pro is that it comes with a Level 2 Baseline Audio System, complete with in-built headphones and a volume control that can easily be hooked up to your smartphone or MP3 player. 

9. Sweet Protection Switcher MIPS

Sweet Protection Switcher MIPS Ski and Snowboard Helmet
Ventilation: Adjustable
Adjustability: Full
Construction: Hybrid
Audio: Compatible

As one of the best value helmets in terms of both fit and style, the Sweet Protection Switcher features a Hybrid Shell Construction, which is lightweight and offers durable protection. This is in addition to the helmet’s built-in MIPS system, and Impact Shields on both the front and back of the helmet, to keep your head protected in the best way imaginable. 

This helmet comes with Sweet Protection’s Occigrip Turn Dial Fit System, which helps you find the perfect fit for your head. It also has Fully-Box Constructed Ear Pads with molded hearing ports, helping you hear better and keep your balance on the slopes. 

In terms of ventilation, this helmet features OneTurn Ventilation, which uses a dial to open or close the helmet’s uniquely shaped vents to your own personal preference. Finally, the Switcher MIPS comes with a removable 3D-Shaped Vented Liner with moisture-wicking properties to keep you dry during those long days on the mountain. 

10. Oakley MOD 3

Oakley Mod3 Factory Pilot Snow Helmet
Ventilation: Fixed
Adjustability: Full
Construction: In-mold
Audio: None

With its MBS (Modular Brim System), the Oakley MOD 3 has a built-in large brim, as well as a changeable smaller brim, which allows you to customize the look and fit of your helmet to your own style. 

The MOD 3 has built-in vents in the brim to keep air flowing and prevents fogging your goggles. It also has No-Pressure Ear Cups, which are super comfortable for those long days out on the hill. 

The helmet is completed by a FidLock Buckle Strap which uses magnets to easily latch and unlatch with your gloves on. Furthermore, the helmet’s interior liner is removable for washing or for those who prefer wearing a hat underneath their helmet. 

Finally, the MOD 3 has a Boa 270 Fit System, making it super easy to adjust the fit of your helmet with the twist of a dial. 

Snowboard Helmet Buying Considerations 

Rows of snowboard helmets in sports shop

Of course, you’re going to want to look good when you’re tearing up the ski hills, but there are many other factors that you’ll need to consider, which are far more important than looks and style. 

Below, we’ll go over some of the most important factors to keep in mind when shopping for a new snowboard helmet. 

Size And Fit

Size and fit are going to be the single most important consideration when shopping around for a new helmet. This is because a helmet that’s too loose isn’t going to keep your head protected, and a helmet that’s too tight simply isn’t going to be comfortable to wear all day long. 

So to help you find the proper size helmet, the first thing you’ll need to do is to measure the circumference of your head. For this, try your best to keep your measurement about one inch above your ears and eyebrows to help match the circumference of a helmet. 

While this should give you a good idea of what size helmet you’ll need, to make sure that you’ve got the right size, there are two more things to do: 1) try it on and 2) perform the shake test. 

When you try your helmet on, you want it to fit snug around your head, but you don’t want it to be too tight that it’s going to be uncomfortable to wear all day long. 

And finally, just to double-check that it fits properly, try doing the shake test by moving your head around vigorously with the helmet on. If the helmet shifts, then it’s likely too big and you’ll need a smaller size. 

For more info, see our snowboard helmet fit guide.

Adjustable Fit Systems

When shopping for a new helmet, there are mainly 4 types of adjustable fit systems that you’ll find:

  • The Boa or adjustable wheel system -This type of adjustment works by allowing you to turn a dial or wheel to adjust your helmet to fit properly around your head.  
  • In-fitted system - Similar to a Boa or adjustable wheel system, an in-fitted system allows you to adjust the size of your helmet with a strap or ratchet.
  • Replaceable pad system - Some helmets come equipped with padding that can be removed and adjusted to match the size of the person’s head. This system is ideal for younger snowboarders who will eventually outgrow the size of their helmet. 
  • Air-inflation system - As you’ve likely guessed, this type of helmet uses an inflatable air system to properly match the size of the snowboarder’s head.

Construction

Snowboard helmets are typically designed to protect your head during a single, large impact. In the event of an impact that causes the interior or exterior shell to split or crack, the helmet should be replaced immediately. 

With that said, let’s take a look at the three main types of helmet construction you’ll find on the market. 

  • In-mold helmets - This type of helmet construction uses a hard, thin outer shell that’s molded to an interior EPS foam impact-absorbing liner. These are designed for less rebound because the shell will usually crack to help absorb impact and protect your head.
  • Hardshell ABS helmets - ABS helmet construction consists of a thicker, ABS shell that’s formed and glued to an interior hard foam shell with a separate soft liner. ABS construction is typically more budget-friendly and still offers good head protection. 
  • Softshell helmets - Soft shell helmets are typically designed to withstand multiple, less intense impacts. However, they won’t offer the best head protection and aren’t always certified for use at ski resorts. 

Venting

Pretty much any snowboard helmet you find on the market today has some type of venting built into its design. While wearing your helmet for an extended period of time, these vents will allow excess moisture and heat to escape, helping to keep your head comfortable all day long. 

Generally, you’ll find helmets with either a fixed or adjustable venting system. 

As the name implies, a fixed venting system cannot be adjusted and on the other hand, an adjustable venting system can be adjusted to suit your own personal preference and current weather conditions. 

Adjustable vents either come in the form of a sliding mechanism, a push-button release, or removable plugs. 

In the end, choosing a venting system is entirely up to your own personal preference. 

FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions About Snowboard Helmets

man wearing snow helmet from behind

Now that you understand the most important factors to consider, let’s take a look at some of the most common questions people are asking when shopping for a new snowboard helmet.

Do I really need a snowboard helmet?

The short answer is no, you don’t necessarily need a snowboard helmet, especially if you want to look “cool”. 

But, unfortunately, looking “cool” isn’t going to keep you safe or protect you from a concussion. And according to Globelink, wearing a helmet can help reduce the risk of serious head injury by up to 35%. 

Also, roughly 25% of injuries happen during a snowboarder’s first experience on the slopes, which helps to illustrate the importance of head protection, especially if you’re new to the sport. And on a more somber note, there are many instances of death following a ski or snowboard accident where the casualty sustained a head injury. 

Finally, due to the prominence of head injuries, most ski and snowboard resorts require all visitors to wear helmets, no matter their experience. So while the short answer is no, you won’t necessarily need a snowboard helmet, it’s a much smarter decision to simply put one on.

It’s better to be safe than sorry!

How should a snowboard helmet fit? 

A good, properly fitted snowboard helmet should fit snugly everywhere around your head, but it shouldn’t be too tight that it’s uncomfortable to wear for a long time.

To ensure that your helmet fits properly, put it on, and shake your head around from side to side. If the helmet shifts when you do this, you’ll need to try on a smaller size. And on the other hand, if it doesn’t shift, but feels too tight and uncomfortable, try on a larger size. 
But again, it needs to fit snug. 

Make sure to never buy a helmet that’s too big, especially for a younger child, thinking that they’ll grow into it. If you are shopping for a younger snowboarder, there are options such as helmets with adjustable pads, or air-inflated helmets that can be used to ensure safety at all times. 

Is a snowboard and ski helmet the same thing? 

Whether you’re hitting the slopes on skis or on a snowboard, the main importance is to ensure that your head is protected. And while some companies market specifically towards skiers and others market specifically towards snowboarders, there isn’t actually any real difference between ski or snowboard helmets. 

With that said, some people might think that wearing a bicycle helmet is sufficient for hitting the slopes, which is where you run into problems. 

A bicycle helmet is designed to mainly protect the front of your head, while a ski/snowboard helmet is meant to protect the back of your head. 

So whether you’re a skier or a snowboarder, just make sure that you’re wearing the appropriate type of head protection on the hills. 

How often should I replace my snowboard helmet? 

Needless to say, getting into snowboarding can be an expensive investment. Aside from buying snowboard boots and a snowboard, you’ll also need to invest in buying a snowboard helmet as well. 
And while we all want out gear to last for as long as possible, unfortunately, snowboard helmets don’t last forever. 

With that said, a good quality snowboard helmet should last for a number of seasons before needing to be replaced. However, each helmet manufacturer is going to have its own recommendation for the helmets that they produce. 

Still, you should expect a helmet to last anywhere between two to five seasons before needing to purchase a new one. 

And on average, most manufacturers recommend replacing your helmet after a maximum of 5 years, or as soon as it’s involved in any type of substantial impact, especially if it sustains any type of visible damages.

If you want more info on when to replace a snowboard helmet, see this guide.

Wrapping It Up

best snowboard helmets guide featured image

When you’re hitting the slopes, having a good time is likely the only thing on your mind. But even more important than the fun you’re about to have is your own personal safety and protection. 

That’s why it’s so important to ensure that you’re sporting a good quality snowboard helmet. 

And by choosing from the snowboard helmets we’ve discussed here today, you can guarantee that you’ll be well-protected, as well as being in style and looking awesome while you shred powder to your heart’s content. 

James Shaffer

James Shaffer

James is a veteran snowboarder and skier. His passion for snow sport dates back to his early life growing up in Colorado. He spent his early adulthood as a ski instructor around popular locations in Europe but is now back in Colorado.
Published May 14, 2020
Last updated June 23, 2020
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