Best BMX Helmets (Youth/Adults – Full-Face/Open-Face)

Looking for a new fresh helmet for your BMX ride? Awesome, I’ll give you a list of my picks (linked to Amazon), below the list you’ll find a review of each one, and then there’s a complete buyer’s guide with everything you could possibly want to know about BMX helmets. Let’s dive right into it.

Best BMX Helmets:


Troy Lee Designs Stage54-62 cm
20-24.4 in
Bell Super 3R52-62 cm
21.25-24.4 in
Bell Sanction48-60 cm
18.9-23.6 in
Demon United Podium49-61 cm
19.3-24 in
Bell Servo58-61 cm
22.8-24 in

Triple Eight Sweatsaver51-63 cm
20-24.5 in
Triple Eight
Dual Certified
48-61 cm
18.9-24 in
OutdoorMaster Skateboard Cycling46-60 cm
18.1-23.6 in
Fox Head Flight53-58 cm
20.8-22.8 in
JBM Multi-Sports46-59 cm
18.1-23.2 in

Troy Lee Designs Stage

The Troy Lee Design Stage is my top recommendation for a full-face helmet. It has an outer shell made of a mixture of polycarbonate with fiberglass that makes it super light and resistant, along with a Dual Density EPS foam, that makes it perfect for low-speed impacts.

It comes with MIPS (Multi-directional Impact Protection System), designed to reduce rotational forces that may result from certain impacts.

It has a large ventilation chin bar opening, another 11 high-flow intake ports, and 14 exhaust vents. The airflow of the helmet is just perfect.

  • Head Circumference min-max: 54-62 cm / 20-24.4 in
  • Weight (size M): 690 gr / 24.3 oz
  • Materials: Polylite and fiberglass outer shell and EPS foam liner.
  • Certifications: CPSC 1203, CE EN1078, ASTM F1952, ASTM F2032, and AS/NZS 2063-2008
  • Available colors: 14 different designs and combinations.

You can find it on Amazon here.

Bell Super 3R MIPS

The Bell Super 3R is an awesome helmet. It has a removable chin bar which means that it can easily be adapted, it is convertible into an open-face helmet in no time and without any tools, so basically you get two helmets in one.

It has 23 vents, 4 brow ports, 6 chin bar vents, so the heat won’t be a problem with this one. Yes, the looks that this system gives this helmet clearly divides the waters.

Additionally, it comes with an integrated GoPro camera mount designed to break away in the case of an impact to reduce the risk of injury.

  • Head Circumference min-max: 52-62 cm / 21.25-24.4 in
  • Weight (size M): 784 gr / 27.65 oz
  • Materials: Polycarbonate outer shell and EPS foam liner.
  • Certifications: CPSC.
  • Available colors: black, blue, grey/black, red/grey/black, all matte.

You can find it on Amazon here.

Bell Sanction

The Bell Sanction is the most popular helmet among racers and dirt jumpers. Why? Because it covers the basic needs: it’s lightweight, offers great protection, looks good… and for a great price.

It has the smallest sizes from this list, so it’s perfect for younger riders. It has a total of 15 vents for great airflow and it comes with an adjustable visor.

This is the helmet I would recommend without knowing your preferences or budget.

  • Head Circumference min-max: 48-60 cm / 18.9-23.6 in
  • Weight (size M): 850 gr / 30 oz
  • Materials: ABS shell and EPS foam liner.
  • Certifications: CPSC.
  • Available colors: Matte blue/yellow, matte orange/black, gloss silver/blue/red, matte black/grey, matte red/grey.

You can find it on Amazon here.

Demon United Podium

These guys really thought about us when producing this helmet. It’s perfect for racing and dirt jumping. It’s pretty much standard regarding safety, comfort, and ventilation.

It has a polycarbonate shell and an EPS liner for security and comfort. It has 13 vents which provide great airflow. Plus, it comes with MIPS.

The only downside of this one is that it weighs almost 1 kg. You can find lighter helmets. But hey, it’s under $100 and it has great features. I wouldn’t discard it at all.

I addition, it has a couple of options with light graphics, which you don’t see that often in full-face helmets.

  • Head Circumference min-max: 49-61 cm / 19.3-24 in.
  • Weight (size M): 962 gr / 33.9 oz
  • Materials: Polycarbonate outer shell and EPS foam liner.
  • Certifications: CPSC.
  • Available colors: available in 7 different colors.

You can find it on Amazon here.

Bell Servo

The Bell Servo is your best bet if you’re looking for a solid helmet on a budget. Bell is well-known for producing high-end helmets and with this one they put all their efforts in assembling probably their most affordable version.

It’s clearly the heaviest helmet on this list, but I think you can’t ask for much more for the price. I’d say it’s a great choice for youth/beginners if you’re on a tight budget.

  • Head Circumference min-max: 58-61 cm / 22.8-24 in
  • Weight (size M): 1300 gr / 46.4 oz
  • Materials: N/A.
  • Certifications: CPSC.
  • Available colors: comes only in grey.

You can find it on Amazon here.

Triple Eight Sweatsaver

The Sweatsaver is my favorite helmet ever. I’ve been riding it for 2 or 3 years and I love it. It’s super light, fits just great, and the sweatsaver liners work perfectly for sweat and for fit. It comes with an extra set of thicker liners you can use to adjust the fit.

Regarding safety, it’s a high-end helmet with a resistant ABS shell, a thick EPS liner, and it’s certified by both CPSC and ASTM.

  • Head Circumference min-max: 51-63 cm / 20-24.5 in
  • Materials: ABS Outer Shell with EPS liner.
  • Certifications: CPSC and ASTM.
  • Available colors: Comes in 10 different color combinations.

You can find it on Amazon here.

Triple Eight Dual Certified

Triple Eight has been building awesome open-face helmets for quite a while now. The Dual Certified is one of the best options available in the market nowadays.

This model comes with pretty much what you see on the sweatsaver, except for the sweatsaver. So this is a great option to save a couple of bucks if you feel like you’ll be just fine without it.

  • Head Circumference min-max: 48-61 cm / 18.9-24 in
  • Materials: ABS Outer Shell with EPS liner.
  • Certifications: CPSC and ASTM.
  • Available colors: black glossy, black matte, blue matte, gun matte, kelly green matte, white matte.

You can find it on Amazon here.

OutdoorMaster Skateboard Cycling

This is an excellent helmet, with great features and a bit cheaper. It comes with everything you could ask for, an ABS shell and an EPS liner, a great ventilation, dual certification, and comfortable chin strap. Plus, an extra removable liner. All in all, it’s a very interesting option.

  • Head Circumference min-max: 46-60 cm / 18.1-23.6 in
  • Materials: ABS Outer Shell with EPS liner.
  • Certifications: CPSC and ASTM.
  • Available colors: 11 different shell colors .

You can find it on Amazon here.

Fox Head Flight

Fox is one of the most important brands manufacturing action sports gear. Better known for making racing helmets, they’ve created this simple but very effective open-face helmet.

It has a somewhat thin ABS shell and an EPS foam liner, 8 vents, and removable inner pads so you can wash them every now and then.

  • Head Circumference min-max: 53-58 cm / 20.8-22.8 in
  • Materials: ABS Outer Shell with EPS liner.
  • Certifications: CPSC and ASTM.
  • Available colors: 8 different shell colors .

You can find it on Amazon here.

JBM Multi-Sports

I picked this JBM helmet because it’s one of the cheapest options while being very popular. I haven’t tried it, but it seems like a solid option. Probably its low price is due to the fact that it covers only the very basics for a helmet to be approved by the CPSC and using the most affordable raw materials and parts.

On the other hand, it does the job. So the option is there. If you don’t care too much about the details and you’re on a tight budget, you can go ahead and give the JBM a shot.

  • Head Circumference min-max: 46-59 cm / 18.1-23.2 in
  • Materials: PVC & PC shell with EPS liner.
  • Certifications: CPSC.
  • Available colors: black, blue, pink, red, white, yellow.

You can find it on Amazon here.

[BMX Helmets Buying Guide]

Is It Mandatory To Wear A Helmet For BMX?

It is mandatory to wear a certified helmet for BMX racing and freestyle competitions, in all categories, according to the UCI official rulebook. For racing, the helmet must be full-face. For freestyle, it can be open-face.

(By the way, to learn more about the official rules, here are two quick guides I wrote for both rulebooks, racing and freestyle).

But putting the rules aside, let’s be real, why would you risk your head when you can wear a comfortable helmet? Well, is that the issue? You haven’t found a comfortable helmet yet? Then you should keep trying. Nobody should go out there jumping and putting themselves upside down and trying to do crazy stuff as if nothing could ever happen to them. Anyway, I assume that if you’re here it’s precisely because you want to get a helmet. So all this lecture might not apply to you, but maybe you can send it to a friend 🙂

I see that helmets are emphatically recommended for beginners. The reason is clear, they’re learning, they’re more prone to falls and hits of all kinds. However, in order to get a serious brain/skull damage, one single good crash is all it takes. So, no matter your expertise, you should wear a helmet at all times when riding.

How to Choose the Right Helmet

To choose the right helmet, you must basically take into account the activity you’ll wear it for (for proper design), the circumference of your head (for proper size), and your budget (for proper materials and components).

In this section, we’re going to examine the components and features of the helmet to have a broader idea of what we’re carrying in our heads, and what aspects we should pay attention to when buying a new helmet.

How should a BMX helmet fit?

The BMX helmet must fit like a glove, it should be like a natural extension of your body. You shouldn’t feel it too tight nor too loose. If you feel it either too big or too small it won’t be able to provide the protection your head needs and you’ll end up feeling it too uncomfortable. Ideally, you shouldn’t even notice that you’re wearing it.

When choosing a helmet it’s important it fits properly and feels comfortable. Since we all come with different cranium shapes, the most comfortable helmet for you might not necessarily be the most expensive one.

Once you got it on with the straps correctly adjusted, move your head in different ways at different speeds. Use your hand to rotate the helmet from side to side. If it’s the right fit, you should feel your head/face and the helmet as one piece, as if it was integrated into your head. Try lifting the rear of the helmet as if you were trying to roll it off your head (obviously, you shouldn’t be able to).

When deciding the size of your helmet you’ll need to be sure about the circumference of your head. Further below you’ll find instructions on how to measure it.


You’ll have it in your head and the gravity will try to make you notice it. Pretty much like any protective gear or accessory, it’s important to try to keep the weight at a minimum. The material of the helmet plays a key role here.

Try to choose a lightweight helmet without compromising safety. Some helmets feel really rigid and have very comfy padding, but they are substantially heavier, this will making you tired when riding.


Ventilation is absolutely key. It won’t be an issue in the middle of the winter, obviously, but on those hot summer days, you would regret not having given it the attention it deserved.

Look for a design with a good amount of air vents and ports to favor proper air circulation.


The straps of the helmet are very important for two basic reasons: comfort and safety. The most common materials in BMX helmet straps are Polypropylene and nylon, two types of plastic.

The straps shouldn’t cause too much friction to the point that you feel uncomfortable. The straps must be adjustable, obviously, and a great plus is a padded chin strap. Also, pay attention to the design of the buckle, as it is convenient to have a secure locking mechanism and a quick-release function.

Shock Absorption

If you’re deciding between helmets, don’t know which one to buy and one of them has ‘shock absorption’ or an ‘anti-shock’ layer, that’s the winner. Not all of them have it and is an important additional element for your safety.

Parts Availability

It happens every now and then that we lose parts of the helmet. If possible, choose a helmet from a major manufacturer just so you can quickly order new pads if you lose a cheek pad.

Safety Ratings

You should always look at the safety ratings. Helmets must pass certain safety standards tests prior to being put on sale. The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (USCPSC or CPSC) and the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) are the third parties that confirm the safety of all helmets on sale. So check if the helmet is CPSC and/or ASTM approved. This means that it’s been tested and proven to be safe.

About Helmets’ Certifications

So most types of helmets have certain safety standards they must meet. Those that meet the requirements of a safety standard are manufactured and tested to protect the rider from getting a skull fracture or serious brain injury while wearing the helmet.

All bike helmets built after 1999 must meet the CPSC bicycle helmet standard. Helmets that meet this standard provide protection against the injuries mentioned above if they are used properly. This protection depends mainly on the proper fit. For example, the bike standard requires chin straps strong enough to maintain the helmet on the head and in the correct position during a fall or impact.

Helmets that meet a specific standard contain a label or other marking that indicates that it is compliant with that standard. This label is usually found on the inside liner, on the outer shell, or attached to the chin strap.

Full-Face Helmets vs. Open-Face Helmets

Like we’ve seen above, full-face helmets are mandatory for racing whereas for freestyle you can wear an open-face helmet. And that’s clearly the trend in BMX: Racers wear full-face helmets for regulatory reasons, whereas the vast majority of freestylers wear open face helmets.

As you would guess without the need for any kind of study or research, a full-face helmet offers more protection. This is its main advantage. You’re less likely to get hurt wearing a full-face helmet than with an open-face helmet.

On the other hand, the main reason to choose an open-face helmet is the looks and the weight. It just looks better. You see me and you know who I am. With a full-face helmet, I might not recognize you after looking at you for 1 minute. Open-face helmets offer better visibility, are lighter, and are also easier to remove, which makes them more practical.

Let’s put their pros and cons in a table to have a better picture of it.

Full Face– Full coverage
– Safer
– Protection from weather
– Harder to put on/remove
– More expensive
– Less visibility
Open Face– Lighter
– Easier to remove
– Cheaper
– More visibility
– Less safe
– No face protection
– Could fall out

Materials Of A Helmet

There are basically two different types of materials on a helmet. The materials of the outer shell (what gets in contact with the ground) and the material of the interior of the helmet (what gets between your head and the outer shell).

The material is a fundamental decision as the quality and performance of the helmet will depend on it. Of course, your pocket will have the last word here, but you’re wearing a helmet to protect your head, so if you can stretch your budget a little to obtain more quality and protection, do it.

However, in the case of BMX helmets, there isn’t a wide range of materials to choose from, so most likely the majority of your options will be manufactured with the same materials.

Materials of the outer shell:

  • ABS. Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene is present everywhere in our daily lives, from the light switch covers to your computer’s keyboard, including your helmet. It’s affordable, easy to manufacture, strong, and reliable. This makes it the most common outer shell material in the world for open-face helmets.
  • Polycarbonate. Polycarbonate is long-lasting and light, which makes it an excellent material for helmets. It absorbs impacts across the outer shell better, which makes it better for lower speed impacts. Thus, it’s great for BMX. The downside of polycarbonate is that it’s more susceptible to scrape off, so you need more of it to provide an adequate level of protection, which results in a heavier helmet.
  • Fiberglass. It’s a stronger material that is a bit more flexible in its impact absorption. Fiberglass is lighter than polycarbonate, however, since it is harder, it absorbs less energy across the shell, which means that the helmet will need more EPS foam to dissolve this extra energy.
  • Carbon Fiber. It’s commonly seen in top-level full-face helmets. It’s even stronger than fiberglass, which results in an even lighter helmet. Thanks to its strength, it also performs great in high-speed impacts, that’s why it’s often used in racing helmets. On the other hand, this means that it won’t perform as well in low-speed impacts as polycarbonate.
ABS– The cheapest
– Hard to scratch
– Low impact resistance
Polycarbonate– Cheap
– Variety of graphics
– Strong in low speed impacts
– Heavy
Fiberglass– Light
– Good impact absorption
– Not so rigid
– Requires more EPS
Carbon Fiber– High strength
– Light
– Great in in high speed impacts
– Expensive
– Less durable

Materials of the inner liner:

  • Styrofoam. Also known as EPS (Expanded Polystyrene), Styrofoam is the most popular material used for the inner lining of a helmet. It’s also known as ‘thermocol’ and it’s always been reliable for its impact-absorbing qualities.
  • Koroyd. This material is being tested to replace Styrofoam since it’s believed to be 30% safer when absorbing impacts.
  • Foam. It’s used as comfort padding. It’s an important component as it is in contact with the skin all the time. This is why it should be very comfortable and made from materials capable of absorbing moisture and that don’t irritate the skin. Foam is also in charge of providing a perfect fit.

How to Measure the Circumference of Your Head

In order to make sure you’re getting the proper helmet size for the correct and most comfortable fit, you’ll use the circumference of your head as the main reference. Measuring actually it’s really quick and simple. What will you need? Just a flexible measure tape with centimeter increments. It’s important that it has centimeters, as this small unit provides the most accurate measurement of your head.

  1. Place the flexible tape flat around your head at the widest point and about one inch above your eyebrows.
  2. Make sure the tape goes over the bump at the back of your head and that it’s right above the top of your ears.
  3. Move slightly the tape up and down at the back of your head to make sure you’re finding the widest point.
  4. Do this two or three times just to make sure about the results.

This will help you to find the exact helmet size you need. When you have your helmet on, it should make a firm even pressure all around your crown. There should be no gaps and no extra-pressure points. Nothing should feel uncomfortable. An even pressure with the lining is what allows the helmet to absorb the impact correctly in an accident.

Tips For Buying A Helmet

  • Don’t prioritize style over safety. Avoid helmets that contain unnecessary parts or elements that protrude, such as horns. These elements may prevent the helmet’s surface from, for example, sliding after a fall, which could end up in a serious injury.
  • But don’t forget about the style. Get a helmet that you really like. Obviously, the graphics won’t protect you in a crash, but you’ll see your helmet every day, and having something that you like makes you want to wear it more. It might even prevent you from wanting to buy a new one in a couple of months.
  • Buy more than one. Helmets are disposable by nature. You can keep it in perfect shape and conditions but even if you never crash it, it will expire, so you’ll always need to replace it eventually. If you find a great deal, sale, or discount, if possible, think about the possibility of buying more than one helmet.
  • Do not buy a used/second-hand helmet. There’s no way you can be sure that its structural integrity is still in perfect condition.  Helmets need to be replaced regularly. After an impact (including dropping it onto the pavement), the inner foam absorbs the energy that would otherwise have crashed your head, and when that happens, the foam never recovers its integrity, so it can never again reach the required level of protection, even if the outer shell still looks in good condition.
  • Removable paddings are a great choice. Your head and face will sweat, that’s for sure, which means that your helmet won’t smell like new for too long. If the paddings are removable and washable you can have a fresh helmet on every ride.

Tips For Using Your Helmet

  • Don’t add anything to the helmet. I know, it’s really tempting, we want to give it our personal touch, but stickers, coverings, or other elements as such that didn’t come with the helmet can have a negative impact on the helmet’s performance.
  • When you have your straps properly adjusted, make sure that they don’t cause too much friction to the point that you feel uncomfortable, otherwise you could end up leaving them loose.

How To Clean And Maintain Your Helmet

We all love the looks and smell of a new helmet and we know we must enjoy it because it’ll go filthy and stinky in no time. Helmets absorb all of our sweat and body oils over time, which can definitely make a helmet pretty unpleasant after a couple of days or weeks. While that’s completely true, not many people realize that there’s a fix for that (or they’re just too lazy).

Helmets usually come with instructions, and they have directions on how to clean them. Make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions. There is no better source for this info as the manufacturer since they know exactly the materials and techniques used to build the helmet. If you don’t know where these instructions are, you can check the manufacturer’s website. If not, here are some tips and general guidelines for cleaning and maintaining your helmet that will help you keep it as new as possible.

Cleaning tips:

  • Wash it in mild soap and water, rinse it thoroughly, and air dry it. You can use a few drops of detergent or dishwashing liquid in a bucket full of water and a sponge.
  • Don’t leave it immersed for too long as that may affect the adhesives used in construction.
  • Don’t use solvents or harsh chemicals on your helmet since they may affect the foam or the outer shell and ruin the helmet. Gasoline, for example, is known for dissolving EPS foam.
  • Don’t put your helmet in a washing machine, dishwasher, dryer, or microwave if you still want to have a helmet.
  • Don’t scrub the shell too hard as the dirt that you’re trying to remove could leave scratches in the finish.
  • Only use warm water and neutral soap on a matte shell. The plastic cleaner might ruin the finish by leaving traces or even making it shiny.

Maintaining tips:

  • Use a skullcap under your helmet. It’ll be your first barrier of defense for preventing body oils and sweat from permeating your liner.
  • Always let your helmet air out after a long sweaty ride. Don’t put it into or let it in a bag as this will prevent the sweat from evaporating. You can just store it on a shelf.

Related Questions

Should you replace a bike helmet after a crash?

Whether you should replace your helmet after a crash depends on the severity of the impact and on its original design, if it was meant to withstand one impact or many impacts. Most bike helmets are designed to withstand the impact of just one single fall, such as a fall onto the pavement or sidewalk.

Typically, the foam in the liner crashes to absorb the energy of the impact and that’s when the helmet dies. The materials won’t protect you the same way again. Even if you can’t see any signs of damage, you must replace the helmet after an impact like that.

How long do bike helmets last?

The lifespan of a helmet depends on each manufacturer. If you’re not able to find any info about when the helmet should be replaced on the manufacturer’s instructions or website, it may be wise to replace your helmet within 5 to 10 years since the purchase.

This timeframe will also depend on how much you used it and the maintenance you gave it. Any signs of an old helmet, such as cracks on the shell, marks on the liner, worn-out foam or straps, or loose pads, clearly indicate that it’s time to replace it.


Based on quality and price, in my opinion, the Bell Sanction (full-face) and the Triple Eight Sweatsaver (open-face) are the best choices.

Always remember that the helmet must be intact in its structure in order to correctly perform on an impact. Replacing it regularly will avoid any issue that may come up because of the regular wear of materials over time, and it will also allow you to take advantage of the most recent improvements in helmet protection.

Related Articles

Image credits: [Image #3: By Kevin Cortopassi / Flickr / Creative Commons License]

Recent Posts