15 Hand-picked Best Ski Helmets for the Money

Wearing a helmet skiing should be a no brainer. No matter what your skill level skiing is, you should always wear a helmet. An accident will happen at a moment’s notice and it may not your fault. While ultimately the choice is up to you, you’re probably looking at this page because you need a new ski helmet.

Helmet technology has come a long way from hot, bulky helmets. Today there are plenty of lightweight, well-ventilated options that barely feel like you’re wearing a helmet at all. Helmets come in all shapes and sizes with adjustability so you can get the perfect fit for your head.

So what makes the best ski helmet? Well, it depends on what you are looking for. Some people are looking for the helmet with the most vents to keep them cool. Others are looking for a lower profile style that they could wear their goggles underneath. Others still want something ultra-lightweight that they can use for ski mountaineering.

Let’s look at some of the key features to consider when choosing a ski helmet.

Features of the Best Ski Helmet

Venting

If you are someone who finds they get always get hot in their ski helmet, then a helmet with good venting should be a priority. On the other hand, if you get cold easily and want a helmet that will keep you warm, you may want to choose a helmet with fewer vents or vents that you can close. Different helmets come with different venting styles and provide different airflow. Some have a few fixed vents which means these cannot be changed. Others like the Smith Vantage have numerous adjustable vents that can be adjusted using two different slides. Helmet technology has come a long way that having well-ventilated helmets does not make them less durable or less protective.

MIPS

Another great feature to consider when purchasing a new helmet is helmet MIPS. MIPS stands for Multi-directional Impact Protection System. Majority of the time when you fall while skiing you are tumbling down with angled impacts on your head. What MIPS technology does is provide impact protection for your brain from rotational forces. The ski helmet MIPS technology is a thin layer attached by a few flexible points to the inner foam just before the liner. This thin protection layer allows the helmet to slide a small amount around the liner and fit system. When you take angled impacts to your head, the MIPS layer allows the helmet to rotate slightly and absorb the rotational forces. Without the MIPS layer, if you take a tumble your brain is what ends up adsorbing the rotational forces. While MIPS technology is not completely necessary in a helmet, it is a great piece of technology that further protects your brain.

Weight

No one wants to wear a heavy helmet anymore. Helmet technology has come a long way so that lightweight helmets can still be incredibly protective. If you are going to be skiing at the resort, you probably won’t need anything too fancy or ultra-lightweight. Most modern helmets are light enough for what the average person is looking for. However, if you were going to be ski mountaineering, you may want to consider an ultra-lightweight helmet. Weight is everything when you are going to be spending long days out climbing mountains. The helmet you want for mountaineering will be different than what you’d want for skiing on the resort.

Adjustment system

Nearly all top-end helmets feature an adjustment system now. This fit system allows you to get a custom fit of the helmet to your head. When you put the helmet on, tighten the fit system until the helmet feels snug to your head. Ideally, you’ll want to be able to shake your head around without the helmet moving around on your head. You no longer have to worry about being between sizes since the adjustment system allows some overlap between sizes. If you do find you are between sizes, consider how often you will be wearing a hat or balaclava under your helmet since this will take up any extra space. Another thing to consider if you are between sizes is that the liner of the helmet will pack out slightly over time. It is sometimes best to go with the smaller size helmet so that once the liner is packed out you won’t have too much extra room.

Fit

All helmets fit differently. This is largely dependent on head shape and size. Whether you have a round or pointy head, a wide or narrow face, helmets will fit differently. The best example of this is the Pret helmet. People either have the right head shape and love Pret helmets thanks to the low profile, lightweight design that comes in cool color combinations. Or they don’t have the right head shape and no matter what they do, they cannot get the helmet to fit and feel comfortable. Bottom line, make sure you’re picking a helmet that will be comfortable on your head. If you can, try some different style helmets on before you buy one.

In-mold shell

Helmets with in-mold shells allow helmets to be lightweight and still protective. The in-mold shell fuses the ABS outer plastic directly to the inner foam of the helmet. This creates a lightweight and incredibly strong helmet. Although you should always replace your helmet after a major crash, an in-mold helmet definitely needs to be replaced after a crash.

Soft versus hard ear pads

The majority of helmets now come with soft, removable ear pads. Usually, these soft ear pads are removable as well. If you go into any ski shop, the majority or all of the helmets on the wall will have soft, removable ear pads. It is substantially harder to find a casual helmet with hard ear pads now since these types of helmets are typically for ski racing.

Fidlock buckle system

The Fidlock magnetic buckle system is a relatively new technology. The Fidlock buckle uses a combination of strong magnets and a simple buckle to stay in place. To close the buckle, simply line up the two ends of the buckle near each other and let the magnets pull the two parts into the right place. You will hear a click as the buckle latches itself. When you are ready to take the helmet off, pinch the buckle similarly to how you would a traditional buckle. This will allow the magnets to separate enough to release the buckle. This buckle is designed to be easy to operate while wearing bulky ski gloves.

Removable liner

Most helmets will also have a removable liner. This is good for a number of reasons. If you prefer to wear a hat under your helmet you can take out the liner to have more room. If you often get hot and sweaty while skiing, you can remove the liner and wash it. Most liners simply velcro in and out of the helmet.

Style

Are you someone who likes a lot of adjustable vents? Or do you go for a smoother low profile look? Ski helmets come in many different styles depending on your personal preference. Helmets with a complex ventilation system have a much different look than though with fixed vents. There is no best style, just what works right for you.

Size

Helmet sizes are measured by the circumference of your head. To get a good estimate of what size you’ll need, measure the circumference around your heat at your forehead. Of course, it is best to try on helmets to best determine your correct size. You want to make sure you are buying the right size helmet for your head.

Audio chip compatibility

If you are someone who likes to listen to music while they do sports, then audio chip compatibility may be important to you. Audio chip compatibility allows you to put headphones or ski helmet specific speaker pucks into the soft ear flaps on your ski helmets. This allows you to still hear what is happening around you while listening to your music.

Audio system

Not very many helmets have this but some helmets feature built-in audio. If having music while you ski or snowboard is important to you, then you may want to consider a helmet with a built-in audio system.

Goggle retainer

Most helmets come with some kind of goggle retainer on the back. Make sure the goggle retainer is going to be compatible with your goggle strap. Having a goggle retainer is nice so that your goggles cannot fall off your helmet when your goggles are up on top.

Ski goggles compatibility

Whatever helmet you choose, you want it to integrate well with your helmets goggles. Most high end helmet brands also sell goggles. By pairing your helmet and goggle brands together, you can ensure seamless integration and no goggle gap. When your goggles seamlessly integrate with your helmet, you are less likely to have issues with your helmets goggles fogging on the slopes.

Lets look at the best ski helmets of 2021.

Top 15 Best Ski Helmets

1. Smith Vantage MIPS Snow Sports Helmet

The Smith Vantage MIPS Helmet is one of the best helmets out there. Look at any list of the best ski helmets and the Smith Vantage MIPS Helmet is sure to be at the top. This ski helmet is has everything that most people are looking for in a ski and snowboard helmets. Great venting, MIPS technology, and overall high protection make this a top of the line and popular helmet.

The Smith Vantage MIPS features a versatile ventilation system. The 21 vents are controlled by two slides to provide maximum adjustability and airflow. The hybrid in-mold construction gives this helmet maximum protection in the areas you need it and saves on weight in the areas where you can. Smiths Aerocore construction which can be seen through the vents improves energy absorption during a crash while providing maximum airflow. The MIPS technology is like the cherry on top for the overall protection standard in the Smith Vantage MIPS helmet. If the price tag seems too high for you, Vantage does come without MIPS.

When it comes to the adjustment system, Smith doesn’t fall short here. The BOA fit system uses multiple adjustment points to give you the perfect fit for your head. The magnetic Fidlock chin strap makes buckling this helmet easy. Overall this is a great ski helmet for anyone looking to hit the slopes this winter.

Weight: 1 lb. 2 oz.

Ventilation: All 21 vents are adjustable.

Construction: Hybrid in-mold shell construction.

Pros: This helmet has a little bit of everything you want in a top helmet.

Cons: High price tag.

 

 

2. Poc Obex SPIN Ski and Snowboard Helmet

A great helmet for lightweight and simplicity is the Poc Obex SPIN Ski and Snowboard Helmets. This lightweight helmet is right on par with the rest of Poc’s line; simple. Instead of MIPS, Poc uses its own patented technology SPIN. SPIN is designed to reduce rotational forces by using slim, gel-like pads attached to the inside of the liner. The only downfall to this is if you like to wear your helmet without the liner. Otherwise, this helmet comes in a great variety of colors.

The Poc Obex SPIN Helmet uses in-mold construction to reduce weight while still being protective. This low profile design helmet only weights one pound. That makes it one of the best resort helmets for weight. In addition to being light weight, the Poc Obex SPIN Helmet has 11 adjustable vents for climate control. Complete with the Fidlock bucle system and audio compatibility, the Obex SPIN is a great lightweight helmet.

Weight: 1 lb.

Ventilation: 11 adjustable vents.

Construction: In-mold shell construction.

Pros: Classic monochromatic design POC is known for.

Cons: Lose the SPIN benefits if you take out the liner.

 

 

3. Oakley Mod 5 MIPS Snow Helmet

This helmet definitely has an interesting overall style to it but the Oakley Mod 5 MIPS Snow Helmet is packed with some great features. Let’s start by looking at the modular brim system. This system allows you to swap out the brim to best fit your goggles and style. This way you should have no issues with goggle integration. Of course any Oakley goggle will fit best with this helmet.

Next, the Oakley Mod 5 uses hybrid in-mold construction. This allows the helmet to have maximum impact protection in the areas you need it but stay lighter by using in-mold construction is less impact prone areas. The eight adjustable vents help you with climate control for changing conditions day to day.

This Oakley helmet features MIPS technology to protect you from rotational impacts. The Fidlock buckle system make this helmet easy to take on and off. The BOA fit system allows you to get a customized fit to your head. Overall this helmet may not be the most attractive, but it is a high end helmet packed with safety features.

Weight: 1 lb. 6 oz.

Ventilation: 8 adjustable vents.

Construction: Hybrid in-mold shell contstruction.

Likes: Modular brim system (MBS) is unique and allows you to customized your look.

Dislikes: A rather unattractive helmet style

 

 

4. Sweet Protection Ignitor II Ski and Snowboard Helmet

Sweet protection makes some sweet helmets that are now making their way to the United States and the Sweet Protection Ignitor II Ski and Snowboard Helmet is no exception. This helmet uses an ABS shell and special Impact Shields to provide optimal impact protection. Sweet Protection also uses MIPS in this helmet to create one of the best helmets for protection.

The Ignitor II helmet features a low profile design so that this helmet does not feel bulky on your head. The Fidlock magnetic buckle system make this helmet easy to get on and off. Thanks to the special impact sheilds, this helmet is able to be well ventilated with 26 vents as well as protective.

Weight: 1 lb.

Ventilation: 26 vents.

Construction: ABS tough plastic shell.

Likes: Multi-impact and protective helmet and lightweight.

Dislikes: Expensive.

 

 

5. Pret Cynic X MIPS Helmet

Pret is a Utah, USA based company that make simple, low profile design helmets. The Pret Cynic X MIPS Helmet and its women’s counterpart, the Lyric X, is a great lightweight helmet for skiing on the resort or in the back country. This helmet blends lightweight in-mold construction with a skate-style and cool color blocking combos.

If you are someone who prefers take out the liner and wear a beanie underneath your helmet, then the Pret Cynic X is a good choice for you. However, if you don’t have the right shaped head, this helmet may not fit how you want it to. Some people are also a little put off my the Pret logo with the crown on the side of the helmet. However, if you can get past the design, this is a great, lightweight helmet that comes in a variety of different color combination. The Fidlock buckle close make the Pret Cynic X MIPS Helmet easy to get on and off.

Weight: 15 oz

Ventilation: 12 fixed vents.

Construction: In-mold shell.

Likes: Lightweight, comfortable helmet that comes in a variety of colors at a great price.

Dislikes: Does not fit every head shape well.

 

 

6. Salomon MTN LAB Helmet

The Salomon MTN LAB Helmet is a high end, lightweight backcountry ski helmets. This helmet weighs a mere 13 oz making it the lightest option on our list. Part of what makes this helmet so lightweight is the minimalist padding inside. It may best best to wear a beanie or buff under this helmet for added warmth and comfort, although you will probably already be wearing one in the backcountry.

For backcountry skiing this helmet comes with the side headlamp clips for the days you get out early or get back late. The adjustment system in the back helps you get a custom fit to your head. While this may not be the best resort helmet, it is great strapped to the outside of a pack for long days in the mountains. Someone who gets hot easily and wants a lightweight minimalist helmet for skiing the resort may also benefit from this helmet.

Weight: 13 oz.

Ventilation: 12 fixed vents.

Construction: In-mold shell.

Likes: Great lightweight backcountry ski helmet.

Dislikes: Minimalist padding is less comfortable.

 

 

7. Sweet Protection Ascender MIPS

The Sweet Protection Ascender MIPS Helmet is a cool, innovative helmet from Sweet Protection. This helmet features everything your need for days spent climbing and skiing mountains since it is safety certified for both. While this helmet is designed specifically with mountaineers in mind, you could wear this helmet if you wanted something ultra lightweight because you don’t like the feel of a helmet.

Surprisingly, this helmet is still equipped with MIPS. It’s very similar to the Salomon MTN LAB Helmet above but has the added MIPS protection for not much more cost.

Weight: 15 oz.

Ventilation: 10 vents.

Style: Lightweight mountaineering.

Construction: Hybrid in-mold shell construction.

Likes: Super lightweight helmet that is certified for skiing and climbing.

Dislikes: Expensive and very specific.

 

 

8. Giro Jackson MIPS Snow Helmet

The Giro Jackson MIPS Snow Helmet features a modern low profile design while being highly functional and protective. This helmet features MIPS for ultimate protection from rotational impacts on the slopes. The in-mold construction creates a lightweight yet strong helmet. The Fidlock buckle makes this helmet easy to take on and off.

The Passive Aggressive Venting System makes this helmet cool and lightweight. Inner channeling and auto-venting technology keep you from getting too hot while wearing this helmet. The Passive Aggressive Venting System not only works while you are skiing or snowboarding, but also when you are walking or even standing still.

Giro has also updated their fit system. The Form 2 Fit system allow you to get custom fit. The design is lighter and lower profile than the original, yet still allows for up to 6 centimeters of adjustability. This can be done while wearing gloves.

This helmet comes in a variety of colors and can be worn over a beanie if preferred. The fleece liner is audio-chip compatible is you like to ski or ride with music.

Ventilation: Passive Aggressive Venting System.

Construction: In-mold shell construction

Likes: Low profile design with climate control airflow.

Dislikes: Venting is not adjustable

 

 

9. Smith Code MIPS Snowboarding and Ski Helmet

If you’re looking for the ultimate protection from a skate-style, low profile design helmet, the Smith Code MIPS Helmet is an excellent choice. This helmet uses the top safety features from other Smith helmets like the Smith Vantage and puts that same protection in a cool design. The in-mold shell construction is fused directly to the EPS foam interior to create a lightweight one-piece design.

The Smith Codes has six fixed vent openings to promote airflow throughout the helmet. Aerocore is used within those vents for protection from impacts. The BOA fit system gives you 360-degree micro adjustments so that the helmet fits properly to your head. The knit liner is audio chip compatible and removable should you choose to wear a beanie to ski underneath instead. The rear goggle retainer is also removable for a smooth look if you choose to wear your goggles under your helmet. To top it off, the Smith Code features MIPS technology and the magnetic Fidlock buckle system.

Weight: 1 lb.

Ventilation: 6 fixed vents.

Construction: Lightweight in-mold shell construction.

Likes: Smooth, lightweight, and protective design

Dislikes: Pricier than the similar-looking Smith Maze

 

 

10. Smith Mission MIPS Helmet

The Smith Mission MIPS Helmet could be considered the budget version of the Vantage helmet. This helmet also comes in the Smith Mirage MIPS Helmet which is the women’s version. The only differences between the Mission and Mirage are the color variety the helmets come in and the fuzziness of the liner. Yes, the women get the softer liner.

On hot days, the 14 adjustable vents give you maximum adjustability and versatility on the slopes. The ventilation system is protected with Aerocore technology to absorb impacts. On cold days, the fleece liner keeps you cozy and warm inside. The fleece liner is audio chip compatible so you can listen to music on the slopes. The ear flaps are removable, but the design of this helmet does not work well over a beanie.

This ski helmet comes with MIPS to reduce rotational forces. The lightweight in-mold is bonded directly to the EPS foam for weight and durability. An adjustable dial in the back allows you to get the proper fit for your head.

Weight: 1 lb.

Ventilation: 14 adjustable vents.

Construction: Lightweight in-mold shell construction.

Likes: Lightweight helmet for a competitive price. Think of this helmet as the base model of the Vantage.

Dislikes: Less durable than other helmets in this price range.

 

 

11. Giro Nine MIPS Snowboard and Skiing Helmet

Another great all around basic helmet is the Giro Nine MIPS Snow Helmet. This helmet is going to do what you ask for at a great price and lightweight design. Although it lacks a few of the bells and whistles of the top end ski helmets, it does have some great features still. The front of the Giro Nine helmet uses a stack vent to keep your goggles from fogging. What this vent does is it allows the hot air to escape out of the top vent on your goggles and out through your helmets. Until recently, most helmets blocked the top vent of your goggles and trapped any hot air inside causing your goggles to fog. Now many top end helmets feature stack vents to prevent your goggles from fogging. The Giro Nine MIPS Snow Helmet is no different.

The Giro Nine has also been called the most comfortable helmet before. This helmet seems to do well on most head shapes thanks to he Form to Fit system. The 10 adjustable vents help with climate control all day long. Its lightweight design plus MIPS protection make this a great all around helmet from Giro.

Ventilation: 10 adjustable vents.

Construction: In-mold shell construction

Likes: The stack vent in the front with your goggles reduces fogging while you ski.

Dislikes: Doesn’t come in many colors.

 

 

12. POC Auric Cut Backcountry SPIN Ski and Snowboarding Helmet

The Poc Auric Cut Backcountry SPIN helmet is a great helmet for someone who is pushing their limits in big mountain skiing. This ABS shell and other safety features of this ski helmet is designed to withstand multiple impacts without loss of integrity. The integrated Recco reflector makes you searchable in case of an avalanche or other accident. If you are someone who is trying to get sendy in the backcountry, this would be a great helmet opion.

The Poc Auric Cut Backcountry SPIN use SPIN technology, similar to MIPS to reduce rotational forces from tumbles. The front and top vents of this helmet are adjustable for temperature control. This helmet however does not have the most comfortable liner compared to some of the others on this list. You might do best wearing this helmet over a beanie.

Weight: 1 lb. 5 oz.

Ventilation: 8 adjustable vents.

Construction: ABS plastic shell.

Likes: Durable multi-impact protection and the integrated Recco reflector.

Dislikes: On the heavier side of backcountry ski helmets.

 

 

13. Anon Rodan BOA MIPS Snow Helmet

The Anon Rodan BOA MIPS Snow Helmet is often overlooked but don’t be fooled. This helmet is packed with just as many safety features as the others. Although this helmet seems quite simple, it is packed with the same features as other top-end helmets. The Anon Rodan has an in-mold shell that keeps it lightweight and low-profile. This helmet can either come with or without MIPS to reduce rotational forces when you crash.

The liner is audio chip compatible or can be removed so you can wear the helmet with a beanie. The design of the Anon Rodan makes this a good helmet for those who prefer to wear their goggles under their helmet.

The 360-degree BOA fit gives you maximum adjustability for getting the perfect fit. The Fidlock buckle allows you to easily put on and take off your helmet without removing your gloves. The bottom line is don’t overlook the Anon Rodan BOA MIPS Snow Helmet. This helmet is packed with all the bells and whistles as the top-end helmets.

Weight: 14 oz.

Ventilation: Fixed, passive ventilation.

Construction: In-mold shell construction.

Likes: Lightweight, well throughout design helmet.

Dislikes: Not much to dislike about this helmet.

 

 

14. Giro Ledge MIPS Snow Sports Helmet for Skiing

The Giro Ledge MIPS Snow Helmet is a great all-season helmet to do it all. This would be a great choice for your teenage kids who are getting after it in the summer as well as in the winter. This helmets rugged outer shell make it durable enough to use while skating or biking in addition to skiing. Overall, this helmet is very similar to the Smith Holt but with the added MIPS technology.

Like most Giro helmets, the Ledge MIPS features stack vents. This allows hot air trapped in your goggles to vent upwards and out though your helmet. Most helmets in the price range trap the hot air in your goggles and cause them to fog faster.

The Giro Ledge MIPS Snow Helmet may be lacking a few of the bells and whistles of the top end helmets but it is still packed with safety features to keep you safe on the slopes. The removable liner is audio-chip compatible. If you are going to be using this helmet in the summer, it is best to remove the liner so you don’t get too hot in it.

Weight: 1 lb. 2 oz.

Ventilation: 8 fixed vents.

Construction: Rugged outer shell.

Likes: Multi-season use, can be used for biking and skating as well as skiing.

Dislikes: Less comfortable in comparison to the Smith Holt.

 

 

15. Smith Optics Unisex Adult Holt Snow Sports Helmet

The Smith Optics Unisex Adult Holt Snow Sports Helmet is a great all-around helmet if you wanted to get multiple uses out of a helmet. This helmet is very similar to the Giro Ledge MIPS Helmet listed above, except it lacks the MIPS technology making the Smith Holt a slightly lower price. The Holt works well if you choose to take the liner out and wear a beanie underneath instead. This may help eliminate the overheating some experience from this helmet.

While this helmet is heavier than other options, the durable ABS construction allows you to use this helmet in the summer for biking and skating as well as for skiing and snowboarding in the winter. If you’re looking for a budget-friendly helmet, the Smith Holt does a great job there. While the Holt lacks a lot of the bells and whistles the top end helmets have, you can expect it to get the job done. Smith does a great job with the design of this helmet as well. Although the Holt is not as low profile as some other options, Smith still avoids the bulky, oversized feel that many inexpensive helmets in this price range have.

The bottom line is if you want a budget-friendly helmet for under $100, the Smith Holt Helmet is an excellent choice. You are sure to get your money’s worth out of this helmet.

Bottom line is, no matter your skill level skiing, everyone should be encouraged to wear a helmet. If you find the right one for you it becomes second nature.

Weight: 1 lb. 3 oz.

Ventilation: 14 fixed vents.

Construction: Durable ABS certified for all-season use.

Likes: Great price for a helmet you can use as much in the summer as you do in the winter.

Dislikes: Does not come with MIPS and is on the heavier side.

 

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