The 7 Best Football Helmets of 2019

Stay safe on the field

First Look

Best Overall: Riddell SpeedFlex Adult Helmet with Facemask at Amazon

"Looks and functions similarly to the ones the pros wear."

Best Budget, Adult: Xenith Varsity X2E+ Football Helmet at Xenith

"Priced lower than competitors, but doesn't sacrifice on safety."

Best for Youth Players: Riddell Youth SpeedFlex at Dick’s Sporting Goods

"Mixes safety and performance to ensure your child’s success on the field."

Best Budget, Youth: Schutt Youth Recruit Hybrid Helmet at Amazon

"Much less expensive than other helmets, but has advanced cushioning."

Best for Intramural Players: Schutt Sports Vengeance VTD II at Amazon

"Simple design, reasonably priced, and comes in nearly every color."

Best High-End, Youth: Schutt Youth Custom F7 at Dick’s Sporting Goods

"The most advanced safety features available."

Best Soft Helmet: Schutt Varsity O-Seven Football Soft Cap at Amazon

"Very lightweight and far more comfortable than a traditional helmet."

Best Overall: Riddell SpeedFlex Adult Football Helmet with Facemask

Riddell SpeedFlex Adult Football Helmet with Facemask

Courtesy of Amazon

The Riddell SpeedFlex is a nearly perfect football helmet. Looking and functioning similarly to the ones the pros wear, it's an excellent option for any adult football player. With several size options, this is a top pick for high schoolers all the way up to adult rec league MVPs. Featuring a classic design from one of the top brands in football helmets, it's available in nearly two dozen colors—so you can easily match any team.

It's also received top-of-the-line distinction in terms of safety, earning a 5-star Best Available Virginia Tech Helmet Rating. The shell is made of polycarbonate material and features Patented Side Impact Protection (PISP) to reduce the feeling from side hits. The rest of the helmet is protected with the “Flex System," which includes a specific construction on the crown, shell, and facemask to further reduce impact from hits.

While definitely an expensive purchase, reviewers say it's well worth the price for its safety and comfortable fit.

Check out our other reviews of the best football cleats available on the market today.

Best Budget, Adult: Xenith Varsity X2E+ Football Helmet

Xenith

 Xenith

Buying a football helmet can get expensive, but you don't want to sacrifice on safety, either. Luckily, Xenith offers a great adult football helmet that is priced a bit lower than some of the competitors—while still earning five stars on the Virginia Tech Helmet Ratings.

The Xenith Varsity X2E+ is designed with a standard and durable polycarbonate shell. The shell is built on a suspension system that allows for movement and shock absorption on rotations hits, while the X2E+ shock absorbers in the helmet take on linear forces, protecting your head from all types of impact. 

This helmet only comes in a few colors—black, silver, blue, and gold—however, it shines in terms of fit. The FitBand technology inside the helmet provides custom comfort for any head size. TPU and CN comfort pads, along with specially designed chin straps, jaw protectors, and the Xenith XRS-21 facemask, combine to create a high-quality, budget-friendly helmet. 

Best for Youth Players: Riddell Youth SpeedFlex Custom Football Helmet

Riddell Youth SpeedFlex Custom Football Helmet

Courtesy of Dick's Sporting Goods

There's a good chance the Riddell Youth SpeedFlex is the helmet that your child’s football team recommends for him or her. This classic-looking helmet mixes safety and performance to ensure your child’s success on the field. The Youth SpeedFlex uses the same dual-pronged approach to safety as the Adult SpeedFlex helmet. The shell and crown absorb shock from hits and tackles with its Flex System hinge points. This system can be seen on many NFL players’ helmets, as well.

Additionally, the Patented Side Impact Protection reduces the force that your child feels from side hits, especially to the jaw. The helmet includes an array of energy-absorbing, durable pads that provide comfort and limit impact. These adapt to the player’s head and can be inflated.

Riddell’s classic helmet comes in dozens of colors to match your child’s team uniform. It meets NOCSAE® (National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment) standards and has dozens of other features to ensure parents' peace of mind when it comes to their kids' safety on the football field.

Best Budget, Youth: Schutt Youth Recruit Hybrid Football Helmet with DNA ROPO Mask

Schutt Youth Recruit Hybrid Football Helmet with DNA ROPO Mask

Courtesy of Walmart

Much less expensive than other helmets on the market, the Schutt Youth Recruit Hybrid Football Helmet distinguishes itself with its cushioning. It includes TPU cushioning that is among the most advanced on the market for absorbing hits. The pads are easily attached and are described as soft and flexible, collecting and slowly dispersing energy. The hybrid cushion is used in the critical crown area while the sides sport D30 cushioning.

This helmet has a soft (but not inflatable) liner that provides comfort for all youth players. The helmet itself has ventilation and the padding is designed to be hygienic even after sweaty practices. Schutt uses an ABS shell, which is more lightweight than polycarbonate and has the Inter-Link Air Maxx TPU jaw pads.

This helmet comes with the DNA ROPO facemask, which is made of steel and protects the mouth—designed specifically for skill position players, it also meets NOCSAE® standards.

Best for Intramural Players: Schutt Sports Vengeance VTD II Football Helmet

The Schutt Sports Vengeance VTD II Football Helmet has a simple design, is reasonably priced, and comes in nearly every color to meet the needs of almost any college intramural player. Most importantly, it boasts a Virginia Tech 5-Star helmet rating.

The helmet's interior has a mix of single and dual layer TPU padding. The single layer reduces weight while absorbing impact from hits, and the dual layer is placed in critical areas. The face guard (which is not included) can easily be attached or detached through twisting. Reviewers love it for its comfortable fit and quality design.

Best High-End, Youth: Schutt Youth Custom F7

Schutt Youth Custom F7

Courtesy of Dick's Sporting Goods

For parents who want to make an investment in a high-end football helmet with the most advanced safety features available, this option from Schutt checks every box. The Schutt Youth Custom F7 helmet is designed with five layers of protection for young players.

The Schutt F7 is made of several floating "tektonic" plates that sit on a layer of TPU. These plates move in any direction and work to absorb hits from opposing players and protect the skull. Additionally, the inflatable SUREFIT Air Liner and RDS liner padding systems, as well as the front TPU pads, offer comfort and protection.

The Helmet Stabilization System also works to protect the cheekbones and jaw from injury, while the faceguard protects everything else. This entire helmet is designed with safety as its top priority—but the price is also top of the line.

Best Soft Helmet: Schutt Varsity O-Seven Football Soft Cap

Schutt Soft Cap

 Amazon

Many football players, especially young ones, opt for a soft helmet for seven-on-seven games or flag football where players don’t tackle but contact may occur. This non-traditional football helmet is similar to those used in rugby or by soccer keepers.

The gray and green helmet is made with a three-layer high-density TPU material to protect the head and ears from abrasions and mild collisions. The top of this helmet is made of mesh for easy breathability. The whole cap is very lightweight and far more comfortable than a traditional helmet. 

Our Process

Our writers spent 4 hours researching the most popular football helmets on the market. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 20 different helmets overall, screened options from 5 different brands and manufacturers, read over 10 user reviews (both positive and negative) and tested 2 of the helemts themselves. All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.

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