Are AGV Helmets Snell Approved? 3 Questions & 5 Recommendations

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If you’re cruising the roads in an AGV helmet or considering one for your next ride, you’ve probably wondered: Are AGV helmets Snell approved? 

The Snell certification is like the gold standard for helmet safety, and in this article, we’re unraveling the details to find out if AGV helmets make the grade. 

What Is the Snell Safety Rating?

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Manufacturers must test helmets in order to prove they can protect your skull and prevent serious injuries in case of an accident. This testing is done according to certain standards that determine the “safety rating,” which is indicated by a label or sticker on the back of the helmet.

The Snell safety rating is considered to be the best and is recognized worldwide, not just in the US. It’s named after the amateur racecar driver William Snell who died in a tragic accident due to a head injury during a race event in 1956.

Snell’s family and friends then developed The Snell Memorial Foundation or The Snell Foundation. The main purpose of this foundation is to test helmets and ensure they provide racers with maximum safety.

Since their development, Snell has set the bar for helmet safety, and they continue to improve as they update their testing standards every five years.

So, when you see that Snell sticker on a helmet, it’s not just for show. It’s a testament to the helmet’s ability to meet or exceed some of the most stringent safety standards in the industry.

Helmet ModelCategorySafety CertificationCheck & Shop Now
AGV K1Best Sport/RacingDOT, ECE, SHARPRevZilla | MotorSport | Amazon
AGV K3Best Value for MoneyDOT, ECE, SHARPRevZilla | MotorSport | Amazon
AGV K6Best Value for MoneyDOT, ECE, SHARPRevZilla | CycleGear | Amazon
AGV AX9Best AdventureDOT, FMVSS 218RevZilla | FC Moto | Amazon
AGV Pista Best OverallDOT, ECE, SHARP, FIMRevZilla | MotoSport | Cycle Gear

Snell Testing Standards

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There are various standards for testing helmets; some of them are stricter than others, and that’s why not every safety rating is the same.

Here’s a quick breakdown of what it takes for a helmet to earn that coveted Snell approval:

  1. Impact Testing: Snell doesn’t mess around when it comes to impact protection. Helmets undergo testing for their ability to absorb and distribute energy during impacts. This involves dropping the helmet onto various shaped anvils to simulate different impact scenarios.
  2. Penetration Testing: Helmets are subjected to tests to ensure they can resist penetration from sharp objects. This is a crucial feature, especially for riders who may encounter debris or other hazards on the road.
  3. Retention System Testing: Straps and buckles are assessed to guarantee they can keep the helmet securely in place during a crash. After all, what good is a helmet if it doesn’t stay put when you need it the most?
  4. Peripheral Vision Testing: Snell considers the importance of a rider’s visibility. Helmets are tested to ensure they don’t obstruct peripheral vision, providing riders with a clear view of their surroundings.
  5. Shell Rigidity: Snell-certified helmets are evaluated for their overall structural integrity. This involves testing the shell’s resistance to deformation, ensuring it maintains its shape and protective qualities.

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Are AGV Helmets Snell Approved?

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AGV helmets are not Snell approved. However, the lack of Snell approval doesn’t necessarily indicate a lack of safety; rather, it’s often a matter of different certification standards and design priorities.

As mentioned earlier, Snell certification involves a distinct set of criteria established by the Snell Memorial Foundation, which require the helmet to undergo rigorous testing for various safety parameters. 

Why Aren’t AGV Helmets Snell Approved?

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Here are a few reasons why AGV helmets might not be Snell approved:

  1. Design Priorities: AGV is known for its emphasis on lightweight and aerodynamic helmet designs. Snell certification typically involves meeting specific impact and penetration standards, which may result in a heavier and stiffer helmet. AGV might choose to prioritize other design elements while still meeting alternative safety standards.
  2. Regional Requirements: Different regions have their own safety standards for motorcycle helmets. While Snell is widely recognized, AGV helmets often comply with other standards such as the Economic Commission for Europe (ECE) standard or the Department of Transportation (DOT) standard in the United States. Meeting these regional requirements might be the primary focus for AGV.
  3. Material and Construction: AGV helmets may utilize advanced materials and construction techniques that provide excellent protection but might not align precisely with Snell’s specific requirements.

One common criticism of the Snell safety rating is that the testing standards are too tough to pass.

Some manufacturers also believe that their testing procedures do not resemble real-life scenarios, at least when it comes to motorcycle accidents, because most of these accidents happen with riders going at relatively lower speeds compared to the testing procedure, putting the helmet through softer impacts.

So, while Snell’s testing standards are meticulous, they’re more suitable for racers going at high speed than average motorcycle riders.

Are AGV Helmets Safe Despite Not Being Snell Approved?


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AGV helmets are designed with safety as a top priority, even if they aren’t Snell approved.

While Snell approval is a widely recognized benchmark for helmet safety, it’s not the sole indicator of a helmet’s effectiveness.  It’s crucial to understand that AGV Helmets adhere to other widely accepted certifications, which have their own rigorous safety standards.

Moreover, AGV invests in cutting-edge materials and technologies to enhance the protective features of their helmets. From advanced shell constructions to impact-absorbing liners, these helmets are engineered to provide optimal protection during accidents.

What Safety Ratings Do AGV Helmets Hold?

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Here are some common safety certifications associated with AGV Helmets:

  1. ECE (Economic Commission for Europe): ECE is a widely recognized European standard for motorcycle helmets. AGV Helmets often carry ECE certification, indicating that they meet or exceed the safety requirements set by this standard.
  2. DOT (Department of Transportation): DOT is a mandatory safety standard for motorcycle helmets in the United States. AGV Helmets designed for the U.S. market typically comply with DOT regulations, ensuring they meet specific safety criteria.

Keep in mind that specific safety ratings can vary among different helmet models, and it’s essential to check the latest information on AGV’s official website or product documentation. 

If you have more questions about AGV helmets, you can get your answers here.

Which Helmet Safety Rating Is the Best?


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There’s always a debate about which safety rating is the “best” since each one has different testing standards and is recognized by different countries.

Here are some widely recognized helmet safety ratings other than Snell:

  1. ECE (Economic Commission for Europe): This is a European standard and is widely accepted globally. Helmets with an ECE certification have met specific safety requirements and are legal for use on the roads in many countries.
  2. DOT (Department of Transportation): In the United States, the DOT standard is mandatory for motorcycle helmets. Helmets with DOT certification meet or exceed safety standards set by the U.S. government.
  3. SHARP (Safety Helmet Assessment and Rating Programme): Used in the United Kingdom, SHARP provides additional information on helmet safety. Helmets are rated based on their performance in impact tests at different speeds.
  4. FIM Racing Homologation: For riders engaged in motorcycle racing, FIM (Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme) homologation is crucial. It’s similar to ECE; however, its testing standards are considered to be much more thorough and stricter. Helmets meeting FIM standards are approved for use in various racing competitions.

While each safety rating serves a specific purpose, it’s important to note that meeting one standard doesn’t necessarily make a helmet better than another. The key is to choose a helmet that is certified for the region where you ride, fits well, and suits your riding style.


In conclusion, AGV helmets stand as a testament to the brand’s unwavering commitment to rider safety. Though they are not universally Snell approved, they consistently invest in cutting-edge materials, advanced technologies, and design innovations to keep riders safe on their two-wheeled adventures.

Ultimately, the safety of a helmet goes beyond a single certification, and the “best” helmet safety rating for you is one that aligns with your riding context and local regulations. 

Whether you’re cruising the urban streets or tearing it up on the racetrack, AGV Helmets offer a diverse range of options, each crafted with an unwavering dedication to rider safety.

Michael’s Summary and Conclusion

This is a controversial topic, or at least one, where people have a lot of different opinions on the pros and cons of the motorcycle helmet standard issued by the Snell Memorial Foundation.

Personally, from my years of experience in the helmet business, I don’t put so much emphasis on the exact test standards as I do on the quality control and the overall competency of the organization.

If you knew the details of your crash and you understood the speed you were traveling, what your head would strike and at what angle, as well as a hundred other factors, then I guess you could look at all the different standards and figure out which standard would be ideal for your particular individual impact needs. In the real world, I think that all the major motorcycle helmet standards are fine. I’ve never seen any study or report that ever showed a lower rate of injury or fatalities based on one standard versus another.

All my personal helmets have always been AGV. I’ve never worn any other brand. Even when I was doing consulting work for KBC, KYT, Suomy, Vemar, and Marushin helmets, I always rode with one of my many models of AGV helmets. So, based on my personal riding and work experience over many decades, this is how I sum up my feelings on the Snell certification. For most of the years I worked with AGV, all the mid-high-range helmets were Snell-certified. It was only in the last 15 years or so that an AGV moved away from that standard.

What I didn’t like about the AGV helmets that were Snell certified is they were heavier than the exact same models sold in Europe or Australia. What I liked about the Snell standard is at the time I was working with them I believe they had the best overall quality control and random sampling testing program. This is very important because it doesn’t matter what the numbers are in a helmet certification.

Yes, the field testing and enforcement when there is a violation is not up to speed or, in some cases, not really present at all. I would not hesitate to wear any quality helmet with any major helmet standard. It wouldn’t change my buying decision. If you have a helmet with the Snell certification, you certainly have a quality helmet, but there are many very high-quality helmets without Snell certification, so you have to just factor this in as one of many considerations when making your purchase.

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I've diligently categorized my motorcycle gear recommendations into all available categories, with the aim of providing you with a comprehensive analysis that showcases the absolute best options for all your needs. These items are the culmination of in-depth research, extensive testing, and personal use throughout my vast experience of 50+ years in the world of motorcycling. Besides being a passionate rider, I've held leadership positions and offered consultancy services to reputable companies in over 25 countries. To See Top Picks and the Best Prices & Places to Buy: Click Here!

Information for this article was partially sourced and researched from the following authoritative government, educational, and non-profit organizations:


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About the Author:

Michael Parrotte started his career in the motorcycle industry by importing AGV Helmets into the North American market. He was then appointed the Vice President of AGV Helmets America. In total, he worked with AGV Helmets for 25 years. He has also served as a consultant for KBC Helmets, Vemar Helmets, Suomy Helmets, Marushin Helmets, KYT Helmets, and Sparx Helmets.

In 1985, he founded AGV Sports Group, Inc. with AGV Helmets in Valenza, Italy. For over 38 years now, the company has quietly delivered some of the best protective gear for motorcyclists in the world.

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