The 3 Safest Motorcycle Helmet Brands

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Choosing the right motorcycle helmet isn’t just about looking cool; it’s a matter of safety that can literally be a lifesaver.

There are various brands that manufacture motorcycle helmets using fancy technology and top-notch materials to make sure you’re as protected and comfy as can be. But with so many options available, how can you tell which brand is the safest?

Let’s take a closer the safest motorcycle helmet brands out there and what really makes a helmet safe.

Helmet ModelCategorySafety CertificationCheck & Shop Now
AGV K3Best OverallDOT, ECE, SHARPRevZilla | MotoSport | Amazon
Shoei X-15Best Road RacingDOT, ECE, SNELL, SHARP, FIMRevZilla | CycleGear | J&P Cycles
Arai Corsair-XTop Pick for Track DaysDOT, ECE, SNELL, SHARP, FIMRevZilla | CycleGear | BTO Sports
Arai XD-4Best AdventureDOT, ECE, SNELL, SHARP, FIMRevZilla | CycleGear | Amazon
LS2 Thunder CarbonBest Sport-TouringDOT, ECE, FIMRevZilla | MotoSport | Amazon
Scorpion EXO-R420Best Urban CommuterDOT, ECE, SNELLRevZilla | CycleGear | Amazon
Bell MX-9 Adventure MipsBest Dual-SportDOT, ECERevZilla | MotoSport | Amazon
Sedici Strada IIBest Sport/Tour/CityDOT, ECE, SNELLRevZilla | CycleGear | J&P Cycles
HJC i90Best Budget FriendlyDOT, ECE, SHARPRevZilla | MotoSport | Amazon

The Evolution and Importance of Motorcycle Helmet Safety

man holding motorcycle helmet to show the safest motorcycle helmet brands

We’ll start by taking a quick ride down memory lane. Back in the day, motorcycle helmets were a far cry from the advanced protective gear we have today. Early on, riders sported leather caps, goggles, and not much else. It wasn’t until the mid-20th century that the importance of head protection began to take center stage.

The evolution of motorcycle helmets can be attributed to the growing awareness of safety concerns. In 1914, Dr. Gardner, in collaboration with Mr. Moss, crafted one of the earliest motorcycle helmets using materials like canvas and shellac. This pioneering effort aimed to safeguard one of the body’s most delicate and vital organs. 

Since its nascent stages, the design of motorcycle safety helmets has undergone multiple transformations. The first significant leap came with the introduction of the “pudding basin” helmet in the 1950s – a rounded design that covered more of the head than its predecessors.

This was a step in the right direction, but it wasn’t until the 1970s that helmets started incorporating materials like fiberglass and polycarbonate, making them more durable and effective in absorbing impact.

Fast forward to today, and we’ve got helmets boasting cutting-edge technology and innovative materials. From aerodynamic designs to ventilation systems that keep riders cool, these helmets are a far cry from the humble beginnings of motorcycle headgear.

Now, why does all of this matter? It’s simple – helmet safety is paramount. Motorcycles may evoke a sense of freedom, but that freedom comes with risks. In the unfortunate event of an accident, your helmet is your first line of defense. So, it’s not just about meeting legal requirements; it’s about safeguarding your most crucial asset – your head.

The Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) emphasizes the paramount importance of helmets, dubbing them the “most important protection you can wear while riding a motorcycle.” 

In the United States, where nearly 5,200 motorcyclists lost their lives in 2017 alone, helmets play a crucial role. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), helmets can decrease the risk of a rider’s death by 37% and head injury by 69%.

Fortunately, Modern helmets are rigorously tested to meet stringent safety standards. They are no longer just a piece of gear; they’re a high-tech shield engineered to protect riders from the unpredictable nature of the road.

The 3 Safest Motorcycle Helmet Brands

safest motorcycle helmet brands

When it comes to safeguarding your noggin on two wheels, some helmet brands have built a reputation for prioritizing safety without compromising style and comfort. 

The SHARP Helmet Safety Scheme is used to merge research data with real-world testing to evaluate the actual safety levels of various helmet brands through 32 tests focusing on both direct and angled impacts at various speeds.

According to the most recent findings from SHARP testing, spanning from 2015 onwards, 3 brands consistently delivered the most robust and secure results over the past five years.

So, let’s take a look at these 3 motorcycle helmet brands and why they stand out as the safest among many others:

AGV (Italy)

AGV K6 Full face helmet
AGV K6 Full Face Helmet Buy on RevZilla | Amazon

AGV is an Italian brand that has been at the forefront of helmet design since its inception in 1947. Known for its sleek and aerodynamic helmets, AGV consistently pushes the boundaries of innovation. The brand has earned a stellar reputation in the racing world, with multiple MotoGP champions choosing AGV helmets.

What sets AGV apart is its focus on technology. Helmets like the AGV Pista GP RR incorporate advanced materials like carbon fiber and a protective shell designed for optimal aerodynamics. The brand also integrates features such as a hydration system and an integrated communication system, enhancing both safety and rider convenience.

You can learn more about AGV helmets here.

Arai (Japan)

Arai Corsair X Shogun Helmet Buy on RevZilla | Amazon

Arai, a Japanese helmet manufacturer, has been crafting helmets by hand since 1926. Renowned for its artisanal approach, Arai is committed to producing helmets that not only meet safety standards but also offer an unparalleled level of comfort and fit.

One distinctive feature of Arai helmets is their unique organic shell shape, which is designed to glance off impact forces rather than transmitting them to the rider. The brand’s dedication to handcraftsmanship ensures that each helmet undergoes rigorous quality control. Arai’s emphasis on individualized fit, with different helmet shapes for various head types, sets it apart in the quest for rider comfort and safety.

Shoei (Japan)

Shoei X15 Proxy Helmet Buy on RevZilla | Amazon

Hailing from Japan, Shoei is a brand that stands tall in the world of motorcycle helmets. Established in 1958, Shoei has consistently impressed riders with its focus on engineering precision and safety technology.

Shoei helmets often feature multi-ply matrix AIM shells, combining organic fibers with high-performance fibers for optimal impact absorption. The brand’s dedication to research and development is evident in features like the Emergency Quick Release System (EQRS), which facilitates easy removal of the helmet in case of an accident.

In addition to safety, Shoei places a premium on comfort. Helmets like the Shoei RF-1200 incorporate advanced ventilation systems to keep riders cool during long journeys. This balance between safety and comfort has made Shoei a trusted choice among riders globally.

So, Which of These Helmet Brands Is the Safest?

When it comes to determining the absolute safest motorcycle helmet brand among AGV, Arai, and Shoei, it’s important to note that all three are renowned for their commitment to safety and rigorous testing standards. 

Each brand employs advanced materials, innovative technologies, and thorough testing processes to ensure their helmets meet or exceed industry safety standards. 

Declaring one brand as definitively safer than the others can be challenging, as safety is a multifaceted aspect, and the “safest” helmet often depends on individual preferences and fit. 

A helmet that fits properly and is comfortable for a particular rider is more likely to provide optimal protection. Therefore, the best choice in terms of safety may vary from person to person.

Ultimately, it’s best to consider your specific needs, head shape, and the type of riding you engage in when selecting a helmet. Try on different helmet models, pay attention to comfort, and ensure that the chosen model complies with safety standards.

The AGV Pista GP R Carbon Valentino Rossi Helmet, one of the best helmets ever made

The motorcycle helmets I recommend provide a perfect balance of affordability and unwavering quality, ensuring the utmost value for your investment. These are items I've become well-acquainted with during my more than 50 years of motorcycling experience, where I've led and consulted for reputable companies in over 25 countries, in addition to being an avid rider. They are the very same helmets that have earned my trust and served me exceptionally well during countless adventures.

What Determines Whether A Motorcycle Helmet Is Safe or Not?

motorcycle helmet brands

The safety of a motorcycle helmet is determined by a combination of factors that contribute to its design, construction, and performance in various conditions.

 Here are key factors that determine whether a helmet is safe or not:

  • Helmet Safety Certifications: Look for safety certifications from reputable organizations such as the Department of Transportation (DOT) in the United States, the Economic Commission for Europe (ECE), and the Snell Memorial Foundation. Helmets meeting these standards undergo rigorous testing for impact resistance and other safety criteria.
  • Impact Absorption: The outer shell of the helmet is typically made from materials like fiberglass, carbon fiber, or polycarbonate. This shell is designed to distribute and absorb impact forces, preventing direct transmission to the rider’s head.
  • Impact-Liner Material: The inner liner of the helmet is usually made of EPS foam, which is designed to absorb and disperse impact energy. High-quality helmets may feature multi-density EPS for enhanced protection.
  • Helmet Fit: A safe helmet must fit snugly on the rider’s head without being too tight or loose. It should sit level on the head and cover the forehead. The chin strap should be securely fastened.
  • Retention System: An effective chin strap is crucial for keeping the helmet securely on the rider’s head during an impact. Double D-ring, quick-release, and micrometric buckle systems are common types of chin straps.
  • Peripheral Vision and Field of View:  A clear and unobstructed field of view is essential for rider safety. Helmets with well-designed visors that provide good peripheral vision contribute to overall safety.

Other Factors to Consider When Choosing A Helmet

Here are some other factors to consider when choosing a helmet:

    • Helmet Type: Consider the riding you’ll be doing. Different helmet types, such as full-face, open-face, modular, and off-road helmets, offer varying levels of protection and features. Choose a helmet style that suits your riding preferences and conditions.
    • Helmet Shape: Helmets come in different shapes, such as round, intermediate oval, and long oval. Select a helmet that matches the shape of your head for the best fit and comfort.
    • Ventilation: While not directly related to impact protection, proper ventilation is important for comfort. Overheating can lead to discomfort and distraction, affecting overall safety. Consider the helmet’s ventilation system to prevent overheating during rides.
    • Weight and Comfort: A helmet that is too heavy or uncomfortable may contribute to rider fatigue, potentially impacting concentration and reaction times.  Choose a helmet that balances weight and safety features.
    • Technology and Additional Features:
      • Integrated Communication Systems: Some helmets feature built-in communication systems, enhancing convenience without compromising safety.
      • Noise Reduction: If reducing wind and road noise is a priority, look for helmets designed with noise-reduction features. Some helmets come with aerodynamic designs and noise-absorbing materials.
    • Budget: Determine your budget range before shopping for a helmet. While cost shouldn’t be the sole deciding factor, there are quality helmets available at various price points.

By carefully considering these factors, you can make an informed decision when choosing a motorcycle helmet that prioritizes both your comfort and, most importantly, your safety on the road.

Michael’s Summary and Conclusion

In conclusion, whether you’re riding at a track day, out for a Sunday ride on the street, or anything in between, there are so many quality options today. It wasn’t so long ago that only AGV, Arai, and Shoei stand out as beacons of helmet safety. Today, there must be more than 20 brands that produced really high-quality helmets that not only meet industry standards but exceed them, constantly pushing the envelope to ensure that your ride is not just stylish but, above all, secure.

As you gear up for your next adventure, consider the safety trifecta offered by AGV, Arai, and Shoei. Remember that the “safest” helmet isn’t the same for everyone; it all depends on the fit and what feels right for you.

Regardless of the brand you choose, just make sure the helmet fits securely and feels comfortable, and always secure your chin strap firmly and in the correct position.

If you have any particular questions on helmet safety, feel free to contact us at AGV Sports Group and we would be happy to share our experience and opinions on any helmet matter.

AGVSPORT Knee and Body Armor

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, corporate, and nonprofit organizations:


Picture of About the Author:

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.

Click Here for Michael’s LinkedIn Profile

Click Here for the Complete AGV Helmet & AGVSPORT History

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