How to choose an ATV helmet – The Ultimate Buying Guide

Last Updated on November 21, 2023 by ATVNotes

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If the off-road tracks are what you are most drawn to, you know the helmet is the most crucial gear that ensures safety and riding comfort. Using a helmet at ATV riding is a law in most of the states in US, and most off-road riding trails have made wearing helmet a rule.

Yes, the right type, size, head shape, and style of the helmet are the basic factors to consider. But if you wonder how to choose an ATV helmet, there are other crucial considerations to make. 

This ATV helmet guide aims at helping you pick the right helmet matching your need and gets you covered by offering the needed clarification to understand the advanced features. Read on if you want to know how to end up buying the right ATV helmet.

Start by Determining the Right Type for You

When the stake is to choose the right helmet, you must start by analyzing various types of helmets used for ATV riding. These are the most popular off-road helmets to choose from; anyone can translate well to ATV riding in particular. 

how to choose an ATV helmet

Full- Face Helmets

Full-face helmets are the safest helmets available in the marketplace. It covers your entire face and head, ensuring safety from injuries and fatal accidents. In addition, these helmets are the heaviest and allow the least airflow around your head.

Open Face Helmets

Unlike full-face helmets, they are lighter and less protective. And you can use this helmet with proper eye protection to ensure your safety while riding an ATV but it is not a popular recommendation for max safety.

Off-Road Helmet

The off-road helmet is the most popular type available in the marketplace. It covers your head entirely while your face remains exposed (except the mouth area and chin). But you can use additional eye protection to guard your eyes while riding.

Modular Helmet

Modular helmets are the most versatile helmets. It covers three quarters of the entire face. The helmet also works like an open-face helmet.

Half Helmet

The name is expressive of its protection, covering your skull only partially, leaving your chin and face exposed and so somewhat unprotected. But they are better ATV headgear for longer cruising and riding. If you opt for or have to use this, goggles are a must to protect your eyes. 

Dual-sports Helmet

This is the most versatile of all the types discussed here and is a go-between of the off-road and full-face helmets. They are a good fit for trails and roads, thus earning the tag dual-sports. Featured with a push-up face visor, you can ride without goggles. 

How to Choose the Best ATV Helmet for You?

After selecting which type of ATV helmet you need and want to buy, you must find the best one of this type. Here are critical things you should give a damn about while you are after the best.

Safety Rating – Certifications

how to choose an ATV helmet

Check your helmet’s safety standard and ensure it has a good safety rating. There are two main certifications to measure safety standards – DOT and Snell in the USA. For an ATV rider in Europe, go by CE(French) and ECE (Entire Europe). These are the industry standard ratings assuring the helmet has passed all the extreme safety standards. A helmet boasted of these safety ratings – will have top quality Styrofoam-like cushion to absorb the force of impact – sudden fall or hit. However, the ATV helmets featured with a thicker EPS lining are the best for impact resistance.

Helmet Comfort

how to choose an ATV helmet

Next to safety comes comfort. If the helmet is uncomfortable, you may end up having a terrible riding experience and cutting your ride short.

Ensure your helmets form enough seals around the ear but do not touch your ear to enjoy max riding comfort. The Padding should be tight to your face, so it adjusts appropriately with your face. But the fabric should be high-end so that it tends to perspire and build fungus the least.

Size & Fit

how to choose an ATV helmet

Getting the correct fit is the prime concern for the rider. So, make sure your helmet fits snugly but is neither too tight nor loose enough to shove a finger between your head and the helmet easily. Just keep a little space to ensure comfort. Every company has different size standards, so try the demo models yourself before buying. 

Measure the circumference of the widest part of your head to get your ideal helmet size. In fine, the helmet should be a perfect fit so that it does not move around while riding. The perfect fit helmet better be a bit uncomfortably snug when new and will become comfortable within days after the breaking-in period.

Peak vs. Visor

Whether you want a helmet with a peak or visor or one with both of them is a crucial consideration to make when it comes to choosing the right helmet for your ATV riding adventures.

A peak is common with ATV helmets that provide shade from the sun while also protecting your face from roosts and debris kicked up by other riders. On the other hand, a visor is usually found on off-road helmets, especially on motocross helmets, and offers protection against wind, rain, and bugs.

So, which one should you choose for your ATV adventure? It ultimately depends on your personal preferences and style of riding. If you’re more of an aggressive rider who likes to tackle rough terrain, then a peak might be more suitable as it will protect your face from flying debris. However, if you prefer long rides on open trails or roads, then a visor may be more practical as it will shield your face from wind and weather elements.

It’s worth noting that some ATV helmets come with both a peak and visor option so that riders can switch between them depending on their needs.


how to choose an ATV helmet

Unlike motorcycle helmets, ventilation matters much for ATV helmets as riding ATV is done mostly in summer and in hot, dusty areas. Latest ATV helmets are manufactured keeping the high airflow in mind because well ventilation is a must to deal with sweat – the by-product of longer ATV rides. That’s why most off-roaders prefer open-face alternatives to others. Ventilation may not be a crucial safety feature, but it is essential for comfort.  Aerodynamics comes side by side with ventilation, but ATV riding is far slower than motorcycle riding; the aerodynamics of the ATV helmet is not that important. However, it is a bonus if it is there.

Shell Material

Safety is offered in exchange for money when considering shell material for ATV helmets. The safer option you choose, the more money you have to pay. Talking of safety, the shell is the most important part of a helmet. You have four alternatives to choose from:

Polycarbon: The cheapest and the least durable option.

Fiberglass: Costlier and sturdier than polycarbon but will not survive cracks.

Kevlar Fiberglass Hybrid: A considerably sturdier helmet material to withstand high impact and a fairly expensive one.

Carbon Kevlar Hybrid: The most expensive and exclusive helmet material and considered nearly unbreakable. But save you money in the long run as you don’t have to replace it for at least 5 years of off-roading. 

Yes, you can choose the budget and cheaper alternative featured with the required inner lining thickness. But you must be ready to replace it sooner. 

Basic Features 

As for basic features, your target ATV helmet’s quality test will be determined by the chin strap, weight, and inner lining. Although they are not the only features you should look for, they are crucial for safety and comfort.  Too light a helmet should thoroughly check for material quality as low-quality shell material may crack easily.

Likewise, the material and fit of the chin strap are also crucial as it prevents the helmet falling from your head. This is why all the top-notch ATV helmets come with an adjustable and beefy chin guard – the best location for mounting your Gopro. As for the inner lining, it should be 1 inch thick to give premium protection to your skull by absorbing energetic impact.

Advanced/Sophisticated Features

To talk of advanced features, the removable inner lining comes first for washing convenience to keep the helmet clean and fresh. Eye-catchy graphics and stand-out color in your helmet make you more conspicuous and easily recognizable. To add inline, snap out cheek pad will ensure a custom fit and extra cushioning. 

how to choose an ATV helmet

Some helmet manufacturers design theirs with a quick-change face shield to enable visor change after your choice. And the helmets without any visors better have a wide aperture to accommodate large goggles and clear all-around vision. 

For increased absorption and reduced concussion, the high-end EPS layer is peerless as it features a variable density of layered materials.

If and when smashing ground at face first fall, a helmet featured with layered liner is the best bet to reduce the chance of whiplash.


Helmets are worth every penny as they are life savers, but that does not mean you have to buy the most expensive one. Look for extra features like a no-fog face shield, unique graphics, anti-bacterial fabric, etc., at a little more cost, but it’s worth every penny. Don’t go for cheap and low-quality helmets because doing so amounts to taking reduced comfort and risks your safety. 

As a reminder, cheaper low-quality products can compromise quality, comfort, and safety, but the high-end price is not a guarantee to them either. 

Why should you wear a helmet while ATV riding?

Wearing a helmet while riding is not a choice or preference; it is a must while riding ATVs, dirtbikes, motocross, and the like. Here you find reasons that can tell you more about the importance of wearing ATV helmets.

Safety- ATV helmets protect you at the time of riding. It saves you from face and skull injury in the off-road environment. Data have shown that more than 27 percent of ATV related injuries happen around the neck and head area. Thus, the ATV helmets have demonstrated that they are the friends in need- to protect against fatal and accidental injuries – and so are the friends indeed. 

Ride More– Helmets reduce fatigue, so you can ride longer and enjoy non-stop. The fatigue and noise reduction ability of helmets also enhance safety because it makes you more focused and ready to tackle any potential danger while riding.

The Law– Almost in all ATV zones in US like Maine, Pennsylvania, Minnesota and others; riding an ATV without a helmet is illegal. So, buy one and enjoy your ATV riding without concern.

Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs

When Should You replace your ATV helmet?

The best practice is replacing your helmet every five years as quality deteriorates with time. But regular maintenance, making ATV helmets cleaning a ritual, will result in extending the life of this safety gear. 

Going back to a replacement, if your helmet has already suffered an impact, immediately replace it with a new one designed to offer comfort, safety, and more. Don’t use a helmet with cracks and dents, as helmets with those issues entail compromised safety. You can also buy a new helmet if you use an old-fashioned one.

How to know if an ATV helmet is fitted correctly?

If the Padding is a little tight and adequately adjusted to your face, then it’s of your size. Another check for a perfect fit; if your head moves with the helmet when moving vigorously with your hands (once the strap is snug), it’s an ideal fit for you.

What should you consider most at the time of selection of ATV helmets?

You can go for a helmet that is either DOT or Snell-approved. It should fit you snugly to stay in place while riding without being uncomfortable. You can also look for extra features such as a no-fog face shield, adjustable straps, beefy chin guard, unique graphics, anti-bacterial fabrics, etc.

How do I know my helmet is damaged?

You can look for cracks or any evidence of crushing in bright light. You can also send your helmet to manufacturers to do the inspection. If there is minor damage, you don’t necessarily need to change your old helmet, but if there are significant crushing, dents, and cracks, you have to buy a new one.

How to End up with the Right & Best ATV Helmet?

Given the myriads of ATV helmets, the motorsports gear stores are stuffed with, it is quite daunting to reach the best if you are a novice. But by now, you should have got clear about how to choose an ATV helmet. And you have also understood that it should not only be the best quality, but it should be the right type and fit. 

So, first, determine the right type for you from the options discussed here and then consider the features to reach the best one. Remember to choose your favorite color and style that translates to remaining stand-out in the group of riders. 

Go to a store in person and seek help from the ATV gear experts who are often present in the off-road gear stores. They may help you take your head measurements accurately, and you can also try the demonstrator helmets to find the best fit.

See that the chin strap is against your front neck and adjust it to your snug fit but not chokingly tight. So, you have successfully bought the right and best ATV headgear, haven’t you? 

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