Best Catcher's Helmets

Updated November 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

18 Models Considered
6 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
209 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best catcher’s helmets

Last Updated November 2019

One of the most challenging positions to play in any team sport is baseball or softball catcher.

Having the right gear protects the catcher and limits the danger of being struck by the ball. A vital piece of that gear is the helmet, which protects the catcher’s head and face.

Catchers must be well conditioned because they spend much of the game in a crouched position that’s hard on the knees and thigh muscles. Even more challenging are the bumps and bruises a catcher is prone to. Ideally, the player will catch every pitch in the mitt, but the reality of pitching means some balls will bounce in the dirt. It’s the catcher’s job to block these errant pitches with the body. Additionally, catchers undoubtedly will be hit with a few foul tips in every game. The tip happens so quickly that the catcher can’t block the ball with the mitt. Instead, it usually hits the body — or head.

If you’re looking for a catcher’s helmet, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve compiled this buying guide full of information and some of our favorite helmets to get you started.

Catcher’s helmets appear in many solid colors and color combinations. Some players like to have the helmet match the team’s colors or match the color of the rest of the catcher’s gear.

Key considerations

As you shop for a catcher’s helmet, it’s extremely important to find just the right size. A helmet that’s the wrong fit or size can restrict the player’s vision or fail to protect the head as it should. We’ve put together some tips to help you find the proper fit in a catcher’s helmet.

Fit

Size: The majority of catcher’s helmets, especially youth helmets, have a suggested size range for the best fit. To measure the player’s head, wrap a flexible tape measure around the head along the eyebrows and just above the ears. The helmet should fit snugly, but it shouldn’t be so tight as to cause discomfort or pain. It should remain in place as the player moves, almost as if the helmet is part of the player’s head. In other words, the head and helmet should move as one.

Straps: Catcher’s helmets have straps that can be slightly tightened or loosened to fit properly, but it’s important that you first get the proper size helmet.

Hair: The player should wear the same hairstyle or hairband under the catcher’s helmet every game to ensure a proper fit. If the player changes either of these, the helmet should be readjusted to fit properly again.

Pads: Check that the pads inside the helmet contact the player’s face and head with no gaps.

NOCSAE

Many youth and high school leagues require catcher’s helmets and other gear to meet the standards of the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE). Any helmet that has been tested to match the standard will be stamped with this information.

EXPERT TIP

The catcher sometimes needs to take off the helmet to make a defensive play. Have the player practice taking off the helmet quickly, so they’re ready for this move during a game.


Staff  | BestReviews

Features

There are two types of catcher’s helmet. Players can use either style, but the hockey-style helmet, which resembles the mask worn by a hockey goalie, is the most popular.

Hockey-style helmet

This catcher’s helmet consists of protective plastic around the face. The mask is attached to the helmet, with bars to protect the face from the ball while providing the widest possible view. This main piece of the helmet connects with adjustable straps to a skullcap that sits on the back of the player’s head. The design of the hockey-style catcher’s helmet dictates that the player should not wear a hat or a visor underneath the helmet. The hockey-style helmet gives more protection to the jaw, chin, and throat than the two-piece design. Some leagues require youth players to wear a hockey-style helmet because of the extra protection.

Two-piece helmet

The two-piece catcher’s helmet consists of a helmet like that worn by batters, with a separate mask that slides over the top of the helmet. The catcher wears the helmet backward, so the brim of the helmet doesn’t interfere with the fit of the mask. Some catchers prefer this style because they can remove it more quickly than the hockey-style helmet when making a defensive play. Since the helmet and mask are separate pieces, this type of catcher’s helmet can accommodate a hat beneath the helmet.

EXPERT TIP

A properly fitting catcher’s helmet won’t bounce around or restrict the player’s vision.


Staff  | BestReviews

Catcher’s helmet prices

You can expect to pay from $50 to $250 for a catcher’s helmet. The least expensive options are for small children with small heads. For teenage and adult players, expect to pay between $75 and $150.

The design of the helmet plays a significant role in its price. Helmets with lighter-weight plastics that deliver maximum protection cost more than helmets made with thicker, heavier plastics. Airflow is usually better in the pricier helmets, too. The padding inside the helmet also plays a key role in the price. More expensive helmets have padding that lasts longer and provides more cushioning, making these helmets more comfortable.

Tips

  • Check the replacement label. Catcher’s helmet manufacturers sometimes include a label inside the helmet with a date when it should be replaced. Follow the instructions on this label for the helmet replacement schedule.
  • Take care of the helmet. Don’t allow anyone to sit on the helmet. Don’t place heavy items directly on the helmet or on the bag where you store it. The helmet isn’t made to support weight in this manner and may crack. Avoid storing the helmet in direct sunlight or in a location with widely fluctuating temperatures, which can weaken the helmet.
  • Inspect the helmet regularly. Look for any cracks or missing or loose parts. If you find any of these issues, the catcher’s helmet is not safe to wear. Some items like loose straps can be replaced or tightened. Other issues, such as a major crack, require you to replace the helmet.
  • Inspect the face mask regularly. If the face mask is connected to the helmet with screws, check their tightness once or twice a week. Should a bar on the face mask get bent, don’t just straighten it and use the mask. A face mask with a bent bar is no longer safe to use.
  • Check about reconditioning your helmet. With some helmets, you can repair minor cracks and replace worn-out parts. Certified reconditioners will ensure the work on the helmet meets all NOCSAE standards. However, some helmet manufacturers do not recommend reconditioning their helmets. And it’s not always cost-effective to recondition a helmet versus buying a new one.
EXPERT TIP

A hockey-style catcher’s helmet is a popular choice at all levels of baseball, including youth, but it does block the player’s vision a little more than a two-piece helmet.


Staff  | BestReviews

Other products we considered

We expect most readers can find a great catcher’s helmet in our matrix above, but if you need some extra features, we considered a few other models. One of the least expensive hockey-style catcher’s helmets is the Rawlings Players Series Catcher’s Helmet. Its all-black design will match any uniform.

For youth players who don’t like wearing a helmet that feels hot, the Rawlings Velo Series Catcher’s Helmet has well-placed airflow holes.

For adult players who want maximum field of view, the face mask in the All-Star System 7 Catcher’s Helmet is a smart choice. Its lightweight face mask still protects you perfectly.

Extra interior cushioning and a dozen color choices set the Schutt 2966 Air Maxx Catcher’s Helmet apart from other choices.

It’s important that the catcher’s mask has tighter spacing between the bars than that on a batter’s helmet, because the batter doesn’t have to worry about protection from foul tips.

FAQ

Q. How does the helmet protect the catcher?
A.
The catcher’s helmet and mask protect the player in a couple of ways. Foul tips, where the batter barely redirects the pitch, can send the ball toward the catcher’s head, necessitating protection. Additionally, the helmet and mask protect the catcher should the batter lose control of the bat on the swing.

Q. My child hates using a catcher’s helmet because of how hot it is to wear. What options do we have?
A.
Catcher’s helmets, by nature, have to cover a large part of the head to provide the needed level of protection. This reduces airflow, resulting in the player feeling hot. Look for a helmet with holes and cutouts for airflow. Don’t loosen the helmet to allow more air to flow through it. A loose helmet doesn’t protect the player properly.

Q. Does my catcher’s helmet really need jaw protection?
A.
Yes. The majority of modern helmets have hard plastic protection that extends down both sides of the jaw and around the chin. These pieces provide extra protection from foul tips. Some helmets even have a bar that extends downward from the chin area to protect the throat and neck, too.

Q. How long will a catcher’s helmet last?
A.
Depending on how frequently it’s used, a catcher’s helmet might last two to five years. Youth players almost certainly will outgrow the helmet before it wears out. The padding inside the helmet and the various straps are more likely to wear out or break than the hard plastic mask or helmet. You can sometimes purchase replacement padding or straps, allowing you to extend the life of a catcher’s helmet a bit longer.

The team that worked on this review
  • Bronwyn
    Bronwyn
    Editor
  • Ciera
    Ciera
    Digital Content Producer
  • Kyle
    Kyle
    Writer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer

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