Best Softball 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.

24 Models Considered
6 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
218 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 softball helmets

Last Updated November 2019

“Softballs” are not actually soft. Although not the same as baseballs, softballs can do just as much physical damage. That’s why it’s important to have a quality softball helmet when playing the sport. Softball helmets, just like their baseball counterparts, are used primarily for head protection while at bat.

The game is called “softball” because, when it was invented in 1887, the balls were in fact soft. It was originally designed to be an alternative to baseball that could be played indoors. Over the years, the game has changed in a number of ways. One of the biggest changes is that the ball used is no longer soft.

At nearly 12 inches in circumference, a softball is bigger than a baseball. To protect yourself from something that dangerous, you need to have the safest softball helmet available. Read on to learn about the best in softball helmets and to discover our tips and advice on how to choose one.

There are actually three kinds of softball; fast-pitch, slow-pitch, and orthodox. Each has its own specific rules.

Key considerations

A softball helmet is used to protect your head from severe injury. As such, it needs to make you feel as safe as possible, so you can concentrate on the game. In choosing a softball helmet, you should consider a number of factors. Some of these are extremely practical; others are based on aesthetics.

Size

Softball helmets come in six standard sizes, which are based on baseball hat sizes. They range from XS (approximately 20-inch head circumference) to XXL (approximately 24-inch head circumference). Generally speaking, sizes XS to M tend to suited more for children and young adults, while sizes M to XXL sizes are more likely to fit mature adults. The best way to make sure you have the perfect fit is to measure your own head circumference with a pliable measuring tape.

Fit

Padding inside a softball helmet will create either a snug or a loose fit. Although you want the helmet to fit well, you don’t want it to put too much pressure on your skull. Determine whether you prefer a hat that is more snug or more loose, and choose accordingly.

Helmet design

Some softball helmets come with a fixed face shield. Others have a removable shield, while still others have no face shield at all. Your choice should depend on the type of softball you play and the level of protection you want. Fast-pitch softball players will definitely want to opt for a face shield. Those who play slow-pitch softball might like the freedom of a mask-free batting helmet.

Finish

Most modern softball helmets are made of a composite plastic. Some have a dull matte finish; others have a shiny gloss. More recently, manufacturers have begun making softball helmets with bright metallic finishes. This metallic finish is available in a number of colors.

NOCSAE certification

NOCSAE is the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment. It is a non-profit organization that tests and certifies athletic equipment in the U.S. to determine if it meets minimum safety standards. The best softball helmets are both tested and certified. You can easily find out if your chosen helmet meets this standard by reading the product description. If it is certified, it will likely also have a sticker somewhere on the helmet stating so.

Although many batters drop their helmet on the way to first base, it’s safer to leave it on while base-running.

Staff
BestReviews

Features

Softball helmets have come a long way in the past couple of decades. From specially developed materials to new technology, softball helmets are a world away from those of the past. When choosing your helmet, you’ll want to explore all of the different options available.

Comfort and utility

As with any type of sports safety equipment, softball helmets need to provide the requisite balance between comfort and utility. The comfort aspect of a softball helmet is important because batting is such a concentration-based activity. If you are uncomfortable with your helmet and constantly needing to readjust, you will not be able to concentrate on the ball and your game will suffer. Additionally, if you are comfortable in a helmet but it doesn’t provide the protection you need, your health can be at risk. Don’t choose a softball helmet on a whim. Take the time to find that balance.

Full mask

As mentioned, some softball helmets come with a full face shield, or mask. Many fast-pitch softball leagues require the use of face mask while batting. Some players find helmets with easily removable masks to be the most practical for switching between a practice environment and a real-game situation.

Cooling vents

Some softball helmets are designed with cooling vents that allow air to flow through the helmet for a more comfortable experience. This is especially useful in the summer months when wearing a helmet can feel even hotter and more cumbersome than usual.

Dual-density foam is now available on some softball helmets. A helmet with dual-density foam includes a protective foam coating on the interior of the helmet. This foam, as the name suggests, is thinner, but it’s more dense than the foam in other helmets. That means it takes up less interior space, but it protects you just as well as thicker foam.

EXPERT TIP

Make sure your softball helmet fits snugly on your head. If it slips off mid-swing, you could be at risk for serious injury.


Staff  | BestReviews

Softball helmet prices

Inexpensive: You can expect to pay between $20 and $40 for a softball helmet in this range. These helmets do not offer many extra features, but they are safe enough for use in a competitive setting.

Mid-range: Mid-range softball helmets cost between $40 and $60. These helmets are more likely to have a face mask and a climate-friendly design.

Expensive: Between $60 and $250, you will have access to professional-level softball helmets. These helmets provide a level of protection that can help you feel safe in every game situation, and they may have specialized logos and decals for a sharp look.

CAUTION

Don’t do your batting practice with a baseball if you are a softball player. The movement of the ball is different, and you could lose your rhythm by doing so.

Tips

  • Never attempt to bat in a softball game without a helmet. Doing so could result in critical head trauma.

  • Don’t leave your softball helmet outside too often. Constant exposure to the elements can cause extended wear and damage, especially to the foam interior of the helmet.

  • Only play softball with people who take safety seriously. Playing with people who are cavalier about safety precautions (protective gear and respect for one another) can be dangerous.

  • Newcomers to the game should watch some softball on television or online first. With the addition of so many sports channels to cable networks, as well as the availability of online videos, watch some softball before you try to play. This is the best way to learn the rules and to get some tips as a player.

Other products we considered

The inexpensive Rawlings Highlighter Series Softball Helmet is an additional option that just missed our shortlist. With its sharp-looking “cracked” finish, you’ll be the most stylish player on the field. A mid-range option you may want to consider is the Rawlings Velo Softball Helmet. Its wrapped jaw pads offer the wearer exceptional comfort. In the expensive category, we like the Rip-It Vision Pro Softball Helmet. Its “blackout design” is like eye black for your equipment — it makes batting in the sun even easier.

Softball helmets have become more advanced in recent years. Take the time to make sure you pick the right one for you. No need to rush.

FAQ

Q. Is a softball helmet supposed to be uncomfortable to wear?
A
. No. Getting the right size of helmet is of the utmost importance for your safety and your game. A softball helmet should be snug enough to stay in place. However, if it causes excessive discomfort, you may want to move up a size.

Q. Are softball helmets different from baseball helmets?
A.
That depends on the helmet. Although there are specific helmets designed for softball and others designed for baseball, there is some overlap. Check the specifications of your helmet to make sure you are using the right kind for your sport.

Q. Is softball less dangerous than baseball?
A
. No. Because a softball is just as hard as a baseball, you are at the same risk of getting hit. That’s why it’s important to wear a helmet.

Q. Do I always need to wear a helmet when batting?
A
. Yes. To avoid serious head trauma, you should always wear a softball helmet when batting in a softball game.

Q. Is softball a game for both girls and boys?
A
. Yes. Softball is a popular sport in the U.S. and around the world for both boys and girls.

The team that worked on this review
  • Adam
    Adam
    Writer
  • Jacob
    Jacob
    Editorial Manager
  • Katie
    Katie
    Editorial Director
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer

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