Designed with steel mask that extends to chin area to provide additional protection. Made with an excellent level of foam padding throughout. Uses multiple ventilation slots to ensure catcher stays cool. Comes in multiple colors.
Back of the helmet may not fit each catcher just right and may pop loose under stress.
Built with a tough shell and tri-density foam lining. Designed with ProDri Plus fabric-covered pads to absorb moisture and CoolFlo technology for ventilation. Includes anti-bacterial technology. Meets NOCSAE standards.
Only available in black.
Constructed with ABS shell and steel cage for maximum protection. Made with plush-wrapped padding with air mesh and sweat absorbent fabric for extra comfort. Available in different colors. Meets NOCSAE standards.
Product is pricier than others.
Made with a tough exterior and steel cage for utmost protection. Padded with moisture-wicking fabric. Includes removable and washable chin pads that provide extra comfort. Comes in different colors.
Only available for those with hat sizes ranging from 6.5 to 7.5.
Finish on the helmet is a rubberized matte that's available in 2 different colors, and both options will look great. Nice price point. Well-placed air vents throughout help the player remain cooler. Steel mask extends into the chin area for extra protection.
Snaps on the helmet are tough to buckle. The back segment may dig into the neck of smaller players.
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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. A good catcher's helmet protects the head and remains comfortable to wear throughout the game.
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.
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 over 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.
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.
There are two types of catcher’s helmets. Players can use either style, but the hockey-style helmet, which resembles the mask worn by a hockey goalie, is the most popular.
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.
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.
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.
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 get replacement padding or straps, allowing you to extend the life of a catcher’s helmet a bit longer.