Best Snowmobile Helmets

Updated November 2021
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Buying guide for Best snowmobile helmets

A good snowmobile helmet is one that’s specifically designed for the purpose. It’s important that it has the features you need to maximize safety and comfort in extreme conditions.

However, you need to be careful when shopping. There are a number of cheap ATV and MX helmets sold for snowmobile use, and while they’re better than nothing, they’re far from ideal.

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Resorts usually provide snowmobile helmets, though you’re welcome to use your own as long as it’s DOT approved. Skiing and other snow sport helmets are not usually accepted.

Key considerations

Helmet styles

Every snowmobile helmet is required to reach certain safety standards. There are no “bad” ones, but the style of helmet is more than just personal preference. It can also have a major impact on performance and comfort.

Snocross helmets: These are the most basic. The open-face design is best suited to sporting riders who find fully enclosed helmets too hot. The drawbacks are wind noise, the need to wear separate goggles, a certain amount of head buffeting because the aerodynamics aren’t ideal, and, of course, greater exposure to the cold.

Dual sport snowmobile helmets: These are snocross- or motocross-style models but with a tight-fitting face shield for better comfort. A breath box (a cover over the nose and mouth) directs air away from the shield to reduce fogging. Though not quite as aerodynamic as a full-face helmet, it’s unlikely to make much difference at snowmobile speeds.

Full face snowmobile helmets: These are among the most comfortable and quiet thanks to the aerodynamic shape. Good ones can be worn all day without excessive fatigue because they don’t get the buffeting suffered by more aggressive designs. Heat buildup can be a problem, but the ventilation system usually combats this effectively.

Modular snowmobile helmets: Sometimes called three-quarter (3/4) helmets, these look like a full face model when closed, but the whole front portion — not just the face shield — flips up. It’s nice to be able to get that section away from your face when you stop. These are also widely favored by EMTs because they provide good access to airways without the need to remove the helmet completely.

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Did you know?
Want to record your snowmobile action? Some helmets now come with mounts that accept many different action cameras.



Shell: The helmet shell is usually made of either ABS plastic or polycarbonate. Both are very strong and have been used for motorcycle helmets for years. Polycarbonate is a little lighter and has slightly higher impact resistance. You may see “polycarbonate composite” or “polycarbonate alloy” in descriptions, which sounds impressive but really just indicates the addition of acrylic to make production easier. It doesn’t have any real effect on the strength of the helmet.

Carbon fiber is a high-end alternative. It’s extremely light and immensely strong (it’s widely used in auto racing helmets and motorcycle helmets), but it’s expensive.

Padding: Impact absorption is handled by expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam. Better snowmobile helmets incorporate two or more different densities of foam to progressively cushion impact.

Some snowmobile helmets have padding that’s specifically sculpted to account for glasses. If you want to listen to music or communicate with other riders, check for pockets in the padding that accommodate speakers. Wearing earbuds is an option, but they can be uncomfortable.

Face shield: The face shield should have a dual pane (two layers with an air gap in between), which retains heat better and helps reduce fogging. Fog- and scratch-resistant coatings are frequently applied. High-end snowmobile helmets have heated face shields. How easy the face shield is to open is also a consideration, especially when you’re wearing gloves.

Sun visor: Many snowmobile helmets also incorporate a drop-down tinted sun visor, which is very useful in dazzling conditions when sunlight reflects off the snow. However, some people who wear glasses find that they can interfere with a visor, so it’s worth checking owner feedback.

Liner: Helmet liners are usually removable for washing and are frequently antimicrobial and hypoallergenic, too.

Ventilation: You can get hot inside your helmet, so ventilation is as important as antifogging. You can’t just raise the face shield, because that will affect your vision. A ventilation system allows air to flow through the interior of the helmet to dry perspiration and keep your head cool.

Strap: The strap may secure with a ratchet or the more traditional D ring. It’s very much a matter of personal preference. Fidlock is a clever magnetic closure, but it is only available on a very limited number of snowmobile helmets.

"All snowmobile helmets for sale in the United States should meet the DOT safety standard and be marked as such. Snell (independent) and ECE (the European standard) are equally stringent tests, but only the DOT mark is mandatory."


Balaclava: Self Pro Balaclava
Designed to stop cold drafts around your neck and collar, this balaclava is comfortably soft, moisture wicking, and breathable. It can be worn in a number of ways, so it’s great whether on or off the snowmobile. It’s machine washable, too.

Intercom: FODSPORTS M1-S Pro Helmet Communication System
Stay in touch with up to eight other riders using this inexpensive, lightweight Bluetooth system that offers a range of up to 500 yards and can be used for music or phone calls. It’s easy to set up, has great sound quality, and can run for 20 hours between charges.

Action cam: GoPro Hero+
If you want to capture all that snowy action, you need a good camera. GoPro is widely recognized as the leading brand when it comes to action cameras. The Hero+ offers a host of top features (including 1080p video and 8 MP stills), it mounts to the helmet or snowmobile, and it can stand up to the toughest environments.

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Expert Tip
Some cheap snowmobile helmets come in a limited range of sizes. Don’t make do. A poorly fitting helmet will compromise your safety.

Snowmobile helmet prices

Inexpensive: The cheapest snowmobile helmets can be found for under $60, but they are really just multipurpose ATV/motocross/snow models and not specifically designed for cold conditions. True entry-level snowmobile helmets start at around $100.

Mid-range: You have lots of choices between $100 and $250, including all of the styles and a wide range of features. Most enthusiasts who ride for leisure on weekends and vacations can find what they need in this price bracket.

Expensive: Keen adventurers and sporting riders might be prepared to invest more, and there are several advanced models in the $250 to $400 range. The most expensive snowmobile helmets are superb pieces of equipment, but they cost around $600.

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If you want the ultimate in comfort, look for a snowmobile helmet with a heated face shield.


Q. Does the law say I must wear a snowmobile helmet?
It depends where you live. It’s often not necessary on private land, but many states say riders under 18 must wear one. A helmet may be mandatory on public trails, too. Each state makes its own regulations, so you’ll need to check locally.

It’s the sensible thing to do for both safety and personal comfort. Head injuries can prove fatal, even at relatively low speeds, and hazards can easily be hidden by snow.

Q. Can I wear my motorcycle helmet for riding a snowmobile?
You can. Materials and structure are very similar, but there are drawbacks. Mostly it’s about temperature. Although motorcycle helmets can be used in very cold conditions, they’re not specifically designed for it. Fogging of the face shield is a particular problem. Full-face snowmobile helmets have double-pane shields and breath boxes that direct air away. Motorcycle helmets often don’t, though the pinlock system available with some is a big help.

Incidentally, as long as your snowmobile helmet meets the minimum safety standard (in the United States, that’s set by the Department of Transportation), then it’s legal for road use on a motorcycle.

Q. How do I measure myself for a snowmobile helmet?
Use a cloth tape and measure around your head at the widest point, usually about 1/2 inch over your eyebrows. It’s easiest if you get someone to help you. The manufacturer should provide a chart so you can choose the right size based on that measurement.

It’s important to use each maker’s chart because not everyone’s sizing is the same. For example,  a medium helmet can be at 22 1/2 to 22 7/8 inches, while another has it at 22 3/8 to 22 3/4 inches.

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