Top 10 Best Bike Helmets For The Money 2019 Reviews & Buying Guide

“Don’t forget to wear your helmet!” Every parent with a child who likes to ride their bike has yelled this at some point. As an adult, there is no one to remind you to wear a helmet, but you should do it all the same. If you like to go riding, choosing a helmet can be almost as important as choosing a bike – especially in the unfortunate event of a bike accident. Below is a list of the top 10 best bike helmets on the market today, along with the features that make them so great.

Picture it. It’s a nice day – perfect day for a ride. You’ve got your bike all ready.

Maybe you’ve driven out to a nice bike path. You hooked up your bike to your car or truck using one of these roof racks or trunk mount bike racks.

Your bike is brand new. You lost your old one to rust – even these rust converters couldn’t save it. You just can’t wait to take it out for a spin.

There’s only one problem: You forgot your helmet!

best bike helmets

A helmet is one of the most important pieces of equipment for going bike riding. Whether you are riding down the street to the store or competing in a triathlon, having the right helmet is key.

Each one of these helmets excels in different areas. Some are more aerodynamic for faster riding while others are designed to be for first time and newer riders.

In this section, we are reviewing some of the best bike helmets on the market today. Each is unique in its features and style, but hopefully this list will be a quick and easy guide to figure out which helmet is best for you.

Top 10 Best Bike Helmets On The Market In 2019 Reviews

NameFeatureWeightVentilationShell-TypeRating
Feature
Designed for time training or triathlon racing
Weight
2.03 pounds
Ventilation
Two exhaust vents
Shell-Type
Full shell
4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5)
Feature
Reliable helmet, perfect for commuters
Weight
1.4 pounds
Ventilation
22 vents
Shell-Type
Full-coverage
4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)
Feature
Inexpensive for all the pro level technologies inside
Weight
2.4 pounds
Ventilation
Overbrow ventilation system
Shell-Type
Polycarbonate
4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5)
Feature
Perfect for entry-level riders
Weight
1.46 pounds
Ventilation
Overbrow ventilation system
Shell-Type
Full shell
4.3 out of 5 stars (4.3 / 5)
Feature
Great for all seasons
Weight
2 pounds
Ventilation
Urban cycling cool system
Shell-Type
Polycarbonate
4.2 out of 5 stars (4.2 / 5)
Feature
Perfect for entry-level riders
Weight
15.2 ounces
Ventilation
21 flow vents
Shell-Type
Half-shell
4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)
Feature
The Roc Loc closure system is one of the best systems to adjust a helmet on the market
Weight
1.48 pounds
Ventilation
26 wind tunnel vents
Shell-Type
Polycarbonate
4.2 out of 5 stars (4.2 / 5)
Feature
Increased protection; passes all safety standards
Weight
1.8 pounds
Ventilation
Overbrow ventilation
Shell-Type
Polycarbonate
4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)
Feature
Designed to be used on the road
Weight
Not stated
Ventilation
18 optimized vents
Shell-Type
Half-shell
5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)
Feature
Wide variety of fun and unique designs
Weight
Not stated
Ventilation
11 vents
Shell-Type
In-mold shell
4.2 out of 5 stars (4.2 / 5)

1 Smith Optics Podium TT Cycling Adult Helmet

This helmet is super aerodynamic and specifically designed for time training or triathlon racing. This isn’t a helmet for just riding around the block. It is designed to be fast.

Its sleek design looks like a combination between rounder skating helmets and more traditional bike helmets.

It has a lightweight aerocore in-mold construction. The helmet is very lightweight overall as well.

The large lens provides unobstructed view even in aero bars. The helmet includes two lenses, the ChromaPop and clear. The ChromaPop lens is designed to enhance clarity and color.

The VaporFit system allows you to adjust the size, so that you will always have a secure, comfortable fit.

The helmet has three vents on the optical shield and two on the front of the helmet. The rear has two exhaust vents to help with the air flow. Those rear vents use patented Koroyd technology.

The Koroyd technology not only gives ventilation but also reduces trauma in the event of an accident. In an accident, the Koroyd cores crush and dissipate the energy from the impact.

This helmet also has MIPS – there is more about this technology discussed below. The X-Static technology has a reactive cooling performance lining.

This TT style helmet has a full shield. There are no issues wearing eyeglasses with this helmet. There is plenty of room to fit around the glasses.

The helmet has its own carrying case. The carrying case has a hard shell with a mesh insert bottom.

Smith Optics Podium TT Cycling Adult Helmet
Our rating:4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5)

Pros
  • It is lightweight for a TT helmet
  • The VaporFit technology provides a secure comfortable fit
  • It has a magnetic visor for an easy on/off shield
Cons
  • The helmet can get warm in high temperatures
  • There are only three colors available, and it’s only available in medium or large.

2 Giro Trinity Cycling Helmet

This helmet is an entry level helmet. It is not for the more intense training or triathlons, but better for just taking a ride down the street or riding to work every day. It has a simple design for a classic cycling helmet.

The fit of this helmet is consistent with other Giro helmets, which fit a wide range of heads. The shell provides full coverage. It isn’t super bulky for the protection that it provides.

It has an in-mold construction to keep it lightweight.

The chin strap has a slide through design. It is ideal for children because it’s hard to catch your skin when closing it. It’s easy to adjust too.

There are 22 vents to keep your head cool. The helmet has an in-mode polycarbonate shell with EPS liner. There is also a reflective rear decal for safety.

The retention system on the back is the Roc Loc Sport fit system. The Roc Loc fit system is one of the best adjustment systems for helmets on the market today. It is a standard against which other systems are often compared.

This system allows for simply one-handed adjustment of the tightness of the helmet. It is quick to adjust and can be changed on the go.

Overall, this is a reliable helmet, perfect for commuters or those just getting into cycling.

Giro Trinity Cycling Helmet
Our rating:4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

Pros
  • There is a large range of colors
  • There’s a lot of padding inside, making it pretty comfortable.
  • The padding is removable, so you can wash it
Cons
  • The retention system is a bit bulky
  • People have complained that it doesn’t fit larger heads.

3 Bell Overdrive MIPS Cycling Helmet

This helmet is designed for the road but features many of the same technologies as some of Bell’s more intensive pro level helmets.

This helmet has clean rounded lines and a modern, compact shape. It has a fusion in-mold polycarbonate shell and internal roll cages.

The Overbrow ventilation system regulates temperature by channeling cool air over your head. There are 19 vents. The strap uses a special material which is less susceptible to absorbing sweat.

The Float Fit system is light and easy to adjust to your individual head size. This helmet includes Bell’s MIPS rotational impact protection.

The straps are adjustable with a floating, non-fixed rear anchor point. The anchor allows for webbing to be fed from side to side to aid in centering the chinstrap buckle. The Y-buckles are also adjustable.

It comes in five colors: red, black and blue with a matte finish, and the gloss “Retina Sear” hi-vis yellow and white/silver. It has  clean rounded lines and a modern, compact shape.

As the line from the manufacturer says, “Crank up your road riding game, shift into Overdrive.”

Bell Overdrive MIPS Cycling Helmet
Our rating:4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5)

Pros
  • It is inexpensive for all the pro level technologies inside
  • It has an MIPS (Multi-directional Impact Protection System) liner, despite being designed for more entry level riders
  • The straps are particularly nice. They are thin, lightweight, and comfortable.
Cons
  • The padding is a bit thin
  • The EPS (Expanded PolyStyrene) is exposed

4 Bell Stratus MIPS Road Helmet

This helmet is designed similar to its pro-level sibling, the Bell Zephyr. It looks sleek and professional. It’s still very aerodynamic, but for a much lower cost.

This probably isn’t just for an entry-level rider – more active, experienced riders will like this helmet. It still isn’t pro-level either. It is very middle of the road in terms of which riders it is designed for.

It is designed both for all around road performance and for long climbs. It is ventilated for the climbs but sleek and aerodynamic enough to be faster on flat terrain.

The protection on this helmet is complete with MIPS (Multi-directional Impact Protection System).

The fit can be adjusted with the retention dial on the back using the Float Fit system. The helmet is even height adjustable with a sliding clip on the back. There are 18 vents on this helmet for excellent airflow.

There is a great quality finish. The EPS (Expanded Polystyrene) is covered by the outer shell. This shell is a Fusion In-Mold Polycarbonate shell.

The straps sit close to the cheek, which users have found very comfortable. They will not get twisted in this position.

Bell included a Sweat Guide Padding system in this model. The front edge of the brow pad features a small tab which folds forward to fasten onto a Velcro tab in a corresponding notch in the polycarbonate shell. This makes the sweat drip off the front of your helmet, avoiding your eyes.

It is a bit heavier than some other models, but for the weight you get added protection and pro-level aerodynamic features.

Bell Stratus MIPS Road Helmet
Our rating:4.3 out of 5 stars (4.3 / 5)

Pros
  • It is a great value for the price
  • This helmet keeps very cool during your ride
  • It has an MIPS liner, despite being designed for more entry level riders
  • The safety features are impeccable. The IIHS and Virginia Tech ranked it as “Best Available” in safety.
Cons
  • The straps and retention dial aren’t as good as other helmets

5 Bern Unlimited Brentwood Summer Helmet with Flip Visor

Despite “Summer” being in the title, this helmet is designed to be all-season. You can buy a Winter Upgrade kit for colder weather.

The summer lining has a visor for better visibility in the sun. The visor also makes sunglasses unnecessary because you will able to see the road without glare.

The winter lining has ear flaps to keep you warm. It is also breathable so that it won’t get too stuffy.

This is not a helmet for serious bike racing. It is not aerodynamically designed, but rather shaped more like a skater’s helmet. In fact, it is also good for a wider range of activities, including skating, snowboarding, and horseback riding.

The design is a classic urban style, designed to be cool in more than one way.

The helmet is bike light compatible. The Asteroid and Meteoroid bike lights fit all new and older Bern helmets with a two-hole mount located in the rear of the shell.

On the note of safety, this helmet meets Safety Certification CPSC and EN1078. It comes in nine different styles and colors. The bright colors make you easy to see on the road.

It comes in three different shell sizes so that you can choose the one closed to your head size. Once you have chosen a size, there is an additional dial retention system for an even closer fit.

Bern Unlimited Brentwood Summer Helmet with Flip Visor
Our rating:4.2 out of 5 stars (4.2 / 5)

Pros
  • This helmet is good for year-round biking
  • The lining is removable and washable
  • The round shape makes it versatile and useful for various activities, not just biking.
Cons
  • Users have said that you should probably buy a bigger size, as they tend to run small due to the padding
  • The shape is less aerodynamic than other helmets.

6 Schwinn Thrasher Microshell Bicycle Helmet

When thinking of biking, Schwinn is one of the first names that comes to mind. Founded in 1895, Schwinn has always made some of the best bicycles on the market. Being an expert in bicycles, it’s only natural that they would make great helmets too.

This helmet is perfect for entry-level riders. There are even children’s versions for your child who is just learning to ride their new bike.

Make on-the-fly adjustments with the dual-fit, 360-degree adjustable system. The side strap adjusters also help with a proper fit.

This helmet has 21 vents to reduce wind resistance and maximize airflow. The heat-sealed pads are integrated for comfort and durability.

There is a snap on visor to protect you from the elements and moisture wicking pads to keep you cool and dry.

The tapeless technology increases durability and adds unique styling. This helmet offers full-shell coverage for total protection.

Schwinn Thrasher Microshell Bicycle Helmet
Our rating:4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

Pros
  • There is an adult version and children’s versions.
  • This is one of the more affordable helmets on the market
Cons
  • Some users have complained that even despite the adjustment system, it doesn’t fit properly or sits too high.

7 Giro Cinder MIPS Road Helmet 2017

Once again, this is the more affordable counterpart to a pro-level sibling. The Cinder has many of the same features as the Synthe but is half the price. It’s design also looks a lot like the Synthe, so you may be mistaken for a professional rider in this helmet.

There are 26 vents on this helmet, along with internal channels. This pushes fresh air over and around your head while forcing heat and stale air out.

The Roc Loc 5 closure system is easily adjustable with one hand and allows for minute adjustments.

The In-Mold Polycarbonate Shell reinforces the area around the vents and ribs. This creates a one-piece exoskeleton, which allows the helmet to be lighter, more durable and better ventilated.

This helmet includes an EPS liner, which is impact-absorbing and adds reinforcement in crucial areas. The hermoformed SL Roll Cage is a polycarbonate skeleton fused throughout the helmet’s impact absorbing EPS foam liner. This provides structural support, impact dispersion and penetration resistance.

The Multi-Directional Impact Protection System (MIPS) reduces the rotational forces on the brain caused by angled impacts to the head.

The Cinder comes in six styles.

Giro Cinder MIPS Road Helmet 2017
Our rating:4.2 out of 5 stars (4.2 / 5)

Pros
  • The Roc Loc 5 closure system is one of the best systems to adjust a helmet on the market
  • Pro-level features are offered in this helmet for half the price
Cons
  • Some reviews have suggested that it doesn’t stay as cool as promised

8 Bell Annex MIPS Equipped Urban Helmet

This helmet passes all the typical safety standards. This helmet comes with MIPS like some of the other helmets on this list. This helmet also provides increased protection at the back of the head by dropping down low.

The Fusion In-Mold Polycarbonate Shell is the result of an in-molding process which bonds the helmet’s Microshell to its EPS foam layer to make a sturdier, more solid helmet.

The Active Aero Slider vent lets the rider regulate airflow, temperature and aero efficiency on-the-fly with a simple button on the top of the helmet.

There are 15 channeled vents. These vents bring cool air in through the front, allowing it to pass over your head and then flushes warm air out of the rear ports. The Overbrow Ventilation intakes work with the moto-proven Velocity Flow Ventilation system to actively cool air over the head via 3 ports on the brow of the helmet.

The Float Fit system gives you a perfect fit with no fussy adjustments. There are special features included to give you all the tools you need to be self-sufficient and super mobile. These features include integrated reflectivity, an integrated light mount and a weather-considered soft-brim visor.

Bell Annex MIPS Equipped Urban Helmet
Our rating:4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

Pros
  • It’s extremely visible, being especially very reflective
  • There is a great deal of ventilation to keep you cool
Cons
  • Some customers have complained that the brim visor didn’t provide enough protection from the sun.

9 Smith Optics Portal Adult MTB Cycling Helmet

This helmet is designed to be used on the road. It is probably not the best option for off-roading.

This helmet also includes MIPS for extra protection. The helmet also includes X-Static with Reactive Cooling Performance Lining.

This helmet has the VaporFit adjustable fit system. This system reaches low on the back of your head, giving added security in addition to providing you the best fit.

There are 18 optimized vents in this helmet to keep you cool. If you do start sweating, the antibacterial pads are designed to stay comfortable even when wet.

There are four rubbery grippers at the back of your head to keep the helmet firmly in place at all times.

The straps are comfortable, and their adjusters are easy to use.  There is a silicone-type loop to tidy up excess strap and the ends have little stoppers of a similar material bonded on to prevent fraying.

There is a lot of space above your ears, so wearing glasses is no problem.

Smith Optics Portal Adult MTB Cycling Helmet
Our rating:5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

Pros
  • It is comfortable and secure
  • The helmet stays in place no matter what.
  • The straps can even be adjusted with gloves on.
Cons
  • This is a heavier helmet.
  • It can get a bit warm, especially on the hottest summer days.
  • Some users have complained that it can feel noisy when riding at faster speeds

10 Nutcase – Patterned Street Helmet

The biggest appeal of these helmets is the wide variety of fun and unique designs. They are constantly changing and adding new designs, so chances are you can find a design that you like.

The magnetic buckle snaps together with ease. This way, even with gloves, you can make sure it’s secure. As a bonus, the magnetic buckle will never pinch your skin.

There’s plenty of coverage over your head with this helmet, giving you plenty of protection. It is filled with a protective EPS foam designed to disperse energy on impact. These helmets are certified safe for biking and skating.

The helmet has a dial fit system that you can adjust and remove as needed. It comes with three sets of foam pads to change out for a more customized fit.

Most round helmets don’t have any ventilation. This helmet has 11 vents and internal channeling for airflow.

The helmet comes with a detachable visor and 360 degree reflectivity.

Nutcase - Patterned Street Helmet
Our rating:4.2 out of 5 stars (4.2 / 5)

Pros
  • It comes in a wide variety of colors and designs.
  • It can be used for activities other than biking, including roller-skating and skateboarding
  • The fit is comfortable and adjustable
  • The magnetic buckle is super easy to use
Cons
  • This helmet isn’t very breathable, so some people have complained that their head gets sweaty on long rides
  • The hard-shell construction is not as durable as in-mold helmets

 Best Bike Helmets Buying Guide

Above, we have listed some of the Best Bike Helmets, along with their features. But wait…. How do you choose?

bike helmets

Choose Your Challenge

Before you even get started looking at helmets, first figure out what type of riding you are going to do.

How long have you been riding? Are you a newbie or have you been doing this your whole life?

On the flipside, are you breaking into doing some more intense riding? Are you preparing for a triathlon or training to do some intense outdoor riding?

Once you have figured out how you will be riding, then you can begin looking for a helmet. Start looking for helmets designed for your need. There is no use in dropping hundreds of dollars on a pro level helmet if you are just going to be riding down the street and back every day.

Safety First

All bicycle helmets in the US must meet certain government standards, especially the Best Bike Helmets on this list. However, the IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) now also tests the safety of bicycle helmets.

You should check these and other safety tests when looking into buying a new helmet. Fun fact: The Bell Stratus was one of only four helmets ranked by IIHS and Virginia Tech as being the “Best Available” in safety on the market to day in 2018.

There are different ways to keep your head safe, and each helmet manufacturer will use their own. Many of them use the Multi-directional Impact Protection System or MIPS.

bike helmets reviews

When a helmet with MIPS is struck, the low friction layer allows the helmet to slide on the head. It is also designed to protect against rotational motion that affects the brain and increases the risk for minor or even severe brain injuries. The MIPS brain protection system has been proven to reduce rotational motion when implemented in a helmet by absorbing and redirecting rotational energies and forces transferred to the brain.

Because of all this, many cyclists won’t even buy a helmet that doesn’t have MIPS. That is a choice that is entirely up to you. Be aware though – many helmets with MIPS technology are more expensive than helmets with other protection.

Finding The Best Fit

Most of the helmets on this list have adjustable fits, but you can only adjust a helmet so far. You need to make sure that you check the size guide and measure your head before you buy a helmet. If the helmet doesn’t fit properly, it won’t provide any protection.

Temperature Control

Make sure that you get a helmet that will keep you at the right temperature. Usually this means keeping you cool on a ride, but if you plan on riding a lot in the winter, that is something to consider as well. The Bern Unlimited Brentwood Summer Helmet listed above is an example of a helmet that can do both hot and cold weather.

If you live in a hot climate, this is especially important. Also make sure to pay attention to this when you are choosing colors. Don’t pick black for a helmet if you’re going to be riding in the middle of Arizona out in the hot sun for hours every day.

Conclusion

In the article above, we have gone over ten of the best bike helmets on the market today. Any one of these would be a good pick for your next bike ride. You should really choose a helmet that fits both you and the type of riding that you want to do. In the event of an accident, a bike helmet is the most important piece of cycling equipment you can own. A helmet is the difference between life and death in too many cases. So next time you go out for a bike ride, don’t forget to wear your helmet!

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