A motorcycle helmet is among the most important motorcycle gear purchases any motorcycle rider will make. High-quality motorcycle helmets not only protect your head in the event of an accident but can also keep you cool and improve aerodynamics. Most helmet manufacturers design helmets for all head shapes and sizes, giving you a wide range of options for your next pick.
Our review team has rounded up the best motorcycle helmets on the market for your convenience. We’ll break down our top picks for the different types of helmets, plus explain the benefits of each type in our buyers guide at the end of this review.
#1 Best Full Face: Shoei RF-1400
Shoei helmets are known for their advanced aerodynamics, and the RF-1400 is no exception to this brand’s reputation. Tested by Shoei in its world-renowned wind tunnels, it’s been shown to reduce both lift and drag at high speeds for better bike control.
The RF-1400’s Vortex Generators on the sides of the face shield reduce wind turbulence and create a wind and waterproof-tight seal, while still allowing in valuable informative sounds from the road.
With its center-located forehead vent, the RF-1400 can intake large amounts of air for optimal cooling. Its enlarged exhaust outlet vent takes advantage of negative pressure to expel hot air rapidly.
In case of emergencies, the Dual-Layer Multi-Density EPS liner and Multi-Ply Matrix Aim+ shell provide critical protection, and the Emergency Quick Release System can eject the helmet off of the rider if necessary.
Our Rating: 4.9 out of 5
- Approximate cost: $475
- Noise-reducing Vortex Generators
- Removable cheek and ear pads
- Dual ventilation
- CWR-F2 Shield and Base Plate System
- Multi-Ply Matrix Aim+ shell
- Dual-Layer Multi-Density EPS liner
- Emergency Quick-Release System
- 3D Max-Dry Interior System
What Customers Are Saying
Customers on Amazon like the RF-1400, giving it an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars. This is from over 200 reviews, about 84 percent of which are 5-star ratings.
Many customers who enjoy using their RF-1400 love its ventilation system and say it is one of the best helmets for noise reduction. One of the few complaints about this helmet is that it initially feels small, but after a short amount of time, it adjusts to the rider’s head size.
#2 Best Modular: Shoei Neotec II
The convenience of a two-in-one design is hard to beat, and the Shoei delivers exceptional quality with the Neotec II. Its Pinlock Evo fog-resistant system and internal sun shield improve visibility while the expansive three-position upper ventilation system promotes dynamic cooling.
In addition to its streamlined shape and shell-integrated spoiler, the Neotec II has an innovative top air outlet design that works with its deflecting chin bar to reduce wind noise.
This is a modular helmet that can flip up into an open face design that retains the safety of a full face helmet. An additional feature of this helmet our review team likes is its Multi-Ply Matrix AIM shell and Multi-Piece EPS liner, which offers best-in-class safety.
Our Rating: 4.8 out of 5
- Approximate cost: $750
- Removable, washable interior liner
- Micro-ratchet chin strap
- Multi-Ply Matrix AIM shell
- Multi-Piece EPS liner
- Three-position upper vent
- CNS-3 Base Plate and Shield system
- Aero Deflector chin bar
- 360-degree pivot locking system
- Flip-up chin bar and face shield
- Bluetooth® device compatible
What Customers Are Saying
On Amazon, the Shoei Neotec II has more than 300 reviews and an average overall rating of 4.7 stars. Almost 95 percent of all ratings are 4 stars or higher while less than 4 percent are 1 star.
A common compliment for this helmet is that it’s very quiet even in high-wind environments. Many customers also say this helmet is more comfortable than others they’ve owned due to its supportive cheek pads. One complaint that some customers have is this helmet fits tight for those with oval-shaped heads.
#3 Best Dual Sport: AGV AX9
The AGV AX9’s lightweight construction doesn’t sacrifice safety, whether you’re riding on the streets or wearing this helmet on back roads. Its Carbon-Aramid-Fiberglass shell provides protection against the elements while its premium interior is water-resistant and comfortable, so you don’t need to worry about sweat damaging your helmet.
This helmet’s aerodynamics are well-suited for high-speed travel, resisting wind drag that adds excess noise. The AX9 also has an adjustable chin guard port for better ventilation than previous AGV models.
The visor on the AX9 can be removed so riders can wear their own glasses or goggles.
Our Rating: 4.6 out of 5
- Approximate cost: $550
- Adjustable peak
- Anti-scratch visor
- Removable and washable interiors
- Four-density EPS
- Adjustable chin guard
- Two rear extractor vents
- Ritmo fabric cheek pads
What Customers Are Saying
Reviews for the AGV AX9 on Amazon are very limited, with only one review that left a 5-star rating. Google reviews, however, have this product’s average rating at 4.5 out of 5, indicating a high level of customer satisfaction.
Users like the pinlock visor as well as the fact that this helmet comes in XXXL size. However, some note that this helmet does seem to run small, which is annoying for some but convenient for those with narrow heads.
#4 Best Open Face: Bell Mag-9
Like most open face helmets, the Bell Mag-9 has an adjustable front that can be worn in seven different positions. Because of this, it can be worn with or without the face shield or visor in the rider’s view. The visor doesn’t affect the Mag-9’s Velocity Flow ventilation system which cools the rider for reduced sweating.
This helmet has a polycarbonate shell and moisture-wicking EPS foam interior for a personalized fit. For those who enjoy music or take phone calls while they ride, the Mag-9 can be integrated with a Sena or Card Bluetooth communication system.
Our Rating: 4.4 out of 5
- Approximate cost: $200
- Velocity Flow ventilation system
- Polycarbonate shell
- Bluetooth system compatible
- Drop-down sun visor
- EPS foam interior
What Customers Are Saying
On behalf of the Bell Mag-9, over 370 customers have left a review on Amazon with an average rating of 4.4 stars. About 85 percent of ratings are 4 stars or higher.
Although most reviews are positive, a common theme among negative reviews is that this helmet runs small and riders must over a size up for the best fit. Beyond this, reviews tend to focus on how sturdy the padding is in the Mag-9.
#5 Best Half Helmet: ScorpionExo Covert
The ScorpionExo Covert has a revolutionary three-in-one design that allows riders to customize how they wear their helmet. Its retractable tinted anti-fog sun visor and removable front mask and sleeve provide excellent optional protection. To minimize impact, the Covert has a polycarbonate shell with dual-density EPS foam that disperses energy absorption in the event of an accident.
The Covert’s aero-tuned ventilation system promotes advanced cooling but can also retain heat on colder days. Its soft foam liner is breathable as well for a balanced feeling and the matte finish is scratch-resistant.
Our Rating: 4.1 out of 5
- Approximate cost: $215
- Three-in-one design
- Retractable sun visor
- Removable front mask
- Polycarbonate shell
- Dual-density EPS foam
- Matte finish
What Customers Are Saying
There are over 1,700 ratings on Amazon for the ScorpionExo Covert helmet, 75 percent of which are 5-star reviews. It has an average rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars.
Customers say that this is a great alternative to high-end options that can run up in price. It is also one of the lightest helmets they say they have worn. One negative comment that some customers make is that the Covert doesn’t stop wind noise well.
Best Motorcycle Helmets Buyers Guide
Safety is the number one most important feature of a motorcycle helmet, which is why you should make sure you buy one that is DOT approved. In addition to certifications, finding a helmet that properly fits your head is a must. You’ll also want to consider comfort and visibility.
You may want to try several types of motorcycle helmets before selecting the best one for your head shape and riding style, as it is a critical piece of riding gear.
Types Of Motorcycle Helmets
There are six standard types of motorcycle helmets:
- Full face: Full face helmets offer the most coverage around the head and neck. They are widely considered the safest type of motorcycle helmet. One of the most distinct features of these helmets is their chin bar, which adds crucial safety. Because of this, though, full face motorcycle helmets tend to weigh more than other helmets.
- Modular (flip-up): These are similarly designed to full face helmets but weigh more due to extra hinge features, which also slightly reduces their safety as well. Modular helmets are best suited for riders who need to sit upright, such as those who ride tourers and cruisers.
- Open face: Also known as 3/4 helmets, these cover the top and back of the rider’s head but leave the face exposed. They offer significantly less front protection than full face or modular helmets due to their lack of chin bar. Many of these come with visors to protect riders’ eyes from weather and road debris.
- Half: Half helmets only cover the top of the rider’s head and some of their forehead. Although great for airflow and visibility, these helmets are considerably less safe than most helmets because of their open design. Most do not come with visors and require riders to wear goggles or sunglasses for eye protection.
- Off-road: These helmets are designed for riding both street bikes and dirt bikes on roads, tracks, and other mixed terrains. They do not have visors, so riders must wear goggles or sunglasses to protect their eyes. However, off-road helmets have longer chin bars for better airflow and fall protection.
- Dual-sport: Dual-sport helmets are a mix between full face and off-road helmets. They offer a larger eye protection visor than full face helmets which can be snapped up for use with goggles as well. Although still prominent, chin bars on dual-sport helmets do not sit as far out as those on off-road. These helmets are ideal for mixed-terrain riding.
Motorcycle Helmet Safety Certifications
Before being approved for mass production, motorcycle helmets must be verified by a variety of institutions for adequate safety standards The Department of Transportation (DOT) must approve a helmet before it can be sold for on-road use. It needs to pass their impact absorption, penetration resistance, and retention tests as well as allow no less than 105 degrees of vision from the helmet’s midpoint and not have any surface projections exceeding 5.0 millimeters.
The Snell Foundation also uses a set standard for deciding how well a helmet performs. As an independent private nonprofit, manufacturers can submit their helmets to them for testing that is more rigorous than that of the DOT. Snell will also regularly test previously-certified helmets to verify continued compliance.
Before purchasing a helmet, be sure it is at least DOT certified. A Snell certification is also a good indicator of helmet safety but is not necessary. You may also see an ECE certification on your helmet, which is the European equivalent of the DOT and also a reliable safety badge.
A motorcycle helmet should fit snugly on your head when riding, as a loose-fitting helmet offers poor protection. Many motorcycle helmets have removable or customizable pads to help create a proper fit. Other helmets are designed for specific head shapes, such as oval versus round. Before taking a ride, be sure to check that your helmet properly fits on your head.
A great helmet should also offer optimal climate control to prevent overheating or excessive cooling, which can distract you while riding. Moisture-wicking helmets will keep your head dry and helmets with good ventilation will help, too.
Be sure the weight of your helmet is comfortable before you ride. Most riders can wear a helmet that is 5.0 pounds or lighter without causing discomfort, but anything heavier can potentially hurt your neck.
Visibility is vital when wearing a motorcycle helmet. It’s important that a sun visor doesn’t fog easily, whether it’s due to an anti-fog visor or proper ventilation.
Some helmet styles also offer greater visibility at the expense of protection. For example, a half-helmet only protects the upper half of a rider’s head, but offers much more visibility than a full face or dual sport helmet. Determine what visibility needs your helmet must meet before choosing a new one.
Our Review Standards
To select the five motorcycle helmets in this review, our team searched Amazon and Advance Auto Parts for top products, looking at factors like customer ratings, prices, superlatives, and Prime shipping eligibility.
Frequently Asked Questions
*Data accurate at time of publication.