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How to Choose a BMX Helmet

by Jim Bartlett June 15, 2016

How to Choose a BMX Helmet

How to Choose a BMX Helmet

There are two basic types of BMX bike helmets: open-face BMX helmets and full-face BMX helmets. The type you choose depends on the type of riding you plan on doing. In general, how aggressively you ride and where you ride will determine the amount of protection you need from your helmet. You can learn specifically how to choose a full-face BMX helmet here.

How to Choose a regular BMX Helmet

With "regular" or open face BMX helmets, there are two styles: skate style and traditional style. Either one can offer adequate protection for street, freestyle, and flatland riding. Skate-style BMX helmets have more of a round, bucket-like shape. They have slightly less ventilation than a typical bike helmet but make up for that with a bit more coverage on the sides and back of your head. .Traditional-style BMX helmets look a lot like the prototypical bicycle helmet—aerodynamic design, lightweight, well-vented, covering the top of your head but not extending too far down the back of your head.

Features of Skate-Style BMX Helmets May Include:

BMX Helmets
  • A classic but cool bucket-shaped look
  • Constructed with an impact absorbing EPS liner and a tough ABS plastic, fiber glass composite, or carbon fiber composite exterior shell
  • A bit heavier and less ventilated than cross-country bike helmets but provide great head coverage and can resist minor bumps more easily
  • Not as well suited for endurance riding because of their weight and lack of ventilation
  • Skate-style helmets are sold in different shell sizes and sometimes come with additional padding to adjust the fit and snugness
  • Tend to be more budget-friendly but can range in price, starting at around $30

Features of Traditional-style BMX Helmets May Include:

BMX helmets
  • A streamlined, technical and classic bike helmet look
  • Constructed with an impact-absorbing EPS liner and polycarbonate or ABS plastic exterior shell
  • Lightweight, well-ventilated and aerodynamic (great for hot weather and/or riding for long periods of time)
  • Comfortable for long periods of time
  • Provides protection for the forehead, top, and back of the head
  • A removable or rotating visor for eye protection against wayward branches and the sun
  • Cross-country style BMX helmets are sold in different shell sizes and sometimes come with ratcheting or adjustable dials for a snug and comfortable fit
  • These helmets come in a wide range of prices, starting at about $35

Features of a Full Face BMX Helmet May Include:

full face bmx helmet
  • Provides protection for your jaw, chin and mouth
  • Full head coverage 
  • Constructed with an impact absorbing EPS liner and a tough ABS plastic, fiber glass composite, or carbon fiber composite exterior shell
  • Less venting than an open face helmet
  • Not as well suited for endurance riding because of weight and lack of ventilation
  • Removable visor

Should My BMX Helmet Meet Any Certifications?

By federal law, all helmets sold as "bicycle helmets" in the United States, including helmets for BMX, must meet the requirements of the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) bike helmet standard. Look for the CPSC sticker on the inside of the helmet, and do not buy a helmet for biking that does not meet the CPSC safety standard.

How to Measure Your Head for a Helmet

how to measure your head man image

For helmets to protect you from a serious head injury, they must fit properly and remain in place during a crash. Below, we go over some features that help ensure a proper fit for this vital piece of BMX protective gear. Measure your head and select a helmet that fits your size. Be careful not to assume sizing; age, height, and weight have little to do with how big your head is! Measure, measure, measure, and then pick the right size for you. If you're looking for a child's BMX helmet or youth BMX helmet, check out our Kids BMX Helmet page. Not sure how to measure your child's head for a helmet? Be sure to visit our Kids' Helmet Sizing Page.

How should the BMX helmet fit?

The way a helmet rests on your head is critical to how it will perform for its intended use. How many times have you seen the neighborhood kid riding his bike down the street with his helmet kicked way back on his forehead, so that he looks more like a comic strip character with an orb growing off the back of his head? This is NOT the proper way to wear a helmet. Proper helmet fit means proper head coverage. When you try on a helmet, the front of the helmet should sit down onto your forehead until just above your eyebrows. There should be room enough to slip on a pair of goggles or sunglasses, but not much more. A half-inch in most cases. BMX helmets are usually sold with a different exterior shell size to accommodate the size of the wearer’s head, along with sometimes interchangeable fit pads or a rotating dial to further customize the fit and snugness. Every BMX helmet has a sizing table in its description that shows the head size (usually in centimeters for more accuracy) and corresponding helmet size (Small, Medium, Large, etc.)

Does the BMX helmet feel comfortable when you wear it?

Different manufacturers make their helmet molds differently. For you, the wearer, what’s important is that the helmet fits comfortably all the way around your head. If you think you’ve got the proper size but the helmet is still a little roomy in a spot or two, that is not a big deal. You can add included fit pads where necessary to achieve a more secure fit. However, if you’ve selected what you believe is the proper size but feel an uncomfortable pressure anywhere around the circumference of your head, then this helmet is probably too small for you. Try a different size or style of helmet from the same line or try a different manufacturer altogether. To find a BMX helmet that fits you comfortably, start with SportsProtective’s Helmet Sizing Guide, then use your head measurements to compare all of the different helmet offerings from the different manufacturers that appeal to you. You will find a great selection to choose from.

What Should I Expect to Pay for a BMX Helmet?

Prices for BMX helmets can range from $30 to over $350. All of them meet the CPSC standards, so why is there such a huge variation in price? It depends on the extra features. Comparing open face BMX helmets to full-face helmets is like comparing apples to oranges, so we'll split up these to categories and address them separately for the discussion on price.


Prices for open face helmets can range from as little as $35 to $250.

In the low price range, you'll find:
  • Skate-style BMX helmets often have hard shell construction, making them a bit more durable.
  • Traditional-style bike helmets at the lower price point are typically made using in-mold construction, much like higher end bike helmets with traditional styling
  • Less venting options and smaller overall vents
  • Basic, adjustable fit systems and fit pads to help create a comfortable fit
  • Heavier overall weight because of use of less technical materials and construction
  • Higher-profile look
  • A great choice for kids, spare helmets and those who just need a helmet for more recreational purposes
In the mid-price range, you'll find:
  • In-mold construction
  • Huge vents and many venting options
  • Internal reinforcement that help strengthen the helmet without adding bulk, making it low profile
  • A great option for the beginner-to-intermediate biker who would like to upgrade to more professional features and comfort but without completely breaking the bank
In the high price range, you'll find:
  • In-mold construction
  • Helmet structure may be internally reinforced with super light materials such as carbon fiber for added durability without adding extra weight
  • More comfortable adjustable fit systems to tune your helmet perfectly to your head shape
  • Much lighter weight
  • The most aerodynamic shapes for less wind resistance and a super low-profile look
  • Massive vents and tons of venting capabilities
  • A great choice for the rider who has made the commitment to get better/faster/stronger in their respective sport

Shop our collection of BMX helmets

Learn More About: Bicycle Helmets Learn More About: BMX Learn More About: Certifications Learn More About: Helmets Learn More About: How to Choose Guides Learn More About: Kids

Jim Bartlett
Jim Bartlett


Founder of XSportsProtective, snowboarder, mountain biker, father of four young kids who love action sports.

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