The Best Adult & Youth Lacrosse Helmets of 2018: Protection, Comfort, & Style

Lacrosse is is one of the more demanding physical sports around, and it requires a lot of quick thinking, muscular fitness, and endurance. Having the proper protective equipment can make the difference between a serious injury and no injury at all. It is very important to get the right size in order to stay properly protected and it is also important to get something that is made of good quality material so that it will be able to absorb some of the physical impact which will definitely come your way if you are serious about this sport!  A helmet is one of the most important pieces of equipment that you can get for lacrosse and could mean the difference between a concussion, no injury, or another serious head injury.

Top Lacrosse Helmets Comparison Chart

Lacrosse Helmets Buying Guide

Here is a breakdown of all of the most important helmet components so that you can have a better idea as to what you need to look for in a helmet and some of the advantages and disadvantages of each type of component that is a part of the helmet.

A lot of research has been coming out lately about the effects of concussions from sports’ injuries, and helmet manufacturers have been making a real effort to make sure that helmets offer as much protection as they possibly can. There are some things to look for when deciding which lacrosse helmet is right for you to ensure you’re being as safe as possible. This guide will cover youth helmets, as well, as it’s equally if not more important to protect our kids from head injury. Before we give our choices for top adult and youth lacrosse helmets, let’s consider all the factors that go into choosing the right helmet. Then, you’ll be able to confidently choose the helmet that will give the protection you need.

Safety

It’s very important to make sure that the helmet you choose has been tested and approved by the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE). The NOCSAE has high standards and does very thorough testing to make sure every helmet meets or exceeds specific guidelines. There are full details about all the testing and standards available on their website. You should keep in mind that even if a helmet looks like it’s strong and solid if it doesn’t have the NOCSAE seal of approval, it’s still better to look for one that does. That approval will tell you for sure that your helmet meets the recommended safety standards and requirements.

Helmet Cage/ Facemask

When you are looking for a helmet, one of the most important things you can get to add protection is a helmet cage. It is important to make sure that you buy the right size of cage so that it properly fits on your head and that your chin is tucked in properly so that your head doesn’t move around when you get hit or when you are running around. A proper chin guard is a must have on a helmet cage so that you don’t hurt yourself. One major thing to take into account when you are buying yourself a cage is that you should always check to see how big the holes in the cage are. If you buy a cage that has too large of holes you may run into an injury when something squeezes through it. The end of some player’s lacrosse sticks aren’t super bulky so this is definitely something that should be taken into consideration when you are purchasing.

Helmet adjustment

Helmets adjust in all sorts of different ways. The traditional helmet is normally adjusted using a screwdriver and then after the adjustment is made, screwed back tight to fit onto the head properly. Some newer helmets incorporate their own adjustment methods that require no tools to adjust. This makes adjusting so much easier and you don’t have to worry about taking a screwdriver around with you everywhere.

Fit


Helmets have to fit correctly or they won’t be effective. The helmet should sit ½ to 1 inch above the eyebrows. It shouldn’t tilt too far in either direction as it could result in injury to the chin and neck. The chin piece should follow the jawline and straps should be tightened so there’s no slack. You want just enough pressure on your head to keep the helmet in place while still being comfortable. Everyone has a different head shape and so you’ll need to find the best fit for yours. Some brands sell “one size fits all” helmets which come with different sized foam inserts to adjust and personalize the helmet to fit any player correctly. These types of helmets work very well, especially for younger players who aren’t done growing yet. Most youth helmets come with a lot of ways to customize fit because kids grow so fast and their helmet has to keep up. Pay special attention to fit after haircuts. If a child has a lot of thick hair and then shaves it off or cuts it very short, it could affect the fit. Make sure to adjust the helmet appropriately or get a new one if need be.

Brackets and Adjustment Straps

Believe it or not, this is actually something you should be looking at fairly carefully when you are looking to purchase a helmet. Generally speaking, the brackets will be either made of plastic or metal. Metal brackets can cut you and be hard on your hands, while plastic brackets generally don’t have issues besides potentially breaking. As for the adjustment straps, they come in a variety of different materials but you will generally want to stay away from rubber straps because they snap and wear out the fastest. Most will be made of some kind of fabric or plastic coated material.

Chin Strap

Without a proper chin strap, you will be unable to wear the helmet as it was intended to be worn. It is a good idea to make sure that the helmet straps are both easy to adjust, and that they are comfortable to wear. Your chin strap is likely going to be the only strap that actually touches your skin, but it is a good idea to make sure that everything buttons in properly before you make your purchase. Make sure that your chin rests comfortably on the chin strap because this strap actually is one of the many impact resistant points built into a helmet and it is very important that this piece is placed correctly.

Size

The actual size of your helmet is probably one of the most important aspects of buying a helmet that there is. You want the helmet to be comfortable and you want it to protect your ears, face, and head. Most helmets are capable of adjusting and this could be an important factor for you if you are still growing. It is important to keep your helmet tight fitting so that it can better absorb impacts and also so that it doesn’t end up flying off while you are playing. A helmet that is too small for you can cause you to get a headache and it can cause things like redness, itchiness, and pain for hours after wearing.

Foam

Foam may not seem like that important of a thing when you are buying yourself a helmet; except it is actually one of the most important parts of a helmet. Generally speaking, Helmets actually have an expiry date because the foam in them is not as good a quality after a certain length of time, and will not protect your head from impacts as well as it should. Foam is also a major comfort factor and if you have bad allergies it may be a good idea to check what kind of foam and material is incorporated into the helmet that you are thinking of purchasing. Some helmets have removable foam built into them.  This is great if you play lacrosse often and you want to keep your equipment from smelling too bad.

Brand

As unimportant as it may seem, the actual brand of your helmet does matter. Buying an off name cheap helmet can mean less protection from injuries, overall less comfort and it likely isn’t going to last you for as long as a quality helmet will. Although buying a helmet with a big name brand may be a bit more expensive, just know that this little bit of extra expense could end up saving your life. It is always important to look into each helmet you are interested in purchasing, in order to see if it is made of quality material and rates well for safety.

Price

Just remember that although the price may be a large factor in your overall decision; it should not make the decision for you. Your head is one of the most delicate parts of the body and lacrosse is a high impact sport. All it takes is one hit and you could be brain damaged, concussed or have a serious injury. It is never a good idea to just buy the first helmet that you see; you should always take a look around and make sure that you get the proper size, the proper cage, quality straps and strong impact resistant foam. It is also a good idea to take into account what kind of lacrosse you will be playing. If you are playing professional lacrosse you are probably going to buy a more expensive helmet that offers really good protection, than someone who just plays in the field for fun with his friends.

Vents & Foam Placement

Although the majority of people will not think that this component of a helmet is a big deal; it can mean the difference between comfortability and pain. Having proper ventilation and space between the pads of your helmet is important so that your head gets some air and so that you aren’t boiling hot while you are running around and wearing your helmet. Things like removable foam and adjustable foam give you lots of things that you can play around with in order to make the helmet more safe, secure and overall more comfortable on your head.

Where to Purchase

It can be difficult to decide where you should purchase a helmet because there are actually a lot of options available. You could go to a store and try on a bunch of helmets until you found one that was comfortable and that fit properly. Another thing you could do is properly measure your head, or try on a helmet in a store and see what size of helmet you are and then order a helmet online. If you are doing it via this method it is always a good idea to check and see if there is some kind of return policy in case the helmet doesn’t fit. Something else that you may want to look into is to see if there is some kind of warranty for the product so that you can have some peace of mind when you are purchasing. Just remember that if you decide to buy your helmet second hand it may not protect you as well as a brand new helmet would.

Warranty

This is always something you should have a look at when you are purchasing equipment. Obviously when you buy a helmet used you run the risk of damage and not having coverage. The benefit of buying new, and from a well-established company is that most of the time they have some kind of a manufacturer’s warranty in place that can cover anything from accidental breaks to only manufacturer defects. It is always a good idea to look into the warranty of the helmet you are thinking of purchasing to see what exactly is covered.  It can really help to give you some peace of mind.

Reviews

This is one of the most important things that you can look at when you are buying a product. First of all, it is a good idea to investigate the seller a bit to make sure that they are legitimate and that they are not going to try and send you a faulty or fake product. The next thing reviews are good for is looking at actual customer reviews. Someone who has previously bought the product can really help to open your eyes up to see any faults in the product as well as some of the benefits and what they thought of the product overall. If after reading product reviews you are still unsure if you like the helmet you are looking at and want some questions answered, it never hurts to contact the seller and learn some of the specifications or get in touch with the seller and see if they can answer your questions for you.

 

Best Lacrosse Helmet Reviews

 

  1. STX Stallion 575 Adult Lacrosse Helmet

STX and Cascade are the 2 big juggernauts in the lacrosse helmet world, and this is one of STX’s finest offerings.  In our opinion, it is about 20% less “aggressive-looking” than the Cascade R, but I would be just as happy to drop this gem on my head as any Cascade if I cared about safety first!  The Cascade will make you look like a bit of an evil villain, while the STX makes you look like the well-equipped, but good, understated guy – kind of like Darth Vader’s forces looked more intimidating than the rebels in the orange jumpsuits – but who ends up winning huh??!   It is comparable in nearly every way to the Cascade when it comes to protection.  The biggest difference aside from looks is the price – much easier to handle than the Cascade (about half the price).  This STX features a new forward tilt design and an exclusive, patented material called D30.  It’s super lightweight, and it stays soft and flexible.  It’s used in the padding.  The really cool thing is that the molecules in D30 lock together to absorb and disperse impact energy, and then they return to a soft, natural state.

The ABS material in the shell incorporates impact modifiers for added strength, and the SUREFIT airliner (adjustable) provides a customized, dynamic fit that shapes to your head better than any helmet you’ve ever used!

Here’s a link to more tech specs on the STX Stallion!

Pros:

  • WAAAYYY better price than major competitors
  • Has leading edge technologies that protect as well as the best helmets on the market

Cons:

  • I’m struggling with this one!  I guess it would be true to say that you could find a “cooler-looking” helmet out there for sure, but I’m really not so sure that matters even a smidge!

 

 

  1. Cascade CPX-R Lacrosse Helmet

The CPX-R is a bit more of an expensive helmet but it has a lot of nice features built into its design to make the helmet more impact resistant as well as more comfortable for the wearer to use.

The helmet of choice for Cornell, the Cascade CPXR helmet featured the brand’s SEVEN technology. Seven years in the lab working on safety and impact absorption which effectively manages the energy transfer that occurs with direct impacts to the head during play. Upon impact, this triple density memory foam liner system quickly displaces energy and resets so it’s ready for the next hit. It has the brand’s SPRfit, too, with allows you to make fine adjustments to the fit. The visor, mask, and chin strap are light and simple so you can keep your eyes on the whole field. This is an aggressive looking helmet that offers top of the line protection.

Pros:

  • The inner lining of this helmet actually compresses to absorb impact and is ready to take on a second impact momentarily.
  • Chin strap is included with this helmet and it matches the color of the helmet for some added style.
  • Chrome mask and white helmet will make you stand out amongst other players.
  • More bars on the mask than some other lacrosse cages will help protect you from sticks and other debris that you may come across while playing.
  • Metal screw brackets help to hold the cage in place and are much more likely to hold up longer than plastic brackets.
  • Superior energy displacement
  • Meets NOCSAE standards
  • Can make fine adjustments to fit

Cons:

  • Unfortunately, this helmet only comes in one size and therefore may not fit everyone even though it is supposed to be a “one size fits all” type of helmet.

 

  1. STX Stallion 100 Helmet

This youth helmet is mid-budget range and offers a variety of features that may help outclass some of its competitors. This helmet looks a little different than the majority of lacrosse helmets, but offers a wider field of vision that other helmets are lacking.

This youth helmet is the perfect choice for a young player just starting to get into the game. STX partnered with Schutt, the company that makes football helmets for hundred of professional players in the NFL, to tap into their knowledge and create a top of the line youth lacrosse helmet. This helmet has an ABS shell with impact modifiers to strengthen its protection system. There are two liners for added protection. This helmet can withstand some really hard impacts. The adjustable elastic system is built into the helmet and allows for a more individual, snug fit. This is a perfect feature for youth players as they will undoubtedly grow throughout the season and need a helmet that can grow with them.

Pros:

  • This helmet not only has an ABS shell which is great for taking an impact, but it also has impact modifiers built into the plastic to better take on the force.
  • This helmet has an elastic strap so that you can adjust the helmet to fit your head properly; this also allows this helmet to fit on players of a variety of different sizes.
  • Adjustable foam pads allow you to scrub down your helmet easier and give you a much more custom fit.
  • Meets NOCSAE standards
  • Adjustable elastic system so helmet can grow with player
  • Double Padding

Cons:

  • Unfortunately, this helmet is only available in extra small and small and only comes in white.
  • This helmet doesn’t have a ton of ventilation except for the massive cage.

 

  1. Cascade CS-R Helmet

This helmet requires a modest budget to purchase. Available in a range of colors, this helmet is both appealing to the eye as well as good at protecting heads from physical damage.

This is the first Elite Youth helmet from Cascade, one of the top brands for lacrosse gear and equipment. It’s designed to take the hits that an under 12 player would face during a game. There’s a foam liner on the top of the helmet and memory foam on the sides to disperse the impact. The CS-R also comes with an adjustable pivot system. This will make sure the helmet fits the anatomy of the young player as they grow. The rear third of the liner moves so it’s snug to the bead, ensuring a good fit. It has a one-piece shell and visor design which make the helmet more rigid. The three-bar cage design helps young players get a full view of the field while they are running and looking for the ball.

Pros:

  • This helmet comes in a range of colors such as white, silver, scarlet, black as well as navy.
  • The mask of this helmet is designed in a way that helps to extend your vision and attempts to keep the center bar out of the way of your eye’s main line of vision.
  • Adjustable straps with brackets allow you to customize the fit of this helmet to get it sitting correctly and securely on your head.
  • Proper ventilation built into this helmet will help to keep your head cool while you play.
  • Poron XRD foam allows for better impact absorption and more overall comfort than many competing helmets.

Cons:

  • The face mask does open up a wider field of vision, but it is more likely that something could fit through the bars. 

 

  1. Cascade Cs Junior Lacrosse Helmet

This helmet is designed to fit kids that are generally under the age of twelve. It is a fairly budget friendly helmet and does have a lot of adjustment capabilities so that it can fit most kids that are under 12.

This youth helmet features Cascade’s Full Pivot System which is made to adjust quickly to the growing heads of players under age 12. The back third of the pivots fits snugly on the head and is adjustable with a pull tab system. It will fit the young player as they grow without compromising any of the safety. The one-piece shell and visor system protects better against frontal impacts and it houses the advanced liner system. The liner is also adjustable using the FitSwitch sliders to control the width of the liner.

Pros:

  • The extensive adjustment system built into this helmet offers very fast adjustments so that you spend less time getting your helmet ready and more time playing.
  • This lightweight helmet makes it easier to run around with and still offers an appealing looking design.
  • Open cage will give you a good view of the playing field.
  • This helmet is available in the two traditional helmet colors black and white.

Cons:

  • Sticks and other debris can fit through the larger holes in the mask a lot easier than that of one with smaller holes.
  • Adjustable straps go over the mask and may block some peripheral vision.

 

  1. Cascade R Lacrosse Helmet

One of the most stylish helmets on the market. The R helmet is by a noticeable margin, the most advanced impact management system Cascade has ever created. It is a relatively expensive helmet but it comes in a ton of different color combinations. You will not see very many helmets that come in this many colors available on the market; while still providing you with quality protection from impacts.

The R helmet has the most advanced impact protection system that uses Cascade’s SevenTech and PoronXRD liner systems for management of both high and low impacts. SevenTechnology was developed to manage high, direct impacts while the PoronXRD Foam is a newer addition to the Cascade brand. PoronXRD is a pliable material that not only makes the helmet more comfortable but also helps distribute energy from lower force impacts. This aggressive looking helmet also has Cascade’s SPRfit system plus three different jaw pads to use, so the fit can be micro adjusted. The shell and visor are one piece and it has vents for cooling.  Here’s a neat feature; On impact, the Seven Technology liner system compresses to laterally displace energy and within seconds, it completely resets to ready for the next impact.

Pros:

  • The black mask and colored helmet combination looks great and maybe even adds some intimidation factor to the helmet.
  • Available in a ton of different colors including black, green, navy, Gold, a chrome and black combination, maroon, a chrome and navy combination, blue, red and even white.
  • This helmet is only available in one size but it is highly adjustable and capable of fitting the average person.
  • This helmet incorporates compression technology in order to take away the energy that is created from an impact.
  • The one-piece shell and visor now offered in an R design with increased ventilation. This design creates a more rigid system to better manage frontal impacts and also moves the balance point closer to the center of the head for a lighter feeling high-performance helmet.
  • New sight lines for better vision and reduced weight.
  • Chin protection technology provides added rigidity along the jaw and by the ear.
  • Amazon price is WAAAYYY better than we could find with National Chain Sports Retailers and other online sellers.

Cons:

  • This helmet does not come in a variety of sizes and may be somewhat of a risk to buy since you won’t know if it fits without trying it on.
  • This helmet has been criticized for not being a very wide fit, which is something that you may want to take into account before purchasing.

 

  1. Cascade CPV Helmet

This youth helmet is quite budget friendly and offers a very comfortable fit. A good quality build, this helmet is sure to help protect your head from potential injury.

Pros:

  • This helmet has a fairly open cage to offer the user better vision.
  • Built like an adult helmet this helmet has a good overall construction and uses quality materials.
  • Cascade labeled straps make this helmet stand out amongst others.
  • One year warranty with no conditions attached can give you some peace of mind when you are buying this product.
  • Lightweight helmet is easy to remove and adjust as needed.
  • HDPE case offers a hard shell to help with impact resistance.

Cons:

  • This helmet is only available in size xx-small so it doesn’t fit a very broad audience.
  • This helmet is also only available in white; which probably isn’t as big of a deal for this age group as an older one might be.

 

  1. STX Lacrosse Stallion 500 Helmet

One of the most expensive helmets out on the market. This super comfortable, flexible helmet is impact resistant and looks good when you are wearing it. Although this helmet is not for everyone due to the fact there is only one size option. This is a helmet that is built for impact and will greatly help to prevent you from getting head injuries.

The Stallion 500 is reminiscent of older helmets while still providing top of the line safety. The facemask is a little lower and therefore cuts out any option to tilt. Tilt is something that player will do for many reasons, including keeping the sun out of their eyes. This loss of tilt can also make it a little difficult to see in the field. The throat guard is solid and can take a hit without flexing. This helmet has a variety of sizes and will work great for players who have a hard time finding one because they’re heads are too big. With adjustable airbeds and inflatable air bladder, fit can be easily customized. The liners in this helmet use five different technologies and they manage to make them all work together well.

Pros:

  • Highly adjustable helmet with air pump technology that you can use to form fit the helmet to your head’s shape.
  • ABS shell provides good impact resistance.
  • Sophisticated jaw pad provides excellent impact absorption and keeps your chin comfortable while wearing the helmet.
  • A variety of vents built into this helmet help to keep you cool while playing and add some style to this helmet as well.

Cons:

  • This helmet is only available in size medium.
  • This helmet only comes in the color white which may be seen as a negative to some people.

 

  1. STX Lacrosse Stallion 600 Lacrosse Helmet

This helmet is a little more on the expensive side of things than other helmets on this list. This is a nice lacrosse helmet with plenty of vents and foam for added comfort. With multiple sizes and colors available it makes this helmet an easy option as long as you are willing to pay the extra money for it.

The STX Stallion 600 has durable construction for top-notch protection. This is an improvement on the previous 500 version, offering a better fit, improved protection system, and sleeker design. STX teamed up with Schutt to design this helmet. The polycarbonate shell is strong and comfortable. The padding has the interesting feature of remaining soft during regular play and hardening upon impact, which makes it not only effective but also a little more comfortable. There’s a SureFit air liner that sits toward the back of the helmet. It comes with an air pump which will make the helmet curve directly to the lines of your head. Air bladders are great for creating a snug fit, but it will be less durable than actual foam. The more it’s used, the more wear and tear will happen which could compromise the level of protection you’re receiving from the helmet.

Pros:

  • This helmet is available in multiple colors including black, white and gray.
  • Padded foam and adjustable straps make this a helmet that is easy to get comfortable in.
  • Tightly fitted cage will keep other players from getting their sticks and things through your mask.
  • This helmet is available in small, medium, large and extra-large meaning that it will fit the majority of people.

Cons:

  • This helmet may be a little out of budget for some people.
  • Metal adjustable brackets on the straps are uncomfortable to use as well as difficult.

 

  1. Bauer IMS 5.0 Helmet Combo

Although not recommended by some lacrosse players, you can use an average hockey helmet as a lacrosse helmet if you want. The benefit of using a hockey helmet is that it is cheaper, has less spaces in the cage and they are more commonplace than the average lacrosse helmet is.

Pros:

  • Made by a popular brand, this helmet is made of high-quality material and should last you for a long time.
  • Ear protection helps to protect you from slashes or if the ball catches you on the side of the head.
  • This helmet comes with a cage as well as straps so that you are ready to go out and play straight off the bat.
  • Most helmets require a tool like a screwdriver in order to adjust the size, this helmet can be adjusted by hand.
  • Adjustable straps are easy to use and this helmet has a built-in chin guard so that you don’t have to buy one separately.

Cons:

  • A hockey helmet cage has more protection from jabs than a lacrosse helmet does, but it also takes up a lot more of your viewing area.
  • If everyone on your team has a proper lacrosse helmet a hockey helmet is going to look out of place.

 

Conclusion & Recommendations

Buying a helmet is a lot more complicated than it initially seems. It is important to make sure you are buying something that is of a good quality so that you can use the helmet for a long period of time and so that your head is protected properly from impacts. Make sure you buy something that is the proper size for your head and please be sure that the cage is fitted properly to your face and not wobbling around as you move around. Failing to buy a helmet that fits properly or buying something that is of a poor quality could end up making a lasting impact on your life. Make sure you take this into account with your purchase and hope that you find something that you like.

2 Comments

  1. Pete (Post author)

    Hey Matthew;
    I don’t know for sure, but I think the protocol is to get a graphic yourself (professional graphics designer or just google Wolf Head Graphics and check Google images). Then you would send your graphic along with your helmet size and style to any one of dozens of online stores that make the graphics for lacrosse helmets – check out http://jackwraps.com/gallery/
    Good luck!

    Reply
  2. Matthew

    Love that helmet and the wolf wrap. Can you please let me know where I can get the wrap?

    Reply

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