Now, you’re probably thinking that quality is going to ultimately mean expensive when it comes to these sorts of commuter bike helmets. After all, it’s meant to keep you safe and alive so that must mean it’s a high-ticket item, right? Not so! There are many quality brands on the market up for purchase that won’t wipe out your wallet in the process.
We’ve come up with a top ten list of the best commuter bike helmets available right now. So strap in and get ready to put the proverbial pedal to the metal. First up, let’s take a quick glance at the absolute basics you need to know prior to making a purchase. After that, we’ll jump straight into the reviews.
- Factors to Consider for Commuter Bike Helmets
- Top 10 Best Commuter Bike Helmets 2020
- 1. Best Overall Commuter Bike Helmet: Giro Register MIPS Bike Helmet
- 2. Best Budget Commuter Bike Helmet: Retrospec CM-1 Classic
- 3. TeamObsidian Airflow Bike Helmet
- 4. Base Camp Adult Bike Helmet with Rear Light
- 5. Thousand Anti-Theft Bike Helmet
- 6. BERN Watts Helmet
- 7. Basecamp BC-069 Bike Helmet with Detachable Magnetic Goggles
- 8. Retrospec SM-2 Bicycle/Skateboard Helmet
- 9. Best Premium Bike Commuter Helmet: Lumos Kickstart Smart Bike Helmet
- 10. Best High-Tech Commuter Bike Helmet: Sena R1 Smart Communications Helmet
- Guide to Buying the Best Commuter Bike Helmet
- Final Considerations
Factors to Consider for Commuter Bike Helmets
Here are a couple of quick and easy points of consideration to make prior to purchasing a commuter bike helmet. If you are in need of more information, however, be sure to check out our extended buyer’s guide at the end of our product reviews.
Always first on the list when it comes to these sorts of things. In the USA, it’s crucial that all commuter bike helmets adhere to the standards set by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission. There are many different acronym-salad sets of standards out there, but the one that is considered the cream of the crop when it comes to bike helmet safety is the CPSC stamp of approval.
Comfort/Does It Fit?
This might seem obvious to most of us, but you would be surprised how many folks don’t take the size of their heads into consideration prior to making such a critical purchase as a bike helmet. It’s a bit more serious of a matter than buying a new pair of socks, for sure!
You’re (ideally) going to be wearing this helmet for a decent amount of time, especially if biking is your main mode of transportation every day. Get accurate measurements of your head before shelling out money for a good-quality helmet. You can choose your size when ordering, so be sure to measure your head first if you’re unsure.
This may or may not matter to some of you reading this article. It really depends on your disposition. If a particular commuter bike helmet style doesn’t meet your aesthetic wants, that’s going to be a critical factor in whether or not you’re going to want to buy it in the first place, obviously. If you’re a more safety-minded individual, however, you might not care at all how a helmet looks.
Either way, definitely make a determination on whether or not a commuter bike helmet product you have in mind is something you’d want to be seen out in public wearing. Luckily for all of us, however, is that many if not all of these products look very sharp with modern designs that are functional as well as visually pleasing.
Ventilation systems on bike helmets are crucial, especially if you live in a muggy or ridiculously hot area. Every helmet option out there is going to differ when it comes to vents and how numerous they are in the helmet’s design.
Top 10 Best Commuter Bike Helmets 2020
This is a US CPSC certified helmet, so be confident in knowing you’re getting top-quality safety with the purchase of this helmet. This helmet comes sporting a polycarbonate shell with a top-notch EBS foam liner on the inside. This helmet also has an internal MIPS (Multi-Directional Impact Protection System) which reduces head rotation during an accident, reducing the possibility of serious trauma.
This is easily the product for absolute safety and security while on the road as far as this list is concerned. The MIPS system that comes with this helmet is specifically designed to keep rotational forces from causing our brains significant damage if we take a nasty fall. Beyond that very key factor, however, this is a fantastic-looking helmet and it’s modestly priced. While not being a super-budget option, it’s not going to break the bank either. The safety that comes with this commuter bike helmet is well worth the additional dollars.
The Giro Register also sports 22 cooling vents, ensuring you are going to feel crisp and chill during even the hottest of months. Sporting also a Roc Loc system, you can adjust this helmet from the back to whatever tightness you need in order to keep the helmet snug on your head.
Another neat thing worth mentioning is the reflective surface of the helmet itself, making it a decent pick for night riding. However, we still recommend some form of an LED light system on your bike for optimal visibility on the road during darker times of the day.
The only real negative we could find with this product is the “one size fits all” design philosophy can sometimes be a bit limiting. However, Giro also offers an extra-large version if you think their regular design specs are lacking.
This is a US CPSC certified helmet that comes complete with an EPS foam interior and a hardy ABS shell that surrounds the head snugly and reduces the possibility of concussion and serious damage upon impact.
This is the everyman cycling helmet that is durable, affordable, and impressive-looking to boot.
It’s an ideal choice no matter if you’re just a commuter bike rider, or even into more extreme sports such as skateboarding, snowboarding and skiing. This would even be a good choice for someone who is an avid scooter rider as well.
The vent systems are impeccably designed, with 8 vents embedded in the helmet’s shell for maximum cooling capacity. This is a definite positive if you live in a hot/muggy environment and are prone to sweating a lot, as the cooling vents prevent an accumulation of bacteria building up over the long run.
This is a helmet that isn’t very well suited for individuals with smaller heads. Additionally, due to the helmet’s strong build, it can be quite heavy, which might be an issue if you’re carting it around during the day. So, if you’re looking for a light helmet, this probably isn’t going to be a good purchase for you.
This helmet is guaranteed by the US CPSC, which means you are investing in a quality bicycling helmet. Additionally, this helmet has a very unique design that is composed of an exterior shell that is reinforced with a skeleton. Underneath that skeleton is quality foam padding that holds everything together.
This is a modern and non-bulky looking helmet as far as outward aesthetics go thanks to its oval-shaped design. While generally considered a mountain biking helmet, this could easily work well for commuters, as well as other outdoor or fitness enthusiasts who put the pedal to the metal.
As far as ventilation goes, this particular helmet comes with a whopping 24 air vents that give it unparalleled cooling potential.
This helmet also comes with a detachable visor, interior pads that can be washed and a padded chin strap with fast-release activation. Another interesting feature is the dial fit in the back area of the helmet. It’s adjustable enough so that even women with longer hair/ponytails can manipulate it properly to be snug enough to stay on while not tugging at their hair during the course of a ride.
The only downsides we found are that the included visor can be a little frustrating to use, as it obstructs vision somewhat. The other issue is that the helmet comes in two main sizes Small/Medium and Medium/Large. This, unfortunately, does not leave a lot of room for variability in head sizes, so keep that in mind prior to purchase. Finally, it could be a little high tech for a simple commuter helmet.
This helmet is guaranteed by the US CPSC, which means you are investing in a quality bicycling helmet and is considered safe and secure for daily use. The EPS foam interior is thick, ensuring maximum protection in case of an accident. What about the toughness, though? Never fear, as this commuter bicycle helmet’s exterior is made up of a solid polycarbonate outer shell.
Other than the awesome urban-type aesthetic look of this helmet, you’re also investing in a commuter bike helmet that has a built-in LED light built into the back of the shell. Just be sure to have a supply of CR2032 batteries on hand, as it will take you only around a month to burn through its supply with daily use.
This helmet comes with nine cooling vents to keep you comfortable on balmy summer nights. On top of that, the interior padding is fitted with Velcro, which makes it extra adjustable on the fly. Head circumference isn’t a problem with this helmet either. Just make some minor alterations in the back with the rear adjustment wheel that’s built into the frame of the helmet.
The neatest thing about this helmet, though? It weighs just under one pound, making it one of the lightest helmets out on the market.
While this is a quality helmet, there are some things to note that keep it from being a perfect buy. For one, the visor section that’s built into the helmet isn’t nearly long enough to keep the sun out of one’s eyes during daytime use. Additionally, the LED light, while a great addition, is difficult to turn on and off and requires a pretty strong press in order to switch between the respective light cycles it offers.
This helmet is guaranteed by the US CPSC, as of 2019, which means this is a recent newcomer in the world of commuter bicycle helmets and is considered safe for all forms of use.
This stylish and unique-looking commuter bike helmet is not only an environmentally-friendly purchase, but it also is designed specifically to keep your helmet from being pilfered by random individuals up to no good. With its patented Poplock mechanical system, this helmet allows you to either U-Lock or chain up your bike helmet, keeping it safe and secure while you’re at your job, in your home, or waiting for your morning latte to be whipped up.
Complete with an additional two sets of padding that comes with the package, on top of faux-leather straps that completely negate any kind of animal byproduct, this is the essential choice for the environmentally-conscious commuter out there who want a quality and safe helmet while choosing a product (and a company) that cares about the health and stability of our planet.
Don’t worry too much about requiring a proper fit with this helmet. Not only does it come in three different sizes, but it also comes complete with an embedded dial-fit adjustment system, allowing the user to get the perfect fit for their head size. If need be, you can even remove some of the pads that come with the helmet if extra alterations are needed.
There are some downsides to note about this product, however. There are only nine air vents in total. While this is enough for some cooling effect, it’s not as much as some other helmets on the market. Additionally, this helmet weighs around two pounds, making it one of the heavier commuter bike helmets you could purchase.
This is a US CPSC certified helmet, so be confident in knowing you’re getting top-quality safety with the purchase of this helmet. Additionally, this comes with a sturdy EPS foam interior and a hard ABS shell that surrounds the head and keeps concussions at bay.
This is a cool-looking, vaguely baseball-themed commuter bike helmet that is safe, secure, and built for the road. The design of this helmet is unique in that it has no angular or jagged parts, which is crucial as there is no real way for the helmet to snag onto anything in a potential accident situation.
On top of the awesome (and practical) design, this helmet also comes with 11 cooling vents to keep you feeling chill during the hotter days of the year. On top of that, the EPS foam layer is thin enough to not be oppressive when it comes to heat.
Interested in night travel? One of the cool things about this helmet model is that you’re able to attach a PDW bike light to its shell.
There are two main downsides to note. First, the sizing of this helmet is strange. This is probably because, for one example, the 2XL and 3XL size ranges are ultimately merged. This can mean that one individual’s head might not fit snugly enough, while another’s might fit just right. The good news is the rear dial system can most likely help solve a lot of these problems, but it’s something to be aware of.
Another minor issue is that the aesthetic design of the helmet might be strange or too “silly” for some commuters, however, we think that a hardcore baseball fan who is an avid biker might find this helmet to suit their personal style quite nicely!
The Basecamp BC-069 helmet is a US CPSC certified helmet, so if you purchase this product, know that you’re getting a certifiably safe product for your biking needs. This helmet comes with a sturdy EPS foam interior and a hard polycarbonate shell that helps to absorb shock in the instance of a crash or nasty fall.
The most noticeable part of this commuter bike helmet is the goggle system. These are magnetically attached to the shell of the helmet and can either be used in a fixed “on” position shielding your eyes or moved in a more upward position that rests on the body of the helmet itself, allowing your eyes to be unobstructed. However, if you don’t want the goggles on at all, there’s an option to detach them completely, but with UV 400 protection that saves your eyes from harsh sunlight, why would you want to?
Another neat addition is the multi-setting LED light system in the back of the helmet. You can choose either to have them slow flashing, steady flashing, or fast flashing for emergency situations.
Like many commuter bicycle helmets, the Basecamp BC-069 comes with an adjusting knob system at the rear end of the helmet to maximize the fit of the helmet on your head. On top of that, there’s a flexible chin strap.
The downsides to the Basecamp helmet are somewhat glaring, though. The strap system is not the best and breaks easily with prolonged use. Also, the magnetic points on the visor can be loose in certain areas, which can greatly reduce the value of the goggles as an accessory.
The Retrospec SM-2 helmet is a US CPSC certified helmet, so if you purchase this product, know that you’re purchasing a reliable, safe product for your commuter biking needs. This helmet comes with a sturdy EPS foam interior and a hard ABS shell, ensuring your head will come out safe if an accident should occur.
This is what you would call a fantastic commuter bike helmet option for the cost-conscious shopper. At first glance, this is a solid-looking helmet that is no-frills and looks like it could take a beating.
Ventilation-wise, this helmet comes with eleven vents. It’s admittedly not as many cooling vents as you could get in some other bike helmets, but when you consider the cost, it’s not worth being too critical about. You also get two extra interior pads with the package for the purposes of retooling the overall fit and comfort of the helmet, giving it some versatility.
The downsides shave the overall score down just a little bit, however. First off, the shell is almost quite large. This isn’t a big deal if you care more about function over something like looks, but can make it look a little cumbersome.
Additionally, and this is probably the biggest offender here, there’s no built-in adjustment system. While there are three size options to choose from, it still can be a bit of a pain to find a perfect fit with this lack of adjustment capabilities built into the helmet.
The Lumos Smart Bike Helmet is CPSC certified, so it’s safe for road use. The product comes in two varieties, namely a MIPS version as well as a non-MIPS version. The version with the MIPS system is going to, obviously, run at a much higher cost than the regular version, however, it could be argued the safety factor you get from a MIPS system is well worth the additional cash.
This wicked-looking helmet allows you to not only make other drivers on the road aware of your presence, but it can also illuminate the road ahead as well with its front light system. There is a remote control that can be attached to your handlebars can also indicate when you’re braking and even making turns, just like turn signals on an automobile.
While it comes with a smartphone app (compatible with most, if not all IOS/Android devices) it doesn’t necessarily need a smartphone to function properly. However, the app allows you to track the battery life of your helmet, participate in ride tracking, and it can even automatically update your helmet’s firmware (the internal software that provides basic functions).
While this is an impressive product, it does come with a few flaws. First of all, the one size fits all design can be a negative when trying to get a strong, secure fit. We also noticed serious battery life problems. It can go down as much as 10-15% in just ten minutes. However, this seems to be more of an issue with the smartphone app than with the battery itself, and will possibly be remedied with future updates of the product.
The Sena R1 Smart Communications Helmet is a US CPSC certified helmet, so if you purchase this product, know that you’re purchasing a reliable, safe product for your commuter biking needs. This helmet comes with a sturdy EPS foam interior and the shell is made of a high-grade polymer plastic.
This is an interesting and forward-thinking commuter biking helmet that brings the future a bit closer to you. Utilizing Bluetooth technology, this helmet syncs up with your smartphone and provides numerous high-tech features.
At the press of a button, this helmet pairs up with your smartphone and allows you a lot of options from there on out. You can listen to podcasts, check out radio stations in your area, access Google Maps, and much more. You can even make phone calls while cycling, and the internal sound-canceling microphone setup ensures that you will be heard no matter what inclement environment you happen to be riding in at that moment.
There’s an interconnected intercom system that allows you to sync up with up to four different helmets of the same model, with a maximum range of half a mile. This is a cool way of keeping groups of cyclists connected and informed, and we could see this being of great benefit to cyclists in areas where safety might be of some concern, such as more remote areas.
While this is an impressive product, the downsides are pretty significant. For one, the internal speaker quality is fairly low, and treble-heavy. It would make for a better purchase if the speakers were full-range and of higher quality, especially for the price being asked.
Guide to Buying the Best Commuter Bike Helmet
When making the next step towards purchasing a commuter bike helmet, it’s obvious that you’re going to want maximum protection while not damaging your wallet too much.
The main factor in determining a baseline of safety is making sure whatever commuter bike helmet you purchase has achieved the standards set by the US Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC). This governmental body tests all sorts of products and makes sure that they meet the safety standards set out in the code.
Some of their standards of testing include:
- Making sure the helmet doesn’t come off easily during a fall.
- Whether or not the helmet blocks one’s vision.
- Making sure the straps stay on/don’t stretch during an accident situation.
- Measuring the force applied to the head region at the time of impact.
For a full detailed readout on the CPSC and their standards of testing commuter bike helmets, please visit this link for more information.
Components of the Helmet
The first and most noticeable part of a commuter bike helmet is going to be the outer-area, known as the shell. This is usually going to be made of some sort of hard, durable form of plastic. A good helmet design will be devoid of sharp edges that can hook onto objects, decreasing the chances of neck injury in the process. This is accomplished by a rounded and smooth design structure.
The inner area is going to contain a liner, usually made out of Expanded Polystyrene Foam (EPS). This softens the head from impact during an accident. Some kind of washable padding can also be included in the inner portion of the helmet, but it’s mostly for comfort purposes and to absorb sweat.
Some newer bike helmets come with a Multi-Directional Impact Protection System (MIPS) in place. This is an extremely thin structure inside the helmet that causes your helmet to slide just a little bit (we’re talking millimeters here) across your head during any kind of major impact. This ends up reducing the rotational force that is administered to your head during an accident, which can keep neck injuries as well as concussions at bay. If you want a MIPS helmet, our top choice is a great one.
One thing to note, however, is that you’re definitely going to pay more for bike helmet models that contain the MIPS tech within them, so be aware of that.
How to Make Sure Your Helmet Fits
Prior to purchasing a bike helmet online, it’s a good idea to determine the size that is best going to suit you. This can be done at home.
An easy way to do this is to take something, such as a decently-sized piece of rope or string, and measure the large portion of your head (just above the eyebrows is a good location). Afterward, take that same string and apply it to something accurate, such as a tape measure. The resulting length (inches or centimeters) is going to give you a good baseline of what helmet size you need to be looking for.
Many helmets contain a type of mechanism in the back that adjusts the tightness/snugness of the helmet for more detailed fine-tuning for both the purposes of comfort as well as safety. Make sure that this rear adjustment wheel system is working properly prior to hitting the road.
The chinstrap is going to be another determining factor with the overall fit of your helmet as well. Be sure that when you open your jaw fully that you can feel the topmost portion of the helmet pressing against your head firmly. This is a good indicator that your helmet is tight enough for safety purposes.
Types of Bike Helmets
Here are some common types of bike helmets on the market for the purposes of quick comparison.
Commuter Bike Helmets
Commuters are generally traveling to the office from home and back on a daily basis, no matter what the weather. If the bike is your main mode of transportation, then cover from the elements is going to be a huge factor in the design of these models. They are also going to usually include other safety measures such as reflective surfaces, LED lights and other kinds of systems in place in order to make motor vehicle operators be aware of the presence of a cycler in their field of vision.
Mountain Bike Helmets
These helmets generally offer more protection on the rear of the head, but they sacrifice ventilation apertures, usually to keep flying objects like sharp stones from coming through said vents. A lot of these helmet models also come with visors to keep sun glare to a minimum. The team obsidian helmet on our list is a good mountain biking helmet that could be used by a commuter.
This is the general type of casual bike helmet you’re going to normally see. It’s multi-purpose and can be used by all sorts of individuals, even non-biking enthusiasts such as skateboarders. Road helmets are generally going to be lighter than others and have great ventilation systems in place and will not normally come with a visor since they can hinder a person’s vision.
These are competition-based helmets that aren’t meant solely for commuter/hobby use. They are designed with the singular purpose of slicing through the air efficiently, maximizing cycling speed. On top of that, they will usually be easy to take on and off and will have some sort of one-handed system in place allowing for fast transition from cycling to some other portion of a triathlon, such as running or swimming.
A sturdy, good-quality commuter bike helmet is probably going to be the most important purchase you’re ever going to make if biking is your main method of transit. This is especially important in busy metropolitan areas where traffic is dicey, and one wrong move can potentially leave you careening into a wall or a fire hydrant headfirst. While this is a sobering thing to think about potentially happening to you or a loved one, it’s an important reality to face when it comes to purchasing the best bike helmet based on your budget and individual needs.
We genuinely hope this list of commuter bike helmets has not only informed you properly but also moved you in the right direction towards making an appropriate purchase. Once you’ve snagged a high-caliber bicycle helmet, you can ride the roadways knowing you can withstand the worst. Cycle safe.