For lacrosse players, finding the right helmet isn’t an option, it’s an obligation. There’s nothing worse than suffering through an entire game with an ill-fitting helmet that either cuts off circulation, wobbles around on your head, or fails to protect you in your time of need.
We have put together this buyer’s guide along with our list of the top 10 lacrosse helmets to help you find the perfect lacrosse helmet for your needs.
- Features to Consider in Good Lacrosse Helmets
- Top 10 Best Lacrosse Helmets 2021
- 1. Cascade CPX-R Helmet
- 2. Cascade S Lacrosse Helmet
- 3. Cascade CPV-R Lacrosse Helmet
- 4. Cascade LX Women’s Lacrosse Headgear
- 5. STX Rival Lacrosse Helmet
- 6. STX Lacrosse Stallion 600 Helmet
- 7. Cascade CS-R Youth Lacrosse Helmet
- 8. WARRIOR Matte EVO Helmet
- 9. STX Stallion 100 Youth Helmet
- 10. WARRIOR Burn JR Helmet
- Guide to Buying the Best Lacrosse Helmets
- Bottom Line
Features to Consider in Good Lacrosse Helmets
A full-contact, high-speed sport, lacrosse is not for the weak of will or for those who shy away from conflict. Having the proper protective gear is essential for ensuring the safety of everyone on the field. Finding a safe lacrosse helmet is simple, but finding the best helmet for you can be a more involved process.
NOCSAE Safety Standards
Any reputable dealer will only carry lacrosse helmets that have met safety standards outlined by the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE). You will find the NOCSAE sticker located on helmets or packaging for helmets that have been tested and proven to be effective.
Fitting Your Helmet
Finding the right fit is the next step for ensuring that the helmet in question will work for your needs. A lacrosse helmet should be snug but not so tight as to be uncomfortable for prolonged use. The fit should feel like it’s firmly grasping your head and the helmet should not slide around on your head once the chin strap is in place.
Facemask and Style
The next thing to be on the lookout for is a facemask style that protects you but also provides you with excellent visibility. Some people have different preferences for where the crossbars are located in terms of impacting their view. The order of importance for finding a helmet is as follows: a helmet that has been tested appropriately, one that fits well, and one that is your preferred style.
The lacrosse helmet is arguably the most important piece of protective gear on the field at any time. This is why finding the right lacrosse helmet for you is so important. Here are our top picks for lacrosse helmets in 2021.
Top 10 Best Lacrosse Helmets 2021
Featuring Seven Technology, the Cascade CPX-R Helmet provides impact absorption which helps to manage energy transfer and reduce the damage caused by direct impacts. The clean design features a wide viewing angle thanks to the oversized facemask which offers protection and visibility at the same time.
The helmet is outfitted with a buckled, cross-face chinstrap setup that allows for secure adjustments to the fit to be made with ease. There are also adequately-sized ventilation ports to help keep you cool during intense lacrosse matches. The ventilation system is created to provide maximal airflow without negatively impacting the structural integrity of the helmet.
This helmet is a no-frills offering that refuses to sacrifice performance for cost or style. While the helmet is fairly attractive, it’s designed with performance as the foremost factor in mind. This helmet is the standard by which other lacrosse helmets are compared an is an easy recommendation for most lacrosse athletes. That doesn’t mean this helmet is perfect for you, but it’s a great place to start.
Top of the Line
This helmet is as good as it gets within a reasonable price range for lacrosse helmets. It features Cascade Tri-Liner protective technology that can absorb impacts from any direction during play. The Cascade S Lacrosse Helmet is also equipped with Gen4 EPP that is designed to protect specifically against impacts towards the front of the helmet and facemask.
Sporting a chrome facemask, the Cascade S Lacrosse Helmet provides the utmost in protection, comfort, and style. Possibly the greatest lacrosse helmet ever made, this is an easy purchase if the added cost isn’t a deal-breaker for you.
The Cascade CPX-R Helmet edged out the Cascade S Lacrosse Helmet by a narrow margin and primarily due to the fact that the Cascade S is the most expensive item on our list. While nearly $100 more expensive than the number one spot, this helmet provides unparalleled protection with a stylish flair.
While the Cascade CPV-R might not boast all of the features of its more costly brother products, it still provides great security for your noggin during play. The facemask is designed to provide protection while also offering good visibility. It may not offer quite as much of a wide viewing angle as the items above, but it’s still a quality offering that won’t negatively impact your play.
The CPV-R comes in a large variety of sizes and colors which should make it easy for you to find the right fit and a color that complements your personality or your team’s. Its practical design focuses on providing the essentials for safe play while reducing the cost to pass the savings down to you, the customer.
The R-Series Shell features FreeFlow venting to help keep you cool in the heat of action without sacrificing safety. All of Cascade’s R-Series helmets have been tested for their effectiveness in the absorption of impacts to the face and skull. This helmet will keep you safe throughout your career as long as you practice proper maintenance skills.
Women’s Lacrosse Helmet
Female lacrosse helmets are typically not mandatory; however, goggles are required. For many lacrosse players, goggles can be uncomfortable. The Cascade LX Women’s Lacrosse Headgear provides security for the head while also offering goggle-like eye protection that meets the safety requirements without the discomfort of standard goggles.
Despite the fact that helmets are not required in most female leagues, there is always a chance for head injuries to occur in regular lacrosse play. The Cascade headgear provides a wonderful mix of protection and comfort for female lacrosse competitors.
The Cascade LX Women’s Lacrosse Headgear features an integrated goggle system that relieves the pressure of standard goggles while also protecting the top and back of the head from impact. By leaving the lower part of the facemask completely open and creating large ventilation holes throughout the helmet, this piece of headgear can be worn comfortably throughout long play sessions.
This helmet also features dual hair slots for players with long hair that want to wear the helmet comfortably. There is also a rear-adjustable strap to provide more options for situating hair comfortably inside and outside the headgear. This helmet offers protection from impacts without sacrificing comfort or visibility and while meeting the women’s lacrosse requirements of goggle protection.
Cascade’s primary competitor, STX, has made a wonderful lacrosse helmet with their STX Rival Lacrosse Helmet model. Its design in both form and function are close seconds to the offerings of Cascade. Personally, I prefer the look of the STX Rival to that of the Cascade S and when you factor in the fact that the Rival is almost $50 cheaper, it starts to look like a great alternative.
The protective foam system inside the STX Rival provides the ability to pump air into the pads to increase the pressure and tightness of the fit inside the helmet. This customization allows for fine-tuning of fit that may be preferred by some.
The STX Rival Lacrosse Helmet comes in a ton of color options including matte black which has always been a personal favorite of mine. The overall design of the helmet is a bit more intimidating, but some users have reported some discomfort where the helmet meets their forehead due to the difference in design compared to the Cascade S.
The STX Rival Lacrosse Helmet is a great piece of equipment, but it’s impossible to not compare it with Cascade’s offerings. The STX Rival is roughly .5 lbs heavier than the Cascade S which can be a big issue for many. Furthermore, the ventilation system in the STX Rival is slightly more stuffy comparably. An in-depth comparison video can be found here.
Ultimately, choosing one over the other comes down to preference and we considered the Cascade to have the upper hand in the direct comparison due to pricing and overall comfort. That doesn’t necessarily mean you would have the same opinion, so if you like the look of STX, rest assured you’re making very few sacrifices in terms of quality.
The STX Lacrosse Stallion 600 is competitively priced slightly lower than the Cascade CPV-R, placing it neatly in the middle range of cost-effectiveness by attempting to be considerably cheaper than the CPX-R and slightly better than the CPV-R. Fitting into that narrow range of cost to performance ratio is a difficult task.
The Stallion 600 is an evolution of the older Stallion 500 model and features a more ergonomic design. It combines comfort liner and TPU Cushioning in a hybrid system that offers great comfort, fit, and impact absorption. This helmet also features STX’s great Surefit Air Liner system which allows you to pump the helmet’s cushioning with air to dial in the perfect fit.
Additional TPU side pads have been added to elevate the comfort and fit above the Stallion 500. The adjustable EVA jaw pads also sport TPU cushioning for absorbing impacts. The jaw pads are available in various sizes to allow for a customizable fit.
The low popularity of STX Stallion helmets has made these an item that is frequently discounted. However, this helmet doesn’t provide great value if you’re paying the full price for it.
The build quality of this helmet is similar to that of the adult Cascade offerings but with a more simplified of a design to keep the size and price down. It utilizes Memory Foam side pads to provide a secure and comfortable fit for the little one during play. This JR. R mask has a 3-bar design for the facemask that is better for smaller faces to provide good vision at a reduced weight.
The Cascade CS-R Youth Lacrosse Helmet used an upgraded Full Pivot System that is specifically designed to fit the anatomy of smaller children under the age of 12. The rear third of the liner is modified to keep a grip on smaller skulls to keep them safe without allowing for slippage. This helmet is as close as youth players can get to the full-featured adult offerings.
Designed for Youth
Youth lacrosse helmets can be difficult to find due to the relatively low popularity of the sport, especially for younger children. This makes the offerings available rather slim. However, Cascade has created a great product at a reasonable price for children who pick up the sport of lacrosse in their early years.
This helmet provides children with a comfortable and secure fit that uses top-notch materials and build quality to offer a snug fit that keeps them safe. The rating for this helmet is only low due to the fact that youth helmets can only last someone for a short period of their life and youth lacrosse is a fairly underpopulated sport. The first elite youth helmet on the market, the Cascade Youth CS-R Elite Lacrosse Helmet offers best-in-class protection and comfort designed specifically to cradle the heads of younger players.
Custom Boa Fit System
The WARRIOR EVO Helmet takes advantage of Boa’s clever custom fit system that allows you to dial in your perfect fit without fiddling with clumsy straps. The system allows for easy fine-tuning of fit and quick access for tightening, loosening, or completely removing the helmet. While a tightening system isn’t reason enough to buy one lacrosse helmet over another, it’s a nice added bonus.
WARRIOR is known for making sturdy sports equipment that can stand the test of time. The WARRIOR Matte EVO Helmet is no exception to that rule. Its Viconic EAS liner offers enhanced impact protection with 100% recoverability. The Viconic EAS liner system was co-created with the market-leading automotive impact protection company to provide lacrosse players with the utmost in head protection.
Equipped with cutting edge helmet technology, the WARRIOR Evo Lacrosse Helmet provides great protection and a secure fit. This WARRIOR helmet provides great visibility and offers a striking design.
Equipped with a chrome facemask, the WARRIOR Matte EVO helmet creates an intimidating visage on the lacrosse player’s head. The chrome facemask is also said to help some with visibility thanks to its reflective coating. This helmet is a solid option for those who want to stand out from the crowd without sacrificing protection.
STX is Cascade’s primary competitor in the world of lacrosse helmets and their build quality is right up there with the best. The major downside of the STX Stallion 100 Helmet is that the build quality comes with a slightly heavier weight compared to Cascade offerings.
The STX Stallion 100 Lacrosse Helmet offers an ABS shell with impact modifiers molded into the plastic for enhanced strength and durability. With an advanced EPP liner, this helmet provides consistent coverage and fit throughout the entire shell. It also sports adjustable EVA jaw pads that incorporate TPU cushioning for superior impact absorption. The jaw pads can be custom ordered in varying sizes to provide an optimal fit.
Similarities between the Cascade CS-R Youth Helmet and the STX Stallion 100 Youth Helmet must be drawn. The STX Youth Lacrosse Helmet is a bit heavier in comparison while both share the same price point. Deciding between the two is likely to come down to a personal preference for your child as both are quality helmets that provide great comfort and protection for young lacrosse players.
This helmet utilizes less expensive but still effective materials to keep the weight and cost of production down. Unfortunately, its base price is quite high. When on sale though, it’s a good deal.
Paying a premium price for the Cascade or STX youth offerings seems a bit silly and unnecessary when you consider how many seasons your child is likely to get out of their youth-sized helmet. This is especially true when you consider the relative amount of force your child’s head will be likely to be impacted by playing against other children in the same age group.
This helmet has a sturdy shell and is lined with vinyl nitrate foam liner to keep the head cushioned from impacts. It also has an easy Velcro pull-tab fitting system to allow for quick and easy adjustments of fit. This helmet meets NOCSAE standards and is SEI certified, but doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of the other two youth offerings on this list.
The ventilation system is a bit lacking so the player’s head will most likely get warmer inside this helmet compared to the other youth helmets on our list. However, this is unlikely to be noticed by younger players and saving money on a helmet that is probably only going to be used for a season or two is a valid option.
Guide to Buying the Best Lacrosse Helmets
Due to the blistering pace and full-contact nature of the sport, getting the best lacrosse helmet for you is imperative. There are a few key things to keep in mind when it comes to buying a lacrosse helmet. Here are the key considerations for buying a lacrosse helmet, listed in order of importance.
When lacrosse was first played by Native Americans who wore no protective equipment whatsoever. The rate of injuries in lacrosse prior to protective wear was much higher than it is today. Lacrosse was actually featured in the 1904 Summer Olympics and even then, no protective equipment was to be found.
It wasn’t until 1928 that helmets were finally put to use, but those thin caps of leather were a far cry from the advanced helmets of today and only some players actually wore them. Facemasks were later introduced in the 1940s and in the early 1960s, the bucket design was implemented to offer more cranium protection from impacts.
The next evolution in lacrosse helmet technology didn’t occur until the mid to late 1990s when Cascade introduced their first helmet. Cascade would go on to dominate the lacrosse helmet scene even up to now when it has only a couple of competitors.
Lacrosse helmets are built similarly to football helmets with a handful of modifications to optimize their performance for the different requirements of the sport. One of the primary differences between football helmets and lacrosse helmets is their overall weight and the much more open design of the facemasks.
A lacrosse helmet is designed with mobility, agility, and visibility as the primary considerations after safety and this is obvious just by looking at them. Despite the emphasis on lighter weights, lacrosse helmets still seek to provide optimal protection against impacts to the face and cranium.
Lacrosse players have a historically high rate of concussions due to the fast-paced and full-contact nature of the sport. However, those rates have gone down in recent years thanks, in large part, to improvements in helmet safety technology.
Lacrosse Helmet Technology
New kinds of foam liners have been developed over the years that are light and comfortable while having the ability to instantly become more rigid when an impact occurs to help absorb the shock of the impact evenly throughout the helmet.
The construction of a lacrosse helmet includes several primary components:
- Shell – The hard, plastic carapace that makes up the outside of the helmet is essential for protecting the head from sharp blows. The shell must be sturdy but also light enough to not interfere with the athlete’s mobility and comfort. Most shells include ventilation holes to allow the helmet to breathe and prevent overheating.
- Impact Liner – Inside, the shell has a system of foam liner pieces that absorb impacts to the head of the athlete during play. The thickness and density of these foam pieces are essential for ensuring the athlete’s safety.
- Facemask – The facemask acts as a barrier between the athlete’s face and any incoming objects while still allowing them to see what they’re doing. The design of the bars is intended to maximize visibility while minimizing the potential for dangerous objects to get to the player’s face.
- Chin Bar – This part of the helmet is designed to protect the jaw as well as the upper throat from impacts.
- Chinstrap – The chinstrap is used to snugly secure the helmet onto the athlete’s head. The strap can be cinched to dial in the perfect fit for each person’s head.
Finding the Right Fit
Getting a helmet that fits properly is essential for ensuring your protection and comfort during play.
Lacrosse helmets need to be snug and tight while not exerting so much pressure as to be unduly uncomfortable. Getting your head into the helmet is likely to be slightly uncomfortable, but once you have the helmet firmly in place, it shouldn’t be more than slightly uncomfortable and ideally not at all.
The padding inside the helmet should feel like a firm grasp on your skull but it shouldn’t cause bruising or tension. Once your head is securely inside the helmet, you should snap the chinstrap in place and cinch it until it sits snugly without any slack. The chinstrap should be firmly in place but not uncomfortably so.
Once you have the chinstrap cinched and all buckles are fastened, you should test the fit of the helmet. Testing for a proper fit involves simulating play by vigorously moving about and shaking your head. The helmet should not move much if at all on your head and the skin of your forehead should move with the helmet as it wiggles slightly. You should always be able to see out of the top opening and the mask should never slide on your head.
Helmets should be kept in good shape and checked regularly after play for any dents, cracks, or bends. If your helmet appears compromised in any way that isn’t purely cosmetic, repair or replacement should become a priority immediately. The safety of a helmet can be compromised by damage to its structure.
The last consideration for your lacrosse helmet should be its style and appearance. Wanting to stand out from the rest of the players with a cool-looking helmet is great, but style should never come at the cost of safety. Don’t get the cooler-looking helmet if it doesn’t fit as well as another one.
It’s important to understand that looking good doesn’t count for much if you’re sent to the hospital because of an ill-fitting or poorly-constructed helmet. The look of a helmet can be relatively easy to alter by applying decals or paints so don’t be afraid to get a little crafty with your lacrosse helmet as long as you aren’t modifying the structure or any of the aspects of the helmet listed above in the Safety First section.
If you can find a helmet that fits great, has high safety standards, and looks cool then you’ve definitely hit the jackpot. When searching for a lacrosse helmet, keep your expectations in check and focus on function over form. You can select from an array of colors through amazon and even add your own custom decals.
Lacrosse has been rising in popularity in North America in recent years as one of the fastest growing sports in America. Considered to be “America’s first sport”, lacrosse was played by early Native Americans. When the French first witnessed the game being played in North America they thought the sticks being used looked like a bishop’s crosier, hence the name “lacrosse” was given to the sport.
If you’re a lacrosse player, safety should be your top concern and protecting the top of your body is on the top of that list. Lacrosse safety equipment is highly recommended for all levels of play, helmets in particular. However, not all pieces of equipment are required depending on the league in which you play.
To learn more about lacrosse equipment requirements and how to measure your body to find the right size, check out this detailed resource put together by Lacrosse Unlimited. For information on lacrosse injuries and how to avoid them, go to UPMC’s helpful resource found here.
Wearing the proper equipment for your sport will help you reduce the risk of injury and increase your overall enjoyment of the competition by alleviating your worries. Finding the best lacrosse helmet should be easy with this resource at hand. Good luck with your search and have fun on the field!