The Ultimate Guide to Electric Scooter Helmet Selection

Paul Strobel
Paul Strobel
July 9, 2020
girl standing with her electric scooter and full-face helmet
Table of Contents

Introduction

There’s a lot to love about electric scooters. They’re fast, fun, and great for both kids and adults. They can also be risky because of their speed, so safety is a top priority. Even though you follow all the riding safety recommendations, a crash could still be devastating. To properly protect yourself, you should wear a helmet.

There aren’t electric scooter-specific helmets, so how do you choose one? Depending on how fast your e-scooter goes, you’ll need a certain type of helmet for the best protection. We’ll give recommendations for each helmet type. There are also buying considerations to keep in mind, like safety certifications and ventilation. In this guide, we’ll provide all the information you need to make your helmet selection.

Do I really need a helmet for riding an electric scooter?

You’ve probably seen people riding scooters without helmets, so maybe you’re wondering if you really need one. The answer is a resounding yes! For electric scooters, the most common type of injury is head trauma. Based on data, you’re also more likely to get injured in a fall as opposed to getting hit by a car or crashing into something. That means even if you’re riding in an area with no obvious danger, you can still hurt yourself just by falling.

The dangers of Electric Scooters - E-scooter injury statistics infographic

Do helmets actually work? For cyclists, helmets reduce the risk of head injuries by 51%. There’s also a 44% reduced chance of an injury killing a rider. Safety-wise, electric scooters are somewhat similar to bike riding though it may be slightly more dangerous given the higher speeds and smaller wheels. Even if you’ve never crashed or fallen off your electric scooter before, it only takes one bad accident to change your life - or end it - so start wearing a helmet.

What kind of helmet should I wear?

There aren’t helmets specifically made for electric scooters, so you’ll want to look at helmets designed for bikes or motorcycles. Not every helmet will keep you as safe as you want to be. There are three main types to know about: a bike helmet, a downhill/mountain-bike helmet, and a motorcycle helmet.

electric scooter helmet selection guide infographic

Bike helmets

These are your standard cycling helmets. The inner lining is soft, while the outer shell is hard. When impacted, the shell spreads the force over a wider area. This guards your skull against fractures. The soft inside helps absorb the energy of the impact, too. Most shells are made from composite materials like carbon fiber, hard plastic, or fiberglass. Liners are typically made of two thick layers of form, one soft and one harder. The downside is that bike helmets don’t provide any face or jaw protection. While your skull will be protected, a bad crash can still do severe damage to your face and chin.

We only recommend standard bike helmets for electric scooters that go up to 10 mph. Even then, a bike helmet represents the bare minimum in terms of protection. Make sure the helmet has been certified by CPSC, Snell B90/B95, CSA, ASTM, or EN. In the United States, the CPSC standard is a legal requirement. It’s based on Snell and ASTM standards. Snell is considered a premium standard.

Downhill/mountain bike helmets

For the best protection at low speeds up to 20mph, you should wear a downhill/MTB helmet. This helmet type is still lightweight and provides decent ventilation, but it holds up better during impacts than a regular bike helmet. Downhill helmets were created because people saw that downhill racing resulted in more crashes. A better helmet was necessary. Downhill helmets include EPS foam and materials like fiberglass, hard plastic, or carbon fiber.

If you want the best protection, look for the ASTM F1952 certification. Not all helmets that meet this standard have chin bars. If they do, they have been tested. Ones with removable chin bars are given two tests - one with the chin bar and one without. We recommend a full-face downhill helmet to protect your entire face properly. If you only wear a standard bike helmet or downhill helmet without a chin bar, you’re leaving a very vulnerable area exposed. Downhill helmets provide basic protection up to 30mph.

Motorcycle helmets

If your electric scooter reaches high speeds (40mph), you should wear a motorcycle helmet. Practically all motorcycle helmets are full-faced which means you'll have full protection of your skull, face, and jaw. They provide some protection around your neck, as well. This matters because, during motorcycle crashes that affect the head, the chin receives 50% of severe impacts. Motorcycle helmets are usually vented, so even though your whole head and face are covered, you won’t get too hot and sweaty. During the winter, you can usually close the vents. Since you can’t wear sunglasses with a full-face helmet, many helmets now include various tints. This makes your ride safer during different light conditions.

The best helmet type for you depends on how fast your scooter goes. Are you more interested in range than in speed? Then you’ll want to look at the electric scooter’s battery. Here’s our guide on batteries.

Best Electric Scooter Helmets: Our Recommendations

Whether you’re riding a low-speed scooter or a high-speed one, which specific electric scooter helmets should you consider? We have some recommendations for standard bike helmets, downhill helmets, and motorcycle helmets.

Best Bike Helmet: Basecamp Bike Helmet

BASE CAMP Adult Bike Helmet with Rear Light for Urban Commuter

Made from high-density PC+EPS foam and a polycarbonate shell, this helmet provides decent protection for low-speed electric scooters. It’s CPSC & CE certified, so you can be sure it’s street legal. Basecamp has a Dual Fit adjustable design, so there’s an adjusting knob at the back of the helmet and an adjustable strap. The helmet is designed for both men and women, so it works for a variety of head shapes. For comfort, there are 28 breathable vents

This bike helmet also comes with some really neat features that make your e-scooter ride even safer. There’s an LED rear light with three lighting modes, so you’re more visible on the road. For your vision, there are also detachable magnetic gray goggles. These block strong UV light and debris. If you wear regular glasses, the goggles will fit over them.

Best Downhill/MTB Helmet: Bell Sanction

Bell Sanction Adult Full Face Bike Helmet

For the best mid-range protection, we recommend this full-face downhill helmet from Bell. It meets CPSC and CE EN1078 standards. A lightweight helmet, it was designed with BMX and mountain bike riders in mind, so it’s a bit smaller than similar Bell helmets. It’s sold in XS, S, M, and L. The outer shell is made from ABS material. The 15 vents keep you cool even during the summer heat. For face protection, there’s an adjustable visor. This visor also shields your eyes from dirt, bugs, and sunlight. Several color options are available.

Best Motorcycle Helmet: Bell Qualifier

Bell Qualifier Full-Face Motorcycle Helmet

For the absolute best possible protection on high-speed electric scooters, look no further than the Bell Qualifier. This full-face motorcycle helmet is packed with features designed for your safety. The shell is made from a polycarbonate/ABS composite material. It’s aerodynamic, lightweight, and strong. It’s DOT approved and meets the FMVSS 218 standard. Inside the helmet, there are contoured cheek pads for a great fit. The interior is anti-bacterial, removable, and washable. There are also speaker pockets.

The other unique feature is the click release shield system. The helmet ships with a clear shield, but you can opt for a tinted one if you want. Switching the shields is easy and fast. All shields have NutraFog II anti-fog, UV protection, and anti-scratch. The padded wind collar helps reduce noise from the wind and road. Sizes X-Small through XX-large are available.

What features should I consider when buying a helmet?

We provided some recommendations for electric scooter helmets, but if you want to keep shopping on your own, what features should you consider? Knowing what’s important lets you choose the best one for your needs.

Safety certifications

Different standards apply to different helmets depending on their type. That means if you’re looking at a helmet and expecting a certification that doesn’t apply, you may think the helmet is less safe than it actually is.

Bike helmet certifications

Bicycle helmets, which we only recommend for low speeds, have several certifications that can apply. CPSC is the bare minimum in the United States as it is required by law. ASTM F1447 also applies to helmets for recreational biking and roller skates. Snell is a voluntary private standard with slightly more strict tests. Helmets marked with B-90A or B-95 passed the test.

Downhill helmet certifications

For downhill helmets, it’s a good idea to look into ones with the ASTM F1952 certification. These have passed stricter tests than helmets with only a CPSC or ASTM F1447 standard. While downhill helmets with CPSC may include more coverage at the back of the head, that part hasn’t been tested. As we mentioned before, F1952 doesn’t require chinbars, but if the helmet has one, the chinbar is tested.

Motorcycle helmet certifications

Motocross and motorcycle helmets use slightly different standards. By law, all motorcycle helmets in the US must be certified with the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) FMVSS 218 standard. To travel on public roads in Europe, all motorcycle and scooter riders must have an ECE-certified helmet. Basic legal requirements represent the bare minimum of protection. Helmets with a Snell M-2005 and M-2010 certification have gone through additional tests. For children’s motorcycle helmets, the Snell standards are CMR/CMS 2007.

Ventilation

Helmets are designed to protect your head, but they can get very hot and uncomfortable particularly in the summer season. That’s because body heat can get trapped inside the helmet if it isn't properly ventilated.

Unfortunately, while the interior foam in a helmet keeps you protected, it also holds heat really well. That’s why ventilation is important. Vents allow better airflow over your head, which is really essential in hot weather. The more vents you have, the cooler you’ll be, but most electric scooter riders don’t need helmets with tons of vents. If you have too many vents, the helmet has less foam to keep you protected. Helmets with big vents are also more expensive.

Currently, there aren’t tests for ventilation. No standard includes a specific test for cooling because it’s too tricky. As the rider, you are the best judge for what works for you.

Weight and size

Helmet weight affects how tired you get riding your scooter. It takes more energy to ride with a heavy helmet than with a really light one. Most regular bicycle helmets are fairly light. If you get a really lightweight one that still meets safety standards, it can feel like you’re barely wearing a helmet at all. Downhill helmets are usually a bit heavier, but depending on the materials they’re using, they’re still pretty light. Full-face motorcycle helmets are always heavier. Generally, these weigh between 1400-1800 grams.

If you're riding on a 10 MPH e-scooter, a motorcycle helmet will probably be overkill as it's too heavy and you may even lose some balance when looking back at low speeds.

The last feature you need to consider is the helmet’s size. One-size-fits-all helmets come with adjustable straps and/or knobs. Many come in different sizes, though, so you need to know your measurements. To measure your head circumference, get a flexible tape measure, and wrap it around the largest part of your head. That’s one inch above your eyebrows. In general, sizing looks like:

Helmet SizeMeasurements (cm)
XS< 51 cm
S51-55 cm
M55-59 cm
L59-63 cm
XL> 63 cm

Besides a helmet, what other accessories can enhance your ride? Check out our guide on the 10 best electric scooter accessories.

Conclusion

girl with her electric scooter helmet in the sunset

Studies prove that helmets save lives and provide protection during accidents. Even if you’re an experienced electric scooter rider and you’ve never crashed, it only takes one bad accident to change everything. With all the helmets out there, how do you choose? The first step is picking the right helmet type for your speed. If you’re going at low speeds under 20 mph, a standard bike helmet gives you the minimum amount of protection. A downhill helmet is the better choice, even at lower speeds. For really fast scooters that hit 30-40 mph, we recommend motorcycle helmets. Full-face ones protect your skull, face, and some of your neck.

Once you’ve narrowed down your helmet choices a little, think about features like safety certifications, ventilation, weight, and size. If you try a helmet and you don’t like it, keep looking. A helmet isn’t useful unless you’re actually wearing it on every ride, so make sure it’s comfortable and checks off all your must-haves. If you ever do get into an accident, you’ll be grateful you picked the right helmet.

Damaged your electric scooter in a crash? Here’s what to do when your scooter needs repairs.

Paul Strobel
Paul Strobel

Owner and editor of ERideHero. This website is the culmination of my passion for electric rideables, gadgets, and thrill-seeking. Feel free to get in touch with me if you have questions.

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