It’s so important to buy tools you can rely on – and this is especially true in baseball. There’s a reason why the pros stick to the bat they know they can rely on. It not only helps with confidence, but the hitter knows for a fact that the bat can handle whatever the pitcher has in store that day. But in my opinion, finding the best baseball helmet is a lot more important than finding the right bat.
You trust your bat with the game, but you trust your helmet with your life.
What I’m saying can be easy to brush off for some. But the average speed of a pitch is now 93.2mph. And it’s only increasing.
These are cold hard facts. There’s no denying the risk of getting hurt on the field. You’ve at least gotten a few scratches during practice.
However, the injuries that a ball to the head cause can’t be fixed with salt tablets. It has grave consequences to the player’s well being.
But before I do, it’s vital that I discuss why you need a helmet, how it can protect you from injury – and God forbid – complete loss of function.
Why Do You Need A Helmet?
Have you heard the name? No? That’s fine; most of us haven’t.
What’s important here is not the name but the story.
Ray was a shortstop his entire career for the Cleveland Indians back in the 1900s.
However, the horrific end of his life was caused by a pitch to the head. Ray passed away 12 hours after the injury.
And you must remember this is the MLB we’re talking about. Chapman wasn’t an unofficial player in some unrecognized league. It’s on record, and you can read all about it here.
Fatal injuries in baseball aren’t a myth. It’s entirely plausible to assume that the risks of deadly hits from errant pitches increase regardless of what league the player is in without the right protection.
It’s his life that was the cost of the regulations we have in leagues today.
A helmet could save your life. But it will protect you from traumatic brain injuries.
Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)
Nicole Levy, MD, a sports medicine specialist at Rush University Medical Center, encourages every person engaged in every sport to wear a helmet.
If you’re looking to get your child into baseball, finding the right helmet can be a chore.
That’s because there’s so much to consider – you need the helmet to be the right color, have the right size, and offer the right comfort.
The Rawlings Coolflo Youth Batting Helmet delivers on all three counts – its helmet kids love to wear!
It comes in five colors – black, royal blue, scarlet red, navy blue, and pink.
It’ll fit children aged 3-8 with ease, and the padding inside supplies the protection you’d expect out of a Rawlings helmet.
It can be adjusted between 6 1/4” and 7 1/8”. It’s large enough to supply both the comfort and protection that kids in this age group require.
The helmet meets NOCSAE standards, which is one of the primary reasons it made it to the list. However, there’s a lot more like about the helmet.
It comes pre-drilled for Rawlings NOCSAE-approved face guards, which in my opinion, every parent must install on their child’s helmet.
The ABS plastic shell guarantees protection, and it’s molded finish gives it a sleek, cool look that kids love.
But that’s not even the best thing about it.
The helmet integrates the Rawlings CoolFlo venting system, which coupled a specially designed sweat-wicking lining with an aerodynamic design to keep the child feeling cool and comfortable for the duration of the game.
The EVA dual-density foam used cushions any impacts and protects your child when it counts. The front logo is removable for a nice, slick look.
Breathable and comfortable helmet
Comes in five colors
No hole for a ponytail – but there’s enough space for it to fit
8-12-year-olds tend to be very picky when it comes to what they want – and this trait extends to when you’re getting them a helmet.
Now, they may not understand the value of staying safe on the field, but luckily, Rawlings makes some of the best-looking (and safest!) softball helmets in the industry.
The Rawlings Highlighter Series Softball helmet is offered in 11 different colors – all of which come with a beautiful matte finish.
All you have to worry about is picking the color your child likes. The helmet is NOCSAE certified, and you don’t have to worry about your child’s safety on the field.
The helmet has a hat size of 6 ½” – 7 ½”, and it will fit 8-12-year-olds perfectly. Of course, you can always measure your child’s hat size before purchasing using the methods I highlight in the guide below.
But one of the best things about the helmet is that it comes with Rawlings CoolFlo design. It helps the child stay cool and comfortable in high-pressure situations like after the second strike.
Composure is key to success in the game, and the helmet will help your child keep a cool head (literally).
Another great advantage of using this helmet is that it comes with a softball face guard attached.
The inclusion of the guard is a tremendous advantage, considering that children begin to develop good hand-eye coordination only with practice, and you don’t want them getting hurt.
EASTON is one of the best-known sports brands because they make products that can help players play better when it counts.
The PROWESS helmet is one of these products which is why it makes it on our list for the best baseball helmets. It’s engineered to suit the female athlete perfectly. The helmet is designed to eliminate all hair pulling when it is worn and taken off.
It comes with a reinforced flat-bill design, which enhances visibility and maximizes sightlines.
But that’s only the start.
Its integrated facemask boasts hidden hardware, which makes for a sleeker, more streamlined look.
Additionally, the shell is reinforced in the critical impact regions, but you won’t feel this when you wear it. The helmet’s balanced shell design ensures that you don’t feel pressure anywhere on your head with the helmet on.
The included chinstrap is another big plus since it virtually guarantees that your helmet won’t slip off when you run bases.
Its BioDri fabric works to keep the helmet dry through the duration of the game, and comfort counts for a lot when you’re on the field on a hot day.
It’s NOCSAE certified, which is a prerequisite for making it on this list. However, one great advantage with it is that it’s compatible with universal padding fit kits.
You will be able to adjust the already very comfortable helmet to your liking as you see fit!
The only thing you want to be focused on when you’re on the field is knocking the ball out of the park.
Worrying about your safety will distract you, and it may even shatter your confidence and affect your ability to play well.
Taking your focus off the ball is not an option – especially if you’re up against a wild pitcher.
Getting a baseball helmet that fits well, feels comfortable, offers top-notch protection, and lasts long is a great way to avoid getting anxious on the field.
This way, the only thing you’ll need to think about is making contact!
Here’s a comprehensive guide that will help you find the perfect helmet.
NOCSAE stands for National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment. It’s a non-profit organization that aims to reduce athletic injuries and death by ensuring the highest safety standards in sports equipment.
Buying the best baseball helmets that are approved/certified by NOCSAE is the best way to ensure your safety on the field. These helmets are designed and tested to protect you from dangerous fastballs to the head.
Many companies make these helmets, and NOCSAE certified helmets are available in all sizes for and for players of all ages.
To find if a helmet is NOCSAE certified, look for the NOCSAE certification sticker.
Single or Double Earflap
You’ve seen pro baseball before, and maybe you’ve even been to live games.
It’s easy to notice that most batting helmets have one earflap even if you don’t pay much attention to what the hitter is wearing.
The earflap is always facing the pitcher. If the player is right-handed, the earflap is on the left ear, protecting the hitter from errant balls.
Similarly, the earflap is on the right ear if the hitter is left-handed.
However, you will also have noticed that some hitters wear helmets with double earflaps.
This is only required if the batter is a switch hitter – meaning they bat with both their right and left hand.
If you’re not a switch hitter yourself, you can get a helmet according to what hand you play with.
But there’s another critical thing you must remember:
Double flapped helmets are mandatory in the majority of leagues below the professional level.
If you’re in high school or playing in college, you will need to get a double-flapped helmet. Helmets designed for younger players typically have double flaps because it is mandatory in the youth/little league.
Still, it’s best to remember to check if it supplies ample protection to your son or daughter.
The two earflaps serve a dual purpose. In addition to safeguarding you when you’re batting at the plate, they also keep you protected when you’re running the bases.
When you’re trying to steal bases or diving back into a base, double flapped helmets serve as the required protection.
The best baseball helmets will not provide the protection it was designed to provide if it doesn’t fit you well.
It’s important to get a helmet that isn’t loose-fitting. It may slide off the head when you run bases, and there is a chance that you get hit by a ball at that point, which can be really dangerous.
You must make sure that the helmet fits you snugly at all points of your head. The
An excellent way to find if a helmet will fit you is to use a soft tape measure and measure the circumference of your head from right above your eyebrows.
If you don’t have a soft tape measure, you can use a string to find the length and then measure it using a regular ruler.
Another reliability test is to shake your head or sprint when wearing the helmet. The helmet must not tilt back or pull too low over your forehead when you do this.
Additionally, it mustn’t move side to side. If the helmet shifts a lot during these tests, return it.
If you find a helmet that fits you well but aren’t sure that it’ll stay on your head when you run, you can get a chin strap for your helmet to hold it in place.
You must also remember NOT to wear a baseball hat or even a bandana under the helmet.
Face Guards & Jaw Guards
A faceguard is the metal railing that prevents the ball from hitting your face directly. While some players prefer having the protection it offers, many avoid it since it inhibits their vision
While I recommend that you get a faceguard since it provides the best protection to your face, if you don’t like it, you can get a jaw guard.
Jaw guards, which are sometimes also called c-flaps, are attachments that you can connect to the helmet’s earflap.
Their function is self-explanatory – they protect your jaw from errant balls.
But the best thing about them is that they don’t inhibit your vision. You’ll be able to see what’s going on in the field clearly, even if you have a jaw guard attached to your helmet.
However, you must remember that some chin straps don’t work with some face guards and jaw guards. So, if you’re going to get a face or jaw guard, ensure that you get the chin strap from the same brand to ensure that you get the best fit.
There are a lot of brands that now supply adjustment kits with their helmets.
This can help you achieve a snugger fit or add extra padding to the spots you find somewhat uncomfortable.
Nevertheless, getting an easy to adjust helmet can be very advantageous for teens and children, since they can use the added padding for some time and remove the excess Velcro padding when the helmet starts to feel too tight.
There’s more good news since there are now tons of brands specializing in making universal fit kits for cheap.
So this means that there still may be a chance to make your helmet snugger even if there are no fit kits available officially.
The outer shell of a batting helmet is typically made out of ABS plastic. The plastic is lightweight, but also robust and reliable.
It’s rare to find modern helmets made out of other materials.
Buying NOCSAE-certified batting helmets will ensure that your head is protected at all times. As long as you get a certified helmet, you don’t need to worry about safety.
However, what you do need to worry about is comfort. The inner liner of batting helmets is made using many different materials.
Your options will range from cushiony foam padding, sweat-wicking cloth, comfort-inducing gel, and a variety of combinations.
Trying every type of helmet out is the best way to make sure that you’ll be comfortable wearing it on the field.
A quality helmet will last forever – if it’s never been struck.
It’s important to understand that different helmets can withstand difficult volumes of pressure. Some helmets are built to withstand one impact only and must be gotten rid of and replaced after the impact.
The reason behind this is once the parts of the helmet have been compressed in a certain way, the helmet will not protect you again.
However, there are other helmets in the market that can withstand multiple impacts.
But there’s a catch:
These helmets must be reconditioned before they’re used.
You can check the helmet’s label to find the life of the helmet and figure out if the helmet is single-use only or can withstand multiple impacts.
And you can’t recondition your helmet yourself – you must get it done by a certified NAERA member.
The expert will recondition your helmet by fixing the cracks or any other damage that the helmet has, replacing any missing or broken internal parts, and testing the helmet for safe use. It is only after the expert’s approval that you can wear it on the field.
If you have a helmet that can be reconditioned, it’s essential to get it reconditioned frequently – at least once in a few months – to ensure long life.
As fun as the game of baseball is to watch and play, it’s vital for us to recognize the risks of the game and work to protect ourselves in case things go wrong.
I’ve recommended some of the best baseball helmets in the industry in this post, and you can blindly pick one that fits you and not worry about your safety.
However, if you like to visit the store and try the helmet out before you buy, make sure you keep the pointers mentioned above in mind.
It will virtually guarantee that you’ll get the perfect helmet.
My name is David Farnum and I’ve been a Little League Coach in my community for the past 7 years. With 2 boys playing baseball and 1 girl playing softball, most weekends I can be found near a baseball diamond.