Best Helmet For Football in 2021


There’s only one thing better than the start of a new football season, and that’s starting the new season with a brand new football helmet!

Let’s face it, given the price of some football helmets nowadays, along with the ability for football helmets to be reconditioned and recertified, it’s not like you’re going to get a new helmet every year. So, when it is time to get a new helmet, you may as well buy the best one that you can afford. And that is why we have selected the most highly rated helmets available for this season.

American football player wearing a helmet
Copyright: Image by StockUnlimited

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JUMP TO :
Football Helmets Comparison Table
Helmet Safety Testing
Football Helmet Testing & Certification
Helmet Sizing
Best Football Helmets For 2021
++1. Riddell SpeedFlex
++2. Schutt Sports Vengeance A11
++3. Schutt Sports F7 LX1
++4. Schutt Sports AiR XP Pro VTD II
++5. Schutt Sports Vengeance A3+
++6. Xenith Youth X2E+
++7. Schutt Sports Vengeance PRO LTD

Football Helmets Comparison Table

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Name Type Facemask Cushioning System Inflatable Liner Size Range Price
Riddell SpeedFlex
Youth Included PSIP Yes 19” – 27” > $300
Schutt Vengeance A11
Youth Included TPU No 19” – 23.5” > $150
Schutt F7 LX1
Youth NOT Included TPU Yes 19” – 25” < $200
Schutt AiR XP Pro VTD II
Varsity NOT Included TPU Yes 19” – 25” > $150
Schutt Vengeance A3+
Youth NOT Included TPU Yes 19” – 23.5” < $150
Xenith X2E+
Youth Included X2E+ No 19.75” – 24” < $200
Schutt Vengeance Pro LTD
Varsity NOT Included TPU Yes 19” – 25” > $200

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Helmet Safety Testing

By now, most people will be familiar with the testing carried out by Virginia Tech on various types of helmets, including Football Helmets. Virginia Tech’s tests are to assess each helmet’s ability to reduce linear and rotational acceleration of the head during an impact situation.

The highest rating that a helmet can score in the VT testing is 5-star. All of the football helmets listed below are 5-star helmets as evaluated by Virginia Tech’s impact testing program. Five-Star helmets can reduce the risk of concussion, however, no helmet can prevent concussion. At best, a good quality helmet will help to mitigate the risk of more serious head injuries.

Football Helmet Testing & Certification

All football helmets are tested by SEI (Safety Equipment Institute) to the performance standards set by NOCSAE (National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment). These tests include impact attenuation tests in the form of ‘Drop Impact Test’, and ‘Pneumatic Ram Test’.

All football helmets that have passed certification testing must have the “SEI Certified – Meets NOCSAE Standard” sticker on the exterior of the helmet as stated in the NOCSAE standard.
A copy of the NOCSAE standard can be found here.

At present, the above-mentioned standard is the only standard for football helmets and covers both Youth and Adult football helmets. However, NOCSAE has been conducting research studies into the development of a new, separate standard for Youth helmets. A copy of that proposed standard for Youth helmets can be found here.

Helmet Sizing

Different helmet brands will often have different sizing systems. If your head fits a medium-sized Schutt helmet perfectly, there is no guarantee that your head will also fit a medium-sized Riddell or Xenith helmet. So, once you have measured your head size, it is important to remember your measurement, either in inches or centimeters, not the sizing (i.e Small, Medium, Large).

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Best Football Helmets For 2021

1. Riddell SpeedFlex Youth Helmet

Whether you’re a quarterback directing your team’s offensive play or a running back rushing the ball, you need to keep yourself protected from impact and tackles. The Riddell SpeedFlex Youth Helmet shields your head and face when things get rough in the field. This top-rated helmet is a sound choice, offering durability, comfort, and head protection.

The SpeedFlex Youth football helmet sports a sturdy ABS outer shell with inner foam padding. Its custom-fit liner is inflatable at the lateral, occipital, and jaw areas to fit different head shapes and sizes.

The Riddell SpeedFlex Youth Helmet is available online from Amazon.

It is built with Riddell’s Patented Side Impact Protection System (PSIP) that provides impact reduction on hits and blows on the sides of the face. Meanwhile, its Flex System mitigates impact forces on the shell, facemask, and clip.

This state-of-the-art helmet features an All-points Quick Release system that allows you to attach and remove facemasks with a click of a button. The Ratchet-Loc Retention System lets you wear and adjust the chin strap on the fly.

Main features summary:

  • Durable ABS plastic shell
  • PISP and Flex System engineering to reduce impact forces
  • Composite Energy Management keeps foam padding in place
  • Flexible inner liner provides comfort and stability
  • Ratchet-Loc System keeps chin strap secure
  • All-Points Quick Release System for easy attachment/detachment of facemask
  • Detachable moisture-wicking liner cover
  • Virginia Tech 5-Star rating

What do the Reviews have to say about the Riddell SpeedFlex Youth Helmet?

Most reviews are on the positive spectrum. Many reviewers say that this youth football helmet is stylish and well-constructed. People also like that it fits comfortably and is easy to adjust.

IMPORTANT: How to Know Your Helmet Size.

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2. Schutt Sports Vengeance A11 Youth Football Helmet

For ultimate head protection while defending the field against the opposing team, the Schutt Sports Vengeance A11 Youth Football Helmet is an excellent choice. This upgraded version of the original Vengeance helmet sports a lighter, sleeker, and low-profile design

The Vengeance A11 is designed with a Flexural Resistance Shell that makes it more efficient in managing and reducing the negative effects of collisions. The strong carbon steel faceguard combined with the raised brow style makes the Vengeance 11 perform better in deflecting impact and dispersing energy away from the helmet.

The Schutt Sports Vengeance A11 Youth Helmet is available online from Amazon.

Like other Schutt helmets, this youth helmet uses TPU cushioning technology, which provides greater impact absorption than traditional helmets no matter the temperature on the field. It has Inter-Link jaw pads that are mechanically secured to the helmet, so they stay in place all the time.

Main features summary:

  • Ultra-comfortable, non-inflatable TPU cushion and liner
  • Polycarbonate shell with Flexural Resistance System
  • Sturdy carbon steel faceguard
  • Standard one-inch Inter-Link jaw pads
  • Virginia Tech 5-Star rating

What do the Reviews have to say about the Schutt Sports Vengeance A11 Youth Football Helmet?

The majority of the ratings for this youth football helmet are above average. People say that despite its straightforward design, it does a good job of protecting the head. Reviews also say that this helmet fits well and doesn’t feel loose or wobbly. However, it feels hot when worn for long periods.

IMPORTANT: How to Know Your Helmet Size.

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3. Schutt Sports F7 LX1 Youth Football Helmet

Equipped with some of the latest technologies in helmet design, the Schutt Sports F7 LX1 Youth Football Helmet is a great option for both newbies and experienced youth athletes.

The F7 LX1, like other Schutt helmets, is engineered with a Flexural Resistance Shell and comes with TPU cushioning, which enhances its performance against collisions, whether in cold or humid temperatures in the field. Besides the TPU cushion, this youth football helmet is designed with multiple impact protection systems that ensure you are protected from head injuries while playing.

The Schutt Sports F7 LX1 Youth Helmet is available online from Amazon.

For example, the 3D movement tektonic plates with TPU cushion are positioned in high-impact areas. In case of impact, these plates move in multiple directions to disperse rotational energies. The Multi-Layer, Integrated Liner System is another feature that enhances this helmet’s performance against impact. This system includes a non-inflatable lateral liner, a Comfort-Fit Liner located at the crown, and a Radial Diffusion System Liner.

Main features summary:

  • High-quality polycarbonate shell
  • Flexural Resistance Shell enhances impact absorption capabilities
  • High-performance two-piece molded front pad with dual-layer TPU
  • 3DM Tektonic Plates integrated with TPU cushioning technology
  • Multi-layer, Integrated Liner System improves performance against rotational impact
  • Helmet Stabilization System incorporated into the Interlink Jaw Pads
  • Virginia Tech 5-Star rating

What do the Reviews have to say about the Schutt Sports F7 LX1 Youth Football Helmet?

Ratings for this youth helmet are above average. People like the technology, but some say that it feels heavier than other helmets.

IMPORTANT: How to Know Your Helmet Size.

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4. Schutt Sports Varsity AiR XP Pro VTD II Football Helmet

At first glance, the Schutt Sports Varsity AiR XP Pro VTD II Football Helmet looks like a traditional helmet. But beyond the clean, smooth construction is a handful of modern features that make this protective headgear one of the top-rated youth football helmets in the market.

The Air XP Pro VTD II is a lightweight standoff helmet with an outer polycarbonate shell that delivers excellent performance against impact forces. Underneath is a single-layer TPU and SUREFIT Airliner designed to cushion blows and absorb impact at high or low speeds. The inflatable liner is secured by the helmet’s Valve Attachment System by holding it at inflation points.

The Schutt Sports Varsity AiR XP Pro VTD II Helmet is available online from Amazon.

This sports helmet is also outfitted with a soft cup chin strap and Interlink jaw pads for an adjustable fit while protecting the jaw area from injury. The Twist Release System completes the design, allowing easy attachment/detachment of a facemask.

Main features summary:

  • Traditional-style helmet with polycarbonate shell
  • TPU Cushioning Technology enhanced with SUREFIT Airliner
  • Valve Attachment System holds inflation points in position
  • Twist Release System for facemask attachment and removal
  • Includes 7/8” Interlink jaw pads and soft cup chin strap
  • Compatible with Schutt Super Pro and Schutt Super Pro XL Facemasks
  • Virginia Tech 5-Star rating

What do the Reviews have to say about the Schutt Sports Varsity AiR XP Pro VTD II Football Helmet?

Most reviews are positive. People like that this football helmet feels lightweight and comfortable. Others commented that is nicely priced for a helmet with a five-star rating.

IMPORTANT: How to Know Your Helmet Size.

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5. Schutt Sports Vengeance A3+ Youth Football Helmet

Streamlined and more lightweight than the original Vengeance, this Schutt Sports Vengeance A3+ Youth Football Helmet is a good choice for young football players.

The reduced weight reduces neck strain and makes this football helmet more comfortable to wear during a match while ensuring optimal head protection. It features a raised brow that shields the face in the event of crashes and bumps and deflecting impact forces.

The Schutt Sports Vengeance A3+ Youth Helmet is available online from Amazon.

Like other Schutt headgears, TPU cushioning technology lines the Vengeance A3+ helmet. This pillowy-soft liner delivers excellent impact absorption and reduces the effect of rotational forces. The SUREFIT liner adds another layer of shock absorption. The liners of the Vengeance 3+ are inflatable, so they can easily conform to different head shapes and sizes.

For a more secure and customized fit, this football helmet comes with mechanically attached Interlink jaw pads and a soft cup chin strap.

Main features summary:

  • Sleek, low profile, high-quality outer shell with faceguard and raised brow
  • Uses TPU cushion to increase protection against injury during collision
  • SUREFIT lateral liner for a customizable fit
  • Built-in Interlink jaw pads
  • Includes soft cup chin strap
  • Virginia Tech 5-Star rating

What do the Reviews have to say about the Schutt Sports Vengeance A3+ Youth Football Helmet?

Ratings are slightly above average. Many like the adjustable bladders that allow custom fitting a breeze. Some reviewers say it would be nice if a facemask was included in the package.

IMPORTANT: How to Know Your Helmet Size.

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6. Xenith Youth X2E+ Football Helmet

The Xenith Youth X2E+ Football Helmet is a top-rated helmet both on the Virginia Tech Helmet Ratings and NFL Health and Safety Reports. This lightweight football helmet is the youth version of its popular Xenith Epic+.

With its Single Stage shock absorber technology, this football helmet delivers optimal protection against linear impacts. The Xenith Youth X2E+ also protects against rotational forces via its Shock Suspension System. This system enables the head and bonnet to decouple and move independently from the shell during impact.

The Xenith Youth X2E+ Football Helmet is available online from Amazon.

The Xenith Youth X2E+ features a comfortable design. It is outfitted with dual-density comfort padding. It has a low-density foam and EVA layer that cushions the head while protecting it against hits and crashes. For a customizable fit, this helmet is designed with an Internal Shock Matrix that adapts to any head size for ultimate comfort.

Main features summary:

  • Rugged ABS shell designed to withstand high-level impacts
  • Shock Absorber Technology and Shock Suspension System deflect linear and rotational forces
  • Low-density foam provides comfort while high-density padding delivers protection
  • Internal Shock Matrix offers a customizable and comfortable fit
  • Ergonomic inner band conforms to the shape of the head
  • Virginia Tech 5-Star rating

What do the Reviews have to say about the Xenith Youth X2E+ Football Helmet?

Ratings are generally high. Reviewers are satisfied with the quality of the helmet. They also like that it fits well.

IMPORTANT: How to Know Your Helmet Size.

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7. Schutt Sports Vengeance PRO LTD Varsity Football Helmet

Get yourself ready for action with the Schutt Sports Vengeance PRO LTD Varsity Football Helmet. This low-profile football helmet is designed with a flexural resistance system that helps in reducing the negative effects caused by impacts, whether at practice or during a game.

Just like other Schutt football helmets, the Vengeance PRO LTD varsity helmet is lined with TPU cushioning. This soft padding is flexible, hygienic, and easy to attach. Because it surrounds the head, it helps in distributing weight and pressure in the event of collisions or hits on the head.

The Schutt Sports Vengeance PRO LTD Varsity Helmet is available online from Amazon.

The Vengeance PRO LTD is also equipped with a SUREFIT Airliner integrated with a TPU outer skin. This inflatable liner allows comfortable fit adjustments. This youth helmet also comes with TPU-lined Interlink jaw pads to prevent it from falling off. The Twist Release System allows easy changing of facemasks.

Main features summary:

  • Mohawk style low profile polycarbonate shell with Flexural Resistance System
  • Lightweight and shock-absorbing single layer TPU cushioning
  • Inflatable SUREFIT Airliner with TPU outer liner
  • Standard TPU-cushioned Interlink jaw pads
  • Twist Release Nose Bumper
  • Includes hard cup chin strap
  • Virginia Tech 5-Star rating

What do the Reviews have to say about the Schutt Sports Vengeance PRO LTD Varsity Football Helmet?

This varsity helmet has above-average ratings. Reviews say that it feels light and fits true to size. Many also like that it offers good impact protection for a budget-friendly helmet.

IMPORTANT: How to Know Your Helmet Size.

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