Head protection is crucial in work environments where there is a high risk of falling objects. For your peace of mind, a hard hat is one of the most important personal protective equipment to have. Whether it is in construction, mining, roadwork, or manufacturing, among other settings, a hard hat is important to prevent head injuries.
Choosing a hard hat is not as easy as picking the cheapest. From the materials to the certifications, consider several factors to choose nothing but the best. Need help finding the best hard hat? Read on and learn from our recommendations in this buying guide.
- Before You Buy
- Our Top Picks for the Best Hard Hat
- #1 MSA 454666 SkullGard Full-Brim Protective Hat
- #2 Pyramex Safety Products HP14110 SI Series 4-point Ratchet Suspension
- #3 Pyramex Ridge Line Full Brim Hard Hat
- #4 Evolution Deluxe 6161 280-EV6161-10V Full Brim Hard Hat
- #5 Lift Safety HDF-15NG DAX Hard Hat
- #6 TRUECREST Hydro-Dipped Black Full Brim Hard Hat
- #7 3M H-703R Hard Hat
- #8 3M H-808V Full Brim Hard Hat
- #9 Troy Safety RK-HP44-SKULL Patterned Hard Hat
- #10 Honeywell E1RW Fibre-Metal Hard Hat
- #11 ERB 19430 American Full Brim Vent Mega Ratchet Hard Hat
- #12 ERB 1988 Omega II Cap Style Hard Hat
- #13 Bullard 62DGR Standard Series Hard Hat
- How to Choose the Best Hard Hat
Before You Buy
Take note of these important things before buying a hard hat.
Industry Standards are Important
The hard hat must pass third-party tests and should have certifications to prove its effectiveness in head protection. The American National Standards Institute and Canadian Standards Association are two organizations that issue certifications to hard hats. Look for stickers from them.
There is an Expiration Date
OSHA requires manufacturers to publish the manufacturing date of the hard hat. Often, the manufacturers recommend replacing the hard hat after four or five years of use. You might need to replace it sooner once there are already cracks and other visible signs of damage.
Not All Hard Hats are the Same
It is also crucial to be familiar with the different types and classes of hard hats that are available. Type I hat reduces the impact on the top of the head. Type II hard hat, on the other hand, reduces the impact on the top and side of the head. Class G hard hats, meanwhile, are effective for reducing the risk of electrical shocks from low-voltage conductors. For higher voltage conductors, Class E hard hats are required.
Our Top Picks for the Best Hard Hat
Let’s dig in and talk about the best products that should make it on your list.
#1 MSA 454666 SkullGard Full-Brim Protective Hat
This hard hat is available in a variety of designs depending on the suspension system you prefer. There is Fas-Trac II, Staz-On Pinlock, and Swing Ratchet. Regardless of which one you choose, it is guaranteed to offer the highest level of protection.
For this specific model, it has Staz-On Suspension. It has a unique design with headband, sweatband, crown straps, and nape strap. The four-point suspension makes sure that the helmet will stay in its position regardless of your movement or the impact of a falling object.
You can be confident about the protection that the hat provides because it has been tested and certified by third-party organizations. Based on independent tests, this MSA hard hat will handle heat loads of up to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you are still not convinced to choose this hard hat, it also helps to know that it is from a company that has been in the business since 1914. The mere fact that the company still operates is proof of their high-quality products.
#2 Pyramex Safety Products HP14110 SI Series 4-point Ratchet Suspension
The shell of this hardhat is made of high-density polyethylene, which is hard to rival in terms of its durability. Despite the high-quality material, it is lightweight at only 12.7 ounces. Even if you have to wear the hat for a long time, you won’t easily complain of discomfort.
Another thing that you will love in this hard hat is its low-profile design. This means that it is non-obtrusive, unlike others that can restrict your vision. With this smart design, the manufacturer claims that you will find it easier to perform at your peak!
The four-point ratchet suspension is also notable. It is easier to adjust compared to another version of this hard hat, which comes with a snap lock. The ratchet will allow you to customize the fit of the hard hat without taking it off your head.
#3 Pyramex Ridge Line Full Brim Hard Hat
The ABS material of this hard hat is one of the reasons for its superior quality. It is durable yet lightweight, assuring your comfort as you work. Weighing only 37 pounds, this isn’t one of those that will be a burden to wear in the worksite! It effectively withstands extreme forces from falling objects to prevent head injuries.
It also has an impressive ratchet suspension that you can easily adjust with just one hand. Unlike other hard hats, there is no need to remove it from your head if you want to customize its fit.
We also like the low-profile design of this hat, similar to the model mentioned above from the same manufacturer. It has a more natural and comfortable fit without obstructing your vision. The coverage is better compared to hard hats with a high profile.
#4 Evolution Deluxe 6161 280-EV6161-10V Full Brim Hard Hat
Looking at the design of this hard hat, one of the first things that you will notice is the vented top. This is unlike many others with a solid block on the top of the head. The vents are great because they improve air circulation. With its ventilation, you can work comfortably as it does not trap heat.
The hard hat comes with a six-point suspension, making sure that the helmet does not get off the head as you work. The suspension system has polyester textile straps that won’t create friction on the skin, which is great for your comfort.
It also comes with a Chamlon sweatband, which is one thing that sets it apart from the competition. The sweatband has been tested and proven to be pH neutral. It has Egyptian cotton core with polyurethane coating.
Like other full brim hard hats, you can expect optimal protection from the heat of the sun. This prevents glare when you are working on a hot day.
#5 Lift Safety HDF-15NG DAX Hard Hat
Staying safe and sound in the worksite is easier when you are wearing this Lift Safety Hard Hat. It is a bit more expensive than the standard hard hats, but you should not mind the price given the quality and performance it can deliver.
The quality is hard to rival. The outer shell is made of fiber-reinforced resin that withstands even strong forces. The crown comes with triple reinforcement to make it strong enough to handle falling objects.
You won’t have to worry about your comfort when you are wearing this hard hat. One of the reasons for this is the perforated Clarino synthetic leather with an insert made of molded EVA foam. This also provides additional reinforcement for maximum shock absorption.
Another thing that you will love in this hard hat is the microfiber liner with moisture-wicking foam. This prevents the build-up of sweat. It also prevents foul odor.
#6 TRUECREST Hydro-Dipped Black Full Brim Hard Hat
This is a full brim hard hat designed for tough construction jobs. Among others, one thing that we love the most in this hard hat is the Fast-Trac ratchet -tyle suspension. It is quick to make the necessary adjustments to customize its fit.
The outer shell uses high-density polyethylene as the main material. This is popular even amongst its competitors for its ability to handle tough forces. It is not easily prone to scratches and other visible damages.
Meanwhile, the interior comes with a soft and comfortable foam padding. This also improves the ability of the helmet to withstand impact in case an object falls on the top of your head.
Lastly, like most of the hard hats that are included in our recommendations, it comes with a full brim. This prevents glare from the heat of the sun. When it is raining, it also helps to keep water out of your head.
#7 3M H-703R Hard Hat
The brand name of this hard hat is already enough to provide you with peace of mind. Aside from the fact that it is made by 3M, this is also an exceptional product because of the 4-point ratchet suspension system. It is quite basic compared to others with 6 or 8-point suspension, but it does a great job in making sure that the hard hat stays in its position.
There are several comfort and adjustability features. One that we love is the short brim that does not restrict your vision. It improves upward visibility, which is also crucial for your productivity. It also has a replaceable soft brow pad cushion for additional comfort.
For versatility, the design of the hat allows it to accommodate accessories from 3M for additional safety, including face shield and earmuffs. This allows the hard hat to be functional across a variety of applications.
#8 3M H-808V Full Brim Hard Hat
Another exceptional option for the best hard hat from 3M, one of the main differences from the product mentioned above is that it comes with a full brim. This is effective for all-weather protection as it keeps the sun and rain out of the face when working.
This ANIS Type 1 hard hat meets ANSI/ISEA Z89.1-2014 requirements, so you can be confident about the head protection that it provides. The material used in the hard hat is lightweight but durable, assuring the best when it comes to head protection.
There is also a four-point ratchet suspension that prevents the helmet from moving even when you work. Plus, there is a three-point height adjustment that allows users to easily adjust the position depending on what is most comfortable.
Lastly, the top part of the hat comes with vents in strategic positions. This improves air circulation to keep the head cool even on a hot day.
#9 Troy Safety RK-HP44-SKULL Patterned Hard Hat
If there is one thing that makes this different from the other hard hats that are mentioned in this post, it would be its design. It has skull patterns, which will surely make it stand out. However, in workplaces with standard color-coded helmets, this is not allowed.
Like most of the products that we recommend in this article, it also comes with a ratchet suspension, which is the one that allows effortless adjustment of its fit. It is crucial to make sure that it is not too tight as it will be uncomfortable. If it is too loose, on the other hand, there is a risk that it will fall off the head when it gets in contact with a heavy object.
There are some people, however, who complained about the insert, noting that it is junk. This can be an improvement in the future. There are some inserts from other models that might also fit this hard hat.
#10 Honeywell E1RW Fibre-Metal Hard Hat
The full brim design of this Honeywell hard hat helps in maximizing the head protection it provides its users. This allows falling objects to deflect, which prevents the possibility that it hits your face. To add, the 360-degree full brim also effectively prevents harmful UV rays that can damage the eyes.
Another notable feature of this hard hat is the 8-point Impact Energy Control System. When an object lands on your head, this feature allows the distribution of impact instead of concentrating on one part. This minimizes the possibility of an injury.
It is also a good thing that the hard hat comes with discrete padding at the forehead, which provides added protection and comfort.
To adjust the fit of the helmet, turn the ratchet suspension knob. The ratchet is strip-proof and non-slip, making it less prone to wear.
Lastly, to guarantee a longevity of the hard hat, it is made using tough materials that are guaranteed to withstand time. The thermoplastic shell resists scratches and heat.
#11 ERB 19430 American Full Brim Vent Mega Ratchet Hard Hat
Many people hate the idea of wearing a hard hat because it is hot and uncomfortable. To solve this problem, manufacturers are incorporating vents on the top of their hard hats, which is exactly what you can expect from this product. With the strategic holes, it allows air to come in and does not trap heat.
It has a four-point suspension, which is a standard within the product category. It is made of woven nylon that is not only durable but also comfortable. This is unlike others that can be annoying because of the friction that it creates.
Another good thing about the ratchet is the non-slip feature. This allows the ratchet to lock its position regardless of the force on the helmet. Meaning, even if an object falls on the top of your head, the hard hat remains secure in its position.
#12 ERB 1988 Omega II Cap Style Hard Hat
Another hard hat from ERB, one thing that makes it different from the product mentioned above is the design of the edges. It does not have a full brim. Instead, it comes with a small visor similar to a regular cap. This protects the front face from glare and rain, among other factors that can obstruct your vision.
It has a molded high-density polyethylene shell that is shaped to optimize comfort. The shell is strong enough to withstand impact without compromising weight.
The hard hat is also versatile because it comes with an accessory slot. This accommodates accessories that you will need for additional protection in the job, including masks and earmuffs.
The design of the ratchet is also notable. It has a 6-point suspension, making sure that it is secure in its original position. It also has a low profile, which makes it comfortable on the neck and nape, unlike others that can create friction. It also has a thick cushioning so that you won’t feel its pressure when wearing the helmet.
#13 Bullard 62DGR Standard Series Hard Hat
This is proof that the best hard hats don’t always have to be expensive. While this is an affordable product, you can be confident that the quality is decent. Although, we have to be honest that it lacks the revolutionary technologies that you will find in its higher-end counterparts.
It features seamless nylon crown straps that are comfortable. The hard hat also has brow pads for additional comfort.
For the suspension, it has the standard four-point design. This keeps the helmet on the original position when worn. If you have the budget, however, you might want to consider a hard hat with four or eight-point suspension if you want an assurance that it can handle even extreme forces.
To customize the fit on the head of the wearer, we also love how it allows vertical adjustments on the front and back part of the hard hat.
How to Choose the Best Hard Hat
With too many hard hats available in the market, do not take this as an excuse to decide in haste. To help you narrow down the possibilities, below are the most important factors to consider.
This is important because it directly impacts the effectiveness of the hard hat. Fiberglass is one of the most popular materials, which is known for its impact and heat resistance. High-density polyethylene and polycarbonate are also popular choices.
Wearing the hard hat the entire day can be a burden. It can make you easily tired and uncomfortable. With this, it is best to buy one that is lightweight without compromising the protection it provides.
See to it that the hard hat fits perfectly. It might fall off the head when it is too big and will be uncomfortable when it is too small. Hard hats will have an adjustable chin strap so that you can customize the fit on your head.
Most of the helmets in our recommendations come with a full brim. This is good for protection from rain and the sun. Visor or cap-style helmets are also great if it is only the front part of the face you’d like to protect.
This is one more thing with a huge impact on your comfort. Air circulation is important to keep your head cool on a hot day. There should be vents that will allow air to come in and prevent heat from being trapped.
In this section, we’ll try to answer some of the questions you might have about hard hats before we end this article.
What is a Hard Hat?
It is a helmet that protects the head from injuries. It minimizes accidents from falling objects and even electrical hazards. It effectively absorbs shock or pressure when it gets in contact with a heavy object.
When is a Hard Hat Required?
According to OSHA, wearing a hard hat is required when the following hazardous conditions are present within the work environment: when there are falling objects that can strike an employee’s head, when there is a possibility to bump the head on hard surfaces like beams, and when there is a possibility of electrical hazards upon head contact.
What Do the Colors of a Hard Hat Mean?
There is a generally accepted rule about the color of the hard hat and the job of the wearer. White is for those who supervise the site, including engineers and architects. Green is for safety inspectors or trainees. Yellow is for workers who operate heavy machinery. Brown is for welders or others who often deal with high heat. Orange is for those in road construction because of its high visibility. Blue is for electricians.
How Do I Clean and Maintain Hard Hats?
Proper care and maintenance will make your hard hat last longer while offering the highest level of protection. Clean the shell with soap and warm water. Using a soft-bristle brush also helps to get rid of the dirt stuck on the shell. Hang it out under the heat of the sun to dry before using the hard hat.
Keep your head protected all the time. The best hard hat, including our recommendations above, will be effective in the prevention of head injuries. Wearing a hard hat is not only important for your peace of mind, but it is also a regulatory requirement in many work settings. So, make sure to always wear one!
Is there any other hard hat you would like to add to our recommendations? Any tips you would like to share? Feel free to leave a comment below.