Difference Between Expensive Helmets and Cheap Helmets

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Motorcycle helmets are an essential safety gear for absolute reasons, but the confusion people face while buying one is to whether purchase an expensive helmet or a cheap one.

Now if the sole purpose of helmets is to protect your head from injuries, why do the prices vary so much? What additional features do expensive motorcycle helmets offer? Are they safer than cheap ones? If, ‘yes’, will you be at risk for buying a cheap helmet? If, ‘no’, why should you spend extra bucks for an expensive helmet?

If any of the questions above is bugging you, you should read this article. In this guide, I will explain all the differences you need to know between cheap and expensive helmets and help you decide the best one for you.

Cheap motorcycle helmet

Difference Between Expensive Helmets and Cheap Helmets

The helmets ranging from $50 to $150 are usually called cheap helmets. In terms of safety, a cheap helmet will provide you the same level of protection as does an expensive helmet. The difference, however, is that a cheap helmet will be heavier, less attractive, and less comfortable compared to an expensive one.

Cheap helmets also provide less ventilation so if you’re planning on a long ride, this can be annoying and uncomfortable. So, if your budget is limited and if you are not a frequent rider, buying a cheap helmet would probably be a wiser decision.

Nevertheless, buy helmets only from brands that have a good history. And make sure the helmet is certified by either DOT, ECE 22.05, or Snell Motorcycle Helmet Standards.

Expensive motorcycle helmet

Expensive motorcycle helmet

Cost ranging from $150 to $1,000+ are generally called expensive helmets. They are lightweight, comfortable, have a nicer design, and offer a better ventilation system compared to cheap helmets.

The price of these helmets, however, makes it difficult for everyone to afford them. So, if you have the budget, you can go ahead and buy one. If you are a racer, getting an expensive helmet will definitely provide more advantages over cheap ones. 

It is, however, important to take into account its price because it can be unaffordable for some people.

Main differences between expensive helmets and cheap helmets

Main differences

More comfortable

The pads and interiors of expensive helmets are made up of high-quality materials, making them far more comfortable than cheap helmets. Unlike cheap helmets, they can also be easily adjusted.

The improved ventilation system of expensive helmets allows air exchange to relieve heat so an added advantage of expensive helmets is that you won’t feel the heat during your ride.

Less strain on the neck

Expensive helmets are composed of incredibly lightweight carbon fiber, while cheap helmets are made up of hard plastic. This difference in production materials makes an expensive helmet lighter than a cheap one.

A heavy helmet putsa greater strain on the neck when riding, and this can get uncomfortable because the heavy weight of the helmet will normally become more noticeable as you ride longer distances. So, if you decide to buy a cheap helmet, you should be aware of the excessive weight.

Better look and design

Expensive helmets look more attractive than cheap ones.  The overall design of expensive helmets makes them an appealing choice to many riders. I’m not suggesting that cheap helmets aren’t attractive, but they aren’t as attractive as more costly helmets. Expensive helmets, in my opinion, look great overall, whilst inexpensive helmets appear uninteresting.

Better protection against wind

A more expensive helmet provides better wind protection. It stops the wind better because of its material structure and design. As a result, you won’t feel the wind in your head if you ride with an expensive helmet.

If you ride at a speed of 80 mph, you may feel the wind in some cases. With cheap helmets, you will feel the wind at 60 mph even 50 mph, and it can get uncomfortable.

Long durability

Expensive helmets are made up of high-quality materials so they are more durable than cheap ones. Even if you buy a cheap and expensive helmet from the same company, you’ll see that the expensive one will last longer than the cheap one.

Expensive accessories

The accessories of expensive helmets are also expensive. If you want to replace any of its parts, that also comes at a greater cost than that of cheap ones. To get a screen replaced for a cheap helmet, can cost you between $20 and $50, but the figures for an expensive helmet are between $70 to $100. So, this is an issue you should take into consideration before buying an expensive helmet.

Better noise prevention

The form of design and the materials used in expensive helmets enable them to block noise incredibly. The annoying thing about cheap helmets is that they can’t do so, and earplugs will probably not aid as much as an expensive helmet. This is something worth considering if you enjoy riding at high speeds and in strong gusts.

Good for your eardrums

The noise produced by motorcycle engines can damage your ears and cause hearing impairment issues. Thus, buying an expensive helmet, in this case, can be useful because it provides better protection against noise than do cheap helmets.

Harley model, for example, brings out some of the most powerful engines so if you ride one of them, you have to be extra careful. So, it’d probably be a good idea to buy a high-quality helmet if you ride a loud motor

Other differences

The other notable differences between expensive helmets and cheap ones are visor, size, and fittings. Expensive helmets have an adjustable visor, while cheap helmets have a fixed one. The expensive helmets also vary in size – from XS to XL-, but cheap helmets have a single size for all. Additionally, expensive helmets have a high-end retention system with small increments for the perfect fit, as well as adjustable helmet positions up and down the forehead whereas the back of the helmets is tightened in cheap helmets.

In conclusion, to receive DOT, SNELL, or ECE approval, every motorcycle helmet has to pass stringent safety tests. So, as long as you buy a certified helmet, you should “in theory” have at least a minimal level of safety protection, regardless of the helmet type.

If you’re a professional racer or an advanced-level rider who can afford and won’t compromise all the additional benefits and comfort, then you should buy an expensive helmet.

A cheap helmet, however, is recommended for beginner riders with a limited budget. You should also be aware that both cheap and expensive helmets should be replaced after a crash; expensive helmets will not grant you any additional post-crash riding time. Finally, both expensive and cheap helmets should be replaced after every 5 years or so.

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