Which motorcycle crash helmet manufacturer makes the safest helmets in 2022?
We've scoured the SHARP and Snell crash helmet testing data to find out which helmet brands are the ones you can trust – the ones that’ll give you the best protection in an accident. We’ve had to prioritize data from UK SHARP helmet testing labs because they seem to do the most testing and only they give comparative scores so we can see how well helmets perform relative to each other. Plus SHARP independently chooses which helmets to test for themselves whereas Snell is commissioned by helmet makers to test and certify their helmets. But, where possible we’ve mashed in Snell data too.
But note: SHARP uses ECE rated helmets sourced in the UK, which may differ from US DOT helmets. So, it’s far from perfect and some brands are excluded (read more in the methodology section at the bottom) but it’s the best insight we feel we can give you.
So, here are the results of our latest survey – using updated data from 2016-22 and showing which are the safest crash helmet brands. If you’re after a new helmet and haven’t got time to read our reviews, you might want to consider one of these brands.
There's very little to choose between Shoei and AGV in 2022. In fact, AGV does edge Shoei when it comes to SHARP ratings of their ECE helmets, but we've ranked Shoei slightly higher because eight Shoei helmets are
Italian helmet maker AGV has been making fine helmets since 1947 and, even though they're now part of the Dainese group, their protective qualities continue to shine through. Of 6 helmets tested since 2016, three scored maximum 5 stars (Corsa R, Pista GP-R and Veloce S) and the rest were four stars, showing you really can trust an AGV. Wowzers - incredible job AGV. You can find our AGV helmet reviews here.
Arai's excellent average score has risen to 4/5 over recent years putting them in third place for 2022. Of 6 helmets tested since 2016, their average score has been massively helped with both the Signet-X and Corsair-X scoring maximum 5 stars for safety while all the others scored a fantastic 4 stars. And if you're after a Snell certified helmet, nobody gets more of their helmets Snell approved than Arai (most recently including the Classic V and XD4). All of which means - now more than ever - you can trust Arai's latest generation of helmets to perform. Check out our latest Arai reviews here.
Quality French maker, Shark Helmets is at No.4 for 2022. They've had 10 helmets tested by SHARP in the last few years with an average score of 4/5 stars. Which is no surprise because whatever the style of helmet and whatever it's been made of, every single helmet tested by SHARP since 2016 scored 4 stars which is an awesome performance (plus the chin bars on both modulars (including the Evo-One 2) scored 100% - which is a real rarity). All in all an amazing job from the French helmet masters. Click this link to check out all our Shark helmet reviews.
In fifth place is the daddy of the Nolan group brands. Every single one of the thirteen tested Nolan helmets has scored 4/5 stars in the SHARP safety test. Just Wow. What's also notable is that each of their tested flip-up helmets scored 100% when it came to keeping their chin bar fully locked - which really isn't easy to do. That's a real testament to their design, manufacturing and quality control excellence. For all our Nolan helmet articles, look here.
HJC are in our top 10 for the third consecutive year and in 2022 make their way to sixth place. It's a particularly great score because HJC specializes in lower priced helmets - so you don't have to max out your credit card for great protection. They hit this spot partly because of old favorites like the five star rated HJC FG-ST and partly because their newer C70 polycarbonate lid hit a five star rating too. Overall, their 10 most recently tested helmets have scored a very decent 3.8/5 SHARP stars. It's also worth noting that HJC have several helmets Snell approved too - back in the old M2015 certification days before they brought in the 2020 standard. So helmets like the i10 and outgoing CL-17 are both great protecting Snell helmets. Nice one HJC - click to check all our HJC helmet reviews.
At No.7, Bell are still doing great but their three star Bell Qualifier DLX MIPS has spoiled the party a bit. Having said that, Bell has scored a massive 4.27/5 across all 15 tested ECE helmets over the years, which is one of the highest ratings of any helmet brand overall. And, of course, Bell does get a heap of their DOT helmets Snell certified - including the Stars, Moto-9 and SRTs so all of those are top rated for protection. As always, you can read all our Bell helmet reviews here.
Portuguese composite helmet specialists, Nexx, hit our top 10 for the first time in 2021 and have stayed there for '22. They don't get their helmets Snell certified unfortunately, but they've had a few of their ECE helmets tested by SHARP with their most recent XG 100R scoring a very decent 4/5 stars. All their other helmets score 3/5. Find all our Nexx helmet reviews here.
Dropping back into our Top 10 for 2022 is Scorpion Exo helmets. They've had 20 helmets tested by SHARP over the years, with their most recent 9 helmets scoring a respectable average of 3.2 out of 5 stars. A few of their helmets - including the R2000 and R420 - have been Snell certified too, which is always great to see. They might be number nine in our 2022 list, but don't forget, that's a better performance than lots of big name helmet makers managed. If you're interested in a Scorpion, check out our Scorpion Exo helmet reviews.
It's probably surprising that, given their reputation for build quality and price, Schuberth could only scrape onto our list in tenth place. But the tests speak for themselves: of their seven helmets tested so far, they've scored an average of 3 of 5 stars with a couple of quality 4 star helmets being offset by a pair that scored just 2 star ratings. All recently tested ECE Schuberth helmets scored 3 stars. If you want to know which are the better-rated helmets, you might want to check out our Schuberth helmet reviews section where we've got them all covered.
Any chart/study like this has it's drawbacks of course, but hopefully it's a pretty good snapshot of how safe some of the main helmet brands will perform in an accident, relative to each other.
This table relies on SHARP crash helmet testing data only (covering 2016 to early 2022) so it's never going to be fully comprehensive and can't reflect many brands sold in the US. And even where a brand has been SHARP tested, we've not included every helmet brand in the list. There's a few reasons for this. Maybe they've not been tested enough to give a reasonably reliable amount of data - or maybe they've not been tested at all. Or maybe they've so little distribution, that we've chosen to leave a brand out. We've tended to focus on the main brands - meaning brands that are more widely known and which helmet buyers will want to know about and be able to find in motorcycle stores.
Our main drawback is the limited number of helmets tested for some brands which will slant the figures - SHARP choose and buy the helmets themselves, so that's bound to skew the figures. If a brand's helmets haven't been chosen for testing, then they simply won't appear in our table.
As alluded to above, to avoid sample size skewing, we've excluded some brands where a brand hasn't had a reasonable tested sample size. Why? Well, imagine one brand has 10 helmets tested with an average score of 3 stars, they could be below a brand with just one helmet scoring 4. So because of this, where there's only a handful of helmets available to score, we've usually removed the brand from the survey.
And of course, SHARP only tests ECE helmets bought in the UK, which may be different from helmets found in DOT or other areas. Very few DOT helmets get tested by Snell but where a brand has had a few helmets certified, we mention it. Happily three of the brands who feature regularly in SHARP testing (Arai, Shoei and Bell) also submit the most helmets to Snell for testing, which generally means the brands most committed to Snell certification are included in our top 10 too.
It's worth pointing out that there are some detractors of the SHARP test too, reckoning that it's not real world enough. Which may or may not be true. However, we think it's about as good as it gets - you can read what the test entails here and an analysis of SHARP data here and make your own mind up if you like.
Whatever your point of view, what is going for the SHARP testing regime is that it's held under controlled circumstances in a laboratory so each helmet should be subject to an identical test - meaning it's possible to compare the results of each test on each helmet. Yes, agreed, it might not fully simulate the accident where you hit oil while hanging off your Z1000 and bash your helmet on a curbstone at a 15 degree angle then scrail it down the road for 100 yards, but it does subject the helmet to impacts from multiple sides and show which individual helmets - all things being equal - perform best. So, we reckon it's about as good information as is available and that's what we're basing this analysis on.
The scoring is simple. Where a helmet was awarded five stars, we've given it 5 points. Where it scored one star we've given it 1 point. We then add up the total number of points and divide it by the number of helmets tested over the last few years to find the average (mean). We then ordered the list, putting the highest scoring first. In the event that two brands score similarly but one has a bunch of Snell certified helmets too, then we'll probably rank them higher. And in the event of a tie-break, we also looked at helmet scores since testing began and took them into account.
Phew. Till next year!