Safest Motorcycle Helmet Brands
When you’re looking for a helmet, the level of safety is going to be your main priority regardless if you’re on the track or on the road. Buying a helmet that is SHARP approved can give you a greater piece of mind but how do you know which brand has the safest range and best SHARP track record?
We’ve done the hard work for you to rate each brand based on all their SHARP tested helmets. Using an average score (more on that below) we’ve listed the top 20 motorcycle helmet brands.
To get a fair test, we’ve omitted brands who have 3 or less helmets rated. For example, if we included these, Buell would be top of our list but they only have 1 helmet that is SHARP rated with a score of 5 stars. This wouldn’t be fair to other brands who continually achieve high scoring lids.
So without further ado, here’s the current scoreboard.
Current total of SHARP tested lids: 30 Average score: 4.36
Taking the top spot is Italian made AGV. They’ve been manufacturing helmets since 1947 and understand the balance between style, aerodynamics and safety for seriously high-quality lids. Their latest helmet tested by SHARP, the Sport Modular scored 4 out of 5. The latch had a percentage of a very respectable 97% (to find out more about this test, check out the SHARP section on our Safety Ratings Explained article) . Other recently tested helmets include the Veloce S (5/5), K5S (4/5), Pista GP R and Corsa R who both took home 5 stars.
Current total of SHARP tested lids: 14 Average score: 4.35
A consistent performer, Bell were pipped to the post because their latest helmet tested by SHARP, the Qualifier DLX Mips, only scored 3/5. However, out of the 14 helmets currently tested, 9 achieved 5 stars including the recently checked Race Star and Star.
Current total of SHARP tested lids: 13 Average score: 4.23
Italian brand Caberg take third place as the latest helmet tested by SHARP, the Droid scored a respectable 4/5 but their Drift only scored 3/5, and the Stunt let the side down with a mere 2/5. Caberg can gloat they achieved a perfect score of 5/5 on their innovative Tourmax, the world’s first flip-up dual-sport helmet.
Current total of SHARP tested lids: 30 Average score: 4.20
Shark sits comfortably at number 4 with consistent safety ratings of 4 stars plus. Out of the 5 latest helmets tested by SHARP, including the Evo-One 2 and Skwal, all scored an impressive 4/5. In fact, out of all 30 helmets tested by SHARP, only one has ever scored less than 4, the Openline (3/5).
Current total of SHARP tested lids: 11 Average score: 4.18
Another consistent performer, X-Lite, is a safety-conscious brand part of the Nolan Group. Out of the 11 helmets tested by SHARP, 2 have scored 5/5 while the remaining have all scored 4/5. For a company focussed on safety, they certainly make the grade .
Remaining top 20
Shoei – Current total of SHARP tested lids: 13 Average Score: 4.15
A surprising result for Shoei who currently have 5/13 helmets scoring 5 stars, only 4 have scored less than 4 stars. The GT Air, Multitech, XR-1000 and XR-1100 scored 3/5.
BMW – Current total of SHARP tested lids: 4 Average Score: 4.00
The smaller range of tested helmets has brought the average down for BMW. 2 out 5 helmets tested scored an impressive 4 stars while their System 5 scored 5/5.
Grex – Current total of SHARP tested lids: 5 Average Score: 4.00
A respectable 4 stars for all 5 helmets tested by SHARP.
MDS – Current total of SHARP tested lids: 3 Average Score: 4.00
The same for MDS, 4/5 across the board but only 3 helmets currently tested.
Nolan – Current total of SHARP tested lids: 14 Average Score: 4.00
The parent company of X-Lite are within the top ten, scoring 4/5 for each of their SHARP approved helmets.
Stealth – Current total of SHARP tested lids: 3 Average Score: 4.00
Another small testing range here. Only 3 so far but all scoring 4 stars.
Lazer – Current total of SHARP tested lids: 16 Average Score: 3.88
SHARP has tested 16 helmets by Lazer, 5 stars for the Bora and LZ6 but only 2 stars for the Tornado.
Marushin – Current total of SHARP tested lids: 8 Average Score: 3.88
Marushin has a few top scorers to their name including the RS2 Carbon and 777 Samura but also a few low scorers including the 222 with 1 star.
MT – Current total of SHARP tested lids: 11 Average Score: 3.73
MT tend to be middle-range helmets with more consistent 3 stars. The Revenge is their safest helmet with 5 stars.
Arai – Current total of SHARP tested lids: 14 Average Score: 3.64
A shock result for Arai. They’ve had a few low scorers in the past, but their latest tested models, the QV Pro and RX-7V have scored 5 stars.
Duchinni – Current total of SHARP tested lids: 14 Average Score: 3.64
Usually receiving scores of 4 and 5 stars, the D601 and D605 only scored 1, and 2 stars so bring down their average.
G-Mac – Current total of SHARP tested lids: 8 Average Score: 3.50
Out of the 8 helmets tested by SHARP, 5 have scored 4 stars which for a relatively new brand is a solid result.
Roof – Current total of SHARP tested lids: 4 Average Score: 3.50
A small testing range keeps Roof’s average down. A good rating of 3 and 4 stars across the board here.
Airoh – Current total of SHARP tested lids: 13 Average Score: 3.46
A range of 13 helmets for Airoh and a mixture of results ranging from 2 – 5 stars. Their 5 star helmet is the Valor.
Nitro – Current total of SHARP tested lids: 28 Average Score: 3.43
An extensive testing range for Nitro and a wide range of scores. Their Evo Carbon and Aikido, among others, scored a perfect 5.
Some surprising results
Like all research, you often get surprising results, and our SHARP average ratings proved no different. Arai came in at 15th while HJC was 21st and Schuberth was 31st. All three brands are well known and have state of the art research and development departments, so why the low scores?
First of all, it’s important to remember that all helmets listed here are ECE 22.05 approved, so having a lower SHARP rating does not mean they aren’t good. . Delving deeper into the SHARP tests, it shows the side-impact tests were proving difficult for all three brands. This could be for many factors, for example, big names like Schuberth manufacture helmets that pass DOT, SNELL and SHARP tests. SNELL, for instance, includes some pretty extreme penetration tests which SHARP do not perform. If brands are trying to pass penetration tests, they could reinforce the outer shell, which makes it harder. Harder shells do not spread the impact as well as more supple shells which could cause the lighter impact tests of SHARP to be skewed.
Overall, it is worth noting that Arai, Schuberth and HJC are still average scorers with SHARP but by no means the worst. It’s worth pointing out that all of these manufacturers sell motorcycle helmets rated to the ECE 22.05 standards meaning they already reach a high standard. It is also fair to say that these manufacturers were caught off-guard in early tests, where their helmets didn’t score high SHARP scores, meaning that to this day their average is lower than it could be.
We will continue to update our league table each year, so it will be interesting to see how brands improve over time.
Calculating the results
To make our test fair, we used data from all helmets tested which were available on the SHARP website. These results were collected, ordered and an average score calculated by using the total score (5 stars = 5 points, 1 star = 1 point etc.), divided by the number of helmets within the sample. Some brands may have only had 1 or 2 helmets tested by SHARP. Therefore, this would create an unfair advantage to other brands who may have over 50 helmets within their range. We have omitted brands with less than 3 helmets SHARP have tested for a more informed league table.
Of course, SHARP along with other safety tests do have their downfalls and must only be used as a guide. We have written a guide on SHARP’s testing criteria plus other certifications if you would like some more information on how SHARP approval is carried out. In short, SHARP is a well-respected approval rating which is easy to understand and provides more stringent testing criteria than ECE 22.05 alone.