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There is a risk of concussions with any activity involving big body checks, swinging metal sticks, and firing hard rubber balls 90+ miles per hour—and lacrosse is no exception.
Of all the equipment lacrosse players are required to wear, the helmet is the most important. It protects your head from fast-moving balls, unintentional slashes to the head, and big hits.
I made this guide to help you find the best lacrosse helmet for yourself or your child so you can stay protected.
Before we dive into all of the options, I recommend the Cascade XRS Helmet and the Cascade S Youth Helmet. Cascade has long been a leader in the lacrosse helmet industry and the XRS and S Youth are their newest models for adults and youth players, respectively.
Best Adult Lacrosse Helmets (12 Years & Older)
Adult lacrosse helmets are typically good for players who are 12 or older. More specifically, if your head is over 21.5 inches in circumference at the forehead, you likely need an adult helmet. If you are looking for a youth helmet, click here. Also, if you are a goalie, check out our top picks for the best goalie helmets and throat protectors here.
Here are reviews of my top picks for the best adult lacrosse helmets.
Best adult lacrosse helmets:
1) Cascade XRS Lacrosse Helmet
Drip Level: 5/5
Cascade released its newest helmet just in time for the 2021 NCAA Tournament Championship Weekend. The XRS is Cascade's most protective and comfortable helmet to date.
It features a tri-liner system to disperse different kinds of impacts while providing a better hit on your head. There is also a Double Jaw Deflection system that provides increased protection as compared to previous models and better ventilation to keep you cool.
Aside from the increased protection and comfort, the XRS also improves on the S (Cascade's previous model) by providing better visibility for players. The VISION system increases peripheral vision by 20% and the Power-Pressed Vision Bar reduces the size of the top part of the face mask without sacrificing rigidity.
Overall, the Cascade XRS is the cream of the crop when it comes to lacrosse helmets. If you are looking for a new helmet, the XRS should be at the top of your list.
2) Cascade S Lacrosse Helmet
Drip Level: 4.9/5
Despite the XRS coming out in 2021, the Cascade S is still a solid option for lacrosse players.
The helmet uses a tri-liner system along with the Supermono S Shell to absorb different types of impacts in different locations, helping you stay protected no matter what happens on the field.
The helmet is also extremely comfortable and looks great too. The tri-liner system along with the multiple ventilation ports help keep the helmet breathable so your head stays cool even on the hottest of days. Finally, the HardTail SPRfit allows you to adjust the helmet so it fits perfectly on your noggin.
3) Cascade CPX-R Lacrosse Helmet
Drip Level: 4.6/5
If you are looking to save some money on your helmet, the Cascade CPX-R is an option that offers great protection without sacrificing style.
The CPX-R uses Cascade’s SevenTechnology liner that dissipates energy upon impact for protection and comfort. It also has a Hardtail SPRfit system that allows you to adjust the fit of the helmet as needed.
The CPX-R isn’t quite as sleek as the Cascade S, but the overall shape is very similar and still looks great on the field.
4) STX Rival Lacrosse Helmet
Drip Level: 4.4/5
STX is mostly known for their popular heads, shafts, and equipment. When I first saw that they started created helmets I was pretty surprised but eager to check them out.
The most popular STX helmet is the Rival which has started to gain some traction with lacrosse teams across the nation.
The coolest feature of the Rival, in my opinion, is the Sure-Fit system that lets you pump in and release air from the helmet to ensure that it fits your head perfectly. It also includes Schutt’s TPU Cushioning System and fitted liners to improve protection and comfort.
I like the design of the Cascade S a little better than the STX Rival, but it still looks great and has millions of color combinations.
Best Youth Lacrosse Helmets (Under 12 Years Old)
Youth helmets are typically good for children under 12 years old or those whose forehead circumferences are 22 inches or less.
Here are reviews of my top picks for the best youth lacrosse helmets.
Best youth lacrosse helmets:
1) Cascade S Youth Lacrosse Helmet
Drip Level: 5/5
The Cascade S comes in as the best youth helmet for many of the same reasons that it was the best adult helmet. It features the same shape, design, and safety features.
The S helmet uses a tri-liner system along with the Supermono S Shell to absorb different types of impacts in different locations, helping your child stay protected no matter what happens on the field.
The helmet is also extremely comfortable and looks great too. The tri-liner system along with the multiple XFLO ventilation ports help keep the helmet breathable even on the hottest of days.
Finally, the HardTail SPRfit allows you to adjust the helmet so it fits perfectly on your child’s head.
2) Cascade CPV-R Youth Lacrosse Helmet
Drip Level: 4.6/5
The Cascade CPV-R is the next option to consider on our list of the best youth lacrosse helmets. What makes the CPV-R great is that it costs nearly half as much as the Cascade S but still meets all safety standards.
This helmet comes in 4 different sizes, so you can be sure that there is an option that fits your child’s head. It also comes with Cascade’s SPRfit adjustable ratchet system that allows you to change the fit of the helmet as needed.
The EPP liner system and R Series shell help protect your child’s head while keeping the helmet as comfortable as possible.
3) Warrior Burn Jr Helmet
Drip Level: 4.4/5
If you don’t want to go with a Cascade helmet, the Warrior Burn Jr Helmet—designed for players under the age of 12—is a decent alternative.
It has an energy-absorbing vinyl nitrate foam liner as well as an expanded polypropylene liner to help with impacts. There are also pull-tab attachments that allow you to adjust the fit of the helmet as your player gets older.
Like the others on this list, the helmet meets the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment’s (NOSCAE) and Safety Equipment Institute’s (SEI) standards for lacrosse helmets, so you can rest assured knowing that your child is protected.
How to Choose a Lacrosse Helmet
Here is what you should consider when choosing a helmet for yourself or your child.
First and foremost, you want to pick a helmet that is safe. That’s what is most important, and if your child isn’t safe, then comfort and style don’t matter.
How do you tell if a helmet is safe?
The easiest way is to check if it meets the standards set by the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOSCAE) and Safety Equipment Institute (SEI).
I would be surprised if any new helmets that were released nowadays didn’t meet these standards. I guess an older version of a helmet may fail to meet standards if they are updated, but generally all helmets on the market today should meet these standards.
You may also want to read customer reviews to see if players have had any issues with the helmets breaking or hurting—which I have done to create the above list.
You should also make sure to order the correct size when choosing a helmet. There are generally two different sizes: Youth and Adult.
Youth sizes are typically for players around 12 and under, whereas Adult helmets are for older players.
Aside from being comfortable, choosing a correctly sized helmet is also crucial for safety. If your helmet is too tight or loose, the helmet won’t absorb and disperse hits correctly, possibly leading to injury.
If you’re not sure which size makes sense, you can always measure your or your child’s head. Most helmet companies have reference tables that allow you to match up your head’s circumference to the correct helmet size.
You can also go to your local lacrosse or sporting goods store or try on teammates’ helmets to see which fit the best.
While not all people find lacrosse helmets to be necessarily “comfortable” by any means, your helmet shouldn’t cause you any pain.
If it’s overly tight, you may have to use the adjustment mechanism (often located on the back of the helmet) or adjust the chin strap to loosen it up—and vice-versa if it’s too tight.
Note that some helmets may be more comfortable than others simply because they fit your head shape better. This is another good reason to try on different models before choosing one.
Having good vision out of your helmet is also very important. Though most have a very similar shape, the shells and facemasks can vary slightly from model to model which may affect how well you can see out of it.
Your field of vision shouldn’t be dramatically reduced by putting on a helmet, especially considering most don’t cut off much of your peripheral vision.
If you are comparing helmets that meet all safety standards and seem to be equally safe otherwise, it may be beneficial to choose a lighter helmet.
Having a lighter helmet can help you play faster on the field, both in your overall running speed as well as how fast you can move your head to react to passes and checks.
Many organized teams have specific helmet colors that players are supposed to wear.
Before buying a helmet, check if your team gives players helmets or if there are certain colors that players should buy.
Most lacrosse sites like lax.com and lacrosseunlimited.com allow you to customize your helmet completely on the site before purchasing.
If colors don’t matter as much, you can usually get a helmet faster and possibly cheaper on Amazon. Depending on the helmet, you may also be able to customize the colors too.
Parts of a Lacrosse Helmet
I thought it would be helpful to put together a diagram of the different helmet parts. The terminology is pretty consistent across different brands.
The shell makes up the bulk of the outer layer of the helmet. It is typically made of a hard plastic with liners inside that keep your head safe and comfortable.
The visor is like an extension of the shell that covers your forehead. Some helmets may have a separate piece of plastic for the visor whereas it is just continuous with the shell for others.
The chin—as the name suggests—covers your chin area. It is usually made of a similar material to the shell and visor but may be a different color.
The facemask is typically made of metal and covers your (you guessed it!) face.
The facemask can have a big impact on your visibility. If the horizontal bar lines up with your eyes when wearing your helmet properly, you may have trouble seeing. In this case, you can try tilting the helmet up or down more, just make sure that it still fits properly so you aren’t risking injury.
The bottom of the chin strap covers your chin while the straps to each side run up the side of the helmet and connect to the shell to keep your helmet secure.
There are two straps per side. One connects around the temple and the other connects around the base of the shell towards the back.
It’s important to make sure the chin strap is tight enough that your helmet won’t move around too much independently from your head. For example, if you grab a player’s facemask and move it from left to right or up and down, the helmet shouldn’t move all over while the head stays still.
Your chin strap also shouldn’t be so tight that the helmet hurts.
Though it’s not technically a part of the helmet, most players also wear a mouthpiece which may be connected to the facemask with a strap or just rest in the player’s mouth.
Be sure to check your league’s rules to see if a mouthpiece strap is required. My state, for example, required one for high school players.
Many players boil their mouthpieces so they can form them to their teeth. This makes the mouthpiece more comfortable, increasing the chances that the player wears it, while also making it safer.
Tying It Together
I hope this guide helped you find a lacrosse helmet that works for you. The most important thing is to pick a helmet that is safe and comfortable. If your helmet ever causes you pain or breaks, stop using it immediately and either get it adjusted or find a new one.
If you are interested in taking your lacrosse game to the next level, you may be interested in some of our other guides: