This article was updated to clarify more accurately the role NOCSAE has in setting standards for lacrosse equipment.
Which lacrosse helmet is best?
Lacrosse is the oldest organized sport in North America, but it is also considered to be one of the most physically taxing. Similar to ice hockey and football, players need protection from hard body blows and falls.
Arguably the most important piece of protection is the helmet. For obvious reasons, the helmet covers the player’s head with thick plastic, a face mask made from metal, and a chin strap to keep it in place. Looking for one of the best, the Cascade XRS Lacrosse Helmet is a good place to start.
What to know before you buy a lacrosse helmet
The fit is incredibly important
As with any piece of protective equipment, if it doesn’t fit correctly, it won’t be able to provide the needed safety. It is hugely important that you try on different helmet sizes to make sure it fits snugly on your head. There should be minimal movement when you are running, and it shouldn’t obstruct your view.
The same helmet is worn by goalies
The sport might have the same intensity as ice hockey, but the equipment for goalies differs somewhat. In ice hockey, goalies have a specially designed helmet to protect their faces that is unlike the rest of the team. The same isn’t true for lacrosse though, as the goalie wears the same helmet as other players, while the goalie’s stick head is somewhat different. The only difference is that the goalie will also need a throat guard.
Not everybody requires a helmet
A lacrosse helmet is an essential piece of protection, but not everybody who enjoys the sport needs one. It is compulsory for men to wear helmets in field lacrosse, but that isn’t the case for intercrosse or women’s lacrosse. The latter is only required to wear eye protection, however, the goalie must wear a helmet even though the lacrosse balls are softer.
What to look for in a quality lacrosse helmet
Not just any helmet will do
To help protect all players on the field, governing bodies including USA Lacrosse, NFHS and NCAA require that lacrosse helmets meet the performance standard set by the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE). The Safety Equipment Institute certifies athletic equipment to NOCSAE standards and a complete list of helmets that meet the standard is available here.
Durable quality to pass certification
Lacrosse helmets and faceguards need to be certified by Safety Equipment Institute to ensure they meet NOCSAE standards. A good-quality lacrosse helmet will be made from robust and durable materials to ensure that it remains in good condition for a long time. The faceguard also needs to be covered with a protective coating so that it doesn’t peel or rust.
Replaceable parts of maintenance
No piece of equipment will last forever without some necessary maintenance, and the same goes for lacrosse helmets. Even the best quality helmets will need a tune-up before the start of a new season. A good quality helmet needs to be inspected, and if needed, have the ability to replace screws, nuts, and the faceguard.
How much you can expect to spend on a lacrosse helmet
The average price of a lacrosse helmet is dependent on several factors, like the manufacturer and the capabilities. An entry-level helmet retails for between $120-$190, while professional helmets can retail for between $250-$350.
Lacrosse helmet FAQ
How long does a lacrosse helmet last?
A. This will depend on several factors, like general wear and tear, damage, or how it was looked after. But in all cases, a lacrosse helmet needs to be certified to meet the NOCSAE standard. For the non-recertifiable class of helmets, the lifespan may be two, three or even five years, depending on the brand and model.
Does a lacrosse helmet fit all heads?
A. Lacrosse helmets generally come in two sizes: adult and youth. The biggest factor for the correct fit is the four-buckle system and the chin strap. By adjusting both systems, you can get the correct fit.
What are the best lacrosse helmets to buy?
Top lacrosse helmet
What you need to know: A great helmet that provides excellent protection and vision.
What you’ll love: The XRS helmet from Cascade is a popular choice among players who value maximum protection. On the inside of the helmet, it makes use of three different protection liners to withstand force from any angle. It has wide, generous ventilation ports, and the adjustability settings ensure that it will fit comfortably on various head sizes.
What you should consider: The $300 price tag might put it out of range for most players.
Top lacrosse helmet for money
What you need to know: This helmet can be customized to suit your playstyle and attitude.
What you’ll love: Building on the robust brand of lacrosse helmets, the Custom CPV-R from Cascade uses its proprietary SPRfit adjustable ratchet system. This means that you can make small adjustments so that it fits perfectly on your unique head size. Great for beginner or intermediate players, it uses seven layers in the inner lining to displace forces.
What you should consider: While you can customize each helmet component, the finished product isn’t shipped to you. Rather, you are sent decal stickers and a white helmet and you need to apply them yourself.
Where to buy: Sold by Dick’s Sporting Goods
Worth checking out
What you need to know: An excellent choice for solid protection.
What you’ll love: If you are looking for a lacrosse helmet that provides maximum protection, then the Burn is an excellent choice. It features Viconic protection, which can absorb linear and twisting impacts across a wide area. The chin strap has been designed to form an extra layer of protection as it is attached to the helmet’s shell. When fitted correctly, the Burn provides 270-degrees head protection.
What you should consider: Some users have indicated that your vision can be diminished under certain conditions.
Where to buy: Sold by Dick’s Sporting Goods
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Charlie Fripp writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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