How to tell if a snowmobile helmet will actually protect you

December 12, 2014

Snowmobiling accidents cause over 14,000 injuries per year, many of them preventable with the right equipment. Discover how to spot a safe snowmobile helmet.

How to tell if a snowmobile helmet will actually protect you

The most important piece of gear for any snowmobiler is a proper helmet. There are many different types of snowmobile helmets, but you should always choose one that has a safety approval. Here are the most common helmet certification standards:


ECE is the most common helmet certification in the world. It was developed by United Nations Economic Commission for Europe and it is required for all helmet sales in over 50 countries. ECE is the standard requirement for many motocross, formula one and snowmobile competitions, so when you see that certification on a helmet in the store, you’ll know that you’re getting the same protection as the professionals.

The biggest test for the ECE certification of a helmet is impact. To be eligible for approval under ECE, a helmet can allow a maximum G-force of 275 grams. If you choose a helmet with this certification, you can be confident that you’re getting one that is very impact absorbent.


DOT is the certification of the US Department of Transport. It is very common for helmets distributed throughout North America and it is designed to protect skulls from 90 per cent of impact types. Helmets are tested to be highly shock absorbent, and each helmet can allow a maximum G-force of 250 grams. DOT is a good certification to look for when shopping for a helmet because recent studies have shown absorbing the force of an impact is more crucial than resisting the impact.


Snell is common helmet certification by the not-for-profit Snell Memorial Foundation. Snell’s former certification standard, the M2005 is no longer permitted by many competitions. It has maximum G-force allowance of 300 grams, which is enough to easily result in a fatal head injury. If you are looking at Snell helmets, make sure you purchase a Snell M2010 certified helmet. The M2010 standard allows a maximum G-force of 275 grams and has a higher standard for impact absorbance.

The main difference between a snowmobile helmet and a motorcycle helmet is keeping the face shield fog-free. If you’re buying a full-face helmet, make sure it’s dual pane, with an electric shield and breath guard. If you chose a sno-cross helmet without a face shield, you should consider adding goggles, a balaclava, and a breath box to your purchase.

A snowmobile helmet is a five-year commitment, so choosing the right one is important. All of the safety certifications mentioned are acceptable, and anyone shopping for helmets should be aware of helmets that aren’t certified. Online retailers may claim to have certifications you haven’t heard of, or none at all, so it’s important to do some research and make sure you are protected.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
Close menu