Best Hard Hat: Our Top 10 Picks and Buying Guide

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Best Hard Hat: Our Top 10 Picks and Buying Guide

Best Hard Hat: Our Top 10 Picks and Buying Guide

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Wearing personal protective equipment is an absolute necessity if you work high-risk jobs, like roofing, construction or electricity. Accident prevention is paramount!

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires an employer to pay for his worker’s hard hat. But sometimes, standard-issue hard hats can be uncomfortable.

To help you decide which hard hat you should buy for yourself, we reviewed 10 of the best hard hats available online.



MSA is known for making high-quality safety products, and the Skullgard is no different. The MSA Skullgard Hard Hat is a ratchet-style suspension hard hat with a brilliant comfort-focused design.

It’s Type I compliant, so it can provide you protection from falling objects overhead. And because it’s made from phenolic resin, it’s even harder than ANSI standards.

Phenolic resin can resist high temperatures, so you don’t have to worry about this hard hat warping with the heat of the sun.

That makes the Skullgard a suitable choice for hot environments, like firefighting jobs.

Speaking of hot environments, this hard hat comes with either a cap-style or a full-brim hard hat option. In either case, you get adequate protection against the sun.

If you’re doing electrical work, the MSA Skullgard is also a great choice for you since it can provide protection up to 2,200 volts.

We love how comfortable the Skullgard is. It comes with Fas-Trac III suspension, which uses rear lug attachments to eliminate pressure points from your head.

The hard hat is easy to adjust at any time with the Fas-Trac suspension. It lets you adjust the crown straps, sweatband, headband, and nape strap of your helmet.

Both the Fas-Trac suspension and the Skullgard’s comfort pad eliminates painful hair-pulling when taking the hard hat off.

The Skullgard also comes with a 4-point suspension system so the helmet can sufficiently absorb impact from objects and disperses forces across your head.

One thing to watch out for is that it’s not very breathable. So if you’re working with hotter environments (like on top of a roof), it’s better to get a vented hard hat.



Is the MSA Tan Skullgard Hard Hat for You?

The MSA Skullgard is an excellent choice if you’re working in construction under ordinary situations and need a hard hat to protect you.

With the Skullgard, MSA paid close attention to all the safety and design features to work seamlessly and conveniently. We highly recommend this hard hat.

We don’t recommend this hard hat for electricians, though, since it’s only rated for a lower voltage (2,200 volts).



The Pyramex Safety Ridgeline is one of the best-selling helmets on Amazon for plenty of reasons. It’s affordable, it’s comfortable, and it just works.

The Ridgeline is one of the lightest helmets you can buy because of its ABS construction. ABS plastic is one of the most durable plastics to use, so your head will be safe with a Ridgeline.

The Ridgeline is also quite comfortable. It has enough cushioning so you won’t get headaches from a snug-fitting hard hat.

You don’t need to worry about the sun since the Ridgeline is a full-brim hard hat.

The 4-point ratchet suspension of the Ridgeline makes it easy to adjust as well.

It can fit most head types. Not to mention, it has a lower profile, so the helmet covers more of your head and reduces pressure.

If you want more protection than a 4-point ratchet suspension, though, a Pyramex 6-point ratchet suspension conversion is available.

The main benefit? A 6-point suspension spreads impact more evenly across your head.

We love how versatile the Ridgeline is. You can use the Ridgeline for general construction work and electrical work. With a Class E-electrical rating, the Ridgeline is proof tested at 20,000 volts.



Is the Pyramex Safety Ridgeline Full Brim Hard Hat for You?

If you don’t mind your hard hat aging a bit faster than more expensive alternatives, then there’s very little not to like about the Pyramex Safety Ridgeline.

The Ridgeline is durable, versatile, and protects your head with your choice of the included 4-point suspension or with a 6-point suspension replacement.

And if you’re an electrician, then the Ridgeline is a superb choice. It’s tested for 20,000 volts, so you don’t have to worry about frying your hair.



Having a tight budget doesn’t mean you should compromise your safety. And with the 3M H-701R hard hat, you wouldn’t have to.

The 3M H-701R comes with the basic features every hard hat should have. It’s Type I rated, so it can sufficiently protect your head against objects.

The 3M-701R is also E-rated, so it can take 20,000 volts of electricity. Electricians can benefit from this hard hat, too.
We love how 3M thought to deliver the product with the suspension still uninstalled. Uninstalled suspension systems prevent the distortion that helmets with pre-installed suspension usually have.

The 3M also has a lower profile, so it sits lower on your head and feels less obtrusive than a hard hat with a higher head/hat clearance.

The 3M H-701R also comes with vents, so heat won’t accumulate inside the hard hat.

The only thing we don’t like about the 3M H-701R is that it can get uncomfortable. While the cushioning of the H-701R is sufficient, the hat feels starts feeling tight after a few hours of wear.

Although, if you’re paying just around 10 dollars, it’s enough that the hard hat is safe, sturdy, and reliable.



Is The 3M H-701R Hard Hat For You?

The 3M H-701R is the best hard hat you can get on a budget. If you’re only spending 10 dollars for personal protective equipment, then you may as well make sure that your hat is safe to use.

Furthermore, the 3M-701R has safety covered. The 3M H-701R hard hat is made with lightweight HDPE, and it’s Type I-rated.



The Honeywell Fibre-Metal Super Eight is a cap-style hard hat that looks stylish at first glance. The Honeywell Super Eight comes in a classy matte finish.

Something that sets the Honeywell Fibre-Metal apart is it’s made of Honeywell’s proprietary Roughneck P2A injection-molded fiberglass.

A fiberglass hard hat is eight times stronger than an HDPE hard hat. This alone is enough reason to feel safe while using the Honeywell Fibre-Metal.

But there are more reasons Honeywell’s Super-Eight is an exceptional hard hat. Unlike most helmets, which use either 4-point or 6-point suspension, the Honeywell uses an 8-point suspension system.

An 8-point suspension provides better protection from falling objects and spreads the impact across your head evenly across the 8 points. This means your head gets better lateral fall protection, too.

The Honeywell Fibre-Metal withstands up to 370 degrees Fahrenheit, making it a great option if you work in hotter environments.

The Honeywell is sufficiently comfortable. Inside, you’ll find a terry sweatband and enough padding to work with the entire day.

The harness at the back portion could be designed better, though, since it can get uncomfortable.



Is the Honeywell Fibre-Metal Super Eight for You?

The Honeywell Fibre-Metal is an uncomplicated fiberglass hard hat that prioritizes safety and durability. It’s still pretty stylish, though, and comes in a lot of color options, so that’s a plus.

If you’re looking for a hard hat that’s built to last, then the Honeywell Fibre-Metal is an excellent choice.



The PETZL Vertex Vent doesn’t exactly look or feel like your usual hard hats. It looks sportier, and it doesn’t have a brim.

Though it doesn’t look like the usual hard hat, we think that the PETZL Vertex Vent is one of the best hard hats in the market today.

It’s rated Type 1, so we already know that it’s certified to protect your head from falling objects. It has a 6-point suspension, too, so the force from a falling object is evenly dispersed across your head.

But it’s the other features that make the PETZL Vertex Vent so unique among the other hard hat options.

The PETZL Vertex Vent’s design is intended for work at height, so it’s one of the lightest hard hats we reviewed. It also comes with a robust chin strap that takes 50 decanewtons of force.

This way, even if you fall, the Vertex Vent will still stay attached to your head (but we really hope that doesn’t happen to you).

What we love the most about the Vertex Vent is its modular design. The modular design allows you to integrate a headlamp, ear muffs/hearing protection, a protective eye shield, or other accessories.

Because of the modular design, you can equip the Vertex Vent according to your needs.

The PETZL Vertex Vent is also one of the most comfortable hard hats we’ve tried. The vents make the helmet super breathable, so sweat and heat won’t accumulate under heat.

There’s also the CenterFit adjustment system, which is comfortable and keeps the helmet centered on your head.

We only wish this came with a full brim hard hat option for work under the sun. An electrical rating would also be ideal, but PETZL chose not to include those features in this hard hat.



Is the PETZL Vertex Vent for You?

If you’re doing work at height, then the PETZL Vertex Vent is the best hard hat for the job. It’s made for climbing, and it can protect your head even while you’re falling.

You can make the Vertex Vent more functional by adding extra equipment, thanks to its modular design.

But you might not want to choose the PETZL if you’re doing electrical work, though. Its C-class rating means it doesn’t have any electrical insulation.



The LIFT Safety DAX Fifty 50 ratchet suspension hard hat has a fresh, modern design that provides sufficient protection and is comfortable to wear the entire day.

Comfort is the DAX Fifty 50’s biggest draw. This hard hat comes with a moisture-wicking foam EVA insert, which absorbs the sweat from your head.

The DAX Fifty 50 rides low on your head, so it stays put. LIFT Safety also has its users in mind when it designed an oversized ratcheting fitment dial. It’s even easy to grip with gloves on.

The EVA foam also has a safety purpose: it absorbs the impact from a hit or fall, so your head doesn’t have to.

This hard hat is made with carbon fiber reinforced resin, superior to high-density polyethylene (HDPE) used alone.

Carbon fiber reinforcement allows high-temperature and high-strength use, so you’re sure that your head is safe with the DAX Fifty 50 in most situations.

But if you’re an electrician, you’re out of luck with this hard hat since it’s only C-rated.

Don’t worry, though. There are many other hard hat options that are just as good as the DAX Fifty-50 for your safety.



Is the LIFT Safety DAX Fifty 50 Carbon FIber Hard Hat for You?

The DAX Fifty 50 is a great hard hat for most applications requiring head protection. With durable materials, a 6-point system for suspension, and an EVA foam insert, your head is safe from impact.

The DAX Fifty 50 is one of the best hard hats to wear the entire day. Comfort is something that we think manufacturers don’t seem to prioritize, but with the DAX Fifty 50, your comfort is covered.



The MSA V-Gard hard hat comes from the same makers as our top-rated MSA Skullgard hard hat. And just like the Skullgard, we saw MSA’s attention to safety with the V-Gard, too.

Even if the V-Gard is MSA’s budget product, it still comes with many of the safety features as the Skullgard.

The V-Gard has a 4-point Fas-Trac III suspension, which spreads force evenly across the head.

MSA improved the V-Gard’s safety with its trademarked “V” design. The “V” helps with impact protection and hat ventilation. Plus, it gives this hard hat a sleek and stylish look.

The V-Gard also uses MSA’s Fas-Trac suspension technology, consisting of the sweatband, three levels of nape strap adjustment, a lower nape strap, and a smooth ratchet rotation.

MSA’s products are worth getting for the Fas-Trac III suspension technology alone. It’s what makes MSA’s products the best hard hats for both comfort and design.

With safety, the only difference between the V-Gard and the Skullgard is the hard hat cap material. Unlike Skullgard’s phenolic resin, MSA used high-density polyethylene (HDPE) for this design.

Now, while HDPE isn’t as hard as phenolic resin, it’s still one of the best materials for making hard hats.

In case you’re worried because of the cheaper material used, the V-Gard is still Type 1-rated. This means that the V-Gard still provides sufficient impact protection against falling objects.



Is the MSA V-Gard for You?

If you want a hard hat that’s safe and comfortable to wear, then the V-Gard is an excellent choice. It has all the features of MSA’s Skullgard, except for the phenolic resin. But even that isn’t a big loss.

For a comfortable and safe hard hat that fits within your budget, the MSA V-Gard is pretty hard to beat.

The V-Gard is also great for electricians since it’s electrical-rated. This means it’s proof-tested for 20,000 volts.



It’s not a costume! It’s a perfectly functional safety hard hat.

The OccuNomix Vulcan Cowboy-Style Hard Hat is exactly that: it’s a hard hat with a wider brim and looks like a western-style cowboy hat.

The OccuNomix Vulcan Hard Hat comes in the ratchet and squeezes lock suspension options, giving you the freedom to choose how to adjust the helmet.

For this review, we focused on the ratchet suspension hard hat.

The OccuNomix Vulcan has all the safety features you’ll need in a hard hat. It uses ABS plastic cap, made in the USA.

ABS plastic is popular in lightweight, affordable hard hats and is durable enough to protect your head.

The OccuNomix Vulcan hard hat is Type I-rated, so you don’t have to worry about safety.

Besides its rating, the OccuNomix Vulcan also has a 6-point system for its suspension, which is actually more than what most budget options in the market offer.

And in case you’re still in doubt, the OSHA issued a Standard Interpretation that specifically refers to cowboy hat-style helmets. They mentioned these are perfectly adequate for Type 1 ratings.

The cowboy-style design isn’t just for show. It’s actually quite functional. The wider brim provides excellent UV protection, perfect for when you’re working under the sun.

The extra-wide brim’s downside is that it comes out a bit heavier because there’s more material used for the cap. But because OccuNomix used ABS plastic, the weight difference isn’t as noticeable.



Is the OccuNomix Vulcan Hard Hat for You?

The OccuNomix Vulcan gets a lot of love from Amazon, not only because of its unique and quirky design but also because it’s actually a safe, comfortable, and functional hat.

So if you want to stand out but still use a perfectly safe hard hat that’s comfortable to wear, then the OccuNomix might be the hard hat for you.

Just be careful and check if your construction sites will allow you to use a western-style hard hat before getting the OccuNomix Vulcan for yourself.



The Klein Tools 60407 hard hat is one of the best hard hats to wear if you’re looking for something versatile. The Klein Tools 60407 has it all: safety-rated, adequate ventilation, and accessory mounts.

The Klein Tools 60407 is made with durable polycarbonate ABS plastic, which is one of the best hard hat materials to use. ABS plastic is lightweight and can take a beating from regular construction work.

This hard hat is comfortable to wear because of its breathable and sweatband and top pad. These pads are machine-washable, so you don’t have to deal with the smell of dried sweat in the morning.

Besides the breathable sweatband, the Klein Tools 60407 also comes with adjustable vents that provide adequate ventilation when needed and can be closed when the safety standards require them.

Although, the accessory mounts are really what makes the Klein Tools 60407 stand out. The mounts on the front and back fit the Klein headlamps perfectly, and you won’t need straps or zip ties for it!

The side-mounts also work great for attaching hearing protection too. With the Klein Tools 60407 hard hat, all sides are covered.



Is the Klein Tools Hard Hat 60407 for You?

The Klein Tools Hard Hat 60407 is quite honestly one of the best hard hats we recommend for use. It’s safe, comfortable, and versatile. What’s not to like?

The best part is, this hard hat is really comfortable, too. The Klein Tools 60407 might be the hard hat for you if you’re looking for something that can suit a wide variety of applications.



LIFT Safety’s HDF-15NG Hard Hat is a classic-looking hard hat that looks good and works great. It provides satisfactory protection with its carbon-fiber-reinforced resin construction.

What we love about the HDF-15NG is its seamless approach to comfort and safety. The materials and design of the HDG-15NG make it one of the best hard hats to use.

The shockproof synthetic leather comfort dome feels like a comfortable cushion around your head. It’s also shockproof and provides an extra layer of protection between the shell and your head.

The EVA inserts with microfiber liner add another soft cushion around your head so you won’t feel like you’re wearing a hard helmet.

The EVA inserts also work together with the 8-point suspension system to soften any blows and distribute impact evenly.

Overall, the HDF-15NG stands out because of LIFT Safety’s attention to detail. Everything about this helmet screams good design, from its style to its features.

This hard hat would have been our best hard hat overall. But its price, and the fact that it’s not rated for electrical work, is kind of a bummer.



Is the LIFT Safety HDF-15NG Hard Hat for You?

If you’re not working with electricity and ventilation isn’t a problem for you, we highly recommend the LIFT Safety HDF-15NG.

It’s honestly one of the best hard hats we’ve reviewed for its comfort alone. And we love how all the comfort features of this hard hat are designed for safety, too.

Construction sites are dangerous places to be.

And when you’re doing construction of any kind, it’s a good idea to invest in personal protective equipment, like hard hats.

While it’s true that your employer should provide you with your own PPE [R], it’s still useful to buy your own if you want to be in charge of your own safety or if you want a more sanitary hard hat.

You should also buy a hard hat for yourself when you’re self-employed [R], or when you’re doing construction work on your own premises.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), you’re required to use a hard hat when there’s a risk of exposure to impacts, falling or flying objects, or electrical shock [R].

Remember that the key word is “risk,” so if you’re an employer, you might want to get a hard hat for your worker, even if there’s just a possibility of an impact in your construction sites [R].

Here are some reasons for wearing a hard hat:

  • To protect yourself from injuries. Head injuries account for 9% of construction risks, and 84% of those injured didn’t wear a helmet [R].
  • To protect yourself from electricity. Wearing a hard hat can insulate you from the electric shock from things like live wires.

And if those aren’t good enough reasons for you, then maybe this video could help. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!

When you’re buying a hard hat, you should pay attention to the type rating of the hard hat. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) divided the different hard hats into types and classes.

The type category identifies the kind of protection your hard hat can provide. These categories are:

  • Type I hard hats, which provide vertical protection (the top of your head).
  • Type II hard hats, which provide lateral protection (the top and sides of your head) [R].

Meanwhile, the hard hat classes are divided according to how much they can handle electricity. They are:

Before you buy and wear a hard hat, make sure you choose one that’s right for your job. Some construction sites may still expose you to low-voltage electrical conductors.

So if you suspect that you’ll work at such locations, we recommend that you choose a general or G-rated hard hat.


We suggest checking which materials your hard hats are made of. Most hard hats are made of these materials [R]:

  • Fiberglass. Fiberglass is probably the strongest material on this list, so it provides good protection from impact. Because fiberglass can withstand high heat, fiberglass hard hats are the best hard hats for working in hot conditions.
  • High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE). High-Density Polyethylene is a durable yet affordable material for hard hats and can withstand impact. Most affordable hard hats are made of HDPE.
  • Phenolic resin. Phenolic resin is a synthetic polymer developed as a stronger alternative to most plastic hard hats. Phenolic sheets have reasonable insulation from electricity, so most phenolic hard hats are at least G-rated.
  • Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) Plastic. ABS plastic is as common as HDPE but can absorb more impact in a thinner material. ABS plastics make the best hard hats for weight and price.

Some manufacturers make hard hats with carbon fiber reinforcement. Carbon fiber is too brittle on its own, so manufacturers layer it with other materials, such as polymers, resins, or plastics [R].

Carbon fiber reinforced plastics can withstand high temperatures and heavy impact. The only downside is that it’s electrically conductive.

So, what’s the best material for hard hats? Here’s what we recommend:

  • If you’re looking for protection from impact, carbon fiber-reinforced polymer hard hats are the best ones to choose from.
  • If you’re looking for protection against electricity, then you’ll want to get E-rated HDPE or ABS plastic hard hats.
  • If you’re looking for a solid all-rounder for different jobs, then phenolic resin makes for the best hard hats for general use.

Hard Hat Size

We suggest looking for a hard hat that fits your size just right. A hard hat that’s too small or too large can’t protect you adequately. An ill-fitting hard hat is dangerous to use.

The best hard hats come with adjustable straps so you can fit the hat to the size of your head. Check if your hard hat is easy to adjust, too.


If you have a construction-related occupation (like roofing), then you’ll be working in the field for entire days. Painful hard hats affect your productivity and make you work slower.

But there’s a safety reason for choosing comfortable hard hats, too: you’re less likely to remove comfortable hard hats.
The best hard hats actually design comfort around safety considerations. Comfortable material that cushions your head helps you keep your hard hat on while protecting you at the same time.

Besides cushioning, other things you must consider are vents and brims. Vents help circulate air inside your helmet so you don’t overheat. We don’t recommend vents if you work with electricity.

Brims can help shield your eyes away from the sun’s rays. A full brim hard hat also protects you from lateral impact (impact coming diagonally) as well, so that’s another thing to consider.

Suspension System

Hard hats come with multiple point suspension systems. So, what’s a suspension system for, and what’s the difference between a 4-point system and a 6-point suspension?

A suspension system has two purposes: first, it evenly distributes the impact from falling objects across your head. Second, it keeps a distance between your head and the hat (read more about that here with this study from the University Of Iowa).

When buying a hard hat, we recommend that you choose at least a 4-point system. When you have plenty of options, we suggest you choose the option which has more points.

Between a 4-point and a 6-point, the 6-point offers better protection.

Do Hard Hats Expire?

There’s actually no OSHA-prescribed lifespan for hard hats, but manufacturers put an expiry date on them. That’s because the materials in your hard hat can degrade with UV rays.

We suggest that you consult the manufacturer’s manual that comes with your hard hat to figure out its expiry date.

Some hard hats come with UV indicators or stickers that tell you when it’s time to replace your hard hat. If they don’t have a sticker, you can check if your hard hat has cracks, warps, or crazes.

When Do I Need to Replace My Hard Hat?

If your hard hat hasn’t reached its best-before date, you aren’t safe yet. The OSHA recommends that you replace your hard hat when you see:

  • Perforation, cracking, or deformity of the brim or shell;
  • Sign of exposure of the brim or shell to heat, chemicals, or UV light;
  • Loss of surface gloss;
  • Whenever it sustains an impact.

The last one is important. If your hard hat gets bumped by an object at least 10 feet above you, replace your hard hat. This applies, even if your helmet didn’t crack, break, or dent.

Do Hard Hat Colors Matter?

Hard hats come in lots of different colors, and if you’re working for a company or with a team, the hat color is important.

Your company or team decides the color assignments, but there’s an unspoken rule about these colors:

  • A general worker or contractor wears yellow hats. These workers include carpenters, masons, and equipment operators.
  • A site manager or engineer wears white hats on site.
  • A technical worker, like an electrician, would usually wear a blue hard hat. If electricians work roadside, they wear orange hats instead.
  • A probationary worker, safety inspector, or visitors wear green helmets.

If you work in mining sites, it’s actually the law to wear a different colored hat, depending on your experience.

The exact color depends on the company, but the helmet worn by experienced miners should differ from those worn by newbies.

Can I Wear My Hard Hat Backwards?

Yes… And no.

If your hard hat meets ANSI Z89.1-2009 specifications, then you’re allowed to wear a hard hat in reverse.

The “reverse donning” certification is completely optional for a manufacturer. We suggest checking your product for a reverse donning arrow symbol that looks a lot like the recycle symbol.

Hard hats are a must, so you can keep yourself safe from risks at work. With all the options out there, it gets hard to pick which one fits your needs.

That’s why we made an easy buying guide to help you pick. We hope that our recommendations helped you choose the best hard hat for you.

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