Best UTV Helmets To Protect Your Head
Find a UTV helmet you can live at any budget
Comedian Ron White once had a joke about a guy who claimed he could withstand the wind from a category 5 hurricane. White’s punchline was, “It wasn’t THAT the wind was blowing, but rather WHAT the wind was blowing. If you get hit with a Volvo, it doesn’t matter how many sit-ups you can do.” It’s a funny bit, but also really quite true, and it has a bearing on whether or not you think UTV helmets are necessary.
Some folks don’t think they need a UTV helmet. “It has a roll cage!” We hear that one a lot. Want to test this one out? Hop in your UTV, buckle your seatbelt and then try to flop around. You’ll find you move around quite a bit. You can smack your head on the roll cage, and what happens when something comes inside the cage, like say, a tree stump? It won’t matter that you have a roll cage if an oak tree comes flying into the cab. We’re sure someone wants to see you come back from your ride safe and sound, so let’s focus on finding the best UTV helmet that works for you.
Whether you are a high-speed desert racer or just like to have some fun on the trails, we’ve done the research and come up with what we think are the best UTV helmets available today.
Table of Contents
1. Editor's Choice: ScorpionEXO EXO-AT950 Modular Helmet
When it comes to picking the best UTV Helmet, it can be a tough decision between a full face and an open face helmet. On one hand it's great to have a sealed full face helmet, but on the other having an open face makes it easier to chat with your buddies on a break or enjoy the fresh air on your face if the trail allows it. ScorpionEXO has the best of both worlds for you with their popular EXO-AT950 Modular Helmet. At a very affordable price point, this helmet is loaded with features like a removable external peak visor, removable EverClear face shield, and safety ratings that meet or exceed DOT and FMVSS 218 standards.
What set's this helmet apart from all others on this list is that it can be worn like a full face helmet, MX style helmet, or even an open face style. If you want to run it as a full face, you have the option to run a visor to help protect your eyes from the sun, and for additional protection from glare there is an internal drop-down sun visor. If you'd rather have a helmet without a face shield so you can wear your favorite goggles, the shield can be removed and the helmet easily allows you to do so. For an open face option, mainly for breaks on the trail, you can simply press a button on the helmet so the modular chin-bar easily flips up and out of the way.
In addition to getting 3 different helmets in one convenient package, the ScorpionEXO EXO-AT950 also features a KwikWick II liner to keep you cool and absorb sweat on those hot days. This liner is also removable, so you can easily pull them from your helmet after a long weekend of riding, wash, and put them back for a fresh lid on your next adventure out. Based on price and it's abundance of features, we had to give the ScorpionEXO EXO-AT950 the top spot on our list of Best UTV Helmets.
2. Best Fresh Air Ready Helmet: RaceQuip Full Face Air Helmets
If you're considering racing your UTV, you'll need one that meets or exceeds the latest in helmet safety standards. That is why we put the RaceQuip Full Face Air Helmets towards the top of our best UTV Helmet list. Available with either a top or side air hose mount, these competition designed helmets are SNELL SA2020 Rated and are compatible with most aftermarket air systems. The FRP composite shell and comfort fit blended Nomex interior provide the ultimate in safety and comfort while the distortion free 3mm polycarbonate visor keeps your vision clear with a low fog coating and silicone eye port seal to keep out the dust.
While this helmet may be considered overkill for the average recreationalist, the fit, and comfort of this helmet may provide more enjoyment and less fatigue on long rides. IF you're looking for competition features aside from safety ratings, this helmet is also equipped to utilize a HANS safety device and has a Kevlar chin strap, fire retardant paint and interior, and an aluminum pivot kit with adjustable pivot lock. In short, it's everything you want and need in a competition helmet without being constructed from carbon fiber.
3. Best Fresh Air Helmet Alternate: Klim R1 Fresh Air
Known more for their premium off-road, MX, and ADV motorcycle gear, seeing a UTV specific helmet from Klim caught us off guard. The R1 Air Fresh Air is a polycarbonate ABS full face helmet that features a top mounted air intake port that is compatible with most aftermarket air filter/pump systems. The anti-scratch/pinlock-ready clear work great with the included dust skirt to ensure you've got endless fresh air and clear vision. If you're not fond of wearing sunglasses in your full-face helmets, fret not with the 80% dark smoke tint integrated drop down sun visor.
This sounds pretty impressive for a helmet that is priced just over $200, but don't think you're start your racing career with this helmet since it's only DOT certified. If you're only concerned with recreational enjoyment in your UTV, you'll be hard to find another helmet with the same features at an affordable price point. If you're interested in learning more about this helmet, check out our review on the R1 Air Fresh Air Helmet here.
4. Best Youth UTV Helmet: Fox Racing V1 Youth
The littlest passengers need a UTV helmet, and you can get them some really sweet-looking helmets at reasonable prices. The Fox Racing V1 Youth has all the safety recommendations met, so you can feel more at ease. The best part of the Fox helmets is, they’re cool. We don’t just mean, ventilation, either. The Fox helmets look cool, which will make your kid want to wear one, especially if they see mom and dad doing it.
5. Bell Qualifier Forced Air
The Bell Qualifier Forced Air helmet works on the same principle as the Klim R1 we discussed above, as it uses a forced air system to provide you with clean air in even the dustiest conditions.
The helmet has Bell’s Velocity Flow Ventilation system with its FlowAdjust Force-flow ventilation system. All you need is a hose and air pump system and you’re dust-free and cool. The helmet comes with a Velcro-attachable dust skirt. We’ve also had a chance to test this helmet out, including in extreme cold and found it to be very helpful. The helmet is set up for using a communication system, too. It’s a comfortable helmet that will keep you safe, cool and free of dust, which can ruin a ride. If you drive your UTV in dusty conditions, this is the UTV helmet for you.
6. Fly Racing Formula
We overheard someone arguing at our local dealership that if you’re in a UTV, if you wear a helmet it doesn’t have to be “good one.” On the contrary, if you like to go fast (and who doesn’t?) you have more reason to wear a top-tier helmet in a UTV. We’re fond of the Fly Formula helmets with the RHEON impact system. They’re lightweight, cool and fit great. The important thing here is that your head is protected from impacts from multiple directions, and that’s key to a UTV helmet. Smacking your head on the dirt sucks, but dirt does tend to give a little. Smack your head on a steel roll cage at an odd angle. Yeah, that doesn’t sound like something we’d be down for, and you wouldn’t much care for it either. The newest UTV helmets have liners designed for multiple impact points and extreme safety. Yes, they cost more, but if you’re spending upwards of $20,000 on a UTV, why not spend the extra on your helmet so you can enjoy it?
7. Arai Ram-X
Most open-face UTV helmets are actually motorcycle helmets, targeted more at folks riding touring bikes. These lids actually work great for UTVs, however, as they have excellent ventilation and they have outstanding safety ratings. Arai is one of the bigger names in serious helmets, and the Ram-X is about as serious as it gets in open-face helmets. There are flip-down face shields and plenty of ventilation from the RAM system. One of the cool things Arai did was lower the center of gravity on the helmet so it fits lower on your head. That is one of those things that some don’t like with open-faced helmets. They don’t have the contact/coverage to the facial area, so the design gets more support higher on the head, making them feel top heavy. Not a problem with the Arai.
8. Daytona Cruiser
At the very least, consider open face UTV helmets. There are some fun variations, and you can enjoy some retro-styled skid lids, like this one from Daytona. One of the things that is especially cool about this helmet is, it is available for those with either a very small head, or a very large head, something that isn’t always the case with helmets in lower price ranges. These are also the lowest profile, open-face UTV helmets that have true DOT certification.
9. Bonus: Rugged Radio Helmet Communication
Everyone likes to chat, especially when you’re out on the trail. UTVs can be nice, quiet places to cruise along, like in a model like a Polaris Ranger, or Yamaha Wolverine, but the turbo-powered sport models can be a little louder and harder to hear each other. Rugged Radios makes sweet intercom systems that work with your UTV helmet to allow you to hear each other and speak without shouting.
You can also tie in your phone so you can take calls if need be, but it’s always better to pull over to chat on the phone. We got to try out this system in Nevada when we took a family adventure in the Honda Talon-4. It is definitely worth it for families who ride together!
10. Bonus: Rugged Radios MAC3.2 M3 Extreme Air Pumper System
Rugged Radios does more than communication systems. In fact, the brand’s MAC3.2 M3 Extreme Air Pumper System would work great with either of the force air helmets we discussed above. This unit is able to keep fresh air flowing to two helmets at the same time and it comes with a washable dry filter that you can easily wash after every trip.
According to Rugged Radios, this unit relies on a special high static pressure fan that delivers as much as “5 times the pressure and more volume than any other helmet pumper available.” The more air delivered to your helmet the more comfortable you will be.
The unit is made of carbon fiber and 6061 billet aluminum and weighs just 1.6 pounds. It is also designed to be simple to mount with Rugged Radio’s half clamp bar mounts that are available in a variety of sizes to fit your UTV.
Legally, do you need to wear a helmet when driving a UTV?
Aside from the whole less-likely-to-be-injured thing, there are some other bonuses to wearing a UTV helmet. You have better options for keeping dust, sand, mud and rain out of your eyes, nose and mouth. From the legal standpoint, it depends on where you’re at. Some states, riding areas and/or local ordinances require wearing a helmet, too. This is especially true for kids, as some places may say adults can go without a lid, but kids need to have them. It sets a good example, too, for the kids that you wear one. Personally, we don’t ride without UTV helmets. The staff here at ATV.com have all seen, first hand, how helmets save lives. Several of us are here today simply because we were wearing a helmet. It sure beats the alternative.
Are helmets required when hunting in a UTV?
First, you shouldn't be hunting from your UTV. But if you use a UTV to move around hunt camp and take you to your stands, then we'd certainly advise wearing a helmet. Whether it's legal really depends on where you are using it. If it's private land and you are an adult, the choice is likely up to you. That said...just wear the dang helmet!
What are the benefits of running an "air" helmet?
The obvious benefit of running an air helmet like one from Klim, RaceQuip, or Bell is that the air pump forces fresh air into your helmet to keep you cool and comfortable on your ride. The air pumper unit necessary for these helmets also filter out the dust so you're not inhaling that fine particulate and contaminating your lungs, which can help prevent illness like Valley Fever. Finally, since the fresh air is being pumped into your helmet, it is essentially pressurizing it so there's no way for dust to make its way into the helmet to hamper your vision and it also prevents fogging of your visor.
May 20, 2021: Added the Klim R1 Fresh Air helmet and Rugged Radios Extreme Air Pumper system to the list. Also added a pair of FAQs.
May 5, 2023: Updated Klim R1 Air description, added two new options (ScorpionEXO EXO-AT950 and RaceQuip Fresh Air helmets), updated product links, and added FAQ on benefits of air helmets.
Become an ATV.com insider. Get the latest news first by subscribing to our newsletter here.