Whether you’re on the job site as a visitor, contractor, or worker, OSHA requires a hard hat, and for good reason. Hard hats protect your head. Because the head is one of the most vulnerable areas of any worker, that makes the hard hat one of the most important pieces of personal protective equipment (PPE) on the job site.
When looking for the best hard hat, not only should you look for one that’s high in quality, but you should also look for one that is comfortable and durable. A good hard hat allows for proper adjustment and is tight enough that it doesn’t move around or fall off your head when you bend or twist. But, most importantly, a good quality hard hat offers a superior level of protection, no matter what risks you face on the job.
Table of Contents
- How Do Hard Hats Protect You?
- Hard Hats Required for Workers and Visitors
- Finding a Good Quality Hard Hat
- 15 Best Hard Hats and Safety Helmets
- 1. MSA V Gard Hard Hat
- 2. Pyramex Ridgeline Cap Style Hard Hat
- 3. Safety Hard Hat by Amston – Adjustable Helmet with ‘Keep Cool’ Vents
- 4. MSA Natural Tan Skullgard Hard Hat with Fast-Trac Suspension
- 5. MSA 475395 Skullgard Protective Hard Hat with Front Brim
- 6. Evolution Deluxe Full Brim Hard Hat with HDPE Shell
- 7. TRUECREST Hydro Dipped Black Full Brim Hard Hat with Fas-trac Suspension
- 8. Pyramex Standard Shell Ratchet Suspension Hard Hat (SL Series)
- 9. Fibre-Metal Hard Hat by Honeywell
- 10. DAX Fiberglass Composite Hard Hat with Hard Hat Tote (Full Brim)
- 11. Lift Safety HDF-15WG DAX Hard Hat
- 12. 3M Hard Hat, 4-Point Ratchet Suspension (H-703R)
- 13. Safety Works – USA Patriotic Hard Hat
- 14. ERB Safety Products – Americana Full Brim Vent Mega Ratchet Hard Hat
- 15. Full Brim Hard Hat with Adjustable Ratchet 6 Pt Suspension by Tuff America
- Cool Stickers for Your Hat
- How to Wear a Hard Hat
- Safety Helmet Care and Tips
- How to Inspect Your Safety Helmet
- Putting A Lid On It
How Do Hard Hats Protect You?
On almost any job site you’ll see this sign – “Caution: Hard Hats Required.” There is a reason for this, hard hats reduce the risk of head injuries. A decent hard hat even protects against more than just impact, including extreme heat as well as electrical shock.
Hard hats also make sure you’re kept visible on the job site. Hard hats with brims also protect your eyes from the sun. This is why wearing a top-notch hard hat is essential at almost any job that carries any risk of head injury whatsoever.
Hard hats protect your head from the following:
- Penetration from objects
- Blows to the head
- Electrical hazards
- Extreme heat
View all the ways a hard hat protects your head.
Hard Hats Required for Workers and Visitors
Hard hats are required not only for workers but also for visitors, supervisors, and anyone else entering the area of a job site. Wearing a safety helmet or a hard hat can potentially save your life, which is why they are so crucial. An injury to the head could have serious consequences for both the health of workers and if you run a construction company, your finances.
Wearing a hard hat will not only protect your head but will also protect your neck. It will also save you from any potential brain injuries. A hard hat may one day even save your life.
The best hard hats for work protect the head from numerous risks. It is essential to have a hard hat if you are at risk of extreme heat, electrical shock, falling objects, projectiles, or any other type of situation where the head is put at risk. There are many models of hard hats available on the market but not all of them meet the necessary safety requirements. These standards are established by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and must be followed.
Finding a Good Quality Hard Hat
When looking for a top-quality hard hat for the job site, there are some important considerations to keep in mind. Here are some of them:
- ANSI Compliance / OSHA Compliance – As we say, “If it ain’t compliant, it ain’t worth buying.”
- Suspension System – There are a lot of different types of suspension systems out there: 1) Ratchet Suspension 2) Pin-Lock Suspension 3) 1-Touch Suspension 4) Swing-Ratchet Suspension — Ultimately it comes down to what suspension system you prefer. There are also a bunch of proprietary suspension systems but the mechanics of each system generally fall into one of the four categories.
- Comfort – Let’s face it, if your hard hat is not comfortable you are not going to want to wear it. Since you are usually wearing your hard hat all day, do not settle for a hard hat that does not provide superior comfort.
- Durability – Although you are probably going to go through hard hats fairly quickly, you should still try to find one that will last a bit longer than average and hold up to a fair amount of abuse.
Keep these things in mind when looking for a decent hard hat for your workplace. And, without further ado, here is the list of the most sought after hard hats on the market today.
15 Best Hard Hats and Safety Helmets
The MSA V Gard Hart Hat is the trusted standard in hard hats and world-renowned. MSA was established in 1914 and since then they have built a reputation for quality and safety in the hard hat industry (source). They currently lead the pack when it comes to safety equipment and they simply make the best hard hats. Out of all their hard hats, though, the MSA V Gard stands out as the most superior in quality, comfort, and durability. In fact, over 100 million of these hard hats have been sold to date.
When it comes to comfort the V Gard Hard Hat cannot be beat. Most construction workers prefer the Fast-Trac III suspension as the most comfortable type. With three levels of strap adjustment you can almost completely customize your fit. The lower nape strap also fits snugly to ensure that when bending over you do not lose your hat. The final level of comfort is provided by the sweatband on the front of the hard hat.
This hard hat has the level of quality and durability you would expect from MSA. Made from a polyethylene shell this hard hat provides excellent top impact protection. It’s approved for both high and low temperatures and meets the ANSI/ISEA Z89.1-2014; CSA Z94.1-2015 standards. It is also molded and assembled in the USA.
There are literally thousands of configurations for this hard hat. It also comes in a wide variety of colors and can be custom designed if you so choose. There is even a full brimmed hard hat for those who work outdoors.
Reasonably priced, solid construction, and a high level of comfort combine to make the MSA V Gard Hard Hat the number one hard hat for construction workers, hands down.
One of the most under-appreciated and quality safety helmets is the Pyramex Ridgeline. The Pyramex is a shell constructed hat made from resistant ABS materials that will protect you even in the toughest situations. The ABS materials also make this safety helmet 10% lighter than traditional materials. The black graphite version of this safety helmet is particularly striking to look at as well.
This hat is easily adjustable and the four position harness allows you to move this hat up, down, forwards and backward. It even comes equipped with a vented pressure pad and a swinging rear suspension. Furthermore, by adding a different strap you can enjoy a 6 point suspension. This hard hat also lowers your center of gravity due to its low profile.
The headband and suspension are replaceable so you will not have to invest in a new hard hat once these wear out. Although “cap style” a lot of people consider this hard hat closer to full brim, so keep that in mind if you decide to pull the trigger on it.
Overall, this is one of the top two hard hats, and not only does it look great but it also low weight, offers a high level of protection, and provides good comfort.
Another great choice when it comes to the best hard hats is the Safety Hard Hat by Amston. The price of this safety hat is very affordable compared to other hard hats. There are also some really nice features on this particular hard hat as well.
First of all, it is in accordance with the OSHA / ANSI Z89 standards. Not only does this mean that this hard hat is safe, it also means that this hard hat is reliable. This hard hat can be adjusted for all head sizes and it is very comfortable to wear.
The fact that this hat comes with a suspension strap that is made of a soft material is definitely a nice touch as well. There are also vents that allow you to keep cool while working, which is extremely important not only for their comfort but also for health.
This hat also comes with a sweatband that will keep the sweat drops out of your face and the band can easily be removed for washing. This model comes in multiple colors: blue, white, yellow and orange.
If you’re looking for a hard hat that will keep you cool, this is the best hard hat.
This MSA Skullgard Hard Hat is also made with respect the ANSI/CSA standards and it is highly protective even in the toughest situations. It will even offer protection against severe vertical impacts. It’s also very comfortable to wear in almost any weather condition.
This hard hat is ANSI/ISEA Z89 Compliant and offers dielectric protection up to 2,200 volts. It can be easily adjusted for any head size thanks to the Fast-Trac III ratchet-style suspension. The standard size of this hard hat works perfectly for 6.5’’ inch to 8’’ inch.
This model also comes in multiple color options as well.
Overall, a great hard hat, right up there with some of the best hard hats on the market.
Just like the previous MSA helmet, the MSA 475395 Skullgard Hard Hat is a hard hat made to be both practical and comfortable. If you work in hot environments, it can’t be beat in terms of both protection and durability, it’s also nice and lightweight.
Fit is excellent on this hard hat and you can adjust it quickly by using the Fast-Trac III ratchet-style suspension. This not only saves you time, but also increases the overall safety of the hard hat as it won’t flop around on you.
This hard hat features a smooth crown to ensure ease of use if you’re using it with MSA welding equipment. The thermoplastic can handle heat loads of up to 350 degree Fahrenheit as well. It also protects well against vertical impacts.
You can buy this hard hat in several different colors and styles. It also comes in bulk if you’re looking to save money. Truly one of the best hard hats, especially for those who work in hot environments.
This hard hat meets/exceeds the ANSI/ISEA Z89.1-2014 (Class G) standard.
The Evolution Deluxe Hard Hat comes with or without a vent system, depending on what you prefer. The vented version might be a better choice as it increases comfort and reduces the temperature inside the helmet. This hard hat is created according to the ANSI/ISEA Z89 requirements.
It is made of High-density polyethylene (HDPE) shell which makes it a very resistant one. And the brim will not allow sun rays or rain drops to bother the worker during any type of job. Like some of the other best hard hats on this list, this hard hat comes with a 6 point suspension and it can easily be adjusted to fit any size. Plus, it will stay on your head thanks to the harness system that secures it in place.
The TRUECREST Hard Hat is designed for those who work in situations where the temperature is often elevated, it’s even used in steel mills. It features a cool vent air flow system designed to keep your head cool throughout the day. But, it doesn’t skimp on protection either. In fact, it even meets or exceeds the requirements for a Type I, Class C hard hat.
The Fast-Trac ratchet-style suspension makes it easy to adjust the size of this hard hat according your head size. If you have a larger head size, you might find this hard hat especially comfortable.
It’s also hydro-dipped to look like a carbon fiber hard hat. So, not only does it protect your head and keep you cool, it also looks nice too. Prepare to get some compliments out on the job site.
Another one of the best hard hats for those who work in hot conditions.
If you like Pyramex hard hats, you will definitely like the Pyramex SL Series. There are around 13 colors that you can choose from and they all come in a very good quality. This hard hat is made of a very resistant Polyethylene material and it keeps a classic design that will be suitable for most preferences and jobs.
This hard hat adjusts easily to fit you head. You can even adjust it while you are wearing it. Also, it’s an extremely comfortable hard hat as well. It also comes in budget-friendly price.
One of the best choices you can make when looking for the best hard hat.
The Fibre-Metal Hard Hat has a full brim that will offer a very good protection against different weather conditions and hazardous situations. It is made of a resistant fiber metal material and has an eight point suspension, which makes it adjustable for all head sizes. It can be adjusted while you are wearing it, for instance, in the middle of a job, which is very convenient as well.
The front features a terry fabric sweatband to increase the comfort. This also ensured that sweat drops don’t fall on your face while working.
This Honeywell hard hat is one of the best hard hats as well as one of the most popular hats on the market. Overall, a solid buy.
This DAX Fiberglass Hard Hat is built to resist even the hardest impacts. It is made of a high quality fiberglass that is not only durable but also very stylish.
The six point ratchet suspension makes this hat adjustable for all head sizes it also comes with a comfortable cushion that makes it comfortable to wear.
The rim grip designed on each side of this hat makes it easy to grab and use. It is created according to the standards of ANSI Class C ANSI regulations (Type 1 hard hat). Also, you can choose between 12 different colors.
If you are looking for a lot of variety in color, this is one of the best hard hats. Also, its protection level is really high.
The Lift Safety Hard Hat is made of resin with a strong layer of fiber that provides very good protection against the hardest impacts. The brim has a grip that increases comfort for the user of this hat even when they are wearing gloves.
It also comes with a six-point suspension system which makes it adjustable for all types of head sizes. You can also choose from five different colors and pick the one that matches the rest of your safety equipment.
Although this is one of the best hard hats, it is a bit on the expensive side. However, if you’re willing to shell out the money, you get what you pay for with this hard hat.
This 4 point suspension 3M Hard Hat is a great choice to protect yourself during any type of job that you have to do on the construction site. You will be able to adjust the height and the fit of this hard hat. The brow pad is replaceable and you can change it every time it gets worn out without replacing the entire hat.
This hard hat is made in accordance with the ANSI/ISEA standards and it empowers the upward visibility thanks to the short brim design. The slots that are incorporated into the design of this hat makes it easy to add certain safety accessories if needed.
One of the best hard hats made by a quality company. You can’t go wrong with this 3M hard hat.
If you are looking for a bit of style and want to show off your patriotic spirt, the Safety Works Patriotic Hard Hat might be the way to go. Although stylish, it is also a high quality hard hat with a high level of durability.
Equipped with a nape strap suspension, you will not have to worry about this hat falling off your head. The suspension straps are made of a high quality nylon that also increases the comfort level.
With all the nice features, we are still most impressed by its unique patriotic design.
ERB created the Americana Full Brim Hard Hat in 9 different colors so there are many options to choose from. But besides the aesthetic aspects, it is also a well-built hard hat for all types of construction work.
The full brim design offers increased protection both from risks and the sun. It also has a venting system that allows your head to maintain a cool temperature, increasing your overall comfort. By using the 4 point suspension, you can adjust the size of this hat to fit your head size.
It is created according to the ANSI/ISEA Z89.1 requirements and has a weight of 14.4 ounces.
And last, but definitely not least, the Full Brim Hard Hat from Tuff America deserves to be on this list. It is a carbon fiber hard hat made of a high quality ABS material that offers incredible head protection. The full brim style offer the obvious features of extra protection and some shade for the sun. It also comes with a replaceable brow pad in case it gets damaged or worn out.
The shell of this hard hat is 1.7 to 4 mm thick and the weight of the hat is 376 grams. Thanks to the ratchet suspension system, the size of this safety hat can be adjusted according to your needs. This hard hat is created according to the requirements of ANSI Z89.
Cool Stickers for Your Hat
Hard hat stickers should be worn at least a half inch up from the brim. This ensures that there is no risk of electrical shock as some stickers may act as conductors. So, if you’re going to wear stickers on your hard hat follow that basic precaution.
Let’s look at some of the best hard hat stickers and sticker packs:
This timely hard hat sticker will help you and your crew social distance in solidarity. Although COVID-19 has had a huge impact on the economy, you’re an essential worker and proud of it. This is the time to join together and this sticker will help you to do so.
This sticker is also waterproof and weather-resistant. It’s even made in the USA so you’ll be supporting jobs here in the USA when you purchase it. One of the best hard hat stickers for this difficult time. So buy this 10-pack for you and your work buddies to help make the time go by a little easier.
2. Patriotic Sticker Pack (50-Pack)
There’s nothing more American than showing off your patriotism. And there’s no better way to do that than wearing patriotic stickers on your hard hat. This 50-pack of waterproof and sun-resistant stickers is a good choice and comes with a nice variety of patriotic stickers. It also contains a decent mix of stickers so it’ll be suitable for democrats or republicans but mostly appeals to republican sentiments. A solid sticker pack for patriots.
3. Hard Hat Sticker Pack (Variety Pack, 35 Count)
Buyer beware, this sticker pack may be offensive to some. That said, it does have a good variety of stickers and all the stickers are waterproof. If you don’t like to offensive ones you can just take throw them away. But most of these stickers will make your co-workers laugh. If you have a group of guys you work with that don’t mind being razzed or like to make off-color jokes, this is a good sticker pack for you.
How to Wear a Hard Hat
It seems self-explanatory, but there are a few things to keep in mind when wearing your hard hat. Failure to follow some of the fundamentals in how to wear a hard hat could result in injury or loss of life. So, don’t take this section too lightly.
- Brow cap should feel snug on your head.
- Adjust fit so that it’s tight but not overly tight, it should feel like it’s squeezing your head.
- Suspension should be 1 to 1-1/4 inches from your head to the outside shell.
- Do not wear anything underneath your hard hat (like a stocking or a beanie).
- Never try to alter your suspension.
- Never wear a hard hat backward (unless specified by the manufacturer).
- Don’t apply stickers unless the manufacturer specifies.
- Only wear accessories that are compatible with your hard hat.
Following these simple tips could save your life. If you see anyone on the job site in violation of any of these things, they should be talked to or reported. Lots of lives are lost every year from people not taking their hard hat protection seriously enough.
Safety Helmet Care and Tips
In order to protect your head, you also need to protect your hard hat. Even the best hard hat isn’t resistant to improper care. The best thing is that caring for your hard hat is a relatively simple job. It doesn’t take a ton of effort and will ensure that your head is kept safe at all times.
Here are some tips for keeping your hard hat in the best condition possible (source):
- Always inspect your hard hat before and after use.
- Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for care/use.
- Replace your hard hat if you were involved in an accident involving your hard hat.
- Any hard hat that is dropped (from a high elevation or approx. 8 feet or more) should always be replaced.
- Replace your suspension yearly and replace your hard hat every two years.
- Hard hats subject to extreme heat/cold should be replaced more often.
- Clean your hard hat regularly with mild soap and water.
- Don’t store your hard hat in the sun.
- Store your hard hat away from dirt and debris.
- Any stickers worn on your safety helmet should be above the brim by at least 1/2 inch.
- Surface cracks mean your hard hat is damaged and it should be replaced.
- Never store items inside your hard hat.
- Never drill into your hard hat for any reason.
How to Inspect Your Safety Helmet
Putting A Lid On It
Although with all the options out there, it can be quite difficult to find a high-quality hard hat or safety helmet for the job site. However, we hope this guide proved to be handy and pointed you in the right direction. Always keep in mind that a hard hat can save your life, which is why you should not compromise when it comes to its quality. Safety first.