If you ask me: half the fun of riding your motorcycle is the wind in your face. If I wanted a closed-up stuffy transport experience, I’d just drive my car.
Jokes aside, there are plenty of advantages to a half helmet that goes beyond breathability. The best half helmets are affordable, stylish, lightweight, and compact. Here at MotorcycleLarry, we’re big fans of half helmets too, and think every rider should own at least one. We got our entire team to test out 27 half-helmets and we voted and narrowed down 10 top-performers according to fit, breathability, safety, and design.
There’s a helmet for every kind of rider on our list, and we promise all these helmets are:
- DOT certified with safety considerations
- Don’t make you look like a mushroom-head!
Top 10 Best Half Helmets 2021
1. Bell Pit Boss Open-Face Motorcycle Helmet
Our Top Pick
We chose the Bell Pit Boss Half Helmet as our Top Pick because it’s a classic. It’s everyone’s favorite and has been for a couple of years. It fits snugly and stays put even when you’re riding at high speeds. The Bell Pit Boss helmet fit is just super comfy, provided you’ve ordered the right size for yourself.
Speaking of size, there’s a pretty great size range in the bell pit boss helmet. We like the quick-release chin strap because there’s nothing more embarrassing than fiddling with the helmet strap and having to ask for help.
It’s built to withstand different weather conditions: the tab on the edge doesn’t just look cool, it also gives your eyes much-needed shade from the sun in the summer. The Bell Pit Boss actually comes with built-in sunglasses that can be pushed up when you don’t need them. And for the winter? You get a removable neck curtain for cold weather.
The reason why the Bell Pit Boss is so durable is because of the high-quality build. It’s made from a composite of Carbon, Kevlar, and fiberglass. This TriMatrix composite is definitely going to be way more long-lasting than a regular carbon fiber shell you’ll find on a helmet like the Vega Helmet.
Some extra features we really liked: integrated pockets for helmet speakers and an easy-access speed dial system.
- Snug fit
- Integrated speaker pockets
- Durable TriMatrix shell composite
- DOT approved
- Built-in sunglasses
- Neck curtain
- Speed dial system
- Interior is not removable for cleaning
- Cheek pad can be too thick
The Bell Pit Boss is our top pick because we think it’s the perfect half helmet for everyone. It’s a classic — it fits almost every head shape and doesn’t sit high up and make you look like a mushroom. It’s the best half helmet for someone who wants a sturdy option that they won’t have to keep replacing every few years, especially if they drive long distances.
2. Bell Rogue Half Helmet
Best Premium Half Helmet | High-End Half Helmet
It’s no secret that Bell makes some of the best motorcycle helmets in the market. 2 out of our top 3 products are manufactured by Bell. This Bell Rogue Half Helmet is a dream — and we’ve called it the Best High-End Half Helmet because it just doesn’t get better than this one. The only reason we chose the Bell Pit Boss as Our Top Pick over the Bell Rogue is that the former is more affordable for most riders.
We’ve got to address the look. The Bell Rogue Half Helmet looks really cool — and that’s because it looks like a half helmet with the functionality of a 3/4 helmet, thanks to the detachable muzzle. This muzzle is the game-changer; it’s magnetic (Fidlock technology) and stays attached while also being easy to remove. This muzzle helps you transform the entire look of the helmet: it’s essentially two helmets in one.
The Bell Rogue Half Helmet is made from the same high-quality material as the Bell Pit Boss: a three-layered shell TriMax composite that provides great security without being a weight on your head. It’s DOT certified, of course, and has something that the Bell Pit Boss doesn’t — removable interior. The interior liner is made from leather removable and easily washed.
The quick-release chin straps are also long and adjustable according to the shape of your head. Apart from that, the helmet has everything you could think of: vents for breathability, tinted visors, and an in-built roost guard. Our recommendation is that you go with the patterned muzzles: they look pretty cool.
- Comes with a detachable muzzle
- Doubles as a 3/4 helmet as well
- High-quality Trimax build material
- Integrated speaker pockets
- Vents for breathability
- Comes with a tinted visor
- Low profile look
- Not affordable for all riders
- Might have to size down for a snug fit
If you’re looking for the absolute best motorcycle half helmet in the market: we’re going to point you to the Bell Pit Rogue. It’s slightly on the higher side in terms of its price point, so it’s perfect for someone looking to make a good investment in a helmet that lasts a long time.
3. Daytona Helmets Motorcycle Half Helmet
Best Budget Half Helmet
This DOT-approved helmet made by Daytona is our Top Pick for Budget Half Helmets. It’s a great option if you’re looking for a quick buy to test out half helmets, but don’t want to compromise on safety. There are plenty of novelty helmets in the market that is cheaper than the Daytona Helmet (usually around $30), but they won’t be DOT certified.
We really liked how low profile this Daytona Helmet is. It doesn’t sit high on your head and is much smaller and sleeker compared to other half helmet options. Old school riders will really like the style of the Daytona helmet: it’s very simple and reminiscent of bicycle helmets back in the day.
There’s also a pretty great size range with the Daytona Helmet: so make sure you check out the size chart and measure your head to see which fits the best. You can also choose a removable visor variant if you think it might come in handy.
With moisture-wicking fabric, and a Y-chin strap lock retention system: it’s a pretty solid budget half helmet. You won’t get all the cool add-on features like speaker pockets, speed dial, or a muzzle that you would with the higher-end Bell Pit helmets, but it’s great for the price point.
- Smallest DOT helmet
- Slim and contoured shape
- Removable visor variant available
- Y-chin strap lock retention system
- The interior fabric is not removable
- No ventilation, the helmet can feel warm
- Not very durable
This is the perfect half helmet for someone who doesn’t use half helmets a lot. If you have a great full helmet or 3/4 helmet and just want to pick up a half helmet for occasional use, you’ll like this one. It may not be as long-lasting and safe as other options, but it’s affordable and serves the purpose well.
4. Sena SPH10H-FM-01 Half Helmets
Best Bluetooth Half Helmet
While the Bell Pit Boss and Bell Rogue are great helmets — they do lack one thing: an in-built Bluetooth connection. This Sena SPH10H-FM-01 is a Bluetooth 4.1 enabled half helmet that can be operated with voice commands. You can play music, and talk to fellow riders with crystal clear connections. It’s also useful for talking to the pillion, instead of having to shout over the sound of the wind. In fact, when we tested this helmet out, we called people up and they couldn’t even tell we were out riding. That’s how good the noise control is.
There are also plenty of advantages when it comes to the design and build of the helmet. It’s got a modern, sleek, aerodynamic look and fits snugly on different head shapes. We like how seamlessly the music and GPS navigation play together: making the entire riding experience a breeze. An in-built speaker and intercom system that works this well is exceptional for a half helmet and gives full helmet speaker systems tough competition.
It’s a great helmet for a rider worried about safety: the Sena SPH10H is DOT FMVSS No. 218 Certified.
The half helmet also comes with a twin shield system half helmet. This half helmet can be adjusted to the halfway point or all the way down as per the requirement. If you’re driving at night or in extreme weather conditions, it’s best to attach the removable drop-down visor and close it all the way down.
Another great thing about this helmet is the ventilation system. Usually, half helmets won’t have flow-through-ventilation systems. However, this one has an amazing vent system to keep your head cool and dry. You’ll be grateful for this feature if you have plenty of hot summer rides.
Keep in mind that the battery life of the Bluetooth system isn’t suited for long drives. Even though you can charge the battery while you ride, you won’t be able to play any music or use it while it’s charging.
- Four-way intercom system
- Bluetooth 4.1 in-built
- Composite Fiberglass Shell
- The Speaker system has a short battery life
If you go on long rides with your buddies and would love to have a conversation without needing to pull over — this is perfect for you. Having an in-built Bluetooth system in your half helmet opens up a range of possibilities and really enhances the entire riding experience. It’s also a great option for you if you don’t want to go through the trouble of finding a helmet with speaker pockets, and then a compatible speaker to go with it.
5. Sena CAVALRY-CL-GB-XL Half Helmet
Most Durable Half Helmet
Sena CAVALRY-CL-GB-XL is another great motorcycle half helmet that’s a solid investment. We actually gave this half-face helmet the Most Durable position on our list since we know so many riders that have been using this one for years.
You get lots of great features with this helmet — Bluetooth connection, just like the Sena SPH10H-FM-01.
The Bluetooth device uses a Bluetooth 4.1v. The Bluetooth also has an intercom with a range of 900m. Up to four people can use the intercom to chat with each other at the same time. Shifting between calls and intercom is also super simple. The helmet is equipped with an advanced noise control mechanism. This reduces the friction noise due to the air drag and maximizes audibility.
Even with all these features, the interiors of the helmet are still smooth and spacious. The helmet fits any head shape and is a great fit for anyone who likes to ride in groups. You can also control the Bluetooth by using voice commands.
Here’s how it differs from the Sena SPH10H-FM-01: with this helmet, you only get a speaker system, but with the SPH10H-FM-01, you also get a Radio FM and intercom. Apart from that, there’s no ventilation system built into the helmet, so it can get warm, especially because of all the interior moisture-wicking fabric.
- In-built Bluetooth system
- Range of 900m
- DOT certified
- Bluetooth short battery life
- Sizing runs small
- Interiors are not removable and washable
This is a great Bluetooth half-face helmet to invest in for the long run. If you’re looking to buy a helmet that will last you for years together: you can be reassured that many riders swear by the Sena CAVALRY.
6. NTNK N325 Urban SOXON Open-Face-Helmet Motorcycle
Most Stylish Half Helmet
The SOXON NTNK N325 Urban Face Helmet is, without a doubt, the most attractive helmet on our list. This helmet has a European retro look to it, (it’s manufactured in Germany) and looks great with scooters. In fact, it’s recommended that you use this helmet if you ride a scooter since that’s the speed the helmet performs optimally at.
It’s equipped with pockets so you can add in your favorite helmet speaker or intercom systems. This half helmet isn’t just a pretty face — it also fits really well. It fits snug on the head and doesn’t sit too high, and looks quite sleek and flattering.
A lot of Vespa riders like this Soxon helmet because it fits their aesthetic. It’s also completely safe — DOT approved and has a multi-layer protective shell to safeguard your head in case of accidents. However, it’s still recommended you use this helmet for cruising, as it tends to rattle and make a lot of noise at high speeds.
It also has colored soft fabric interiors that are partially removable and washable. Our favorite features in this helmet are its quick-release chin fastener, and metal security ring (extra precaution so no one steals your helmet when it’s parked!)
- Attractive look
- Made in Germany
- Easy-to-operate chin fastener
- Fits securely and snugly
- Cheek pads provide warmth
- Sizing can be off, refer to the chart
- Heavier than other helmets
- The visor doesn’t fit well
If you cruise more than ride, you’ll love this Soxon half helmet. If you own a Vespa, you’ll love it anymore. It’s not meant to withstand high speeds, but this helmet does look great and flattering for almost any head shape.
7. Biltwell Bonanza Half Helmet
Best Half Helmet for Safety
Biltwell half helmets are known for their high comfort and safety. Considering the concerns about safety with half helmets — the Biltwell Bonanza really gets multiple layers of protection going for the rider. The shell of the helmet is made up of multiple layers and is strong enough to resist high-speed impacts. Expanded polystyrene (EPS) is used in the interiors of the helmet to keep it soft and provide a cushion.
The outer shell of the helmet is made with some of the strongest material available: ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) and is injection-molded. A bonus: the liner of the helmet can be removed and washed separately.
There’s plenty of ventilation for enough breathability while wearing this helmet. This helmet could also be considered a 3/4 helmet because of the protection that it provides. Bear in mind that there is no visor available with this helmet, so you do have to purchase it yourself.
The neckstrap of the helmet is made with rugged steel with an adjustable strap and a retainer. This stunning helmet from Biltwell meets the DOT standards and is completely safe to wear.
One of the best features of this helmet is that you can use this helmet with a bubble shield from Biltwell. The bubble shield will be much more comfortable on your eyes than a flat shield and will help your riding skills. The open-face design is great if you enjoy a view when riding your motorcycle. It
- EPS for extra safety
- Injection-molded ABS outer shell
- DOT approved
- Comes with a bubble shield
- Difficult to install speakers
- Interiors not completely removable
If you drive mostly in the city and at moderate speeds, you’ll want a helmet that passed on all the security tests and will protect you in case of any potential accidents. The Biltwell Half Helmet is one of the best face helmets out there when it comes to safety and efficiency.
8. Vega Helmets Warrior Motorcycle Half Helmet
Best Half Helmet for Size Range
Vega helmets are safe and are trusted all over the world. This half helmet from Vega is nothing less than a full-face helmet. It has features identical to that of a full-face helmet.
One thing that you don’t have to worry about with this helmet is the size. You can adjust this helmet based on your head size after getting it using the knob given in the helmet. This also makes it possible for more than one person to use the helmet.
This helmet comes in six different sizes and seven different colors. This model has a black matte finish and looks good on both hogs and scooters alike. The chin strap of the helmet is also quite comfortable.
The inner lining of the helmet is quite soft. Even if the helmet hits something, the interiors will remain safe and you won’t feel much pain because the linings absorb most of the shock damage.
This half helmet comes with a drop-down sun shield. This sun shield can be replaced with a night visor or a tinted visor. However, the manufacturer does not provide these and you’ll have to get them in the market.
The lining of the helmet wickers away the moisture and keeps the interiors dry and clean. However, this does not remove enough bacteria to keep the helmet clean. You’ll have to wash the helmet once or twice a month to keep yourself safe from contracting any infections.
- Extensive size range
- Removable lining
- Helmet adjustable for size with knob
- Drop-down sun shield
- Quick-release chin strap
- Cheek pads are a bit too thick
- Chinstrap can be uncomfortable on the throat
The Vega Helmet is also another great budget face helmet on our list. There are plenty of sizes, so it’s perfect for someone with head size and head shape between normal sizes. It’s also a great option if you want a helmet with a sun shield and removable interiors.
9. LS2 Helmets Rebellion Motorcycle Half Helmet
Best Lightweight Half Helmet
LS2 Rebellion comes in seven different colors and sizes. The most popular design is the 1812 Black Flag. This design looks more like a backdrop on an already stunning matte black finish.
The best thing about this helmet is its strength. The helmet has two layers of kinetic polymer alloy for extra protection. Nano-particle technology is used in making the helmet making it much stronger. The impact resistance of the helmet is also quite high.
The Rebellion helmet is DOT Approved and is deemed safe to be used on any road in the United States. Just like a full-face helmet, Rebellion comes with a visor that protects your eyes from various climates. The visor is scratch-resistant, UV resistant, and has a wide viewing angle.
It comes with a high-quality sun visor that’s replaceable in case you want to swap it out for a new one.
The foam inside the helmet is laser cut to perfection. There won’t be any extrusions poking your skin. The pads and the lining are super comfortable on your skin. The pads can also be removed for cleaning purposes.
- Dot Approved
- Lightweight and easy on the neck
- UV resistant sun visor
- Interior is removable and washable
- No speaker pockets
- No speed dial
This is a great option for a rider who likes lighter helmets. Lighter helmets have the advantage of being easy to carry around and prevent fatigue and are also great for long rides. It also has some of the most functional air vents: so you might want to consider this helmet if you live in a warm climate.
10. ScorpionExo EXO-C110 Azalea Helmet
Best Half Helmet Visor
ScorpionExo EXO-C110 uses a polycarbonate shell. This shell is stronger than most plastic shells and provides increased impact resistance and shock absorption.
This helmet comes with one vent in the back and two in the front. These vents help regulate the air inside the helmet and keep your head dry and cool. The inner pads of this helmet are soft and won’t cause much strain on your skin. It definitely feels like there’s a lot of cushioning inside this helmet, even though it’s very low-profile.
Anti-microbial liners are used in the helmet to reduce the risk of infection transmission. You will still have to wash the interiors regularly, but not as much as that of a regular helmet. The helmet also comes with ear flaps. These ear flaps can be used to store devices like Bluetooth, speakers, earphones, though they work best for an intercom system.
Dropping down the visor in this helmet is as simple as it gets. There is a toggle switch provided for the visor just above it. Using this switch, you can adjust the exact location of the visor. You can easily deploy this visor even when you’re going at high speeds. The visor protects your eyes from dust and helps you drive safer.
We were so impressed with the visor that we thought this product deserved the Best Visor on our list. It’s definitely made from high-quality material that’s tinted, didn’t fog up, and gives the rider a wide perspective of vision.
- Great tinted visor
- Earflaps for speaker placement
- Anti-microbial liners
- Air ventilation
- Strong shell build
- Inner padding is not removable and washable
If you love the idea of not having to buy sunglasses and carrying your sunglasses wherever you go in the form of a helmet visor: this Scorpion Half Helmet is the one for you. With 5 year warranty, it’s bound to last a long time.
Things To Consider While Purchasing A Half Helmet
1. Helmet Material
Helmet material matters a lot when it comes to safety. Most of the helmets in the market are made with high-grade plastics with some kind of reinforcement. Helmets made with thermosetting polymers with moderate elasticity and high strength are best for everyone.
The base of the helmet is often reinforced with some material to give it some extra strength and other qualities. For example, silica is used to reinforce helmets to increase impact resistance. Make sure that the helmet you like also has some kind of reinforcement for added benefits.
If properly taken care of, helmets last around 5-6 years. Make sure that the helmet is clean without any cracks. If any cracks appear on the surface, replace the helmet as soon as possible. Cracks are a sign of wear and tear and mean that your helmet has already taken a significant beating and may not be as strong as it was when you purchased it.
A lot of riders switch to half helmets because of the style elements. All half helmets don’t have to look like novelty helmets — you can find ones that are modern and sleek (such as the Bell Pit Rogue) or retro-looking rounder half helmets such as the SOXON NTNK N325 Urban Face Helmet.
4. Miscellaneous Features
Even half helmets come with some miscellaneous features just like regular helmets. These features include Bluetooth support, antimicrobial pads, extra air vents, etc. Helmets with these features cost more but increase the comfort and safety of the user.
Your budget for a half helmet should take into consideration how often you’ll be using it. If you only want a half helmet to switch things up from your regular helmet, consider getting a budget half helmet. But if you’re committing to using a half helmet for a majority of the time, especially for long rides, it makes sense to invest in a durable good-quality half helmet with plenty of value-added features.
FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions about Half Helmets
1. Are Half Helmets Safe?
The short answer is yes, they are safe to wear while riding if they’re DOT certified. However, you could argue that half helmets are not as safe as full-face helmets since they do not cover the entire skull and face. If cruising and riding at the recommended speed, half helmets that are certified can be safe as well. Still, half helmets are not advisable for beginners.
2. Do I Need To Wear Sunglasses With Half Helmets?
It’s recommended that you shield your eyes when wearing half helmets. This is to keep away dust or any kind of particles that can enter your eye, along with harsh sun or rain. If your half helmet doesn’t come with a good quality visor, you can consider wearing sunglasses along with your helmet to achieve a similar effect.
3. Should I Buy A Half Helmet?
A half helmet is better than no helmet at all. Many riders take the dangerous route of not wearing any helmet because they find full helmets suffocating and heavy on the head. A half helmet is a great compromise, it’s more ventilated, light and helps you feel more connected to nature and the road since you have more vision.
If you’re a beginner at motorcycle riding, it’s recommended that you stick to full-face helmets. A good rule of thumb is to never cross 60mph on a motorcycle when wearing a half helmet.
4. Can I Wear A Military Helmet On A Motorcycle?
You can — but it won’t be as effective. A military helmet is heavy and much more uncomfortable. Motorcycle helmets are built to be aerodynamic and do a better job when it comes to ventilation as well as protection from high impact in case of accidents.
Half helmets are no longer the “less-safe” helmets. You can feel more connected with the great outdoors and feel the wind on your face while riding, without compromising on safety or taking big risks. If you want a quick recommendation for a half helmet: we’d say either the Bell Pit Rogue or the SENA SPH10H-FM-01 are both awesome choices.
Always ride at the recommended speed for your helmet for optimal safety and protection. Good luck!