With a motive to provide high standard safety for helmets, the Snell Memorial Foundation was formed. It is a nonprofit establishment and was founded in the year of 1957.
It got its name from the very popular racer, William Pete Snell. He passed away in the year 1956 due to several head injuries. The injuries had occurred as the racing helmet which he was wearing during a crash, could not protect his head.
After that incident, a group of physicians, scientists, his fellow friends, and several other professionals, joined together to create an establishment where they could promote education and research as well as perform tests to improve the standards of helmets thus increasing their effectiveness.
In the following list, we have mentioned the names of the six best Snell Helmets that are currently ruling the market.
6 BEST SNELL HELMETS
- Arai Corsair X
- Scorpion EXO-R420
- Shoei RF-SR
- AGV Pista GP-R
- Arai Signet-X
- Shoei X-Fourteen
But names are never enough to just go and buy something. Hence further in this article, we have mentioned the features and the qualities of these helmets.
1. Arai Corsair X
This helmet is an upgraded version of the Corsair V. It costs around $849. The Corsair V and the Corsair X look almost similar, however, Arai did put a lot of effort to make the Corsair X a little better.
A slightly tweaked composite fiber shell is used to craft the Arai Corsair X, which helps it to weigh a lot lesser as compared to the V model.
Corsair X scores better in the SNELL test. The outer shell of this helmet is much smoother as compared to the previous version.
The ventilation duct that is on the top of the helmet has also been improved by Arai. We can say that the ventilation system of this helmet is its biggest strength because of its various exhaust and air vents that are placed throughout the shell.
Perfect fitting and comfort is another major area where Arai excels. It is possible to alter the contour of the Corsair X in every hue due to its adjustable temple areas, skull, and cheek along with lining and removable panels.
2. Scorpion EXO-R420
This helmet was first released in the US and it surprised everyone with a completely different look as compared to its previous version. The price of this helmet is around $150.
Scorpion EXO-R420 falls into the budget-friendly category of the Snell Helmets. The helmet is crafted with a polycarbonate shell. But the most amazing thing about this helmet is that even at this price range it comes with an EQRS or Emergency Quick Release System.
The main function of an EQRS is to make sure the rider’s spine stays safe while they try to remove their helmet in times of emergency.
In some cases, the users of these helmets needed to order a larger size as compared to what they usually wear, but in general, when it comes to fittings and comfort, this helmet slays.
3. Shoei RF-SR
Out of all the six helmets by Shoei that come with AIM+ Technology, four have received a score of 5/5, and that says enough about their dedication towards providing safer helmets.
The RF-SR is crafted with highly efficient materials and comes in four different shell sizes. If you are someone who is looking for an all-rounder helmet, that provides high-end safety and whose build quality is great, but your budget is a bit tight then the Shoei RF-SR is the best possible helmet available out there in the market for you.
This helmet costs around $400.
4. AGV Pista GP-R
This helmet from AGV is the most costly Snell Helmet on our list, it costs around $1,000. It is a sports bike helmet and is truly high-end.
It is crafted with a Carbon fiber shell and is capable of high energy absorption along with polystyrene and shock-absorbing lining. As it is made with a carbon fiber shell, this helmet weighs around 1.3 kg or 2.9 lbs and that is why, when worn, it feels as light as air.
Additionally, the AGV helmet is also integrated with a hydration system. To provide a CamelBak effect, it comes with a tube that is attached to the chain guard through a wire inside the helmet.
However, the ventilation system of this helmet has been criticized by many. The helmet should use a Pinlock insert so that it can easily handle fog.
5. Arai Signet-X
This helmet is crafted with several layers of fiberglass shell which are reinforced with a liner of polystyrene, hence it provides a great absorption rate.
Arai Signet-X comes with a deep comfort liner that is made from “Evo Pure”, an antimicrobial material. It also comes with cheek pads that are loaded with spring and made with foam. To provide a perfect and cozy fit, the foam pushes against the jaw when worn.
This helmet is also equipped with an EQRS or Emergency Quick Removal System. Let’s hope that there never comes a situation where you will need to use this feature.
The box also includes a Pinlock max vision 120 anti-fog insert. All these make the Signet-X a very fine quality Snell Helmet. The price of the Signet-X is around $699.
6. Shoei X-Fourteen
This helmet by Shoei is a completely professional-grade, sports bike, full-face helmet. This helmet is a mix of Aerodynamics and high-quality safety.
It comes in different types of shapes and sizes which are crafted to increases the stream and stability when racing. All the component on the interior of the helmet is adjustable and removable.
When it comes to noise suppression and comfort it gets a full score. It is also integrated with a Pinlock Evo anti-fog insert, to deal with visor fog. It is worth every penny you pay.
If you are someone who’s looking for a high-end helmet, then the Shoei X-Fourteen could be the perfect fit for you. This Snell Helmet costs around $889.
WHAT DOES SNELL MEAN ON A HELMET?
The Snell Memorial Foundation is a non-profit, private, and independent organization and thus it is very different from DOT and ECE certification authority.
This organization works towards increasing the driver or rider’s safety through testing and creating safer and better helmets. William “Pete” Snell who was a very famous racer, passed away after an accident where he incurred several head injuries.
Even though he was wearing a high-end helmet that was created by keeping all the safety norms (which were valid at that time) in mind, he still couldn’t be saved. After that unfortunate incident, an organization was created where several experts joined hands to create some of the world’s safest helmets.
This organization was named after William Pete and is currently known as the Snell Memorial Foundation.
After every 5 years, the specifications by Snell regarding helmet safety are revised and updated. The most recent update by Snell is the M2015 guidelines and that is quite a lot similar to M2010.
The Snell helmets go through a lot of tests and trust me, these tests are extremely rigorous! Therefore when it comes to safety specifications, Snell helmets, in general, are always considered as number 1.
It is already mentioned that Snell is a non-profit establishment, hence their certification is not mandatory for helmet makers but rather voluntary.
The Snell Memorial Foundation works quite differently than DOT or ECE as it does not just perform the test on helmets after its production but also assists the manufacturers with testing at the time of the prototype process and designing to make safer and better helmets.
If any helmet wants to achieve the Snell certification, then it has to go through a lot of additional tests. Snell makes use of 5 anvils for impact testing and all of them are differently shaped, which makes it very different from ECE and DOT, which only uses two differently shaped anvils.
The heights from which the helmets are dropped for their drop test are much higher when being tested for Snell certification as compared to ECE and DOT who do the drop test from a comparatively lesser height.
In the end, the helmets’ visor is tested, where its resistance and strength are checked by firing three pellets at it from an air rifle, those pellets are made of lead.
HOW LONG WILL AN SA2015 HELMET BE GOOD FOR?
It is not possible to give an accurate answer to this question as most of these organizations did not announce their plans for changeover yet. Hence for now it is only possible to get certain things by taking the help of history.
In the last few years, the current SA standard as well as the 2019 standard (SA10 and SA15) has been accepted by SCCA. Previously this rule was generally applied after the helmets which followed the newest standard and have been in the market for completely one year.
For instance, during the change of the SA15, the SA05 helmets were allowed till the first part of 2017. If SA25 and SA20 changeovers walk through a similar schedule, SA10 will be accepted by this year(2021) and SA15 must be accepted by the last part of 2026.
How Is The Snell SA2020 Standard Different From The Sa2015 Standard?
As compared to the SA2015 standard the SA2020 standard is a lot different. The main target was to get the impact of testing more synchronized with the requirements of FIA 8859-2015.
All criteria shall now be more stringent or similarly stringent than the requirements of FIA. It is important to keep in mind that FIA homologation is not automatically granted by the Snell SA2020 certification. If any helmet passes the Snell SA2020 tests then it is taken for granted that it shall pass the FIA tests as well.
However, the manufacturer of the helmet still has to submit that helmet to the FIA so that it can get the FIA homologation.
If I Already Have An Sa2015 Helmet, How Long Can I Keep Using It?
No matter how great the material be, with time it will start degrading. Things are pretty much the same when it comes to the lightweight materials in our helmets. Ozone, sunlight, dust as well as everyday knocks and bumps puts a lot of negative impacts on the inner liner and the shell.
It is recommended by Snell, that one should go for a helmet replacement after every 5 years in general and immediately if any accident had occurred.
The effects of auto racing accidents could be permanent and very violent. In those kinds of events, one should only use top-quality safety gear that is in very good condition.
If you have any doubt regarding the condition of your helmet then you should immediately replace it and not take any chance.
WHAT DOES SNELL CERTIFICATION INVOLVE?
In the United States, the Snell certification is considered to be a very prestigious certification for helmets.
These helmets are tested more rigorously than others. This is because they follow motorcycle racing standards where the impacts are much more severe.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SNELL AND DOT
The organizations themselves are of different natures and their testing methods are also quite dissimilar.
Some of the notable differences that exist between them are mentioned below:
- DOT certification is compulsory whereas Snell certification is non-compulsory for the manufacturers.
- DOT comes under an agency of the Federal government whereas Snell is an independent nonprofit body.
- The testing standards of Snell are much more rigorous as compared to the standards of DOT.
- To help the manufacturers in the process of production, Snell performs tests on prototypes whereas DOT tests only the production models.
- Snell makes use of five anvils and all of them are differently shaped whereas DOT uses only two.
- Those helmets which are tested by Snell standard, are dropped from much higher heights (for the purpose of drop test) as compared to DOT.
Snell Vs Dot- Which Helmet Certification Is More Reliable?
This question has always been a matter of debate. Some people say that the DOT standard is not up to the mark and due to the system in which it runs, manufacturers usually take advantage of it. While others claim that the Snell test is performed very differently than others hence it cannot be considered valid.
Then there are also a bunch of people who believes that these tests don’t matter as no one can predict what the helmet will have to face in a real-life accident.
However, it is very important to test every helmet to understand how much potentially safer it can be. When it comes to Snell, the testings are damn extensive.
Due to that, you can be pretty much sure that you are getting a very safe helmet. Only if it was possible to predict what kind of an accident could occur to a certain person we could tell them exactly which helmet would be the most suitable one for them. Unfortunately, it is not possible for now.
The helmet safety issue is quite complicated and at the end of the day, it’s you who have to decide which one you think will be the best motorcycle helmet for you. You need to go for a helmet that fits your head perfectly.
A less expensive Snell helmet that correctly fits in your head can be a lot more reliable than an expensive DOT helmet whose fittings are just not right for your head.
WHICH IS BETTER ARAI OR SHOEI?
Arai and Shoei are the only world-famous Snell helmet brands that have been carrying a tradition of craftsmanship for a very long time now.
They do in-house crafting of their helmets and ensure very high standards. In the field of helmet manufacturing, both Shoei and Arai have a long past. Arai has been in this field for more than 70 years and Shoei has been making helmets for more than 50 years now.
They follow an old Japanese manufacturing philosophy and hence go for the hands-on process to craft their helmets but they also combine the modern techniques of research and development in their products.
For instance, in the case of Shoei, 50 people are involved from beginning to ending, in the sophisticated process of manufacturing the helmets.
In the case of Arai, they make all the helmets of the same standard and make no difference even when it comes to the racers whom they sponsor. They hand sign and inspect the products at every phase of the manufacturing process.
Both of these brands are very famous for their product quality. They offer great customer support as well as much longer warranties as compared to others.
Arai is very well known for providing the “best helmets in the world”. But just like most other premium products, it can turn out to be a little finicky. Some parts of the helmets produced by them might break occasionally. However, they are designed in such a way that they can be very easily repaired.
Shoei’s products are quite opposite to that. They may not have a very widespread image of having a great quality like Arai do, but hey! you can never hear anyone saying that their Shoei helmet got broken!
Arai can be compared to BMW which provides great performance but also comes with certain small problems now and then.
Whereas Shoei can be compared with Lexus. It is truly luxurious but it is not as widely renowned as BMW.
In regards to tour and sports categories, both these brands have provided several helmets which are of an optimum standard. They offer top-tier dirt helmets and even helmets for scooter riders.
After comparing both, Snell and DOT, it is quite safe to say that the Snell helmet standards are way better than the DOT standards when it comes to rigorous testings.
There is no doubt that testing is very important. But for fairness’ sake, a controlled environment is used for lab testing procedures and these tests are very precise and very consistent.
However, when it comes to the real world, accidents are unpredictable and are much more chaotic. Thus it is, unfortunately, possible that even those helmets which perform exceptionally great in a lab conducted test, may fail to prove themselves when it comes to real-life accidents.
The opposite could happen as well. For instance, a helmet that has a great reputation among the riders who use it regularly may fail to prove itself in some testing environment.
But at the end of the day, the most important thing is that you should go for a helmet that you believe would be the best for you.