A hard hat is one of the most well-used pieces of protective equipment in the world. From construction to engineering to manufacturing, there are tons of different applications where a hard hat is required safety equipment.
But, with so many options on the market, it can be difficult to decide on the safety and protective features you need. Today, we’ll take a closer look at the five best hard hats on the market and give you some important tips for selecting the best hard hat for you this year.
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Honeywell Fibre-Metal P2 Hard Hat
This popular hard hat from Honeywell has become one of the most popular options on the market thanks to its strength, durability, and comfort.
The helmet is made from injection-molded fiberglass for improved impact and heat resistance, and the lightweight fiberglass makes this hat comfortable for extended wear. The patented SuperEight ratchet suspension system and soft and absorbent terry cloth sweatband further contribute to the overall comfort of this hat.
The matte finish is long lasting and scratch proof, so your hard hat will always look as good as the day you bought it. You can also choose between nine different bold colors.
This helmet is also compatible with industry standard accessories such as Quick-Lok and Speedy Loop.
In addition to this model, Honeywell manufactures several other iterations of the P2 hard hat, and each one is designed to meet the needs of different professionals. This model is ideal for general use, and there are also class C models available, as well.
- Comfortable enough for extended wear
- Compatible with accessories
- Durable finish
- Available in many different configurations
- No Class E option
Pyramex Ridgeline Cap Style Hard Hat
Arguably the most popular option on the market, the Pyramex Ridgeline blends impressive performance and safety features with an affordable price point.
This hard hat is made from durable ABS plastic and features a low profile for better balance on the head. A four-point suspension system allows the user to adjust the hat forwards, backward, up, or down, depending on your needs. An easy to use knob allows you to adjust the hat from 6 ½ to 8 inches.
The replaceable padded sweatband and rear suspension padding make this one of the most comfortable hats available for all-day wear.
There are also several customizable options available, such as venting, color, and suspension style, so you can find a Pyramex Ridgeline hard hat to meet your needs, regardless of whether you need a Class E, C, or G.
- Comfortable for all-day wear
- Universal accessory slots
- Available in Class E, C, or G models
- ABS material feels a bit cheap
Tuff America Full Brim Hard Hat
This full brim model from Tuff America blends impressive features with a full brim design for added protection from the hazards of the job.
This lightweight hat is made from an ABS and carbon fiber blend, which provides impressive impact resistance despite its light weight. It features a four-point suspension system and removable brow pads for added comfort.
While many manufacturers have a wide array of different hard hats available under the same model name, each with different safety certifications, this hat from Tuff America meets virtually all safety regulations.
This model is Class E, C, and G certified and meets all ANSI, CAN/CSA safety regulations, so it’s a viable choice regardless of what kind of work you do.
- Meets virtually all safety guidelines
- Three-year warranty
Not as comfortable as some other models
MSA V-Gard Hard Hat
If you’re looking for a hat that allows you to express yourself while also providing the safety and security features you need, the V-Gard from MSA may be a good choice for you.
This comfortable hard hat features the MSA Fas-Track four-point suspension system and generous padding throughout for a comfortable fit. The polyethylene shell has a substantial feel to it, but it still comes in at well under a pound so that you can wear it all day without fatigue.
This Type I hard hat meets Class C and E requirements, so it’s ideal for virtually any application. It meets ANSI Z89.1-2014 and CSA Z94.1-2015 standards, so you can rest assured that this hat was well-designed to meet your safety needs.
These are available in a variety of bold colors, which are all available at an impressive sub-$20 price point. If you’d rather get a bit more expressive, there are tons of different graphics to choose from, including the helmet design of your favorite football team.
- Meets Class C and E requirements
- Available in a variety of customizable options
- Comfortable to wear all day
- Only compatible with V-Gard accessories
RK Safety RK-HP44 Full Brim Hard Hat
RK Safety manufactures a full line of different safety equipment, and their RK-HP44 hard hat is ideal for those looking for the added safety that a full brim model provides.
This hard hat is made from durable high-density polyethylene, and it’s one of the few vented hard hats available that manages to meet Class C, E, and G requirements.
It’s extremely comfortable to wear, thanks in part to it’s easy to use four-point suspension system and removable and replaceable brow pads, headband and suspension.
Since this hat manages to meet each class requirement while still having vents, it may be an ideal choice for those who need a Class E and work in a hot environment.
The removable suspension can be replaced with a six-point model as well, should you decide you’d like to upgrade your hard hat somewhere down the line.
The RK-HP44 is available in a variety of bright colors for under $20, or if bold graphics are more your style, you can choose from three types of camo, American flag, skulls, wolves, or pin-up girls for a few extra bucks.
- Meets Class E requirements despite being vented
- Removable and replaceable suspension
- Suspension feels a bit flimsy
Whether you opt for one of the five we’ve covered above or would prefer to stake out on your own, these are the important factors you’ll need to consider before purchasing a new hard hat.
According to the International Safety Equipment Association, there are two types of hard hats available, Type I and Type II.
Type I hard hats are designed to protect the wearer from impacts to the top of the head, which is arguably the most common type of hazard you’ll encounter in the workplace.
Meanwhile, Type II hard hats protect the wearer from impacts to the top of the head, as well as the front, sides, and back of the head. These hats offer more comprehensive safety features, but for some applications, they’re unnecessary.
The type of work you do and any hard hat regulations for your company will dictate whether a Type I or Type II hard hat is best for you.
In addition to type, there are three classes available.
Class E hard hats, also known as electric hard hats reduce exposure to high-voltage conductors, in addition to the impact protection they offer. These hats offer dielectric protection up to 20,000 volts.
These are general hard hats that offer protection from low-voltage conductors in addition to impact protection. They offer dielectric protection up to 2,200 volts.
Class C hard hats provide no dielectric protection and are only intended to protect the wearer from blows to the head.
One of the most important factors when choosing a hard hat is the type of suspension system it offers, as this will greatly affect the comfort of your hard hat. Two different suspension systems are available, and you may find that one is significantly more comfortable than the other, so you’ll want to try on both types to decide for yourself.
Ratchet suspensions use a ratchet at the back of the hard hat to adjust the headband of the hat. Pin lock suspensions have pins and holes that run through the headband so it can be adjusted for a perfect fit.
Now that we’ve covered type, class, and suspension type, we can take a closer look at the features which differentiate the options on the market.
You’ll find hard hats with a variety of different brims, from standard ball cap style options to full brim varieties that resemble safari hats. Full brim hats offer additional protection, but you may find them to be less comfortable than ball cap style hats.
Many models are heavily vented, which offers improved airflow, which is critically important if you work outdoors in the summer, or if you’re otherwise subject to high temperatures. These vents can help keep you cool and alert, so you aren’t dealing with the effects of heat exhaustion while you work.
Keep in mind that many vented hard hats don’t meet certain criteria, such as Class E certification, so you’ll have to look closely when evaluating vented hard hats to ensure they meet the safety criteria you need.
The material the hat is made from is another critical consideration. Depending on the application, you may find one material is a better fit for you than others. Popular materials include polycarbonate, high-density polyethylene, or fiberglass.
Fiberglass is becoming the most popular material thanks to its impact and heat resistance. But, these hats also tend to be the most expensive, so you’ll need to decide if the extra cost is worth it.
Many popular hard hats are compatible with a range of accessories, including hearing protection, face shields, and more. If you work in an environment where you need hearing or face protection, make sure to consider a hard hat that can easily accommodate these accessories.
The final thing you’ll need to consider, and perhaps one of the most important, are the features you can personalize. After all, you’ll be the one wearing the hard hat, presumably for several hours a day.
Today, you can choose from tons of different designs, colors, and graphics. Some companies, such as 3M and Honeywell even allow you to customize every aspect of your hard hat from the type and class to the materials and colors or graphics.
The models we’ve covered above all make great options. Each model delivers impressive features and comfort while making sure to deliver in the most important category there is: safety.
While each model is a strong choice, we believe that one rises above the competition in our roundup, and that is the Pyramex Ridgeline hard hat.
The Ridgeline manages to hit on every key performance and safety feature, and they’re arguably the most comfortable hard hat on the market.
Plus, they’re available in several different configurations, so you can customize virtually every aspect of your helmet so that your new lid has every feature you’re looking for, and none of the ones you don’t want.
Plus, they’re compatible with virtually every accessory you’d need, including eye and hearing protection. Add to that the fact that they’re available for less than $30, and you can see why the Ridgeline is one of the most popular options available today.
You may find you’d prefer to go with a model outside our list, and if that’s the case, be sure to evaluate the models you’re considering based on the different criteria in our buying guide. That way, you’ll be able to ensure that the choice you make provides you with the utmost in safety and comfort. Which one will you choose? Let us know in the comments.