Best Commuter Bike Helmet

best commuter bike helmet

You commute daily, and it’s about time you gifted yourself the best commuter bike helmet in your range. The best commuting bike helmet should be low-profile, stylish, well-ventilated, properly certified (CPSC is a must-have certification), and durable. Most important, it should provide the best possible protection for your noggin.

The best cycling helmets for commuting should also have a streamlined design so you can rocket around town with minimal wind resistance. My write-up reviews 5 of the best commuter bike helmets for the money so you’ll love your lid and enjoy your commute more.

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1.Giro Caden MIPS Commuting Bike Helmet Review (Best Overall)

 

best commuter bike helmet

Equipped with an integrated LED light, the low-profile Giro Caden MIPS commuting bike helmet makes it easy for other road users to spot you while riding in the dark. Like most helmets for the U.S. market in this category, Giro Gardens has passed a whole battery of lab crash tests.

It comes equipped with Multi Directional Protection System (MIPS) technology, making it a worthy bet as far as safety. This impact-absorbing system redirects energy throughout the shell, supposedly reducing the likelihood of injury after a crash. But is MIPS really a proven head protection technology? More on this down the road.

The lid features a really hard in-mold polycarbonate shell that offers years of utility even if you’re a daily commuter. This in-mold construction includes the shell itself and a foam liner with moisture-wicking capabilities.

The helmet’s aerodynamic shape bolsters wind resistance as you shuttle across the town, having fun and getting healthier simultaneously.

Additionally, this MIPS helmet happens to be extremely breathable thanks to its 12 airflow vents, an integral part of a wind tunnel ventilation system with internal channeling. With this choice, you no longer have to endure a sweaty smelly head no matter how hard you bike to and from work. And of course, the helmet is CPSC certified. I mean, every helmet targeting the U.S. market must be approved by the CPSC.

The matte black-finish lid weighs just a pound (1 lnbs), and that means the helmet is pretty light for practically everyone. Plus, it’s available in a variety of sizes namely Small (20.07″ to 21.65″, Medium (21.65″ to 23.22″), and Large(23.22″ to 24.80″).

Fit is an extremely important element, and you want to patronize brands that offer variety in sizing. Also, the product is offered in 4 reflective colors including matte gray, matter highlight yellow, matte midnight blue, and matte iceberg.

Speaking on fit, the Giro MIPS Caden adult urban cycling features dial-based fit system known as the Roc Loc City Fit System that eliminates pain from fitting the lid. There are regular chin straps, too, that further enhance the overall fit. The webbing is light ad durable, and the buckle works well.

All these features collaborate with one another to form a protective helmet that keeps your head protected in a crash.

It’s affordable, too. And its minimal design complete with a removable cap-like visor makes it one of the coolest lids ever made. Finally, there’s an optional light at the rear, not that having it makes it any more useful than it is.

Pros

  • MIPS tech and CPSC tested
  • Features an aerodynamic shape
  • It features several vents for efficient airflow
  • Durable Multi-vent hybrid construction that ensures breathability
  • Optional light at the back of the helmet
  • Sold in 4 reflective colors
  • Low-profile, minimalist design

Cons

  • Lighter helmets available

 

Overall, it’s a wicked street biking helmet that gives you adequate protection while not costing out the wazoo. It easily won me over and compelled me to pick it as the best commuting helmet for folks who don’t want to spend a small fortune on a bike helmet.

Use the Giro helmet sizing chart in case you measured your head circumference at home.

 

2. Lumos Smart Kickstart Commuting Bike Helmet with LED Lights Review (The Smartest Pick)

Very few bike helmets for commuting offer as many features as this Lumos helmet. It’s pricier than the cheapest models out there, but it’s way less expensive than all the $500-plus options we’ve all seen at Amazon and other places. But this under $200 helmet offers tons of features only offered by premium-quality lids.

48 LED Lights

 

The helmet features 38 beautiful LED lights on the back of the helmet and 10 led lights on the front. And when these integrated led lights light up at night, they announce your presence to oncoming vehicles and those behind you. Lumos understands just how critical road safety is for commuters and meets that need with these 48 awesome led lights.

 

Turn Signals

 

Additionally, these integrated LED lights provide turn signals. The manual claims these lights are also brake lights that should activate when you apply the brakes or start pedaling harder. But these brake lights don’t work (as of this writing). I asked Lumos, and they explained that the brake lights were an item they were still developing.

 

Do the Brake Lights Really Work?

 

Once they activate the brake indicator lights, the rear lights should turn solid red as you start slowing down. And when you accelerate, the bright led lights on the front should come alive. But that’s all in the future. For now, grab this helmet and stop worrying about other road users failing to see your hand signals. This product is one of the best commuter bike helmets with LED lights.

Wireless Remote

 

An detachable all-weather wireless remote that senses braking and acceleration while helping the rider to control the led lights. The package includes a magnetic cable for replenishing the rechargeable battery in the remote and helmet. Charging the batteries is easy and takes about two hours.

But how long does the battery last? A single charge lasts six hours if you have the Flash mode on and three hours with the Solid mode. The product is Bluetooth-enabled, too. Using a smartphone app, the Lumos Helmet Companion App, lets you adjust general helmet settings while conveniently tracking battery levels. You get notifications about battery status. And that’s nice.

Polycarbonate Outer Shell and EPU Foam Liner

 

The polycarbonate hard outer shell joins hands with the Expanded Polyurethane liner, and that makes it an EPU bike helmet. But is an EPU foam as good as the regular EPS foam as far as head protection? Mainly manufactured in Taiwan ,EPU is harder and stiffer than EPS, and it’s designed to be a reliable crashable foam liner for speedier, harder falls.

 

EPU Foam Vs EPS Foam

 

But is EPU foam not as common as EPS foam? It’s because producing EPU foam releases extremely toxic compounds into the environment, and many countries don’t allow its production. I’ve worn this EPU helemet, and the liner feels denser and more solid than any EPS liner I’ve had. Does EPU foam protect better? Well, I’m yet to test that with my Lumos helmet! The liner combines with the hard polycarbornate shell forming a super solid crash protection system.

With an adjustable fit system that provides a comfortable, glove-like fit, the helmet sits sturdily on your head as you tear through the wind on your commute. Tough nylon chin straps further improve the fit. It’s a one-size-fits-all fit system, or a universal fit system. This helmet fits across a diversity of head sizes and shapes, from smaller heads (21.25″) to very large heads (24.41″).

Recommended further reading: Best helmet for large heads.

 

The Lightest Commuter Bike Helmet?

 

Weighing in at just 15.52 oz, the Lumos commuting bike helmet is among the lightest on the market. Typically, lighter bike helmets offer better ventilation than heavier ones as they tend to have more vents. And the Lumos is no exception. The lid features several airflow vents, which is why my head always feels cool and fresh no matter how hard I ride.

Aside from the price which could come down a bit, there’s really nothing not to like about this classic bike style helmet.

Pros

  • Multi-functional LED lights for road safety
  • Rechargeable batteries in helmet and remote
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • A stylish shape
  • Well-ventilated

Cons

  • Lacks MIPS technology
  • Brake lights still in Beta phase

 

Now, this Lumos helmet lacks the increasingly popular MIPS impact protection system. But MIPS isn’t a mandatory requirement in the U.. Besides, no hard scientific evidence (as of this post’s date) concludes that a MIPS helmet prevents concussions.

 

3. Thousand Heritage Commuter Bike with Anti-Theft Guarantee Review

 

The ultra-light (15.87 oz) Thousand Heritage commuting helmet features a clean, minimalist design that does more with less. Unlike other helmets with air circulation vents placed all over the helmet, this one positions these ventilation channels on the top.

It’s a stylish round design and a versatile product that protects heads across a multiplicity of disciplines. Many bike commuters, recreational cyclists, longboarders, electric scooter riders, and skateboarders love this helmet.

While not having many air vents, this carbon-shelled helmet keeps your head cool as you ride or skate city streets. And the comfortable, removable liner pads quickly wick away sweat. Smelly sweat is never a problem with this helmet.

But it lacks a rear light. But unlike the pricier Lumos reviewed above, this lid offers riders the increasingly popular multi-directional impact protection system, MIPS.

A typical MIPS helmet for commuters, it comes with a really smooth, lightweight shell. Some experts and riders argue that a round shape is better than other shapes when it comes to protection during a crash.

A round helmet slides off the ground compared to a protruding shape which might catch on the ground and come off your head, leaving you dangerously exposed. However, there’s no evidence that a round helmet offers better protection than an oblong or oval-ish one.

The helmet features a dial on the back that lets you easily adjust fit. Many helmets in that price range offer the so-called universal fitting feature, so it’s nothing special. Tough polymer straps lend a helping hand when you’re fitting the helmet on your noggin

The straps are okay-ish, but they don’t look like the best quality. When I wore the helmet for the first time, I caught myself thinking it’d snap in a crash leaving me vulnerable. I still don’t know if the straps would do the job in a crash, but the straps are still intact and I use the lid quite a few times every week.

Finally, the manufacturer offers a generous crash replacement policy. If you ever crash (I hope you never do), they’ll replace your helmet for FREE. The same goes if some miscreant in town ever manages to steal you helmet. Oh, you can secure the helmet to your bike thanks to its Poplock feature. Pop your chain-lock through and go. But the Poplock can be somewhat finicky.

Pros

  • A stylish minimalist look
  • ASTM F1492 and CE EN1780 certified
  • Several colors available
  • Lockable on the bike
  • Removable lining with wicking ability
  • Extremely lightweight and versatile
  • Breathable and offers universal fitting
  • Accident replacement and anti-theft guarantees

Cons

  • May be a little too feminine for some
  • Poplock not always easy to use
  • Only medium and large sizes available

 

4. Smith Optics Signal MIPS Men’s Commuting Bike Helmet Review

This MIPS helmet from Smith Optics represents a super lightweight in-mold construction complete with a life-saving EPS impact foam. With this performance comfort liner, the helmet won’t cause discomfort in the pressure points on your head. The product’s efficient AirEvac ventilation system consists of 21 air vents, and it cools really well. With that many vents, this 10.58 oz lid is the lightest commuter biking helmet I’ve reviewed.

How much do you enjoy swooshing down the road on your daily commute? The aerodynamically designed helmet faces little wind resistance. Safety features? Yes, the multi-directional impact protection system got your noggin.

If you choose the right helmet size, you can effortlessly create a nice, comfortable custom fit. You have the product’s VaporFit fit system to thank for that. It’s available in various adult sizes including small, medium, large, and extra large. Additionally, a unique eyewear storage feature allows you to carry all the accessories you need for your commute.

Pros

  • Provides MIPS safety protection
  • One of the lightest helmets ever made
  • Adequately breathable
  • Available in 6 nice colors

Cons

  • Affordable but not the cheapest deal

This is one of the best helmets for bike riders on Amazon even though there aren’t that many customer reviews.

5. POC Omne Air Commuting Bike Helmet Review

 

 

Like the Smith Optic above, the POC Omne air commuting bike helmet is unbelievably light. But at 12 oz, it’s a little heavier than the Smith Optic. It features a noticeably streamlined, aerodynamic design, which means greatly reduced wind resistance.

Like other manufacturers, POC utilizes an anti-crash EPS liner. And while the helmet lacks MIPS, it offers an equivalent crash-protection mechanism comprising two great technologies. The SPIN (Shearing Pad Inside) technology and the proprietary silicone pad technology should add up to lots of reliable skull protection.

This aesthetically-appealing, helmet with a slim-profile and streamlined design strongly resists wind currents , letting you ride with ease . The commuter helmet boasts a lightweight, breathable construction that provides tons of comfort on hot days.

However, the helmet lacks a dedicated back light. I’d go for a model with a light, but this doesn’t seem like such a big bummer to me.

With its 360-degree size adjustment mechanism and a one-hand dial on the back, the helmet lets you fine-tune the fit. The chin straps and buckle seem and feel like really good quality, and they don’t keep slipping and sliding as you ride.

At last, that doesn’t happen when I’m seated on my bike, pedaling hard. But when I stand, they don’t feel as comfortable. But I didn’t buy my helmet to walk around in it, you know.

Pros

  • Adjusting the fit easy
  • Breathable and comfortable
  • Pleasantly light
  • looks nice
  • Great proprietary protective technology

Cons

  • Won’t fit very large heads
  • Not equipped with MIPS
  • More expensive than most

 

Lacking MIPS shouldn’t be a dealbreaker, though. No research demonstrates that MIPS prevents concussions or protects better than other impact reduction technologies.

 

How to Choose the Best Commuting Bike Helmet

 

How do you choose a good commuter bike helmet? A good commuter bike helmet should be lightweight, stylish, and adequately ventilated. Shape-wise, aerodynamic oval shapes are more common, but one of my recommendations has a round look instead of a somewhat pointed one.

Having MIPS or some other protective technology is nice, but MIPS isn’t a mandatory requirement. Nor is there evidence that you won’t ever get a concussion just because your helmet has MIPS. Having a light or multiple led lights at the back is nice, too, but don’t leave a good deal just because it lacks these.

And while Bluetooth connectivity is a great-to-have feature, a good commuting helmet doesn’t have to have this.

 

Helmet Size, Fit, and Comfort

 

Sizing is the single most critical consideration when choosing the right helmet for your daily commute. A correctly sized lid fits properly and feels comfortable. The lid shouldn’t be too tight that it hurts or too loose-fitting that it comes off your head when you need it most … in a crash.

Many helmets these days are a one-size-fits-all affair. They come with a dial that lets you customize fit however you like. Such a helmet is a great option, but it doesn’t mean you won’t ever encounter ill-fit ones.

Don’t know the right size for your noggin? Get a friend to use a tape measure your head’s circumference around its widest portion. With the reading you get, you can very easily order the right size. Be sure to use the correct helmet sizing guide from the manufacturer of the specific model.

Remember, sizing varies between brands and even models.

Commuter bike helmets mainly target adults. It’s rare to find extra-small sizes for kids. So, go with a brand that offers several sizes, one or that offers a well-fitting universal sizing system. But what if you’re between sizes? Order the smaller sizing.

For helmets for biking with an adjustable retention system, be sure they’re made from a strong, durable material. But the material should be soft and comfortable so you can enjoy your rides more.

What about chin straps? The chinstrap is a strapping that goes around the chin and connects with some ring inside the helmet.

But how do you know you have a good fit? The straps should lie in a triangular shape under your ears. And if they don’t, adjust the buckle until the helmet feels comfortable enough. If the lid easily moves around your head, it’s too big.

 

Crash Protection Systems and Safety Features

 

A good commuter helmet moves swiftly to protect your noggin in a crash. Such a helmet features certain protective mechanisms that redistribute the force resulting from impact. MIPS has become super popular, but as explained above, don’t reject a helmet just because it lacks MIPS.

The outer hard shell is typically made from polycarbonate, fiber glass, or carbon. The material should be hard and lightweight and should offer good puncture resistance. It should also slide easily on the ground on impact without snugging on the ground, protecting you from skull fractures.

The inner foam lining adds to the shock absorption capability of the outer shell. It could be made from expanded polystyrene (EPS) or expanded polyurethane (EPU). Both foams work, but EPU is somewhat denser though not necessarily better than EPS foam. Upon impact, this high-grade styrofoam deforms in some way. You really shouldn’t buy a used helmet. Nor should you continue using a helmet after a crash no matter how mild.

 

What’s a MIPS Commuting BIKE Helmet?

 

MIPS is an abbreviation for Multi-directional Impact Protection System. The technology helps a commuter helmet to reduce rotational forces emanating from an impact, potentially reducing the odds you’ll get head injuries, or worse, a concussion.

Everyone recommends helmets with this protective technology, but no conclusive evidence suggests lacking MIPS could make a helmet less effective.

MIPS Alternatives

 

1.WaveCel

 

This protection system is common with Bontrager helmets. Unlike MIPS which utilizes a low-friction layer to redistribute energy from a crash, the WaveCel technology relies on honeycomb-like liner to do the job. On impact, this material creates some sort of a crumple zone that absorbs rotational energy. Better than MIPS? No one knows, so far.

 

2.SPIN

 

A proprietary technology by POC, the Shearing Pads Inside (SPIN) system is found on the company’s helmets. The lining is full of silicone-injected pads. Like WaveCel and MIPS, SPIN redirects rotational energy upon impact after a crash.

 

Airflow Vents

 

Commuter bike helmets with lots of air vents tend to be lighter than others. More vents means more ventilation in general. Choose a helmet with vents on the front and exhaust ports at the back. Such helmets offer a wind tunnel that keeps you cool the whole time.

 

Visor?

 

A visor isn’t an essential component in commuter bike helmets. Very few such helmets come with a visor.

 

Certifications

 

Buy a CPSC certified helmet. CPSC means Consumer Product Safety Commission. Such a helmet has been independently tested by CPSC and found fit for commuting. Technically, all helmets sold in the U.S. are CPSC tested. In Europe, insist on CE, a safety certification. If the helmet has ASTM certification, that’s nice. But CPSC is a must-have certification. A properly certified helmet by CPSC looks like this:

 

best commuter bike helmet
Image Source: New York Times

 

Where to Buy Bike Helmets for Commuting

 

Walk into any good skate shop and buy a nice commuter bike helmet. You’ll never end up with wrong sizing if you buy from a physical shop. But Amazon.com and other online stores almost always offer amazing deals, and there’s no reason not to buy your helmet online. Get sizing right, though.

 

Best Helmet for Commuting: Verdict

 

After wearing and testing 5 commuter helmets, I voted the Lumos as the best bet. Even though it’s not MIPS and is costlier than most, it’s a modern-looking lid that protects and cools your noggin while offering really cool features including turn signals, many LED lights, Bluetooth connectivity, and a dial for crating the best possible. But all the other recommendations are great, too.