No skateboard helmet provides full protection against concussions no matter what the manufacturer or distributor says. However, the CDC says that using a properly certified helmet can significantly reduce the odds of sustaining severe head injuries.
Also read: Best skate helmets with massive heads
Unlike others, we’ve bought and tested a bunch of skate helmets. We’ve tested T8 helmets, S1 helmets, Protec helmets, OutdoorMaster helmets, and more. Still, it’s not possible to list down all the differences between S1 and Triple 8 helmets. That said, I’m aware of a few general differences between these brands and share them below.
Here’s a quick summary of the differences between Triple 8 and S1 skateboard helmets:
- S1 helmets are a little pricier compared to Triple 8 helmets.
- S1 helmets are one size and rely on different foam thicknesses to fit different head sizes. In contrast, Triple Eight helmets come in different shell sizes and also have fit adjustment foam pads.
- Both fit intermediate oval heads well, but Triple eight helmets are a better fit for rounder heads that are wider around the sides.
- Most helmets from both brands have 11 airflow vents. However, the ventilation system design for T8 helmets has smaller holes on the front and back.
And here’s the longer answer.
Both skate gear brands are good. I’m a big fan of Triple Eight, but I keep seeing other skaters out on the road sporting S1 Lifer helmets. These two brands are pretty popular, and their helmets have no availability issues. Whether you’re in the U.S. or Europe, you’ll find the helmet you need.
ALL S1 helmets are certified for skating and bike riding, that is, they’re dual certified. They protect your head against large single impacts and multiple smaller impacts. I saw a S1 helmet testing engineer explaining the difference between certified and non-certified helmets. And it was a shocking revelation.
Non-certified skate style helmets are NOT able to reduce 1000 Gs of force down to no more than 300 Gs. A certified skate helmet does exactly that, dispersing tons of impact energy away from your head and to the protective EPS liner. Here’s an S1 helmet testing video by S-One themselves.
The vast majority of Triple Eight helmets are dual-certified as well. However, there’s at least two non-certified Triple Eight helmets. The Triple 8 Heed Helmet and Triple 8 Sweatsaver Helmet are neither CPSC bike helmet standard certified nor meet the requirements of the ASTM F1492 skate helmet standard.
These non-certified skate helmets win BIG in the comfort department. They’re even comfier than their dual certified siblings.
You definitely can use these soft-foam classic style skate helmets for low-speed recreational rides around your neighborhood. But you don’t want to have such a helmet on your head when you strike the pavement head first.
Not only do these helmets have a flimsy outer shell, but they also lack the hard foam that protects your head if you take a brutal blow.
ALL S1 helmets come in one shell size while Triple Eight helmets come in different shell sizes and size charts for different helmet models. With S1, you get a big-shell helmet with different size liners to fit different head sizes. Nothing wrong with either approach, but if you have a smaller head, the right helmet for you is likely a T8 one.
Both brands work for the most common head shape, the intermediate oval head shape. However, if your head shape is kind of rounder than most and runs somewhat wider at the sides, a Triple 8 helmet would be a better fit.
And what’s the best way to know your head shape? According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, you should sit and ask someone to look at your head from an elevated position. They’ll be able to tell which head shape you have of the three common head shapes: Intermediate oval, round oval, and long oval.
Helmets in both camps feature a bunch of airflow vents to keep your head cool while skating in warmer weather. Every T8 and S1 helmet I’ve seen offers 11 airflow vents. Actually, 11 ventilation holes seems to be the sweet spot for most skateboard helmets.
However, there’s a vent design difference between the two brands. S1 helmets typically come with sizable round holes on the front, back, and one at the center of the helmet’s top. The top center vent is surrounded by smaller oval holes.
For Triple Eight helmets, the holes on the front and back are shaped differently than the others. They’re also smaller in size than the rest of the holes on the helmet and also smaller than those on S1 helmets.
The airflow vents on the top are round and about the same size as the S-one ones. But the front and rear ones on T8 brain buckets aren’t holes but narrow trapezium-shaped openings.
You may expect S1 helmets to work minimally better for warm weather skating. But NO skate helmet works as well as a cycling helmet when it comes to keeping your head cooler. Peter, one of us here at skatingmagic.com, often skates with his Triple 8 Gotham helmet. He says he feels a mild breeze, usually swooshing in from the back.
Unfortunately, we’ve not been able to test how well an S1 Mega Lifer helmet we recently bought performs in the head cooling department. Because it’s extremely big. No one at skatingmagic.com has a head measuring over 64+cm/25.5 inches.
Here is a written review of the S1 Mega Lifer Helmet (with original pictures showing how it fits Peter’s 58cm head.
Both brands offer decent quality skateboard helmets, but S1 helmets will have you paying a little more. The good thing is that S1 helmets are ALL certified, which means you’re getting a helmet that’d be there for you on the day your skating session goes utterly wrong.
Both are good skate brands and offer highly protective skateboard helmets. But not all T8 helmets are certified. While T8 brain protectors are sold in different sizes, S1 helmets are one size and rely on different size foam pads for fitting different head sizes.
Also, S1 helmets have a larger footprint (head print?) and look slightly bigger than Triple 8 helmets. Besides that, they’re a bit costlier.
If you have a rounder head that gets squeezed at the sides by other helmets, it’s better to get a Triple 8 vs an S1 helmet.