S1 vs Triple 8 Helmets

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 and brain injuries.

I’m Not Here to Promote Helmet Use But…

But did you know that a study found that 75 percent of hospitalized skateboarders and snowboarders have head injuries?

The research covered 1,742 patients, 48.9 percent of whom were skateboarders and 51.1 percent snowboarders. Fully 52.1 percent of these outdoorsy folks chose to have fun unhelmeted, which culminated in 40.4 percent sustaining head injuries. Evidently, wearing a helmet helps.

Also read: Best skate helmets with massive heads

We’ve Bought And Used S1 And T8 Helmets

triple 8 helmet sitting next to an s1 helmet

Unlike others, we’ve bought and tested a bunch of skate helmets. We’ve tested T8 helmets, S1 helmets, Protec helmets, Giant, OutdoorMaster, and other helmets.

We admit to not having tested all of them, for obvious reasons. But we’ve skated with enough of them and have noticed a few differences between S1 and Triple 8 helmets. I’m here to highlight those differences.

S1 vs.Triple 8 Helmets, Which Are Better?

Here’s a quick summary of the differences between Triple 8 and S1 skateboard helmets:

  • All S1 helmets are properly certified versus all but two (find out which ones below) Triple Eight lids.
  • 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 like S1, they have size adjustment foam pads, aka sweat pads.
  • Helmets rom both brands are easy to find (at least online) across geographies.
  • They’re sold in multiple colors to suit every skater’s preferences. I’ve seen at least 16 S1 helmet colors and even more Triple 8 helmet colors. The variety runs the gamut from glossy and matte finishes to skull-and-bone prints and Moxi Stripey.
  • Both companies provide at least one model with a visor if you need a sun shield.
  • Both brands fit intermediate-oval heads well. That said, Triple eight helmets are a better fit for rounder heads that are wider around the sides while S1 helmets have a marginally more oval shape.
  • Most Tripe 8 and S1 helmets feature 11 airflow vents. However, the ventilation system design for Triple Eight helmets has smaller holes on the front and back.

And here’s the longer answer.

Helmet safety certifications

Both skateboard helmet brands are good and offer mostly certified helmets. I’m a big fan of Triple Eight, but there’s many skaters out on the streets sporting S1 Lifer helmets. To each their own.

All S1 helmets are properly certified while Triple 8 carries at least two non-certified helmets. Keep your eyes peeled for the Triple 8 Heed Helmet and the Triple 8 Sweatsaver Helmet because they’re NOT certified.

Fortunately, there’s a dual-certified Triple 8 Sweatsaver helmet; get that one if you want solid protection.

Certified vs Non-certified Skateboard Helmets

Both companies have offerings that have been tested against a battery of helmet crash tests. I saw a S1 helmet testing engineer explaining the difference between certified and non-certified helmets. And it was a shocking revelation. Here’s an S1 helmet testing video by S-One.

Certified Helmets

A certified skateboard helmet disperses tons of impact energy away from your head. Instead of your head taking the massive blow, a specially designed, highly protective EPS liner (looks like hard, thick gray foam) absorbs the excessive energy.

s1 helmet eps foam

Most skate helmets nowadays are dual-certified or bike riding and skating. Check the inside of the helmet for the ASTM F1492 skate safety certification and the CPSC bike helmet standard certified tag.

A lid like that will protect your head against large single impacts (think a major bike wipeout or a head-on collision). It will also dampen multiple smaller impacts like the ones you may get while skating.

Noncertified Helmets

Non-certified helmets, often described as skate-style, DO NOT reduce 1000 Gs of crash force down to 300 Gs or even less. They come with soft, plush foam and not the hard, protective foam their certified counterparts offer.

You can use these soft-foam classic style skate helmets for low-speed recreational skating around the neighborhood.

But a squishy-foam brain bucket doesn’t inspire much confidence when you’re about to slam against the pavement head-first! When practicing any kind of technical or fancy tricks, it’s best to wear certified protection.

Non-certified Skate Helmets Tend to Be Super Comfy

If there’s one place where non-certified skate helmets win BIG, it’s the comfort department. Having soft thick foam instead of hard foam accounts for this difference.

Shell Size and Construction

shell size s1 vs triple 8

ALL S1 helmets are one shell size while Triple Eight helmets come in different shell sizes and size charts for different models. With S1, you get a big-shell helmet with different size liners to fit different head sizes. 

If you have a smaller head, the right helmet for you is likely to be a T8 one. But if you have really large head, S1 is the brand or you.

The S1 Mega Lifer is the roomiest helmet on the planet! I’ve bought and reviewed it here (video), so I know.

Here is a written review of the S1 Mega Lifer Helmet if you’re interested to learn more. I’ve uploaded a bunch of original pictures showing how the brain saver fits on my 58cm head. That thing wears me!

With the exception of the two soft-foam helmets mentioned above, helmets from these two companies boast a tough, sturdy ABS shell. The noncertified ones have a soft, flimsy outer shell that shouldn’t be expected to do much in a bad spill.

One more thing: I’ve not seen one S1 helmet that features a size adjustment dial on the back. But some T8 helmets and many other cheaper skate helmets offer this extra feature.

Well, the size adjuster isn’t a must-have, but it makes setting up the perfect fit that much easier. The Triple Eight helmet shown in this post has a triangular-shaped size adjuster (see below).

How S1 and T8 Helmets Fit Different Head Shapes

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 could be a better fit.

How do I know my head shape for helmet fitment? The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says to sit and ask someone to look at your head from an elevated position.

They will tell you which head shape you have of the three common head shapes: Intermediate oval, round oval, and long oval.

I suggest that you show the person a printout of the head shapes and ask them to point at the figure that looks most like your noggin.

Airflow Vents: 11 Airflow Vents

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.

s1 helmet's front vs front of Triple 8
S1 helmet’s front view vs front view for Triple 8

However, there’s a vent design difference between these two brands. S1 helmets typically come with sizable round holes on the front, back, and one at the center of the lid’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. Also, they’re smaller in size than the rest of the holes on the helmet and also smaller than those on S1 helmets.

back of S1 helmet vs back of Triple 8
S1 helmet viewed front the rear vs T8

The airflow vents on the top are round and about the same size as those on S-one. However, the front and rear ones on T8 brain buckets aren’t holes; they’re narrow triangular-shaped (rear ones) and trapezium-shaped openings (front slits).

top of t8 helmet vs top of s1 helmet.
That’s what the typical T8 helmet looks like when viewed from the top. The helmet in the middle is an OutdoorMaster one, ignore it; the one on the far right is an s1 helmet viewed from the top.

You may expect S1 helmets to work minimally better for warm-weather skating due to them having bigger vents. But NO skate helmet works as well as a cycling helmet when it comes to keeping your head cooler.

I often skate with the Triple 8 Gotham helmet (video). I feel a mild breeze rushing in when I’m rolling at moderately high speeds. It feels like the cool airstream is strongest at the back of the helmet. Perhaps that’s because the back is where warm air exits.

We’ve not been able to test how well an S1 Mega Lifer helmet we recently bought performs in the head cooling department. It’s extremely big and none of us here at skatingmagic.com has a head measuring over 64+cm/25.5 inches! Yes, that’s how big this helmet is.


Are there S1 helmets with a visor? Yes, the S Lifer Visor Helmet- Gen 2 has it. Any Triple Eight helmet with a visor? Yes, get the Certified Sweatsaver Helmet with Visor.

S1 Helmets Are Pricier

Both brands offer decent quality skateboard helmets, but S1 helmets will have you paying a little more.

The good thing is that ALL S1 helmets are certified. You’re getting a helmet that will be there for you when the worst happens. I hope no life-changing skate disaster ever happens to you for the balance of your existence.

Helmet Availability

These two companies are pretty popular, and their helmets have virtually no availability issues. Whether you’re in the U.S., Europe, or Australia, you can order S1 or Triple Eight head protection.

Triple 8 or S1 Helmets? Who Came Out on Top?

Triple 8 and S1 offer high-quality, protective skate helmets, though they’re a bit pricey. T8 provides various shell sizes while S1 uses one-size-shell helmets with different foam pads for fit.

S1 helmets have a slightly larger footprint and tend to cost a little more. For rounder heads, Triple 8 helmets are preferable, whereas S1 helmets suit more oval-shaped heads.