Although commuting might not be criterium or road racing, with slower speeds and less daring urban cornering lines, helmet choice remains significant. There is no question that all commuter cyclists should adhere to the no-helmet-no-ride philosophy. The best commuter helmets can make you more visible to other road users (either via inbuilt lights or a vivid colourway) and crucially, they protect your head in the unfortunate event of a crash.
Requirements on your daily cycling commute differ from a training ride. The intensity of effort is lower and commuters desire to look less like they are out training, and more like they are part of the active transport movement. Subtle design and maximum comfort are necessities for the best commuter helmets, but those two prerequisites don’t have to sacrifice safety.
Although you should be most concerned about safety first and fit second, many commuter helmets are still purchased on the merit of their appearance. Fortunately, the latest generation of commuter helmets is a study in style without comprising either safety or comfort.
Of course, any helmet will be suited to commuting, if you are looking for a helmet that can be used to commute but also perform on weekend road rides we would recommend choosing one of the helmets from our best road bike helmet guide. If you are on a budget or keen on saving some money we also have a cheap bike helmets guide that round ups the best value helmets and some unmissable deals.
Scroll down to find the best commuter helmets available to buy today, as well as advice for choosing.
Most helmets use a similar EPS foam structure, to absorb crash impact and protect your head from trauma. Where helmet technology has advanced, is reducing the influence of rotational impacts.
Research has delivered results that indicate most crashes see a rider impacting the road surface or pavement at an awkward angle. As your helmet deflects impact, it can trigger a sudden jerking of the head, applying unwanted rotational acceleration to the brain.
To prevent this, the MIPS-liner was developed in Sweden. It is now used as standard fitment by many helmet brands. How does it work? The MIPS system sits inside a helmet’s retention structure and allows for a small amount of slippage. During a crash, a MIPS-liner decelerates those forces that your helmet’s sudden change of position might apply to the head.
Commuters are less in need of many ventilation ports, due to the constant speeds they ride, generating sufficient airflow to keep your head cool.
Urban riders should consider the built environment they are routing through. Concrete and asphalt radiate heat throughout the day, so if you are a dedicated urban commuter, in a heavily built-up area, those summer rides could become a touch hotter than expected. Consider this in your choice of helmet and its ventilation profile.
The same can be said for riders who commute next to a body of water (lake, river or ocean), which can cool morning or evening temperatures dramatically, especially in winter. If you are a committed winter commuter and ride in areas where the winter can be severe, a helmet with more coverage and fewer ventilation ports will keep you warmer.
Advanced commuter helmet
Subtle in appearance but structured with exceptional safety in mind, the Camden has generous coverage around the lower aft skull area. It also features the patented Swedish MIPS liner technology to reduce rotational forces if you suffer an awkwardly-angled head strike.
All these features have allowed Giro to achieve the new Speed e-bike safety standard rating for its Camden, which is now the gold standard for the best commuter helmets.
With ten ventilation ports, the Camden will keep you cool on those warm midday commuting routes and its fit is seamless, thanks to Giro’s Roc Loc system. For those dawn and dusk rides, there is an integrated rear light too.
The all-weather option
An excellent all-weather commuter helmet, the Bell Annex MIPS is outstandingly adjustable.
It tallies a very generous number of vents, fifteen in total, which you can selectively cover in cold conditions. Bell’s Slider function allows you to cover vents when they aren’t needed, which makes the Annex the best commuter helmet for those frosty mornings or chilly evenings, especially if you are riding at speed.
The Annex’s inherent impact safety is excellent, thanks to the presence of a MIPS liner. There is a light-clip at the rear of the helmet, to increase your visibility to other road users when required, although at this price, an integrated light would not have gone amiss.
A modest soft visor adds additional eye protection, to guard your vision against sun glare or light rain.
Superb design and highly functional
Bern is a privately owned helmet company which has been perfecting street-inspired riding gear for the last decade and a half.
With its Hudson MIPS, Bern manages to combine form and function, in a mid-priced commuter helmet. The Hudson’s shell is polycarbonate and its structure has generous ventilation ducting, with 13 vents in total.
Protecting you in the case of an impact, is EPS absorbing foam and the acclaimed MIPS liner system. An integrated rear light makes any Hudson MIPS wearer highly visible in low-light conditions and overall helmet comfort is enhanced by a turn dial, to set fit tension.
True to its stylish street-gear roots, the Hudson MIPS has a soft peak visor which is removable.
This German helmet might not have the hipster styling of some other commuter options, but it boasts impressive specification at a very keen price.
With 13 air vents, the Hyban ensures great thermal comfort in warm riding conditions. It also has a compact visor peak, to shield your eyes from early morning or late afternoon sun glare.
An integrated rear light and some vivid colour options ensure that Hyban wearers are always visible to other road users on their commute. Although not a candidate for any style awards, there is little faulting the safety specification and overall design merit of this Abus commuter helmet.
The choice for those long distance commutes
Oakley is best known for making some of the best cycling sunglasses, but the Californian brand also markets a diverse collection of protection equipment and the ARO5, not designed specifically for the commuter, looks to fit the bill for those swinging a leg over a road bike each morning.
For commuters who are routing large distances to work, the ARO5 is a great choice. Its aerodynamic shape will save your energy on a long ride and a MIPS liner is there to protect you in a crash.
You would expect an Oakley helmet you have some excellent sunglass stowage features and the ARO5 obliges. There is an eyewear dock, facilitated by the brand's TX1 lace, ventilation ports at the front of the helmet.
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Mildred is a Reviews Writer for Cyclingnews who loves all forms of cycling from long-distance audax to daily errand-running by bike. She does almost everything on two wheels, including moving house, and started out her cycling career working in a bike shop. For the past five years she's volunteered at The Bristol Bike Project as a mechanic and session coordinator, and now sits on its board of directors. Since then she's gone on to write for a multitude of cycling publications, including Bikeradar, Cycling Plus, Singletrack, Red Bull, Cycling UK and Total Women's Cycling. She's dedicated to providing more coverage of women's specific cycling tech, elevating under-represented voices in the sport, and making cycling more accessible overall.
Height: 156cm (5'2")
Rides: Liv Devote, Genesis Equilibrium Disc 20, Triban RC520 Women's Disc, Genesis Flyer, Whyte Victoria, Cotic BFe 26, Clandestine custom bike
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