Best commuter bike helmets 2022: Safe and comfortable helmets for city riding

Best commuter bike helmets
(Image credit: Altura)

The best commuter bike helmets have a different aesthetic from the best road bike helmets. Whereas road bike helmets are designed for ventilation and aerodynamics when travelling at speed, a commuter bike helmet usually has a more enclosed design with more coverage and less venting to handle different requirements of commuting by bike. They'll fit in whether you are riding a hybrid bike, a folding bike, an electric bike or, mixing all of the above, a folding electric bike

If you are riding an electric bike, it's worth considering buying one of the best e-bike helmets rather than an urban number, as they're engineered for additional protection at the higher speeds that electric bikes can achieve.

Of course, the reason for a helmet is to protect you if you have a crash and to that end, both road bike helmets and the best commuter bike helmets incorporate features including MIPS (Multidirectional Impact Protection System) or equivalent technologies. If you want to know more about impact protection tech, it's covered in our buyer's guide at the bottom of this piece, along with other features to look out for when buying a helmet for your commute. 

Alternatively, read on for our pick of the best commuter bike helmets, including models we've ridden and rated and other helmets that we reckon are worth considering. We put lots of commuting and riding miles in on the bike and considered the safety features of all the helmets listed closely so you can make the most informed decision when purchasing the right helmet for you.

Best commuter bike helmets available today

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Giro escape MIPS helmet in black with front and rear integrated lights

(Image credit: Future)
The best commuter bike helmet overall

Specifications

Weight: 494g
Size: S, M, L
Additional rotational safety tech: MIPS

Reasons to buy

+
Comes with unobtrusive MIPS integration
+
Front and rear lights built-in
+
Stylish looks

Reasons to avoid

-
Not USB-C charged

The Giro Escape MIPS helmet shares many of its features with the Giro Camden MIPS helmet (see below) but is lighter. Like the Unit 1 Faro, it's another helmet that has built-in lighting front and rear with controls on the rear of the helmet and up to 10 hours runtime.

Giro's MIPS liner is better integrated than many MIPS implementations, so it's less likely to catch on your hair. 

The soft-touch matt finish is available in three colours and the helmet looks stylish too. It's comfortable to wear, although the rear padding can't be removed for cleaning.

Our full review of the Giro Escape MIPS helmet will provide you with more information.

Nutcase Vio commuter helmet with light strip on side and peak

(Image credit: Future)
Commuter-oriented design that will also work for gravel riders

Specifications

Weight: 432g
Size: S/M, L/XL
Additional rotational safety tech: MIPS

Reasons to buy

+
Plenty of built-in lights
+
Good venting
+
Not as heavy as some urban helmets
+
Would work for gravel rides as well as commutes

Reasons to avoid

-
Two sizes only
-
The rear cradle doesn't adjust vertically

Nutcase makes some of the best kids' bike helmets in wild styles, but it's also got a line of adult helmets. The Nutcase Vio MIPS helmet preserves some of that style, but takes it in a more serious direction and comes with plenty of large vents, making it comfortable to wear on hotter rides.

There are also plenty of lights front, back and on the sides to keep you illuminated and visible, with constant, flashing and pulsed modes and a 2.5-hour runtime. That's a little shorter than some options but does keep the battery lighter for less weight overall. Alongside the MIPS liner, there's dual-density EPS foam for additional impact protection.

We have more details in our full review of The Nutcase Vio MIPS commuter bike helmet.

Unit1 Faro helmet pictured from the rear with light strip

(Image credit: Future)
Good safety features at a price that's a little lower than the alternatives

Specifications

Weight: 630g
Size: S, M, L
Additional rotational safety tech: Optional

Reasons to buy

+
Lots of in-built lighting 
+
Robust outer shell
+
MIPS option
+
Optional turn signals

Reasons to avoid

-
All the tech makes the helmet quite heavy

Unit 1 adds LED strips to the front and rear of the Faro commuter bike helmet. There are more LEDs under the fabric strip at the bottom rear of the helmet that can act as a turn signal if you buy the optional handlebar remote or as a brake light. There are more configuration options with the companion phone app, including variations in brightness with the weather and ambient light level. There's a USB-C rechargeable battery built to power it all.

There are four colours available for the ABS outer shell, which is more resistant to day-to-day wear than the lighter polycarbonate shells found in the best road bike helmets. Other nice features are the magnetic buckle that's easier to use than the normal clip and the option to include MIPS.

All the built-in tech makes the Unit 1 Faro heavy at 580g, but it's well balanced, has good ventilation and is comfortable to wear. 

Read our full review of the Unit 1 Faro commuter bike helmet for more info.

POC corpora AID helmet in it's white finish

(Image credit: Future)
Best skate-style commuter bike helmet

Specifications

Weight: 535g
Size: XS/S, M/L, XL/XXL
Additional rotational safety tech: AID

Reasons to buy

+
Robust urban design
+
Easy to use magnetic buckle
+
Built-in rear LEDs with simple control

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive
-
White-only is likely to look scuffed quickly

The POC Corpora AID has front and rear slot vents, dot vents on the top of the helmet and internal channels that provide ventilation. There's good adjustability and a magnetic buckle that's easy to use. Five rear LEDs provide additional visibility, with lighting controlled by a button on the strap.

The white-only colour option means that the POC Corpora AID is likely to look scruffy sooner than dark colours, although the helmet shell is thicker than most road helmets. The helmet is expensive relative to the competition though and you could buy one of the best road bike helmets for the same price.

Read our full POC Corpora AID commuter bike helmet review for more.

Bontrager Circuit Wavecel helmet in white with bontrager lights added

(Image credit: Future)
Best commuter bike helmet for road-bike-commuters

Specifications

Weight: 325g
Size: S, M, L, XL
Additional rotational safety tech: Wavecel

Reasons to buy

+
Removeable light mounts for dual-duty use
+
Visor can be added for urban use
+
Wavecel impact protection

Reasons to avoid

-
Rear light mount is fiddly

The Bontrager Circuit Wavecel combines urban usability with adaptability for recreational use, so you don't need a second helmet for your weekend rides, thanks to included mounts that let you add a compact Bontrager Flare light set to the helmet and a removable visor.

The helmet includes Bontrager's Wavecel collapsible layer for added crash protection and there's a replaceable rear cradle adjusted using a Boa dial. It's a comfortable and versatile lid.

Read our full review of the Bontrager Circuit Wavecel helmet for more.

Hexr 3D-printed custom helmet in black

(Image credit: Aaron Borrill)
Best money-no-object commuter helmet

Specifications

Weight: 344g (our review model)
Size: Custom, 3D printed
Rotational safety: No

Reasons to buy

+
Tailored fit
+
Extensive head coverage
+
Beautiful, unique aesthetic
+
Impressive ventilation
+
Constructed from eco-friendly, plant-based Polyamide-11 bioplastic

Reasons to avoid

-
An expensive proposition
-
Incompatibility with some sunglasses
-
Fidgety, removable retention system

HEXR is the world's first tailor-made 3D-printed helmet that's custom-built for your specific head shape and size. You either have your head scanned in person at the London HQ, or you can use an app to make a scan of your own head. The scan is then used to map out the exact shape needed for the interior of the helmet, and the rest is built around it.

What results is a one-of-a-kind lid that fits your head like a glove, offering unparalleled comfort. What's more, it comes with lots of green benefits: it's made from castor bean oil, which is a renewable resource, and because all HEXR helmets are made to order, there isn't any surplus stockpiled in a warehouse collecting dust. And once you're done with it, you can return it to be recycled. 

It requires a bit of an investment, but it's easy to see the benefits.

Take a look at our full HEXR 3D-printed helmet review for more information.

Kask Moebius helmet

(Image credit: Mildred Locke)
A scratch-resistant urban cycling helmet with a detachable peak

Specifications

Weight: 413g
Size: M, L
Additional rotational safety tech: No

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent airflow and cooling properties
+
Supremely comfortable
+
Beautiful design
+
Durable and hard-wearing

Reasons to avoid

-
Heavy
-
Bulky on small heads
-
Too much lateral movement

The Kask Moebius helmet is a stylish commuter bike helmet that provides really good airflow to keep your head feeling cool on hot days. It has a removable peak that does a great job of shielding your eyes from the sun, as well as debris and rain, but is also comfortable to wear with a cycling cap if you'd rather make more of a statement.

Although it's not the lightest helmet listed here, it's a solid contender for an all-around urban helmet that will feel supremely comfortable day in and day out. Its ergonomic fit, alongside the soft and dense interior padding, sits atop your noggin without making itself known too much.

Overall it looks good, offers sufficient coverage, and is surprisingly airy despite only having three vents in total.

For more details, read our Kask Moebius helmet review.

Specialized

(Image credit: Specialized)

Specialized Align II MIPS

Best commuter bike helmet for safety on a budget

Specifications

Weight: 360g
Size: S/M, M/L, XL
Additional rotational safety tech: MIPS

Reasons to buy

+
Five-star Virginia Tech safety rating
+
Tonnes of colour options
+
Low price

Reasons to avoid

-
No added visibility features like lights

The Specialized Align II MIPS joins our list of the best commuter bike helmets thanks to its low price and impressive score in the independent safety testing performed by Virginia Tech. 

Virginia Tech is a laboratory based in the USA that independently runs all sorts of helmets - cycling and otherwise - through a series of standardised tests. The resulting score is the best comparison available for the safety of helmets on the market. The Align II Mips is currently the most affordable option within the top 10 of all bicycle helmets ever tested. 

It comes with a MIPS liner, three sizes, a multitude of colours, and is compatible with Specialized's ANGI technology, which is an after-market add-on crash detector that will send an alert to your loved one(s) in the event of an accident. 

Abus Urban-I 3.0 helmet in light and dark blue with peak

(Image credit: Abus)

Abus Urban-I 3.0

An all-round urban commuter bike helmet with a built-in LED tail light

Specifications

Weight: 250g
Size: S, M, L, XL
Additional rotational safety tech: No

Reasons to buy

+
Integrated rear LED light
+
Lots of air vents for cooling
+
Reflective details for added visibility
+
XL size available for 62+ cm
+
Ponytail compatible

Reasons to avoid

-
The tail light is a nice addition but not bright enough to be relied upon

The Abus Urban-I 3.0 is the third generation of the German brand's most popular commuter helmet. Designed with safety at the forefront, the Urban-I 3.0 provides excellent coverage at the front and back of the head and features an integrated LED tail light for added visibility at night. 

This is a really nice addition, as it adds an extra layer of safety when sharing busy roads with motorists after dark, and having the light situated at the back of your head makes it even more likely to be seen. However, we'd still recommend running a good quality rear light on your bike, as the helmet's light isn't quite bright enough to be relied upon solely. Check out our roundup of the best bike lights to help you choose.

Bell Annex MIPS in black pictured from above

(Image credit: Bell)

Bell Annex MIPS

The best commuter bike helmet for poor weather

Specifications

Weight: 350g
Size: S, M, L
Additional rotational safety tech: MIPS

Reasons to buy

+
Unrivalled comfort in warm or cold conditions 
+
MIPS liner for increased crash safety 

Reasons to avoid

-
Muted colour options 
-
Integrated LED light expected at this price 

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.

Bern Hudson MIPS helmet with peak in green light colour

(Image credit: Burn)

Bern Hudson MIPS

Superb design and highly functional

Specifications

Weight: 350g
Size: S, M, L
Additional rotational safety tech: MIPS

Reasons to buy

+
MIPS protection liner
+
Integrated LED light 
+
An appealing range of colours 

Reasons to avoid

-
Shape and silhouette might not be 'classic' enough for style-obsessed commuters 

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. 

Abus Hyban helmet with peak in light blue with pink straps

(Image credit: Abus)

Abus Hyban

The best commuter bike helmet for value

Specifications

Weight: 400g
Size: M, M/L, L
Additional rotational safety tech: No

Reasons to buy

+
Terrific safety spec at the price
+
Has an integrated rear light
+
Generous range of colours 

Reasons to avoid

-
Design prioritises function over form

This German helmet might not have the hipster styling of some other commuter options, but it boasts impressive specifications 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.

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.  

How to choose the best commuter bike helmet

Helmets come in an array of different shapes and well as different sizes, so not all commuter bike helmets will fit you as well as others. For that reason, it's worthwhile to try on a few different helmets to see what is comfortable.

Check the fit around your head and the adjustability and that the straps are comfortable and don't dig in. Beyond that here are some tips to find the best commuter bike helmet for your needs.

What helmet safety features should I look for?

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 shows 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 and 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.

MIPS isn't the only option though, so look out for any option that has some form of built-in rotational impact protection. 

Is ventilation important?

Commuters are typically in less need of many ventilation ports. While the speeds they ride are typically lower than road cyclists, the effort level is also usually lower, meaning less heat is generated.

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. If you live in a warmer area, then be sure to consider ventilation in your choice of helmet.

The same can be said for riders who live in colder countries or continue to commute during winter. If you are a committed poor-weather commuter, a helmet with more coverage and fewer ventilation ports will keep you warmer.

How do I find the right fit?

Most helmets are available in a selection of sizes, but while they are usually sized in small, medium, large, that isn't comparable across different brands. Fortunately, all brands offer some form of sizing chart. Using a fabric tape measure or a piece of string, measure the circumference of your head and be sure to compare this number against each brand's sizing chart before you buy. 

Should I prioritise visibility?

The potential safety benefits of the best commuter helmets don't only come in the event of a crash. They can also help to keep you visible on the roads. If you often ride in dark conditions, look for a helmet with inbuilt lights, and be sure to check out our guide to the best bike lights for extra visibility. 

How do we test the best commuter bike helmets?

We have years of combined experience amongst the team at Cyclingnews. We have selected a variety of interesting helmet options looking at safety features, aesthetics, and built-in technology such as lights.  We've used each helmet in real-world conditions and tested how it performs in varied weather to ensure we can make informed and accurate recommendations on each model listed here.

Paul has been on two wheels since he was in his teens and he's spent much of the time since writing about bikes and the associated tech. He's a road cyclist at heart but his adventurous curiosity means Paul has been riding gravel since well before it was cool, adapting his cyclo-cross bike to ride all-day off-road epics and putting road kit to the ultimate test along the way.