In 2002 just 25% of snowboarders wore helmets but that number has climbed every year since, catching big air in 2019 when 85% strapped them on, according to the National Ski Areas Association.
Snowboard helmet makers have taken notice, pouring much of their energy into engineering safer yet lighter helmets with better vision, as they should. But they’ve also never lost sight of the fun, and they’ve really spun a back-to-back triple by building in Bluetooth and speakers. Of course, helmets are more and more important as slopes and bowls just keep getting faster.
Why Use a Snowboard Helmet with Built-in Speakers?
Best of all, you can listen to music and use your phone hands-free while skiing, and having your favorite tunes to listen to is a great cure for chairlift boredom.
No more cold fingers!
For one thing, wearing a helmet with Bluetooth and speakers linked to your phone means no more cold fingers from messing with AirPods or wired or wireless earbuds. Keeping your gloves on means keeping heat in your body, since your body heat escapes fastest from your extremities. Retaining more of your body heat means a longer day boarding.
No more ear pain!
Also say goodbye to the headaches you can get from wearing in-ear music listening devices or headphones — pain caused from helmet padding pressing the devices into your ear or head. That pain is especially uncomfortable in freezing temperatures.
Less to carry around
Of course, embedding the Bluetooth and speakers into the helmet gives you fewer objects to carry around, always a good thing but especially in frigid winter weather.
Best Snowboard Helmets with Bluetooth and Speakers
So who’s leading the class in making these helmets? We especially dig four models.
POC Obex Spin Communication
Made with an EPS liner, an ABS top shell and a PC shell, this helmet comes in uranium black or hydrogen white. It’s lightweight so you won’t tire out wearing it all day, and you don’t have to change pads in order to find the right fit because it features interior size-adjusting.
Vent covers slide so you can close or open them according to the weather or your own comfort. At the helmet’s front, integrated vents let you evacuate air from your goggles so they don’t fog up.
Moon Smart Bluetooth Helmet
Offered in blue, black or silver, it’s also made with a EPS liner and PC shell. The EPS liner helps absorb head impact, reducing injury. Awesome design features include a Fidlock magnetic buckle, Coolmax padding and headlock that adjusts. Another smart feature is its large buttons so you can maneuver them without taking your gloves off.
K2 Phase Pro Helmet
Offered in forest green, stone (gray), white and black, its hard ABS-shell construction is available with an optional MIPS liner for even more protection. This removable liner is washable and breathable, and it wicks away moisture. Its Active Matrix ventilation is precisely placed and its contouring is subtle, coming together for sweet styling, undeniable comfort and a fabulous K2Dialed fit.
Smart4U Smart Ski Helmet SS1
Available in black, blue or white, it boasts a tough ABS shell around an EPS inner layer for top impact protection. The audio system features a 35db mic and Bluetooth. It fits most head sizes, is waterproof, and its battery can last five hours for phone calls. Large buttons allow for operation without removing your gloves.
What to Consider When Choosing a Bluetooth Snowboard Helmet with Built-in Speakers
Helmet Certifications and Safety Standards
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends snowboarding helmets meet the following certifications: ASTM F2040; CSA Z263.1; Snell RS-98 and S-98.
Of course we all have our own preferences when it comes to speakers. You want helmet speakers that have enough bass to properly thump your favorite beats while boarding but also clear enough acoustics for a clean sound. You want enough volume to rock out once in a while but not so much that you can’t hear what’s happening around you for safety.
Size and fit
Helmet sizes vary by manufacturer, so finding the right one for you isn’t always easy. Many helmets only come in vague sizes like “small, medium, large, extra-large,” etc. so you might need some trial and error if you’re ordering online. But others, like the POC Obex Spin, includes a number with each of those sizes that measures the circumference of your head. For these, you can measure the number of centimeters around your head with a tape measure, and if you don’t have a tape measure, just rap a string around your forehead and then measure the string.
Getting the right fit is important for safety. When trying it on, give it a shake test. If it moves around separately from your head, it’s too big and won’t protect your head as well from impacts.
The best helmets strike the best balance between comfort, style and safety. If you’re snowboarding all day, you want a helmet that’s light enough that your neck and shoulders won’t tire and become sore. But a helmet that’s too light can lack critical protection. This doesn’t mean a big, heavy, bulky helmet is more safe. In fact, if it’s too heavy it can cause whiplash in high-speed falls.
These four helmets range in price from $280 for the Opex Spin to about $99 for the K2 Phase and Smart4U. In between is the Moon for $129.
How well a helmet protects your brain obviously is the most important thing to look for in its design, especially as bowls and slopes get steeper and faster. The next priorities are comfort and looks.
Cooling and Air Vents
The best snowboard helmets feature optimally placed vents and inner materials that wick away moisture as you sweat. One of the biggest threats to safety is when we start the day with our helmet but after a while take it off, hair sopping wet and steam coming off the helmet, and we resume boarding without one because it’s so much cooler (temperature wise). The best vents let plenty of air flow through the helmet.
When Should I Replace a Snowboard Helmet?
Most manufacturers recommend replacing helmets at least every five years. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has advised that helmets are designed to withstand minor impacts and continue providing adequate protection, but the government agency says you should definitely replace a helmet that’s been in a single significant impact crash or if the crash damaged the helmet. That’s because the EPS (expanded polystyrene) that lines the inside, which is what helps shield the head from shock on impact, is basically ruined after a single big impact.
Snowboard Helmet Law – Do I Have to Wear One?
There are no laws in the United States requiring adult snowboarders to wear helmets. One state, New Jersey, has required children younger than 18 to wear them. The New York Senate in 2018 passed a bill requiring use by children but the bill died in the state House.
The National Ski Areas Association recommends helmet use and spoke in support of the New Jersey law, but the trade group has said it would not have offered that support if the law had applied to adults because they don’t think it’s something that governments should force adults to do.
Snowboard helmets with Bluetooth and speakers are one of the coolest innovations in helmets in recent years. They let you enjoy your music, talk on the phone and communicate with other boarders with you at the time – keeping your ears free of the pain caused by devices being smashed into your ear by the helmet padding. It’s also great not having to take your gloves off to work the controls, since they have large enough buttons that can be used with gloves on, and it’s so much more convenient when you have less stuff to carry, letting you focus on what’s most important: Having a blast!