The 10 Best Hard Hats

Updated April 22, 2018 by Ezra Glenn

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We spent 37 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top selections for this wiki. Just because your co-workers tell you you're hard-headed, doesn't mean you shouldn't protect your dome while you're on the job. Try one of these hard hats on for size and you should be able to survive falling debris or other dangers that might be lurking above. They're available in a wide range of designs to suit every need and taste. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best hard hat on Amazon.

10. WinCraft NCAA Collection

Show off some school pride while keeping your head safe with something from the WinCraft NCAA Collection, which will let your coworkers know you're a true college football fan. It has an anti-glare brim that features two attachment slots.
  • compliant with osha requirements
  • made in the united states
  • designs tend to crack and fade
Brand WinCraft
Model 2412297
Weight 1.3 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

9. Occunomix Cowboy

Try not to think of the Occunomix Cowboy as a novelty item, even though it is rather novel. In fact, it's a legitimate piece of protective gear that meets ANSI standards for safety and will protect you from falling debris, tools, and more.
  • also available in white grey and tan
  • provides excellent sun protection
  • too small for larger heads
Brand Occunomix
Model pending
Weight 1.6 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

8. Evolution Deluxe 6161 280

With an all-around brim for added protection, the Evolution Deluxe 6161 280 is a feature-packed option made of sturdy HDPE plastic. It boasts a vented shell for breathability to keep you from getting too sweaty on hot days and comes in seven colors.
  • comfortable fabric suspension straps
  • adjustable depth for a perfect fit
  • built-in sweatband is a bit thin
Brand Evolution Deluxe 6161
Model 280-EV6161-10V
Weight 1.1 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

7. Sticker Bomb Full Brim

Make a splash at the job site with the bright and colorful Sticker Bomb Full Brim from the Texas America Safety Company. Each one they produce is unique, so you'll stand out even if your fellow workers with similar tastes try and copy you.
  • sturdy pyramex construction
  • fade- and scratch-resistant
  • stock insert is a bit uncomfortable
Brand Texas America Safety Co
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 3.5 / 5.0

6. Fibre-Metal Roughneck

The Fibre-Metal Roughneck comes in a sleek design with a tough resin coating that won't chip or peel, and has a molded fiberglass shell that's up to eight times stronger than polyethylene. It features a comfortable and supportive eight-point suspension system.
  • good for steel plants and foundries
  • won't develop cracks with wear
  • plastic straps feel cheap
Brand Fibre-Metal Hard Hat
Model P2ARW11A000
Weight 9.6 ounces
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

5. MSA Skullgard Standard

The MSA Skullgard Standard is a remarkably good-looking piece of hardware that just happens to be sturdy enough to keep your head safe at all times. It's available in myriad colors and with your choice of several suspension systems for the optimal fit and comfort.
  • can withstand heat up to 350 degrees
  • protects against penetration
  • partial brim limits sun protection
Brand MSA
Model 4032792256927
Weight 15.2 ounces
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

4. MSA Skullgard

The MSA Skullgard offers comfort even during long-term wear, thanks to its easily adjustable suspension system, which is available in three different configurations. It also looks pretty good for a purpose-built safety tool, and comes in a wide range of colors.
  • 360-degree brim
  • insulated against electrical shocks
  • impressively lightweight
Brand MSA
Model 475407
Weight 1.1 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

3. Ridgeline Full Brim

Available in colors ranging from matte black to hot pink and neon green, there's a Ridgeline Full Brim for everyone on the job site. They even make a camouflage version for blending into your surroundings, though it may actually make you stick out at work.
  • easily swappable suspension system
  • ratchet-tightening for a secure fit
  • shell has a 5-year service life
Brand Pyramex Safety
Model HP54170
Weight 13.6 ounces
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

2. Husqvarna ProForest Chainsaw Helmet System

The Husqvarna ProForest Chainsaw Helmet System is designed to protect everything important on that head of yours, from your eyes and ears to your brain and even your skin. No logger should be without this model and its various attachments.
  • high-visibility orange for safety
  • made from uv-protected materials
  • adjustable 6-point suspension system
Brand Husqvarna
Model 531300090
Weight 1.7 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

1. Pyramex Safety Cap

Striking the ideal balance between protection and cost, the Pyramex Safety Cap sports a familiar design in the signature shade of yellow found on construction sites around the world. It's also available in a handful of other bright colors to suit your tastes.
  • high density polyethylene shell
  • lip keeps your neck dry in the rain
  • snap-locking suspension system
Brand Pyramex Safety
Model HP14030
Weight 10.4 ounces
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

Be Hard-Headed For A Hard Hat

Imagine yourself walking on the street between two high-rises in close proximity to one another. You look up and are amazed by how tall each building appears. As you look straight up, do you get this uneasy feeling in the pit of your stomach while imagining what could happen if something were to fall from the top? Perhaps you might also notice a construction crew on a scaffold working on one of the floors of these buildings or on the ground floor near the foundation. Picture yourself as one of these workers and imagine what could happen if you were not protected from falling objects or sparks from the tools used to perform work on the building's structure.

Without something to protect your head, you'd be in constant panic about what could potentially happen should your concentration wander. Just like common sense would dictate never to reach into a burning hot oven without a pair of safety mitts, one should never operate heavy machinery or work at a construction site without first having head protection. You'll need the reassurance and protection from a durable hard hat to keep you safe when working in potentially dangerous settings like these.

A hard hat is a specially-designed helmet (made from either fiberglass or thermoplastic) that is meant for use in industrial working environments. The hard hat offers protection from blows to the head, impacts from falling objects, debris, rain, and even electric shocks. Most hard hats feature internal suspension bands that help to evenly distribute the weight and force of an impact in case of such an eventuality. The suspension system also provides extra space between the hat's shell and a person's head. If something does happen to strike the hat's shell, the force of that impact is absorbed by the shell and not the wearer's skull.

Hard hats are often equipped with different accessories. A safety visor, for example, comes in handy for a variety of welding jobs to protect the wearer's face. Some hard hats also have additional lips in the front or wide brims for additional shade during hot and sunny days. If there's a lot of debris flying around a construction site, ear protectors can be built into some hard hats. Assuming you're responsible for working underground in a subway system, it would prove useful to attach a headlamp to your hard hat. Hard hats can also include insulated side padding for circumstances where you may find yourself working outdoors in the extreme cold.

Depending on the type of work and organization involved, hard hats are also designated in different colors in order to represent different job functions or locations. For example, a white hard hat might identify a manager or site supervisor, whereas blue could indicate an electric worker.

A Brief History Of Hard Hats

The original concept of the hard hat comes from a California mining equipment firm known as the E.D. Bullard Company, founded by Edward Dickinson Bullard in 1898. Prior to this point, Bullard's company sold protective hats made from leather. However, this idea evolved upon the return of Bullard's son from World War One and the sight of a protective steel helmet.

By the year 1919, Bullard patented what he called the Hard-Boiled Hat, which was constructed from steamed canvas, glue, and black paint. A follow-up commission from the United States Navy afforded Bullard the opportunity to produce a protective cap for shipyard workers. This cap spawned the widespread use of the hard hat. Bullard further developed his initial invention by adding an internal suspension system to the cap.

In 1938, Bullard created the first aluminum hard hat, setting aluminum as the standard for the time due to its strength and lightweight nature.

The first heat-resistant hard hat was made from fiberglass and appeared in the 1940s. By the 1950s, thermoplastics replaced fiberglass as the standard for hard hat construction because they were easy to shape and less expensive than their fiberglass predecessors.

By 1997, the American National Standards Institute approved the use of ventilated hard hats that would allow workers' heads to stay cool when completing tough jobs. In today's hard hat market, it seems to be all about the accessories, which include attachable face shields, radios, headlamps, cameras, and sun visors among others.

Finding The Best Fit

It goes without saying that suspension and durability make the best hard hat. Providing adequate protection when working at industrial job sites is paramount. For that reason, one must consider the environment they'll be working in. A cutting-edge suspension system will provide superior impact protection in the event that something hits you. The shell of the hard hat will be strong enough to withstand the impact without impacting the skull.

Secondly, a hard hat shouldn't be noticeable. In other words, it should be lightweight and comfortable so that you can concentrate on the work at hand instead of adjusting the hat or complaining about how heavy it feels on your head. For that same reason, finding a hat with a good ventilation system will keep you comfortable, especially when the weather gets hot and you're working outdoors.

Consider the types of accessories you'll need. This will depend on your work situation, but if you'll be doing a lot of underground labor, then a hard hat with a headlamp accessory will definitely come in handy. If you're into welding and operating heavy machinery, then a hard hat with a protective face shield is definitely in your future.

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Last updated on April 22, 2018 by Ezra Glenn

Ezra is a writer, photographer, creative producer, designer, and record label-operator from New York City. He's traveled around the world and ended up back where he started, though he's constantly threatening to leave again.

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