Understanding the Differences: DOT vs Snell Certified Motorcycle Helmets

Understanding the Differences: DOT vs Snell Certified Motorcycle Helmets

Posted by Henry Hill on 11th Jan 2023

When it comes to motorcycle helmets, there are a few key safety certifications that you should look for to ensure you're getting the best protection for your head. Two of the most widely recognized certifications are those from the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Snell Memorial Foundation.

DOT-certified helmets are required to meet the minimum safety standards set forth by the federal government, as determined by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). These standards include tests for impact resistance, penetration resistance, and retention system strength. To be certified, a helmet must pass these tests and bear the DOT sticker on the back.

Snell-certified helmets, on the other hand, go through a much more rigorous testing process than DOT helmets. The Snell Memorial Foundation is a non-profit organization that sets its own safety standards, which are often more stringent than those set by the government. In addition to passing the same tests as DOT helmets, Snell-certified helmets also undergo additional testing for penetration resistance, roll-off resistance, and chin strap strength. If a motorcycle helmet passes the Snell testing, it will bear the Snell seal of approval.

It's important to note that while both DOT and Snell certifications are recognized by the motorcycle industry, Snell certification is not a legal requirement for helmets sold in the United States. However, many professional racers and riders choose to wear Snell-certified helmets for the additional protection they provide.

When shopping for a motorcycle helmet, it's always a good idea to look for one that meets at least the DOT safety standard, but if you're looking for the highest level of protection available, it may be worth considering a Snell-certified helmet. Motorcycle helmets certified by the Snell Memorial Foundation have met the highest level of safety standards and are the best protection you can wear on your head.

In conclusion, choosing the right motorcycle helmet that is both DOT and Snell certified is extremely important, it can make a huge difference in the event of an accident. Keep in mind that, while both certifications are recognized by the industry, Snell certification is considered the gold standard when it comes to motorcycle helmet safety. Always wear a helmet to protect your head, and make sure that it is the most secure and safe helmet available.