Football is a beloved sport played by thousands: from Pop Warner and junior leagues on up through the NFL. The game is, however, full contact, and no matter what age you play, concussion risks are real. And the long-lasting effects that are just now coming to be understood.
What’s for certain, in a game as rough and unpredictable as football no helmet can prevent concussions completely. But if your child dreams of playing, there’s no need to tell them, “no.” Pick one of the best youth football helmets, instead.
With state-of-the-art fit and cutting-edge cushioning and impact absorption technology, these helmets will help you and the young one in your life have a safe, healthy, and fun experience playing football.
Our Top Picks
Practice your 2-minute drill with each helmet in our ranking.
A Closer Look: Best Micro Drones
In-depth reviews of the best youth football helmets are coming up next.
1. Riddell SpeedFlex Youth Helmet
The best youth football helmets
Brand: Riddell | Facemask: Yes | Liner: Air Fit | Chin Strap: Cam Lock | Price: 💰💰💰💰💰
A youth version of what pros like Tom Brady are known to wear, the Riddell SpeedFlex is the best youth football helmet for any position. Contributing to our choice were features like the flex system reducing impact, and Riddell’s Patented Side Impact Protection (PSIP) helping to protect the jaw from lateral hits. There’s also an easily-adjustable Cam-Lock chin strap, an air fit liner system, and occipital lock around the back of the head.
Sold with a facemask, the SpeedFlex fits better than traditional helmets, we found out, due to the inflatable side pockets. Young players especially like the adjustable chin strap, and although the helmet is expensive, it’s well-constructed, with great padding and sleek style. But most importantly, it helps support a young player’s neck and head while they’re out there on the field, because protecting the brain is the #1 priority.
- Available in different colors, glossy, and matte
- Reduced headaches for one player
- True to size
- Youngest players find chin strap difficult to adjust
- Youth and junior high sizes only
2. Rawlings Momentum Plus Youth Football Helmet
The best budget youth football helmets
Brand: Rawlings | Facemask: Sold Separate | Liner: Customizable Fit/Heat Exchange Tech | Chin Strap: N/A | Price: 💰
You may not have a lot of money to spend on a football helmet, or maybe you’re a little reluctant to invest in a helmet until you’re positive your child will stick with the game. In these instances, the Rawlings Momentum Plus is the best youth football helmet for you. But just because the Rawlings Momentum Plus is affordable, doesn’t mean it won’t provide any less concussion protection.
First off, this entry-level helmet has a customizable fit liner with heat exchange tech keeping players comfortable while they wear it. The helmet also has a rear inflation port to fine-tune the fit, and although some reviews say they tend to run large, we also found out they’re pretty true to size. Finally, it’s made from a high-impact ABS shell.
- From one of the oldest brands in sports gear
- “Pro-style” shell design
- No face mask, but there’s a chin strap
- XS smaller than most extra-smalls
3. Riddell Victor Youth Football Helmets
The best youth football helmets for running backs
Brand: Riddell | Facemask: Yes | Liner: Fitted | Chin Strap: Soft | Price: 💰💰💰
To keep your young running back fearless on the football field, we like the Victor youth football helmet from Riddell. With a facemask included and a fitted liner, this helmet offers Riddell’s patented side impact protection and inflatable jaw pads. There’s also a removable, moisture-resistant liner and a soft chin strap, with screw and T-nut facemask attachments on an ABS shell.
It’s too small for the average high schooler, we learned. But parents who’ve tried the helmet for their youth and junior high football players say it fits perfectly, adding it’s comfortable and that the pads truly are better than what’s offered from other brands.
For the price, it’s also a great choice for players just trying out football and who may not be ready to make a long-term commitment to the game.
- Chin strap good for sensitive skin
- Easy to switch out facemasks
- Good ventilation
- No inflatable lining, other than jaw pads
- Only one color choice
4. Schutt Air XP Pro VTD II
The best youth football helmets for wide receivers
Brand: Schutt | Facemask: Sold Separate | Liner: TPU-enhanced SUREFIT Air Liner | Chin Strap: SC4 Hard Cup | Price: 💰💰💰💰
Lightweight and quick, the Schutt Air XP, in our estimation, is the best youth football helmet for the wide receiver position. The facemask is sold separately, which is a drawback, but otherwise, there’s a TPU-enhanced SUREFIT Air Liner and an SC4 hard cup chin strap. Also worth mentioning, the well-reviewed helmet comes standard with inter-locking jaw pads and an expanded shell.
The helmet also comes in a nice range of colors to match your young player’s uniform. Those who’ve tried the helmet call it supportive, comfortable, and highly customizable in terms of sizing.
What’s more, it’s received a high rating from the Virginia Tech Helmet Evaluation System, and the TPU cushioning absorbs impact, especially in high contact gameplay scenarios. There’s also a flexural resistance back shelf in the rear of the helmet.
- Removable padding can be washed
- Good choice for hard-to-fit heads
- Nice color choices
- Some color/size combos hard to find
- Better padding available, some say
5. Schutt Sports Vengeance A11 Youth Helmet
The best youth football helmets for quarterbacks
Brand: Schutt | Facemask: Sold Separate | Liner: TPU Front Cushion/Inter-link Jaw Pads | Chin Strap: Soft Cup | Price: 💰💰
For quarterbacks, the best football helmet for concussion protection in our ranking is the Vengeance A11 youth helmet from Schutt Sports. Among other things, what we liked about the helmet for quarterbacks was the raised brow design, improving visibility while also deflecting impact away from the head.
The A11 also has TPU front cushioning, with inter-linking jaw pads, and a soft cup chin strap, There’s flexural resistance engineering throughout, improving the overall strength of the shell, and the helmet also comes in a wide variety of color options to match the team colors.
Those who’ve worn the helmet while playing football call it comfortable with great padding and fit. It can withstand quite a blow, based on feedback, while rarely, if ever getting loose or wobbly. And it all happens with a compact, low-profile design.
- Good ratings with the Virginia Tech Helmet Evaluation System
- Better than expected, some say
- Front and rear bumpers
- Soft cup chin straps not for everyone
- Gets a little sweaty
6. Schutt Sports F7 LX1 Youth Football Helmets
The best youth football helmets for linemen
Brand: Schutt | Facemask: Sold Separate | Liner: SUREFIT Air Liner | Chin Strap: Soft Cup | Price: 💰💰💰💰💰
When it came time to pick the best youth football helmets for linemen, the F7 LX1 stood out from the rest. First off, there are 3-dimensional plates placed strategically at frequently impacted areas, offering extra protection against rotational forces which is especially important for the linemen position. There’s also a helmet stabilization system for extra support around the jaw, with TPU cushioning absorbing impact throughout the helmet, and across different temperatures.
Furthermore, players really like the different colors the helmet is available in, but some do comment the real color ended up being pretty different than what they thought they ordered online, so be careful. It is a bit heavy, some comment, but others add they feel very little contact when wearing the helmet. Overall, the fit is great, even without adding any air to the cushioning.
- Detachable chin guard straps
- Too loose? Add air.
- Mixed reviews across major helmet rating services
- Spendy, but worth it
For this guide on the best youth football helmets, our team spent 5 hours researching the most popular options from over 30 brands and manufacturers big and small. We then read about 150 user reviews (both positive and negative) to discover what shoppers thought about each football helmet. After comparing this data, we narrowed our list down to the top 6 youth football helmets on the market. You can count on this research to guide you to a mindful purchasing decision.
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