Best commuter helmets: safe and stylish helmets designed for the city streets

Lance Branquinho
·10-min read
 Best commuter helmets
Best commuter helmets

Although commuting might not be criterium or road racing, with slower speeds and less daring urban cornering lines, helmet choice remains significant. There is no question that all commuter cyclists should adhere to the no-helmet-no-ride philosophy. The best commuter helmets can make you more visible to other road users (either via inbuilt lights or a vivid colourway) and crucially, they protect your head in the unfortunate event of a crash.

Requirements on your daily cycling commute differ from a training ride. The intensity of effort is lower and commuters desire to look less like they are out training, and more like they are part of the active transport movement. Subtle design and maximum comfort are necessities for the best commuter helmets, but those two prerequisites don’t have to sacrifice safety.

Although you should be most concerned about safety first and fit second, many commuter helmets are still purchased on the merit of their appearance. Fortunately, the latest generation of commuter helmets is a study in style without comprising either safety or comfort.

Of course, any helmet will be suited to commuting, if you are looking for a helmet that can be used to commute but also perform on weekend road rides we would recommend choosing one of the helmets from our best road bike helmet guide. If you are on a budget or keen on saving some money we also have a cheap bike helmets guide that round ups the best value helmets and some unmissable deals.

Scroll down to find the best commuter helmets available to buy today, or head to the bottom for advice when choosing

Best commuter helmets

Best commuter helmets: Giro Camden
Best commuter helmets: Giro Camden

Giro Camden MIPS

Advanced commuter helmet from Giro

Weight: 355g | Size: S, M, L | RRP: $190.00 / £179.99

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Excellent safety rating

Comprehensive safety features 

Premium price

No bright colour options 

Subtle in appearance but structured with exceptional safety in mind, the Camden has generous coverage around the lower aft skull area. It also features the patented Swedish MIPS liner technology to reduce rotational forces if you suffer an awkwardly-angled head strike.

All these features have allowed Giro to achieve the new Speed e-bike safety standard rating for its Camden, which is now the gold standard for the best commuter helmets.

With ten ventilation ports, the Camden will keep you cool on those warm midday commuting routes and its fit is seamless, thanks to Giro’s Roc Loc system. For those dawn and dusk rides, there is an integrated rear light too.

Best commuter helmets: Bell Annex MIPS
Best commuter helmets: Bell Annex MIPS

Bell Annex MIPS

The all-weather option

Weight: 350g | Size: S, M, L | RRP: $125.00 / £114.99

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Unrivaled comfort in warm or cold conditions 

MIPS liner for increased crash safety 

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.

Best commuter helmets: Bern Hudson MIPS
Best commuter helmets: Bern Hudson MIPS

Bern Hudson MIPS

Superb design and highly functional

Weight: 350g | Size: S, M, L | RRP: $119.99 / £tbc

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MIPS protection liner

Integrated LED light 

Appealing range of colours 

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. 

Best commuter helmets: Abus Hyban
Best commuter helmets: Abus Hyban

Abus Hyban

Stupendous value

Weight: 400g | Size: M, M/L, L | RRP: $69.99 / £54.99

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Terrific safety spec at the price

Has an integrated rear light

Generous range of colours 

Heavy for a road helmet

Design prioritizes function over form

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

An 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.  

Best commuter helmets: Kali Saha
Best commuter helmets: Kali Saha

Kali Protectives Saha

A stylish urban commuter helmet

Weight: 475g | Size: S/M, L/XL | RRP: $60.00 / £tbc

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Denim finish will appeal to fashionistas 

Good price-to-features ratio

Ethically sourced materials

Not the lightest 

For commuters who value sustainability and style, this is the helmet for you. The Kali Protectives Saha is made from recycled materials, without the use of solvents. This renewable approach does not ignore safety, with the Saha featuring industry standardised EPS foam to absorb any impact.

There are two options, the Saha, and the Saha Luxe which comes at a $15 premium. With its denim finish and minimalist visor, the Saha Luxe looks like a classic commuter headwear accessory and will carry favour with those who want a helmet that blends with their casual wear.  

Airflow management is via eleven vents, sure to keep you cool even on a hot day, whilst waiting for that traffic light to turn green.

Best commuter helmets: Thousand Heritage
Best commuter helmets: Thousand Heritage

Thousand Heritage

When style matters

Weight: 410g | Size: S, M, L | RRP: $89.00 / £81.95

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Peerless posing appeal

Deeply fashionable colourways 

Heavy

Low vent counts makes it less ideal for extreme hot weather commuting 

If you desire a stylish commuter helmet with graphic designs to express your individuality, the Thousand’s Heritage is for you.

Thousand offers no less than 16 different colours and designs for its Heritage helmet range, mostly drawing inspiration from the 1950- and 1960s Vespa scooter movement. Beyond the inarguable style factor, there are credible ergonomics too. You won't have to fiddle with the securing mechanism, as it features a magnetic buckle, allowing for single-handed fastening.

Overall fit comfort is assisted by a simple dial fastening system and stylish microfibre straps keep the Thousand Heritage helmet in place. It has a comparatively low vent count, with only seven to facilitate airflow. 

Thousand’s industrial designers have added a Pop-Lock system to the Heritage helmet, which allows you to pop open a circular port on the side, allowing a bike lock to thread through. Ideal for those moments when you wish to leave the helmet with your bike, instead of having it on a table, at a meeting. 

Best commuter helmets: Oakley ARO5
Best commuter helmets: Oakley ARO5

Oakley ARO5

The choice for those long distance commutes

Weight: 305g | Size: S, M, L | RRP: $250.00 / £199.00

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Aero shape deliver watt-savings on your ride to work

Competitively priced 

MIPS equipped 

Design aesthetic might not appeal to all 

No rear light mount

Oakley is best known for making some of the best cycling sunglasses, but the Californian brand also markets a diverse collection of protection equipment and the ARO5, not designed specifically for the commuter, looks to fit the bill for those swinging a leg over a road bike each morning.

For commuters who are routing large distances to work, the ARO5 is a great choice. Its aerodynamic shape will save your energy on a long ride and a MIPS liner is there to protect you in a crash. 

You would expect an Oakley helmet you have some excellent sunglass stowage features and the ARO5 obliges. There is an eyewear dock, facilitated by the brand's TX1 lace, ventilation ports at the front of the helmet.

Best commuter helmets: Lazer Compact
Best commuter helmets: Lazer Compact

Lazer Sport Compact

Single size value

Weight: 325g | Size: Unisize | RRP: $tbc / £29.99

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Unbeatable price

Great ventilation 

Not subtle in appearance, with a generic design

Only one size, which might not work for all

The Lazer Sport Compact is a true value road riding helmet. It might lack the considered design of other dedicated commuter helmets, but there is no arguing with either its price or ventilation capability.

With 20 vents, this is a helmet which will keep you cool on even the most testing of summer days. Lazer Sport has also positioned its Compact with entry-level pricing, which makes its terrific value.

There is only a single size, though, which claims to be suitable for head sizes 54 to 61cm, and this could be an issue for riders who like a snug fit. Although you can select a generous spread of tension with the Compact's retention system, it will never feel quite as integrated and secure as an appropriately sized small, medium or large helmet.

How to choose

1. Protection

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 has delivered results that indicate 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 in Sweden. It 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.

2. Ventilation

Commuters are less in need of many ventilation ports, due to the constant speeds they ride, generating sufficient airflow to keep your head cool.

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. Consider this in your choice of helmet and its ventilation profile.

The same can be said for riders who commute next to a body of water (lake, river or ocean), which can cool morning or evening temperatures dramatically, especially in winter. If you are a committed winter commuter and ride in areas where the winter can be severe, a helmet with more coverage and fewer ventilation ports will keep you warmer.