Low profile half helmets are one of the best choices for comfort and daily wear. With the wind in your face, protective covering on your head and a comm system plugged in, every ride feels like a dream!
Low profile half helmets are massively popular among bikers, scooter riders and cafè racers but they do not cover the chin or neck which concerns a few riders.
To meet the demand and ensure safety, all low-profile half helmets now undergo a safety certification trial by DOT (Department of Transportation).
In this product guide, we review 8 of the world’s best DOT-approved low profile half helmets and give you tips on how you can ensure the label wasn’t duped!
The 8 Best DOT-approved Low Profile Half Helmets
There are thousands of low profile helmets available and narrowing all of them down to pick just one can be quite a feat. So, to help you make the decision easily we reviewed eight most recommended choices for DOT-approved half helmets, complete with their pros and cons.
Editor’s Choice – Most Comfortable
The Blister Original Beanie helmet is constructed with a tough ABS shell that absorbs impact well and does not leave a scratch to sight.
To maximise safety, the helmet is equipped with an inch of EPS foam on the inside which absorbs shock from the impact, lightens the load and enhances comfort.
The safety strap is secure and does not tangle with stubble.
The Blister original beanie helmet is perfectly named – it is as small, light and easy to wear as a beanie is. Also, it fits well after it has had time to break in. Not to mention, it comes with a lifetime warranty!
Value Choice – Most Lightweight
The Blister 180 helmet is designed using high-quality fibreglass that is rigid against impact but also feels like you’re wearing wind on your head while riding.
A layer of EPS foam underneath the shell absorbs shock and improves comfort for the rider while the quick-release chin strap makes sure the helmet doesn’t fly off in the wind.
Also, the Blister 180 can actually be adjusted forwards or backwards on the head which allows for a better fit and improved safety.
The Blister 180 fibreglass helmet is one of the thinnest and lightest weighing helmets on the market and they still managed to get DOT approved. This alone shows how durable and impact protective the helmet is.
Stylish Choice – Most Durable
The Blister SOA style helmet is constructed with a strong ABS shell that is glossed for a carbon fibre look. So, it is durable, lightweight, impact protective and looks great in the sun but does not cost more than a standard low profile helmet.
Also, a thin layer of EPS foam is stretched out underneath which helps maximise safety of the helmet. The chin strap is smooth against the skin and can be used with thick winter gloves on.
The Blister SOA style beanie helmet is the perfect choice for riders looking for a low profile headgear that not only looks stylish while riding but also keeps them safe on the road and feels light on the head.
Unique Choice – Most Versatile
The Twister original reversible helmet is outfitted with a fibreglass-coated ABS shell which improves impact absorption and removes extra weight from the low profile helmet.
It is reversible i.e can be worn forwards with the visor down to protect against the sun’s glare or backwards with the visor up to reduce wind drag at high speeds.
The chin strap is quick-release, meaning the helmet can be worn and removed easily. It does not tangle with stubble or sweat.
The Twister reversible beanie helmet is a one-of-a-kind style low profile helmet that not only has an exact fitting but also looks stylish, works best both ways and even has a visor attached! At this price point, it’s definitely a must-have.
Premium Choice – Best Fitting
The Twister 2.0 reversible low profile helmet is designed with an ABS shell for incredible durability against impact and a layer of EPS foam underneath to maximise safety and absorb shock.
It has a visor-like brim that helps keep the sun’s glare away from the face and when worn backwards, the low profile helmet reduces wind drag and improves aerodynamics – perfect for a forward-tilt riding position.
The Twister 2.0 is an incredible hybrid of the company’s most-hyped designs which means its performance is 2x of what it was previously and at such an affordable rate, helmets like these are hard to come by.
Recommended by Experts – Best Quality
The Twister 2.0 low profile helmet is most loved for its carbon fibre-inspired ABS shell construction that is rigid against impact and highly protective of the head but also looks incredibly stylish and does not overheat.
It has a layer of EPS foam underneath that supports the fitting of the helmet and it is uniformly distributed so whether it is worn forwards to block the sun out or backwards to reduce wind drag, the helmet is snug.
The Twister 2.0 carbon fibre inspired design is going to have you running for your money with its incredible features that perform as well as they claim and quotes a price that no competition offers.
One of a Kind Choice – Most Reliable
The Twister 360 low profile helmet has a fibreglass coated shell offering lightweight durability and improved temperature resistance.
There’s a thin layer of EPS foam underneath which absorbs sweat, supports the head against impact and adjusts the fitting personalised to the head.
It can be worn with the brim forwards to shield the eyes from the sun or backwards like a ball cap so the helmet doesn’t lift at high speeds.
The Twister 360 low profile helmet is true to claim, true to size and perfect for a day out in the sun or a ride in the quiet night.
Reliable Choice – Best for Daily Wear
The Micro DOT Mayhem low profile helmet is designed with a lightweight ABS shell in a German-style structure so it looks stylish when speeding past other riders and is safe too.
Speaking of safety, the layer of EPS foam absorbs shock while the chinstrap holds the helmet in place and reduces wind drag.
The Micro DOT Mayhem low profile helmet is perfect for riders that want a German-style helmet that is officially certified for on-road use and durable against impact.
What are Low Profile Helmets?
Low profile helmets or half helmets are the most basic type of helmets available. Generally, they cover the top of the head down to the ears. They are also known as skull helmets or open-face helmets as the front of the face is exposed.
Besides the structure and design, a low profile helmet is characterised by the absence of interior padding.
So, not only does it allow cool air to ventilate the head and a great field of view, it also feels exceptionally light on the head – perfect for time trialists, cafè racers and triathletes.
However, it does raise serious concerns for safety considering the face is exposed and there’s no interior padding for comfort and impact absorption.
To combat the complaints and meet safety standards for legal use, helmet companies have now standardised the addition of removable or adjustable visors, padding and neck liners.
Excessive padding can make a low profile helmet sit atop the rider’s head and look like a mushroom which is unflattering. If you want to avoid that, just make sure it has at least an inch thick interior liner.
What is a DOT Compliant Helmet?
A DOT compliant helmet is every helmet that has been approved for on-road use by DOT.
DOT or Department of Transportation is a safety regulation facility in the United States of America that handles federal transportation projects and sets safety mandates for all major modes of transportation including bike and motorcycle helmets.
To be safe and legal for on-road use, all helmets (full face, modular, low profile etc) must undergo a safety testing procedure set by DOT and be approved by the company.
The helmets are usually tested for the following standards:
- Impact absorption
- Impact resistance
- Retention system
This is done by simulating an environment where the helmet is forced to take a hit at up to 250 times the force of gravity. The better it absorbs the impact, the higher the chances will be of getting approved by DOT.
After passing the safety testing procedure, DOT compliant helmets are tagged with a sticker of approval on the back surface and on the inside as well.
Before zeroing in on a helmet, It is crucial to check and ensure if it is DOT compliant because if it isn’t:
- It will be illegal to use on the road
- Non-compliance can incur a fine up to $5000
- It won’t keep the head safe
How Do You Tell If a Helmet is DOT-approved?
To get the DOT approval, a helmet must meet the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards and that can be somewhat difficult. To ensure the helmet you pick out hasn’t duped the DOT label, we’ve jotted down a few tips to keep in mind when purchasing one.
DOT-approved helmets not only have a weight that has a substantial feel on the head, it also has a structure that uniformly distributes the weight around the head. So, helmets certified by DOT are usually a pound to three pounds heavy but feel light on the head when riding.
DOT-approved helmets usually have a flat surface and are not designed with mohawks and 3D stickers protruding. It clearly states that anything sticking 2/10 of an inch from the surface will not be approved. This also needs to be ensured in case of customisation.
DOT-approved helmets are equipped with a mandatory layer of EPS foam and in best cases a low-density EPP foam too – both should be at least an inch thick.
One of the standards to meet DOT testing is retention system security. Helmets approved by DOT usually have a chinstrap that is easy on the skin and secure on the head. Also, it is held by high-quality rivets so it doesn’t wear out quickly.
DOT-approved helmets have a sticker tagged to the back surface of the helmet. Since it is quite easy to dupe the certification tag on unapproved or novelty helmets, safety testing companies including DOT now stitch a label to the inside as well which is the best way to ensure the helmet is safe for on-road use.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is my motorcycle helmet DOT approved?
The best way to ensure your motorcycle and bike helmets have been approved by DOT is to check for a label of certification stitched to the inside of the helmet. The DOT sticker on the outside is duped on some helmets but the inside tag is only present in legitimate helmets.
How long is a DOT approved helmet good for?
Experts recommend that every helmet should be replaced after five years. This is because the interior padding and foam starts to break down after constant use. It does not offer the same level of impact absorption that a new helmet provides. So, unless the helmet has been involved in an accident (replace immediately), buy a new one after five years.
What helmets are not DOT approved?
DOT safety testing is mainly focused on the impact absorption and resistance a helmet can provide. Since the surface of the helmet is the first point of contact with the ground in an accident, it is recommended to keep it as flat as possible. Helmets with mohawks, 3D stickers or anything that sticks past 2/10 inch of the surface are not approved by DOT.
Can I remove the DOT sticker from my helmet?
Yes, it is okay to remove the DOT sticker placed on the surface of the helmet. Just make sure the certification tag inside the helmet is intact. Helmets that are actually DOT certified will come with a label stitched to the interior of the helmet which removes the risk of being arrested by law enforcement officers.
Are DOT helmets safe?
Yes, DOT testing is primarily focused on the complete impact protection a helmet can provide. From ensuring the helmet stays on with a secure retention system to making sure it resists maximum impact energy and shock absorption – the DOT standards cover everything.
Are half helmets DOT approved?
Yes, low profile half helmets are actually the smallest helmets that are certified by DOT. Since the label hyper-focuses on the impact protection a helmet can provide, some half helmets feature safety precautions like removable padding or visors while others provide optional neck liners, extra retention systems and more.
Are old motorcycle helmets safe?
It depends on how old the helmet actually is. Experts from SNELL recommend every bike and motorcycle helmet should be replaced after five years unless it is involved in an accident (in which case, order a new one immediately). Before buying an old helmet, it’s essential to properly inquire about it.
Are DOT certified helmets good?
Absolutely, having a DOT certified helmet is better than having a helmet that is limited edition but unsafe for on-road use or worse, illegal. Most helmets nowadays have been certified by DOT.
Now that you’ve a clear idea on how to pick out a DOT-approved helmet, you can easily zero in on your favourite low profile half helmet from the eight recommended above and ride safe!