Hard hats are vital for worker’s safety when working in dangerous situations. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as work boots, gloves, and a luminous vest won’t help you too much if you find yourself without the most important piece of gear – a high-quality hard hat.
Construction can be a difficult job, especially if you’re working in high-risk areas with rubble that’s threatening to come loose and fall at any moment.
Hard hats protect the most important part of your body from potential hazards, so it is vital that the design you are wearing if of the highest quality available.
Hard hats have been known to save people’s lives, so it’s not something you want to cut corners on. No pressure, right?
Fortunately, we’re here to help and have found the five top-rated hard hats on the market for you too look at and compare to see which is the best for you.
There are a number of different hard hats available on the market, however, they’re not all as effective as one another. Inside the hard hat is the suspension which allows your head to remain a decent distance away from the outer shell to prevent any falling debris actually reaching your head.
Some models also have a foam material in between this gap to give you even more protection, however, some models don’t have this much protection and are only reliable for minor incidents.
The latter type of hard hat is obviously not ideal for many people, so we’ll be steering clear of this design in our list. Let’s get straight into our list of the best hard hats, and we have a handy buyers guide and a couple of frequently asked questions below as well.
Beginning our list we have the Pyramex Ridgeline Full Brim Hard Hat, which is a Type I design and certified as a Class E hard hat, so this is an excellent model to use on any job site in which high electrical voltages can be found.
The outer shell is made of ABS thermoplastic resin, which is both strong and durable yet lightweight so you will barely be able to feel it while you’re working.
The harness suspension is adjustable and therefore can be adapted to however you want to wear it – whether that’s more forwardly positioned or positioned towards the back of your head.
The pressure pad within the hard hat is designed to make it as comfortable as possible, and it is vented to prevent you sweating too much, however, if you do find it soiled you can replace and wash it between uses.
The larger depth of the hard hat gives you more protection around your head than other Type I hard hats, and the dimensions measure in at 13 x 11 x 7 inches, with a thickness of 0.07 to 0.16 inches.
Made of high quality and durable materials.
It comes in 20 different colors.
The manufacture date is not displayed anywhere on the hat or in advertisement.
Thin outer shell has made some customers skeptical about protection levels.
Coming in at a close second is the Skullgard Hard Hat by MSA. Starting with the specifications, this hard hat falls under the Type I and Class G classifications.
This means that it is most efficient in protecting the wearer from vertical hazards, such as falling objects, and that it can withstand penetration and harsh impacts, while being able to protect you from lower electrical hazards of up to 2,200 volts.
MSA has vast experience with manufacturing protection for people in dangerous environments, and therefore has designed this hard hat to withstand temperatures of up to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
This may seem a little excessive, however, you can never be too prepared, right?
The Fas-Trac III can be adjusted at the nape of your neck. In fact, all the adjustments can be made here, so you don’t have to waste time trying to find all the individual adjustment rigs.
Moreover, the comfort pad runs around the back of your neck to keep your head ventilated and prevent it from becoming uncomfortable. The nylon suspension is also adjustable to ensure the perfect fit.
Polyresin material is strong, durable, and lightweight.
You can use the swing ratchet to keep the suspension facing the correct way in case you have to turn the outer shell around.
Fas-Trac III keeps the hat fitting perfectly without it being too high on your head.
Some customers have received this hat faulty or without parts.
No date of manufacture printed on the label or hat.
This Type I, Class C hard hat by Evolution Deluxe 6161 is made from high-density polyethylene for the outer shell, and polyester for the six-point suspension.
This hard hat is durable enough to withstand all sorts of weather, and the full brim is angled optimally to ensure any rain or debris will slide right off of it.
You can see clearly that there are large vents on the top of the hat to keep your head cool on the warmest of days, ensuring maximum comfortability.
Moving onto the suspension, it is made of six polyester straps that can be adjusted to however you like to wear your hat. This feature, therefore, increases the comfortability and allows you to achieve a perfect fit every day.
The suspension actually uses the unique 3D adjustment feature to allow you to fix it to your head with the depth settings.
You can choose from five different colors of this hat to ensure you have the correct hard hat for your workplace and situation. The size of the hard hat is 6 5/8 – 8 (20 7/8″ – 25″), however, remember you can adjust the hat to make it fit your head better.
One customer stated that this model has saved their life from a dangerous falling pipe.
Attractive price point.
The manufacture date is stamped within the hat.
The straps are not as durable as some people would like.
The suspension holds the hat quite high above the head.
Next up is the DAX Hard Hat from LIFT Safety, which is a design made of a fiber-reinforced resin outer shell, giving the wearer amazing protection from any hazards that they may face.
This model is certified at Class G and Class C, making it suitable to wear in job sites that have either no electrical voltage present, or low levels of electrical voltages. It is also a Type I hard hat and therefore does not offer as much protection around the head.
Inside the hard hat is a synthetic leather comfort dome to make the wearer as comfortable as possible while working, as well as ensuring a good and secure fit. There is also EVA foam within the hat which gives an additional shock-absorbing layer of protection to the top and most of the crown of your head.
The six-point suspension increases the comfort of this hard hat and is adjustable so you can get the perfect fit constantly, whether you’re wearing a hat underneath or googles. Just because you’ve had a haircut, doesn’t mean your hat should have to be looser and less comfortable!
Generous lip to prevent falling debris hitting your face or neck.
Many users have said it’s the most comfortable hard hat they’ve ever owned.
Very lightweight design.
No date of manufacture stamped on the hat, so some worksites may not accept it.
Coming in last is the MSA V-Gard Cap Style Hard Hat. This model is rather similar to the MSA model that we looked at earlier, however, the V-Gard model actually only features a prominent lip on the front of the hat.
The rest of the circumference of the hard hat houses a much thinner lip which offers less protection than if it were to be thick all the way around, however, the hat is still acceptable to wear in the majority of work sites.
This Class E hard hat is made of polyethylene and can withstand all sorts of hazards including impact, penetration, and high electrical voltages up to 20,000.
Much like the model we looked at earlier, this Type I hard hat features the Fas-Trac III suspension to keep it comfortable and secure on your head while working.
As the lip of this model sticks out more on the front of the hat, you may find yourself needing to turn the hat around so that you can get closer to a surface.
Thanks to the swing-ratchet, you can flip the outer shell around without compromising the fit and therefore putting yourself in danger.
Versatile and comfortable suspension.
Class E hard hat.
Very durable and lightweight materials used.
A few customers received faulty orders.
A lot of users have only received the hat with the outer shell and no suspension.
We know what you’re thinking – how many types of hard hat can there be? Well, there are two types, which may sound a little anti-climatic, but the two types are called Type I and Type II. It doesn’t get much simpler than that.
Type I hard hats are generally used as the norm for construction sites in North America and only really protect the top of your head as it doesn’t stretch down the sides or back of your head.
On the other hand, Type II hard hats are more commonly used in Europe for their construction sites, and these hard hats give more protection to the whole head rather than just the top.
Which type of hard hat you’ll choose will depend on how much protection you need as well as the availability of models. While the internet has given us access to many more products from all over the world, Type I is much more accessible in the USA.
The class of your head protection differs depending on each models performance when it comes into contact with electrical currents. There are three different classes, which we’ll detail below.
These types of hard hats are designed to be able to survive 20,000 volts of electricity, and are generally recommended the most for all work sites. This class was previously named Class B.
Class G rated hard hats are ideal for construction sites where impact, penetration, and low electrical voltages are the main concern. These hard hats can withstand up to 2,200 volts of electricity, and the class was previously known as Class A.
A class that hasn’t changed its name, these hard hats cannot withstand any electrical volts as they are typically made of metal and therefore conductors for the electricity.
They are rated on penetration and impact, however, they should not be used on any job sites where electrical circuits can be found.
The size of your hard hat is actually a very important factor to remember when choosing your protective gear.
You don’t want the hat too loose that it slips off during your work, as this can prove to be very frustrating and you won’t want to wear it for long.
On the contrary, you don’t want a hat too tight as this could cause pain or headaches. Make sure to measure your head correctly and choose a hat that is going to be an accurate size for you.
Date of manufacture
Something that may surprise you is that hard hats actually have a shelf life of around four or five years, as prolonged periods of time weaken the plastic and therefore make them weaker and less effective.
If you know the date that your hat was manufactured, you can determine how many years you can use if for before having to purchase a new one.
We’d advise choosing a hard hat that is brand new and recently manufactured. Most hard hats will have the manufacturer date somewhere on the hat, so we’d also advise you to choose a model that offers a warranty so you can send it back if you receive the hard hat and the manufacture date is not acceptable.
Most hard hats are made of high-density plastic such as polycarbonate or polyethylene, as these materials are very strong and while remaining lightweight. Hard hats have to be extremely durable and reliable, so make sure you choose a design that uses one of these rigid plastics.
Metal hard hats are also available, as we mentioned earlier, however, these conduct electricity and therefore aren’t suitable for a lot of construction sites. If you’re wanting to be safe, choose a hard hat made of the plastics we mentioned above.
As we mentioned earlier, the suspension of a hard hat keeps your head a reasonable distance away from the outer shell of the hat so any hazards are less likely to reach your actual head.
This is an important safety feature and therefore has to be made of durable materials such as polyester or nylon. This will prevent the suspension faltering, bending, or breaking under the pressure of falling objects.
Moreover, some hard hats offer adjustable suspension which can be changed to fit your head better. This is very beneficial and offers more versatility so that you can use your hard hat no matter the circumstances.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I get my hard hat to sit lower?
Unfortunately, there is not a way to make your hat sit lower, unless your suspension can be adjusted in height. If this is the case, look at the suspension and you should be able to see where it can be adjusted.
Move the suspension up to the higher level and voila! Your hat should sit lower.
If your hat doesn’t have this feature, play around with the suspension adjustments and see if you can find a more comfortable fit with the limited sources you have.
How is a hard hat supposed to fit?
The ideal fit of your hard hat will allow a little room between the outer shell and the suspension so that a constant stream of air can remain circulating underneath the hat.
Luckily, modern hard hats are now available with adjustable suspensions so that you can make sure it fits your head perfectly. A good rule of thumb is to listen to your head – if it says it’s too tight, loosen it and vise versa.
You’ll want your hat to be tight enough that it doesn’t slip off repeatedly, but not too tight that it causes physical discomfort.