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.
In a hurry? This is our winner!
Best Hard Hats – Comparison Table
Best Hard Hats – Reviews
Best Hard Hats – Buyer’s Guide
Types of hard hat
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.