Best Hard Hats 2024

best hard hats

Jobsite safety is always a priority, but nothing is more important to protect than your coconut. Making sure you have the right protection for your head can help avoid life-changing or deadly injuries from falling objects, electrical shocks, and more. Plus, they’re essential for avoiding hefty fines during site or plant inspections. In this guide, we’ll go over these devices so you can choose the best hard hat to keep that coconut safe in any condition while remaining comfortable for all-day protection. 

Our Top Picks

Honeywell P2 Roughneck P2AQRW46A000

Honeywell P2 Roughneck P2AQRW46A000

  • Type/Class: 1/G
  • Material: Fiberglass
  • Reversible
  • Visor compatible
  • Withstand temps of 370 degrees

When it comes to choosing the best construction hard hat, the Honeywell Roughneck is a great choice. The Roughneck is always among the top-rated hard hats, and it features fiberglass construction at a reasonable price, making it durable and long-lasting. It’s a Type 1, Class G model, making it suitable for general-purpose work and exposure to voltages up to 2,200 volts. It also features a reversible design that allows users to place the brim in the front or back, according to their tastes.

This model comes in several colors, including blue, white, green, and yellow. It also features TabLok headgear compatibility, allowing users to attach accessories easily and securely. The P2 Roughneck can also withstand temperatures up to 370 degrees Fahrenheit. The only downside is that these hard hats have dull, matte finishes to help company logos stand out, but that also makes them a bit boring and harder to clean than hard hats with glossier finishes, but that’s truly not a big deal.

Reasons to buy

  • Reversible design allows users to wear theirs frontward or backward
  • Affordable price tag for a durable fiberglass hard hat
  • Accessory knobs allow users to attach compatible visors and ear muffs. 
  • Suitable for temperatures up to 370 degrees

Consider another model if you

  • Dull finish is great for logos but harder to clean and a bit boring
wevecel t2+ hard hat

WaveCel T2+ Max

  • Type/Class: 2/C
  • Material: ABS
  • WaveCel impact system
  • Vented
  • Low-profile design

The WaveCel T2+ Max is an excellent combination of safety and comfort. This hard hat features WaveCel foam inside the shell, and it’s designed to mitigate damage caused by rotational forces—technology first used in bicycling helmets. But the foam increases safety without making the helmet uncomfortable, as it allows 93% airflow through the hard hat while also weighing just 1 pound overall—a true contender for the safest hard hat for folks who don’t want to sacrifice airflow.

This Type 2 helmet features a C classification due to its venting system. It also has a low-profile design to prevent users from accidentally clipping their heads on low objects or when working in tight spaces. Unfortunately, these helmets can be difficult to find and purchase online.

Reasons to buy

  • WaveCel technology helps mitigate rotational impact
  • Lower profile reduces the chance of striking or clipping objects in tight spaces
  • Plenty of airflow despite the impact-absorbing foam inside the helmet
  • Lightweight design weighs just 1 pound

Consider another model if you

  • They can be difficult to find and purchase online
best hard hat for the money

Pyramex HP54110V

PYRAMEX Ridgeline Full Brim HP54110V

  • Type: 1/C
  • Material: ABS

Anyone looking for a reliable, durable hard hat that won’t break the bank should consider the Pyramex Ridgeline Full Brim hard hat. This model features a Type 1 designation and a C classification, making it handy for general-purpose work. The shell is made from ABS and features built-in slots for accessories like ear muffs and visors. But, beyond that, this is a very basic model without a lot to talk about other than its meager price tag. 

Reasons to buy

  • Lightweight, durable ABS with an affordable price point
  • Slots built-in for accessories like ear muffs or visors

Consider another model if you

  • Very basic design without a lot of extras
Studson SHK-1 Full Brim Non-Vented

Studson SHK-1 Full Brim Non-Vented

  • Type: 2/E
  • Material: ABS
  • twICEme emergency contact chip
  • Koroyd impact-absorbing material for rotational impacts
  • Adjustable suspension

It can be tough to get a mix of technology and reduced weight in the hard hat world, but the Studon SHK-1 delivers on both fronts. This model features a lightweight design that tips the scales at just over 1 pound, but it has some incredible safety tech built in. It features Koroyd material inside the shell to reduce the damage caused by rotational forces. It also has a twICEme chip that provides rescuers access to emergency contacts and medical information.

Beyond the tech and weight, this is still a superior hard hat. It’s a Type 2 Class E helmet, making it a great choice for electrical work. The ABS shell might not be high-tech, but it’s also available in carbon fiber. Unfortunately, the carbon fiber often runs out of stock.

Reasons to buy

  • Lightweight design that isn’t short on features or technology
  • Features Koroyd material to reduce the impact of rotational forces
  • twICEme emergency contact information helps rescuers make contact with loved ones and access medical information

Consider another model if you

  • Carbon fiber often runs out of stock
best hard hat for electricians

Klein Tools Hard Hat with Rechargeable Headlamp 60406RL

Klein Tools Hard Hat with Rechargeable Headlamp 60406RL

  • Type: 1/E
  • Material: ABS
  • Built-in work light
  • Highly adjustable suspension band
  • Moisture-wicking suspension

Klein has been a staple in the electrician’s tool kit for decades, and the 60406RL hard hat is no exception. This full-brim Class E hard hat is suitable for exposure to high voltages, and its Type 1 classification is suitable for general-purpose use. It’s made from ABS plastic and it features a washable suspension system that easily removes and can go through the wash. The foam padding is also comfortable and highly adjustable so that electricians can find a comfortable fit, making it one of the best Class E hard hat options available. 

The Klein goes beyond comfort and protection, as it also has some built-in features to make it a fan favorite. It has a built-in slot for installing a rechargeable headlamp, as well as slots for installing ear muffs or other compatible devices. The only complaint is that it can capture a lot of heat due to its unvented design, but it has to be unvented to be Class E.

Reasons to buy

  • Features a built-in work light that also recharges for low-light conditions
  • Built-in slots for compatible visor or ear muffs 
  • Moisture-wicking, washable, highly-adjustable suspension

Consider another model if you

  • Dome-style can capture quite a bit of heat and has a relatively high profile

Be sure to check out our Best Multimeter Reviews list!

Milwaukee Bolt Type 1 Class C Vented 48-73-1200M910

Milwaukee Bolt Type 1 Class C Vented Hard Hat 48-73-1200M910

  • Type: 1/C
  • Material: Polyethylene
  • Marker clip
  • Moisture-wicking sweatband
  • Built-in headlamp mount

Keeping cool on the job site is easy with a well-ventilated hard hat like the Bolt from Milwaukee. This Type 1 Class C hard hat features multiple ventilation holes to encourage airflow through the helmet rather than capturing body heat inside the shell, making it one of the coolest hard hats on the market. Also, this front-brim hard hat features a built-in marker clip as well as a headlamp mount to promote organization and allow the wearer to be safer and more effective at work.

The Bolt hard hat has an affordable price point that’s pretty hard to ignore, especially considering all its features. It’s also available in a wide range of colors, which is perfect for a variety of tradespeople who might need a little more airflow under their shell. The only real complaint is that it is a polyethylene hard hat which means it does give up some durability for affordability.

Reasons to buy

  • Lightweight and ventilated design encourages airflow to keep the wearer cooler
  • Built-in marker clip and headlamp mount for better organization
  • Affordable price point compared to other models is hard to ignore
  • Available in a wide range of colors

Consider another model if you

  • Likely not the most durable construction available
best hard hat for big heads

Texas American Safety Company MSA Skullgard Large Shell 6296

Texas American Safety Company MSA Skullgard Large Shell 6296

  • Type: 1/G
  • Material: Fiberglass
  • Oversized design
  • Wide range of colors
  • Heat resistant to 350 degrees

Anyone struggling to find the best hard hat for big heads or dreadlocks should consider the Skullgard Large Shell from MSA. This model features an oversized shell that allows it to fit larger heads and dreadlocks easily. It’s a Type 1 Class C model, making it a good fit for general-purpose use, though not for anything involving electricity.

This fiberglass model is heat resistant up to 350 degrees. It also comes in a wide range of colors—in fact, the widest range of the entire list. It also features MSA’s Staz On suspension which keeps the hard hat securely in place throughout the day.

Reasons to buy

  • Large enough to fit people with big heads or thick hair 
  • Heat resistant up to 350 degrees
  • Specialized Staz On Suspension ensures it stays in place after a quick setup
  • Comes in a wide range of colors (the most color choices of all the hard hats on the list)

Consider another model if you

  • Basic design with no built-in lights or slots for accessories

Our Process and the Nitty Gritty

Why You Can Trust Pro Tool Reviews

Ever check out a “review” site and you can’t tell if they actually tested the product or if they’re just “recommending” the Amazon top sellers? That’s not us. We won’t recommend anything unless we’d use it ourselves, and we don’t care who the primary retailer is. It’s all about giving you a legitimate recommendation and our honest opinion of each product.

Since 2008, Pro Tool Reviews has provided in-depth tool reviews, buying guides, how-to articles, and industry news in the construction and lawn care industries. We focus on professionals in the trades and our writers have the skills and experience to know whether a tool or accessory will hold up on the jobsite.

Each year, we bring in and review more than 250 individual products. Additionally, our team will put their hands on hundreds more tools at media events and trade shows throughout the year. If I recommend a work boot, that means I’d wear it myself (and perhaps I or one of our staff already does!)

How We Made Our Choices

Hard hats can be life or death—quite literally—so we took the task of putting together a list of the best hard hats seriously. We used all of our experience on construction sites, in plants, and even in emergency response to come up with the most important features that we felt users would need to love their hard hats, and we used this data to put together a list of hard hats we felt could meet our standards.

Once we had the list, we started comparing the models based on first-hand experience, customer reviews, materials, price points, features, and other factors to ensure that each model could provide enough value to land on our list. Those that didn’t have enough to offer for the price they commanded were removed, while those that did earned a spot on this list of the best hard hats.

Other Great Hard Hat Recommendations

3M Ratchet Adjustment Non-Vented Hard Hat 2139228
Nothing is cheap these days, so it’s always nice to find a quality product at a great price, and from a trusted manufacturer, no less. That’s why I like the 2139228. 3M designed this model with the Pro in mind. It features the brand’s adjustable tri-level suspension system and a lightweight shell. The goal here is safety and comfort.

This model is dielectric and meets ANSI Z89 requirements. What’s more, it’s easy on your wallet with a price tag of just $14.99. The only drawback is its non-vented design.

CC Carbon Fiber Hard Hat Full Brim
For anyone who recognizes that carbon is king when it comes to weight, the CC Carbon Fiber Hard Hat is a great choice. This full-brim hard hat is Type 1 and Class C (even though it isn’t vented), and it weighs 40% less than most ABS and fiberglass helmets, according to CC Hard Hats.

This model from CC comes in three colors (black, red, and blue). Customers also have a choice of three hardware options; black, stainless steel, or titanium. Unfortunately, it can take up to 16 weeks for a hard hat to ship, as they’re all made to order in the US, and it’s the most expensive hard hat on the list.

How We Shop for a Hard Hat

Sure, anything on top of your head is better than nothing. But there are a few things you should know about choosing the right hard hat first. The following are some of the most important points to understand when choosing head protection.

Material Choices and Durability

Hard hats are available in several different materials, each with its benefits and drawbacks. The most popular choices are HDPE, ABS, fiberglass, carbon fiber, and phenolic resin. 

  • HDPE and ABS are lightweight plastics that are common in budget hard hats. These materials are durable enough to protect the user’s head and are often found in inexpensive hard hats, but they might not be as durable long-term—especially in colder temperatures.
  • Fiberglass is extremely durable and offers incredible protection. They’re also non-conductive. However, due to the lamination process, they can be heavier than plastic. They’re also more expensive.
  • Carbon fiber hard hats are very tough and non-conductive. But unlike fiberglass, carbon fiber is extremely lightweight. The only downside to these hard hats is that they’re quite expensive.
  • Phenolic resin is a synthetic polymer with high heat resistance. Generally used with fiberglass, PR allows hard hats to resist higher temperatures than other materials, making it more practical for a fire department or brigade, especially considering their expense—they’re typically some of the most expensive hard hats on the market.

Understanding Types and Classes

One point to consider is the type of protection a hard hat is rated for. There are two types of hard hats, Type 1 and Type 2. Type 1 hard hats protect the user from direct hits to the top of the head. Type 2 hard hats protect the top of the head but they also offer more protection against off-center hits.

Also, it’s important to understand that there are hard hat classifications. Class C hard hats are suitable for general purposes but don’t protect the user from electrical shocks. Class G hard hats are great for general-purpose work and will protect the user from electrical hazards up to 2,200 volts. A Class E hard hat protects up to 20,000 volts, making it the standard for electricians and those in electrical trades.

Finally, temperature exposure does play a role, as well. A hard hat with an LT stamp or label will be suitable for temperatures as low as -22 degrees Fahrenheit. An HT designation means the hard hat is suitable for temperatures up to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. HV might be obvious because it stands for “high visibility” and is only found on bright hats or those with reflective surfaces. 

Ensuring Comfort and Fit

A hard hat has a suspension system that snugs down onto the user’s head and keeps the hard hat shell from contacting the user’s skull. These suspension systems must fit correctly, otherwise they might not distribute the impact correctly. The more adjustable the hard hat is, the better the chance the user will get that perfect fit. 

To be comfortable, a hard hat should also be relatively light—or at least no heavier than necessary. This is especially important for pros who wear their hard hats all day, and slightly less important for an executive who only tours sites occasionally. 

Special Features and Accessories

Visors and Brims

Most hard hats have visors or brims (though some search and rescue-style hard hats do not). A hat-style brim will typically have just one visor, but very often, these hard hats can be worn frontward or backward, allowing the user to protect the back of their neck with the brim and get a bit more light if needed. Full brims offer the most protection, as they wrap around the entire hard hat, providing more protection from objects. They can also shed rain a bit better than a standard visor.

Built-in Ear Muffs

It can be difficult to wear ear muffs with hard hats if they aren’t designed for it. For this reason, many hard hats come with slots designed to receive specially designed ear muffs. Rather than a band that stretches over the head, the muffs snap into each side of the hard hat.

Headlamp Attachments and Other Extras

In low-light conditions, a built-in headlamp, or at least the ability to connect a light to the hard hat, is a big bonus. Some of the best models have proprietary slots designed specifically for their headlamps, providing a secure, stable method for attaching the light.

Other features to consider include ventilation, which some models might have in the form of open slots or adjustable louvers. Also, built-in face shield attachments can help when working with chainsaws or grinding metal.  

Why You Might Need a Hard Hat

In Industrial and Construction Environments

Role in High-Risk Areas

Hard hats are a requirement in most industrial plants and construction sites. They protect the user from objects falling, from walking into low-hanging objects, and from coming into contact with exposed hazards they might not see while walking or standing up.

Hard hats have other safety uses, as well. Hi-viz hard hats can make it easier for equipment operators, drivers, and other folks around them to see workers. This helps avoid accidents involving heavy equipment, forklifts, and even motor vehicles. 

Hard Hat Varieties for Construction

Hard hats also serve as a symbol for construction site trades or rankings based on their colors. Yellow is the standard color for just about anyone to wear. White is for foremen, supervisors, executives, engineers, architects, and other similar professionals. Red is for firefighters and fire marshals. Orange is for equipment operators and road crews. Blue is commonly used for carpenters and electricals, while green is for inspectors or arborists. Brown is a common color used for welders and steel workers. 

Use in Outdoor and Adventure Settings

Hard Hats in Outdoor Jobs

Hard hats are just as important outdoors as they are inside. Arborists, woodcutters, and landscapers will wear them when working with trees, as falling branches are always a concern. Very often, they wear full-brim hard hats for even more protection. Also, road crews are required to wear them to increase their visibility and provide some extra protection in the event of an accident. 

Adventure Sports and Head Protection

Rock climbers and other extreme sports enthusiasts might wear their versions of hard hats when performing their sports. Some of these hard hats are more like helmets than hard hats, but a hard hat can provide more ventilation and airflow. 

Search and Rescue

Search and rescue teams often wear hard hats to protect themselves in a wide variety of situations. They’ll wear them on disaster sites, when repelling, in low-light conditions, and several other dangerous scenarios. 

Safety Considerations

Wearing Your Hard Hat Correctly

It’s important to make sure you’re wearing a hard hat correctly, as misalignment can lead to injury. The brim should be level and sit about 1 inch above the eyebrows for maximum protection. Also, the headband should be tight enough to hold the hat in place but not so tight that it’s uncomfortable. Shake your head gently to ensure that the hat doesn’t move, and look in a mirror or reflective surface to ensure that the hat is level. 

Routine Checks for Safety

Be sure to check your hard hat every day for any potential issues. Look for cracks, tears in the suspension, falling adjustments, and other signs that the hard hat should be replaced. Be sure to pay attention to areas where the suspension attaches to the hard hat as failures there are common and can lead to serious injury in an accident.  

Maintenance and Cleaning Tips

There are a few points to consider when maintaining and caring for your hard hat. First, be sure to brush any debris off your hard hat at the end of the day. Also, if it needs cleaning, be sure to use mild soap and water, not harsh detergents. When the hard hat is not in use, be sure to store it in a cool, dry place away from sunlight to help it last as long as possible. 

Frequently Asked Questions

We went pretty deep into the world of the best hard hats on the market, but there might still be some questions that need answering. The following are the most frequently asked questions about hard hats. 

How Often Should I Replace My Hard Hat?

Damaged hard hats should be replaced immediately. However, undamaged hard hats are generally fine for around five years from the date of manufacture.

Is It Safe to Wear Hard Hats Backwards?

Some hard hats are fine to wear backward. These hard hats will have a reverse-facing arrow stamped inside them, indicating that they can be worn backward. The suspension needs to be removed and reversed so it’s not as easy as turning a hat around. 

Are There Hard Hats Suitable for Extreme Weather?

There are. Hard hats with LT designations are suitable for cold temperatures (down to -22 Fahrenheit). Hard hats with HT designations are suitable for high temperatures (up to 140 Fahrenheit). 

How Do I Know If My Hard Hat Meets Safety Standards?

Hard hats will be labeled with the appropriate safety standards on their underside. ANSI/ISEA are the common designations, along with the type of helmet they are and any other special designations. 

Do I Need to Wear a Hard Hat for Short-Term Exposure in Hazardous Areas?

Yes, you need to wear a hard hat any time you’re on a hazardous site. Fallen items and accidents can occur at any time in these environments, so it’s important to always wear a hard hat. 

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