A cricket helmet has the primary function of reducing injuries to the head and face. It is important to be aware that a helmet is not 100% safe and injuries such as concussions still occur. However, it is important to get the right helmet which offers maximum protection. This is the piece of protective equipment that you need to get right, as it can save your life. No other piece of protective cricket equipment does this. There are many things to consider when deciding on a cricket helmet.
Cricket Helmet Buying Guide
By breaking down the individual parts of a helmet, knowing what to look out for will become easier. Getting the right helmet is not as easy as copying your favourite player from TV or buying what your friend uses. Yes, these give you a starting point but there are other details to consider which go far beyond ‘That’s what Rory Burns wears.’
The shell of the helmet will not give maximum protection from a cricket ball. Your head will be protected but not your face or neck. Buying a helmet with a grille is the first criteria. There are some helmet manufacturers which sell helmets and grilles as separate items so keep an eye out for this. The grille should be made of metal with steel or titanium, the two most popular and common options. Plastic alternatives were produced, but they do not offer anywhere close to the protection of metal ones.
It is also worth considering neck guards which clip onto the back of the helmet. These were introduced after the tragic death of Australian batsman Phil Hughes. Some manufacturers are integrating these neck guards as extensions of the actual grille so they are not an add-on. There is no law that states these guards must be worn. It is down to the cricketer wearing the helmet to decide if these are needed or not.
It is amazing how many people don’t measure their heads before ordering or trying on helmets. A tape measure around the centre of the forehead and round to the back of the head is the standard method. Measuring in inches or cm doesn’t matter as the helmets online or in store will more than likely have both units. Once you know your helmet size, it is easier to buy the right helmet.
Be warned that different manufacturers size their helmets differently. A medium Kookaburra helmet will have different measurements to a Gunn and Moore. Online retailers encourage people to buy a size larger rather than a size smaller. Larger ones can be padded out to make them fit comfortably.
Once you’ve measured your head you are ready to order or try in store. Sadly, different manufacturers make helmets what fit in different ways. A medium fit Hunts County helmet should have the same fit as a medium Masuri helmet. This is not the case so trying multiple helmets is the best way forward. You may have to consider using a different brand of helmet due to one style not fitting. It is more important to have a correctly fitting helmet over one that looks good.
Generally speaking, you get what you pay for. Helmet manufacturers make it clear what their helmets are made out of so that you can make informed decisions. A helmet is there to protect, so choosing the highest quality materials for your budget is essential. Consider the level of cricket you play at, as you won’t need top spec protection to play recreational cricket on a weekend. For those playing at higher levels, the pace of the game is quicker, certainly true of the bowlers, so higher standards of protection are required. Steel grilles will do the job of protecting your face in club cricket, but won’t be as effective in the elite arena where titanium is the better choice.
Your choice could be based on the brand of helmet. Many leading cricket manufacturers produce helmets alongside other cricket equipment. You may have a favourite brand you have used for years. There are also manufacturers who only produce cricket helmets or who put more of their efforts and marketing into helmets. Masuri are a great example of this. They supply helmets to a many elite cricketers and have created a reputation for amazing comfort and protection. It is worth reading reviews of different brands and then trying them on yourself.
To adapt a well-known phrase, look after your helmet and your helmet will look after you. It is as simple as that. Storing your helmet in a dry place and out of direct sunlight. It is worth taking it out of your bag when you get home from a game to allow it to air out. Keeping it out of direct sunlight for long periods will mean that the condition of the ABS plastics in the shell won’t worsen. When travelling from games or training, store your helmet so that it doesn’t bounce around or become squashed by larger items. Damage on this way affects the quality of the helmet. Checking for damage and general wear and tear are good ideas to make sure your helmet does its job – protects you. Replacing damaged parts with genuine, official parts ensures that the level of safety is maintained. A titanium grille on sale online for £5 should ring alarm bells!
All of these things must be considered when making your choice. Expensive helmets can be expensive to maintain or to replace. It is recommended to replace your helmet if it suffers a significant impact or if the shell cracks. The helmet has been weakened and your safety is at risk.
With the best will in the world, your choice of helmet will be dictated by price. Doing your research beforehand will mean you know what brands and styles you can afford. Generally, helmets are available from £50 upwards. At the lower end are good quality, club level helmets. They do the basics but still conform to minimum safety standards. Good choices for lower standards of cricket where the pace of the game is slower. At the top end are elite level helmets costing upwards of £200. Again, consider the level of cricket you play at. Do you need to have the highest quality materials in your helmet?
You do get what you pay for, so getting the best you can for your budget should be your aim. The lower priced helmets tend to be heavier in weight and do not come with extras such as neck guards. The grilles tend to be smaller in size too. As you go through the price ranges, the weight decreases, and levels of comfort go up too.
Selecting a cricket helmet should be a careful process. Research and then trying on different styles and brands mean you get the best choice for you. Comfort and the level of protection must be the top priorities over appearance and brand. The helmets that were released in a previous season will do the same job as the new releases, but for a fraction of the cost. Well worth shopping around and speaking to experts in the field before finalising your purchase.