How Wide Is A Football Helmet?

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When choosing a football helmet, it is important that the helmet fits. However, it can be difficult to ensure you or your child has the correct size. We have researched how wide football helmets are to make sure you get the best fit.

A football helmet’s width differs depending on the brand and size of the helmet. As a result, the width of your helmet will be almost the same as the circumference of your head.

Now that you know the width of a helmet changes depending on size, we have researched exactly how you can determine the width you need. We will discuss how to make sure your helmet fits and the difference between adult and youth helmets.

Football helmet with ball isolated on blue background, How Wide Is A Football Helmet?

Are Football Helmets The Same Size?

As you may have guessed from the information above, football helmets are not the same size. In fact, they vary widely depending on the brand, model, and whether the helmet is an adult or youth helmet.

Properly fitting helmets prevent concussions and other injuries. For this reason, you must always make sure to properly size yourself before buying a helmet and consult the manufacturer’s size chart.

Helmet Widths By Size and Brand

There are a couple of popular football helmet brands, and the sizes vary depending on many factors. However, to simplify things, we will discuss the general size charts from three popular brands. These brands are Riddell, Vicis, and Schutt.

Keep in mind these sizes are determined by measuring your head circumference.

Riddell Sizes

Grey American football helmet With Riddell on it. All is on a white background.

Most youth Riddell helmets follow this sizing pattern.  A small helmet is up to 20.375 inches. Mediums are 20.375 inches to 22 inches, and large helmets are 22 to 23.5 inches.

Adult Riddell helmets follow a similar size chart, except they also include an extra-large size that is 23.5 inches and above. This size is not available for youth helmets.

Vicis Sizes

Vicis youth helmets start at 19.5 to 22 inches for a small. Then mediums are 22 to 23.25 inches, followed by 23.25 inches for a large. You can buy a helmet and look at sizing charts on Vicis’ website.

Adult helmets start with a medium at 20.25 to 22 inches. Then they have a large, which is 21.5 to 23.5 inches, followed by the extra-large. The extra-large is 23 inches and up. Note that they do not have a small for adults.

Schutt Sizes

Small youth helmets are 20.75 to 21.5 inches. Medium helmets are 21.5 to 22.25 inches, while large helmets start at 22.25 and go up to 23 inches. Youth helmets do not have an extra-large.

An adult small Schutt helmet is 19 to 20.5 inches in circumference, while a medium is 2.5 to 22 inches. Large is 22 to 23 inches, while an extra-large is 23.5 to 25 inches. Team Express has a helpful sizing chart for this brand.

What Are The Standards For Fitting A Football Helmet?

Stock photo of to football helmets sitting face to face on field

When sizing someone for a helmet, the first thing to do is to wrap a soft tape measure around their head to measure head circumference. Make sure the tape measure is resting about an inch above the eyebrows.


Check out this measuring tape on Amazon.

Once you have your measurement, consult the manufacturer’s size chart to see what helmet matches your measurement the best.

According to the CDC, a football helmet should fit snug with no space between the wearer’s head and the helmet. It shouldn’t slide around when strapped on or be removable while still strapped.

After selecting your helmet, you can do a few additional tests to make sure the helmet is a good fit.

Additional Fitting Tests

After measuring, get your hair wet. This will simulate sweating. Then, put the helmet on and use an air pump to fill the helmet pads with air. When the helmet feels comfortable but not too tight, stop pumping.

Next, make sure the helmet rests an inch above the eyebrows and fasten the chin strap. After that, grip the sides of the helmet and move the helmet around. If it fits well, the skin of the forehead will move with the helmet.

Finally, leave the helmet on for a little while and then remove it. Check that your forehead doesn’t show any signs of the helmet being too tight, like whiteness or redness on the forehead.

How Do You Size A Riddell Football Helmet?

Ridell has different sizing guides depending on which helmet you want.

The way to fit them is similar to the instructions above. However, Riddell has some helpful fitting tutorials based on whether you get a varsity or youth helmet and what model you get.

They recommend that you run some tests after you measure your head circumference and match it to the correct helmet size.

Some of these tests involve putting on and taking off the helmet, adjusting the helmet height and jaw straps, and adjusting the back/side liner. USA Football has a great guide on how to ensure a Riddell Youth helmet fits correctly.

What Is The Difference Between Youth And Adult Helmets?

American Football Players lining up head to head, taking their positions. American Football Player and Cheerleader Series.

Youth and adult football helmets have quite a few differences. Some of these differences are material, chin strap size, and jaw pad thickness.

Youth Helmets

Youth helmet shells tend to be made of ABS plastic. This is because ABS plastic provides protection but is lightweight, so the children don’t get neck injuries from their helmets being too heavy.

The jaw pads are usually thicker on youth helmets, while the chin straps are smaller than an adult helmet.

Youth helmets are designed for children under 14 years old. They usually cost between $109 and $200.

Adult Helmets

Adults are bigger and stronger than children. Therefore, they need stronger helmets. As a result, their helmets are made of polycarbonate, which is heavier than ABS plastic.

It is so much stronger than ABS plastic that adults and high schoolers shouldn’t use ABS helmets, as impacts with polycarbonate helmets could injure the player or damage the ABS helmet.

When you get to high school or age 14, you should switch to an adult helmet. Adult helmets cost up to $400 or more, depending on the helmet.

Which Football Helmets Are The Safest?

Big helmets in downtown Chicago, getting ready for the NFL draft.

Riddell, Schutt, and Vicis are the top helmet brands in 2021. The NFL and NFLPA conducted a test to find out which helmets were the safest. We took the time to read through the study so we can highlight which helmets scored the best.

These tests only take into account the protection from impact, not helmet durability or fit. Also, the study says that these results are not meant to be used outside the NFL to determine helmet safety for other branches of football.

Vicis Helmets

The laboratory tests showed the Vicis models Zero2-R Matrix, Zero2-Trench, and Zero2-R tested better than any other helmets.

Riddell Helmets

Right below the Vicis helmets are three different Riddell helmets. They are the Speedflex Precision Diamond, Speedflex Precision, and Speedflex Diamond models. A little further down the list, but still scoring really high, is the Speedflex model.

If you are a Carolina Panthers fan, check out this Riddell Speedflex helmet.

Click here to see it on Amazon.

Schutt Helmets

Schutt helmets scored a little lower than the above Riddell helmets, except the Speedflex model. However, it is still worth mentioning the Schutt F7 VTD.

This helmet has an inflatable liner to help achieve a better fit.

Click here to see the Schutt F7 VTD on Amazon.

How Wide Are NFL Helmets?

All NFL players have different-sized helmets. However, a medium NFL full-sized speed replica helmet is 9.25 inches wide by 12.75 inches long by 9.75 inches high.

Final Thoughts

The way a football helmet fits is essential to ensuring the wearer stays safe while playing. All football helmets have a different width, so it is important to make sure you measure your head’s circumference and check the fit when buying a helmet.

If you liked this post, check out the links below to explore other posts on this blog:

Do All Visors Fit All Football Helmets?

How Often Should A Football Helmet Be Reconditioned?

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