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Virginia Tech Five Star Rated Helmets

: Best Available : Very Good : Good : Adequate : Marginal : Not Recommended

Translating Research to Reduce Concussion Risk

Since 2011, Virginia Tech researchers have been providing unbiased helmet ratings that allow consumers to make informed decisions when purchasing helmets. The helmet ratings are the culmination of over 10 years of research on head impacts in sports and identify which helmets best reduce concussion risk. This work is done as part of Virginia Tech’s service mission and is 100% independent of any funding or influence from helmet manufacturers.

Virginia Tech Helmet Ratings

Why rate helmets?

Although all helmets currently being sold satisfy minimum safety requirements specified by standards organizations, not all helmets are created equal. Two helmets that pass the same standard may offer different levels of impact protection. Prior to the Virginia Tech Helmet Ratings, consumers had no way of knowing which helmets were better than others. Given that helmets are a safety product, this information should be available to consumers.

What do the helmet ratings mean?

Simply stated, the helmet ratings identify which helmets best reduce concussion risk. More stars equate to better protection, with 5 stars representing the best available helmets. We encourage athletes to get out of helmets with low ratings and into 4 and 5 star helmets.

How are ratings determined for helmets?

Through a series of impact tests, helmets are evaluated using 2 fundamental concepts: 1) each test is weighted based on how frequently players experience them and 2) helmets that lower head acceleration reduce concussion risk. The impact conditions and weightings are sport-specific, and inclusive of the broad range of head impacts that athletes are likely to experience. These methods have been published as peer-reviewed articles in the Annals of Biomedical Engineering.

front impact Front Impact
front boss impact Front Boss Impact
side impact Side Impact
back impact Back Impact

Will 5 star helmets prevent me from sustaining concussions?

No helmet is concussion-proof. Any athlete can sustain a head injury, even with the very best head protection. The helmet ratings identify the helmets that best reduce your chances of sustaining a concussion. With that stated, helmets are only one piece of the equation to minimizing concussion risk. Rule changes and coaching proper technique can result in fewer high-risk head impacts, and are perhaps most important. Having the best available head protection for the remaining head impacts further reduces risk.

Varsity Football Helmet Ratings

Varsity football helmets have been rated using the STAR evaluation system. Virginia Tech impact tests evaluate a helmet's ability to reduce linear and rotational acceleration of the head resulting from a range of head impacts a football player might see on the field. Helmets with more stars provide a reduction in concussion risk for these impacts compared to helmets with less stars.

For varsity football helmets, Virginia Tech recommends any 5 star helmet. While there are some differences in impact performance within this group, other factors such as cost, fit, and comfort should be considered when purchasing a helmet.


A lower score offers better protection.

  • Schutt F7 LTD

    Schutt F7 LTD football helmet

    Weight: 5.1 lb

    Score: 0.75

  • VICIS Zero1

    VICIS Zero1 football helmet

    Weight: 4.4 lb

    Score: 1.92

  • Schutt F7 VTD

    Schutt F7 VTD football helmet

    Weight: 4.1 lb

    Score: 2.54

  • Xenith X2E+

    Xenith X2E+ football helmet

    Weight: 4.1 lb

    Score: 2.92

  • Riddell Precision-FIT

    Riddell Precision-FIT football helmet

    Weight: 4.8 lb

    Score: 3.23

  • Xenith EPIC+

    Xenith Epic+ football helmet

    Weight: 4.2 lb

    Score: 3.79

  • Riddell SpeedFlex

    Riddell SpeedFlex football helmet

    Weight: 4.4 lb

    Score: 4.49

  • SG DBS.001

    SG DBS.001 football helmet

    Weight: 2.9 lb

    Score: 5.39

  • Schutt Vengeance Z10

    Schutt Vengeance Z10 football helmet

    Weight: 3.7 lb

    Score: 6.28

  • Schutt Vengeance Pro

    Schutt F7 football helmet

    Weight: 3.3 lb

    Made after April 2018

    Score: 6.44

  • Schutt F7

    Schutt F7 football helmet

    Weight: 4.1 lb

    Score: 6.50

  • Riddell Speed

    Riddell Speed football helmet

    Weight: 3.7 lb

    Score: 6.67

  • Schutt Air XP Pro VTD II

    Schutt Air XP Pro VTD II football helmet

    Weight: 4.5 lb

    Score: 6.98

  • Schutt Vengeance VTD II

    Schutt Vengeance VTD II football helmet

    Weight: 4.2 lb

    Score: 7.35

  • Schutt Air XP Pro Q10 VTD

    Schutt Air XP Pro Q10 VTD football helmet

    Weight: 4.1 lb

    Score: 8.42

  • Riddell Speed Icon

    Riddell Speed Icon football helmet

    Weight: 3.8 lb

    Score: 9.95

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