Best Baseball Helmets for Youth

9 Best Baseball Helmets for Youths for 2022: A Close-Up Look

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While sitting down to contemplate the best baseball helmet for youth for 2022, we thought deeply about our childhood and thought, What would we have done if a manufacturer asked us what we wanted in a batting helmet? The main answer was comfort, followed by interior durability, which we will explain.

When searching for the best baseball helmet for youth play, the bottom line is the equipment piece must fit well. Young players won’t endure ill-fitting helmets, whether it’s because they are too tight, too loose, too heavy, or just too big. Secondarily, inspect the interior materials, as the old-fashioned plain foam was known to either harden over time, or wither away from excessive use.

Know this: No one can use a batting helmet missing padding up top and around the ears. It’s uncomfortable, and the helmet rattles around on your head. It’s like playing baseball as a bobblehead figurine.

You want comfy padding inside, snuggly fit, and made to last all the heat, dust, and sweat thrown its way. That said, let’s take a closer look at the top youth baseball helmets you can find for the near future.

Summary

About Protection with Youth Baseball Helmets

Start off by understanding that baseball helmets are not bats, or equipment that is meant to (hopefully) augment or improve performance. Because of this, don’t be overwhelmed when manufacturers’ marketing copy uses a lot of scientific names, or acronyms, for plastics alloy, and plain aluminum.

The bottom line is, your player might get bonked in the head only once or twice during their youth baseball years, and most if not all helmets protect adequately for that. When was the last time you heard about a youth baseball helmet busting apart during a game?

In reality, old helmets get disposed of mostly because the insides wear out. Or, the exterior is just scratched up beyond recognition. You actually can tell good batting helmets based on usage: if you see a player with a helmet that looks like it’s been through 1,000 games, it’s probably comfortable as heck and very well-trusted by that player.

Who Needs Youth Batting Helmets?

Any young player of baseball or fastpitch softball could use their own protective helmet. While most leagues provide “team” helmets to share, those are usually quite beat up, and kids hate the ones with the rock-hard interiors, or old helmets missing a pad or two.

Hitting a baseball coming at you quickly is the most difficult single action to accomplish in sports. A poorly fitting helmet distracts a player’s attention in the batter’s box ~ when a person’s attention must be super-focused to hit! Not good.

Batting helmets became commonplace in baseball in the early 1960s and are used in games and practices. As noted above, not only do they provide protection from pitches (which was why they were introduced in the first place; they started as hard pieces inserted on the underside of regular ball caps), but they can protect base runners, too.

Even coaches! A few years ago after a base coach was injured by a screaming line drive in foul territory, MLB mandated helmets for the first and third base coaches. Also, some players choose to wear them on the field. John Olerud wore on playing first base his whole career.

Reggie Jackson famously wore his out to right field for the last inning of the 1977 World Series, fearing a Yankees victory and an onslaught of crazy fans onto the field. Some outfielders will wear a helmet on defense if the fans near him are throwing items onto the field.

Veteran Coach Insight: What to Look for in Youth Batting Helmets

Did we mention comfort? Haha, of course we did! Really, batting helmet comfort depends on the fit and the batter’s preferences. Some like them very snug, especially around the ears; others may want them light, with as little touching their face and head as possible. Some players like super-soft foam inside, others prefer football-helmet like medium-hard pads, and lots of them.

While you get many more choices for batting helmets by shopping online, you still can use a brick-and-mortar retail sporting goods store to have your little one try on a few and maybe try to gauge his or her size.

Batting helmet sizing is all over the place and depends on the manufacturer. Some only offer Large and Small, as in, either for an adult or for a non-adult. Others might offer several sizes, down to XXS or up to XXL. Some online batting helmet sales pages explain which hat sizes each helmet should fit.

Besides the specific helmet size, look close at the padding inside. One thing old-timers will remember is league-provided used helmets missing an ear pad or two. Then, if the bases were loaded (and the runners took the 3 best helmets), it’s your time up ~ and all they had was that helmet. Nothing protects your ear but a thin sheet of plastic.

Missing pads, or pads so compressed they were hard to the touch, were common. Helmets would jiggle atop the head like a bobblehead toy, especially when running. It was a tough situation, back when few youth baseball players had their own batting helmet.

Personal Batting Helmet Era

Today, almost every youth baseball or softball player past tee-ball has their own personal batting helmet.

Finally, make sure the helmet meets industry standards, which most leagues require. Look for the “Meets NOCSAE standards” in advertising lingo, or the NOCSAE logo on the helmet. It stands for National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment, an independent, nonprofit development body for standards in sporting equipment. Its mission is “to enhance athletic safety through scientific research and the creation of performance standards for athletic equipment.”

Got it all? Good! Now, let’s really dig into the best batting helmet for your little all star.

Best Baseball Helmets for Youths in 2022 and Beyond

1. Best Baseball Helmet for Youth Overall ~ Rawlings Coolflo Molded Batting Helmet

For this price, the quality of the Rawlings Coolflo Molded Batting Helmet is astonishing. While we could have more carefully compared tech gizmos, materials quality, and other things to separate all helmets, we chose to just present this fine batting helmet right up front.

Remember we mentioned comfort above? Well, Rawlings’ Coolflo technology, introduced in 2006, caught on like a fire storm in the MLB and since has caught on quite well at the youth baseball levels. Basically, the venting system with 2 strips over the top to let heat out, 2 triangular vents above each temple, and elongated ear holes help prevent overheating at critical moments.

They look pretty cool, too. Even very young ball players like to look cool among their contemporaries. The vents, and molded style, plus the very low price, definitely give this batting helmet model an edge.

Specifications

  • Weight: 1.39 lbs.
  • Exterior material: thermoplastic (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene)
  • Finish: molded
  • First available: July 2015

What We Like

  • Lowest price you might find anywhere
  • Worn by many Major League Baseball players
  • Air venting and cooling system is top-notch
  • ABS material very strong, stable, resistant to abrasion

Not So Much

  • A bit on the heavy side compared with other top performers in this list

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2. Best Baseball Helmet for Innovations ~ Under Armour Converge Solid Coated Batting Helmet

Under Armour has been a thorn in the sides of the big sporting goods manufacturers since it started in fall 1996. When you look at the Under Armour Converge Solid Coated Batting Helmet, and compare it with competing models, the appearance screams “Now for something totally different.

In all honesty, the Converge easily could be No. 1 on this list. Aside from the usual quality material for the exterior, 3 things stand out with this model, and they’re all inside: application of anti-odor technology (don’t we wish they had this when we were playing, dads?); durable wrapped ear pads; and Under Armour’s own Charged cushioning.

The latter is ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) foam , which are used in basketball and tennis shoes to cushion and mold into the shape of the wearer. So with the Converge, over time the helmet should have a fit unique to your little player. Add these innovations to the high-gloss, rather futuristic exterior look, and you have one fine youth baseball helmet.

Specifications

  • Weight: 1.19 lbs.
  • Sizes: Large and Youth (Youth fits hat sizes 6 3/4 and smaller)
  • Finish: High gloss
  • First available: December 2016

What We Like

  • Good pricing for the technology
  • Charged Cushioning to absorb energy and shock
  • Technology applied to prevent odor
  • Wrapped ear pads
  • Very high-gloss exterior

Not So Much

  • May be too advanced for very beginning players

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3. Best Baseball Helmet for Consistency ~ Easton Z5 2.0 Batting Helmet

While below you will learn about the most-advanced model yet for this manufacturer, the Easton Z5 2.0 Batting Helmet remains its most popular. That Easton decided to go with 2.0 in the name, to indicate an upgrade of the same model you loved, says much.

The universal jaw guard is a nice touch, and the dual-density impact-absorption foam inside betrays the matte color on the outside. And you have to dig the BioDri liner underneath, to wick away sweat and protect the eyes.

The big change with the Z5 2.0 is the wrapped ear pads, for durability as we noted above. They’re plenty comfortable, too. The jaw guard can be placed on either side of the helmet.

Specifications

  • Weight:1.64 lbs.
  • Sizes: Junior and Senior
  • Finish: Matte
  • Exterior material: Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS)
  • First available: August 2019

What We Like

  • BioDri liner to keep sweat from eyes
  • Easton’s “E” logo sticker on the front is removable; allows for for team customization
  • Solid comfort that keeps players coming back
  • 1 year manufacturer’s limited warranty

Not So Much

  • It could be a little lighter in weight

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4. Best Baseball Helmet for Tee Ball ~ Rawlings Coolflo Youth Tball Batting Helmet

This helmet has so many online reviews by users that we had to separate it from our top choice noted above. The Rawlings Coolflo Youth Tball Batting Helmet shamelessly put the division they made it for right in the product name. Maybe just to make sure you were paying attention.

Well it looks like a lot of parents did, because this model sells well, and, from all those user reviews, it enjoys very good ratings. Getting almost all 5 stars is fairly typical. (It is No. 1 in Baseball & Softball Batting Helmets on Amazon).

This helmet has all the goodies mentioned in out top choice above, but designed specifically for fragile little heads ~ hat sizes 6¼ to 6⅞ that is. It protects them with an Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) thermoplastic known as being among the most affordable plastics that is very resistant to hard impacts.

Specifications

  • Weight: 1.5 lbs.
  • Sizes: hat sizes 6¼ to 6⅞
  • Finish: Gloss
  • Exterior material: Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS), a thermoplastic polymer
  • First available: July 2015

What We Like

  • Coolflo cooling system with 15 individual air vents
  • ABS hard plastic shell
  • Dual density padding
  • Also marketed by Rawlings for skating and biking!

Not So Much

  • May be a bit heavy for very little players

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5. Best Baseball Helmet for Peace of Mind ~ Rawlings Mach EXT Batting Helmet

Rawlings sure has batting helmet manufacturing down pat. As much as we hesitate to include 3 models in a single review package, the Rawlings Mach EXT Batting Helmet simply offers too much to ignore.

Aside from the typical features (protection, comfort, etc.), we really like the matte finish to the Mach EXT ~ it provides a nice space-age appearance on the field. Plus, having the Rawlings name attached means you’ll get a quality piece of equipment no matter what.

An interesting note on this model is that Rawlings just lists the material as, simply, “plastic” … so different from the marketing text of other manufacturers. It goes back to what we said near the very top here: helmets are not bats and don’t necessarily need space-age metallurgy. They just need to fit snuggly, and protect from an errant ball now and then.

Specifications

  • Weight: 1.49 lbs.
  • Sizes: Junior and Senior
  • Finish: Matte
  • First available: July 2018

What We Like

  • High-performance IMPAX padding to absorb and disperses energy for protection
  • Neat matte-finish exterior
  • Built-in extension flap to protect face and jawline
  • Manufacturer warranty

Not So Much

  • A bit on the heavy side

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6. Best Baseball Helmet for Advancement ~ Easton Pro X Matte Junior Batters Helmet

Easton is known to produce high-quality baseball gear and the Easton Pro X Baseball Batting Helmet series does not disappoint. At all. Perhaps the top selling point is the multi-density impact-absorption foam around the ears. Those 3 layers of density foam have to provide a lot of confidence in the batter’s box.

The Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) shell offers plenty of protection, and inside we like the moisture-wicking BioDRI liner. Remember the term “wicking” when looking at any sports product used near the eyes; wicking means to pull sweat away from the body.

Easton says the Pro X is the most-advanced helmet it has ever produced. It is a fine model and we cannot wait to see future offerings in this vein. A final note: dig the metallic accents in the matte finish … Sleek!

Specifications

  • Weight: 1.54 lbs.
  • Sizes: Senior and Junior
  • Finish: Matte
  • Exterior material: Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) thermoplastic
  • First available: July 2018

What We Like

  • BioDri liner inside
  • Cool matte finish
  • ABS thermoplastic for protection
  • High-quality ear pads for durability

Not So Much

  • Near the top on pricing

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7. Best Baseball Helmet for Snug Fit ~ Schutt Sports AiR 5.6 Baseball Batter’s Helmet

This manufacturer is known for producing fastpitch softball equipment, and the Schutt Sports AiR 5.6 Baseball Batter’s Helmet provides a lot for young women to appreciate. This batting helmet model gets rave reviews for how snuggly it fits, and we like the mesmerizing number of color options!

That Schutt knows its clientele is evident by the number of sizes it offers for the AiR 5.6: 6, from XX Small to Small, X Small, Medium, Large, and XL. Add to that 33 exterior color options, and you get a lot to choose from with this Schutt product.

Remember how Rawlings touts its 15 holes for the Coolflo model? Well, try 32 vent holes to maximize ventilation, and you have the AiR 5.6! We also like the application of D3O Aero impact foam aimed at dispersing energy from impacts. Even with a helmet on, getting hit in the head with a pitch can be pretty jolting. (Ask Ron Cey, who sustained a concussion after getting beaned by Rich Gossage in the 1981 World Series).

Specifications

  • Weight: 1.4 lbs.
  • Sizes: XX Small, X Small, Small, Medium, Large, XL
  • Exterior material: Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS)
  • First available: January 2014

What We Like

  • Great model for fans of a snug fit
  • Superior materials
  • Exterior color choices
  • Same impact absorption technologies used in brand’s football helmets

Not So Much

  • Pricing a tad high

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8. Best Baseball Helmet for Switch Hitters ~ CHAMPRO Hx Legend Plus Baseball Batting Helmet with Reversible Jaw Guard

Two things come to mind with the CHAMPRO Hx Legend Plus Baseball Batting Helmet with Reversible Jaw Guard: first, a reversible jawline guard is cool for switch-hitters; and, the moisture-wicking element to the interior is a fine amenity for those who sweat a lot or play in very hot environments.

Granted, there are not that many switch-hitters out there. Still, this batting helmet offers plenty of protection, several details aimed at sweat-prevention, including a sweat-wicking liner which we like very much.

That more and more models come with measures to prevent odor or reduce sweat into the eyes and face says much about helmet manufacturers finally getting around to really listening to young ballplayers and hearing what they really want in their equipment. (Hint: comfort).

Specifications

  • Weight: 1 lb.
  • Sizes: Senior (7 to 7½) and Junior (6½ to 7) 
  • Exterior material: Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene
  • First available: November 2019

What We Like

  • Moisture-wicking liner inside
  • Reversible jaw guard prime for switch-hitters; screws included
  • Lightweight

Not So Much

  • Relatively high price

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9. Best Baseball Helmet for Face Protection ~ EvoShield XVT Batting Helmet with Facemask Series Batting Helmet

For those who insist on a face mask to come with the batting helmet, look no further than the

EvoShield XVT Batting Helmet with Facemask Series Batting Helmet. This fine helmet from an up-and-coming sporting goods manufacturer indeed comes with a face mask, to supplement a lot of fine features.

Among them: Dual-density padding inside; compression-molded foam pads; fully wrapped ear pads; and a nicely engineered venting system. EvoShield even went with some vanity points in designing the XVT shell in a low profile, making it look cool and feel even better to wear.

Note: the face mask is designed for balls softballs sized for age 9 and up, meaning, 11-inch softballs. While the mask may help for 10-inch softballs (and therefore baseballs which are even smaller), the design does not guarantee safety from smaller balls.

Specifications

  • Weight: 1  lb
  • Sizes: Youth (6½ to 7); Small/Medium (7 to 7 ½); Large/X-Large (7½ to 8)
  • Exterior material: Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) plastic
  • Interior material: EVA foam
  • First available: July 2019

What We Like

  • Light at 1 lb.
  • Face mask included
  • Quality materials
  • 1 year limited warranty

Not So Much

  • Priced relatively high

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What’s Up with the Masks and Jaw Guards?

Some of you dads (or moms) who played ball long ago might be perplexed by extra protective measures that either come with a batting helmet, or are available to purchase separately (and hopefully connect easily to a helmet you bought). Here are the primary ones now:

Face Mask

Face masks have always been optional for baseball or softball play at any level. However, it wasn’t until about 15 years ago (2005 to 2010 roughly) that leagues and organizations began to either require use of them, or highly suggest use of them.

A prominent example is ASA for fastpitch softball, which made them mandatory for batters starting for the 2005 season. The masks are good protection not only in the batter’s box, but also on the  basepaths. (Parents, don’t confuse masks for pitchers, which they can wear without a helmet, and which ASA began requiring a few years after the batting helmet-face mask mandate).

Young players don’t always have the throwing accuracy that develops into the teen years, and errant pitches and throws happen. Also, face masks protect a player during collisions on the basepaths with other players. These situations do not occur often, but often enough for organizations to take steps to protect young players.

Buying a new helmet, you can look for models that come with a free, or at least be certain that the mask you want is pre-drilled to hold a face mask purchased separately. Not every youth batting helmet comes ready to attach a face mask; and those that do might only have holes for masks made by the helmet manufacturer.

Face masks on helmets are quite common in baseball play age 8 and under, and sometimes in even older divisions depending on the league.

A plastic guard attached near the ear facing the pitcher and extending a few inches to cover the chin and jawline has become more commonplace in recent years, at all levels of baseball.

Jaw Guard

Some old-timers might remember Dave Parker of the Pittsburgh Pirates in the late 1970s donning a jawline guard, after he broke his jaw colliding with a catcher. To keep playing he needed to ensure the broken jaw would not get clobbered again. His contraption was a simple piece of curved, clear hard plastic. Good enough.

Over the next 3 decades we’d see a player now and then have one installed onto his helmet. Usually it was due to a recent injury, like a hit by pitch to the face area.

More recently, a lot of Major League Baseball players have made it routine to have the jawline guard in place. Batters can just feel a bit more comfortable at the plate with the extra protection. (Plus, at today’s salary levels, MLB players try hard to avoid serious injuries).

Many new youth helmet models come with a detachable jaw guard. Many models also come with a jaw strap, which connects to snaps below the ear holes, to keep the helmet firmly atop a little player’s head while running. Some helmets come with straps, which also are sold separately and can be quite advanced, such as having additional extra padding for the chin. This can be helpful for head-first dives into bases, or in case a runner collides with a fielder.

Final Thoughts on Baseball Batting Helmets for Youth Play

The only batting helmets you’ll ever see shattered are probably those thin plastic replicas they sometimes give away at MLB stadiums. Major sporting goods manufacturers know better than to crimp when it comes to the material of the shells of batting helmets. Protection, after all, is the top reason for using batting helmets.

So to differentiate between the many models available, think to look inside. That is, at the padding around the ears, atop the head, and even venting to keep a young player cool. The fact that comfort is a key desirable (if not the key) for young players is indicated by how many features you see under the shell.

Parents want protection from these batting helmets, but trust us, the little player will appreciate the comfort. Standing in the batter’s box can be frightening … So why not make him or her feel cool in a snuggly fit, high-tech baseball helmet?

Question: Do jawline guards interfere with a player’s vision?

Answer: Not really. Think about how a batter stands at the plate, and how he or she looks toward the pitcher to be ready: but turning the head and glancing sideways. That line of sight is inches above the jawline and the guard.

Q.: Do chin straps really help?

A.: Usually, yes. It’s just that most players don’t want to wear them. Chin straps help keep loosely fitting helmets atop the head on the base paths, and newfangled straps can come with padding for extra protection.

Q.: Does it hurt to get hit in the head with a pitch even with a helmet on?

A.: Not always, but sometimes it does. It’s not the bruising type of pain you might imagine if a ball hits the shin or arm bones, but more of a shock from the impact. Even though a ball won’t penetrate the temples or inside the skull with a helmet on, upon impact the head does jolt pretty hard in the other direction, sometimes causing concussions as the brain bounces off the inside of the skull.

Baseball pitchers are not very far away and they throw as hard as they can. There’s a reason batting helmets are required universally these days.

See Also:
8 Best Baseball Bats for 10 Year Old Players
How Far Should a 14-Year-Old Hit a Baseball?
DLL-1 vs DLL-2 vs DOL-1?: Insight into Diamond Baseballs
6 Best Pitching Machines for Little League