Just like work boots, safety glasses, high visibility vest, and work gloves, the best hard hats are also a vital piece of personal protective equipment (PPE). It is mainly because owning the most trusted hard hat styles can help prevent head injuries, especially for workers in hazardous environments, like the ones in the construction industries.
If you are constantly working in a hazardous environment, such as a construction site, then it is time to understand how a high-quality and the most comfortable hard hat can keep you safe. With the aid of this piece of PPE, you can give your head maximum protection from falling objects.
Apart from construction workers, the coolest hard hat in the market today is also suitable for those who are working in manufacturing plants and mining sites. It plays a major role in everyone’s safety, especially the safety of workers staying in tough and difficult work environments.
If you are in search of high-quality and unique hard hats that you can use at work then it is also advisable to find one, which is more protective and comfortable compared to the others. Finding the right fit is also crucial for your comfort.
For you to lessen the burden associated with comparing different choices, we reviewed a dozen of robust, reliable, comfortable, and lightweight hard hat options so you can just view their strengths and weaknesses in just one place. That way, getting the perfect one for you will be completely hassle-free.
Table of Contents
- Top-Rated Hard Hat Reviews 2023
- 1. Pyramex Ridgeline Matte Black Full Brim Hard Hat
- 2. MSA 475407 Skullgard Hard Hat
- 3. Klein Tools 60407 Hard Hat
- 4. Evolution Deluxe 6161 280-EV6161-10V Hard Hat
- 5. Lift Safety HDF-15NG DAX Hard Hat
- 6. MSA 475395 Skullgard Cap Hard Hat
- 7. 3M H-701R 4-Point Ratchet Suspension Hard Hat
- 8. Pyramex Safety SL Series Hard Hat
- 9. Pyramex Ridgeline Matte White Full Brim Hard Hat
- 10. Honeywell Fibre-Metal SuperEight Thermoplastic Full Brim Hard Hat
- 11. MSA 475369 V-Gard Slotted Full Brim Hard Hat
- 12. Pyramex Ridgeline Vented Cap Style Hard Hat
- 13. KaiWorldShop Fiberglass Hard Hat
- What is a Hard Hat
- How does it Work
- Types of Hard Hats
- Why Do You Need to Wear a Hard Hat
- Buying Guide
- Care and Maintenance
- Frequently Asked Questions
Top-Rated Hard Hat Reviews 2023
1. Pyramex Ridgeline Matte Black Full Brim Hard Hat
One of the most dependable hard hats you can wisely invest in at present is the Pyramex Ridgeline Full Brim Hard Hat. I immediately noticed that it is one of the top-tier construction hard hats today with the way it is constructed. For its construction, the strong yet lightweight ABS material is used.
I think this is the reason why many see it as the lightest hard hat today because the material used in creating it is ultra-light. This can give you somewhat weightless protection without losing its overall strength. Considering how tough this full brim hard hat is, it is definitely capable of assuring users of both durability and protection.
Another asset I noticed in this hard hat is that it has excellent electrical protection capabilities, promoting a great experience as far as safety is concerned. I am happy with its low-profile design, too, as it promotes better coverage. Such coverage can even provide you with adequate protection from the annoying and harmful glare of the sun.
The low-profile design of this hard hat is also one of the reasons why it provides a more secure, comfortable, and a natural fit. I am also delighted to say that its fit is customizable and adjustable. It has 4-way harness points that you can adjust backward, forward, downward, and upward. This means that you can choose which one is the perfect fit for you and which can provide you with customized comfort.
It also features one of the most comfortable hard hat suspension systems at present. It comes in the form of the padded and adjustable swinging rear suspension that you can adjust to give you a more secure and comfortable fit.
2. MSA 475407 Skullgard Hard Hat
The next PPE that is deserving of a nice spot in this article is the MSA 475407 Skullgard Hard Hat. One thing I observed about this hard hat right away is that it is an attractive piece of hardware, which is sturdy enough to ensure that your head stays safe all the time, especially if you are constantly staying in a hazardous work environment.
I think one major strength of this hard hat is that it has the ability to offer incredible protection in hot and dangerous work environments. It takes pride in its skull guard protective cap, which I find truly helpful in a wide range of environments, including steel mitts.
It is even capable of handling radiant heat loads capable of producing a max of 350-degree Fahrenheit temperatures. This hard hat also comes with a nice-looking natural tan color and a full-bring hat style, which prevents rain from getting into the back part of your neck.
I am also pleased with the smooth crown added to this hard hat as it prevents any discomfort in using and wearing it. It also has a phenolic design, which makes it versatile because it allows you to use it in various industries, including welding, construction, and shipbuilding.
This carbon fiber hard hat also prioritizes user comfort by assuring wearers of a comfortable and secure fit through its adjustable suspension liner composed of adjustable crown straps, nape strap, sweatband, and headband. Furthermore, you can easily clip it on a cap shell or hat.
The Fas-Trac III ratchet suspension system added into this hard hat also ensures quick adjustments on the size.
3. Klein Tools 60407 Hard Hat
Several workers suggested this brand in a workwear forum, saying that the manufacturer makes high-quality hard hats. I checked it out and picked this Class C, Type 1 because of its adjustable heat-dissipating vents for good ventilation.
Thanks to the breathable padded sweatband and top pad, my head doesn’t sweat as much, and it does not get scuffed or hit by any stiff parts.
Not to mention, the hard hat includes mounts on the front and back for the brand’s proprietary headlamps. This means I don’t need additional straps to keep the lamp securely on the hat.
Furthermore, it has slots for other attachments like hearing protection and a face shield. But without the accessories, this hat weighs 1.3 lbs, which is light and comfy enough for me. So far, I have never had a headache after wearing this hard hat for long periods.
I like that this hard hat is designed with a flexible suspension system, which enables me to adjust the fitting easily and still allow air to flow freely. It does help in keeping my head cool.
4. Evolution Deluxe 6161 280-EV6161-10V Hard Hat
The Evolution Deluxe 6161 280-EV6161-10V Hard Hat also continues to leave a good impression not only on me but also on the majority of those who were able to get the chance to use it in their workplaces. One thing that really encouraged me to try this hard hat is the primary material used in creating its outer shell, which is the high-density polyethylene plastic.
I find this material truly amazing because no one can seem to beat it in terms of structural strength, giving a hundred percent guarantee that it is indeed durable and strong and can withstand a number of harsh elements. It is also one of the most protective materials used for hard hats today.
Filled with a lot of features, this hard hat surely takes pride in its all-around and versatile design. It takes pride in its all-around brim, which actually contributes to the additional protection it offers. I am also very delighted with the amazing breathability it offers brought on by its well-vented shell.
It features several vents that you can find on top of the hat that promote ventilation and comfort as these encourage proper air circulation. With this, it is possible for your head to stay dry and comfortable even when it is covered with the hat during extremely hot days.
I am also pleased with the fact that this protective hard hat is available in various colors since this means I can pick one depending on my preference. Another reason why I really love this hard hat is that it made use of a comfortable fabric for its suspension straps.
It also promotes a perfect fit, thanks to its adjustable depth.
5. Lift Safety HDF-15NG DAX Hard Hat
You can also go for the Lift Safety HDF-15NG DAX Hard Hat, especially if you prefer to get any of the high-quality and cool hard hats for construction industries at present. I genuinely find this hard hat from Lift Safety amazing due to the numerous incredible and high-quality features it carries.
One thing that it can do for you is to guarantee your safety while you are in your work site. I think one thing that really contributes to its incredible protective abilities is the fiber-reinforced resin shell, which provides superior protection from impact. I am also delighted with the exclusive and unique design showcased by this hard hat.
It offers a more secure feel with the aid of its brim grip. It also assures the majority of its users of a comfortable and secure fit with the aid of its 8-point suspension system. I am also in awe of the hat’s oversized ratcheting fitment dial. It is because it promotes ease in adjusting its size, thereby promoting your comfort.
This hat is also constructed in a way that you can easily use and grip it even if you are wearing your gloves. Furthermore, this hard hat boasts of its amazing shock-absorption properties on top because of the molded EVA foam insert integrated into it.
The moisture-wicking foam with a microfiber liner is also a huge advantage as it lessens the buildup of sweat and promotes breathability. One more thing that this hard hat takes pride in is its triple-reinforced crown, which makes it even more protective against impact and other harsh elements.
6. MSA 475395 Skullgard Cap Hard Hat
I also suggest using the MSA 475395 Skullgard Cap Hard Hat if you intend to get a hold of a tough and highly protective hard hat. One amazing quality of this hard hat is its versatility. It has more than enough versatility in the sense that it is compatible with numerous industries and applications, including agriculture, chemical construction, mining, sandblasting, welding, grinding, and asbestos abatement.
The flexibility of this hard hat also makes it suitable for use in various environments that expose you to numerous kinds of hazards. It also boasts of its phenolic design, which makes it compatible with construction, welding, and shipbuilding industries.
Such design also keeps the hard hat fully protected when used in environments with elevated temperatures. The whole structure can also handle daily usage and abuse, showcasing its sturdiness and reliability. I am also delighted to see that easy-to-adjust ratchet suspension in this MSA hard hat.
With this suspension system, getting the right and comfortable fit is possible. It is built to protect your head in case you are exposed to steel mills and surroundings associated with the heavy industry. I like the incredible shock-absorption nature of this hard hat, too. It also boasts of a cool design.
7. 3M H-701R 4-Point Ratchet Suspension Hard Hat
Another trustworthy and reliable protective gear that you can use in any work environment is the 3M H-701R 4-Point Ratchet Suspension Hard Hat. I am greatly satisfied with the overall appeal of this hard hat because it is tough, lightweight, and comfortable.
It does a pretty good job in protecting your head from fixed and falling objects. What I love about this hard hat is that it seems to never run out of adjustability and comfort features – one of which is the 4-point ratchet suspension system, which allows easy and quick adjustments.
You can adjust it to make it have a fit and height customized for your specific requirements and needs. You can also tighten and loosen the ratchet suspension without dealing with the hassle of removing the hat.
I am fond of the low-profile design of this hard hat, too. This design offers the right balance while showcasing a less obtrusive and a more convenient feel. I like the short brim that forms part of the hat, too, because it promotes upward visibility, which can significantly improve your productivity and safety.
There is also a soft brow pad, which works by cushioning your forehead, making it fully protected. I am also glad to say that this 3M hard hat complies with the safety requirements and standards set by the right agencies, especially when it comes to reverse donning and forward positions.
It is also a multi-purpose and versatile hard hat because there are available slots that you can use to attach other safety accessories.
8. Pyramex Safety SL Series Hard Hat
This next hard hat, which is part of the Pyramex Safety SL Series is also worthwhile to include in this article because of its great quality overall. With the high-density polyethylene used as the primary material for the hard hat’s shell, I am one hundred percent sure that this will not let you down in terms of strength.
I am very glad of the low-profile and stylish nature of this hard hat. This will always motivate you to wear the hat and have a more convenient time using it because it is low-profile and comes with a low gravitational center. This also results in a good balance of the hard hat.
It also makes use of ABS material in its structure, making it completely lightweight while still promising the highest level of strength and protection. Another advantage of this hard hat is that it boasts of a secure, comfortable, and natural fit, allowing it to sit lower on your crown.
It also has more coverage compared to hard hats with a higher profile. I also like the adjustable 4-point ratchet suspension system of this Pyramex hard hat. It has the right amount of padding at the rear, giving you not only a nice and secure fit but also extra comfort.
Another incredible thing about this hat is that it is capable of wicking away moisture. You can also experience added comfort with the aid of the mounted ear muffs as well as the chin straps. Furthermore, its soft brow pad is built to be washable and replaceable.
9. Pyramex Ridgeline Matte White Full Brim Hard Hat
With the many different styles of hard hats offered by Pyramex, you will surely not run out of choices guaranteed to keep you safe and protected regardless of what work environment you are in. I think one thing that really makes this full brim hard hat from Pyramex stand out is its amazing rigidity and strength.
This is made possible by the strong and sturdy ABS thermoplastic resin material used in its overall structure. What is even more incredible about this material is that despite its notable strength, it is still lightweight so it can protect you without causing you to experience discomfort.
The hard hat also showcases the superiority of its overall structure and construction in terms of electrical insulation, gloss, hardness, and toughness. I also find the ratchet suspension of this hard hat amazing as it is fully adjustable, giving you the chance to enjoy customized comfort and fit.
The adjustability of its harness can be done 4 ways, allowing you to adjust it downwards, upwards, backward, and forward. With that, enjoying personalized comfort by getting the ideal fit for you is possible. Your comfort is also further guaranteed with the aid of the hat’s washable and replaceable sweatband, vented pressure pad, and rear suspension.
It is even possible for you to convert the 4-point suspension system into a 6-point suspension, making it all the more comfortable and convenient to use. The fact that this Pyramex hard hat showcases a low-profile design is also a huge advantage as it promotes a more secure and natural fit while increasing its protective coverage.
10. Honeywell Fibre-Metal SuperEight Thermoplastic Full Brim Hard Hat
With the Fibre-Metal SuperEight Thermoplastic Full Brim Hard Hat offered by Honeywell, there is no need for you to invest in the most expensive hard hat just to enjoy the features and superior quality you are hoping for. It is because this full brim hard hat from the company carries plenty of incredible and top-notch features.
One of the noticeable advantages I instantly recognized in this full brim hard hat is that it provides multiple options in terms of colors. It is also one of those graphic hard hats considering the fact that such options boast of full graphic designs. This makes this Honeywell hard hat an attractive choice for those who prefer one with nice designs.
You can even take advantage of the Hi-Viz models of this hard hat, which has special colors that can lessen the risk of fading. I am also delighted with the inclusion of a Hi-Viz reflective tape in this hard hat as it promotes great visibility no matter what the lighting condition in your workplace is.
I am also glad about how this hard hat is built to offer the highest level of protection against the elements. It has a full brim, which provides additional protection from the damaging UV rays as well as from falling debris and rain. It also makes use of thermoplastic, which can resist scratches and heat.
The smooth crown design added into this hard hat also contributes to its excellent impact protection as this is known for deflecting any falling object. I like the impact energy control system integrated into this hard hat, too, as it works in dissipating impact by ensuring that the force is widely and evenly spread.
Furthermore, it is possible for this hard hat to provide comfort for prolonged use. You can even make use of its 8-point ratchet suspension system for an adjustable and customizable fit.
11. MSA 475369 V-Gard Slotted Full Brim Hard Hat
You can also heighten the level of your security and protection irrespective of the work environment you are in with the aid of the 475369 V-Gard Slotted Full Brim Hard Hat offered by MSA. It is a popular and durable hard hat that performs really well in protecting different types of workers.
I am so impressed with the overall versatility of this hard hat, which can be seen with its ability to deal with all the jobs at hand. This makes it a truly customizable solution that fits the needs of any user. I like the fact that this MSA hard hat holds the unique “V” design, which is a trademark of the brand.
What is great about this “V” design is that it showcases comfort, sturdiness, and quality. This hard hat is also a tough and rigid solution as it can handle the majority of extreme environments and tough worksites. Available in various sizes, logo choices, and colors, I am quite sure that finding a hat, which specifically meets your style preferences is possible.
This hard hat is also built to offer unbeatable comfort and natural and nice fit. One feature that contributes to this high level of comfort is the Fas-Trac III suspension system. It ensures a customized and better fit with the help of its nape strap adjustment, which you can adjust up to three levels.
It also comes with a sweatband, which provides full coverage to your forehead and headband. I am also fond of its lower nape strap as it works in cradling your head. There is also a great improvement in its retentions even during those times when you need to bend.
Another advantage of this hard hat is that aside from its full brim configuration, you can also get its cap style or front brim version.
12. Pyramex Ridgeline Vented Cap Style Hard Hat
Lastly, there is the Pyramex Ridgeline Vented Cap-style Hard Hat, which is constructed in such a way that it can withstand tough environments while helping you remain in style and comfort. This hard hat continues to leave a positive impression to its users with the numerous valuable features built into it as well as its benefits and strength.
Constructed from ABS material, I am sure you will immediately notice how tough and strong it is without losing its ultra-light protection. This means that even with its noticeable toughness and strength, it still remains lightweight, making it convenient and manageable to wear.
I am very delighted with the low-profile design showcased by this hard hat because it promotes better balance by providing a low gravitational center. It also features vent holes that you can find on top. This makes the hard hat more breathable, thereby allowing you to stay cool no matter what the weather is.
I am impressed with the rear-padded suspension system, too, as it makes you feel even more comfortable. Furthermore, it features 4-position harness points, making it possible for you to adjust the harness and move it in various points or positions, specifically upwards, downwards, backward, and forward.
With that kind of adjustability, finding the ideal position that can offer you your desired comfort is possible. The comfort level of this hard hat is further heightened with its padded fabric as well as polyurethane foam, both of which aid in making the hat comfortable to wear the entire day.
It even features swinging hinge points that promote ease in finding the most convenient position at your head’s back.
13. KaiWorldShop Fiberglass Hard Hat
I am also very pleased to include the KaiWorldShop Fiberglass Hard Hat in my most recommended hard hats because it speaks of great quality. In fact, I noticed that it is one of the most famous and the best construction hard hats today because it carries several unique features while remaining simple in its design.
It acts as a reliable alternative for the conventional protective helmets used in various work environments. I found out that this hard hat delivers a really decent performance when used in steel mills as well as other heavy work environments and industries with elevated temperatures.
I also find this hard hat completely comfortable even when worn the entire day. One thing that makes it truly comfortable is the headband, which is made in such a way that you can adjust its size. You can also make adjustments on the size of the hat, giving you the chance to customize it depending on what feels comfortable.
I also noticed that this hard hat is well-ventilated, making it the top-rated vented hard hat in my opinion. It is because it has some air holes on top that promote ventilation and proper airflow. Since the outer shell is constructed from fiberglass, I am one hundred percent sure of its durability.
This material is also lightweight so you have an assurance that it will not hold you down when you are doing your job. It is also equipped with a well-constructed suspension that makes it even more protective.
What is a Hard Hat
Hard hats are pieces of personal protective clothing that are used to protect the head from blunt force trauma, falling object, impacts due to accidental falls, and other types of head injuries. These hats are usually made of tough but lightweight plastic materials like high-density polyethylene and polycarbonate for the shells.
The inside suspensions, on the other hand, are made of tough fabric materials like nylon or polyester. Some hard hats even have polystyrene foam injected in the space between the shell and the suspension to provide extra cushioning and make the hard hat more comfortable to wear.
Some so-called “hard hats” that can only protect against minor impacts are called bump caps. These are usually used by visitors of construction sites but will not be going into the actual construction area. These are also worn by delivery people.
How does it Work
Most people just accept the fact that hard hats protect their head from getting hit by falling debris. However, that is a disservice to those people who actually designed the thing. Every part and design feature of the hard hat is specifically designed for a purpose.
The suspension, for instance, does more than holding your head so that the helmet will not fall off while you are working. It also separates your head from the hard hat shell itself, which is why it is called a suspension. The space serves an additional cushion that prevents the shell from hitting your head when hit by an external force.
There are also hard hats with a brim running from front to back while others are designed in a way that the brim is only at the front. First of all, the brim protects the face of the worker from the heat of the sun and keeps the glare away from his eyes.
Second, in the hard hats with a wrap-around brim, the brim directs the rainwater from the back to the front so that the worker will not have water running down his neck every time it rains. Those are just some of the basic parts of the hard hat and how they work in making this protective equipment highly effective.
Types of Hard Hats
There are actually several types of hard hats and each of them does well in protecting the wearer against particular hazards. Generally, you can find two types of hard hats available today. The first one is the Type I hard hat, which is known as the standard hard hats used in North American job sites. It concentrates more on protecting the top of the head only.
There are also Type II hard hats that do not only provide protection for the top of the head but also for the sides. This type of hard hat is typically used in European job sites and tends to resemble a rudimentary motorcycle helmet.
Hard hats are also classified according to their electrical performance, namely.
Class G (General Use) – Previously known as Class A, this refers to hard hats rated for impact, penetration, and low-voltages. To get certified as Class G, the hard hat must be able to withstand 2,200 volts of electricity.
Class E (Electrical) – Formerly known as Class B, hard hats that belong to this class are similar in function to the ones in Class G. The only difference is that the Class E types can withstand 20,000 volts of electricity. These are the ones that are recommended in most general construction sites.
Class C (Conductor) – This class is rated for impact and penetration only. In most cases, the hard hats in this class are constructed using aluminum, which is actually a good electrical conductor. This is why it is not recommended and actually banned from use in worksites where there are electrified circuits.
Why Do You Need to Wear a Hard Hat
There are many reasons why hard hats are required on construction sites and other dangerous work environments. Some of the most viable reasons that also serve as the primary benefits of wearing a hard hat are:
Visibility – The construction foremen need to know where the workers are at all times, which is why they are required to wear high-visibility work clothes. Included in the list of acceptable clothing is the hard hat.
High visibility is the reason why hard hats are colored so brightly. In some workplaces, they are even required to apply reflective tape on the hard hats so they are easy to see.
Impact Protection – Most construction sites have workers working in elevated positions and even though the tools that they are using are secured to their bodies, there is still a real chance of something coming loose and falling to the lower levels of the construction site.
If you are not wearing a hard hat and that fooling tool happens to fall on your head, the damage will be immeasurable. In addition, there are many scaffoldings in worksites. If you were to hit your head on one of their cross members, it would leave a nasty bruise. Wear a hard hat to protect yourself from blunt impacts.
Protection against electrocution – Class G and Class E hard hats are rated to provide protection against electricity. This means that if your hard hat brushes against a live wire without you knowing, you will not get jolted with thousands of volts of electricity.
This is the reason why aluminum hard hats that were the norm a couple of decades ago are no longer accepted in most construction sites.
These are only some of the many reasons why you always need to wear a hard hat whenever you are inside an active construction site. The risk of sustaining serious to fatal head injuries from falling debris in construction sites and other hazards are very real, so it is necessary to protect yourself.
Are you seriously looking for a good hard hat designed to give you your desired level of protection? Then here are some of the things that you need to take into consideration when you are in the market for a new hard hat:
Certification – The certification of hard hats denotes what kinds of hazards they can withstand. For instance, Class G or general use hard hats are certified to protect your head from blunt force impacts, punctures, and electricity up to 2,200 volts.
On the other hand, Class C (conductor) hard hats can only protect your head from impact and puncture. They will not do anything against electricity. Before you buy a hard hat, you need to inquire with your company what certification of hard hat you need to use.
Materials used – Hard hats are usually made of HDPE (high-density polyethylene) or polycarbonate plastic. These are great because they have high impact strength, do not conduct electricity, and are very lightweight, making them ideal materials for hard hats.
Other materials that can be used include aluminum but these kinds of hard hats are not really meant for general use. Still, if you will only be doing deliveries and short trips to worksites then this material will be fine.
Suspension – The suspension is the harness inside the hard hat that keeps your head centered inside. It needs to leave a bit of space between your head and the shell of the hard hat because that will help protect your head from blunt force trauma.
The suspension of the hard hat needs to be made of durable materials, like nylon or polyester. In addition, it needs to be adjustable so it will fit properly on your head.
Size and fit – The hard hat that you need to use must fit you perfectly. It must be just tight enough that it will not fall off when you bend over but not so tight that it will give you a headache.
In addition, the suspension of the hard hat that you get should be easily adjustable so you can adjust the fit whenever you need to.
Manufacturing date – This is one of the most important things that you need to check when you are shopping for a hard hat. The reason why this is important is that hard hats only have a working lifespan of four to five years after the date of manufacturing.
If you know the manufacturing date of the hard hat, you just need to do some simple math to determine how many serviceable years the hard hat still have left.
Color – The color of the hard hat that you should get will depend on the color-coding system that your company uses in the construction site. Depending on the company, different colors of hard hats are for different kinds of workers.
For instance, bright yellow is for the general contractors, like masons, carpenters, and heavy equipment operators. White hard hats are for the foremen, engineers, architects, and VIP visitors to the job site.
Aside from the important factors already mentioned, it is also crucial to know what your job description is before you buy your own hard hat. Be careful during the selection so you can be sure that you will not waste your money on something that you can’t use.
Care and Maintenance
Although hard hats are meant to be durable and can protect you from injuries in the construction site, that does not mean that it cannot benefit from a bit of TLC from time to time.
It does not take much to keep your hard hat clean, which is why you need to clean it at least once a week. You just need to remove the suspension from the hard hat then pull out the tabs from the hard hat shell.
Next, in a pail full of soapy water (use a mild detergent or just a small amount of regular laundry detergent), soak the hard hat shell and the suspender. Let them soak for five to ten minutes.
Using a soft-bristled brush, thoroughly scrub the hard hat and suspension to take out as much of the dirt, oil, and grime that has covered the hard hat. Once you finish scrubbing, hang the hard hat and suspension outside to dry out completely. You can hang it out in the sun so it would dry faster but take it back inside after an hour or so.
Re-assemble your helmet and then store it somewhere cool and dry to make it last for as long as possible.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the most popular hard hat brands?
With the highly protective nature of hard hats, especially those built with quality, comfort, and worker’s safety in mind, it no longer comes as a surprise to see numerous brands offering this protective gear in the market. Among those that continue to gain popularity due to the trustworthiness and quality of their products are Pyramex, MSA, 3M, Honeywell, and Lift Safety.
What are hard hats made of?
Hard hats can be made from different materials. However, most that are available in the market are made from thermoplastics, usually high-density polyethylene (HDPE) or polycarbonate. These materials are both lightweight, very strong, and are easier to mold and shape.
Type II hard hats also have polystyrene foam injected in the cavity between the hard cap and the suspension that helps keep the hard hat in place. There are other hard hat manufacturers that use other materials like resin stabilized cloth, fiberglass, and aluminum sheets.
In the not so distant past, aluminum and tin hard hats were normal but when construction sites started getting full of electrified circuits, these metal hard hats quickly got replaced by hard plastic hard hats that do not conduct electricity.
The suspensions that are used to hold the hats in place are usually strips of woven nylon and molded HDPE, vinyl, or nylon. These suspension systems are always adjustable either by a ratcheting system or a tab adjustment, like that of baseball caps.
Which class of hard hats does not protect from electrical shock?
For those looking for hard hats for electricians, steer clear from Class C helmets as they are not designed to protect the wearer against electrical conductors.
How much should I pay for a hard hat?
It is not impossible to find hard hats that cost at least $20 but high-end hard hats can be ten times more expensive. Take for example the Lift Hard Hat collection, which ranges from $100 to $250.
Although the quality of the pricier ones is top-notch, not all companies and workers have the budget for them.
No matter the cost, I suggest looking at the certification, hat material, suspension, fit, and manufacturing date. As mentioned in the buying guide, these things will determine the level of protection that is more appropriate for your job.
When do I need to replace my hard hat?
Most employers routinely replace their workers’ hard hats every 5 years regardless of their appearance. However, if the job exposes the worker to extreme temperatures, sun, or chemicals, the hard hat must be replaced after two years.
Most hard hats on the market indicate the manufacture dates on the underside of the brim to help the user determine how long it has been in use.
But whether you’re using heavy or ultra-lightweight hard hats, the suspension and shell must be replaced immediately even if it does not show any signs of damage once it has been struck by a powerful blow.
Likewise, it must be replaced when it is dropped more than eight to 10 feet as the quality may have already been compromised.
Can I wear my hard hat backward?
It is possible to wear your hard hat backward but this will decrease its efficacy. However, there are hard hat brands that released more versatile models, allowing the user to wear the hat or helmet both ways.
As for traditional hard hats, the correct way of wearing them is to ensure that the brim is at the front, pointing to your front.
Do hard hats expire?
Yes. It’s unlike canned food’s expiration date, which we all interpret to be the last day for which we can eat the contents!
In the previous question, I talked about the manufacture date on the underside of the brim. Using this, you can count the product’s shelf life. As mentioned, a hard hat needs to be replaced in 5 years but other conditions may require you to change them sooner.
Are aluminum hard hats OSHA approved?
According to the OSHA, Class C hard hats (conductor) are not fit for use in most North American and European construction sites. Although these kinds of hard hats provide excellent protection against impacts, puncture, and other physical injuries, they absolutely provide no protection against electricity.
However, if you will only be doing quick visits or dropping off things at the delivery bay of the construction site, the use of Class C hard hats might be permitted. Of course, this is just a suggestion from OSHA.
Private companies will have their own policies regarding hard hat uses and most of them do not allow Class C hard hats regardless of the purpose of the person wearing it.
How to read hard hat expiration date?
The law requires that hard hat manufacturers stamp the manufacturing date of the item along with other important information inside it. If the hard hat remained undamaged and even if it is well-maintained, the maximum length of time that it is still safe to use is around four to five years.
In addition, you are required by OSHA guidelines to replace your hard hat before it is totally worn out so that you are always provided with the top-tier possible protection. If your working environment is under the sun for most of the day or if you work with hazardous chemicals or in an environment with high temperatures, then it must be replaced after two years.
The suspension inside the hat also needs to be replaced every twelve months or sooner depending on how worn it has become. It is great to know that you can just purchase individual parts for replacement rather than buying an entirely new hard hat.
When are hard hats required?
According to OSHA, if the employees are working in areas where there is a possibility of head injury from impacts (ex. low beams, dangling debris, tools from above, etc.), electrical shock and burns, they are required to wear protective helmets. This means as long as it is a construction site, you are required to use a hard hat.
What do hard hat colors mean? What color should I wear?
Although the OSHA does not require the use of color-coded hard hats, the employers make it easier to identify the workers that are in the construction site at a particular time by using them. Hard hat color codes have no particular standards. Every company has its own meaning to the colors.
However, there is a sort of unofficial code that many companies follow. These include:
- Yellow – worn by general contractors. These are the masons, carpenters, and heavy equipment operators.
- Blue – worn by electricians
- Green – worn by the newbies or those under probationary employment. Sometimes, visitors to the job site will also wear green hard hats.
- White – used by supervisors and VIPs visiting the worksite
- Pink – Sometimes, companies have these colored hard hats that they lend to employees who forgot to bring their hard hats to work. It is like a badge of shame that will remind them to bring their hard hats next time.
In addition, some companies require their workers to put some reflectorized tape on their hard hats to make them even more visible during night time. Again, there are no set standards regarding what colors the hard hats should be although there are some overlaps in the ones that they use.
How to assemble a hard hat?
Most hard hats already come pre-assembled from the manufacturers. However, there are some that require a bit of assembly. To assemble it the right way, place the hard hat shell on your lap with the brim facing away from you.
Pull out the web suspension from the headband of the hat harness. The web should just be hanging down the middle of the headband. None of it should be wrapped around it or go over it. Turn the headband so that the adjustment tab strip, or in some instances, the ratchet adjustment, is facing towards you.
Insert the headband into the hard hat shell. Make sure that the back of the band and the center of the back of the hard hat shell are aligned. Push the tabs found along the outside rim of the headband into their corresponding indentations in the hard hat. These are molded directly in the hard hat shell.
There are four of these tabs – two at the front and another two at the back. Put on the hard hat to adjust the fit. If the hard hat you have has a ratchet-style size adjustment, turning the knob clockwise will tighten the suspension and turning it counterclockwise will loosen it up.
If your hard hat comes with a tab style adjustment band, it simply works like the band of a baseball cap. Make sure that your hard hat fits snugly around your head that it will not fall off when you bend down. However, it should not be so tight that it gives you a headache after a couple of minutes of use.
How to wear a hard hat properly?
The hard hat is designed to be worn in a specific manner so that it can provide the maximum amount of protection to the wearer. First of all, the visor should always be facing forward. Do not wear the hard hat in reverse. It should also fit snug around the head of the wearer. If you can rotate it when worn then it is too loose.
Adjust the tightness of the suspension until it is tight enough that the hat would not fall even if you bend over. However, it should not be so tight that it leaves a visible mark on your skin when you take it off. Most importantly, you need to wear the best hard hats before you go into an active construction site.
What is the most trusted hard hat suspension?
If your current hard hat’s suspension is a bit too tight for your taste, you can replace it with the MSA 10126693 Fas-Trac III 4-Point Replacement Suspension. This suspension is made for large Skullguard helmets because they have notoriously tight suspensions.
When you place this in your hard hat, it sits deeper inside the cavity and is much larger than the stock suspension so you can wear the hat comfortably, instead of just letting it perch on top of your head.
How to take care of and clean the hard hat?
Cleaning your hard hat does not take much effort, so you should do it regularly, like every week if you can. First of all, you just soak the entire helmet in a bucket of soapy water. Do not use detergents that are too harsh as they would damage the suspension. Let the hard hat soak for around ten minutes.
Get a soft-bristled brush and give the hat a good scrubbing to remove any caked-on dirt and grime that has attached themselves on the hard hat. Rinse the hat under cold running tap water until all the soap is gone. Hang it so it can dry thoroughly.
Do not store the hard hat under direct sunlight as it might damage its lining and suspension.
Where to buy?
You can buy different models of hard hats in your local construction supply store. If you want more choices and the ability to compare prices, it would be most suitable to go online shopping.
The hard hat is probably the most important piece of safety equipment that you can ever own, so you should make sure that you get only the top-tier one. You should also wear it at all times when you are on the job site.
Note that all it takes is just one good, square hit on the head to take you out of commission. So remember to always wear the best hard hats and take very good care of it so it can take care of you as well.
Having worked in the field of personal protective equipment for over two decades, Andrew Carnegie is a specialist in the field.
At EDC, he strives to improve performance efficiency and promote workplace safety for EDC’s readers and customers. He also researches the most up-to-date equipment that has earned relevant accreditation for use in a wide range of industries and specialties.