Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute

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Consumer Reports helmet page recommendations

Summary: In 2023 Consumer Reports updated its bicycle helmet report on the website. They give Excellent or Very Good impact protection ratings to 84 models, with the 5 remaining scoring Good. They recommended 44 models. See our Helmet Ratings page for the short list of helmets with the highest Consumer Reports ratings for impact protection and also scoring best on the Virginia Tech STAR concussion ratings.

Rated helmets

The website now rates helmets by Bell, Bontrager, Freetown, Garneau, Giant, Giro, Kali, LEM, Nutcase, POC, Pro-tec, Raskullz, Razor, Schwinn, Sena, Smith, Specialized, Uvex and Zefal. They represent a fraction of the manufacturers available in the US market. There are eighteen Bell/Giro/Raskullz helmets from one company.


The highest overall scores were for the Bontrager Starvos WaveCel followed by the Bontrager Tyro, Bell Bell Formula LED MIPS Ghost, Giro Register MIPS, Garneau Majestic and Kali Alchemy non-MIPS. Lowest scores at the bottom were for the Wipeout Dry Erase, Overade Plixi folder, Triple Eight Gotham MIPS and Kali City, all rated only Good for impact protection.

Impact protection ratings

The impact ratings have been CR's biggest contribution to consumer information, and one of our key criteria for helmet choice. But this year CR has rated 84 of them Excellent or Very Good, so there is less discrimination than you would want. No helmet was rated as a failure. You can now combine the impact ratings with the Virginia Tech concussion protection ratings to compile a short list of helmets rated for both major impact protection and lower-level impact protection.


Fit is our second key criterion, and here CR was more discriminating. They rated only the Bontrager Starvos WaveCel, Kali Alchemy, Smith Signal MIPS, Sena R1 Evo, Smith Convoy MIPS and Garneau Equipe at the top for fit adjustments. Most of the rest were Very Good, but rated at the very bottom were the Bell Axle, Raskullz Mohawk, Razor V17, Bell Disney Frozen Tiara, Pro-tec Classic - youth sizes and Wipeout Dry Erase .


Only the Bell Trace MIPS, Garneau Majestic, Garneau Loam, Giro Isode MIPS, Giro Register MIPS, Giro Syntax MIPS, POC Ventral Air Spin NFC and Specialized Chamonix MIPS rated Excellent for ventilation. All of the skate-style models were rated in the lowest two ventilation categories.


CR has in the past discussed concussion concerns. They had tested MIPS vs Non-MIPS models and found that MIPS reduced rotational force by 43 percent. We do not know what testing protocols they used. This year they sum up their views on MIPS and WaveCel:

"Both technologies are comparable in reducing the risk of brain injury, according to researchers at Virginia Tech’s Helmet Lab, but it’s difficult to prove that any helmet will protect against concussion because there’s no single objective test, such as a CT scan or an MRI, that can determine whether someone has one. Instead, concussions are diagnosed based on symptoms and the results of a neurological exam. But there may be some added benefit, so even if it’s not definitive, a MIPS or WaveCel helmet may be worth the extra cost."

What We Missed

CR has improved their helmet selection, and their ratings are certainly worth a look if you are researching a new helmet, although the number of helmets included is still small compared to the thousands on the market this year. Some models are not included in the current webpage but can be found with diligent searching of the CR site. Many of the models are available only in bike stores, leaving out the millions of helmets sold in discount stores. But testing is expensive, and no single lab, including the US Government, can afford to test every helmet on the market. Our own listing of helmets for this season is much more comprehensive, but has no lab test results, severely limiting its usefulness.

To find a helmet rated for both major impact protection and lower-level impact protection, see our Helmet Ratings page for the very short list of helmets scoring high on both the Consumer Reports and Virginia Tech STAR concussion ratings.

Marketing links

We do not like seeing the marketing links on each helmet writeup in a Consumer Reports article. but there is probably no reason to believe that scraping up profits from click-throughs by consumers buying the rated helmets would influence CR's testing or writeups.

The article

Here is the article in Consumer Reports. The ratings are behind the pay wall.

Prior articles

Here is a link to our reviews of previous Consumer Reports articles.