Finding the Best, Most Comfortable Hard Hat Out There
Hard hat area. Those signs aren't just for show. On a construction site you're constantly at risk of being hit in the head by something. Some guys shrug it off, but it's important.
That said, there's no reason why your hard hat can't be comfortable too!
In the construction industry (as well as many others), most business owners will require you to wear head protection. It's for your own good, as well as company liability. Unfortunately, the cheap buckets often offered for free aren't so great. They're ill-fitting and uncomfortable. So I often just spend a bit and invest in my own.
Fortunately, finding the most comfortable hard hat isn't a difficult task anymore. There are tons of viable options on the market, and I was surprised by the different varieties on offer.
I'm writing this piece to help you track down the best safety hard hat for comfort. That means it has to meet two requirements: it has to be durable, and it has to be wearable.
I'm going to break it down into different types. We'll be looking at basic styles, hardhats for hot weather, and a couple with added stuff, like ear protection and visors.
Want to track down the best hard hat for safety and comfort? Keep reading!
1. Want to find the most comfortable hard hat? Start with the liner.
I know what you're thinking: this hard hat is missing something important! The truth is, the thing that makes a hard hat comfortable or not is the liner, not the plastic shell.
If you already own a hard hat and you'd rather not replace it, I'd highly recommend searching for a replacement liner like this:
This particular suspension is by 3M, and it's a standard 4-point ratchet system. It will PROBABLY work with most 4 point hardhats out there (meaning the suspension connects to the inner part of the shell in four places, but it's specifically designed to work with 3M's H-700 series.
According to several reviewers, this suspension system fits most MSA hard hats as well.
This is a cheap, comfortable hard hat refurbishment. Why? The wider straps are fabric instead of nylon, and they distribute the load more evenly to prevent pulled hair and chafing. The brim is padded with a thin layer of foam, and the ratchet system ensures a tight fit.
If you have a hat that isn't compatible with a 4-point system like this, or if you're unsure whether or not it will fit precisely, just do a quick search for a hard hat suspension for your particular brand. Often the most comfortable hard hat is the one you already have!
2. A cheap, comfortable basic hard hat by MSA
If your budget is tight, you still have a few options. This hard hat by MSA is safe, adjustable, lightweight and comfortable for all-day use, and it's super affordable.
The primary feature of note in this hat is the adjustable fit knob in the back. It allows you to quickly adjust the fit using one hand. That's a big step up from previous systems where you'd have to remove the hat and adjust the belt.
The strapless design is actually fairly snug, especially when you adjust it properly to fit your head. It sits quite high on your head, leaving plenty of space to absorb the impact of a blow. And, as one reviewer puts it, "the ladies love it!"
This item meets ANSI Type 1 requirements for top impact.
If you need a cheap hard hat that's comfortable and effective, this is a good place to start.
3. A cheap, comfortable, full brim hard hat by Pyramex
If you're interested in a little added protection but still want to save a bit of money, this is an affordable hard hat by Pyramex, and it features a full brim.
Not only does a brim add extra protection from falling debris, it serves a number of other purposes too. It's a handy sun shade, and this particular helmet features a rear channel to direct rainwater away from your face while you work.
This is one of the most comfortable hard hats for a couple of reasons.
First, it has an adjustable ratchet dial, letting you adjust the fit on the fly with a single hand. It stays nice and snug on your noggin, and it doesn't 'pinch' like many others on the market.
The second reason is the padded front strap. You can wear this all day, and you won't get that obnoxious forehead strap mark. The rear of the strap has some foam padding too, and you won't notice you're wearing it until you bump your head on something!
It features a universal slot for a chin strap or ear muffs, if that's something you need.
All in all, this Pyramex safety hard hat is cheap, effective, comfy, and available in 16 different colors!
Pro tip: if you work in the sun a lot, opt for the white hat, it absorbs less sunlight!
4. Vented: One of the most comfortable hard hats for hot weather
One of my biggest beefs with wearing a hard hat all day long is the heat factor: by the end of the day I'm sweating. For some reason, many hard hats don't feature anything in the way of venting.
This system, by 3M, has a couple of great features that make it a top contender.
Let's start with comfort. This is one of the best hard hats in terms of wearer comfort. The 4-point ratchet system is the same as the suspension I outlined earlier, and as such it is wearable all day long without pinching or constriction.
The second factor that makes this one of the most comfortable hard hats around are the vents on the top. These small holes make a huge difference, allowing air to freely move over the top of your head as you work. Heat rises, and it's nice for your body heat to not get trapped under the shell.
The hard hat meets ANSI Type 1 requirements, and it goes a step further in terms of safety. You can wear it both forward and back effectively, and it has a special UVicator strip on top. This fades over time, and lets you know if your helmet has become brittle and needs replacement.
The ratchet dial allows you to adjust fit and height on the fly, and the whole thing is very affordable.
If you work somewhere hot, I'd definitely recommend picking up a vented hardhat like this one.
5. ProForest: Among the best hard hats for tree falling, forestry and landscaping
Unless you've been living under a rock, you've probably heard of Husqvarna. This brand has been producing power tools and work wear for a long time, and they've definitely got it right with this chain saw hard hat.
The helmet itself is extremely safe, meeting ANSI G E C standards. It also comes with a bunch of goodies, including integrated ear muffs, a face screen to filter out debris, and a rear neck protector. The helmet itself is high visibility orange, so you'll be more noticeable in the field.
The Husqvarna ProForest Chain Saw Helmet is one of the best hard hats for working in forestry or landscaping, and I'd highly recommend it for those positions. The ear muffs provide 25 decibels of ear protection: a must have if you're running a saw all day.
It is a very comfortable helmet too. The six point suspension system distributes stress very nicely, and it adjusts easily enough. I would have loved to see a dial ratchet system like on other helmets, but the slotted keyway works well.
The fit is unbelievable, and it stays on your head even while stumbling through thick brush.
I really like that the face shield is a mesh, which allows much better airflow. If you don't need it, you can unclip it!
This is a versatile and effective hard hat, one of the most comfortable choices in this category, and it should serve you well.
6. A comfortable hard hat sun shade accessory, by MSA
In a lot of fields, comfort has less to do with foam padding and more to do with enduring the elements. Working in the sun all day taxes your body and your mind. There are a few ways to combat the heat, though.
This is one of the most comfortable hard hat accessories for working in the sun. It uses a sun shade to protect you from burns and heat, all the while improving your visibility (a great thing if you're working on a busy road, for example).
The Saftey Works SunShade is designed to fit elastically around the brim of most hard hats. Once in place, it hangs down over your neck and ears. It's made from a light nylon mesh, so it doesn't actually add much bulk or weight, and airflow isn't impeded.
Made from bright yellow material, the shade reflects a great deal of solar energy and preventing much of the sun's heat from reaching your body. It can help prevent burns and heat exhaustion.
If you don't need it, it is easily removed, or you can roll it up and tuck it under the band if it's a mixed cloudy kind of day.
If you're labouring in the sun, consider picking up a sun guard like this, it will making your hard hat a lot more comfy in the heat!
*This is just a shade, it doesn't include the helmet pictured!
To Find the Best Safety Hard Hats: Use Your Head
Maybe nothing listed here fits the bill for you. That's OK! I have a few suggestions to point you in the right direction.
Ask Your Boss What To Wear: Your boss will have a good idea what you should be wearing on a particular job site. It's a good idea to keep the bossman (or bosswoman) happy, and indicating to them that you take the work seriously is always a good thing.
Check Out Your Coworker's Gear: A seasoned vet has often tried out a few different things. Ask them what's the best and most comfortable hard hat for the job, and you'll likely get a good answer. They may even know where you can get a good discount too.
Hard Hats are Cheap: Don't be stingy. If you buy a hard hat or a suspension or some other accessory like a sun shade, and it doesn't work for you, try something else. It's just not worth it to labour day in and day out with bad gear. Spend the extra bucks and try out something new.
Thanks for reading!