Get the Tata Capital App to apply for Loans & manage your account. Download Now


Equipment Finance

Avail Digital Equipment Loans
up to Rs. 1 Crore

  • Attractive ROIs
  • Customizable Loan tenure

Equipment Leasing

Avail Leasing solutions
for all asset classes

  • Up to 100% financing
  • No additional collateral required

Tata Capital > Blog > The Different Types of Helmet Safety Standards and Certifications

Loan for Vehicle

The Different Types of Helmet Safety Standards and Certifications

The Different Types of Helmet Safety Standards and Certifications

When people buy a motorcycle, they check the engine, transmission, and, most importantly, its build quality. But they often ignore the safety check when they purchase headgear. A safe helmet is as important as a secure bike, and helmet certifications help you buy one. Private organizations and governments have designed several tests on helmets to ensure they are safe. This blog will help you understand different helmet ratings and their importance.

Importance of helmet safety ratings

Helmet safety ratings are a quality control and safety measure to ensure every helmet sold in the market is safe for riders. In addition, ratings are there to help you pick a safe helmet for yourself.

If you are looking for a helmet in the market, you will find helmets of all kinds, designs, colours, and sizes. And helmet certifications bring standardization in terms of build quality and safety features that a helmet must offer.

These certifications vary depending on countries and their regulations. Generally, a regulatory body offers these certifications after performing several tests to check the material and build quality of helmets.

Helmet certifications and ratings also help identify the ideal use case for a helmet. For instance, regular daily drive helmets have different ratings than those for off-roading and racing.

Different motorcycle helmet safety ratings

Helmet safety standards and certifications vary depending on your country. But here are some popular safety ratings used around the world to grade helmets being sold in different markets:

1. SNELL M2020

Snell Memorial Foundation is a private non-profit organization that came into being after the demise of caretaker Pete Snell to promote and improve helmet safety. Since it is not a government authority, the SNELL rating is not a certification. But manufacturers can submit their products for testing as it is considered the gold standard in helmet safety ratings.

SNELL M2020 is the latest helmet safety rating that Snell Memorial Foundation offers to the manufacturers. A helmet sample must go through a test inspired by racetrack safety standards to get a SNELL rating. 

2. DOT FMVSS 218

DOT is the helmet safety rating standard used in the United States of America. The Department of Transport, an American government body, issues guidelines for DOT-certified helmets but does not conduct tests. Instead, manufacturers must test their helmets in their labs.

A manufacturer must conduct tests designed by the regulatory body to have DOT-certified helmets. Grading a helmet under DOT rules includes performing the crash, penetration, drop, or height tests and stress tests.

The latest DOT safety standards, also called Federal Safety FMVSS 218, are visible on all DOT-certified helmets. To ensure manufacturers conduct these tests, the US Department of Transport levies heavy fines for non-compliance.

3. ECE

ECE-certified helmets are the standard helmets sold across Europe. ECE standards are designed and enforced on manufacturers by the Economic Commission of Europe. ECE has its own tests but also takes inspiration from standards and testing procedures from both DOT and SNELL.

Manufacturers must get their helmet samples tested in independent labs. ECE-certified helmets must pass tests like impact, chinstrap, deformation, and abrasion resistance tests.

Tests for ECE-certified helmets are performed in front of manufacturers and ECE experts. And manufacturers must provide 50 versions of their helmets for testing to get their products certified.

4. BIS IS4151

The Bureau of Indian Standards issues safety standards and guidelines for different products sold in the Indian markets. Products that are in line with BIS standards carry a BIS mark. Helmets carrying the BIS mark follow the IS4151 standard first issued in 1993.

IS4151 standards are similar to ECE standards, i.e., BIS mark helmets must pass an impact test, chinstrap test, deformation test, etc. However, the Bureau of Indian Standards does not conduct any tests in independent labs. Instead, the bureau does spot testing to check manufacturers comply with the safety norms.


Another popular helmet safety standard is the United Kingdom’s SHARP rating. SHARP stands for Safety Helmet Assessment and Rating Program. It provides star ratings to helmets based on their performance in impact point and energy level tests.

The tests are similar to the Economic Commission of Europe, and all SHARP-rated helmets are ECE-compliant. SHARP helmets carry a rating from 1 to 5, and 5-star helmets are considered the safest.

Wrapping Up

Picking a safe helmet is as important as choosing which bike you should buy. And helmet certifications and rating standards help you do exactly that. Helmets are graded based on their performance in tests like crash, drop, and stress tests. So, when buying your next helmet, ensure it has an excellent rating and carries a valid safety assurance mark. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *