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Chainsaw Helmets. Tips from a Professional

A helmet is one of the critical safety equipment to operate a chainsaw. It protects your head from the impact of heavy falling branches. In addition to that, most helmets are fitted to provide face and eye protection from sawdust and debris. If you are an occasional chainsaw user or a professional logger, this blog post will help you select the best chainsaw helmet that will make your logging experience easier and much safer.

Chainsaw helmet.

A chainsaw helmet shields the user’s head from the impact of falling objects. Most helmets also have a face shield for protection against flying sawdust along with earmuffs to safeguard against high noise levels. While buying a helmet, you should check if it complies with the international standards (ANSI, CE) of safety and provides reasonable comfort with ample durability. If appropriately maintained, most chainsaw helmets last for about three to five years.

In this blog post, I will take you through the entire process of choosing and finding the best chainsaw helmet for yourself.

What should you Look for while Buying a Chainsaw Helmet?

Before you buy a chainsaw helmet, make sure it has a front visor to protect your face from flying chunks of wood and debris. Check if the helmet is adjustable, has earmuffs, and is lightweight.

Before shopping for your headgear, make sure you are clear about the features it should have. High-quality helmets provide extra protection to your eyes, ears, and face, in addition to your head. They are also durable and last for a longer period. The exact preference may vary for a user, but the comfort and safety level should always be the top priority. Following is the buyer’s guide to a chainsaw helmet.

1. Chainsaw Helmet Visor:

Always check if your helmet has a visor at the front to protect your face from all sorts of flying debris. While a chainsaw cuts through wood, a considerable amount of sawdust flies off the blade towards your face. In some cases, the chunks of wood are larger and can hurt your face or your eyes.

Having front protection such as a visor is highly recommanded. Most visors come with a transparent cover, while some have a metallic mesh as a protective cover.

2. Chainsaw Helmet Earmuffs:

Most gas chainsaws are over 100 dB loud, which can cause permanent hearing damage if operated for a prolonged period. Wearing earmuffs is the only way to counter the loud noise of a chainsaw. Most chainsaw helmets nowadays are also fitted with earmuffs.

3. Chainsaw Helmet Comfort:

Make sure your helmet comes with an adjustable band that determines the circumference that fits your head. Having an adjustable band in the helmet helps it sit perfectly. Also, you need to select a helmet with optimal weight. A heavier headgear could make it uncomfortable or cause headaches.

4. Chainsaw Helmet Compliance Standards:

Chainsaw helmets usually follow ANSI and CE compliance standards. Check for these certifications while buying one. These certifications ensure that the product has been tested rigorously under specific conditions to meet the quality and safety needs. You’d be better protected in such helmets than those which have no certifications at all.

5. Chainsaw Helmet Other Factors:

The above-mentioned features determine the overall safety level and comfort of your helmet and are of paramount importance. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t consider factors like cost and durability.

  • Built: Typically, helmets are made from polycarbonate (PC) or fiberglass. Often, they are hardened with polyester resins. Before buying, do ensure that your helmet material is hardened to withstand the impact forces of heavy objects. Also, check whether the head adjustment feature and the earmuffs are durable enough to last longer.
  • Cost: The prices of helmets will vary in the market, with the cheaper ones having fewer features and durability. You should always proceed with a planned budget and your prioritized features in mind. The safety level and the comfort should never be compromised as they benefit you in the long run. Always weigh the price of the product versus the value it offers.

To help you make a good choice, some helmets and their features will be mentioned in the next section.

What is the Best Chainsaw Helmet?

Based on my own experience and discussion with various users, I made a list of some of the best chainsaw helmets in the market.

1. Husqvarna ProForest Chainsaw Helmet

The features of the Husqvarna ProForest helmet are:

– Features:

  • UV protected material
  • 24 dB noise reduction earmuffs
  • Six-point suspension system for shock absorption
  • Metal visor for face protection
  • Complies to ANSI Z89.1-2003 Class G-E-C
  • Neck protector for rain

– Expert Opinion:

The Husqvarna ProForest offers you a fairly decent value for money by providing all the safety features needed. For ground use, I would say that this is a perfect choice considering the protection it offers. For off-the-ground use, you may need a sturdier version. Moreover, users have found it to be highly comfortable and adjustable to their head sizes.

The widely reported downside is that their earmuff attachment isn’t strong. Since helmets are meant to be used for long periods, you may need separate earmuffs to work in the long run. Also, its visor attachment isn’t best as users had trouble remounting it. Nevertheless, this is still a very effective investment for basic, off-the-ground applications.

2. TR Forestry Chainsaw Helmet

The features of the TR forestry chainsaw helmet are:

– Features:

  • 30 dB noise reduction earmuffs
  • Available in metal and plastic visor
  • ANSI and Certification Europe (CE) compliant
  • Ventilation for head
  • Dial knob adjustment for a perfect fit

– Expert Opinion:

The TR helmet’s mesh visor is said to perform better than its Husqvarna counterpart. The comfort and head adjustability are also relatively better. I would say that it outperforms the Husqvarna in noise reduction and is also much cheaper.

However, this isn’t the best option if you want a helmet with maximum durability. The head strap along with the earmuffs, are pretty fragile and have been reported to break after little use. All in all, this is an optimal safety gear for beginner to intermediate users who want maximum value within an affordable price range.

3. Oregon Chain Saw Helmet Combo

The Oregon helmet features are:

– Features

  • 6 ventilation holes for improved breathability
  • 6-point harness adjustment
  • 22 dB sound reduction earmuffs
  • SS mesh visor
  • Light in weight (2.2 pounds)
  • Meets ANSI standards

– Expert Opinion:

When compared with the models mentioned earlier, this one performs better in terms of durability. The parts are sturdier, with all the safety features present. It is perhaps, the most comfortable due to its 6-point adjustment and lightweight. The only downside is its assembly which may be difficult for specific individuals due to improper part fitting.

4. ERB 14371 Chainsaw Helmet

The ERB 14371 helmet features are:

– Features:

  • 6-point adjustment
  • Meets ANSI Z89.1-2009 standard
  • Anti-glare mesh visor with epoxy coating
  • Earmuffs with 28 dB NRR
  • Entirely made in the USA

– Expert Opinion:

This helmet is known to satisfy many customers due to its superior comfort, better adjustability, and top-notch durability. In my view, the earmuffs and the headband have a robust design compared to the earlier mentioned models and are meant to last longer.

Some users, however, had complaints regarding the assembly of certain parts. But all in all, this is a reasonably durable helmet equipped with all the necessary safety features and can be employed for professional use.

5. Stihl ProMark Forestry Helmet

The Stihl ProMark Forestry Helmet features are:

– Features:

  • 6-point ratchet suspension for shock absorption
  • 25 dB NRR earmuffs
  • Durable mesh visor
  • Meets ANSI requirements for earmuffs, visors, and hardhat.

– Expert Opinion:

In my view, Stihl chainsaws helmets are second to none in terms of their durability and robustness. The comfort level is fairly decent. However, the price is on the higher end. Also, a downside of Stihl products is that they don’t offer any replacement components.

Furthermore, in this helmet, the mesh visor is thought to be ineffective against sawdust, and you may need to wear an additional pair of goggles to protect your eyes. Anyway, this is still a good investment if you’re looking for long-term use of a robust product.

Best Chainsaw Helmet?

If you’re a frequent chainsaw user who’s looking for a comfortable helmet that is durable enough, I would suggest you should buy ERB 14371. It comes with all the necessary safety provisions in addition to the required certifications. Its part built is superior as compared to the other brands, and it offers replacement as well. Moreover, it can be used in off-the-ground applications as well.

If you’re on a lower budget and seldom use your chainsaw, try going for Husqvarna and TR Forestry helmets. They offer the best protection at a low price. For high-end professional use, I would still say that ERB 14371 is the best alternative. Some old-school Stihl users are now shifting towards ERB due to its better performance and durability.

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. How long does a chainsaw helmet last?

The average lifespan of a chainsaw helmet is 3 to 5 years. Depending on the frequency of its use and the working conditions.

Helmets are the most frequently used PPE for chainsaws. They are regularly exposed to the sun’s UV rays, moisture, gasoline fumes, dirt, and debris. These conditions eventually weaken their shell’s plastic. A helmet may still be usable for up to three years. If maintained and stored correctly, you may be able to use it for up to five or more years.

2. How often should helmets be replaced?

At the industrial level, the safety helmets are expired after three years from their manufacturing date. If the shell gets damaged due to use, it should be replaced right away.

The expiry date of a safety helmet is etched inside the hard hat. If not mentioned, the industrial standard time of replacement is three years. However, if you notice the following defects with your helmets, you should consider replacing them for your safety:

  • Visible signs like cracks, dents, and cuts
  • Forceful impact of any hard or heavy object without any visual signs.
  • The shell getting dull after use
  • Chemical splashes weakening the shell

If you are an occasional chainsaw user and store your helmet correctly, they can last longer. But always replace them when they are damaged.

3. Do safety helmets expire?

Safety helmets have an expiry date, after which they should be replaced with a new model. The date is etched on the helmet’s inner surface.

Safety helmets should be replaced once they expire. The expiry date is usually mentioned on the inside. If the date is not mentioned, you should consider replacing them after three years as per the industry standard. Also, they should be considered expired if damaged externally during use.

If you are an occasional chainsaw user and store your helmet correctly, they can last longer. But always replace them when they are damaged.