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Be Weary Of Those Motorsport Helmet Deals: Snell Helmets Explained

Buying An SA2015 Helmet At A Bargain Price Might Not Be The Bargain You Think It Is

snell helmets

It is about that time. It happens every 5 years. The next phase of Snell rated motorsport helmets will make their way to retail shelves and race tracks. To make room for the Snell SA2020 rated models shops all around have begun offering deals on SA2015 helmets. These deals many times seem too good to be true. We suggest you do your research before snagging what at first glance looks like an amazing value. The 2015 rated Snell Helmets might not be the bargain they first appear to be.

What is a Snell Helmet?

Snell isn’t a helmet maker, but they do their best to keep your noggin safe. Snell, or the Snell Foundation, was started back in 1957. It is named after Pete Snell whose racing helmet failed to protect him in a racing crash. Ever since the foundation’s creation, its main purpose is to test and rate motorsports helmets in order to create a high safety standard that can be trusted around the globe.

Snell rates helmets on a 5-year interval. So the current newest standard is a Snell SA2020 which has begun being sprinkled out to race shops for sale, the previous standard was SA2015, and SA2010 before that. The more technology and safety that gets thrown at these helmets, the more incremental the improvements get, but they do have a shelf life in the eyes of race tracks, race series, and event holders around the world. Higher forms of motorsport might have even stricter rules on being up to date with the newest standards.

formula drift helmet

Snell Motorsports Helmets Have A Shelf Life

Race series drivers in NASCAR and Formula 1 down to Formula Drift can probably afford the newest helmets, but more often many grassroots series down to your local track events allow a 10-year interval. So after 2020, the Snell SA2010 should be retired at all events down to your local track day. Maybe some track or event will let you “get by,” but do you really want to run with a group that skips out on safety?

I personally own a Snell SA2010 helmet, one made by G-Force, so I myself am in the market for a new helmet which brought me to make this article.

Snell Helmet

Old Snell Helmet Deals

So Snell SA2020 helmets are on the way or might already be here depending on your race shop’s stock. What happens to the SA2015s? Well they are sold at steep discounts and sometimes with freebies included.

Like many things, including helmets, you get what you pay for. You can purchase some in the $200 range, some in the $700-$900, or some the Pros wear can fetch $1,000s. Regardless the price, when you can save 25-30% on something it is probably a good deal, right? Not really in the case of motorsport helmets.

Let’s say there is a Snell certified motorsports helmet you really like with an MSRP of $500. Because it is a SA2015, and the SA2020s are in a race shop, it is selling for $350. A $150 savings seems like a great value. The issue is that you’re giving up 5-years of usable life on the helmet. The same $500 helmet with the latest SA2020 Snell certification will last you a full 10 years of legal track use. That $350 SA2015 helmet will cost you $70/year where the $500 SA2020 helmet will cost you $50/year over its lifespan. That discounted helmet doesn’t look like such a bargain anymore!

Now look, there are plenty of reasons why a less expensive helmet today that only lasts you 5-years of use on the track might make sense for your situation. All we are trying to do is show you that amazing deal on helmets before Black Friday and the Holidays, might not be that great. In the end, you decide what works for you. No matter if you snag a new helmet or not, we hope to see you on the track soon.

Find great deals on new and old model Snell Certified Motorsports Helmets HERE.

Danny Korecki
About Danny Korecki

Danny Korecki is a financial analyst by day and a freelance automotive writer by night. His words, photos, or videos have been seen on many well known automotive sites across the web. When he isn't creating content he enjoys loving on his dog and daily driving his BMW E92 M3.