Choosing the Best Baseball Helmets for Little Leaguers

By Joshua Davis •  Updated: 11/03/22 •  13 min read

Spring is in the air, and that means it’s time for baseball! If you’ve got little league baseball players in the family, then you know that one of the most important pieces of protective gear they need is a good baseball helmet.

But with all the different brands and styles out there, how can you choose the right type of helmet?

Never fear, we’re here to help! Keep reading to find out more.

Helpful Tip: All of the helmets in this post are available in Junior and Senior sizes (Youth and Adult); so, they’re also recommended for older players.

OFHQ’s Favorites

If you’re in a hurry, the following 3 bats made our favorites list after owning them and/or speaking with other parents of Little Leaguers who own them.

EASTON Z 5 2.0 Batting Helmet (Best Overall Batting Helmet)

For us, the best youth baseball helmets balances protective function with style and cost (protective function being the most important factor).

Best Overall Batting Helmet
EASTON Z 5 2.0 Batting Helmet
$54.98 $44.99
  • High impact resistant ABS shell has been engineered for maximum protection
  • Padded dual-density foam liner works to absorb shock on impact
  • BioDri padded inner liner to keep players dry and cool
  • Wrapped ear pads add extra comfort and prevent wear and tear throughout the season.
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11/28/2022 12:34 am GMT

When I bought Luke his Z5 2.0, I knew it would protect his head well, the wrapped ear pads would keep him dry and comfortable, and I wouldn’t cry when he outgrew it and I had to shell out for a new one.

Also, the non-painted, no-frills finish handles well the abuse every baseball batting helmet endures on the gritty floor of the dugout (because ALL kids just drop their stuff on the ground … ALL KIDS).

It’s a stylish, sensible, comfortable, durable skull fort!

EASTON Alpha Batting Helmet (Best Budget Pick)

It’s half the price of the Z5 2.0 above for two reasons: you don’t get all that fancy pin-striping or those silky-smooth wrapped ear pads.

Best Budget Pick
EASTON Alpha Batting Helmet
$24.99
  • FITS AN ENTIRE RANGE OF PLAYERS from tee ball to adults, now everyone can play with the protection and performance of Easton's Alpha batting helmet
  • ABS THERMOPLASTIC SHELL is engineered for maximum protection
  • DUAL DENSITY FOAM liner provides shock absorption and comfort
  • BIODRI FABRIC LINER absorbs moisture for improved dryness and comfort
  • SCREAMIN' E LOGO STICKER on forehead is removable for team customization
  • MEETS NOCSAE STANDARD for all levels of play
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11/28/2022 12:34 am GMT

Which makes a huge difference when the noggin inside it is getting hot and sweaty … and smelly.

Depending on the state of your wallet this may be your best option.

RAWLINGS Mach EXT Batting Helmet with Reversible Jaw Guard (Best Equipped Batting Helmet)

You can purchase a jaw guard separately for any helmet; however, the Mach EXT comes with it …

… and it’s relocatable depending on whether you have a lefty, righty, or switch-hitter.

Best-Equipped Batting Helmet
RAWLINGS Mach EXT Batting Helmet with Reversible Jaw Guard
$58.68
  • IDEAL FOR JUNIOR AND SENIOR LITTLE LEAGUE, this Rawlings R16 Reverse baseball batting helmet features Heat Exchange ventilation technology that helps release heat and circulates cooler air through the helmet's venting system
  • REVERSIBLE JAW GUARD PIECE allows both right-handed and left-handed batters to adjust the EXT piece as needed to either side of the helmet
  • IMPROVED COMFORT AND FIT thanks to wrapped jaw pads
  • SEAMLESS EXTENSION PIECE provided by the TPU rubber piece that conceals flap hardware
  • NOCSAE CERTIFIED
Buy Now on Amazon
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
11/28/2022 12:46 am GMT

If taking a ball to the face is a serious concern (it will happen eventually), teach your little swinger to turn away. Still, the additional protection never hurt anyone.

The inclusion of the jaw guard seems to have added less than a few bucks to the price while buying one separately usually taps out at about $15. Good deal!

The Lineup: The Best Baseball Helmets for Little Leaguers

If you’ve read our post on baseball bats and baseball gloves for young players, then you know what I’m going to say next:

You don’t have to break the bank to get your kid a great baseball helmet!

With some exceptions, super-expensive helmets offer little-to-no more protection than your standard NOCSAE helmets and serve more as status symbols than functional baseball gear.

Besides, since kids grow like weeds, chances are they’ll need a new helmet every season anyway. Save the coin and buy them the show-boat helmet when they’re in the senior leagues and that noggin has stopped growing.

So with that in mind, here are our top five picks for the best baseball helmets for little leaguers, in no particular order:

1. EASTON Z5 2.0 Batting Helmet (Best Overall Youth Batting Helmet)

These open face helmets are seen everywhere you turn on Little League fields. And with good reason: they’re comfortable, have a great fit, and come in tons of different colors and finishes to match every team’s uniform.

Best Overall Batting Helmet
EASTON Z 5 2.0 Batting Helmet
$54.98 $44.99
  • High impact resistant ABS shell has been engineered for maximum protection
  • Padded dual-density foam liner works to absorb shock on impact
  • BioDri padded inner liner to keep players dry and cool
  • Wrapped ear pads add extra comfort and prevent wear and tear throughout the season.
Buy Now on Amazon
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
11/28/2022 12:34 am GMT

They also offer excellent protection in the game, thanks to their high-impact resistant ABS plastic outer shell (also referred to as thermoplastic shell) and dual-density foam liners.

My favorite feature of Z5 2.0 is the wrapped moisture-wicking BioDriliner on the interior. Rather than your standard typical bare foam that is scratchy and can deteriorate quickly, the BioDri material helps wick away sweat, keeps the helmet feeling dry and comfortable, and preserves the padding extending its life significantly.

And the price is right!

If your kid needs a new baseball helmet, the Easton Z5 should definitely be at the top of your list.

2. EASTON Alpha Batting Helmet (Best Budget Pick)

Essentially, it is the same helmet as the Easton Z5 2.0 with two significant differences (and one cosmetic):

First, those ear pads are NOT wrapped with their patented BioDri material.

Best Budget Pick
EASTON Alpha Batting Helmet
$24.99
  • FITS AN ENTIRE RANGE OF PLAYERS from tee ball to adults, now everyone can play with the protection and performance of Easton's Alpha batting helmet
  • ABS THERMOPLASTIC SHELL is engineered for maximum protection
  • DUAL DENSITY FOAM liner provides shock absorption and comfort
  • BIODRI FABRIC LINER absorbs moisture for improved dryness and comfort
  • SCREAMIN' E LOGO STICKER on forehead is removable for team customization
  • MEETS NOCSAE STANDARD for all levels of play
Buy Now on Amazon
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
11/28/2022 12:34 am GMT

Second, the Alpha boasts two-fewer ventilation slots in the top.

While we could argue all day about whether this justifies a twice-the-price jump from the Alpha to the Z5 2.0, the fact is, without the ear pad wrapping, those foam pads are uncomfortable and deteriorate rapidly when exposed to a hot, sweaty head regularly.

Oh, and third, you don’t get the Z5’s fancy, schmancy pin-striping. Just boo.

It’s still a solid helmet; but, if you’re going to buy your kid a skull fort, the least you could do is make sure it’s comfortable.

3. EASTON Pro X Matte Junior Batters Helmet

The third tier of Easton’s youth batting helmets adds a layer of protection: a triple application of their impact-absorbing density foam.

EASTON Pro X Matte Junior Batters Helmet
$69.95
  • Most advanced helmet Easton has ever introduced
  • Multi-Density Protection (MDP) technology, with 3 layers of energy absorbing foam, helps address various speeds of impact players encounter in a game situation
  • ABS thermoplastic shell, lined with BioDri fabric for moisture management, is engineered for maximum protection.
  • Matte finish, accented with tonal metallic for a fresh and sleek look
  • Meets the NOCSAE standard for all levels of play
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11/28/2022 12:46 am GMT

It’s the same high-impact, ABS plastic shell as the Z5 2.0 and Alpha with a few more layers of soft, protective foam in all the right places. The result is a helmet that does an even better job of keeping your little leaguer safe from errant pitches and wild swings …

… and victory head-butts from over-zealous teammates.

The one downside? You’re paying for a matte-metallic finish that, sure, defines the new hotness in style; however, a few knocks around the dugout floor will leave it looking just like it’s less expensive brothers.

4. UNDER ARMOUR Converge Batting Helmet

Recommended specifically for kids 11 and under, the Converge helmet from Under Armour is a great option for those looking for a comfortable and protective baseball helmet.

The Converge batting helmet is designed to be a next-generation helmet, with an anatomical shell design and innovative padding system …

UNDER ARMOUR Converge Batting Helmet
$44.39
  • All new anatomical shell design and innovative padding system
  • Designed to fit a wide variety of head shapes and sizes while maintaining full protection and comfortable fit
  • Strategically placed venting allows for maximum cooling and raises side ribs help disperse impact
  • Introducing charged foam cushioning, a layer of impact absorbing foam similar to what is used in footwear
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11/28/2022 12:46 am GMT

… well, says Under Armour. It’s a good helmet, true; but, it’s no more innovative (arguably) than others we’ve seen. Anyway …

This helmet will fit snugly on any size or shape head while ensuring complete protection and comfort.

The venting allows the helmet to cool more effectively, and the raised side ribs help spread out impact in case of a vicious errant pitch.

The batting helmet also introduces charged foam cushioning (foam that absorbs shock and also returns the energy outward, away from the head), a layer of impact-absorbing foam similar to what is used in footwear.

5. EVO-SHEILD XVT Batting Helmet

Very similar in design to the Easton Z5 2.0, the EvoShield XVT batting helmet is a sensible, yet a stylish option that offers NOCSAE and SEI-certified protection for young hitters.

EVO-SHEILD XVT Batting Helmet
$39.99
  • Low profile shell provides a hardened layer of defense while ensuring an excellent fit
  • Compression molded, dual-density padding throughout the interior absorbs impact for consistent protection
  • Fully wrapped ear pads deliver a cushioned feel for long-lasting comfort
  • Available in matte and glossy finishes and multiple colors
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11/28/2022 01:19 am GMT

The helmet is made with an ABS plastic shell and dual-density foam liner with wrapped ear liners, just like the Easton; however, the shell has a lower profile achieving less of an “egg-head” appearance when worn.

Don’t tell my son I said his Easton makes him look like an egghead. When they’re little, batting helmets make them all look like they have plastic Afros.

6. RAWLINGS Coolflo Batting Helmet

The bragging point of the Coolflo is that it has LOTS of vents to allow air to pass through the helmet and heat to dissipate making the helmet much more comfortable on warm days on the diamond.

Um … all baseball helmets have air vents. At least, they have since the ’90s. So … not a huge selling point.

RAWLINGS Coolflo Batting Helmet
$24.99
  • State-of-the-art venting system and sleek, aerodynamic look
  • Initially worn by all Major League Baseball athletes
  • Specifically constructed for the athlete desiring a helmet with an established history of excellence along with pro-inspired attributes
  • Traditional COOLFLO design
  • Pre-drilled for NOCSAE® approved face guards
  • Molded finish
  • One size fits most (6 1/2 - 7 1/2) 
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11/28/2022 01:19 am GMT

What is a huge selling point is that the Major Leagues must have seen their particular vents as revolutionary and so adopted the helmet for use at the professional level.

Either way, the Coolflo does boast a sleek design and remains a relatively comfortable, dependable, NOCSAE-approved skull fort for a very, very, very low price.

Still, we have concerns about the longevity and comfort of those unwrapped ear pads.

7. RAWLINGS Mach EXT Batting Helmet with Reversible Jaw Guard (Best Equipped Batting Helmet)

If your Little Leaguer happens to be a switch hitter with an ambidextrous batting stance (too cool, by the way), the Mach EXT batting helmet is a great option to protect that head of theirs.

Best-Equipped Batting Helmet
RAWLINGS Mach EXT Batting Helmet with Reversible Jaw Guard
$58.68
  • IDEAL FOR JUNIOR AND SENIOR LITTLE LEAGUE, this Rawlings R16 Reverse baseball batting helmet features Heat Exchange ventilation technology that helps release heat and circulates cooler air through the helmet's venting system
  • REVERSIBLE JAW GUARD PIECE allows both right-handed and left-handed batters to adjust the EXT piece as needed to either side of the helmet
  • IMPROVED COMFORT AND FIT thanks to wrapped jaw pads
  • SEAMLESS EXTENSION PIECE provided by the TPU rubber piece that conceals flap hardware
  • NOCSAE CERTIFIED
Buy Now on Amazon
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
11/28/2022 12:46 am GMT

This helmet comes with an attachable jaw guard that can be worn on either side of the helmet (for righties, lefties, and switchies).

Helpful Tip: Jaw guard helmets are rarely used in Little League below the age of 13. Pitchers are yet capable of throwing fast and hard enough to warrant the additional cost and weight.

Still, if the thought of taking wild pitches to the face prevents your little swinger from being confident at the plate, it may be just the boost they need.

The helmet is made with an ABS plastic shell, dual-density padding, and wrapped ear liners; however, the design of this helmet gives it a little more flair and personality than some of the more staid options.

It’s available in a variety of team colors to better represent your favorite squad.

Choosing the Best Baseball Helmet (Buyer’s Guide)

There are a few factors you’ll want to consider when determining the best batting helmets for your player(s):

Protection and Safety, Fit, Comfort and Ventilation, Visibility Durability, and Price.

The Rawlings CoolFlo (without Jaw Guard)

Protection and Safety

One of the most important things to look for when choosing a baseball helmet is safety.

Make sure that the helmet meets or exceeds the safety standards set by NOCSAE (National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment).

Look for the NOCSAE seal on the back of the helmet.

NOCSAE standards are voluntary, but most manufacturers of quality baseball helmets will submit their products for testing and certification. Steer clear of obscure knock-off brands trying to score a piece of the market by peddling unsafe, cheaply-made-and-priced head gear.

For a discussion on jaw guards and face masks, see the section below.

Jaw Guards, Face Masks, and Visibility

Getting hit by the ball is part of the game and Little Leaguers grow to accept and endure this occasional hazard of the sport.

While some would argue that the addition of a jaw guard or face mask elevates the helmet to maximum protection status, the risk of serious injury in the Little Leagues just isn’t there.

The best possible facial protection is learning to turn away from an errant, wild pitch that is coming to the face and allowing the helmet (or a less delicate part of the body) to take the brunt of the impact.

Under the age of 13, pitchers can rarely pitch over 40 MPH (50-60 MPH when they reach 11-13 years old). While it smarts a bit getting hit at that speed, it does not make the extra protection of a jaw guard necessary.

Helpful Tip: My son took a wild 40 mph pitch to the side of the face his first season. He just rubbed it all the way to first base. He’s fine.

Still, if your Little Leaguer’s reflexes are a tad sluggish, they could benefit from the added protection of a face guard (face mask) or jaw guard.

These are offered by all makers of baseball and softball helmets and can be purchased separately and attached to the helmet. Some come with the guard included.

If you go this route, make sure that the face/jaw guard doesn’t impede your child’s vision in any way. That would be more of a hazard than getting nailed with the ball in the first place.

If you can’t see it comin’, you can’t dodge it!

Fit of the Helmet

Of course, the best way to fit a helmet to a child’s head is to go to a store and have them try on different models.

If you’re buying online, however, here are some tips for ensuring you order the right size:

Once you’ve purchased the helmet, have the child play with it on to ensure that it doesn’t shift too much when they move their head around.

Comfort and Ventilation

As we mentioned above, make sure that the helmet has vents to allow air to circulate and help keep the head cool.

You’ll also want to pay attention to the ear pads. Some models have ear pads that are wrapped in fabric for extra comfort, while others have exposed foam.

If your player is particularly sensitive to discomfort or has sensory issues, the fabric-wrapped ear pads may be a better option.

Be sure to test out different models in the store to see which is more comfortable for your player.

Durability

This may sound like a no-brainer for something designed to absorb high impact in the interest of protecting the human head; however, durability in this respect has more to do with the finish of the helmet than the rigidity itself.

Sure, go ahead and shell out for that top-of-the-line skull fort with the fancy metallic finish and flashy decals. Just know that your aspiring Sultan of Swat will do what all youngsters do with their baseball gear:

Drop it, kick it, toss it, and otherwise abuse it all over the gritty concrete floor of the dugout and beyond.

This abuse will quickly turn that lustrous finish into a dull, scratched-up mess.

A good quality helmet with a basic (or no) paint job will stand up to this treatment just as well as the more expensive model and will look better for it in the long run.

You’ve been warned.

Batter Up!

We hope this has helped you narrow down your search for the perfect baseball helmet for your little leaguer!

Remember to keep safety, comfort, and visibility in mind when making your purchase. And above all else, have fun!

Now, get out there!

Joshua Davis

Being outdoors is freedom! Being outdoors with my wife and two boys is LIVING! Whether in my backyard or getting lost in a National Park, there’s nothing I’d rather do than explore, discover, and experience the paradise that surrounds us. Give me my family, a backpack, and a trail and my life is full!