5 Best Youth Catcher’s Helmets
If you are looking for great protection from impact, then have a look at the G4 hockey-style catcher’s helmet from Mizuno.
The G4 catcher’s helmet features 3-layer interior padding for increased shock absorption and comfort. Aside from that, this catcher’s helmet has a steel frame in the front that should not allow any ball to go through.
Mizuno also claims that this helmet is compliant with the NOCSAE standards.
For some extra comfort, the G4 helmet features large ventilation holes at the top. This is important because you do want good ventilation in a catcher’s helmet with three layers of protective foam.
Notably, the jaw pad here is adjustable to allow for more comfort and better moisture control.
What may also interest you or your kid is that the G4 Youth Samurai helmet is available in several colors, though their availability may vary.
One thing to keep in mind with this helmet is that it’s bulky and heavy. This downside is common for hockey-style helmets, and that’s the price of the increased protection they provide.
- Thick three-layer padding.
- Large ventilation holes to keep the head cool.
- Steel frame for great protection.
- Adjustable jaw pad for increased comfort.
- Several color options available.
- Bulky and heavy.
If your kid would like something less cumbersome, then this youth catcher’s mask by Champion Sports may be a better option for them.
A more traditional non-hockey-style helmet, this helmet will provide less protection – especially at the sides – but many people like such helmets due to their lightness and increased convenience.
To somewhat compensate for the lack of protection, Champion Sports has equipped this mask with extended throat and ear guards. These won’t provide protection from side shots, but head-on, they should work just right.
For added comfort and shock absorption, the Champion catcher’s mask has pads lining the chin and forehead areas of the mask.
And perhaps the biggest advantage of this catcher’s mask is that it’s very easy to take on and off. This may especially matter for plays at the plate, foul balls, and other game moments.
- Easy to put on and take off.
- Extended ear and throat guards.
- Little side protection.
The Pro Preferred catcher’s helmet by Rawlings is another good option if you or your kid are looking for increased protection. This catcher’s hockey-style helmet is similar to the Mizuno G4 helmet, but there are a few things that set them apart.
Most importantly, the padding in the Pro Preferred catcher’s helmet has moisture-wicking abilities. Add to that the ventilation holes at the top, and you get a helmet that should be pretty comfy on hot days. This may be a game-changer for your kid since they might be able to focus on the game better.
The Pro Preferred catcher’s helmet also has a more compact chin pad than in the Mizuno helmet, which should improve visibility but may also decrease protection in that area.
What most likely will not create any issues with protection is the stainless steel cage – no ball should be a threat to it.
And again, just like the Mizuno G4 helmet, the Rawlings helmet has several color options to choose from, as well as complies with the NOCSAE standards.
- Moisture-wicking padding.
- Great visibility.
- Convenient pistol grip.
- Durable stainless steel cage.
- Meets NOCSAE standards.
- Several color options.
- Bulky and heavy.
If you want a hockey-style catcher’s helmet on the less expensive side, then the MVP catcher’s helmet by All-Star might be a good option.
This helmet (which seems to be the All-Star MVP2310 youth helmet) may be somewhat less protective than the pricier Mizuno G4 and Rawlings hockey-style helmets, but it will be more protective than mask-style helmets.
The MVP catcher’s helmet features a double layer of padding, with the second layer being moisture-wicking (as claimed by the product page on the All-Star website). The padding here probably won’t be as protective as in, say, the Mizuno G4 helmet, but it should still provide more than enough protection from impact.
In the front, you again have a steel frame to prevent the ball from damaging the player’s face. Besides, this helmet is claimed to be NOCSAE-compliant.
Like the other hockey-style helmets on the list, the MVP catcher’s helmet has ventilation holes on the top and sides. However, they are pretty small, which may mean less comfort in hot weather than with the Rawlings or Mizuno helmets.
But all in all, given the price of this thing, you are getting quite the value out of the All-Star helmet.
- Quite inexpensive for a hockey-style helmet.
- Durable steel frame.
- Decent ventilation.
- Moisture-wicking padding.
- A few color options available.
- On the bulkier side.
- TThe ventilation holes are relatively small.
Finally, we have this catcher’s mask by Coast Athletic. As a catcher’s mask, it shares many features with the Champion catcher’s mask overviewed above, but it has a few different things as well.
Most notably, the forehead and chin padding here is made from “special leather” that is claimed to wick away moisture and resist the growth of bacteria. You could thus expect this protection mask to be comfortable to wear in hotter weather.
The frame here is made from steel for added protection, and the mask also has extended ear guards. With that said, its throat guard is pretty short, though the product description claims that the throat guard is extended. It may be, but the Champion catcher’s mask seems to have better throat protection.
Lastly, being a catcher’s mask, the Coast Athletic mask is very easy to put on and take off. It’s lightweight and less fatiguing as well.
- Easy to put on and take off.
- Extended ear guards.
- Moisture-wicking and bacteria-resistant padding.
- The throat guard is kind of short.
- Little side protection.
Choosing The Best Youth Catcher’s Helmet
Catcher’s helmet vs maskYou’ve probably noticed that we overviewed two types of helmets – hockey-style helmets and traditional catcher’s masks (sometimes also called two-piece masks). Of course, both provide protection, but they are pretty different. To help you understand what the difference between these two helmet styles is, let’s have a look at their pros & cons.
The pros of catcher’s masks are as follows:
- Inexpensiveness. Catcher’s masks tend to be inexpensive, which makes them great if you want pocket-friendly head protection.
- Lightness. Catcher’s masks have less material in them and are noticeably lighter than catcher’s helmets.
- Great ventilation. Since catcher’s masks do not cover the entire head, they have much better ventilation than helmets and are more comfortable to wear in warm weather.
- Easy to put on and take off. Catcher’s masks are very easy to put on and take off, which may especially matter at important match moments when the catcher throws the mask off for a show.
On the other hand, here are the cons of catcher’s masks:
- Less protection. Although catcher’s masks have ample padding, they provide less protection than helmets. This applies more to the sides and back – in the front, the protection levels can be very close depending on the build of the mask. Catcher’s masks usually have ear and throat guards to maximize protection, but they do not provide any protection from side or back shots.
- Less stability. Catcher’s masks do not sit on the head as snugly as helmets, which makes them less stable and more prone to shifting during rapid movements.
- Worse visibility. This doesn’t apply to every catcher’s mask, but catcher’s masks tend to have worse visibility than helmets. This is due to the amount of padding in the front, as well as due to structural differences between helmets and masks.
As for hockey-style helmets, their pros are as follows:
- Great protection. Since catcher’s helmets cover the entire head, they offer dramatically more protection than catcher’s masks. In the front, catcher’s helmets are similar to masks – it’s the sides and the back where the difference is significant.
- Good visibility. Catcher’s helmets usually have more open front areas, which allows for better visibility.
- High stability. Given that the helmet sits snug on the head of your kid, rapid movements aren’t going to shift the helmet around.
And the cons of hockey-style helmets are:
- Price. Catcher’s helmets tend to be pretty expensive – in some cases, you may see a double price difference between helmets and masks.
- Heaviness and bulkiness. Catcher’s helmets usually have more open front areas, which allows for better visibility.
- Difficult to remove. You can’t throw a helmet off as easily as a catcher’s mask.
When it comes to sizing, you have two options – youth masks (today’s topic) and adult masks. Generally, it’s believed that children aged 12 and older may wear adult masks, but this depends on the head size.
To pick the right size for your kid, be sure to consult the size chart provided by the manufacturer of the helmet. Generally, the sizing is based on the head circumference, which is the distance around the back of the head right above eyebrows and ears.
If the manufacturer provides different guidelines for size measurement, follow them instead.
It’s important that the helmet fits your kid’s head just right. Unlike youth clothing where you can get a larger size for some future-proofing, helmets should fit snug and shouldn’t be too large. Otherwise, they will not provide adequate protection from impact.
A helmet that’s too small is also not ideal since it will not be comfortable.
Some helmets may also have removable foam lining, which will allow you to adjust the fit of the helmet to some extent.
Thicker padding equates to better protection, so try to pick a helmet with more padding.
It may also be useful to get a helmet that has removable padding. As mentioned above, this would allow for some size adjustment, as well as for easier cleaning.
Moisture wicking is another nice feature to have in a youth catcher’s helmet – it will allow your kid to stay more comfortable during intense plays on hot days.
Finally, when shopping for a catcher’s helmet, check whether it complies with NOCSAE (National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment) standards. NOCSAE has stringent requirements that protective equipment should comply with, so a NOCSAE-compliant helmet will probably be safer.
You may check the compliance of the desired helmet by visiting the website of the Safety Equipment Institute (SEI). NOCSAE just issues standards, while SEI is the body that does the certification.
Keep in mind the SEI list may not be up to date and may be missing some catcher’s helmet models.
Be very careful and picky when choosing a helmet – though your kid may quickly outgrow it, you should get the best helmet you can to ensure adequate protection. Don’t scrimp on a good helmet – cheap helmets have protection or quality compromises that make them cost less.
Don’t forget to listen to your child as well – if they want something specific, then you may want to get them what they want.