MMP 10: Motorcycle Helmets – The Difference between DOT, SNELL and ECE [Podcast]


In this session of the Motorcycle Mentor Podcast, I explain the three major motorcycle helmet certifications. If you live in the United States, you should see a DOT on every motorcycle helmet. If it doesn’t show DOT, then it’s not a real helmet. Some helmets also have the SNELL symbol. I’ll explain the difference in these two markings.

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Listen to the podcast by clicking on the play button at the top of the page.

More specifically, in this session you’ll find out about:

  • What are the three most common certifications: DOT, SNELL and ECE.
  • Why all real helmets in the US must show the DOT symbol to be legal helmets.
  • What is the difference between DOT and SNELL?
  • Which is better, DOT or SNELL?
  • Who uses the ECE rating?

Resources and Links

Comparison of SNELL vs. DOT testing from SNELL website.

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I’d like to personally thank the following people for rating the podcast on iTunes:
Scott Foens, and Rob from Canada. Thanks guys. I appreciate it.

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3 Responses to MMP 10: Motorcycle Helmets – The Difference between DOT, SNELL and ECE [Podcast]

  1. MotorcycleMentor February 19, 2014 at 12:49 pm #

    In the podcast I said that SNELL does not currently test/certify modular helmets. I contacted SNELL directly for clarification. This is their response:


    Mr. Mixson

    Thank you for your question. We do accept modular (flip-up) helmets for
    certification and have even certified a few modular configurations.
    Unfortunately, no manufacturer, as yet, has managed to qualify a complete
    size range of modular helmets meeting the standard. And, so far, those
    manufacturers with the most well-known modular helmet lines have chosen not
    to seek Snell certification for any of their modular helmets.

    Our requirements for modular helmets are the same as for standard full face
    configurations with the added requirement that the chin bar closure be
    reasonably secure so as not to open inadvertently during a crash impact.

    Thanks for your interest.

    Ed Becker
    SNELL Foundation

  2. tim March 21, 2014 at 10:18 pm #

    very nice podcast enjoyed it

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