What’s the difference between a bike helmet and skate helmet?

A common question people ask is, “What’s the difference between a bike helmet and skate helmet?” Aside from the obvious difference in looks, bike and skate helmets are actually functionally different in a couple ways, and you want to make sure you buy the right type of helmet for riding your electric skateboard.

Physical Coverage

You can see the difference in coverage between a regular bike helmet and one designed to protect the back of your head. Image credit: The Sweethome

One major difference between bike helmets and skate helmets is actually related to their distinct designs. Skate helmets, which are traditionally round and smooth, cover the back of your head. This is because they are designed to protect against falls that skateboarders commonly take, where they might land on the back of their head. In contrast, bikers rarely fall of the back of their bikes.

For an electric skateboarder, I would recommend getting a helmet that covers the back of your head like a traditional skate helmet does. Because your board has the ability to accelerate quickly, you could be thrown off and backwards if you misjudge how much throttle you’re applying.

Impact Resistance

EPS Foam Cross Section. CPSC-certified bike and skate helmets are usually made out of this hard foam, with a thin hard shell on the outside of the helmet.

The other major difference between a regular skate helmet and a bike helmet is the ability to protect against different types of impact. Traditional, non-certified, skate helmets are designed with a softer foam shell that protects against multiple small impacts. In contrast, a bike helmet is made out of a hard EPS foam that is designed to take one large impact and break, after which you need to replace the helmet.

Though traditional skate helmets, designed for normal skateboards and longboards, are often not certified, you can (and should) get a skate helmet that uses the same hard EPS foam a bike helmet has, that still protects the back of your head. You can easily tell which skate helmets are designed this way by making sure they are CPSC certified.

What helmet should I buy?

All of the helmets I’ve listed in my helmet guide are CPSC certified and designed to protect the back of your head. As long as you ensure you have a certified helmet that also protects the back of your head, you will be much safer on your electric skateboard.