The best hard hats to recommend to your construction team

What are the best hard hats for a construction project? COS referred to industry specialists to find the top protective headwear for the job site

The best hard hats to recommend to your construction team
The best hard hats for your construction team must provide both comfort and fit, apart from protection from various job site risks.

Hard hats are a legal requirement in all construction projects in Canada – and for good reason. Head injuries are among the top hazards in the worksite. Wearing a hard hat protects a worker against the risk of long-term disability or fatal injury should an accident strike.

This type of head protection, however, comes in various classes, materials, and comfort systems. That’s why picking the right hard hats for your needs can be challenging.

In this article, the Canadian Occupational Safety lists the best hard hats for general construction worker needs based on reviews from industry experts. We will also explain the technical specifications and give you a walkthrough of the different considerations when shopping for the right protection.

What are the best hard hats for your construction project?

The best hard hats for your job site depend on the type of construction work your team is doing. The items featured in our list come in different classes and configurations, but they are all highly recommended by industry specialists. Depending on your project, one model may be better suited than the other. That’s why we decided to arrange the list alphabetically.

Here are the 10 best hard hats to recommend to your construction team, according to industry experts.


1. DAX cap-style safety hard hat

Type/Class: Type 1; Class C
Crown material: Carbon fiber
Weight: 450g
Price range: $205 to $310*

Lift Safety’s DAX hard hat uses carbon fiber-reinforced resin for its shell for better structural rigidity. Its synthetic leather comfort dome comes with a molded EVA foam insert for improved shock-absorption.

The cap-style hard hat has a six-point suspension system and an oversized ratcheting fitment dial for easy adjustment even while wearing gloves. It provides Type 1, Class C head protection. The hard hat has also been tested to withstand temperatures up to 177 C.


2. Honeywell E-1 full-brim hard hat

Type/Class: Type 1; Class E, G, or C
Crown material: Thermoplastic
Weight: 403.7g
Price range: $45 to $49*

Honeywell’s full brim hard hat has a heat- and scratch-resistant thermoplastic crown. It features an eight-point ratchet suspension system that can be adjusted easily using a quick-turn knob. This allows it to fit nearly any head size.

The protective headwear’s 360-degree padded sweatband lets it absorb frontal impact, reducing the risk of forehead injury. Models with reflective tape for low-visibility conditions are also available. Honeywell’s full brim hard hat comes in seven colors. It provides Type 1, Class E, G, or C protection.

3. JSP Evolution Deluxe 6161 full-brim hard hat

Type/Class: Type 1; Class C
Crown material: HDPE
Weight: 425.2g
Price range: $48 to $57.50*

This full-brim hard hat from JSP provides a wide area of protection from falling debris and rain. This makes it one of the best hard hats for construction projects in Canada, especially those building stuff in rainy Vancouver!
The model has an HDPE shell that provides Type 1, Class C protection. It also features a comfortable six-point suspension system with a dermatologically tested sweatband for enhanced comfort. The safety hat can be adjusted from size 6⅝ to 8.

4. Klein Tools 60407 vented hard hat with headlamp

Type/Class: Type 1, Class C
Crown material: ABS
Weight: 590g
Price range: $95 to $105*

This vented hard hat from Klein Tools is one of the favorites among industry experts. It comes with a foam-padded four-point suspension system that distributes weight evenly. The safety hat also has built-in adjustable vents that enable the wearer to control airflow--is it winter in Winnipeg where you’re working? Keep that heat in! Is it sweltering in the August heat in Toronto? Let that heat out!

But among the features that propelled the model to our best hard hats list is its rechargeable magnetic light that clips on easily. You just never know when a little more light might come in handy, especially on new projects that may not have all power systems hooked up. This, along with its ABS shell, adds heft, which the user might feel after wearing it for hours. At 590 grams, this is the heaviest helmet on our list.


5. LANON full-brim hard hat

Type/Class: Type 1, Class C
Crown material: FRP
Weight: 549g
Price range: $39 to $54*

The full-brim hard hat from LANON has a fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) shell that’s lightweight and durable. Yes, that shell does indeed come in these interesting colour combinations and patterns. Wanna hide on your jobsite? Maybe this isn’t the right hard hat for you! LoL. You can always opt for their plain black and plain white options, too.

It has a four-point ratchet suspension system, removable soft brow pad, and adjustable chin strap for enhanced stability and comfort. The hard hat can be adjusted to fit most head sizes. It offers Type 1, Class C protection. 

6. Malta Dynamics cap-style hard hat

Type/Class: Type 1, Class E and G
Crown material: HDPE
Weight: 400g
Price range: $87.64 to $87.69*

The Malta Dynamics cap-style hard hat has an HDPE crown and an easily adjustable four-point ratchet suspension system. It should also be noted that its weight, at 400 grams, is tied with 2 other hard hats for the lightest helmet in our list.

It comes in a reversible design for workers who prefer a backward fit--you never know when you might wanna get a litte more sun off your neck. The hard hat withstands temperatures between -22 C and 60 C, making it perfect for everything from the Yukon to the hottest summer day in Windsor. It provides Type 1, Class E and G protection.  

7. Milwaukee full-brim hard hat

Type/Class: Type 1, Class C
Crown material: PE
Weight: 425.2g
Price range: $143 to $155*

Milwaukee’s full-brim model comes with a six-point suspension system. It also offers a larger ratcheting range than most models in our best hard hats list. This means it can fit more head sizes.

The vented headgear provides Type 1, Class C protection. Non-vented Class E versions are also available. The hard hat comes with a headlamp mount and marker clip. In total, it has six accessory slots where users can also attach sun, face, and ear protection. The hard hat meets CSA standard Z94.1-15 requirements. 

8. MSA V-Gard slotted full-brim hard hat

Type/Class: Type 1, Class E
Crown material: Polyethylene
Weight: 400g
Price range: $26 to $42*

MSA’s V-Gard hard hat provides full-brim coverage and Type 1, Class E protection. It also comes with a self-adjusting headband that slides in a comfortable position as the wearer tightens the ratchet knob.

Its HDPE shell withstands extremely low and high temperatures. The protective headwear comes in a reversible design and has accessory slots on each side. The V-Gard complies with CSA standard Z94.1-15.

9. Pyramex Ridgeline full-brim hard hat

Type/Class: Type 1, Class C
Crown material: ABS
Weight: 400g
Price range: $60.97 to $62.22*

Another favorite among industry experts in our best hard hats list, the Pyramex’s Ridgeline is made of lightweight ABS. It has a four-point ratchet suspension system that tightens easily and a four-way harness that adjusts forward, backward, upward, and downward.

The hard hat comes with a vented pressure pad and a replaceable sweatband. It also provides electrical insulation. 

10. WaveCel full-brim hard hat

Type/Class: Type 2, Class C
Crown material: PC
Weight: 482g
Price: $220** WaveCel’s full-brim hard hat has a four-point suspension system that rests directly on the PC shell, allowing it to spread weight out better than similar systems. The model also replaces high-density foam protection with wave-shaped padding. This lets it maximize airflow and reduce its weight.

The hard hat comes with side vents that allow heat to escape and large rear vents to let the breeze roll across the wearer’s head. If we were giving out an award for the hard hat with the sleekest, most futuristic look, this would probably be the one. It looks like something Apple would design.

*Price ranges are from as of June 12, 2024

**Price is from as of June 12, 2024

What should you consider when choosing the best hard hat for construction projects?

Hard hats are a type of personal protective equipment (PPE) that shields the head from injuries resulting from:

  • falling objects
  • burns
  • electrical current
  • sharp objects
  • harmful liquid

Check out our comprehensive list of personal safety equipment that each industry in Canada needs in this guide. 

Hard hats are mandatory for all construction projects across the country. All staff working at the job site must always wear protective headgear. But to find the right hard hats for your construction team, there are certain factors you need to consider:

1. Design

Hard hats come in different designs that provide varying levels of protection.

Brim hard hats

This type of safety headwear comes with a single brim on the front to give the wearer some eye protection. Brim hard hats suit workers whose jobs involve significant exposure to sunlight.

Cap-style hard hats

These are similar to brim hard hats but often come with longer brims that provide additional protection to the face. Cap-style hard hats have lengthy visors that resemble baseball caps.

Full-brim hard hats

These come with larger brims that surround the entire hat designed to provide an additional layer of protection. Besides shielding from sunlight, full-brim hard hats deflect rain away from the head and face.

Ventilated hard hats

These hard hats feature vents to allow airflow in to keep the head cool while working. The vents are often located on the sides near the brim. Ventilated hard hats are commonly worn by construction workers who aren’t exposed to electrical risks.  

2. Suspension system

Suspension systems provide the wearer with a comfortable and secure fit. There are generally three types:

  • ratchet: the most common type of suspension system, this adjusts by twisting a knob on the back of the hard hat
  • pin lock: this adjusts by moving the pin to the proper hole for the best fit
  • one-touch: this adjusts by squeezing the lock to achieve the appropriate fit using one hand, unlike in a pin lock system that requires two hands

3. Classification

The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) categorizes hard hats into different classes and types indicating the level of protection they provide.

Best hard hats – Types and classes of hard hats in Canada

4. Materials

Hard hats are made of different materials, which can influence the cost. Most protective headwear have shells or crowns in the following materials:

  • acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS): a lightweight but durable plastic that’s also among the cheapest options; can offer Class C, G, or E protection
  • aluminum: a durable metal and one of the heaviest options; also the most conductive material
  • carbon fiber: a strong, lightweight, and fairly pricey material that offers Class C protection
  • fiberglass: a type of reinforced plastic that uses glass fiber; lightweight and provides Class G protection
  • high-density polyethylene (HDPE): one of the top options for Class E hard hats because of the material’s low conductivity
  • resin: often used as a coating material, it is resistant to electric current and provide Class G and E protection

In rare instances, the best hard hats can also be made of Kevlar. This material is bulletproof but very expensive. Kevlar also provides Class C protection only, making it not ideal for work sites with electrical risks.  

Hard hats FAQs

Is there a colour code for hard hats in Canada?

Unlike in the US where hard hats are colour-coded, the CSA standard Z94.1-15 doesn’t assign colours to protective headwear for different jobs. Worksites, however, may implement their own colour coding schemes. CCOHS emphasizes: “It is important that attention is focused on a hazard assessment and ensuring the hard hat provides the protection required – not the colour.”

Do hard hats expire?

Hard hats don’t technically expire but CCOHS recommends wearers to inspect their protective headwear before each use. Users should look for signs of general wear and tear, including cracks, dents, cuts or other damage. Hard hats exposed to extreme heat or chemicals may become chalky, dull, or less flexible. If any of these signs appear, CCOHS advises to no longer use the hard hat and replace it immediately.

In addition, the CSA standard Z94.1-15 requires certain labels on the protective headwear, including the year and month of manufacture. Manufacturers may also state the expected lifespan of the headwear.

Can you modify your hard hat?

CCOHS strongly advises never to modify a hard hat. The organization cites “if there is a hard hat available on the market that comes with welding goggles, it is safer to buy this type of hat than it is to try to make one in your garage.”

In addition, any modification that damages the hard hat’s structure makes it unsuitable for use and, therefore, must be replaced.

Visit our Product Resources page for more news and information about workplace safety equipment and devices in Canada.

What is your pick for the best hard hats for construction projects? Let us know in the comments.