What is the difference between Snell and DOT approved helmets?
This is really interesting. I thought you should know.
First off, for this post anyway (SMF) will refer to the Snell Memorial Foundation, NOT Stupid Mother F*cker. LOL!
There are two key differences between a DOT and Snell approved helmet.
First, is the testing standards the helmets go through, and second, is the verification of the results.
The Snell Memorial Foundation (SMF) was founded in 1957 just after William Snell, A.K.A. Pete, died from massive head trauma from a race car accident. (SMF) is a non-profit organization that focuses on learning more about the components of head injuries, & how to prevent them by using helmets. Through their research (SMF) has developed the Snell standard for approving helmets. It is continually tested and updated every five years.
Although both testing processes are very similar, (SMF) requires their certified helmets to withstand a greater impact and absorb more force than the DOT approved helmets.
Both (SMF) and DOT standards drop the head forms on flat and round shaped anvils in order to simulate different types of impacts. However, Snell also uses an edged anvil that specifically tests the integrity of the helmet's shell.
DOT and Snell test each helmet two times at four different impact zones. DOT drops their helmets from 6 feet on the flat anvil and from a 4.5 feet on the round anvil. Snell drops the helmets from 10 feet and 7.5 feet on both anvils, which simulates a more severe impact.
While there is no guarantee that a DOT approved helmet has actually been tested, the purchase of a Snell approved helmet ensures that the product has been evaluated under scrutiny. A Snell-certified helmet also meets and exceeds the DOT standards.