Half Helmet Vs Open Face | Are these Helmets Safe?

Out of the vast helmet variety, half helmets and open face helmets are commonly used by motorcyclists due to their aerodynamic structure. Since they provide more air from the open front, they are mainly preferred by those who desire more ventilation. Besides having a common airy nature, there are slight variations too in their configuration.

The significance of having their awareness is that you will be able to choose the better and more compatible one according to your requirements once you know their design. Hence, in this article, you will come across the details on half helmet vs open face set forth by showing their features and parts along with their comparison. 

Before moving further, it is vital to know that both helmets are used on even terrain i.e. plain roads for daily commutes. They both have a strong outer shell that protects the skull and an inner EPS liner that acts like a cushion for the brain and absorbs the shocking impact of an accident. The difference lies in their front, chin, and neck coverage. See the following details on each helmet individually. 

Half helmet


Its front side is open and it covers the head up to the ears only rarely the bottom head too but neck coverage is not included in this half face helmet


Usually, a motorcycle headgear has a visor and a sun shield that protects the eyes from sun glare and keeps the road dust away from the face. However, they don’t let the air penetrate. So, you are left with the vent channels only for getting fresh air to breathe. 

In cold weather, this is fine but in warm weather, it can make the condition pretty miserable inside. You start sweating badly and when the moisture-wicking liner becomes unable to absorb sweat, it starts popping over your forehead and eyebrows. Thereafter, riding becomes challenging. You may also begin to undergo breathing shortness that further makes the situation vulnerable. 

To deal with these criticalities, riders either flip the visor up or get a helmet without it. Flipping the visor up fixes the problem greatly but the weight of the helmet and its extension up to the neck is not favorable to some travelers. In this wake, they look for a helmet that is airy but at the same time light. That’s when they opt for either a half helmet or an open face.

However, in the context of half helmet vs full helmet, this is to say that a half helmet doesn’t generally have a visor and is lighter than the other so this can be compatible for such people. 

Some brands have integrated visors and sun shields in the helmets but it is not found in all cases. 

Following this, being open from the front your face is completely exposed to the fresh air to make you breathe properly and avert sweating. However, you won’t be able to keep rain, heat, cold air, debris, and flying insects off the face. Thereby, in winter the cold air currents can be troubling for you. 

In the daytime, you can wear goggles for sun shielding which will also protect your eyes from dust. 

Besides the visor, the half face helmet also lacks full neck coverage. It safeguards the major portion of the head only but not the neck and chin. This is the reason it is recommended for off-road riding. 

As this helmet covers the three-forth of the head, it is also referred to as ¾ helmet.   


  • With the open front, a good fraction of air will keep circulating inside the helmet to make you breathe well.
  • The air keeps the head cool and prevents sweating
  • You feel less weight over the head due to lesser material.  


  • It provides the least safety. The face, neck, and chin can undergo severe damage in an untoward situation because they remain uncovered.
  • In the absence of a face shield, the face doesn’t have any protection against weather conditions, birds, and detritus.  

Open face helmet


It is open from the front but it encompasses complete head and neck protection.

Also Read: Why Do Dirt Bike Helmets Have Visors?


Like the previous helmet, an open face helmet is open from the front side so plenty of air keeps the motorcyclist fresh along the way. Especially if you have to go far, this is very practical. Also, the sweat and head moisture will not make you lose consciousness. 

An open helmet can have a full or partial visor. But the absence of a face shield will make you go through the same troubles as in a half face helmet such as openness to the environment and particulate matter. At night, the insect attack will be another problem. However, the sun shield or goggles will keep these things off the eyes to a great extent.

Unlike the 3/4 helmet, this helmet covers the neck so it is safer than that.    

However, an open helmet is yet not a good substitute for uneven pathways such as rough trails. To put it another way, in thrilling you encounter recurrent falls whereby the face damage has entire likelihood. You will get the head and neck protection through the outer shell and inner foam but the face will remain susceptible. 

In a nutshell, an open face helmet is feasible for those who have ventilation issues and sweat problems but are concerned with safety too. Also, they have to ride over the street and local roads instead of on uneven terrain. 


  • The open front keeps the helmet well-ventilated for fresh breathing and sweat reduction.   
  • It covers the head thoroughly.
  • It provides maximum protection to the neck along with the head. 


  • The chin remains unprotected.
  • If the visor is not built, it cannot be used in dusty environments and on bumpy roads, particularly where the likelihoods of accidents are high.  

Half helmet vs open face – comparison

Both of the helmets are used by on-road travelers on local streets and roads where the environment around is occupied by varied temperature outlooks. Based on the temperature and comfort, the riders do not remain bound to a specific kind of helmet but rather choose from a diversity.

In that diversity, a half helmet and an open helmet are selected by those who cannot ride comfortably in a closed helmet. So both of the helmets are open from the front side where inhalation and exhalation take place in the open air. However, both the helmet have some differences such as:

  • Both helmets are open from the front side. 
  • The half face helmet doesn’t usually cover the neck but the open face is extended up to the neck.
  • The open-face headgear always covers the full head while the half helmet covers the 3/4 head. 
  • Both helmets comprise a strong shell and an inner EPS liner that can be integrated with the latest technologies i.e. WaveCel and MITS. 
  • The visor is not built in the half helmet but a face shield is usually made on an open face. 
  • In case, a visor or sun shield is not provided, goggles can be used in both helmets for eye protection.

Besides this, a half face helmet is commonly used by old people and an open helmet by the younger. 

Bottom line

You have got to know the definite aspects of half helmet vs open face that depict their resemblances and variations. They both have their upsides and downsides that make their use specific. However, an open face helmet is safer than a half helmet as regards its structure. 

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