Arborist Helmets – What Are They and Who Needs Them?

Whether one climbs buildings, trees, or any height out of interest or due to work compulsions, an arborist helmet is a must to keep safety concerns at bay. They typically protect the user from head, neck, and face injuries. These helmets are rated and are differently suited for different work environments. Hence one must understand how to pick the correct one and for which particular use. This article aims at simplifying that process.

Desirable features of arborist helmets

Since arboricultural and similar operations include the person working at heights, there arise chances of potential head injury from impact. Arborist helmets are equipped to prevent that.

Safety quotient

Injuries at such heights are pretty unpredictable. Therefore, the helmet must be equipped to provide cover against maximum damage. Helmets providing cover against both vertical and horizontal shocks are preferred. It should also contain a dense wire mesh at the front to prevent untoward abrasions. A proper American National Standards Institute certification makes the helmet instantly reliable.

Adjustable and lightweight

Arborist helmets that can be adjusted effortlessly are preferred. At such heights, discomfort can come in the way of the person’s safety. Quickly adjustable helmets can help keep the climber comfortable. In addition, lightweight helmets keep the climber flexible and prevent headaches and sprains from the headgear, especially during long work hours.

Fitting and ventilation

Arborists work at heights that others might be pretty scared to contemplate. At such altitudes, loose helmets can escalate the chances of accidents, which is why adequately fitted arborist helmets with required cushioning are ideal. Their work can get very tiring, making well-ventilated helmets with sweat absorption capacity the proper ones.

Shock absorption

Arborist helmets with attachable and detachable ear pads are better equipped for shock absorption and prevention of injuries. Advanced rear neck protection, enhanced vision through clear visors, and neck balancing can be extra bonuses.

Different types of arborist jobs

Now that the desirable features of arborist helmets have been discussed, the types of arborist jobs and risk levels need to be put forth to pick the correct one for one’s use. It will make the process easier.

Commercial arborists

Also known as ‘practicing arborists,’ the arborists here plant trees, prune them regularly, inspect them for further damage, and help in pest control. When required, they also help in removing trees. They help improve the look of trees by recognizing diseased branches and removing them. These arborists can either be self-employed or hired by private tree care agencies. This job has a comparatively lower level of risk, and the helmets to be used here need not be too featureful, as that can make the work unnecessarily complicated.

Municipal arborists

These arborists provide similar services as the commercial ones, only on a larger scale. They work for municipal corporations and help manage tree parks and green spaces owned by them. They primarily work with trees along streets and around public buildings, which is why they are more responsible for the safety of public transport from harmful and unwanted flora. Since they work at the government level, these arborists hired are often ISA (Industry Standard Architecture) certified, as opposed to private or self-employed ones. This type includes higher risk levels, and the helmets used should preferably have as many of the features as possible stated before.

Utility arborists

They arguably perform the riskiest work as arborists. In addition to regular responsibilities as arborists, they must prevent electrical outages due to floral disturbances around public facilities. If and when such an outage occurs, they are employed to rectify the problem. They are experts in their fields, often directing and overseeing similar activities and advising on tree planting near electric power lines. Public utility companies usually hire them. Due to this job’s heightened risk levels, the highest safety precautions, including the helmets worn, are recommended. They should preferably contain each of the ‘desirable’ features and safety padding against electrical shocks.

Variations in arborist helmets

The reader is now acquainted with the probable features of a good arborist helmet and the kind of helmet each type of arborist job requires. The discussion now turns to the sort of arborist helmets primarily available in the market and which is best suited for the reader’s use.

Shock absorber

These helmets are built for maximum shock absorption – equally for vertical and horizontal ones. They are adequately padded from all sides to keep the user safe from sudden abrasions and harsh weather conditions. They come with a dense wire mesh in the front to help keep the eyes from damage from tree branches. They also are equipped to provide rear neck and backhead protection. Sweat absorption is a bonus here. These helmets have varying ventilation levels and should always be checked before being opted for. Nonetheless, they are a good call in high-risk environments.

Fitting ventilated helmets

These helmets usually don’t carry the front-wired mesh and are a universal fit for all head sizes. They are best equipped for comfortable fitting, quickly adjustable, and lightweight – a helpful feature at heights. They also offer maximum visibility and ventilation. The usual drawback here is that it doesn’t contain adequate padding, and the safety quotient may be lower. The absence of the mesh exposes the face to unwanted injuries. They are fit for low-risk arborist jobs.

A recap of considerations to make

Therefore, while buying an arborist helmet, the person should keep making these general considerations:


Proper safety standards should be maintained, including shock absorption and ear cushioning. For high-risk jobs, the front mesh should be opted for. A certification from ANSI will do much of the job.

Weight and fitting

Helmets fit for one’s head should be a priority. An arborist would never like to work with a wobbly helmet or one which is too tight. Quickly adjustable ones are also preferred. The helmets should be lightweight to prevent neck sprains.


Comfort is a must when working at such altitudes. Soft padding can help the user stay flexible with the helmet. Proper ventilation with optimal sweat absorption during work is also crucial to the user’s comfort.

With these considerations in mind, the various features of arborist helmets, and the user’s specific needs, they should pick the one best suited. Hopefully, this article has contributed to making that probable tiresome process easier.