Are you into recreational deep-sea diving or work for a commercial diving outfit? If so, you are probably all too familiar with the piece of equipment known as a diving helmet.
The best helmets make a world of difference whether you're recreationally deep sea diving at your favorite diving locations around the world, or professionally leading dives at popular sites somewhere between Belize and the Cayman Islands.
No matter the reason, buying a diving helmet is far from an everyday purchase. Several serious aspects need to be considered beforehand, including the manufacturer’s knowledge and reputation.
Also, you want to take the quality of materials the unit consists of into account. The overall weight, as well as compatibility with other diving equipment such as air hoses, pumps, and wetsuits, are also important factors.
A diving helmet is a simple enough piece of equipment to understand. It is an entirely airtight enclosure for your head while you are under the surface of the water.
Some models are designed to function with scuba diving equipment. However, for the most part, they are mainly used with surface-supplied gas by professional, or commercial, deep sea divers. These helmets allow for dive depths of several hundreds of feet.
The helmet protects the divers entire head while they are submerged, as well as delivers gases to the diver's lungs which allows the diver to breathe.
Dive helmets also function as one of the main components of the diver's communications systems that lets them talk to those back on the surface. Without a helmet, the diver would be forced to have a rebreather in their mouth, like scuba divers.
Diving helmets aren’t exactly cheap, costing a few thousand dollars at the least, but they are at least extremely customizable. A diving helmet is a once in a lifetime purchase, so, finding the perfect match to your gear is incredibly important.
More than likely, you will need to special order a unit to match your exact specs. Thankfully, there are several reputable diving helmet makers around, such as Kirby Morgan or Gorski.
FAQs About Diving Helmets
When making a major purchasing decision, such as with diving equipment, you need to consider as much information as possible. As we mentioned, this information includes how the helmet will attach to your suit or if it has a neck dam.
Also, how much it weighs, what sort of materials it consists of, its depth rating, and much more. Here are a few of the most frequently asked questions about diving helmets to help you along.
When do I need to use a diving helmet?
Diving helmets are common pieces of equipment for deep-sea divers to use, especially the commercial sort of divers. However, they can be used in place of scuba and recreational diving masks in shallower waters as well.
The term “deep-sea diving” is a reference to diving in a suit fully equipt with a pump and air hose on the surface of the water.
How does a diving helmet work?
Diving helmets are similar to astronaut style helmets. They are fed a steady supply of air from the surface via a hose and a diving pump. The dive helmet attaches to a waterproof diving suit. Diving weights also attach to the chest area of the suit, as well as the diving fins or shoes, as a method of counter-buoyancy.
What are diving helmets made of?
Depending on the model, different driving helmets consist of different materials. A standard diving helmet may copper, brass, or bronze, while other helmets may consist of more advanced space-age type materials.
How many types of diving helmets exist?
There are several significant types of diving helmets. The most often used diving helmet designs include the standard diving helmet, the lightweight demand helmet, or sponge helmet, the shallow water helmet, and the free-flow helmet.
How We Reviewed
To bring you the most up-to-date and factual diving helmet review and buyer’s guide, we plunged deep beneath the surface of the interwebs in search of pertinent information.
We looked at diving guides, forums, review sites, and customer ratings and complaints about diving helmets. What we found was more than enough to develop a list of the top diving helmets to consider purchasing.
Top Diving Helmets
Here’s our list of the top diving helmets. You’ll find a product summary and mini-review for each of our well-researched picks below.
Kirby Morgan SuperLite SL 27 Diving Helmet
Diving helmets by Kirby Morgan are incredibly well-crafted top-of-the-line products. The SuperLite SL 27 is the smallest Kirby Morgan unit available. It has a Tri-Valce exhaust system, SuperFlow 350 regulator, side block and nose block devices, and meets all European standards for diving equipment.
The CE approves of the helmet. It's also CR rated, and easy to use, breakdown, service, and clean. The regulator consists of 316 stainless steel, and the helmet is compatible with the 455 balanced regulators as well.
This purchase includes a helmet, logbook, helmet bag, toolkit, neck dam assembly, head cushion assembly, test specifications for the helmet, current certification and warranty registration card.
The helmet costs between $7,183 and $8,265.
Gorski G3000SS Stainless Steel Diving Helmet
The next item on our list is the Gorski G3000SS Stainless Steel Diving Helmet. It comes with a cutting-edge regulator, double exhaust, durable composite materials, and a fully protected breathing loop.
The diving helmet also comes with frontal impact shields mounted on the side, a balanced design, and is compatible with many other Gorski helmet parts. An excellent field of vision, corrosion and electrolysis resistance, a faceplate retention system, and an optional bailout switch are additional benefits of this helmet.
It also has a two and four wire communications system built-in. This durable and dependable unit is suitable for all diving depths, offers superior breathing performance and excellent balance.
The helmet costs between $8,000 and $8,050.
Mark V Navy Diving Helmet (Early Model)
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This early type rear mounted canister helmet is the U.S. Navy model based on the standard Mark V Diving Helmet. It features a Helium conserving Venturi system for superior recirculation of breathing gas. The canister uses a Carbon Dioxide removing scrubbing agent mix and is easy to remove.
Most of the parts used in these models of diving helmets are the same specs as the Mark V Dive Helmet, except for the extra communications elbow and spitcock valve. This early single exhaust version does not have the triple exhaust of helmets made during and after the 1950’s.
The early model Mark V Navy style helmet is available for purchase on Desco. It has a price range of $10,600 to $10,650. There are no current customer ratings. However, this diving helmet is a classic and proven piece of diving equipment that has been in use for well over half a century.
Browne Utility Diving Helmet
The Brown Utility Dive Helmet is a descendant of the helmet above. It is a low volume free flow helmet for professional and commercial divers. The helmet comes with a wrap-around viewport, a double exhaust valve, and a conveniently built-in non-return valve elbow.
The innovative transceiver receptacle also works as a communications elbow for superior connectivity. It is fully compatible with DESCO yokes and Air Hat neck dams, as well as having a small spitcock valve. This wrap around window helmet is on DESCO. It has a price range of $6,500 to $7,500. There are no current customer ratings or complaints.
Kirby Morgan 97 Diving Helmet
The second item from Kirby Morgan to feature on our list is the 97 Diving Helmet. It comes with an all 316 stainless steel 455 rebreather and is setting new standards for commercial diving helmets.
The unit has a quick change communications module, a gas supply non-return valve, and a heavy-duty fiberglass and carbon fiber shell. It also comes with whisper wings to keep bubbles out of your field of view underwater as well as a silicone oral-nasal mask. The helmet has a top handle, air train, and an emergency EGS valve too.
The price range for this helmet is $8,695 to $9,910.
ORB Scuba Diving Helmet
The last item on our list is the Oxygen Rebreather Scuba Dive Helmet. It is perhaps the most cutting-edge diving helmet under development in the history of diving.
When the futurist diving helmet is complete, it will allow deep sea divers to breathe underwater without the added weight of heavy diving equipment. The working concept of the helmet is to recycle the diver’s oxygen while they are under the water. It stems from basic rebreather technology.
A third-year Staffordshire University student from the UK named Thomas Winship revealed plans for the helmet a couple of years ago. He is still working the kinks out of the new-wave device and has hopes to release it soon.
The helmet will consist of multiple layers of lightweight materials which help prevent pressure from building up while diving. It will also feature Bluetooth connectivity options and more.
This diving helmet is not yet on the market. However, if you’re serious about purchasing the best diving equipment, I would keep an eye on the ORB Diving Helmet.
Pros and Cons
As with any significant piece of recreational equipment, there are both advantages and disadvantages of using diving helmets. Here is a summary of the most significant pros and cons of investing in and using a diving helmet.
Significant advantages of investing in and using diving helmets include the ability to safely dive for hours at a time between depths of 20 to 120 feet below the surface and the advantage of being able to dive with the aid of surface equipment.
That means no more having to lug around heavy tanks on your back or shoulders when diving. A diving helmet is an excellent investment for professional divers, however, isn’t remotely affordable or necessary for a recreational diving enthusiast.
The most significant disadvantages that we found with diving helmets are the facts that they are so ridiculously expensive and are not necessary for recreational or professional diving.
Diving Helmet Safety Warning
Never use a diving helmet without being fully aware of its working condition. Also, do not attempt a dive which requires a helmet if you do not know how to use this particular piece of diving equipment. Avoid diving with a replica helmet as they are not functional in the water.
Selecting The Best Diving Helmet
If you are a diving fanatic with a few thousand dollars to burn or are a pro diver, choosing the best diving helmet isn’t complicated. The U.S. Navy Mark V Diving Helmet is a fan favorite of divers as well as replica collectors. It consists of technology created in the early and mid-1900’s but remains to prove itself worthy year after year.
For those who are looking for a modern diving helmet instead of a classic, like the Mark V, look no further than Kirby Morgan SuperLite SL 27. It is one of the most compact dive helmets that Kirby Morgan has ever produced. It comes full of up-to-date features include a communications system, certification, and a warranty.
Do you have a favorite diving helmet that you’d enjoy sharing with our readers? Do you currently own, or plan to purchase, a diving helmet? Let us know all about it in the comments box below!
Featured Image via Pixabay