Go Kart Helmet VS Motorcycle Helmet Compared: What the Difference?

  • By: Kevinsmak
  • Date: January 12, 2023
  • Time to read: 7 min.
Affiliate Disclaimer

As an affiliate, we earn from qualifying purchases. We get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

The major difference between a go-kart helmet and a motorcycle helmet is the Snell Certification Standard. Go-kart helmets fall under the Snell K Standard. They don’t go through a fire rating test. Motorcycle helmets, on the other hand, fall under the Snell M Standard.

If you are looking for a new helmet, you may be wondering if you should buy a go-kart helmet or a motorcycle helmet. Both helmets have their pros and cons, but which one is the best choice for you?

In this blog post, we will compare the two types of helmets and help you decide which one is right for you.

Why You Need a Helmet

We cannot stress enough the need of always donning a helmet when riding. If you want to keep your noggin safe from harm, a helmet is your best bet.

One should always wear a helmet when operating a motorized vehicle, whether a go-kart or a motorcycle.

Go Kart Helmets

Protecting your head from crashes and flying objects is a primary function of a go-kart helmet. Typically, they are constructed from lightweight materials like fiberglass or carbon fiber.

Visors are commonly used on go-kart helmets to shield the driver’s eyes from flying dirt and sand.

Motorcycle Helmets

Protection from falls and road rash are two of the main reasons why motorcyclists wear helmets. As a rule, they are bulkier and built of stronger materials like Kevlar or polycarbonate.

To shield your eyes from the sun and road debris, most motorcycle helmets feature visors that can be flipped down.

Go Kart Helmet VS Motorcycle Helmet Compared: What the Difference?

While both helmets have very similar features, there are a few key differences between go-kart helmets and motorcycle helmets. They include the following, among others:

Snell Certification

Go-kart helmets are under the Snell K certification standard. A Snell K helmet falls under the same category as auto racing helmets, which have a Snell SA (Special Application) certification standard.

The only difference is that the Snell K helmets don’t go through a fire rating test.

Motorcycle helmets, on the other hand, fall under the Snell M certification standard. These types of helmets are tested for their resistance to penetration, flammability, and ability to protect the wearer’s head from impact.

Impact Testing

Snell K helmets, under which go-kart helmets fall, go through thorough multi-impact testing for vehicle roll bars. Snell M helmets, on the other hand, do not?

Why? A go-kart has roll bars and, therefore, there is a good chance that the driver’s head will hit the roll bar in the event of an accident. Motorcycles, however, don’t have roll bars and so the impact test isn’t as necessary.


It is important to note that riders/drivers of these two types of vehicles sit in varying positions. While a go-kart driver often seat in an upright position, a motorcycle riders will often find themselves sitting so they are as perpendicular to their bike as possible.

This difference in position changes the aerodynamics of the helmet and, as such, impacts the design.

So a go-kart helmet will often have a flat edge and a rounded shape, unlike a motorcycle helmet which will have a more tear-drop shape. It will be angulated such that it cuts through the wind when the rider is leaning forward on their bike.

Eye Ports

The ventilation on both helmets is quite similar. However, where they differ is in the size and placement of the eye-port.

The eye port on a motorcycle helmet is often larger and placed further back on the helmet.

This is because motorcycle riders often wear goggles that need a larger opening. Additionally, the placement of the eye-port allows for better airflow when the rider is leaning forward.

In contrast, go-kart helmets have smaller eye ports that are placed closer to the front of the helmet. This is because go-kart drivers don’t typically wear goggles.


The aerodynamic properties of these two helmet designs are another point of differentiation. The tear-drop form of many motorcycle helmets is intentional, as it allows the helmet to better slice through the air.

Go-kart helmets, on the other hand, aren’t designed to be as aerodynamic. Therefore, they tend to be more spherical.

Can I Use a Motorcycle Helmet for Go-Kart Racing?

While you can technically use a motorcycle helmet for go-karting, it is not recommended. This is because motorcycle helmets are not designed with go-karting in mind and, as such, may not offer the same level of protection.

For instance, we have discussed above that the aerodynamics of motorcycle helmets are designed for cutting through the wind. However, this same feature can actually work against you when go-karting as it increases the risk of neck injuries.

Also, its design may make you uncomfortable since you are seated in an upright position in a go-kart, while the helmet is designed for an angulated sitting position on a motorcycle.

So, while you can technically use a motorcycle helmet for go-karting, it is not the ideal choice. Go-kart-specific helmets are always the best option when go-karting.

Importance of Getting the Right Helmet

When choosing a helmet, it’s important to be sure it’s designed for the sport or activity you plan to participate in. For the simple reason that various tasks necessitate various degrees of safety precautions.

A football helmet, for instance, is meant to prevent brain damage in the event of a head-on collision. However, it is not built to absorb impact from a fall, so it wouldn’t do much good if you happened to take a fall off a motorcycle.

A go-kart helmet is very similar to a motorcycle helmet. When worn, they offer different kinds of protection because they’re made for different kinds of work.

The protective value will vary depending on the type of helmet being used; for example, a motorcycle helmet will not provide the same level of safety for go-karting. So, it’s crucial to purchase a helmet that’s made for the sport or hobby you’ll be participating in.

Go Kart Helmet VS Motorcycle Helmet Compared: FAQs

Final Thoughts

There are striking differences between a go-kart helmet and a motorcycle helmet, the most notable being their design. Hopefully, this article has helped you understand a bit more about the differences between these two types of helmets.

Remember, always choose a helmet that is designed for the activity you’ll be doing. Your safety depends on it!

Please be careful and use at your own risk
None of the authors, contributors, administrators, or anyone else connected with RCRideOnCars.com, in any way whatsoever, can be responsible for your use of the information contained in or linked to these web pages.