Virginia Tech’s helmet lab this week released the results of its testing of youth football helmets, and it turns out that not all helmets are created equal. 

While the helmet lab at Virginia Tech has been evaluating helmets for years, this is the first time the university has specifically focused on head protection for younger players.

The $495 VICIS Zero1 Youth performed the best out of the 17 helmets tested, receiving five stars (Best Available) and a score of 0.69 (the lower the score the better). The $300 Schutt Youth Vengeance Z10 received the least satisfactory score, receiving three stars (Good) and a score of 13.17.

Virginia Tech puts all of the helmets through impact tests that evaluate a helmet’s ability to reduce “linear and rotational acceleration of the head resulting from a range of head impacts that youth football players might see on the field.” The lab tests are based on data collected directly from 10- to 14-year-old youth football players that wore helmets equipped with sensors. 

Andy Berg is Executive Editor of Athletic Business.