Last Updated on Samuel Franklinby
Best Tarkov Helmet Tier List 2021 – Helmet Guide
Looking for the best Tarkov helmet to protect your head in EFT raids? Choosing a helmet is an important loadout selection in Escape From Tarkov with a number of factors to consider that leave many wondering what is the best helmet to use regularly.
While not as confusing to players as ammo, headsets or armours helmet selection still has its own interesting quirks in Tarkov that need consideration and will change based on your budget and raid objectives.
Best Helmet Tier List Factors
In selecting the best Tarkov helmets for this tier list I’ve considered the following factors before including headwear on this list. While armour class is an important factor and the list below is split based on this class it needs to be balanced against the below in order to determine how effective of a helmet it is.
- Price: Like any item in your loadout the purchase price is always a consideration with price efficiency impacted by availability (trader or in raid only) and the popularity in the Tarkov community in comparison to this availability.
- Ricochet Chance: All helmets in Tarkov have a ricochet chance which is essentially a percentage chance to avoid all damage. This chance is often the majority of the protection you receive from helmets as most ammos recommended in ammo charts and thus used by players will easily penetrate both class 3 and class 4 helmets.
- Headset Option: Certain helmets limit your ability to be able to use an active headset in Tarkov which makes them difficult to use as you’ll be at a severe hearing disadvantage without one. This means that helmets that support headsets are generally the community Tarkov meta.
- Armoured Zones: Like armour helmets protect different areas of your head with the relevant hitboxes for helmets being top, nape, ears, eyes and jaws. Helmets with ear protection are generally favoured for this reason with some helmets that offer face shields allowing for eye protection as well.
- Penalties: Each helmet has penalties to player statistics of movement speed, turn speed and ergonomics along with a sound reduction modifier from none to high.
The Pestily helmet tier list does a good job of considering most of these factors in 2021 and is a quality video resource that I recommend watching alongside this written guide that goes further in depth into some of his top picks and the reasons why they are some of the best Tarkov helmets on offer.
Tarkov Best Class 3 Helmet
Class 3 is your entry level helmet in Escape From Tarkov and before this I would not run any helmet due to the lack of actual protection it provides and often harsh penalties associated with the lower tier helmets. Save your roubles and run without a helmet if you don’t wish to use the class 3 helmets below in my opinion which also leaves a slot free for potential loot without taking up critical backpack or rig space.
While I don’t recommend them for regular use some players often wonder what are your class 3 helmet with face shield and headset options in which case you’ll want to look the LZsh Light Helmet and the multi hit ballistic face shield visor combination although you cannot have ear protection with this setup.
SSH-68 HELMET (1968 STEEL)
The staple helmet of the Tarkov community is the SSH-68 helmet and one you’ll encounter the most when playing from other players running budget guns and loadouts. Available from Ragman trader level 1 it is available early on in the Tarkov wipe to all players although there is a maximum purchase amount per reset.
The SSH-68 is popular due to it’s protection against basic Scav rounds while still retaining the ability to wear a headset. While it has high penalties to ergonomics the high ricochet chance keeps this helmet ranked as one of the best EFT helmets and definitely the best budget helmet available.
6B47 RATNIK-BSH HELMET
An alternative viable helmet in class 3 this is also available at trader level 1 (Prapor) and adds ear protection along with reduced penalties compared to the SSH-68. The primary reason you’ll be opting to run this over the SSH-68 though is the mount that makes it a cheap night vision compatible helmet. It can also be a viable option if you can’t buy any more SSH-68s or simply want to level an alternative trader.
While not a regular go to helmet the Kiver-M can be surprisingly effectively in the stages following a wipe due to it being one of the first helmets you can acquire that can use a face shield (also class 3 armour). This means PMC’s with pistols, SMGs and shotguns drop significantly in risk as you’ll be able to survive a few bullets from these calibres which dominate the early Tarkov wipe meta.
Beyond this point though I would not be running a KIVER-M consistently as you lose the ability to run a headset and that simply is too large a disadvantage.
Tarkov Best Class 4 Helmet
For price to performance class 4 helmets are in a tough place in Escape From Tarkov as they don’t offer a significant boost in survival chance against meta ammunitions but can easily be double the price of their class 3 counterparts. That being said once players have established themselves and Roubles are less of a concern many in the player base will start running class 4 helmets as their core helmet for the reduced penalties and slight chance of stopping a mid tier bullet that they might encounter. You do pay dearly for this small uptick in survivability though so continue to run class 3 armour when doing lower gear raids if applicable.
Like the Kiver-M noted above this helmets strength lies in the early game with its face shield giving you protection against common budget ammo. If you are a veteran player that often excels above the player base and can complete Chemical Part 4 with Skier you’ll also unlock the cheaper black option for purchase.
As the average PMC advances through the content of Tarkov though and begins using higher penetration rounds this helmets usefulness significantly drops and is not worth using beyond that.
HIGHCOM STRIKER ‘ULACH’ IIIA HELMET
The best budget option and serving as the entry level class 4 helmet in EFT the Ulach is a reliable helmet in black and tan colours. Providing top, nape and ears protection with relatively low penalties and high ricochet chance it’s the class 4 version of the SSH-68 that many players advance to as their stash value grows.
Given these are only available at max level Ragman though you’ll generally only be making this leap around PMC level 40 when you can have affordable and recurring access to the helmet.
CRYE PRECISION AIRFRAME
A step up in cost from the Ulach is the Airframe which has a few advantages to the other class 4 helmets and generally a middle ground between the budget Ulach and the expensive black Exfil with face shield combo. The Airframe is highly customisable as far as helmets go in Escape From Tarkov which is a driving factor for its popularity with players able to attach chops to protect your jaw, ears to protect your ear hitbox and a face shield visor for eye and jaw protection.
The Airframe is favoured for the ability to serve as a Tarkov helmet with face shield and headset in particular. The included mount also makes the Airframe a class 4 candidate for any night vision required activities that you might have.
TEAM WENDY EXFIL BALLISTIC HELMET
The most expensive of the class 4 helmet options particularly if you want to run a face shield as this is limited the black variant of this helmet otherwise you can expect a roughly similar expense to the Airframe for the coyote coloured version along with similar customisation. The Exfil provides plenty of protection to head and nape natively while the ear covers can add ear protection all with very low penalty modifiers and retaining the ability to wear a headset. The Exfil is generally considered the best option for a Tarkov helmet with face shield and headset combination although expect to pay a high price for this setup.
Tarkov Best Class 5 Helmet
While class 6 helmets do exist in Escape From Tarkov their lower face shield armour levels and headset restrictions means that class 5 are generally the peak offering of helmets in Tarkov with two viable options that you can expect to pay heavily for but offer equivalent protection.
Perfect for your Factory raids this helmet offers full class 5 protection once paired with the face shield and makes it a regular sight for PvP orientated questing. However, given the lack of headset option when using the Altyn you’ll rarely want to use this outside of Factory where sounds are closer to the player and the loss of headset is not a significant disadvantage as the map is fairly formulaic in comparison to other Tarkov maps.
An expensive version of the Altyn with similar benefits and drawbacks the RYS-T has the advantage of slightly higher durability on the face shield and helmet itself along with lower penalties that make it slightly more durable for the PMC that doesn’t care about the Rouble investment difference which is often double that of the Altyn on the flea market due to the required items for the barter.