When it comes to staying safe on the slopes, a quality helmet is a must-have piece of gear. Two popular options from Smith are the Level helmet and the Vantage MIPS helmet. But with different features and technologies, it can be tough to choose between the two.
This comprehensive guide will compare the Smith Level and Vantage MIPS helmets across key factors like safety, comfort, fit, and more. Read on to learn which one may be best for your needs.
A Brief Comparison Table
|Smith Vantage MIPS
|In-mold ABS shell with EPS foam lining
|In-mold design with Koroyd, EPS foam, polycarbonate
|CE EN 1077 Class B
|CE EN 1077 Class B
|Aerocore (EPS foam + hollow Koroyd tubes)
|MIPS (Multi-Directional Impact Protection System)
|AirEvac system with venting
|AirEvac with zonal Koroyd panels for maximum airflow
|Micro-dial fit system
|Micro-dial fit system
|Integrated Skullcandy FIX lens
|ChromaPop lens included
|Small brim visor
|Large snap-fit visor
|Rounded shape, bright colors
|Sleek, contoured shape with bold colors
Comparison of Safety and Protection Features
The top priority for any snowsports helmet is protecting your head from injuries. Both the Level and Vantage MIPS deliver on this front with an array of security features.
- Smith Level Helmet
The Level helmet provides robust protection through its in-mold construction that fuses the outer shell with the impact-absorbing EPS foam liner.
This creates a sturdy and durable helmet able to withstand hits.
It also utilizes the Aerocore technology, which combines EPS foam with hollow Koroyd tubes.
This design improves airflow while also absorbing impacts from multiple directions.
Finally, the Level meets snowsports safety standards, including the CE EN 1077 Class B certification.
So you can trust it can handle tumbles in the terrain park.
- Smith Vantage MIPS Helmet
Like the Level, the Vantage MIPS employs an in-mold construction for a hardy outer shell and impact absorption system. But it takes protection up a notch by integrating the innovative MIPS technology.
MIPS (Multi-Directional Impact Protection System) adds an inner liner that rotates independently around the head. This provides extra security against oblique and angled hits to better shield the brain.
Studies show MIPS reduces rotational motion during impacts by up to 40%. So the Vantage delivers an added layer of safety from crashes.
The Vantage also meets certification standards for snowsports, giving you assurance it has passed rigorous tests. Overall, the Vantage MIPS surpasses the Level with its advanced MIPS system.
Construction and Build Quality Comparison of Smith Level And Vantage MIPS Helmet
The Level and Vantage MIPS both utilize a sturdy in-mold construction. However, there are some differences when examining the materials and composition.
- Smith Level Construction
The Level uses an ABS shell material combined with EPS foam lining. The in-mold technology fuses these together for integrity.
It also has a PC shell reinforcement band that adds extra durability around the lower rim. This boosts the structural stability to handle bumps and crashes.
The Level is a rugged and robust helmet. Yet, some may find the build marginally less premium than higher-end Smith models.
- Smith Vantage MIPS Construction
The Vantage MIPS incorporates a quality mix of materials for a durable yet comfortable build.
The outer shell combines In-Mold Carbon, Koroyd, EPS foam, and polycarbonate.
The sturdy shell resists dents and dings while the EPS foam manages impact.
The Koroyd additions boost protection while aiding breathability and acoustics.
This diverse mix of materials creates a lighter yet no less sturdy lid than the Level.
It also features a Bombshell construction with an EPS liner reinforced with a Polycarbonate layer for extra durability.
In the end, the Smith Vantage MIPS delivers a more premium and specialized build quality over the Level.
Weight and Size Options Comparison
The weight and size of your helmet impact comfort and performance. Excessively heavy models can cause neck fatigue, while a tight fit can feel restrictive.
Here is how the Smith Level and Vantage MIPS compare when it comes to weight, size range, and shape.
- Smith Level Weight and Sizes
The Smith Level has a weight of around 390 grams for a medium size. This positions it as a middle-of-the-road helmet in terms of heft. It’s not the most featherlight but won’t weigh you down either.
It comes in a size range spanning XS to XXL. There are also separate versions designed specifically for women. So you can find both a unisex and gender-specific model that fits well.
In terms of shape, it has a more rounded design suited for goggles and an adaptive appearance.
- Smith Vantage MIPS Weight and Sizes
The Vantage MIPS is impressively lightweight at just 350 grams for a medium. This reduces neck strain and fatigue when wearing the helmet for long days.
The size range spans XS to XL. While not as adaptable as the Level, it still accommodates most head sizes comfortably.
The shape is optimized for both goggle and sunglass compatibility. It has a lower-profile, sleeker look than the Level.
In summary, the Vantage MIPS has perks in weight and shape while the Level offers greater size versatility. The choice comes down to your specific fit and aesthetic preferences.
Comparison of Ventilation and Temperature Control
Proper ventilation keeps you cool and comfy on warm spring ski days. Both models provide airflow technologies, but which truly delivers optimal temperature regulation?
- Smith Level Ventilation
The Level’s Aerocore design integrates strategically placed vents that maximize airflow over your head.
Combined with the breathable EPS foam, heat and moisture can efficiently escape.
The ventilation works fairly well to prevent overheating and a clammy feeling on warmer days.
However, some may desire even more ample airflow during high activity.
- Smith Vantage MIPS Ventilation
Ventilation stands as a real highlight on the Vantage MIPS. The Koroyd material forming the outer shell allows generous airflow to pass through small tubes.
This innovative construction prevents the buildup of heat and sweat during intense activity or changing weather conditions.
The ventilation surpasses the Level for keeping you cool and dry throughout the day. If temperature control is a priority, the Vantage MIPS is the winner.
Comfort, Fit, and Adjustability Comparison
For all-day comfort on the slopes, dialing in the right fit is crucial. Let’s see how customization and wearability stack up between the Level and Vantage MIPS.
- Smith Level Comfort and Fit
The Level features plush AirEvac 2 adjustable fit system with a micro-dial in the back. This creates a secure and customizable fit for various head shapes.
The fleece lining and removable ear pads also boost comfort. Overall, the self-adjusting system ensures a relaxed and individualized fit.
Some with smaller heads may find the Level runs a little large. But the micro-adjustments help scale it down.
- Smith Vantage MIPS Comfort and Fit
Using a hybrid SL shell shape, the Vantage MIPS accommodates both round and oval head shapes for versatile sizing.
It also incorporates the AirEvac 2 fitting system with micro-dial adjustments. So you can dial in the perfect custom fit.
The lightweight, low-profile design boosts long-term wearability. And the padding across the interior adds cozy comfort.
For maximum adaptability and fuss-free wear, the Vantage MIPS gets the edge over the Level. But both deliver customized comfort.
Lens and Visor Options Comparison
The right goggles and visor setup enhances vision and protects from glare. Here’s how the Level and Vantage MIPS compare when it comes to optics.
- Smith Level Lens and Visor Features
The Level helmet includes an integrated Skullcandy FIX quick-release lens. This provides basic eye protection that’s easy to pop on and off.
There’s also a small brim visor that offers minimal glare reduction. Altogether, the optical perks are fairly basic but still useful.
- Smith Vantage MIPS Lens and Visor Features
One standout upgrade on the Vantage MIPS is the included ChromaPop lens. This not only shields eyes from UV but also boosts contrast for enhanced vision.
It also has a QuickFit PRO system for quickly securing your goggles and a sizeable brim for glare and sun protection.
In the optical department, the Vantage MIPS takes the cake with superior included lens and visor technology.
Styles and Design Comparison
A helmet’s appearance makes a difference – you want gear that matches your personal style. Here are the aesthetic elements of the Level and Vantage MIPS.
- Smith Level Styles
The Smith Level comes in a range of exciting colorways to match your taste. Options include designs like Jellies, Aqua, Mulch, CYP, and more.
It has a smooth, rounded shape for an adaptive but eye-catching look. You’ll find options perfect for men, women, and youth.
Overall, the playful patterns and shapes create a modern, snow-focused style.
- Smith Vantage MIPS Styles
The sleek Vantage MIPS also incorporates vivid colors into its designs.
Examples include threads like Mineral, Rasta, and Cypress.
The low-profile shape creates a more refined, premium appearance than the Level.
So it’s suited for those wanting a sophisticated helmet.
You can also choose from men’s, women’s, and junior’s models to get the right fit and aesthetic.
In summary, the Vantage MIPS offers a more contoured and refined style over the playful Level. But both deliver eye-catching looks.
Price and Value Comparison of Smith Level And Vantage MIPS Helmets
Your budget determines which helmet delivers the performance you need at the right price. How do Smith’s offerings compare by cost?
- Smith Level Price
The Level retails around $115-130 depending on size. This makes it a very budget-friendly choice for recreational and occasional skiers or snowboarders.
It packs in core protective features and wearable comfort at an accessible price point. The value is excellent for cost-conscious buyers.
- Smith Vantage MIPS Price
The recommended retail price of the Vantage MIPS comes in around $270.
So it’s a more significant investment than the entry-level Level.
However, the premium construction, MIPS technology, and comfortable fit make this a long-term helmet with exceptional quality.
In the end, the increased price brings added safety, durability, and performance.
But the Level wins for affordability and sufficient value at a lower cost.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Yes, the Smith Vantage helmet comes equipped with MIPS technology. MIPS (Multi-Directional Impact Protection System) incorporates a slip-plane inner liner that rotates independently around the head upon impact to redirect energy and reduce rotational motion. This provides an added layer of protection compared to helmets without MIPS. The Vantage integrates MIPS layers into its construction for enhanced safety and reduced risk of concussion from oblique hits. MIPS sets the Vantage apart from other Smith models like the Level helmet which lack this advanced safety feature.
The Nexus helmet is one of Smith’s higher-end, premium priced models. It’s packed with features that make the $300+ price tag worthwhile for hardcore enthusiasts or competitors. Key benefits include: lightweight Bombshell construction using Koroyd and EPS for advanced protection, adjustable and cushy fit systems for comfort, extensive ventilation with AirEvac channels and zonal Koroyd panels, and options like the integrated Visor. While expensive, the Nexus delivers max security, breathability, vision, and style. The price reflects the specialized performance. Casual riders may not need all its premium perks, but for serious riders, the Nexus is worth the investment.
Smith integrates MIPS technology in select higher-end helmets like the Vantage to provide advanced protection from crashes. MIPS stands for Multi-Directional Impact Protection System. It is made up of three layers including an interior low-friction slip liner that rotates independently around the head. This unique layer redirects impact forces and absorbs rotational motion created by angled hits. This reduces the risk of diffuse brain injury during crashes. Studies show MIPS reduces rotational violence to the brain by up to 43% compared to non-MIPS helmets. Smith uses MIPS liners in helmets like the Vantage and Forefront to offer next-level protection on the slopes. The added cost of MIPS delivers valuable safety benefits.
Yes, Smith optimizes the fit, style, and components of select helmets to create specialized men’s and women’s models. Differences include:
1. Size range: Women’s helmets come in smaller sizes to accommodate typically smaller head circumferences.
2. Fit system: Women’s models may have pads in different thicknesses for better adjustability.
3. Styling: Women’s colorways and graphics have a less aggressive, more feminine aesthetic.
4. Proportions: Women’s helmets account for subtle anatomical differences like a less protruding occipital area.
5. Components: Some women’s helmets swap out visors for integrated goggle locks to better accommodate ponytails.
While unisex helmets work for many, female riders can benefit from Smith’s tailored approach in women’s models like the Scout W or Trace.
The brand tweaks the shape, interior, sizes, and styling to optimize security, comfort and look for women. Riders concerned with fit and style may find a women’s specific Smith helmet worth exploring.
When comparing these Smith helmets, the Vantage MIPS emerges as the overall winner yet also has a higher price tag. It claims the edge in safety features, ventilation, optics, and premium design. The MIPS tech alone makes it a sound investment for protection.
Yet the Level remains a standout budget option. It packs core safety components like in-mold construction into an adaptable, comfortable, and wallet-friendly package.
So your choice ultimately depends on your budget and feature needs. If top-notch protection is critical and cost is no concern, spring for the cutting-edge Vantage MIPS. But the Level keeps your dome guarded on the slopes at a fraction of the price.
Both deliver quality, so focus on priorities like safety tech, comfort, style, and affordability to choose the best Smith helmet for you. Enjoy the mountain knowing your head is covered with one of these stellar lids.