Smith Variance Helmet

We’ve read the reviews across the web for the Smith Variance Helmet and summarize the results below:

Universal Ranking

PeakScore: 91 (out of 100)
User Rating: 4.7 stars 
Expert Rating: 4.2 stars

Number of Ratings Reviewed: 136

Pros & Cons

Reasons to buy:

User Reviews

  • Very comfortable for all-day use.
  • Fits flawlessly with Smith goggles, and pretty well with other brands.
  • Stays warm on cold days, and the vents help to keep cool during warmer days.
  • Protects well from collisions and falls, and Smith offers a 30% discount rate for returning a damaged helmet.
  • The Boa system makes adjusting the helmet easy, even with gloves on.
  • Has the option to add speakers.
  • Vents are placed well to accommodate a headlamp mount.

Expert Reviews

  • Although it has a better fit for rounder heads, it can adjust well to different shapes, and to wearing a beanie underneath.
  • Fits snugly and without hotspots.
  • Stays warm overall on cold days, although there will be a few cold spots on truly frigid days.
  • Vents are closable for better heat regulation.
  • Has a sleek and stylish look.
  • The elastic goggle clip does not allow any slippage.
  • Has the safety technology of a much more expensive helmet.

Reasons NOT to buy:

User Reviews

  • The Boa adjustment knob has broken easily on some helmets.
  • The ear flap zippers are really difficult to use.

Expert Reviews

  • A heavier helmet than similar models, but it does not feel difficult to wear.
  • The adjustment system is relatively delicate.
  • Not quite enough ventilation to make this a great helmet for backcountry skiers.


The Smith Variance Helmet is a very comfortable helmet with the safety technology of a much pricier lid. The helmet keeps the head warm on cold days, and can be easily adjusted with the Boa system, although that is also the least durable part of the helmet. The fit is stylish, and has all the basics of a good helmet, especially for resort skiing: all-day comfort, warmth, adjustability, and safety.


Note: User and expert rankings were reviewed across the web, including here: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.