Hands-on Gear Review

Smith Quantum MIPS Review

Top Pick Award
Price:  $300 List | $165.00 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 4 resellers
Pros:  Safe, comfortable and really well-built
Cons:  Expensive and a little heavy
Bottom line:  A top of the line helmet for the avid skier.
Editors' Rating:   
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  • 5
Weight (size m):  21 oz
Adjustment System:  Boa FS360 fit system
# of Vents?:  22
Manufacturer:   Smith

Our Verdict

While testing the Quantum MIPS our testers were reminded how much thought, engineering, and technology Smith puts into their products. This helmet is just the latest example of these qualities and Smith spared no expense in building what we consider to be one of the nicest helmets on the market. During this review, we will break down the performance of the Quantum and compare it to other helmets we've tested in the past. Made comfortable using the BOA adjustment and uber safe with MIPS technology and Koroyd construction the Quantum is sure to perform and protect in any situation you can throw at it.



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Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
Sam Piper

Last Updated:
Wednesday
February 21, 2018

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The Quantum MIPS is yet another great helmet from Smith and performed well in almost every category we tested it in. Read on to hear more about where it excelled and where it is a little flawed.

Performance Comparison


Quantum from the side.
Quantum from the side.

Comfort


The Quantum MIPS is super well made and comfortable. The sweat-wicking lining is comfy and does a great job keeping your head dry on the warmer days.


Smith's adjustment system, the BOA wheel, located at the back of the helmet, is easy to use with gloves on and does a great job of quickly adjusting the size of the helmet. One of our testers had a much smaller head but was still able to make the size large we were testing work for him. The only drawback some of our testers experienced had to do with the with the comfort after a long day of skiing; when wearing a buff underneath, some claimed that the ear cups were too tight and caused slight pain after many hours. Not all testers felt this way, but for this reason, the Quantum comes in just behind the Smith Vantage in comfort points. Smith helmets are traditionally shaped for rounder heads so if that's not what you're looking for, or you just can't make it work, the Giro Zone MIPS is a helmet with all the bells and whistles, but with a slightly different shape.

The well-built interior of the Quantum  showing MIPS.
The well-built interior of the Quantum, showing MIPS.

Warmth


For us, how warm a helmet is depends largely on two things: Whether you can close the vents and how well the ear cups hug your ears.


The Quantum MIPS excels at both of these things. The 22 vents are closed using two slider mechanisms, allowing the user to lock the helmet down on the coldest, stormy days. The Quantum also does a great job keeping the ears warm with its ear cups creating a snug fit without pressing too hard and causing any pain after hours on the slope. All that being said, we've also come to the conclusion that on the coldest days, it's crucial for most people to be able to wear a thin beanie or buff under their helmet. With the easily adjustable BOA system, most testers were able to wear something underneath the helmet and adjust the size to fit on the fly. The only other helmet as warm as the Quantum was the Smith Vantage.

Quantum  showing the lay of the front vents
Quantum, showing the lay of the front vents

Ventilation


The Quantum MIPS excels in the ventilation category even beyond our Editors' Choice Smith Vantage. Its 22 vents open and close by two slider mechanisms located on the top of the helmet.


For our reviewers, the option to open or close the vents is crucial in a helmet. Temperature regulation is important to use, and we find it exceedingly hard without ventilation control. The only gripe our testers had about the ventilation of this helmet is that the Koroyd construction underneath the vents makes for a slightly interrupted airflow, but we didn't find it to be a deal breaker whatsoever.

Quantum  showing the rear ventilation outlay
Quantum, showing the rear ventilation outlay

If being able to open and close your vents isn't super important to you and you'd like to have less moving parts on your helmet, we also like the Smith Maze or Giro Ledge, both of which are excellent helmets that keep it simple.

Weight


This category is one where the Quantum MIPS did not totally excel. At 21oz it clocked in at one of the heavier helmets we tested. That being said, our testers could not tell the difference between a couple of ounces while wearing these different helmets. Additionally, the Quantum is stacked with safety features and mechanisms for adjustment, all of which add weight. So it's up to you to decide what you want in a helmet. Simple and light, or would you like to add a few ounces and some bells and whistles?


For its weight, the Quantum did not feel very bulky to us; it feels sleek and fit easily under the hoods of our jackets on storm days. Although we didn't mind the weight, the Quantum did come up short on the weight category, losing out to its counterpart the Vantage, which is a few ounces lighter, in this category. If weight is something you worry about be sure to check out our Best Buy winner, the Smith Maze, which came in at the lightest helmet in our test.

Skiing with Quantum  early season
Skiing with Quantum, early season

Goggle Compatibility


Smith helmets are notorious for providing an excellent seal between lid and goggles, especially when paired with their own goggles, and the Quantum MIPS is no exception.


The trick becomes a genuine bonus when a helmet can also create a tight fit with a different brand of goggles. We tested the Quantum with Smith, Oakley and POC goggles and found that although the tightest fit was with the I/O goggle by Smith, the other goggles created a totally acceptable seal. If you're not into Smith helmets, the Giro Zone MIPS has similar features and fits different goggles a bit better. We also recommend that when you're purchasing a new helmet and already own goggles, bring them with you and try them on when you're trying on new helmets to ensure a good seal.

Smith Quantum from the front.
Smith Quantum from the front.

Style


You'd be hard-pressed to find a Smith helmet that isn't at least a little bit stylish, and the Quantum is no exception. Its small visor and rugged lines make this a really good looking helmet, in our opinion. It comes in a small variety of color schemes, mostly subtle and two-toned that are understated and sophisticated. For a more skate-inspired look, we like the Giro Ledge or Smith Maze; both are well-made helmets that we can highly recommend.


Best Applications


The Quantum MIPS has all the bells and whistles and can be tailored for any use. Stormy, cold winter days or sunny spring ones - this helmet can do it all. That being said, with a steep price tag, we would reserve the Quantum for avid skiers who are on the mountain more often than not. If you live for skiing and want a top of the line helmet protecting your melon, look no further; but do keep in mind that there are several more affordable helmets for the occasional user, like the Giro Ledge or Bern Team Baker.

Value


Although the Quantum MIPS is the most expensive helmet in our review, we firmly believe you get what you pay for. The Quantum has all the bells and whistles you'd expect out of a helmet in this price point. The ventilation, size adjustment, and multiple safety features make it one of the nicest helmets we've ever laid hands on, and if you're up for spending the big bucks, you won't go wrong with the Quantum. If you're not totally attached to a Smith helmet and want many of the same features, we like the Giro Zone MIPS, which retails at $100 less than the Quantum.

Conclusion


If you spend enough time skiing, want one of the safest, sexiest helmets on the market and have the money to spend, look no further than the Smith Quantum MIPS.

Sam Piper

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Most recent review: February 21, 2018
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
  • 1
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 (5.0)
Average Customer Rating:  
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Rating Distribution
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5 star: 100%  (1)
4 star: 0%  (0)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 0%  (0)
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