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Smith Quantum MIPS Review

A top of the line helmet for the avid skier.
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $300 List | $134.98 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Toasty, comfortable, really well-built
Cons:  Expensive and a little heavy
Manufacturer:   Smith
By Sam Piper ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Oct 19, 2018
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83
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#2 of 12
  • Comfort - 25% 9
  • Warmth - 25% 9
  • Ventilation - 20% 8
  • Weight - 10% 4
  • Goggle Compatibility - 10% 9
  • Style - 10% 9

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 protective with MIPS technology and Koroyd construction, the Quantum is sure to perform and protect in any situation you can throw at it.

While this model is teched-out, we prefer the Editors' Choice-winning Smith Vantage MIPS overall. Its price point is still high, but more affordable, and it's less weight, which adds versatility.

Product Updates

The updated Quantum is the same as previous versions in every way, except for a slightly updated buckle. The Fidlock buckle has been tweaked with the intention of improving the connection and making it easier to take on and off with gloved hands.

October 2018


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Awards Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award    
Price $134.98 at Backcountry
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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Toasty, comfortable, really well-builtComfortable, warm, vents well, style pointsGreat interior fit, stylish look, warmWell made, proven over the years, good ventilation, sleekCan be fit to any size goggle, modern, innovative venting system
Cons Expensive and a little heavyPriceyEar flaps can be noisyHeavyHeavy, custom-fit is back-heavy
Bottom Line A top of the line helmet for the avid skier.Deemed best of the best by our testers, there isn't a better combination of performance available from any model we have tested at OutdoorGearLab.A high-end helmet at a price that is a step down from other top models.A top scoring helmet without any major flaws.Oakley enters the ski helmet market in their typical, innovative, Oakley style.
Rating Categories Smith Quantum MIPS Smith Vantage MIPS Giro Zone MIPS Smith Variance Oakley Mod5 MIPS
Comfort (25%)
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
8
Warmth (25%)
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
7
Ventilation (20%)
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
8
Weight (10%)
10
0
4
10
0
6
10
0
6
10
0
5
10
0
4
Goggle Compatibility (10%)
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
9
Style (10%)
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
8
Specs Smith Quantum MIPS Smith Vantage MIPS Giro Zone MIPS Smith Variance Oakley Mod5 MIPS
Measured Weight (in ounces) 21 oz 17.7 oz 17.9 oz 19 oz 21.2 oz
Adjustment System Boa FS360 fit system Boa Fit System In Form 2 Fit System, Vertical Tuning Boa Fit System BOA 270 Fit System
# of Vents? 22 18 14 18 11
Number of Sizes 4 3 3 3 3
Removable Ear Covers? Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Goggle Attachment? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Visor? No No No No Yes
Audio Compatibility? Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Certifications ASTM F 2040, CE EN 1077 Class B ASTM F 2040, CE EN 1077 Class B CE EN1077 ASTM F 2040, CE EN 1077 Class B ASTM F2040 and CE EN1077

Our Analysis and Test Results

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. 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.

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.

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 clocks in as 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 protective 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.

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.


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 Giro Nine MIPS. For closer performance to the Quantum, the Giro Zone MIPS costs $100 less than this Smith model.

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 protective 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.

Conclusion


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


Sam Piper