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I am considering buying a new helmet online, which means it'll be delivered to my door by courier. In my experience, couriers can be careless with parcels. Should I be concerned about this, or are helmets packaged so that they're safe even if knocked about a bit?

In case it matters, the brand of helmet I shall be buying is Specialized.

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    The vendor should package the helmet and it's manufacturer packaging in another box with padding materials for shipping to stop the helmet being damaged. If it is damaged when it gets to you, just return it. – Argenti Apparatus May 10 '19 at 19:06
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    @Criggie I was assuming this would be closed as off topic – Argenti Apparatus May 11 '19 at 0:30
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    I guess kinda tangential and grey-area, but its close enough IMO. – Criggie May 11 '19 at 0:36
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    They are usually packages in the brand cardboard box within the shipping box; so your helmet will be ok. – Max May 11 '19 at 1:55
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    If the helmet couldn't survive being shipped, via the same shipping services that ship champagne glasses and electronics, how could it possibly protect your head in a crash? – whatsisname May 13 '19 at 4:56
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Helmets are like hats and shoes — everyone has a different shape head or foot and so the standard sizes really don’t apply. Some heads are pointy, some are flat. Different helmet companies use different head forms — and some even use different shapes between their different helmet line. So a ‘L’ for one helmet might not be the same as an ‘L’ in another.

So I’d recommend going to your local bike shop and get a properly fitting helmet. You’ll be surprised just how much better it fits on your head and how much more secure it is.

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    Strongly agree. When I last bought a helmet, I found that the Giro ones didn't fit me at all, in any size, whereas Specialized seem to have taken a cast of my head while I was sleeping and used that to design their helmets. – David Richerby May 13 '19 at 9:31
  • Three reasons to disagree: (i) Direct replacement or the updated model of an old one should be consistent. (ii) Most places will allow returns with tags still on. (iii) Sometimes it's possible to get a helmet in the sale for very little (my road helmet was 1/4 of its full price) so even if you have to buy one to try it and throw it away you can still be better off, while even big bike shops can have very little range in stock – Chris H May 13 '19 at 11:13
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We had a new helmet delivered this week, it came in the normal post and was packaged in a polythene mailing bag. The helmet was in its retail packaging alone inside the bag.

In the past I’ve ordered one along with other things and it came in a larger outer box all in together.

In both cases, the retail packaging showed no signs of damage or neglect and neither did the helmet inside. If there had been damage to either I would have likely returned the helmet for a refund.

That all said, there are no guarantees, so what can you do? Buy from a retailer you trust and contact them beforehand if you want to. Consider ordering extra items you will use like a sweet new pair of spare tyres. Then these will be shipped together in a secondary box and possibly padded. Choose a retailer you know to use package padding, or make a special request. When it arrives, check for any signs of damage and return it if you need to.

Oops I meant to finish by saying if you’re still not comfortable, it’s worth a visit to a shop to inspect before you buy and then you can transport it home yourself. Not the only benefit, See also RoboKaren’s answer.

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Helmets are typically packaged pretty well with soft foam inserts inside the box to cushion the helmet during shipping. Unless the box is punctured or really horribly abused, it should not be damaged in a meaningful way. Helmets are meant to withstand the force of high speed collisions and can handle a little rough and tumble dropping in a well packaged box.

One thing to consider about the risks of having the helmet shipped via courier: most bike shops get their product via courier and have little to no issues with the products being damaged.

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