BlogDifference Between Cairns N6A and N5A Helmets
Difference Between Cairns N6A and N5A Helmets

Difference Between Cairns N6A and N5A Helmets

May 9, 2024 · 3 minute read

When it comes to firefighter helmets, the Cairns brand has been synonymous with quality and tradition for over a century. Among their extensive lineup, the N6A and N5A leather helmets are particularly beloved, each offering distinct features that cater to the unique needs and preferences of firefighting professionals. This article will explore the differences between these two helmet models, helping you choose the right one for your firefighting responsibilities.

1. Construction Material and Durability

The Cairns N6A and N5A helmets share a similar build quality, both crafted from durable leather. However, the N6A is known as the "Houston" helmet, adhering to NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) standards, while the N5A, also called the "New Yorker," is non-NFPA compliant. This difference gives the N6A a broader acceptance for firefighters needing NFPA-compliant gear and places it in higher demand for departments that prioritize meeting rigorous safety standards.

2. Weight and Balance

While both helmets offer comparable levels of protection, the N6A is generally heavier than the N5A due to its thicker, more robust leather build. This weight difference can impact balance, especially during long periods of use, with some users noting the N5A's lighter weight provides greater comfort over time.

3. Liner System and Comfort

The liner system in both helmets is designed for comfort and durability. However, the N6A comes standard with a more cushioned impact cap and a ratchet adjustment mechanism for a snug fit. The N5A, on the other hand, features a traditional suspension system that some firefighters prefer for its simpler, classic design. Your preference for comfort and ease of adjustment might influence your choice here.

4. Brim Size and Shield Mounting

Both models come with brims for added protection, but the N6A often features a longer brim for extra shielding from debris and moisture. The shield mounting points are comparable on both helmets, accommodating face shields, goggles, and other protective equipment, although the N6A provides slightly more customization due to its additional mounting points.

5. Cost Considerations

Given the additional compliance and safety features, the N6A tends to be priced higher than the N5A. The N5A, being non-NFPA compliant, offers a more affordable option while still providing robust protection for firefighters who prioritize tradition and style.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, choosing between the Cairns N6A and N5A helmets often comes down to personal preference and departmental requirements. If your department requires NFPA-compliant gear or you prefer additional safety features and customization options, the N6A is likely your best bet. However, if tradition, weight, and affordability are your priorities, the N5A remains an excellent choice.

Consider these points carefully to ensure your helmet meets your specific firefighting needs while providing maximum protection and comfort.