As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Well, if you’ve never had treatment for cauliflower ear, you might just not appreciate how important prevention is. Why not simply use BJJ headgear when it is proven to work?
If you can’t stand the idea of getting cauliflower ear then headgear is an essential piece of BJJ gear that you shouldn’t roll without. After all, wrestlers have been using them for ages, and they know a thing or two about protecting their ears from shriveling up!
Best BJJ Headgear Reviews
You could take the easiest route and just pick up any old wrestling headgear. But, then you wouldn’t be looking at reviews of the best BJJ headgear, would you? Also, a choice at random could just as easily result in an uncomfortable piece of equipment that ends up living at the bottom of your gym bag!
Just like with anything else, there are nuances to ear guards that make some of them really stand out, particularly for Brazilian Jiu-Jitu.
Best extra features: Cliff Keen F5 Tornado Headgear
star rating 4/5⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Cliff Keen F5 Tornado BJJ Headgear is the perfect option to start with. First of all, you get to choose from close to 50 different color combinations. Even if you have one of those crazy custom gis, you’ll easily find a Cliff Keen F5 Tornado to match it. Moreover, this is one of the most trusted names in wrestling when it comes to high-level ear guards.
- Hear Everything One thing that is certain is that you will be able to hear everything with this headgear on. The patented technology not only ensures this but also provides a special Air Vent System, based on NASA research, to keep you cool.
- Ultra-deep ear cups. This is the one aspect of this BJJ headgear that is more important than anything else. Having ultra-deep ear cups not only guarantees extra protection but also makes this ear guard exceptionally comfortable.
- Innovative strapping system. A revolutionary on-the-fly strapping system with a ‘power tab’ means you can secure the headgear in seconds. More importantly, you can easily do it by yourself. The power tab also makes it impossible to come off while rolling.
Best overall BJJ headgear: Matman Ultra Soft, Adjustable Wrestling Headgear
star rating 5/5⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
The name says it all, really. Extremely soft, completely adjustable and available in sizes for both adults and youth. Five different color options provide you with just enough variety to keep things interesting. After all, the focus here is on optimal protection and performance, as opposed to style.
- Durable. Apart from protection, durability is a quality that you should always be looking for in a BJJ ear guard. It won’t just stand up to daily abuse on the mats, it also features special moisture-wicking properties that further extend this headgear’s life.
- Ultra-soft and antimicrobial. The neoprene used to make this BJJ headgear has extra soft properties and features great breathability as well. Moreover, there’s built-in antimicrobial technology that cuts down on smell.
- Highly adjustable. A very welcome feature when it comes to BJJ headgear. The straps have a design that allows you to pinpoint the perfect fit without having to remove the entire headgear.
Most comfortable: Venum Kontact Evo Ear Guard
star rating 5/5⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Venum’s Kontact Evo BJJ headgear is an extremely lightweight option when it comes to grappling ear protection. Feeling like you’re wearing nothing at all, while reaping all the benefits from high-level protection, makes this one of the best possible ear guards on the market.
- Ultra-soft. Once again neoprene is the main material in this headgear. The ear guard is very comfortable, uncharacteristically light, and provides you with great agility, not impeding movement at all during grappling. The fabric is smooth reducing irritation to the skin.
- Enhanced protection. For a headgear that is so lightweight, the Kontact Evo provides extreme levels of protection. The molded shell over the ears uses high-density foam to provide protection from both grinding and impacts.
- 3-way closure system. The closure system is very easy to adjust on the fly. You have adjustments under the chin and behind the head to easily find the perfect fit. A rubber band on the inside of the chin strap limits slippage and provides a secure hold.
Most protection: Roar BJJ Headgear
star rating 4/5⭐⭐⭐⭐
Although this BJJ headgear might seem strange at first sight, it provides extreme protection and is particularly useful for gi Jiu Jitsu. The extended protection means that other sensitive areas get as much protection as the ears while allowing you to grapple unimpeded.
- Extra Strong. These EVA foam ear guards can withstand everything grappling might throw at your ears. The ear guards won’t be deformed even after extended use and have extra-large openings to provide airflow and breathability.
- Additional padding. There is additional padding around the chin strap to prevent any irritation and make wearing this BJJ headgear comfortable. Moreover, this means the headgear is more stable and better fitting.
- Triple stitched chin straps. The component that tends to tear first in headgear is the chin strap. Well, even constant adjustment won’t bother the chin straps on this headgear, with triple stitching providing extra strength and sturdiness.
Best value: Cliff Keen E58 Headgear
star rating 5/5⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
As I previously mentioned Cliff Keen is a name that is very well known in wrestling circles as a leader in ear protection. Once again, there are about two dozen different color designs available. One size will fit most people, given the E58’s wide range of adjustability.
- 4-strap headgear. This ear protector features a 4-strap closure system: there are two straps on the top of the head, one behind the neck and the final one under the chin. This means you can find a very specific and extremely secure fit. Even better, you won’t have to re-adjust it every time you put on the headgear.
- Very comfortable to wear. The design is based on Cliff Keen’s patented E41 foam. The special foam guarantees reduced friction, with padding present even on the chin strap.
- Fits youth to adults. As far as adjustments go, nothing beats this particular BJJ headgear. The 4-strap system means that the same ear guard works for everyone, from youth to adults.
Settling A Few BJJ Headgear Debates
All decent ear guards can protect you from cauliflower ear, however the best ear guards provide a few more advantages than just direct protection of the ears. Modern headgear provides airflow and breathability to ensure a dry environment. Antimicrobial properties mean that both you and your training partners are safe from germs building up on the material.
Speaking of material, look for the most durable and lightweight ones. Neoprene tends to offer the best combination of durability and weight.
When it comes to figuring out which headgear is for you, start from your priorities. You could use weight (Venum BJJ headgear), overall excellence (Matman Ultra soft), or go for style and performance in any of the two Cliff Keen ear guards.
All of the reviewed products provide extreme levels of protection, which allows you to have a bit more leeway when it comes to choosing other characteristics important to you.
When it comes to actually using your BJJ headgear, I’d recommend wearing it during rolling and perhaps drilling only. Wearing one while learning technique is typically unnecessary.
While the best BJJ ear guards do not impede hearing and will last longer, there’s no need to wear one just for the sake of it. That said, once rolling starts, make sure it is the first thing you put on, regardless if you are sparring with or without a gi.
You don’t have to be a fan of BJJ headgear to use one when you roll. Once you realize that there’s no joking around with cauliflower ears, it is good to know there are different options out there. The best ear guards for BJJ will protect your ears without compromising your comfort!