There is only one fire helmet to wear in my opinion and that is a cairns n5a leather helmet. It with stands the heat and torture of the job and will last you years. pay for the quality wear it with pride!
I started out with a Bullard dome style and then purchased a Bullard traditional and never looked back. I love not only the look but the durablility. The rear brim has kept water and debris off my collar and back countless times, unlike the dome. The goggles work great on brush fires or times when you need eye protection without an SCBA. It has seen several years of faithfull service and now hangs on my wall chared and beaten but I would put it on and use it on the front line again anytime. Now my department issues Paul Conway traditional's, even though they are just as durable and even a little lighter it was hard to part from my Bullard. If I was strickly an EMT or Rescue, I might suggest a dome style because of their low profile and lightweight, but traditional all the way for front line firefighters. I am currently saving up for a Cairns leather but I can't decide if I want the New Yorker or Sam Houston. Any suggestions ?
I still use my N5A from the mid-80's. It went back to the factory for refirb, and when it came back it was so ill-fitting, it rode too high on my head. It is now re-modified. It has seen some pretty heavy impacts, and has never failed me. Although I have Bourke Shield still on it, obviously I don't use it, I use appropriate goggles. Some will jump up and down about specs, and not meeting the King's Court on helmet standards. I don't use it because it looks "cool" and I don't use it because any other department that has many fire fans uses it. I use because it works.
My second helmet is a Ben 2 Plus.
Now I gotta agree that the traditional style IS a little heavier. And when navigating survival mazes, collapse simulators with the wires entrappment, and just plain getting into tight spaces, the old Salad bowls DO perform better. We used to use the Philadelphian by Cairns, and then the Metro 660. They DO contribute to less fatigue in the overall scheme of things.
We have a bunch of Morning Pride helmets with 4" shields. They are lighter. Easy to decon or just clean when they get a bit rank but we have busted more face shields in the past 2 yrs than in the last 10 I think. I thought they were installing them wrong or making them too tight but they keep breaking on the side where they are attached to the helmet. The helmets seem to scratch fairly easy to & the shields melt. Or @ least a couple of them did in flash over. The shields melted & the reflecors on the helmet didn't look too pretty. The only other damage to their PPE was some melting of the reflective material on the sleeve. (the PPE did what it was supposed to do & no training would have kept them out, the were searching for 2 pre-school kids)
Mine is a Cairns 360S ORANGE. I LIKE IT! My old helmet, had a ratchet in the back & I liked that feature but my head kept going backward between that & the impact cap. I liked the way the face shield was made & attached to the helmet. I love this one because it stays on my head & doesn't wobble or fall off backward when I look up or fall forward when I bend over. I like the strap & the ear flaps. We have to remember that they are all protective (NFPA 1971) & it is a matter of choice or most likely the budget.