Sometimes a manufacturer will try to lead you to believe their helmet is Snell approved by using words such as “exceeds,” “meets” or “have met” Snell certification standards.
Only manufacturers who have a valid licensing agreement with the Snell Foundation are allowed to claim the Snell certification.
Additionally the helmet model number must be on the Snell certification list which can be viewed at http://www.smf.org/cert.html
It might even be a good idea to print this page out and take it with you when you go to look for a Snell approved helmet so you can compare the certification certificates.
Look at the helmet to see if it contains a serialized decal.
The list of decals can be seen on the Snell Foundation Historical Decal Reference page at http://www.smf.org/decalref.html
If in doubt, ask the sales representative, do some additional research or contact the Snell Foundation to inquire about the helmet you are considering before purchasing it.
Remember a certified Snell approved helmet has been through vigorous testing to make sure it meets their specific safety specifications. Additionally, a Snell approved helmet will not cost any more than a comparable helmet that is not Snell certified. The difference in the cost of the helmet is mainly because of graphics and design and has nothing to do with how well the helmet will stand up in a crash situation.