Some may say that quality can be defined by a price tag. However, when you're looking on deciding which mask to choose for paintballing, the features and personalized preferences can lead you to spend much less or much more on top paintball masks, depending on your budget.
When choosing the best paintball mask, you have to consider various factors—not only if it fits you right or feels comfortable. Safety is definitely a factor that you not only need to adhere to because of field safety regulations but also to keep yourself far away from injury, as much as you possibly can. A paintball mask is only one part of the equipment that is considered as a protective paintball gear requirement.
Although it is usually required, it doesn't have to feel like that when you're wearing your paintball mask. Most players take the time or effort to customize and individualize their appearances with their masks, whether it’s from their own tastes and preferences or if they're trying to unify themselves as a team. You can customize masks with various accessories and additional gear for tactical purposes.
Depending on the amount of money and time you want to invest in choosing the best paintball mask for your game, here is our paintball mask guide to help you make the best out of each decision.
3 Factors To Consider While Buying A Paintball Mask
Looking at all the different components of a paintball mask can be overwhelming—especially if you're truly looking into purchasing one. However, we can boil all of these important and impacting factors down into three major ones—which you can see them in action later on when we take each of the products apart and analyze each on these different components—comfort, the lens, and weight.
Bottom line is that you could be playing paintball for hours and in extreme cases—days. Therefore, it is truly essential that you invest in a mask that not only fits well and gets proper ventilation but is also comfortable. If you choose a mask that requires constant adjustments, it could ruin the entire experience for you. If the mask also was designed with cheap material, such as low-quality foam pads, you can notice a skin irritation or simply itchiness while you're playing. Be aware that when you're playing, you need to be comfortable wearing the mask or helmet for a long period of time.
Any paintball mask or visor is designed so that you can receive the best chance of spotting your opponent, regardless of the obstacles and environment. You also need optimal vision for defensive reasons, as well. Therefore, having a lens or visor with a wide field of view and clear vision is an important investment to make. The balance to find here is to be able to retain as much of your peripheral vision as possible and still be protected from incoming paintballs.
In the higher quality lens and visor options out there, you can swap them out depending on the weather—whether it’s cloudy, rainy or sunny, if you're playing outdoors, being able to adapt to the weather might be the key factor that can make a huge difference in your game.
If you're going to invest in a paintball mask, the lens should come with a thermal anti-fog feature, as well. Since during the majority of the game you'll be running around in a haste with your body temperature rising up—especially under tough conditions, your body heat and breath normally will fog up the lens. However, with a thermal anti-fog lens, you don’t have to compromise your safety or strategy by taking it off and having to wipe it down.
Going along with comfort, a lightweight mask is an important factor to consider when purchasing a paintball mask. Especially since you're possibly going to be playing for a long time or in conditions where you're running, jumping, and sliding, having a heavy mask and adding that weight to your overall gear can be a real burden that can so easily be avoided. The sweet spot here is to aim for a mask that is around 1 or 2 pounds. That way, the paintball mask will still be sturdy enough to provide protection and not fall off with flimsy material but also be light enough to move about the playing field freely without having weighing you down.
7 Best Paintball Masks Of 2018
1. Dye Precision I4
2. Virtue VIO
3. Empire E-Flex
4. HK Army KLR
5. Sly Profit Camo
6. V-Force Grill
7. Dye Special Edition
1. Dye Precision I4 Thermal Paintball Goggle
Best Paintball Mask Overall (Editor's Choice)
As an anatomically designed mask, the Dye Precision I4 Thermal Paintball Goggles are personalized and created to fit all facial contours. It comes with features like anti-fog thermal lenses that are also scratch resistant so you can play in a variety of different conditions and environmental weather.
It is also designed with available rapid lens change so even if something does happen to the lens, you can change it just as swiftly as you play. With its extra horizon peripheral vision, you don’t have a restricted field of vision—leaving you free to play as if you weren't wearing a paintball mask at all.
Coming in over 25 available styles and colors, you can choose how you look on the field, giving you the ultimate opportunity to express yourself and customize your gear to match your style.
The design is built to cover your ears and will give you protection length-wise, from your brow to your chin.
Since it is designed to fit the form of your face, you can’t get any better comfort than this. The Dye Precision I4 Thermal Paintball Goggles also come with compression formed ears and tiger buckles in the back so you have a snug fit without diminishing comfort.
These lenses come with anti-fog technology, offers a wide view and thermal vision that provide distortion-free optical clarity and a fog free field of vision, no matter how hard you're sweating or what the environment is like outside.
Speedball, beginner to intermediate level because of its lightweight feel and easy to adjust straps. This is the best paintball mask for those looking for optimal protection without all the extras.
2. Virtue VIO Ascend Thermal Paintball Goggles
The Virtue VIO Ascent Paintball Goggles gives you maximum coverage while still being flexible enough for extreme play. The goggles also have rigid protection zones for durability. The mask is lightweight, weighing in at only 1.2 pounds and contains a removable multi-layer eye foam, which gives you the opportunity to maximize comfort even more.
With soft dual-layer foams and more venting that is designed with the material, you can play comfortably without the fear of your goggles fogging up. You can also rest assured that you will be able to speak as loud as you want without the mask muffling sound.
Boasting a large field of view, the Virtue VIO Ascend comes with a smoke lens and is connected through a hinge lock, allowing for quick change. The lens is distortion free with a scratch-resistant coating, allowing for optimal clarity. The goggles also boast an anti-fog dual pane thermal lens.
Intermediate players playing woodsball since it is easily upgraded and functions perfectly, even in the sun.
3. Empire E-Flex Paintball Goggle System
The Empire E-Flex Paintball Goggle System comes in nine different colors as a limited edition skull face mask. Therefore, if you're looking to scare off your opponents in style, this goggle system is for you.
The product comes with two lenses, both ninja and clear style, with a “Vents system” that you can use to change your lenses as quickly as possible. The goggle system is designed with a hypo-allergenic Spectra face foam, bringing you the ultimate comfort, along with a lighter overall weight and improved breathability.
Just like in its name, the goggle system is comfortable and flexible, with the same skirt used in the ProFlex series, which is embedded with Spectra foam. It also allows for breathability and voice projection on the field, since it has been previously reduced in size from the prior model.
Comes with clear lenses that are a part of the “Vents quick change lens system”. The lenses have maximum optics that allow for a wide field of vision. You can also change the lenses between clear and ninja quickly on the field.
More advanced players that are very vocal on the field, especially when playing woodsball.
4. HK Army Paintball KLR Thermal Mask/Goggles
The HK Army Paintball Anti-Fog Mask/Goggles come in over twenty different colors and designs to perfectly suit your customization and personal preference. If you're looking for equipment that you can wear easily, regardless of wearing eyeglasses, this product is a perfect choice for you.
The goggle system also ranks virtually pretty high in comfort because of its dual-density over-molded face shield and the design of the robust blend of thermoplastic elastomer. You can easily customize the fit to make it as comfortable and protective as you can.
The lenses come optically corrected and with high-definition. The UV/IR shielded dual-pane thermal lens is what sets this product apart from the rest. This goggle system also allows for a quick-change with its PVTLock retention system.
Beginners looking for a simple-to-use investment regardless if they are playing speedball or woodsball. It seems to scratch relatively easy so possibly better for speedball.
5. Sly Profit Full Camo Goggles
Coming in ten different colors, the Sly Profit Full Camo Goggles boast not only a design fit for a pro but also optical thermal gradient lenses that contain complete breathability. Including the comfortable frame, the goggles also come with a double strap design that keeps the mask on even during the roughest of play.
Without the possibility of slipping around, the Camo Goggles come with not only the double strap design but also extremely soft padding for comfortable play and a well-fitted piece of equipment.
The wide lens allows for a large field of vision that doesn't limit your peripheral vision. The goggles also come with anti-fogging capabilities and can be changed and switched relatively easy, which makes it easy for beginners or intermediate players.
Bigger players since it allows for extreme adjustments. It is also a great choice for woodsball players because the soft ear foam doesn't restrict hearing as much and comes with holes to allow for sound to come through. It also comes with the camo design, so you can conceal yourself easier as you play.
6. V-Force Grill Thermal Paintball Mask
The V-Force Grill Thermal Paintball Mask is designed with anti-fog and anti-scratch lenses that are shaped in a sleek spherical design, which allows for distortion-free optics.
The entire mask is designed with a low profile in mind, so for more advanced players, you can really play tactically in this mask by using super-tight play and minimizing your opponent’s target zone.
With its flexible design, you not only feel comfortable but you can also play free of worry of the mask bouncing around as you move. It moves along with you with its full-flex pro grill and a center face soft rubber area that eliminates any discomfort due to a bounce factor.
As we mentioned before, the lenses have a “sunglass-inspired” 3D design that can give you the ultimate unrestricted peripheral vision.
Advanced players looking to play woodsball and need a low-profile design to make for a smaller target.
7. Dye Special Edition Thermal Lens Paintball Goggles
The Dye Special Edition Thermal Lens Paintball Goggles come in a sleek, one-piece solid constructed design that also contains a built-in visor, which sets it apart from the rest. This added-in feature offers more protection than simply just goggles, defending against paintball impacts and blocking sun and light that normally grants a glare.
The inner lens of the goggles are double pained and “thermoformed”, which gives it the quality material you need to protect your goggles from fogging up. It also gives you distortion-free vision.
The Dye Special Edition Thermal Lens Paintball Goggles are lightweight and offers 260 degrees of peripheral vision. The Dye Special Edition Thermal Lens also can be changed at top speed if needed, with an average changing speed of 10 seconds for a lens swap.
The design also includes multi-ported earpieces, which don’t block off hearing from the environment and game around you.
Dye’s anatomic fit gives you, as a player, a comfortable experience as the insides are lined with proven superior comfort foam. Not only is it comfortable, it also allows for a positive playing experience, with unidirectional venting that keeps you as cool as possible and reduces fogging.
The lenses offer extreme peripheral vision of 260 degrees horizontally and vertically. The goggles also have patented 1/4-turn buckle quick change lenses, which give you the opportunity to switch lenses easily and quickly while you're playing.
Perfect for beginners of any style looking to play like a pro without the price.
Three Basic Types Of Paintball Face Protection
Being able to customize your paintball mask with three different types of face protection features gives you the freedom to mix and match and switch up what you need based on your personal preference or simply trying out what works best for you. Although there are various types of face protection, the three basic types are goggles, the mesh mask, and the full paintball mask.
Originally used when paintballing first started, paintball goggles were used as a player’s only option to protect their eyes—however, the goggles left the rest of the face open and exposed for possible harm.
Shooting forward to this day and age, some players still opt for paintball goggles for face protection when looking to save money because it definitely gets the job done of protecting your eyes, however, it leaves the other parts of your face exposed to possible harm.
If you opt for paintball goggles, make sure the rest of your face is also protected, balancing out the exposure. You can opt for a cloth hood that keeps the paint off of your skin but be aware that with this option, you'll probably feel the sting of the paintball if it happens to hit your face. The risk of injury in paintball is already high enough, however, if you are looking to save money and are willing to take more of a risk—paintball goggles can be considered an option.
Mesh Paintball Mask
As the history of paintball moved forward, so did the quality and type of equipment. The mesh paintball mask is used hand in hand with the goggles. With this, you'll get the full face protection as it complements one another—however, they are normally bought separately. Generally, this mask only covers the bottom half of your face but still leaves the top half of your head and your neck exposed to incoming shots. If you're playing in close range, it can leave you exposed to those direct hits.
This mesh mask material adds a layer of protection when playing paintball but is also pretty affordable since it is so lightweight. This type of paintball mask is popular amongst beginners not only because of its usual price but also because of its comfort while playing.
The material is also a great option to choose when looking for breathable material while playing—releasing the hot air caused by body heat and heavy breathing.
Full Paintball Mask
Combining the two prior masks into one and reinforcing it with stronger material that you can also customize, the full paintball mask is the combination of a goggle system, removable lens, and full head protection.
With strong and durable material that will get the job done—keeping your face protected—the full paintball mask is also relatively comfortable to wear, which eliminates your worry of having to always adjust or having more equipment to weigh you down while you're playing.
Most serious players opt for the full paintball mask because not only can you clean or change the lens—even while in the midst of a game—you can get the full protection you need. These masks also allow for customization, which helps you express yourself through your mask, creating a more individualistic approach to your equipment and also giving you the option to mix and match if you're on a team.
Two Things To Keep in Mind When Choosing A Paintball Mask
When you're choosing a paintball mask, there are two things that will definitely have an influence on your paintball mask purchasing: your age and if you wear eyeglasses for vision correction. These two factors, although at first might not mean much, can mean the difference between you choosing one paintball mask over the other. Regardless if you think these factors are important, they do affect and influence your decision—let me tell you how:
Although you may not think that age has any sort of influencing impact on your game—it does have one on your equipment requirements. Especially if you're playing in organized paintball, most parks, courses, and competitions have certain age limits on wearing a full paintball mask. This usually means that until a certain age, usually 18, you are required to wear a full paintball mask because of the risk of injury—which will definitely influence your decision when choosing the proper one. The last thing you would want is to invest time and money into a mask simply to find out you aren't allowed to play with it.
Are You Wearing Eyeglasses
If contact lenses aren't for you and you normally wear eyeglasses to correct your vision, you have to make sure that your mask will allow for your eyeglasses to fit comfortably into those goggles. The mask should have plenty of room for your eyeglasses to fit in and still provide some stability since you'll be running and jumping around. If you can, it’s best to opt for contact lenses—even if it’s just for playing. Not only are they much more comfortable, they’re also practical—your peripheral vision needs to be impeccable.
The Ultimate Paintball Mask Buyers Guide
When comparing mask to mask, there are seven qualities that every mask should have. Players who are more experienced have these features memorized, so that when they're looking to invest in a new paintball mask, they already know what to look out for.
When you're investing in a full paintball mask, you want full protection, as well. Although often overlooked, protecting your ears is crucial when playing. Not only is a shot to your ear extremely painful, it can actually have a negative effect on your hearing. Therefore, it’s better to be safe than sorry—investing in a paintball mask that fully covers your ears will eliminate the risk of harming your hearing.
If you are really concerned about your hearing and ear protection, you can even opt for a mask that comes with extra padded ear protection. This protection absorbs the shock of the paintball when it hits, which minimizes what you feel on your ear.
Ventilation and breathability are also key factors to aim for when choosing a paintball mask. Having proper ventilation can help you not only breathe and feel comfortable while playing but if you're playing on a team, you'll need to have that extra breathing space to communicate with other teammates.
Choosing a mask with quality airflow reduces the hot air that is normally trapped inside of your mask which can lead to fogging. Especially if you're playing in hot conditions, you need to have a mask that will help keep you cool, regardless of the temperature in or outside.
Field of View
Ultimately, a mask shouldn't hinder your vision or eliminate the normal, peripheral vision you have without the mask on—quite the contrary. A key component to paintball is to be able to spot your opponent before they spot you or watch out for incoming attacks. Therefore, being able to see what’s going on around you is definitely an important factor that you should take into account when choosing a paintball mask.
Failing to invest in a mask that has a good field of view can restrict your visibility, leading you to not only get hurt from other players’ shots but also possibly missing obstacles that are placed around the playing field.
Especially if you are going to be playing outdoors, having UV protection is a bonus that will keep your eyes protected from the sun. It is like choosing a mask that has built-in sunglasses.
Just as we mentioned before with your hearing and ear protection, your eyes and vision are things that cannot be replaced so taking good care of them, especially when constantly playing in such a competitive or aggressive sport, is extremely important. Try to avoid sun damage at all cost. Therefore, having the UV-protected goggles or masks that not only help protect your eyes from incoming paintballs but also from the sun is definitely a feature that you shouldn't skip over.
A Strong Strap
The way that the paintball mask stays on your face or head is also an important feature to look at when considering a mask to purchase. There’s no point to investing in such a protective mask if it isn't secured on your head while playing. If the mask is constantly falling off while playing it will not only leave you exposed to incoming shots but also can hinder your playing, which might cost you the game. A strong and durable strap (or straps) is one hundred percent necessary when playing so that you not only stay safe during every moment of the game but also have the best chance of taking down your opponent and solely focus on your strategy rather than be constantly distracted by a weak strap.
Paintball is not a static game where you are just standing around and trying to hit your target. Not only are your targets moving around during the game—you have to be able to move around too. Being able to move as you please and having your equipment and gear move along with you can also help improve the fluidity of your game. Soft plastic and rubber will help the mask stay put around your face but won’t restrict your movement—going with you wherever you may go during the game, whether it’s diving, sliding or jumping over obstacles.
Choosing the best paintball mask is an investment in your game. Identifying which paintball mask has the highest quality of materials is essential when picking a mask out from the rest. Be on the lookout for high-grade plastic and rubber or any combination of the two. This will definitely give you the edge you need and the quality of material that will complement your mask and full set of equipment—proving itself against the test of time, wear, and tear.
Durability is an important feature because your mask should be able to take a hit. The hardened material should be able to absorb most of the shock of the paintball if you ever get hit in the face. Therefore, a durable paintball mask is an efficient one.
In paintball, you have so many various pieces of equipment to complete your full gear. It can definitely be an overwhelming experience, especially for a beginner, to choose which gear is best or preferred. However, these decisions shouldn't be taken lightly—having the proper gear is important for protection and movement during the game.
The type of equipment you have can also be defined by the type of paintball you're playing. For example, if you are going to be playing speedball, you'll want to opt for a mask and equipment that are extremely light, that way you can move around as quickly as possible. However, if you are playing woodsball, you can consider heavier equipment that adhere more towards tactics and protection.
However, no matter what type of paintball player you are, how old you are or for how long you've been playing, it’s important to choose a paintball mask that not only meets your needs but also your preferences.