Paintball masks are the most important piece of paintball gear you can have – even more important than your paintball gun. The mask is also the one thing people are forced to wear, and cannot be removed if you go paintballing. Paintball masks help to protect your face and eyes from getting hit by paintballs, or any other debris while playing. The masks come in a variety of shapes and size, which have different price ranges, depending on the quality or brand, and are designed specifically for paintball.
In my experience, you should always buy a paintball mask. Seriously—even if you’re not going to play that often, you don’t want to run around in a nasty, sweaty, ill-fitting rental mask. It’s worth the investment to wear a mask that hasn’t been running around on someone else’s face in the hours before you use it. It’s also important to have a mask that fits you well and feels comfortable as you play. Here are some things to keep in mind as you shop for a paintball mask:
First of all, you’ll need a mask that’s sturdy and made of good-quality materials. If the mask is cheap and poorly-made, it’s not going to do a good job of protecting your face. The lenses need to be made of material that won’t easily scratch up, as paintball masks take a lot of abuse. Next, you need a mask that’s comfortable. It needs to fit well. You’re going to be running around and sweating for hours with this thing on your face. If it gets so uncomfortable that you can’t wear it anymore, it’s game over, so pick one that feels great.
Finally comes all the extras. Make sure your mask has good ventilation (as I mentioned above, you’ll be sweating) to keep you cool and breathing easily. You need to be able to hear well from within your mask; it’s no good if everything is muffled and you can’t hear enemies approaching. Apart from that, you’ll find masks in a variety of styles, so you’re sure to be able to find one that suits you.
Our overall recommendation? Make sure you get the best paintball gun and the best paintball mask you can. These two tools are the most important things you can buy (and also usually the most expensive). Buy these first and continue to add other accessories as you and your love of the sport progress.
We have taken it upon ourselves to check out some paintball mask reviews, so we can give you a list of the best paintball masks in 2017, that are available to purchase, which are listed below.
#5 VForce Armor Fieldvision Gen 3
VForce is a great mask for people new to the sport, or seasoned veterans, it has a scratch resistant hard coat, the lens is thermo cured, so it doesn’t fog up, they provide optically correct vision, and can easily be switched out in the event that it cracks or breaks. This mask provides maximum protection for the user, and is a great value at its price.
#4 Proto Switch EL Goggle
Proto Switch EL Goggle comes with single pane fog resistant lenses, that are treated on the exterior with a hard coat, to prevent scratching. The mask also keeps your ears protected, and has multi-ported earpieces that allow you to hear what is going on around you. The interior is made with soft material that make it very comfortable to wear, and the mask also has a turnbuckle that allows you to change the lens quickly and easily. This is a great paintball mask, and it comes in two different styles and colors.
#3 Sly Profit Paintball Goggle Mask Thermal
This is a top of the line mask that is designed for paintball enthusiasts, it has a dual pane thermal lens that protects it from fogging up while you are playing, and it has soft earpieces that provide a very comfortable feel and protection. This mask gives users an advantage when playing because it reduces the glare from the sun while playing, it has SBR foam that provides shock absorption while playing, and water resistant inner lens gasket to lock out dirt and moisture.
#2 Sly Profit Full Camo Goggles
This is another quality product from Sly Profit, these camo goggles come in a wide range of colors, so people have a lot of options to choose from, it is lined with velvet soft cell foam and SBT foam for shock absorption while playing, and has an integrated double strap that allows you to adjust the goggle angle, with a quick release system that allows you to change the lens easily. This is a very comfortable and well-made mask, that will make your paintball experience more enjoyable.
#1 Dye Precision I4 Thermal Paintball Goggle
This is the best paintball mask you will find on the market, the mask comes in a variety of colors, the lenses are dye high definition thermal lenses, with a 290 degree peripheral vision that allows you to see more than any other mask, it comes with a 14 rapid change system, that allows you to change the lens within 10 seconds. The mask has a retention system that keeps it exactly where you want it to be, without having to worry about it falling out of place. It is a little more expensive than the other masks on this list, and if you want the best, you have to be willing to pay a little extra.
Three Types of Paintball Masks
There are three major types of paintball masks to choose from: the full face mask, the mesh mask, and the simple goggles. What you chose is up to you but we’ve listed some of the pros and cons of each below:
Full Paintball Mask
The full paintball mask if the best type of mask available. They offer great strength, durability, and safety. Not only will this style of mask last you many years but it will also be the easiest to play with. Because the full mask surrounds your entire head it is the least likely to need any type of adjustments.
Also for safety, the mask covers everything including your eyes, ears, nose, mouth, face and head. They are also incredibly stylish. Some of the best looking masks around are full face masks and are easy to maintain. Full face masks allow the lens to be separated from the rest of the mask for easy cleaning.
Nearly all professional paintballers will be seen wearing a full paintball mask. If your budget allows for it we highly recommend this style of mask.
Mesh Paintball Mask
This style of mask consists of two components – the mesh material to protect the lower face and ears and the paintball goggles. These masks are very affordable and extremely lightweight. This is the most popular option for beginners in paintball.
The material is very breathable and therefore very comfortable. They also will require a certain amount of readjusting during gameplay. Because the mask and the goggles must be purchased separately it is important to try them out together to make sure they work well for you.
The major drawback is that the top of your head and your neck are still exposed. Because of this we still recommend that players always use a full face mask.
Googles were the original form of protection on the paintball field and we do no recommend going this route alone. Paintball goggles are similar to ski/snowboard goggles – they simple cover ones eyes and are affixed to the face with an elastic strap.
These goggles do not protect the nose, mouth, face or ears of a player. Playing an impact sport like paintball without proper protection is not a good idea. If you insist on using paintball goggles make sure you at least use a mesh mask as discussed above. You don’t want to end up with a nasty paintball welt on your face!
Most Important Features to Consider When Buying a New Paintball Mask
When deciding on the best paintball mask there are 10 key features to focus on. These important features are what separates a great paintball mask from just an ordinary one:
This is the most important feature to look at and can vary greatly from person to person. Spending all day on a paintball field with an uncomfortable mask is not going to be fun. And if you’re not having fun you’re not going to want to keep playing.
If your mask rubs your the wrong way or doesn’t fit right you could end up in a lot of pain – even more pain than a paintball welt. When trying on new masks be sure to wear it for a few minutes and move around – if it isn’t comfortable, grab a new one.
A Durable Strap
Yes – a comfortable mask is very important – but that mask is useless if you don’t have a proper strap ensuring it stays where it is supposed to. A good strap will keep a mask in place, snug against your face. When on the field you shouldn’t be constantly worrying about your mask falling off or having to readjust.
This feature is especially important if you plan on playing paintball regularly. The mask isn’t exactly the most exciting piece of equipment in paintball so instead of buying low-quality masks regularly it is better to just buy one and use it as long as possible.
High-grade materials make for a better, and more expensive, mask. These masks will last longer and hold up to regular use better.
Field of View
Paintball requires you to be incredibly aware of your surroundings. You must know what is going on around you during the entire match. A large field of view allows you to better track your opponents and also stay safe while playing.
A poorly designed mask could result in failure to see obstacles around you and opponents who can clearly see you. You don’t want to be the player on the field who was hit because you fell over a tree stump that you didn’t see.
The best paintball masks all have venting features in the front of the mask. These are important for two reasons:
First, you can breathe better – when running around a paintball field air flow is essential.
Second – communication. Paintball is a team sport and communication can be difficult if you have a solid piece of plastic right in front of your mouth.
Getting hit directly in the ear with a paintball can not only be painful but have some serious side-effects. Make sure to pick a paintball mask the fully covers your ears to help prevent injury.
The last thing you want is to suffer an injury to your ear, and potentially lose your hearing. If you find that masks with basic ear protection are uncomfortable try to find one that offers padded protection.
UV (Ultra Violet Light) Protection
If you’re playing on an outdoor field this applies more so than an indoor field. Running around in the sun all day can strain and damage your eyes. If you know you’ll be playing outside be sure to buy a mask that offers UV protection on the lenses.
This obviously doesn’t apply if you are playing inside – it’s best to have a mask for both types of play if you plan on playing both.
The weight of the mask is also an important feature to consider. A heavy mask can end up making gameplay a lot more difficult for you. You shouldn’t have to worry about your neck and shoulders becoming tired in the middle of a match because your mask is too heavy.
The ideal mask should weigh between 1 and 2.5 pounds. Any mask in this range shouldn’t have too much of an impact on your strength.
Range of Motion
This feature relates directly back to our first mention, comfort. Our bodies move -, especially during gameplay. A face mask should move with our bodies. A certain amount of flexibility is required during gameplay.
Without a flexible mask, you will most likely find yourself constantly readjusting your mask trying to get it back in to place. An ideal mask should fit snugly around your face and allows you to turn your head freely.
Obviously, most of this boils down to one thing: price. We all have different budgets and even though we would like the best of the best – sometimes we need to stick to what we can afford. A twice a year player also probably doesn’t need to spend as much or buy the best paintball mask compared to the every weekend player.
Remember that the paintball mask is the most important piece of equipment you will buy – don’t be cheap with your safety. If you can afford a better mask we always recommend going for it.