Best Paintball Mask

paintball mask

Paintball is a competitive combat sport where players take out opponents by hitting them with round dye-filled gelatin capsules called “paintballs” that explode upon impact. Paintballs are shot from a paintball gun that uses compressed gas, either nitrogen or carbon dioxide.

Paintball Masks/Goggles

Paintball masks or goggles are mandatory safety wear when participating in a game of paintball. The most basic models cover the eyes and mouth, while the more extreme models will also cover the throat, have a visor as well as a hard head cap.

PhotoProduct nameView on Amazon
1. Dye Precision I4 Thermal Paintball Goggles1. Dye Precision I4 Thermal Paintball GogglesView on Amazon
2. V-Force Grill Thermal Paintball Mask2. V-Force Grill Thermal Paintball MaskView on Amazon
3. Virtue VIO Extend Thermal Paintball Goggles3. Virtue VIO Extend Thermal Paintball GogglesView on Amazon
4. Empire E-Flex Paintball Goggle System4. Empire E-Flex Paintball Goggle SystemView on Amazon
5. Empire Helix Goggles5. Empire Helix GogglesView on Amazon
6. JT Spectra Flex 8 Thermal Full Coverage Goggles6. JT Spectra Flex 8 Thermal Full Coverage GogglesView on Amazon
7. Sly Profit LE Full-Face Mask7. Sly Profit LE Full-Face MaskView on Amazon
8. JT Raptor Paintball Goggles8. JT Raptor Paintball GogglesView on Amazon
9. V-Force Grill Goggles Zebra Thermal SE9. V-Force Grill Goggles Zebra Thermal SEView on Amazon
10. V-FORCE Profiler Thermal Lenses Paintball Mask “COYOTE”10. V-FORCE Profiler Thermal Lenses Paintball Mask “COYOTE”View on Amazon
11. DYE i5 Paintball Goggles11. DYE i5 Paintball GogglesView on Amazon
12. Valken Annex MI-9 Goggles12. Valken Annex MI-9 GogglesView on Amazon
13. Virtue VIO Contour Thermal Paintball Goggles “White Ruby”13. Virtue VIO Contour Thermal Paintball Goggles “White Ruby”View on Amazon
14. Empire Limited Thermal Paintball Goggles14. Empire Limited Thermal Paintball GogglesView on Amazon
Visors differ in construct, design, and features as well as styles. Professional (or amateur) paintball teams will sometimes come with their own team colors. However, in most cases, paintball centers provide rental masks on-site.

In general, if you are only a one-time player, you won’t need to buy a mask. However, once you get bitten by the bug and want to compete on a regular basis, then you must invest in a good paintball mask.

As with any protective item, you must invest in what is both comfortable and protective. This means that you have to understand the mask and how it is constructed. Since you will be wearing your mask in “combat” and stealth conditions it has to perform perfectly, giving you that leading edge.

There are some issues when wearing a sub-standard mask and these include:

  • Bad Fit – either too tight or too loose, if it’s too tight it will hurt or not fit, and if it’s too loose, it will wobble on your head.
  • Foggy Vision – when the visor fills up your face humidity that fogs up the inside of the visor.
  • Size – some masks can be too big externally, providing a larger target to hit.
  • Incomplete – when the mask construct is missing an important element, such as a mouth guard.

Here is a breakdown of the mask and its features, so that you can understand the importance of each part.

The Mask Features

Lens: Paintball is all about vision, being able to see the target quickly, clearly and before the target sees you. It is also about being able to aim your gun without distraction, and as such you need a high-quality goggle lens. Lenses come in various forms, there are standard clear lenses, mirror lenses, and smoke lenses. Each lens serves a different purpose, and the choice of lens is decided upon by choice of the playground.

  • Clear Lens – Indoors, indoors low light, outdoors: raining, overcast.
  • Smoke/Mirror Lens – outdoors, sunlight.

Apart from the lens surface, you need to find a mask that has a double pane, the dual pane lens is designed to reduce fogging, which is the main issue with any mask. However, as a single element of the headset, you will need to make sure that a good dual pane lens is supported by the other elements.

Lens Shape: The shape of the lens is important, you don’t want a lens that is too “thin” restricting your vision. You need full facial vision, this means a lens that not only covers your eyes but covers the side of your eyes as well. When you put on a mask, check your peripheral vision.

Vents: These important slits in the surface of the mask are highly important for you to breathe. They are situated all around the masks lower area and provide your mouth with access to fresh air. Vents are important for three main reasons:

  • Breathing – when you have enough vents in place you can breathe easier
  • Anti-Fogging – once you can release your breath more fluidly, then your goggles will be less likely to fog up from breath. Even with sealed lens units, breath can seep through.
  • Communication – good venting allows you to talk easier or let’s say be heard and understood easier than a muffled voice through a solid plastic cover.

Just take note that vents are a two-way affair, this means that if you get shot in the face, paint is likely to spatter through the vents. You can either buy a specially designed mask that has vents preventing paint from entering the face area, or you can buy a mask that has enough vents to be efficient but also keep out any excess paint from a facial shot.
paintball mask
Profile: Essentially, the shape of the mask that conforms to your head. You need to fit the mask to your head, not your head to a mask. Remember this important fact, it I will make buying a mask easier. You are not picky or choosy, you fit an important safety measure to your bodies requirements. Just as you wouldn’t want to wear shoes that are a size too small, or too slim, you must wear a mask that fits your head snugly. (Don’t buy into that bs that the shoe expands…the same goes for masks, they don’t expand, your face just gets hurt)

Foam: Some might claim that this is only a comfort feature, but it is an important part of the whole experience. Paintball is about concentrating during a tactical combat situation. One of the worst distractors in any combat situation is an uncomfortable headset, whether it’s a helmet or a mask, or just plain goggles. A good foam material and construct will breathe well while providing good insulation and comfort at the same time. This is one of the parts of the helmet that you will need to change from time to time since they become grungy from sweat during use.

Ears: Ear padding is important because getting a paintball in your ear is shit. (sorry, no other way to explain the sensation). That is what a good mask will provide adequate padding for your ears. The only downside to this is the effect some padding has on communications. Check what happens when you talk and when someone talks to you. You don’t want a mask that sounds like you are yelling at yourself when you communicate.

Strap: You might not think much of the straps but believe you me these fastening devices are key to comfortable wear. It’s not just the size, it’s the fit, and the fit is made snug with good straps. Not all straps suit every head. Heads have many shapes and sizes, so you really need to check out several masks before you find the one that is really snug when you put it on. Check what happens to you when you snap on the straps and tighten them just enough to make the fit cozy.

Chin Strap: This appears on some masks and is a useful addition. All real combat helmets come with a chin strap. They are restrictive and not comfortable to many wearers, but they do add that extra bit of support to the helmet and stop slippage. Basically, the chin strap is to make sure your mask will not fall off your face during various combat maneuvers.

Visor: This is not a mandatory item but is useful in some situations. You don’t need a visor indoors, but outdoors on rainy days or extremely clear sunlit days, these add-ons do provide extra clarity for vision. They also prevent rain from entering your vents on the top of your mask. These are snap on items, which means you can add them whenever you want.

Style: This has nothing to do with comfort or quality, style is all about team identity and opponent fear. You want a mask that makes you look like a cross between Jason (Friday 13th) and Freddy Kruger (Elm Street). You want to look cool while making your opponent shake in their boots. You also want a mask that associates you with a team, unless you are playing individually.

Paintball Mask Culture and Review

This review has a bit of a mixed bag since there are literally thousands of models, colors, and designs to choose from. At the end of the day, the real best masks are going to be centered around a specific brand rather than color or design. The culture of choosing a mask is personal to every individual.

So, what I will do here is present you with companies that are really at the top of the filed, give you a review of one of their best masks and take into account “culture” the culture of paintball agg! Go get your beef on and melt your enemy away in fear when they look upon you. If you need to pump up your agg before a match goes copy the New Zealand Rugby “All Blacks” “Haka” war dance with a beastly mask and then shoot the crap out of your opponents.

The review will be centered around the 9 features that I mentioned above (there were ten, but I won’t discuss the visor since it’s only an additional option and is quite standard). , since masks are individual items that require a true fit, there is no point in extolling virtues of a mask that won’t fit you. (apart from the fact that there is not much difference between the top-level masks, only personal preference).

Therefore, I will point out all the best features of each mask and give a brief personal take on their performance for you to choose from. This review system will also make it easier for you to compare different brands and models.

1. Dye Precision I4 Thermal Paintball Goggles

Quality86%
Reliability84%
Practicality83%
Price84%

Dye Precision i4 Goggles are always high performance and quality products. They aim to minimize on the scale while maintaining absolute protection and comfort. The I4 is one of their most compact models and is well worth the consideration.

  • Lens- DP compound radius lens includes their thermal technology which aims to provide complete vertical and horizontal peripheral vision. The lens also provides perfect anti-fogging performance. The lens comes with a special coating to prevent scratching.
  • Lens Shape – wide lens offering a good peripheral vision. This model also has a quick-change system so you can replace your visor within 10 seconds when needed.
  • Vents – DP incorporates what they call Scream Multi-Directional Venting, which is basically a venting system that is designed for maximum audio transfer. The vents are designed to prevent moisture and heat build-up.
  • Profile – this is the smallest profile that DP has to offer, so it provides less target space to shoot at. It is designed to adjust to most head shapes, so play around with it to see if it conforms smoothly and comfortably to you.
  • Foam- this mask uses DP proprietary dual stage foam that combines open and closed cell foam technology. The foam is designed to sheet your sweat and moisture from your face.
  • Ears – DP uses a compression formed ear compartment that is snug and protective.
  • Strap – they use a tiger teeth rubber strap, not much to add.
  • Chin Strap – they use a tiger teeth rubber strap.
  • Style – this is the Los Angeles Ironmen professional team’s official goggles, which means it’s a professional looking sports unit, aimed at protection and not psychology.

 

 

2. V-Force Grill Thermal Paintball Mask

Quality84%
Reliability82%
Practicality83%
Price83%

V-Force produces some good masks, and they aim to add a little bit of psychology as an addition to their goggles performance.

  • Lens – the VF lens is designed to give great peripheral vision. The lens material is thermo-cured anti-fog and anti-scratch lenses with unbeatable distortion-free optics. They are also quickly changeable.
  • Lens Shape – low-profile 3D, similar to sunglasses design (according to them).
  • Vents – they incorporate standard vents, so you get a great steam release, but ball psalter does get through with a direct hit.
  • Foam – this unit comes with a fast foam-swap system, allowing you to change grungy foam in the middle of the action. A really cool feature on hot, humid days.
  • Ears – standard protection.
  • Strap – standard design.
  • Chin Strap – a comfort design, proprietary for better comfort and stability.
  • Style – the VF Grill provides both a small target area, but large chin area for better protection of the lower head. This design does give a certain chill factor and is lightweight and comfortable.

 

 

3. Virtue VIO Extend Thermal Paintball Goggles

Quality86%
Reliability85%
Practicality85%
Price87%

Virtue is another leader of the pack, especially in design. If you are looking for that extra snazzy appearance, that sci-fi I’m a hybrid killing machine style, then look no further. The color ranges on this model are also quite snazzy. This mask will make you look good when you kill and when you are killed!

  • Lens – The VIO has a large thermal lens that gives exceptional peripheral vision. This model includes a thermal pane lens with anti-fog coatings. It also includes their proprietary technology for a heavy-duty impact resistant lens. It has a great scratch resistant coating and is a dual pane anti-fog lens. They also provide chromatic lenses, and the system incorporates their Hinge Lock™ lens changing system.
  • Vents – The VIO provides extra venting throughout the masks construct.
  • Profile – a small yet protective profile with a longer frontal protection section.
  • Foam – a removable multi-layer foam system.
  • Ears – the VIO has high-density soft foam ear padding.
  • Strap – Snap-On system for fast release and reconnect.
  • Chin Strap – padded for extra comfort.
  • Style – this is a 100% elastomer mask, so its flexible while being rigid enough to conform to your head. It is also slightly longer at the front to give your mouth more room to breathe and talk without creating a back-flow steam-up. It’s a sci-fi hybrid mask that inspires visions of cyber-insectoids coming to zap you.

 

 

4. Empire E-Flex Paintball Goggle System

Quality84%
Reliability83%
Practicality83%
Price85%

Empire never ceases to impress in their quality and performance. This is a no-nonsense company that approaches everything from a pure engineering point of view and want to provide us with quality efficient products.

  • Lens – wide angle clear range anti-fog dual pane lens. Designed with their proprietary Vents™ quick-change system.
  • Lens Shape – truly wide angles for full peripheral vision.
  • Vents – they incorporate their Vents™ system which stops a lot of ink splatter while allowing sound and steam to release.
  • Profile – small and compact with a nice symmetry in design.
  • Foam – ProFlex system with quick change features.
  • Ears – thermo-foam support provides great protection without muffling sounds.
  • Strap – a silicone bead strap.
  • Chin Strap – silicone bead strap with extra padding.
  • Style – No nonsense, I am here to win look.

 

 

5. Empire Helix Goggles

Quality86%
Reliability84%
Practicality84%
Price86%

Another fine Empire product that impresses with their quality and performance. This is a no-nonsense company that approaches everything from a pure engineering point of view and want to provide us with quality efficient products.

  • Lens – This mask has a clear dual-pane thermal optically correct lens that provides 270 degrees of visibility. It is their wide angle clear range anti-fog dual pane lens. Designed with their proprietary Vents™ quick-change system.
  • Lens Shape – wide round.
  • Vents – they incorporate their Vents™ system which stops a lot of ink splatter while allowing sound and steam to release.
  • Profile – this is a rigid mask with a full head profile aimed at the outdoor hunter.
  • Foam – ProFlex system with quick change features.
  • Ears – thermo-foam support provides great protection without muffling sounds.
  • Strap – a silicone bead strap.
  • Chin Strap – silicone bead strap with extra padding.
  • Style – A rigid material, full head construct, providing a no-nonsense hunter look.

 

 

6. JT Spectra Flex 8 Thermal Full Coverage Goggles

Quality87%
Reliability85%
Practicality85%
Price84%

JT provides simple designs that offer maximum protection. They aim to minimize the target surface.

  • Lens – Dual lens anti-fogging clear spectra Lens providing a wide field of vision 260°
  • Lens Shape – super wide for maximizing peripheral vision.
  • Vents – JT has developed a unique dual Fusion co-molding technique that enables fast venting through limited vents.
  • Profile – slim frame, hugging the face with a flexible frame.
  • Foam – standard foam, but changeable in the field of action.
  • Ears – good foam protection.
  • Strap – standard straps.
  • Chin Strap – padded.
  • Visor – included in all their models.
  • Style – this is the economic saver end of the best masks to buy, they provide great performance but are not too expensive and great for beginners.

 

 

7. Sly Profit LE Full-Face Mask

Quality85%
Reliability83%
Practicality84%
Price85%

Profit is an exceptional company providing some really aeronautical looking paintball masks. You would expect a skydiver rather than a paintball player to wear one of these amazing designs.

  • Lens – thermal gradient extra wide vision lens with a quick release system for in-field changes.
  • Lens Shape – pilot bubble, looks like something an F-35 pilot would wear on a training mission.
  • Vents – specially designed vents to reduce splatter and increase audio and humidity release.
  • Profile – slim frame that conforms to most heads.
  • Foam – designed for comfort, these masks come with a velvet lined soft cell foam and SBR shock absorbers.
  • Ears – soft cell earpieces, exceptionally comfortable without compromising the integrity of the sound.
  • Strap – integrated double strap system that allows you to adjust the goggle angle.
  • Chin Strap – part of the integrated double strap system and includes a quick release method.
  • Style – this is an exceptionally designed mask, I am biased since it appeals to me. However, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, so everyone has a personal preference. This is one of mine, but I have more.

 

 

8. JT Raptor Paintball Goggles

Quality80%
Reliability79%
Practicality80%
Price90%

The JT Raptor is a no-nonsense budget friendly hunting helmet designed for quick incursions into enemy territory, shoot, kill and get out.

  • Lens – standard single pane clear anti-fog visor
  • Lens Shape – provides 190 degrees of vision, which is more than enough.
  • Vents – standard vents for quick voice and steam release.
  • Profile – hunting profile, no frills, just kills.
  • Foam – standard foam support for a comfortable fit.
  • Ears – standard – phew, I use this word a lot here.
  • Strap – dual strap quick release system.
  • Chin Strap – a no-slip strap that adjusts with the straps to prevent your goggles from sliding around.
  • Style – what can I say, I have just about standardized this mask to oblivion. It’s a great budget-friendly mask for beginners or players that have a limited budget.

 

 

9. V-Force Grill Goggles Zebra Thermal SE

Quality87%
Reliability90%
Practicality85%
Price84%

V-Force provides us with another great looking paintball mask that delivers as well as it looks.

  • Lens – This model comes with a built-in “provisor” for added sun and rain protection. The lens is the V-Force QuickChange ThermoCured system
  • Lens Shape – extra wide for extreme peripheral vision.
  • Vents – standard vents for quick voice and humidity release.
  • Profile – this model includes the VFlector the V-Force integrated forehead bounce panel for added face and lens protection.
  • Foam QuickChange / ClickDry Foam System – Revolutionary all-in-one QuickChange Comfort Foam. Fresh, dry comfort in a snap!
  • Ears – they have the proprietary ComfortPads
  • Strap – integrated QuickChange Strap using a contact Posi-Clip
  • Chin Strap – extra comfort with their Comfort Chin Strap
  • Style- this is their Feather Weight mask that comes in a delightfully weird zebra coloring. It’s great for confusing the enemy in a black and white scenario.

 

 

10. V-FORCE Profiler Thermal Lenses Paintball Mask “COYOTE”

Quality86%
Reliability84%
Practicality85%
Price84%

This is V-Force’s no-nonsense go get them quick goggles. With all the technological frills but without the design features to confuse you, this mask delivers on all fronts.

  • Lens – The lens is their Quick ChangeTM dual pane thermal system for quick interchangeability. The lens comes with their Anti-Scratch coating
  • Lens Shape – ultra large and wide, this lens provides nearly perfect conditions competing against all other masks. It provides 280° of clear vision.
  • Vents – specially designed angles for minimizing splatter and maximizing voice and steam release.
  • Profile – this unit is a low profile design, minimizing the contact surface face
  • Foam – as usual, V-Force excel in comfort and include both an excellent quick-change form with a center face full soft rubber shock absorber
  • Ears – extra padded cells.
  • Strap – this model integrates their silicone Quick ChangeTM Strap
  • Chin Strap – part of the silicone Quick ChangeTM Strap system
  • Style – what can I say, it’s an amazing mask set, comes with a built-in visor to protect you from rain and sun and is ultra-light. It’s actually a very popular model.

 

 

11. DYE i5 Paintball Goggles

Quality89%
Reliability88%
Practicality88%
Price82%

 
DYE is known for their “out-there” designs and no-compromising engineering details. I would say that they are one of the most advanced companies in this field and produce some of the leading-edge paintball masks around. This is one product that you can judge by its cover.

  • Lens – DYE integrates their unique anti-fog Dyetanium lens aimed to protect you against UV rays and scratches via a hard-coat dip. (Don’t you just love that word “Dyetanium,” cool, don’t let it fool you, it’s just a name for UV coating.)
  • Lens Shape – super wide providing unhindered peripheral vision.
  • Vents – they incorporate their SCREAM venting system which is a multi-directional bladed design.
  • Profile – highly compact and streamlined. A really cool meeting of ergonomics, practicality, and fashion.
  • Foam – DYE brings it all into the game with their multi-layer quick release foam.
  • Ears – your ears are fully protected with their compression formed ear pads.
  • Strap – unequaled comfortable, adjustable GSR Pro Strap
  • Chin Strap – part of their GSR pro strap system
  • Style – this is perhaps my favorite model. It looks clean, streamlined and means. You don’t need skulls and weird additions, you just need the right shape and professional look to give you that psychological advantage. This model includes an integrated POV mounting system for your cam and is ultra-light. Basically, if you want to look hyper-cool, get this one, now.

 

 

12. Valken Annex MI-9 Goggles

Quality83%
Reliability82%
Practicality81%
Price85%

Valken provides solid, professional, I am going to beat the shit out of you, products. (excuse the language). This model is no exception. When you want an adrenalin rush, get this one and prepare your opponents for a game of fear factor. The design is simple, and as such is also low-budget. You get excellent value for money if you want a simple looking but a professional mask.

  • Lens – this unit has a double paned thermal lens with a hard coat scratch resistant surface. It provides great protection from fogging, scratches and has a polycarbonate quick release system for fast inter-game changing.
  • Lens Shape – the lens is designed to provide a 160 degrees vertical and 260 degrees horizontal view. This means you get perfect vision and is better than some newfangled fancy shmancy goggles.
  • Vents – angle differentiated vents to reduce splatter and increase audio and heat release.
  • Profile – A mask designed by players for players, so they claim, and I believe them.
  • Foam – this model comes with a fast-dual layer with a fast click on the replacement system.
  • Ears – extra padding providing more comfort
  • Strap – extra strong strap and integrated chin strap
  • Chin Strap – see the strap
  • Style – This is a strong high density injected polyethylene framed mask that gives as much as it takes.

 

 

13. Virtue VIO Contour Thermal Paintball Goggles “White Ruby”

Quality87%
Reliability87%
Practicality86%
Price85%

Virtue does it again with their crazy colored designs, and this one is for those that believe bright colors can be as impressive and fearful ones. I tend to agree, coming into battle all lit up in neon is inviting both target practice, but also asking – WTF? It can make some people feel on edge when confronted with a rainbow of colors rather than a camo.

  • Lens – The VIO has a large thermal lens that gives exceptional peripheral vision. This model includes a thermal pane lens with anti-fog coatings. It also includes their proprietary technology for a heavy-duty impact resistant lens. It has a great scratch resistant coating and is a dual pane anti-fog lens. They also provide chromatic lenses, and the system incorporates their Hinge Lock™ lens changing system.
  • Vents – The VIO provides extra venting throughout the masks construct.
  • Profile – a small yet protective profile with a longer frontal protection section.
  • Foam – a removable multi-layer foam system.
  • Ears – the VIO has high-density soft foam ear padding.
  • Strap – Snap-On system for fast release and reconnect.
  • Chin Strap – padded for extra comfort.
  • Style – this is a 100% elastomer mask, so its flexible while being rigid enough to conform to your head. It is also slightly longer at the front to give your mouth more room to breathe VIO Contour Special Features. The color design is more sportive and aimed for “fun” rather than “kill.” Sort of a ski mask-helmet color hybrid meets paintball.

 

 

14. Empire Limited Thermal Paintball Goggles

Quality90%
Reliability89%
Practicality88%
Price80%

Where would I be if I didn’t give you an Empire product and one with skull and crossbones?

  • Lens – wide angle clear range anti-fog dual pane lens. Designed with their proprietary Vents™ quick-change system. You get two lenses, the natural one, and their special Ninja lens. You have to be a ninja to wear that one, or you’re just faking it.
  • Lens Shape – truly wide angles for full peripheral vision.
  • Vents – they incorporate their Vents™ system which stops a lot of ink splatter while allowing sound and steam to release.
  • Profile – small and compact with a nice symmetry in design.
  • Foam – Hypo-allergenic proprietary Spectra face foam and their ProFlex system for quick changing.
  • Ears – thermo-foam support provides great protection without muffling sounds.
  • Strap – a silicone bead strap.
  • Chin Strap – silicone bead strap with extra padding.
  • Style – Their limited-edition skull mask, its delivers that edgy punch you expect from a Sunday pirate.