Best Paintball Masks in 2023
(Ultimate Buying Guide)
In a thrilling game of paintball, a splatter on your body means you’ve been hit – this includes your head. So at the very least, you will want to ensure your head is covered. Wearing a paintball mask is a key part of the game. Safety first, after all. But that safety doesn’t need to come at a cost in terms of performance.
If you’re tired of wearing a rental mask, it’s likely time to upgrade. Some say that buying a mask is a bigger decision than buying a new marker. It can be tough knowing where to start, but we’re here to help you. We have compiled a list of the best paintball masks for players of all skill levels. These options will help to enhance both your comfort and skill on the field.
Why Finding The Best Paintball Mask Is Key To Your Game
Picking the right paintball mask is key to your game. Your choice can either hinder or enhance the results you achieve on the field. The following are some of the reasons why.
Paintball Mask Vision
A mask is meant to protect your eyes. One that gets in the way of your sight is not good for your game. You will want to have full and clear vision through your paintball mask.
Hearing In Your Paintball Mask
You also need to be able to hear what’s happening around you. This can be the difference between hearing someone sneak up on you or being blindsided. Each model will affect your hearing in certain ways. Some will make it easier to hear, while others make it harder.
Breathability & the Fog Factor
It’s vital that you’re able to breathe when wearing the mask. Don’t forget about this part! The breathing factor can also affect your vision. Sometimes, players will find that their mask tends to fog up from their breath. Of course, you do not want this happening to you since it can leave you blinded to the other team. Rest assured, there are products on the market to help you with this. You can look for special anti-fog lens wipes or thermal design lenses.
Paintball Mask Comfort
Surely you will want to seek comfort in a mask. If you don’t enjoying wearing it, then you’ll want to take it off every chance you get. If your mask does not fit right it can have adverse effects on your game play.
Stemming from the comfort of the mask, you could lose focus if it doesn’t fit right. If you’re always having to worry about your mask being secure or in the right spot, you will find it to be distracting. Once the game begins, there’s no stopping so you’ll want to be on the ball at all times.
Head & Eye Health
The mask is meant to protect your head and eyes. So make sure it does! Choosing a mask that can’t protect you is like not wearing one at all. Your vision and hearing could be ask risk if not properly protected.
The Features Of A Paintball Mask
You should consider the following features when picking out the best paintball mask for you.
If you’ve ever been hit by a paintball, you know they’re moving very fast. You can tell by the size of the welt it leaves behind. On average, paintball markers shoot at a speed of 300 feet per second (fps). Although, most venues allow for a max speed of 280 fps. Either way, you’ll want a mask that can withstand this force and won’t be damaged by high speed paintballs.
A mask that is resistant to scratches will go a long way in your paintball career. You never know when you may come into close contact with another player or an object in the arena. Either way, it would be a shame to mark up your new mask more than you need to. Not to mention, it can also affect your sight while in action. Finding a mask with this feature is well worth the money spent.
There’s nothing worse than having your mask fog up on the field. You’re unable to see and every time you breathe it fogs up more. This can be prevented by finding a mask that has anti-fog features, such as one that uses a thermal lens.
Paintball Mask Profile
The mask profile can either be low (small) or high (large). It mostly depends on the type of game you’re playing. For instance, in speedball you will want a smaller profile mask since your head is one of the few body parts exposed. In other types of games it doesn’t matter as much. Just ensure that the profile of the mask does not compromise your safety. Even in a game of speedball, a small profile mask is no good if it doesn’t protect you.
The Different Parts Of A Paintball Mask
It’s important for you to understand the different parts of a paintball mask and the role each one plays. Knowing what these components do will help you to pick among the best paintball masks.
The bottom refers to the lower section of the mask that covers your face from the eyes down. It also protects portions of your neck – some models more than others. In fact, some models may provide hardly any protection for your neck. Another word of caution is to be aware of how well your jawline is covered. While protecting your mouth area, the mask’s vents allow you to breathe. These are slightly angled to prevent direct contact with a paintball.
Paintball Mask Lens
This protects your eyes from action, but also lets you see the action. Some will even have space for you to wear glasses or sunglasses. You will want to consider things like how easy it is to remove (for cleaning and changing purposes), if it is thermal (i.e. has a dual lens to prevent fogging), the color or finish, how wide it is (i.e. for peripheral vision), as well as if it’s scratch-resistant.
Paintball Mask Straps
You want your mask to stay on your head, right? Well, this is what straps are for. Not only do they keep your mask in place, but they can add a touch of style to your mask. We’ve seen some cool paintball masks on the field paired with even cooler straps. You can use a single strap or a double strap setup – the choice is yours based on what feels best for you.
Your ears need to be covered too! These protective covers come in all shapes and sizes, but with the main goal of shielding your ears. They are designed to add a layer of cover, while still making sure that you can hear. Make note of whether a mask includes soft ears versus hard ears. Each one offers sufficient protection, but you should choose what feels best for you.
Now that you understand more about paintball masks, let’s get into the specific models out there. (And if you need to know about paintball guns or hoppers/loaders, we have that too.)
Here Are Some Cool Paintball Masks We Suggest You Take A Look At:
Each of our best paintball mask recommendations are five star rating to ensure you have the best. As we’ve said, a mask is not something to cheap out on. Especially since there are some pretty cool paintball masks out there. Of course, there will be items in the lower price range, as well as the higher. Just know that each of our suggestions puts your safety first.
Empire Paintball Event Thermal Goggle
At the lower end of the price range, the Event Thermal Goggles from Empire has everything you could ask for in a paintball mask. Starting at the lens, this mask surely shows its quality. The lens is thermal and boasts an anti-fog feature on top of that. Players have said this lens to be very resistant to fog in hot and cold temperatures. It can easily be removed for quick cleaning or in the case of replacement. The lens itself offers great peripheral vision so you can see everything around you. At the end of each side of the lens, you will find two soft removable ear pieces. These ear pieces are protective, comfortable and won’t really hinder your hearing on the field. Behind these, you will find an extremely secure strap. It features beads of silicon to prevent it from sliding. The bottoms of the mask are said to be of low profile and offers great breathability. Ultimately, this is a great mask for those newer to the game of paintball and not wanting to spend too much. The Event is suitable for all different types of paintball matches.
Virtue VIO Extend Thermal Paintball Mask
This is the real deal for all of you serious paintball marksman out there. It is our top recommendation. Falling at the higher end of the price range, this is an investment in your safety and performance more than anything else. The Virtue VIO Extend is a favorite among the elite. It not only looks great in a variety of color styles, it performs even better. Offering full peripheral vision, there is no blockage of sight here. The inner lens and mask is lined with foam that will comfort your face for rounds to come. It has a thermal lens which prevents fogging even on the hottest days. Combine this with the improved air ventilation system and you won’t ever leave the field. None of your senses are hindered with this mask whether it’s your sight, hearing or ability to speak clearly to teammates. Instead, your performance is truly optimized as you won’t have to worry about a mask that will protect you. Again, this is our top recommendation for serious players. Even for those willing to spend a little more on a good mask upfront, the Virtue VIO Extend is your best bet.
Dye Precision I4 Thermal Paintball Goggle
Another top mask for the elite players on the field. The Dye Precision I4 falls at the higher end of the price range, but is well worth it. Just ask those who have tried it out for themselves. This is our number two recommendation for dedicated players. Just like the Virtue VIO Extend, the Precision I4 features a thermal lens. Its anti-fog properties combined with a wide sight vision is an unbeatable combo. An upgrade compared to the I3 model is the ease at which you can change this lens. Just pop it out and clean or replace it. This ensures your eyes are always protected. Just by looking at the front of the mask you can tell there will be no problems breathing. It features what is known as ‘scream venting’. As you can see by the shape of the vent, it covers about the area of an open mouth. This allows for lots of airflow and clear communication on the playing field. The I4 has a small profile and is super lightweight. That said, we still recommend this for skilled players as it doesn’t offer as much coverage as some masks on the market. From a performance standpoint, the mask will stand up to the test.
Bunkerkings CMD Paintball Goggles/Mask
Bunker Kings CMD claims to be the World’s most anti-fog paintball mask due to its superior VIO thermal lens technology, hi-flow ventilation, and multi-directional air exhaust zones. Bunker Kings mask is also known for its comfort because of interchangeable plush foam. It features an extra outer layer with super soft microfibre and wider pressure reducing shape for ultimate comfort. Bunker Kings is also equipped with an integrated micro-visor that improves both your optical performance and adds extra protection for your mask. This paintball mask will definitely help you breathe, see, and communicate better during the game. The cool thing about this paintball mask is the “We Kill Suckers” branded chin strap!
Empire E-Flex Paintball Goggle System
Another great paintball mask from Empire, except this one falls in the higher price range compared to the Event model. The lens and the rest of the mask are quite different in texture, but share one thing in common – each one will protect you. On one hand, the lens is very firm and you can tell it will withstand the force of a paintball. On the other hand, the bottom of the mask is made of a soft, flexible material that won’t restrict your gameplay. It is vented across the entire bottom skirt of the mask to allow for breathing and less fogging. You can choose from a variety of colors and styles to match to your liking. And like all great masks, the lens is easy to remove when it comes time to clean it. Though, it does not have top of the head coverage.
JT Spectra Flex 8 Thermal Coverage Goggles
The JT Spectra Flex 8 is a paintball mask that is great for its value. Falling at the lower end of the price range, it also provides full-head coverage. The included visor is great for those still getting a feel for the game. Or, it’s also great for those seeking extra protection that some masks just don’t offer. This additional sense of safety will translate to the playing field. You will find yourself less afraid to dive right into the action in fear of being stricken. It’s amazing how a full helmet that covers all sides of your head affects your game. On top of that, the Spectra lens offers 260 degree vision which does not hinder your game at all despite the added head coverage. When looking at the mask head on, it has a lower profile compared to others. Its shape also helps to deflect paintballs to avoid direct contact. You’ll be thankful in the moment a paintball actually does strike you on the mask.
V-Force Grill Paintball Mask/Goggles
The V-Force Grill is a very mean, yet stylish mask in the paintball arena. Its profile is very low and has a Full-Flex ProGrill for increased deflection of paintballs. Although, it has a venting system which is very open. This helps with breathing, but it can also mean that you may taste paint from time to time. The mask itself is very mobile and does not hinder you in action. But wait, it gets better. The lens on this mask is all you could ask for. It features a thermal, anti-fog and anti-scratch material. There are tons of styles and color pairings you can choose from. In fact, this is a very cool paintball mask so you better be ready to step your game up to match it.
HK Army KLR Paintball Mask Carbon
You will find the HK Army KLR mask very easy to wear – mainly because of its comfort level. The mask is lined with memory foam that molds to the shape of your face. This is great especially when playing longer, consecutive rounds. It falls toward the higher end of the price range. The venting system along the skirt of the mask is pointed downward to avoid direct contact. Overall, it includes all of the standard features of a good quality paintball mask.
Predator Paintball Mask
You will realize this isn’t a typical paintball mask, but does it look cool or what? This Predator inspired paintball mask is sure to stand out on the field. Just know that people will be expecting big things from you when you wear this mask. You will need to take on the mind of Predator himself and lead your team to the win. As for the mask, it is slightly different since it doesn’t have a lens. Rather, it features a layer of wire mesh at the eye sections. You may find your vision slightly restricted compared to the other models listed. It is lined with soft foam on the inside with a solid outer layer. The combo of these two will withstand the impact of any paintballs.
How to clean a paintball mask?
To clean your paintball mask, we recommend using water, a rag and paintball lens cleaner (the cleaner approved by your lens manufacturer). Keep in mind that other foam and polishing cleaners can damage your lenses or increase fogging during the game.
What type of mask to choose if I wear glasses?
There is no specific type of paintball mask for people wearing glasses. Choose a mask that has foam that is comfortable around your glasses and, at the same time, provides you with a full range of vision.
How to prevent fogging of my paintball mask lenses?
Thermal lenses or using an anti-fog spray for your mask are the most common methods to prevent your lenses from fogging. One more way is using a mask fan. This is basically a fan built into the mask, which is on the top of your goggles. It evaporates the moisture and runs using a battery.
And Now You Know All About The Best Paintball Masks
To sum up, a paintball mask is an essential gear you need to enjoy the paintball game safely. In addition, no paintball venue will allow you to play without the mask. If you are a beginner, investing in a paintball mask is the best decision you can make.
And with that, we have provided you with no shortage of options whether you are new to the sport or an experienced marksman. We are sure that our top picks reviewed in this guide will offer you the best combination of functionality, comfort, and, most importantly, safety.
If you follow our recommendations about what to look for in a paintball mask, we’re confident you’ll find one among the options listed above. Pick the right mask for you and let’s get out on the field!