WHICH PAINTBALL MASK IS BEST?
Paintball is an intense hobby that lets you experience the rush of combat-like situations in a safe, danger-free environment. However, there are risks involved with the game, because you’re shooting paintballs at a pretty high speed. Wearing the right safety gear while you play is crucial if you want to stay injury-free, and a paintball mask is probably the most important piece of safety equipment you can have. It protects the eyes, nose, and mouth from the paintballs and any other impact you might suffer during a game. A good mask won’t hinder your vision or keep you from hearing movements around you, so your performance during the game isn’t affected at all.
Our buying guide offers up all the facts you need to find the best paintball mask for your next game. We’ve included some specific mask recommendations, including our top pick from Virtue Paintball, which offers a truly durable design and a generous range of view.
WHAT TO KNOW BEFORE YOU BUY A PAINTBALL MASK
If a paintball mask is going to protect you and maintain a significant range of vision, it has to provide the right fit. Because it’s a mask and not a helmet, you have more flexibility with the size. Even so, you should make sure it’s not too tight, which can make it very uncomfortable during a game, or too loose, which can cause the mask to move around as you play.
A mask that’s too small can also affect your peripheral vision, so you can’t see as well while you’re playing. If you wear glasses, make sure any paintball mask you choose can fit over them, because not all models are compatible.
Paintball masks are usually made from solid plastic, while the visor is typically made of a polycarbonate material that won’t shatter. These materials are durable enough to fend off paintballs, but you should look for a model that satisfies the safety and durability standards established by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) for various products to ensure it will hold up to regular paintball play.
You can choose from paintball masks made with solid, rigid plastic or models with more pliable plastic. A solid mask offers better impact resistance, but it’s heavier and not as comfortable as a pliable mask.
For the visor, a single-pane lens isn’t as protective as a dual-pane model. You may also want to look for a paintball mask with UV protection to improve the durability.
You don’t want your paintball mask to fog up during a game, so proper ventilation is key. Look for a model with vents near the nose and mouth to keep fogging to a minimum. Most vents are just simple slits in the plastic, but high-end masks feature angled blades to help move heat and moisture out from beneath the mask.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A QUALITY PAINTBALL MASK
Inexpensive paintball masks have a single-pane lens that’s made of Lexan or another polycarbonate material. Higher-end models have dual-pane lenses which provide more protection and resist fogging better than single-pane masks.
The majority of paintball masks feature interior padding above the eyes and over the cheeks. Higher-end models often have special multi-layer, moisture-wicking foam padding to make the mask even more comfortable. Some lower-end masks don’t feature any padding, so they’re not the most comfortable to wear.
HOW MUCH YOU CAN EXPECT TO SPEND ON A PAINTBALL MASK
You can pay $15-$150 for a paintball mask. Low-end, single-pane masks go for about $15-$25, but you get more durable, anti-fog models for $40-$80. For the highest-end paintball masks, expect to spend $100-$150.
PAINTBALL MASKS FAQ
Q. Does a paintball mask fit over eyeglasses?
A. Many paintball masks are designed to fit over glasses without any issue, so they have extra space around the eyes, but not all masks are compatible, so you may want to shop in person and try on a mask to make sure it works with your glasses. If you wear glasses, a paintball mask with anti-fog properties is also important to see well.
Q. How can I tell if a paintball mask fits well?
A. A mask that fits well should cover your entire face, including your chin. It should create a tight seal around your eyes, to keep paint from getting in them.
WHAT PAINTBALL MASKS ARE BEST TO BUY?
Top paintball mask
Our take: A highly durable paintball mask that maintains an excellent range of vision and provides comfortable wear for hours of play.
What we like: Mask is large to provide added protection. Boasts a flexible construction for greater comfort. Thermal lens is large and fog-resistant. Comes in many colors.
What we dislike: Can be difficult to track down the color and lens combo you want.
Where to buy: Sold at Amazon
Top paintball mask for the money
Our take: A strong budget-friendly mask that doesn’t fog and provides standard protection during play.
What we like: Price is very affordable for the quality. Has an extremely durable frame. Thermal lens is tinted and fog-resistant. Provides a wide range of vision.
What we dislike: Padding isn’t as soft as other models.
Where to buy: Sold at Amazon
Worth checking out
Our take: An high-quality, durable mask that’s comfortable, protective, and adjustable.
What we like: Features a dual-pane thermal lens to resist fogging. Triple-layer foam padding allows for comfortable wear. Chin strap is adjustable to get the fit just right.
What we dislike: Some buyers find it difficult to breathe in the mask in certain conditions.
Where to buy: Sold at Amazon
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Jennifer Blair writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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