by David McBryan
You can't hit what you can't see
Would you buy a huge, juicy Black Angus T-bone steak and then cook it on a George Foreman grill?
I hope not.
Then why would you buy a great paintball marker and then walk onto the field with a fogged-up paintball mask?
Make the most of your entire gear bag by investing in one crucial piece of equipment: your mask.
Let's run down our list of the best paintball masks in 9 different categories, including our undisputed #1 pick for Best Paintball Mask.
9 Best Paintball Masks of 2021
Best Paintball Mask
The Dye Thermal Paintball Mask is best paintball mask, hands down. It comes in 30 different color and visor variations to match whatever look you're after, and it has a super-wide 290° field of vision with a dual-pane, thermal lens giving it superior anti-fog performance. Its snap-on foam is easy to wash or replace, adjustable straps give it a quickly customizable fit, and it's even comfortable enough to wear with glasses.
Bottom line: If you can't see, you can't win. While having the best paintball mask isn't as sexy as having the best paintball gun, it's just as important. If you want the ultimate edge in comfort and visibility, you want the Dye i5 Thermal Paintball Mask.
Best Paintball Goggles
True minimalist goggles that only cover your eye sockets aren't recommended in paintball, but that doesn't mean you need to wear a bulky mask. These Push Unite Paintball Goggles really function like a low-profile paintball mask with total protection from your eyebrows to your chin. Their nose bridge adjustment system requires an Allen wrench to tweak but offers a little extra customizable comfort.
If these goggles don't do the trick, check out alternatives in our list of the best airsoft goggles.
Best Full-Head Paintball Mask
On the opposite end of the spectrum from the best paintball goggles above, here we have the best full-coverage paintball mask: the Empire X-Ray V2.1 Thermal Mask. With complete wraparound coverage for your entire head, you'll be totally protected against paintball impacts from any direction. Despite covering your entire head, it's lightweight and breathable, but Empire does skimp a little on the foam, which could be more comfortable.
Best Anti-Fog Paintball Mask
Best thermal paintball mask, best dual-pane paintball mask, best fog-resistant paintball mask — call it what you'd like, but the Virtue VIO Thermal Paintball Mask keeps your field of vision clear during the sweatiest, most pressure-packed moments. Efficient ventilation around your mouth and nose whisk moisture away from your face, and the dual-pane, thermal lens resists fogging even during a full day on the field.
Best Paintball Mask for Glasses
The Empire EVS Paintball Mask is your best bet if you wear glasses. It's made with a flexible, rubberized material that won't pinch your frames against your face, and it has a naturally wideset design and high-quality foam that gives the bespectacled among us plenty of extra room for a comfortable, fuss-free day.
Best Paintball Gas Mask
Gas masks aren't totally practical on the paintball field because they're bulkier and harder to breathe in, but among the few options out there, the M50 Tactical Protective Gas Mask is your best bet. It's durable with full coverage and can withstand high-powered paint impacts without too much extra bulk.
Best Girls Paintball Mask
Ladies, I haven't forgotten about you. The Empire EVS, which also earned "Best Paintball Mask for Glasses" above gets the nod for "Best Girls Paintball Mask" too. This Impact Edition has a powerful-yet-feminine color scheme that doesn't compromise performance. It has the same elite features as the dark color schemed Empire EVS above, including a ton of comfortable breathing room and a huge field of vision.
Best Budget Paintball Mask
Not everyone wants to spend as much on their paintball mask as they do on their marker. If you aren't worried about fogging, don't wear glasses, and generally just need basic eye/face protection, the Empire X-Ray Single Lens Paintball Mask is for you. It has all of the essentials — full coverage, mouth/nose/ear vents, a durable lens, and a visor to keep the sun out of your face — but you don't get the same high-quality padding or efficiently-design ventilation as you will with the other picks for best paintball mask.
Coolest Paintball Mask
Sometimes we just want to look badass, amirite? If that's your goal, there are a ton of different awesome paintball masks to choose from. Me? I love this Tactical Military Ballistic Helmet, the design for which was inspired by medieval knights and jousters. That makes it my top pick for Coolest Paintball Mask.
Paintball mask prices vary greatly from around $20 to nearly $200 (or sometimes even more).
For basic face protection, you don't need to spend a fortune. Our Best Budget Paintball Mask above usually costs around $30.
At the top end, the Dye i5 Thermal Paintball Mask will run you nearly as much as a brand new Tippmann 98 Custom! But that top-tier price point comes with a ton of super-useful extra features that make your day on the field much more enjoyable (and probably more successful):
It's easy to balk at the price of these paintball masks and opt for something cheaper, but in my opinion — don't.
If you want to get the most out of your entire paintball gear bag, make sure you can actually see what you're firing at (and make sure you see them before they see you).
Whether you're looking for the best anti-fog paintball mask, best full-head paintball mask, best budget paintball mask, or just the coolest paintball mask, hopefully this guide had something for you.
Now go forth and paint the competition!
The Dye i5 Thermal Paintball Mask is our recommendation for the best paintball mask.
Use Anti-Fog Spray. We recommend Optix 55.
Yes - most paintball masks are made to allow room for glasses. Always double-check though.
Some people do but we recommend using purpose-built goggles and masks. Protecting your face is not the area to skimp on.
Paintball masks cost anywhere from $20-$200.
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