How to Buy a Paintball Mask or Goggles – Complete Guide – HOBBY STRATEGY (2024)

When getting ready to buya paintball mask or goggles for the first time, it can be intimidating. Thereare so many different choices available for purchasing a paintball mask,deciding which one is right for an individual is a tricky process.

So how do you buy apaintball mask or goggles? Here’s abasic rundown of the things you need to consider:

  • Features desired or required in a paintball mask such as a good field of view or shatter resistance
  • Functions of various paintball lenses and which is the best choice for starting based on color or style
  • Decisions between a full helmet style mask or goggles alone, as well as other aspects of the paintball mask design such as fit and durability
  • Decisions on what other paintball accessories are needed or desired along with the mask, such as anti-fog measures or cleaning devices

It might take you a whileto figure which of these masks will be the best for you. You need to considerall the functions a paintball mask is used for and which of these functions ismost important to your particular style of play.

Can a paintball gun kill?

Can a paintball gun kill?

Read on to find out moreabout paintball masks and goggles, as well as how to pick a good set.

Why is a PaintballMask Important?

The reason that protective gear is necessary in paintball is that while paintball is not typically considered a contact sport in the same way football and rugby are, it’s still a contact sport because the paintballs themselves impact the players at a high rate of speed.

As many paintball players know, these paintballs can hit very hard and have the potential to leave welts or even break the skin. High-speed impact of paintballs hitting your face or eye area can be very damaging, which is why facial masks and goggles are used.

How to Buy a Paintball Mask or Goggles – Complete Guide – HOBBY STRATEGY (1)

Facial bones are thinner than bones in other parts of theface, and the cartilage in the nose is also prone to breaking.

While a bloodied nose or a cracked cheekbone would be bad enough, if a paintball hits someone at the right angle directly in the eye, it can cause blindness or even cause the eye to be knocked loose from its socket.

Not only is it recommended for paintball players to wear protective gear, on many paintballfields, but it is also a requirementof management.

While many paintball fields supply gear to people who usetheir facility, not all do, which means if you show up without a mask orgoggles, you might not be able to play.

The stock equipment at a paintball field or arena isoften scratched up and worn out as well, which will decrease the quality ofyour experience. It can also smell bad since many sweaty players have used itrepeatedly for hours at a time.

Stock paintballequipment at a playing field may not fit well either. A bad fit on yourpaintball gear can give you a significant disadvantage on the field. Buyingyour own gear instead allows you to customize your mask or goggles to theperfect fit for your comfort and efficiency.

What to Look for inPaintball Goggles or Masks

There are a variety of factors you should take intoconsideration when deciding on which paintball mask or goggles to buy. Here aresome things you should look into before making your final purchase decision:

  • Intendedprice range
  • Intendedpaintball environment
  • Preferencefor mask or goggles
  • Need tocover prescription glasses or not
  • Colorpreference
  • Aesthetics
  • Durability
  • Frequencyof Use

Intended PriceRange

Like many other kinds of sporting equipment, theequipment involved in paintball can range from the very cheap to the ridiculouslyexpensive.

Goggles or paintball masks can cost anywhere from thirtyor forty dollars to several hundred dollars. It depends on the complexity ofthe features you want to be included and the quality you’re willing to payfor.

Cheaper equipmentis easier to obtain from a financial standpoint, but what you gain in cheapercost, you lose in quality and durability. If you only intend to play paintball occasionally, this may be acompromise worth making.

If paintball is aserious hobby that takes or will take up hundreds of hours of your time, thenit is probably worth your trouble toinvest in some decent equipment right from the start, rather than take onthe extra cost of accruing better equipment later down the road.


Paintball is conducted in a wide variety of playenvironments, from indoor arenas to virgin forests to wide open fields.Figuring out where you intend to spend the bulk of your paintballing time iscrucial to deciding what kind of paintball mask or goggles to buy.

The main factorinfluenced by your intended paintball environment is lens color.

The different colors of paintball lenses have verydifferent effects on sight acuity and sharpness of visual perception indifferent lighting situations.

This means a lens color that performs well in dappledshade in woodsball, such as yellow, maynot be nearly as effective in the bright fluorescent lighting of an indoorarena.

Mask or Goggles?

One of the big decisions when trying to decide whichfacial protective gear to buy for paintball is deciding whether you’d prefer afull head mask or just goggles.

While gogglescan be a good choice for those people who find a full mask claustrophobic or uncomfortable, they are not as protective as full masks. Theeyes (the most important part of the head to be protected) are shielded, butthe rest of the face is exposed to paintball strikes.

Whether a person chooses a full mask or goggles is mostly down to personal preference. Both types of protection offer shielding for the eyes, which is arguably vital in the sport to prevent accidental blindness.

But depending on sensitivity to paintball impacts, someplayers may want additional protection.

Need to CoverGlasses?

If you wear prescription glasses to see, yourconsiderations are going to be a little bit different from other buyers lookingfor a paintball mask or goggles. Without your prescription glasses, you won’tfind yourself to be a very effective player, as the game is dependent on sightacuity.

Some people choose to use contacts instead of theirglasses while playing paintball, but others don’t have contacts or prefer notto use them during a sporting activity.

Thankfully manykinds of paintball masks have been designed with spectacled players in mindand can slide completely over glassesthat are already on the face while still allowing the shooter to be comfortableand see easily through both layers of lenses.

If you wear glasses I would advise you to buy the Dye Precision i5 mask – I wrote more about it in my other article. There you can read more about 5 best anti-fog paintball masks.

How to Buy a Paintball Mask or Goggles – Complete Guide – HOBBY STRATEGY (2)

Color Preference

Paintball masks and goggles come in a dazzling array ofcolors and designs. It might be beneficial to consider your favorite colors andcolor combinations before deciding which paintball mask to purchase, and searchfor one in those colors specifically.

If you are joining a paintball team, you might want toconsider getting gear that is an outfit inyour team’s colors for solidarityand style.

Besides personal preference, choosing color is alsoimportant when looking at paintball mask or goggle lenses. Different colored lenses have different visualeffects and can offer you different advantages on the playing field.


Paintball has been a popular sport for decades now, sothe sheer variety of masks and goggles available is staggering.

Whether you want to buy a frilly decorative mask with allthe high-tech bells and whistles or a spartan black-on-black rig that makes youlook like a futuristic super-soldier, there are styles of paintball masks andgoggles available for every fashion preference.

Some players may choose to go all-out when accessorizingtheir gear, while others will choose to keep it simple. There is no right answer,so everyone interested in paintballshould choose equipment that aesthetically increases their enjoyment of thegame.


Along with a range of prices of gear available, paintballprotective gear also comes in a bunch ofdifferent levels of quality and durability.

Cheaper gear may seem like less of an investment in thebeginning, but much of it is not as high quality as more expensive gear. Cheapergear can lead to increased scratching/scuffing on the lenses, fogging issues,stretched straps, and other problems.

Thermal goggles, for example, are typically rather more expensive than single-lens masks and goggles. But they are much less prone to fogging problems, and the dual thickness of the lenses leads to the overall mask being more durable.

Frequency of Use

How often do you plan on going paintballing? If paintball is just a sport you’d like todo occasionally with friends in rotation with several other leisure activities,it may not be reasonable to go spending hundreds of dollars on it in gear rightfrom the start.

However, if you’re more interested in taking up paintball as a serious sport or getting involved in regular team play, it can be worth your while to buy some more expensive (and better quality) gear.

That way you’re not having to turn around and replace it when the frequency of use causes cheaper equipment to degrade too quickly, and performance suffers as a result.

Paintball Lenses

One of the major features of a paintball mask or gogglesare the lenses. These are the most important aspect of the protective gear. Lensesthat protect from permanent blindness(which is one of the greatest threats of playing paintball).

Paintball lenses come in a variety of effects and colors,and these different types of lenses can lend different advantages on theplaying field. Here are some of the lenses available and their recommended typeof play:

  • Thermal paintball lenses: Thermalpaintball lenses are also known as dual-panelenses and feature two lenses with a thin layer of air between them, whichlends the lenses anti-foggingcapabilities on the field.

    Thermal paintball lenses tend to last longer and are more durable than singlepane lenses with an anti-fog coating and come in a variety of tints andmirrored styles. However, thermal lenses tend to be on the higher end of the expensefor paintball lenses.

How to Buy a Paintball Mask or Goggles – Complete Guide – HOBBY STRATEGY (3)
  • HDR paintball lenses: HDR stands for “high definition reflective”, and these lenses offer a high definition clarity while also reducing glare. HDR masks come with a variety of highly polished mirror lenses in every color scheme imaginable.

    While they are somewhat expensive, HDR lenses are a good choice for those who would like to enhance their visual sharpness while still looking good on the field. Be forewarned, however, that these mirrored lenses can be very visible in the open field.

  • HD paintball lenses: HD lenses are similar to HDR lenses but are capable of correcting visual aberrations in a person’s sight perception that are too slight to be corrected through prescription glasses.

    However, these aberrations can be strong enough to make an impact on sports performance in a visually demanding sport such as paintball. HD lenses can help enhance a shooter’s performance in the field under the right circ*mstances.

  • Mirrored paintball lenses: Mirrored paintball lenses come in both dual and single pane varieties and can be seen for sale in all different gradients of sparkling color. Looking through mirrored paintball lenses often gives the viewer a brown or gray tinted view.

    While these colored lenses are undeniably cool-looking, many of them can be expensive,
    and their bright, flashy colors can draw unwanted attention on the paintball field in ambush-type play.

How to Buy a Paintball Mask or Goggles – Complete Guide – HOBBY STRATEGY (4)
  • Amber paintball lenses: Amber tinted paintball lenses block blue light in the visible light spectrum, which makes the paintball player more visually effective on overcast days, where blue light is prominent in the ambient light scheme outdoors.

    Blue light has a shorter wavelength than other kinds of light and is more difficult for the eye to focus on, so being in environments with a high level of blue lighting can cause eyestrain and tension headaches related to it, especially during prolonged periods.

    Because of this effect, amber-tinted lenses are a good choice for overcast weather, judging distances, or finding contrast in shades of green, such as in a wooded area.

  • Smoked paintball lenses: Smoked paintball lenses are similar to gray paintball lenses but feature a gradient of tinting. These lenses are primarily used to reduce brightness and glare in high light scenarios.

    This makes smoked lenses a good choice if you intend to play a lot of paintball in an open field on bright, sunny days, or intend to play paintball in an indoor arena, which is light by fluorescent lighting.

    Unlike some color tinted lenses, smoked paintball lenses distribute all colors evenly, allowing the wearer to see in a monochromatic palette with no color distortion.

  • Gray paintball lenses: Gray paintball lenses are similar to smoked lenses in that they evenly distribute the color, but these lenses don’t have a gradient and are a single tint throughout.

    Gray paintball lenses are a good multipurpose lens and are effective in a variety of environments. They are a good starting lens for beginners who are not sure where their primary place of play will be yet.

How to Buy a Paintball Mask or Goggles – Complete Guide – HOBBY STRATEGY (5)
  • Green paintball lenses: Green tinted paintball lenses are not as commonly found as green-tinted lenses designed for other outdoor sports, but they are still available.

    This color of paintball lenses dims glare and brightens shadows simultaneously, appearing to sharpen the visual field. Green tinted lenses are considered good for all outdoor paintball play, both during cloudy and sunny weather.

  • Yellow paintball lenses: Yellow tinted lenses are a good choice for players who would like to improve their visual contrast while still preserving visual sharpness and reducing distortion.

This intense tint is very popular in the field shooting, both in paintballand with normal guns. Yellow lenses are recommended for foggy conditions, nightconditions, and overcast conditions, and operate similar to amber-tinted lensesin that they filter out blue light.

Unlike smoked and gray lenses, yellow lenses do cause some color distortion, but this rarely outweighs their effectiveness on the playing field.

Yellow lenses are especially good for playing paintball in the forest, or for any paintball played on monochromatic terrain.

  • Blue paintball lenses: Blue tintedpaintball lenses are some of the coolest and fashionable lens colors you canbuy.

This cosmetic appeal comes with a bigger price tag though. Unlessyou’re planning on doing a lot of paintball in the snow (where blue lenses givethe wearer an advantage by enhancing the contours around objects) you mightwant to consider something different.

On the other hand, if you do play paintball in snowy areas, blue-tinted lenses are great at reducing glare from visible white light (which is reflected most strongly off white snow). They have also been shown to have a psychologically calming effect.

If you are a paintball player who tends to get wound up tight by adrenaline on the field, you might consider a blue-tinted lens to help you keep your cool, both on a snowy field and off it.

  • Rose paintball lenses: Like blue-tinted lenses, rose paintball lenses are calming to the wearer and reduce eye strain, making them a good choice for people who get uptight while playing.

You don’t want to allow stressto control your actions on the paintball field. Rose-tinted glasses both blockblue light and offer higher contrast than naked sight alone, which causes eyesto work less hard and prevents eyestrain.

This makes rose-tinted glasses agood choice if you intend to play paintball for long stretches of time, asthese prolonged play periods can strain the eyes. Pink lenses are alsoadvantageous in helping a player maintain their footing on uneventerrain.

If you need more information, read a post I wrote about 11 different paintball lenses.

Components of aPaintball Mask

When looking at paintball masks and goggles for sale,what are the different components you should be looking at? All paintball masks or goggles arecomprised of the same basic components:

  • The lenses (either set in a mask or in a goggleframe)
  • The goggle or mask frame
  • The protective mask (not present with gogglesalone)
  • Goggle straps

Each of these individual components forms a vital part ofthe mask or goggle structure, ensuring that it keeps the player safe from harmwhile maintaining comfort and visibility.


We’ve already gone into great detail about the differentkinds of paintball lenses available, so how do you choose which ones are rightfor you?

If you are planning on taking up paintball as a serious hobby, you might want to goahead and invest in a full mask withthermal lenses, as this will save you some hassle with regards to your maskfogging up later on. Thicker lenses also tend to be more shatter-resistant aswell.

If you go with single pane lenses, fogging issues can bemitigated through anti-fog sprays. You can buy single pane lenses with anantifog coating, but thermal lenses will last much longer and are typicallymore effective.

Many lenses are created to be replaceable orinterchangeable depending on the brand of a paintball mask, so you can always choose to get ahigher-quality mask that has several types of lenses available so you canchoose between them as demand warrants.

Goggle or MaskFrame

The frame of a paintball mask or set of goggles is simplythe structure of plastic around thelenses that holds the lenses in place. It is important that the lenses areeither designed to come in and out without wobbling or are fixed in place inthe mask or goggles so that they don’t tilt.

If your lenses become loose in your mask or goggle frame,it can distort your field of view and can lead to serious performance issues onthe field.

Frames in paintball masks and goggles should also be fitted with dense layers of foam to ensurewearer comfort. Otherwise, the hard points of the mask’s frame will cutinto the skin of your face and distract you while playing.

Protective Mask

When paintball players opt for a paintball mask ratherthan goggles only, they are afforded a lot more protection. Paintball masks aredesigned not only to protect the eyes from accidental damage, but also theears, mouth, face, and forehead.

Head injuries can be particularly dangerous in comparisonto other injuries, so if you’re playing an extreme sport like paintball, it canbe worth your while to give yourself as much protection in that area as you canpossibly afford.

While paintball goggles do the job of protecting youreyes well enough, wearing goggles aloneleaves your mouth, nose, and the rest of your face exposed.

This can lead tocracked bones in the face, bloodied or broken noses, or damaged teeth. Insome cases, wounds from paintballs to exposed flesh can require stitches. It’sbetter to just not take a chance when it comes to personal injury in sports, soprotect yourself well.

Goggle Straps

When looking at paintball masks and goggles, it is important to look at the straps that bind the mask or goggles to your head. Masks and goggles slipping is not only a pain in the neck that negatively affects your play performance; it can also be dangerous.

If your goggles are loose on your head, they could falloff at an inopportune time. Or you will need to remove them to readjust. Allthis leaves you dangerously exposed to flying paintballs. Loose straps can alsolead to chafing and other issues.

Besides that,loose goggles are simply annoying, and having to fiddle with them removes alot of joy from the game. For great fun while playing paintball, make sure thatyou have a good fit on your goggles or mask before you hit the field.

Paintball Mask andGoggle Accessories

Once you’ve chosen your paintball mask or goggles, it canalso benefit you to acquire some accessories for your gear so that you arefully kitted and ready to go. Here are some of the paintball accessories thatare available to go along with your gear:

  • Paintball mask bottoms: Paintball mask bottoms can be used in correlation with either goggles or full-face masks. They give added protection to the mouth and jaw area and often come as a slotted grille to allow the player to breathe easily through them.
  • Paintball lens cloth: One of the easiest ways to prevent scratches and scuffs on your paintball lenses is to make sure they are wiped clean before and after every use to avoid damage from grit or other debris.

    Microfiber lens cloths are perfect for leaving a mirror shine without depositing lint or scratching the surface of the lens.

  • Anti-fog fans: For players that have to deal with major fogging issues due to humidity or other ambient environmental factors, anti-fog fans can be installed in a paintball mask to reduce condensation and other fogging issues.

    Anti-fog spray: There are anti-fog sprays available for paintball that can be sprayed on paintball mask or goggle lenses to prevent condensation and the formation of fog on the inside of the lens.

These sprays are a good optionfor those players who cannot afford anti-fog lens such as thermal lenses, but youwill need to periodically reapply them for optimal function.

How to Buy a Paintball Mask or Goggles – Complete Guide – HOBBY STRATEGY (2024)
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