Paintball Masks, Goggles, and Visors

Your mask is the single most important piece of protective paintball equipment you own, period.

JT Paintball Mask

Not only do paintball masks or goggles protect your eyesight, but they're also responsible for a good part of your performance, especially on hot or very humid days.

This is because your paintball mask can (and probably will) fog up during the game. Depending upon the weather, the humidity, your breathing habits, and whether or not you're winded? The mask of a paintball player can completely fog over to the point where it's impossible to see anything.

A fogged-up mask ruins your gameplay. It destroys peripheral vision as it fogs up from the outside in.

Worst of all, it's also dangerous as hell.

For all these reasons, it's important to choose a good mask before playing paintball. Even first time players are advised to buy their own mask: they're cheap, easy to get, and WAY less skeevy than wearing a nasty rental mask up against your face. (How many times do you think the average field mask has been rented? Answer: TOO many!)

The most basic masks or goggles look like the one above. Black is usually the standard color, but you can get multiple other colors over at Zephyr Paintball Gear.

Check out the line of goggles below, to get a good idea of what you can buy these days:

Dye Invision I3 Goggles
Dye Invision I3 Pro Thermal Paintball Goggles Black
Tippmann Army Ranger Mask
Tippmann US Army Ranger Performance Paintball Mask Camo
Spectra Flex 8 Goggles
JT Spectra Flex 8 Full Coverage Thermal Paintball Goggles Grey
JT QLS Reaper Mask JT QLS Reaper Paintball Mask with Goggles Red
DYE I4 Thermal Paintball Goggles
Dye I4 Thermal Paintball Goggles Liquid Red
Invert Helix Single Paintball Goggles Black Invert Helix Single Paintball Goggles and Mask Black
Pro Switch Camo Paintball Goggles Proto Switch E.L. Anti Fog Paintball Goggles Woodland Camo
Save Phace Paintball Mask Scar Save Phace Limited Edition Paintball Mask Scar Phace

As you can see, paintball masks range from simple to stylish, from standard to customized. All of them are functional, but picking the right mask is a matter of personal preference.

Now let's break the paintball mask down into three basic components:

Body of the Mask

The body of your paintball headgear is crucial. First and foremost, it needs to be comfortable. If your mask is too tight, it'll give you a headache. Too loose, and you risk it falling off during play.

If your mask itches or doesn't fit right against your head, things will be miserable that day. Make sure you get a mask with adjustable straps, so you can fit it perfectly to your head.

The shape of your paintball mask or goggles is also very important. Years ago, everyone pretty much had the same style. But today? Paintball equipment manufactures will experiment with all different streamlined shapes, each of them geared toward deflecting paintballs without breaking them.

Masks are also ported these days, with all types of gill and ventilation systems to keep your head cool. On hot days these can really help out; it's the next best thing to air-conditioning for your head.

Face Shield or Goggles

The clear part of the mask that you see through is the face shield or goggles, although sometimes the entire mask itself is refereed to as paintball goggles.

This is where fog becomes a big factor. Many companies sell anti-fog, no-fog, or reduced fog paintball masks. These can help but not always eliminate the condensation formed on a hot, humid day.

You can also get anti-fog wipes, individually packaged. You use these by rubbing them on the inside of your goggles before playing, and they apply an invisible no-fog coating. They're supposed to keep the mask from fogging up for several hours. I've had limited success with these myself.

No matter how badly your face shield fogs up during paintball, there's one strict rule you need to follow:

Never EVER take your mask off.

The only time you remove your paintball mask is in a designated safe area, or when a ref tells you that you can. Taking it off or even lifting it up temporarily to clear fog from your face shield is extremely dangerous, and will get you thrown off most paintball fields.

Neck Guard or Protector

The part of your mask beneath the goggles is the neck protector. This guards your neck against paintball strikes, as well as your mouth and chin. It's usually flexible, to allow balls to rebound without breaking as well as for general comfort.

It's also highly important for another reason: you breathe through it. All day long as you play game after game of paintball, you'll be breathing rather heavily through your neck protector, so be sure it's got adequate ventilation.

Final Thoughts About Choosing The Right Paintball Mask

Ultimately, you want a mask that's both safe and comfortable. Worn correctly (and as long as you don't modify your mask), they're all safe. Unfortunately, they're definitely NOT all comfortable.

I'd suggest going with a standard mask to start off, to see what your preferences are, before trying a more expensive or stylish one. JT, DYE, Tippmann - these companies all make great paintball goggles, but different players are comfortable with different styles.

Make sure you get a mask that lets you breathe, keeps you cool enough, and has some sort of anti-fog feature. The latest masks are light years ahead of the sports' earlier creations, and you can really find some good deals if you look hard enough.


(Not unless you want to smell what the last renter had for lunch that day).

Other Paintball Equipment & Protective Wear

If you want to play paintball you've got to gear up! You don't need everything seen below, but you do a certain level of required equipment before setting foot on the paintball field.

Paintball Gear