7 Best Paintball Masks of 2022: Reviews & Buyer's Guide
The paintball helmet is the most essential piece of paintball gear. It is the only piece of gear that you can’t remove during a game, and it’s responsible solely for your vision on the field.
You won’t be able to see what you’re doing when you play without a good mask. It’s impossible to shoot at what you can’t see and if you can’t see your target, it won’t matter how good of a paintball marker you have.
But which masks are the best paintball masks on the market?
My favorite mask is Empire E-Flex. But the Dye I5, Virtue VIO Ascend Empire EVS, and BunkerKings CDM are all excellent paintball masks. Below is a review of all these paintball masks. You can then choose the best paintball masks that suit you. I will then list the top features of a paintball mask so that you are better informed when buying one.
We’ll get right to it without wasting any more time.
The E-Flex blends the best of the Proflex with the E-Vents, creating the most powerful paintball mask for a low cost.
You get great vision and breathability with the combination of the E-Vents lens and the Proflex ventilation. While the vision may not be as clear as some high-end masks for paintball, its breathability is the best of any paintball mask. This is great news, as the paintball masks that have more ventilation are less likely to fog-up.
Visibility is not the best because your vision is blocked by the mask’s nose. Although you won’t notice it when you play, you can clearly see that there is a difference in visibility between masks like the E-Flex or the Dye I5.
Comfort is another thing I love in the Empire E-Flex. The foam is so soft that I forget it’s on. If you have a marker with a buttstock, the flexible rubber faceplate helps with aim and bounces.
The JT Spectra Flex 8 mask is a great paintball mask. The mask is at the lower price point and offers full-head coverage. It’s great for people still learning the game. This visor is great for anyone who needs extra protection, which some masks don’t provide. This will make it easier to play on the field. You’ll be less afraid to jump into the action, without being scared of getting hurt. It is amazing how much your game can be affected by a full head paintball mask. Spectra’s lens provides 260-degree vision and does not affect your game in any way, despite having more coverage. The mask’s profile is lower than others when viewed head-on. The mask’s shape allows for paintballs to be deflected and avoid direct contact. The moment a paintball hits you on the mask, you will be thankful.
The Dye I5 is widely recognized as one of the best paintball masks. When I first tried on the Dye I5, the first thing I noticed was how comfortable it was. From the soft foam with added terrycloth and the GSR PRO-Strap with an extra-wide cushion that perfectly fits to the GSR-Pro-Strap with a wider pad that ensures maximum grip and comfort, everything is comfortable.
You can adjust the tension by rotating a dial on the backside of the Pro-Strap. This is my favorite feature of the Dye I5 because it contributes most to its exceptional comfort. You can’t forget the cheek pillows and compression-formed ears. These are soft, flexible, lightweight, and have the ability to increase moisture evaporation.
The Dye I5 has excellent visibility due to its anti-fog, thermal lens. This lens, which is 290 degrees in angle, offers a great field of sight and more clarity than most masks on the market. This is possible due to the fact that the lens is optically corrected for toroidal impacts. It also comes with a premium hard-coat dip which protects the lens from scratches, abrasions, and UV protection.
The Dye I5’s best feature is undoubtedly the e.Voke communications system. The e.Voke wirelessly connects to any MOSAir paintball gun, such as the Dye M2, or M3+. It also allows you to hear helpful information from a small speaker inside your mask.
Last but not least, this paintball mask comes with something every paintball helmet should come with, replaceable foam. There is nothing more frustrating than having to take out the old, stale foam and use alcohol to wash away the adhesive. Then, you have to superglue the foam on the mask. Dye decided to use replaceable foam.
Because of its comfort, the HK Army KLR face mask is easy to use. The mask’s memory foam liner molds to your facial shape. This is a great feature, especially when you are playing multiple rounds. It is at the higher-end price range. To prevent direct contact, the venting system is located along with the skirt. The mask has all the basic features that make a quality paintball mask.
The Virtue VIO Ascend paintball mask combines the best of both high-end performance with a low price. You can save money by purchasing an Ascend equipped with an anti-fog lens. However, it’s better to spend a bit more and get the Ascend equipped with a thermal lens. You won’t have to worry about the lens fogging up, even though it is more expensive.
Virtue VIO Ascend has another advantage: its large peripheral vision allows you to see everything around you. You will enjoy crystal clear vision due to its distortion-free optical clarity. To reduce sun damage, the thermal lenses also come with 100% UV protection.
The Virtue Ascend provides excellent protection for the wearer and is exceptionally comfortable considering its single-piece design. It’s similar to the V-Force Grill. This shows that comfortable masks don’t require a separate foam piece. Although the Ascend isn’t equipped with a foam earpiece, it gives your ears plenty of room and allows you to hear the world around you. This is extremely important to me, as I frequently listen for enemy players while playing woodsball.
The Virtue ascends ventilation is excellent, and I think even better than the more expensive Virtue VIO Conour II and Extend. This is great news, especially for heavy-breathers who need more airflow. You can also transmit your voice better, so you can communicate with your team members more clearly.
For the reasons mentioned above, I would choose the Virtue Vio Ascend as my go-to face mask (instead of the E-Flex) if I needed a mask that was affordable and had better vision. However, I didn’t mind losing some breathability. Given the similar price ranges of the E-Flex & Ascend, you can choose whether you want the Ascend’s cool paintball mask design and better vision, or the E-Flex’s greater breathability.
Remember, the Ascend comes with replaceable foam. This allows it to compete against Dye I5.
This mask offers superior peripheral vision and a large lens. While it might not be immediately obvious, this is what draws most players to purchase the Empire EVS.
The advantage of a large lens is the amount of space that’s left behind for players who wear glasses. The triple-density foam is separated into two pieces so that you won’t have to worry about the foam pressing against your glasses. Empire EVS is the best paintball mask for glasses.
EVS offers a large field of view and is one of the easiest-to-change lens systems. You simply need to pull the black-plastic arms on each side of your mask, and then turn the arm towards the lens. After both arms have been twisted, the lens can be removed and cleaned or replaced with a new one.
Unfortunately, the EVS comes with some downsides, the echo that you hear when you talk with the mask on. The EVS mask has little to no venting. This mask makes it a bit harder to breathe than other masks, such as the E-Flex and CMD.
Some players also complain that the EVS nose does not fit correctly on their faces, but I have never experienced this issue. There is a problem with the foam that holds on the thermo-formed EVS earpiece to your mask. Empire must have thought that this was a great idea. The foam gets worn over time so you’ll eventually have to replace or glue it.
Finally! This paintball mask is excellent for visibility and breathing. While it’s not quite as breathable as the Empire E-Flex mask, it certainly has the advantage over the other high-end paintball helmets.
The lens is just as visible as any bubble-lens paintball mask currently on the market. Bunkerkings CMD is the same lens and quick change lens system used in the Virtue range of masks. In reality, the CMD is an advanced version of the Virtue VIO Ascend. Bunkerkings CMD, I believe, is better than the Virtue VIO Contour II or Extend.
The Ascend and CMD have some key differences. They offer more ventilation (better breathing and voice projection), flexible faceplate (increase bounces and aiming), micro-visors (glare and rain protection), wider back-straps (more stability) and is just plain cool. My opinion is that Bunkerkings’ CMD foam is more luxurious than the Virtue line.
Just like Empire EVS the Bunkerkings’ CMD has the most advanced lens-change system that I have ever seen. Just push the plastic part of the strap forward, while pressing down the button-tabs on both sides of your mask. The lens will pop right out.
It is, in my opinion, the best paintball helmet currently available. But it is more expensive, so it is not an affordable option for players on a limited budget.
Ultimate Guide to Painting a Paintball Mask
The paintball helmet is the most essential piece of equipment a player has.
Without a good mask for paintball, your lens will fog up and you may have to stop playing because you won’t be able to see what you are doing if your lens gets fogged up.
No matter what type of paintball gun you have, not having a good paintball mask makes your gun useless. You can’t eliminate players you can’t even see.
So what makes a great paintball mask?
Breathability, comfort, visibility, and protection-fit are the most important aspects of a quality paintball helmet. I’ll explain each of these features below, and why I think they’re so important.
All high-end paintball masks provide excellent visibility. However, there are some masks that offer better vision than others. “Bubble lense” masks tend to provide the best vision. However, even masks such as the E-Flex that have a more flat lens offer good vision. While the visibility isn’t as great as masks like EVS and I5, I’ve never been eliminated from a game due to poor visibility.
A paintball mask that includes an HD lens or HDR lens has some advantages. Both provide better color perception and less UV glare. Similar to how polarized lenses work.
A dual-pane paintball mask is a must. A dual-pane lens is less likely than a single-pane one to cause lens fog.
This is because there is a small gap between the dual-pane lenses. This small space creates a layer that separates the hot air inside the lens (from your breathing) from the cool air outside the lens (from nature). The two lenses are actually being contacted by the same hot air, which is from your breath, and the cooler air that comes from the environment.
If you are unsure if a mask is equipped with a dual-pane lens check for the thick, black line that runs along the inside of the lens.
Although visibility is very important, most high-end paintball equipment will provide good visibility. However, comfort can vary greatly from one mask to the next.
This is why it’s important to test a paintball helmet before you buy it. Every mask will be different in size, foam, materials, and dimensions and you can’t know how it fits you until you put it on. While you may be able to get an idea of the fit of a mask by looking at the reviews, without actually trying it on, you won’t know until you try it.
Because you will need to wear the mask for long periods, it is so important to be comfortable.
Although visibility and comfort are two of the most important characteristics of a good paintball helmet, I believe that breathability is just as important.
A mask with good breathing may not be as important if you have a lot of endurance. Although, there is another benefit to wearing a mask that allows for lots of ventilation and that is the reduction of fog build-up as you play. Your mask will have less of a chance of fogging up if it has more ventilation.
Protection & Fit
When it comes to paintball helmets, protection is often overlooked. However, it is extremely important. Protection and fit go hand in hand. This is because the shape, size, and fit of the paintball shield will impact how much protection you get and how comfortable it is.
Paintball masks come in a variety of sizes. Some are larger than others, some smaller, some wider, and some more narrow. It is important to choose the mask that best fits your face and provides you with the correct amount of protection. It’s often difficult to know if a mask fits your head and face without trying one on. That is why I encourage players to visit their local field to try on masks.
While it may be hard to believe, many players purchase a paintball mask purely because of its appearance. That’s fine.
Everyone wants to look great on the field. However, sometimes you have to make a choice between performance and appearance. While I prefer performance if your primary concern is to look cool, choose the mask that you love.
Additional features to keep in mind when picking a paintball mask
When choosing the right paintball mask, you should also take into consideration the following factors.
You’ve probably been hit with a paintball once. The size of the welt that it leaves behind can tell you how fast they move. Paintball markers can shoot at an average speed of 300 feet per sec (fps). Most venues allow for speeds up to 280 fps. You’ll need a mask that can withstand the force and is resistant to high-speed paintballs.
Your paintball career will be much easier if your mask is scratch-resistant. It’s possible that you will come in contact with an opposing player or an object within the arena. It would suck to make your mask look worse than it needs to. It can also cause vision problems while you are using the mask. This feature makes a mask well-worth the investment.
Probably one of the worst things is to have your mask get fogged up on the field. It makes it difficult to see and will fog up more each time you breathe. You can prevent this by using an anti-fog paintball mask or a thermal paintball mask.
The decision to buy a paintball mask can be hard. This is why I created these buyer’s guides and reviews. It is still important to test paintball masks at your local field before purchasing. You never know if a paintball mask fits correctly until you try it on.
However, if your local field isn’t equipped with enough masks (or if there are none at all), you’ll have to do some research and make the right decision.