Best Paintball Mask on Amazon:
Empire is an incredibly popular brand in the paintball industry, not just for their high quality and affordable markers but also for their solid paintball masks. There are a number of benefits to opting for a well-known brand instead of some generic producer, and that can really be seen with the Empire X-ray.
Key Features of the Empire X-RayBuy Online
- Anti-fog thermal lens
- Easy to talk while wearing
- Whole head protection
- Efficient Ventilation
The frame is constructed out of a hard plastic composite, like most budget-oriented paintball masks. While this does mean that you are not likely to have paint bounce off of your mask, you can be sure that it will protect you when you get hit, which in inarguably far more important.
While it is very common for paintball masks to only protect the face, forehead and chin, the Empire X-ray is a paintball mask that offers whole head protection. This is because it comes with a skullcap shield and a guard for the back of your head. Both of these shields are well ventilated with slit-grate ventilation.
While this paintball mask does come with shields to protect your whole head, it does not confine you to wearing the mask with this configuration. Both the skullcap and back of head protectors can be removed as well as the peak visor that offers excellent protection against glare.
At this price range, you can be confident that the paintball mask will protect you when you get hit and is durable enough to last you a long time, but you do miss out on the comfort and ease that more expensive paintball masks offer. While there is certainly no lack of vents on this mask, most of them are thin slit vents which are not as effective at cycling out hot air as larger vents would be.
As a result of this, it can get a bit stuffy in the mask after prolonged use, especially if you have full head protection. Luckily, the nose and mouth guard offer excellent ventilation, which means that you can breath uninhibited and will not struggle to communicate with your teammates while wearing this paintball mask.
The Comfort is Average
Naturally, when contemplating purchasing a budget paintball mask, you cannot expect it to perform like a pro-league piece of equipment. A Mini Cooper will never perform as well as a Maserati. Similarly, the X-Ray paintball mask does just about everything that a high-end mask can do, but not nearly as well.
One of the areas where these differences are most apparent is comfort. While the foam padding inside this mask is considerably nicer than the masks that I categorize as disposable ($30 and under) it is still a far cry from the comfort that you would experience when wearing something like the Empire E-Flex, for example.
How much of an issue this is for you depends on how often you intend to use it and for how long each time. If you are a very casual paintball player who might wear it once or twice a year for a half-day at the field, then the Empire X-Ray is an excellent mask for you. At that level, there is no need to opt for a nicer mask unless you can afford to.
However, if you are a serious baller who regularly puts in hours at the field improving your game then the lack of comfort is really going to make you miserable. Spending a few hours in the mask here and there is no issue. But after a whole day of gameplay this mask is going to bother you. Frankly, if you are serious about playing paintball then you should do yourself a favour and get a nicer mask- you’re worth it.
The Strap is Much Nicer than Other Cheapies
Most disposable level paintball masks come with thin straps and loose adjusting clips. The problem with this is that it reduces the surface area of the strap which means that the pressure applied to your head is more focused and there is less friction to prevent the mask from sliding down your face- both of which can pose a serious problem if you spend any amount of time in the field.
The Empire X-Ray outperforms many other budget masks in this regard because of the headshield. When you are wearing the headshield, the weight of the paintball mask is evenly distributed across the surface of your head. This reduces pressure and completely negates the issue of it sliding down. However, it is worth noting that because cheaper foam is used to pad this paintball mask, you are still likely to start experiencing discomfort after spending a long time in the mask.
Who Should Buy the Empire X-Ray?
While the Empire X-Ray is more than double the price of disposable-level paintball masks such as the Anyoupin, it is still very much considered to be a budget paintball mask. If you are only going to play paintball once or twice and can afford to get an average mask, then you should definitely buy this paintball mask.
You might save a few bucks by getting the cheapest paintball mask on the market, but you aren’t going to enjoy yourself on the field nearly as much as if you had invested a little more in a comfortable mask.
Even as an entry-level player, this mask is a good option. It is not too expensive so you don’t need to worry about blowing the budget while you are still getting into the sport, but it is also decent enough to be used comfortable for short periods of time.
However, if you intend on spending considerable amount of time in the field training for tournaments or just enjoying this exciting outdoor activity with your friends then you really should invest in getting a nicer mask that is more comfortable to wear and has even better anti-fogging abilities.