Paintball lenses are an important aspect of playing paintball, as you should never play without protective gear on your face. There are many different kinds of paintball lenses available, in a wide array of colors and intended uses.
What kinds of different paintball lenses can you get? There are 11 different types of paintball lenses available:
- Thermal (dual pane) paintball lenses
- High Definition Reflective (HDR) paintball lenses
- High Definition paintball lenses
- Mirrored paintball lenses
- Amber tinted paintball lenses
- Smoked paintball lenses
- Gray tinted paintball lenses
- Green tinted paintball lenses
- Yellow tinted paintball lenses
- Blue tinted paintball lenses
- Rose tinted paintball lenses
So what are the advantages of each of these different kinds of lenses? Read on for an explanation of each paintball lens type and how they can improve your paintball game.
Thermal Paintball Lenses
Thermal paintball lenses (also known as dual-pane lenses) feature two lenses about an eighth of an inch apart and separated with a foam gasket. The outer lens is made to normal specifications for thickness, but the inner layer is thinner and more lightweight.
This design greatly reduces fogging while playing and a dual-pane design lasts longer than a single pan lens with anti-fog coating. All different tints of paintball lenses can come with thermal lens technology.
Because of their doubled thickness with an air cushion between the two panes of the lens, thermal goggles offer extra protection from eye damage while playing paintball.
Here are some thermal paintball lenses available on Amazon:
- Invert Helix Thermal Paintball Goggles Mask
- JT Spectra Thermal Lens
- Empire EVS Thermal Goggles
- HK Army Paintball KLR Thermal Anti-fog Mask: My favorite, in red color 🙂
- JT Elite Thermal Chrome Lens
High Definition Reflective (HDR) Paintball Lenses
High definition reflective paintball lenses reduce sunlight for zero glare while also enhancing color, clarity, and contrast. HDR lenses also offer a distortion-free field of view.
HDR lenses feature a highly polished mirror finish in an array of chameleon colors that morph with the user’s movements and depending on the light they’re standing in.
Here are some HDR paintball lenses available on Amazon:
- VForce GI Sportz Grill HDR Lens
- GI Sportz VForce Grill HDR Kryptonite Lens
- VForce Grill Thermal Paintball Mask HDR Metamorph Lens
- GI Sportz VForce Grill HDR Magneto Lens
High Definition Paintball Lenses
Similar to HDR paintball lenses, high definition lenses help correct higher-order aberrations that affect vision based on the individual optical characteristics of a person’s vision that are not necessarily correctable through prescription lenses.
High definition paintball lenses allow for sharper vision in all lighting conditions and typically feature anti-reflective coating to eliminate eye-catching reflections. High definition lenses provide improved contrast sensitivity and are good for low light paintballing conditions.
Here are some high definition paintball lenses available on Amazon:
- Dye 13 Replacement Thermal Lens for Paintball Mask – High Definition
- Dye i5 Paintball Google with High Definition Lens
- BASE Paintball Google Replacement Lens
- Dye Special Edition Thermal Lens Paintball Googles
Mirrored Paintball Lenses
Mirror paintball lenses are created via reflective optical coating called mirror or flashing coating. While it gives the user’s vision a uniform brown or gray tint, the color of the flash coating is diverse and is independent of the lens tint.
Mirror coating decreases the amount of light passing through a tinted lens by a further 10-60%. In paintball mirrored lenses are useful in sand, water, snow, higher altitudes, and high glare conditions. Mirrored lenses are a form of one-way mirror.
Modern reflective coatings have several alternating layers of specific thickness and are often created by using dielectric materials and metals. The manufacturing process for mirrored lenses is similar to the process used in manufacturing anti-reflective coating.
While mirrored paintball lenses look extremely cool, they can be a significant disadvantage in play that is geared towards ambush scenarios, as their reflective surfaces can be seen from a long distance off.
Here are some mirrored paintball lenses available on Amazon:
- Empire EVS Thermal Goggle Lens – Ninja (Silver Mirror)
- Tippmann Paintball Valor Goggle Thermal Lens
- Sly Profit Thermal Goggles – Mirror Purple Gradient
- VForce Morph/Shield/Profiler Thermal Dual Pane Goggle Lens
Amber Tinted Paintball Lenses
Amber tinted paintball lenses block blue light in the spectrum, such as the light found on overcast days (this makes it a good choice for playing paintball in overcast conditions). Amber tinted lenses improve contrast and depth perception while also reducing glare.
Blue light has a shorter wavelength and is more difficult to focus on than other colors of light, so lenses that block blue light (like amber) are good for avoiding eye fatigue.
Amber tinted paintball lenses are also considered useful in changeable weather patterns and in general low light conditions. Amber lenses are particularly good for judging distance and highlight the contrast in shades of green.
Here are some amber tinted paintball lenses available on Amazon:
- Extreme Rage V2.0/Invert 20/20 Thermal Paintball Lens – Amber Mirror Grad
- Anon Men’s Helix 2.0 Goggle
- HK Army Paintball KLR Pure Lens
Smoked Paintball Lenses
Smoked paintball lenses reduce
brightness and glare in high light scenarios. Smoked paintball lenses have a
slight gradient on the lens, and a smoked lens may have hints of greyish-purple
when the sun
Smoked lenses transmit all colors evenly and in paintball applications, they are ideal for open field play on a sunny day.
Here are some smoked paintball lenses available on Amazon:
- V-Force Grill Paintball Goggle Lens – Smoke
- JT Spectra Thermal Paintball Goggle Lens
- Sly Profit Thermal Lens – Smoke
- JT Elite Thermal Lens – Smoke
- Save Phace Thermal Lens – Smoke
- Dye Invision & 13 Thermal Mask Lens – Smoke
Gray Tinted Paintball Lenses
Gray tinted paintball lenses feature a uniformly gray tint and are good in both sunny and overcast conditions. Gray tinted lenses are popular for people who want a darker tint than amber and are similar to smoked lenses but don’t feature a slight gradient tint.
Gray tinted paintball lenses are good for general outdoor use and provide anti-fatigue properties as well as true color perception, with no visual distortion. A gray tint is especially good for cutting the glare on things that are wet and shining.
Here are some gray tinted paintball lenses available on Amazon:
- Dye i5 Paintball Google
- Virtue VIO Paintball Goggles/Masks – Black Smoke
- Anyoupin Paintball Mask, Tan with Gray Lens
- Dye / Proto Switch Goggle Replacement Lens – Dyetanium Mirror
- JT Flex 8 Goggle, Black/Grey
Green Tinted Paintball Lenses
Green tinted paintball lenses are good for all outdoor activities, rain or shine, but are somewhat less common in paintball than colors such as yellow or mirrored.
Green lenses filter some blue light and intensify visual sharpness.
Green tinted lenses both dim glare and brighten shadows, and while they are available as paintball lenses, are more commonly seen in other outdoor sports such as baseball and golf.
Here are some green tinted paintball lenses available on Amazon:
- Push Unite Thermal Paintball Goggle Lens – Chrome Green
- Paintball Mask Thermal Tinted Lens Empire Vents Antifog Replacement Thermal Green Mirror
- Empire Paintball Mask Lens – Green
Yellow Tinted Paintball Lenses
Yellow tinted paintball lenses improve contrast and preserve sharpness. This high intensity tint works for maximum sight performance and is a popular choice amongst performance field shooters, both on the paintball field and with traditional weapons.
These paintball lenses are excellent for night, fog, and overcast conditions and enhances contrast by filtering out blue light. Yellow lenses can cause some color distortion, but it does not usually outweigh their effectiveness in making vision sharper and more effective.
Yellow tinted lenses are also favored by hunters, pilots, and mountain bikers. In paintball, they are good for woodball and monochromatic terrains.
Here are some yellow tinted paintball lenses available on Amazon:
- JTUSA Spectra Thermal Paintball Mask Lens
- Sly Profit Thermal Paintball Lens – Yellow
- VForce Grill Dual Pane Thermal Paintball Lens – Yellow
- Dye / Proto Switch Goggle Replacement Lens
- Virtue VIO Replacement Paintball Goggle Lens
Blue Tinted Paintball Lenses
Blue tinted paintball lenses are contrast lenses that reduce glare from visible white light. Blue tinted lenses are especially good for snow play and enhance the contours around objects.
On a psychological level, blue lenses can have a calming effect on the eyes similar to rose-tinted lenses, and along with being soothing to the eyes are also considered quite fashionable and cosmetically appealing.
Here are some blue tinted paintball lenses available on Amazon:
- Dye Axis Pro Thermal Lens Paintball Goggle – Blue Ice
- Empire Paintball Mask Lens – Blue
- Dye Precision I4 Thermal Paintball Goggle – Blue Ice
Rose Tinted Paintball Lenses
Rose tinted paintball lenses help block blue light, offer high contrast, and are generally soothing to the eyes. Rose tinted paintball lenses are recommended for long periods of use and are good for reducing both eyestrain and glare.
Rose lenses make reds redder, blues bluer, whites whiter, and yellows more yellow. Rose tinted lenses do not alter or change colors, but instead make them more intense. In paintball strategy, pink lenses are good for maintaining your footing in uneven terrain.
Because looking at things through a pink tint is soothing, pink lenses are also commonly used in color therapy off the paintball field.
- Dye Paintball i4/i5 Goggle Thermal Replacement Lens
- Dye i4 Thermal Dyetanium Mirror Goggle Lens – Rose Silver
Different Paintball Lens Combinations
While there are many different kinds of paintball lens types, you can find different desired features bundled into one lens.
For example, you can find a thermal (dual pane) lens that is also mirrored or a blue tinted lens that is also high definition. Many manufacturers offer each line of their paintball lenses in a variety of different tints and color options so that you can pick and choose what you like.
There are so many combinations you could potentially purchase that it makes sense to do lots of market research before you commit, as some paintball lenses and masks can be quite expensive. You want to be sure what you want before you put any money down.
Things to ask yourself when you are considering what kind of paintball lens to buy:
- What are the humidity levels like where I’ll be playing? Will fogging be a potential problem?
- What colors are most aesthetically pleasing to me?
- Will I be playing paintball mostly in an open field or in a wooded area?
- Will I be playing paintball in full sun or in low light conditions?
- Will I be playing paintball in the snow?
- How often will I be playing paintball?
- How much money do I want to invest in this sport?
Buying Multiple Interchangeable Paintball Lenses
Rather than committing to a single type of paintball lens, many paintball masks are designed for their lenses to be popped out and exchanged with different lenses.
This means that you can choose more than one type of paintball lens and change them out depending on the conditions you’re playing in. For example, if you know you will be playing woodsball in shifting light conditions, you might choose a yellow tinted or amber tinted lens.
But if you were playing in an open field on a bright sunny day, it would make more sense to choose a smoked colored or gray tinted lens. If you are playing in a snowy field, you would go with a blue lens.
How Does Light Affect Paintball Lens Choice?
Different paintball lenses affect the kind of visible light (also known as white light) that makes up the small range of light waves humans are able to see with our naked eyes. When white light is broken out through a prism, it shows the spectrum of light humans are able to see.
Blues and reds are at each end of the visible spectrum of light, with yellow and green in the middle, the range easiest and most natural for us to process visually.
Blue spectrum light is important because it negatively impacts human vision. It scatters more easily than other types of visible light, making it more difficult for the eye to focus on. Prolonged exposure to blue diffused light results in eyestrain more quickly than with other light.
Many paintball lenses that strive to increase eye sharpness (such as yellow tinted paintball lenses) function to reduce blue light in order to subsequently increase visual contrast and reduce eye fatigue.
Dual Pane Lenses Versus Single Pane Lenses
Paintball lenses come in two thickness types, single pane and dual pane. While dual pane lenses (also known as thermal lenses) are generally preferable, many paintball players instead opt for a single pane lens with an anti-fog coating.
The advantage of thermal lenses over a single pane lens is that thermal lenses tend to be constructed better, they last longer, have higher impact resistance, and are less prone to fogging, but single pane lenses are much less expensive, so they are more suitable for casual use.
If a thermal pane lens setup is too expensive for someone just starting out with paintball, there is always the option to buy a basic set of gear to learn with and then upgrade to more expensive, powerful gear later once you’ve become more emotionally involved in the sport.
Purpose of Color Tints and Mirrorized Coatings in Paintball Lenses
Choosing the paintball lens tint that is right for you comes down to a combination of your personal preferences combined with prioritizing the conditions you want to play paintball in. Every different type of lens offers its own specific benefits and purposes.
With performance tints such as yellow and blue, paintball lenses can both offer a strategic advantage through a sharper vision while playing.
Other lens types, such as mirrored chrome or a metallic chameleon look, give the player high-end aesthetics and a slick look, but may not be as technically effective on the field.
You have to consider what looks cool versus what works well. A super-shiny, chameleon chrome paintball lens on your mask might make you look like the best player on the field, but if every player you’re against can see your helmet a mile away, you’ll be an attractive target.
How Do You Decide Which Lens Is Right for You?
When first choosing your paintball gear, unless you play in very specific conditions, it’s probably best to go with an all-purpose lens, such as a gray or smoked lens.
This will give you a neutral field of vision while you are still learning the game, and these lenses work well in all sorts of field conditions. Once you get more involved in the sport of paintball, you can start looking into fancier options for your gear build. Try to choose goggles or a mask which allows for interchangeable lenses, so you can upgrade later once you’ve gotten more comfortable playing.