Best Ice Hockey Face Shields
Face shields are a piece of equipment that is becoming more and more popular in hockey. You may notice that a lot of players wear shields in many different styles. This piece of equipment is not always required, but is extremely common and can increase safety.
What are ice hockey face shields used for?
Ice hockey face shields are exactly what they sound like; they shield the player’s face from potential injuries. They are crafted pieces of metal or plastic that clip onto a player’s helmet. In ice hockey, there are a lot of pieces of equipment that can fly in the air unexpectedly such as the puck, the end of a stick, or even a limb. Face shields aim to prevent anything from hitting the player’s face. Different types of face shields offer different levels of protection.
In many ice hockey leagues, face shields are becoming required. As of 2013, the NHL made a rule requiring all incoming players and players with less than 26 games of experience to wear some sort of face shield. It is even common for lower level leagues to require full facial protection as an emphasis on player health continues to grow.
Things To Consider
When looking for a face shield, you'll want to consider the following:
- What amount of protection is required for your level of play?
- How much do you want to spend on a face shield?
- What level of visibility do you want to have?
- What type of face shield do you find to be the best looking?
- What brand of face shield carries the style you prefer?
- Will the face shield you are looking at fit on your helmet?
The four types of ice hockey face shields are bubbles, cages, hybrids, and visors.
Bubble face shields are one type of full-face hockey shield. They usually are made out of a hard plastic and have a visor over the eyes with a plastic cage covering the mouth. This type of face mask is rising in popularity as it provides full facial protection while also remaining visible and breathable.
Cages also cover the entire face. They are usually made out of metal and feature thin intersecting wires to resemble a cage. Many people prefer these because they are very strong and breathable. However, the wires can block the player’s visibility at times.
A hybrid shield is essentially a mix between a bubble shield and a cage. It covers the full face, and has a plastic visor over the eyes with a cage over the mouth. Hybrid masks are relatively similar to bubble masks in terms of their visibility and protection. Some players may prefer this mask as it can fog up a little bit less than bubble shields.
Visors provide the least amount of protection among all face shields. It is only a piece of plastic that covers the eyes and part of the nose. Many people prefer this shield because it is the most breathable and visible. It also will not fog up during a game. Many referees wear visors as well.
When considering which face shield to buy, always consider the cost, sizes, and visibility.
Face shields can cost anywhere from $30 to $90. In general, cages and face shields made with metal rather than plastic tend to be cheaper. Full-face shields, especially bubble shields, are usually the most expensive. Getting a face shield custom fit or putting a prescription into the visor will likely make it much more expensive.
Most companies will make face shields that only come in one or two sizes. It is common for shields to be categorized as junior or senior sizes. Some places will have a few different sizes ranging from small to large. It is best to see the exact dimensions if buying online in order to make sure that it is compatible with your helmet.
In general, visors will be the most visible while cages will be the least. Bubble shields and hybrid masks offer pretty similar visibility to visors as well. Cages are the least visible because of the metal wires running in front of the eyes, but different color cages may improve their visibility.
What are the best ice hockey face shields?
- Bauer Concept III Full Face Shield
- CCM Hockey Full Shield Visor FV1
- TronX S30 Straight-Cut Hockey Helmet Clear Visor
- CCM Hockey VR14 Straight Certified Visor
- Bauer RBE I Hockey Helmet Half Shield
- TronX S950 Senior Adult Hockey Full-Face Visor Combo
- CCM Hockey 780 Face Mask Cage
- Hockeyninja Ronin Hockey Visor
- CCM Hockey 580 Face Mask
- Bauer 2100 Facemask
- Price: $79.99
- Rating: 4.6/5
- Brand: Bauer
The Bauer Concept III Full Face Shield is one of the most streamlined and high-quality full-face shields on the market. It’s on the more expensive end at $80, but its durability, fog protection, and anti-scratch coating are some of the most advanced and effective available. The visor’s design also allows for full-range visibility with no distortion to the wearer’s view. It has vents built into the mask above the eye line for streamlined airflow and to further diminish fogging of the mask. The dual-density floating chin cup is made to help absorb extra shock a wearer might face, and it is attached via straps to the caged mouth of the face shield. It attaches to most unisex adult hockey helmets on the top and sides, though attachment hardware is sold separately from the model. Attachment hardware required includes snap screws, front screws, and J-clip screws for an ultra-secure fit.
- Price: $89.99
- Rating: 4.6/5
- Brand: CCM
CCM’s FV1 Full Shield Visor is an excellent luxury option that provides maximum protection and coverage of the whole face. Its polycarbonate is protected with some of the most modern and effective anti-scratch and anti-fog coating available, making it not only very protective but very unobtrusive as well. The venting in the shield makes the mask comfortable and breathable, with very little fog accumulating within the mask, even in longer sessions. It attaches to the helmet with screws for the top clips, J-clips, and snap screws, all of which except the snap screws are included with the model. The dual-density floating chin cup attaches to the caged mouth with straps and can be adjusted for a comfortable fit, with water repellent foam material that will not absorb sweat. The FV1 comes in unisex senior and junior sizes that fit nearly all certified helmets.
- Price: $25.78
- Rating: 4.6/5
- Brand: TronX
The TronX S30 Straight-Cut Hockey Visor is a high-definition, clear polycarbonate visor that covers the eyes and nose. Though inexpensive at $25.78, it is one of the best quality options for a light, simple hockey visor. It comes with complete anti-scratch and anti-fog coating, providing crystal clear visibility from start to finish of one’s time in the rink with little touch-up required. The S30 model is especially effective at repelling fog, making it one of the most popular options for those who prefer visors. The convex shape of the visor also protects the face from all angles without distorting the view. It is a universal fit visor that can attach to almost any certified hockey helmet for adults. It is screwed onto the helmet by the slots in the sides, with attachment hardware that comes included.
- Price: $39.99
- Rating: 4.4/5
- Brand: CCM
The CCM VR14 Straight Certified Visor is one of the most high-definition clear visors you can get. It covers from the eyes to the nose with a sleek, curved design that doesn’t distort the wearer’s view. It is also slightly taller than most visors, giving the wearer added protection. At $40, it is a good value offer for a visor with a polycarbonate base integrated with both anti-scratch and anti-fog coatings, giving it durability and reliable visibility from start to finish. It’s one of the more popular models for those who prefer more lightweight, sleek headgear as opposed to heavier masks. The VR14 is a universal fit for all genders, ages, and certified helmets, attaching to the headgear by the sides. The spacers and screws for attachment are also included.
- Price: $37.95
- Rating: 4.7/5
- Brand: Bauer
The Bauer RBE I Half Shield is a clear mask that covers the face down to just beneath the nose. It is a slightly more expensive simple visor at $37.95, but its streamlined design and unusual sturdiness set it apart from other simple face shields, which may seem similar. The Bauer RBE I has an anti-scratch coating and an enhanced polycarbonate base that can withstand high-impact blows. It is also four inches tall with a dip in the center for increased airflow, with slots on the side and accompanying hardware to connect it to the helmet. While it does not have a protective anti-fog coating, the aerodynamic design helps reduce the amount of fog that forms. It fits most every certified helmet for adults, and the mounting hardware comes with spacers for adjustment as needed.
- Price: $64.99
- Rating: 3.8/5
- Brand: TronX
The TranX S950 Full-Face Visor Combo is a sturdy polycarbonate visor composed of a clear face shield and a caged polycarbonate mouth for full-face protection. At $65, it is one of the most affordable full-face visor combos, with anti-scratch and anti-fog coatings. It fits almost all adult helmets via attachments on the side and top of the visor combo, with screws and spacers included. Its dual-density floating chin cup is attached to the caged mouth with adjustable straps. While it has full facial protection and can withstand high impact blows, some wearers have also found it fogs easily over time despite the anti-fog protection built in. It may be advisable to use it with an added anti-fog spray for longer sessions in the rink.
- Price: $59.99
- Rating: N/A
- Brand: CCM
The CCM Hockey 780 Face Mask is a caged, full-coverage mask for adults. At $60, it is slightly more expensive but also high quality, sleek, and reliable. In unisex sizes of small, medium, and large, it fits all brands and comes with the hardware necessary to install it on the helmet. The steel bars on the mask are thin for greater visibility and can be purchased in white, black, or gunmetal, though the attachment hardwear is black. Attachment hardware includes two snap screws on the top, two J-clip straps on each side, and a comfortably fitting chin strap for the wearer. The chin cup is multi-density foam with a liner that detracts sweat. Its dimensions are 10 by 8 with a depth of 6 inches, and it is relatively lightweight while remaining sturdy and protective. As a metal mask, it should be wiped dry from water and ice after use in order to prevent rusting.
- Price: $22.99
- Rating: 4.5/5
- Brand: Hockeyninja
The Hockeyninja Ronin is a clear plastic visor that covers the face from eyes to nose. At $23, it’s one of the most inexpensive options out there, providing reasonable protection and high-definition visibility in the rink. It’s an affordable option ideal for those who prefer their mask as lightweight and unobtrusive as possible. The Ronin visor is one-size-fits-all and fits almost every certified helmet, attaching on each side with hardware that comes included. The standard R-1 model comes with anti-scratch coating but not anti-fog coating, while the R-2 or R-3 models do include fog protection for a moderate added cost. To ensure the same visibility throughout a game, some players like to pair the R-1 Ronin with a separate anti-fog spray.
- Price: $44.99
- Rating: 4.8/5
- Brand: CCM
The CCM Hockey 580 Face Mask is a sturdy, caged face mask with an extra protective chin cup. It is a new and improved model of CCM’s popular FM 480, with a wider cage than the old design for enhanced visibility. At $45, it is a popular mid-priced option that provides good protection and reliability. The mask comes in unisex small, medium, and large sizes that fit onto CCM helmets and most but not all other hockey helmets. Its carbon steel bars come in black, white, or silver. Attachment hardware is not included, but it requires two front screws to attach to the helmet. Its dual-density chin cup is larger in size for those who prefer added protection, and it is lined with microwick material for comfort. As with all metal protective wear, it should be wiped down after use to prevent rusting.
- Price: $24.98
- Rating: 4.6/5
- Brand: Bauer
The Bauer 2100 is a straightforward, reliable facemask that makes for a great affordable option at just $25. The protective cage is made of steel, relatively thin bars with good-sized openings for a balance of visibility and protection. The silver cage comes in small, medium, and large sizes that can fit both senior and junior helmets, with the large specifically preferable for adult helmets. It attaches to the helmet via screws at the top clips and J clips at the sides, all of which are included with the facemask. The single-density chin cup is made with moisture channels in the material to help deflect sweat and spray from the rink. Since it is metal, it’s advisable to wipe down the facemask after skating to prevent rusting. It’s great for a simple, everyday facemask or as starting gear for new players to hockey.
Are face shields mandatory in the NHL?
Face shields are currently mandatory in the NHL. As of 2013, all new or inexperienced players entering the league are required to wear some sort of face shield. However, most players prefer to wear them anyway.
What visor do NHL players wear?
Not all NHL players are required to wear the same brand of visor. Players may choose which visor to wear based on sponsorships or personal preference. While visors are the most popular choice in the NHL, some athletes prefer full face bubble shields instead.
How much do hockey face shields cost?
Hockey shields can usually be purchased for $90 or less. As a general rule, cages and face shields containing metal will cost less. Visors will usually be cheaper than full face shields of the same material.