This article covers a series of strong face masks and guards that work extremely well for basketball players in games and practice.
I’ve spent nearly two decades playing basketball in both a serious and casual setting. I took that knowledge and combined it with extensive research to determine which face masks went above and beyond similar models.
The Mueller Face Mask gets my pick for the best overall face guard due to how well it delivers in terms of both comfort and protection.
It’s made from lightweight plastic that’s both impact and crack-resistant. Beyond that protection, the mask is snug and specially contoured to fit your face. There’s a lot of padding for those that want cushion, as well as a strong harness that keeps everything where it should be.
Below, I’ll take a look at the Mueller and a few other excellent basketball face masks to help you decide which ones work for your needs.
Who Should Get This?
Basketball can be a physical sport that takes quite a toll on your body. Physical players who mix it up under the rim or who often find themselves crashing in for a rebound should invest in a reliable face mask. It’s a good idea for bigs to get one as well.
The masks are also good choices for those who have already suffered a face injury. If you’ve had a broken nose, cracked cheekbone, or fractured orbital bone, a solid guard is an important investment that helps you play without increased risk of further injury.
Top Basketball Face Masks/Guards
In this section, I’ll go over my picks for the best basketball face masks by explaining how their traits help them fill certain niches in the market.
1. Mueller Face Mask
- Best for: Overall
- Key Features: Strong, crack-resistant medical grade material. Snug fit. Comfortable. Special harness and extra padding.
- Material: Plastic
- Weight: 0.01 ounces
- Dimensions: 4 x 8 x 12 inches
The Mueller Face Mask is an incredibly tough face mask perfect for players who want or need extra protection on the court. It comes with a special crack/shatterproof medical-grade polycarbonate that can withstand any collision. The special harness also holds it in place.
The model also gives you two layers of comfort. First, it’s specially contoured so it fits snugly on your face without getting in the way or being too intrusive. On top of that, it also comes with special foam padding that feels much better than what you find with similar guards.
The only drawback to this model is that it lacks ventilation holes, which means it can get hot while you wear it. Some players who naturally run hot may also experience some fogging, but that’s easy to fix when you have a timeout or are on the bench.
2. Qiancheng Protective Face Mask L2
- Best for: Toughness
- Key Features: Design protects your entire face. Durable, high-impact plastic construction. Excellent ventilation and large eye openings to promote peripheral vision.
- Material: Polycarbonate
- Weight: 3.39 ounces
- Dimensions: 6.77 x 4.84 x 3.96 inches
If you’re someone who absolutely needs to ensure you don’t get hurt when playing basketball, this mask from Qiancheng is essential. It’s a tough, durable model that gives you a lot of protection from any stray limbs, elbows, or errant passes you might see.
Though it’s lightweight, the mask protects your entire face without ever fogging up too much. It’s adjustable, cuts down on injuries, and actively prevents overheating. It’s also adjustable, which increases the general versatility and allows you to see out of your peripherals quite well.
Just know this mask is not a comfort-first model. It doesn’t have any padding. That’s not a deal-breaker by any means, and in some ways is a testament to how much it focuses on keeping your face safe, but it’s not the best model for those who primarily care about comfort.
3. Sports Night Face Shield
- Best for: Ventilation
- Key Features: Dual-adjustment straps to help customize the fit. Excellent security. High-impact medical-grade construction. Comfort padding with excellent airflow.
- Material: Polycarbonate
- Weight: 7 ounces
- Size: 22-24 inches
One of the larger issues with masks is that no matter how well made or strong they might be, they tend to fog up. The Sports Night Face Shield cuts down on that through its comfort padding, which both cushions your face while you play and promotes excellent airflow.
The guard also gives you excellent vision out on the court and comes with two adjustable straps that allow you to get the perfect fit for your face. There’s even a replacement strap should something happen during a game. The EVA foam is also surprisingly tough and long-lasting.
Just be aware that this mask is a bit larger and heavier, than similar models. Where some masks blend in, this one definitely sticks out when it comes to size. That might make it a bit cumbersome for certain players, but bigs should have no problem using it.
4. Bangerz HS-1500
- Best for: Vision
- Key Features: Opening design allows for incredible vision. Anti-fog and scratch-resistant. Medical grade, anti-impact materials.
- Material: Polycarbonate
- Weight: 2.4 ounces
- Dimensions: 6.81 x 5.79 x 3.31 inches
If vision matters to you when playing, the Bangerz HS-1500 is a great lightweight mask that allows you to see without hindering your protection. Where some masks cut down on visibility in favor of protection, this model’s unique design keeps your nose area safe and your eyes open.
Beyond that, it’s durable due to the shatter-resistant polycarbonate construction and is both fog and scratch-resistant. The entire mask is also adjustable, which is a nice feature that ensures you’re going to get a snug fit no matter the size or shape of your head.
As this guard focuses on the center of your face, you do lose a bit of protection compared to similar models. Even so, it still does a great job of keeping your cheeks and nose out of harm’s way. It can also be a bit tight, which is something those with smaller faces should keep in mind.
Best Basketball Face Mask/Guards: What to Look For
Each of these traits is critical to keep in mind when picking out your face mask.
As your face mask’s primary function is to protect your face, it’s important to make sure it’s strong enough to keep you safe from a hand, elbow, or even a basketball. Special impact-proof or shatterproof materials with extra oomph are extremely important in this regard.
However, while you want something tough, make sure you purchase a mask that isn’t too heavy either. Most are lightweight, but some can be a bit too intrusive. The trick is to find the right balance between hard and light.
No matter what mask you get, you’re going to lose some visibility when you put it on. Even so, your goal should be to buy something that still enables you to see pretty well. Clear plastic models with wide eye openings go a long way towards that end.
You need to pay particular attention to your peripheral vision. Even clear masks can sit in the edges of your vision and prevent you from seeing certain passes or other players. Always try to find a mask that gives you a wide field of view for everything around you.
Comfort is another important aspect, especially if you play for extended periods of time. Ideally, you want a mask that sits with your face so well you completely forget you’re wearing it. That’s not likely, but extra cushion or padding enables you to play without feeling any pressure.
When looking at comfort, also check for stability. You don’t want your mask to needlessly slip around if you can avoid it. The better it stays in place, the more comfortable it will be. Extra air holes to cut down on heat and expand ventilation are nice to have as well.
Useful Tips and Resources
The above face masks are quality products made with top-tier materials. Most of them provide strong ventilation and vision, but if you’re playing in an intense game you may still experience some fogging. If that becomes a problem, some anti-fog products that can help solve it.
Some masks do not provide any padding on the inside of the mask, however. If the one you like doesn’t come with that feature, there are silicon padding kits that can be purchased separately to help provide extra comfort.
Basketball is a very physical sport and at times there can a lot of contact, especially under the rim. Hands in the face, elbows flying, and much more can result in injury. If you have already had an injury and are still playing you definitely want some protection so the same injury is not aggravated.
It’s not uncommon to see basketball players get injuries to the face, such as a broken nose, a black eye, and even a broken cheekbone. In order to prevent injuries or protect against a current injury to the face while playing basketball, it is sometimes necessary to wear a basketball face mask.
I believe the Mueller Face Mask to be the best basketball face mask. Though it runs a higher price tag than similar items, few guards are able to match how well it combines a strong, crack-resistant material with added cushion and a comfortable fit.
When you’re playing it’s important to stay protected at all costs. The Mueller enables you to do that without ever getting in your way, restricting your vision, or forcing you to wear something that’s wholly uncomfortable. In that way, you get the best of both worlds.