Why do manufacturers make different lens colors? I’ll tell you this—it isn’t for style points. All the different lenses you see in masks? They all have a purpose. They all do something.
Most of the best players I know are pretty serious about goggle choice. From comfort to functionality and lens color. They end up acquiring as many lens tints as possible. The last thing they care about are style points. Style doesn’t win matches.
What’s the best lens tint? It depends on the situation.
Let’s start with Mirrored Lenses:
They look cool, right? Sure. Everyone loves to see their reflection in your mask. Put them on during a dark day or an indoor game to look cool and you’ll be screwed. Mirrored lenses are often the darkest. They block the most light. You likely won’t need them until a really sunny day rolls around or if you want to play in the snow. That’s actually the only time I use mine.
What about Clear Lenses?
Clear lenses are my everyday go-to lens. They can cover every situation effectively—mostly because they are clear. If you only have one set of lenses, you have to take this route. Clear lenses are perfect for 60-80% of the field conditions most players experience—they are really fine for everything except the most sunny days.
Smoke or gray-tint lenses is one of the first colors you should get after clear. They provide adequate sun protection will still giving you clear definition and true colors. The biggest benefit to smoke lenses is that they help keep you from squinting on sunny days. Don’t use them inside though—I guess you can but you’re not going to be able to see anything.
Amber or Orange Lenses:
Orange is, in my opinion, the most useful color to get if you’re going to do anything after clear or smoke. Amerish/orange tint helps improve your ability to focus in dim conditions or when it is hazy outside. They also help improve your depth perception. It’s about increasing the reds you see and limiting the colors that block your ability to focus. They also help improve your ability to see things move quickly.
You’ll notice that a lot of professional marksmen use orange tint glasses in shooting competitions. There’s a reason for it. They help improve focus.
The rest of the rainbow: Blue, Red, Green
You see these colors everywhere. Personally, I think they are pretty useless. Clear, Mirrored, Smoke and Orange/Amber lenses will cover everything you need. Green is good for blocking light on sunny days, but you already have mirrored for that. Red supposedly filters out light that improves sharpness—amber works the same but does it better. You don’t see any marksmen with red lenses. Blue reduces glare, but—come’on they are blue. I think they look silly, and honestly, you’re not going to find many practical situations where they are better than amber lenses for improving perception.
Which Ones Do You Buy?
Doesn’t matter to me—we want you to buy them all obviously. If you’re new to paintball, clear is the way to go. After that, get smoke for sunny days. Amber should be next if you want to see movement better and sharpen up your depth perception. Mirrored? Sure if you’re going to be playing on really sunny days. Everything else? Buy it to look cool