Best Goalie Masks (for protection) 2024

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Searching for a new goalie helmet? You’ve come to the right place. The team at Goalie Coaches has put together a best goalie mask buyers guide for 2024. This guide is designed to help you find the best goalie mask (for the money and the protection) this year.

If you opt to save money buying used or lesser quality goalie equipment, do not skimp on your helmet. The goalie helmet is without question one of, if not the most important pieces of equipment you wear.

Before we jump into this, a quick word on our qualification on the topic. Having personally coached thousands of goalies and having played the position for our entire lives, we’ve personally used or inspected every single mask on the market today. This is the single most important goalie equipment investment you’ll make, period.

Buy the best goalie helmet that you can afford, you will never regret your decision.

One of the big myths out there when referencing protection on goalie masks is, “the heavier the mask, the better the protection”. 

This simply isn’t the case. There are plenty of low-end mask manufacturers that have carved out a niche for themselves by serving a portion of the market looking for a discount goalie mask. With that said, If you’re looking for a low-end goalie mask, talk to somebody who has used one.

These are the top-rated goalie masks that we recommend. 

Helmet ImageHelmet NameDescriptionPrice at GoalieMonkeyPrice at PureGoalie
bauer 960 xpmBauer 960Used at the NHL level in the form of a cat eye, or 961. Superior protection.GoalieMonkeyPureGoalie
bauer nme vtx reviewBauer NME ONEComparable to 960, offers pro level protection used in the NHL. GoalieMonkeyPureGoalie
ccm pro goalie maskCCM Axis XFMarc Andre Fleury uses one. Worn by many NHL goalies.GoalieMonkeyPureGoalie

It’s important that we add this disclaimer.  This article is meant to be a comprehensive guide to actually finding the best helmet for protection, so you’re not getting injured. If you want to find the best beer league goalie helmet, or the best budget goalie mask, we recommend looking elsewhere.

These are not just the cheapest masks on the market. This article refers to the high-end, senior-type goalie masks. These are the same helmets the pros would wear. We’ve written a guide on the best youth goalie helmets as well, make sure to check that out.

How We Rated The Goalie Masks

Throughout this guide, we’re going to look at a couple things. First, we’re looking at protection. Protection, in our opinion, is the number one thing you should consider when purchasing a new goalie mask.

We’ve basically taken budget and thrown that out the window. These helmets are the exact same things a lot of pros wear, for good reason. They’re highly protective and they do what they’re supposed to do.

At the end of the day, you’re going to form your own opinion based on your budget. This list of the best masks is a great starting point, you cannot go wrong purchasing any of the masks we’ve listed below.

“What is the best goalie helmet for wide heads?”

The Bauer NME ONE is the best goalie helmet for wide heads.

I’ll explain why in a minute. It’s something you don’t necessarily think about when trying to find the best goalie helmet for your son/daughter (or yourself). Everybody wants to go with the classic Bauer 960/961 series, they get it and.. the helmet doesn’t fit right. So, you try taking out the sweatband, and the helmet is still too tight in the forehead.

I can’t tell you how many times since starting Goalie Coaches that I have received this question.

If you’re a goalie with a wide head, buy a Bauer NME ONE and never look back. The Bauer NME is a pro-level helmet that’s currently actively worn in the NHL. The NME ONE offers the same level of protection that you’ll get with the Bauer 960 Series, just designed for goalies with a wider head. In fact, most folks cannot tell the difference between a Bauer 960 and an NME ONE simply by looking at a photo.

Bauer 960 / Bauer NME ONE

(Photo by @lullmark) Instagram

The Bauer 960 Profile Line is a series of helmets that have stood the test of time for good reason. While they have made changes to the type of materials used to build these helmets, they’ve kept the naming conventions the same for nearly a decade.

Really want to know why Bauer hasn’t changed the name of their goalie helmets? It’s because they don’t have to. These helmets are the most popular goalie helmet in the world, trusted at every level of play. They offer incredibly high levels of protection, for even the hardest of shots (NHL shots), and rarely, if ever, malfunction.

It’s the line that many refer to as “the Profile” mask, designed to profile a thinner face. Worn by tons of pros, D1, Major Junior and youth goalies alike, the 960 line is THE helmet to wear if the mask fits.

Both the 960 and the NME ONE are going to be on the higher end of the budget, so make sure this is something you’re willing to invest in before purchase.

Here is every Bauer Goalie Helmet in their collection, ranked from cheapest to most expensive. 

The Complete Bauer Goalie Helmet Lineup
Bauer 930 – entry level
Goalie Monkey
Pure Goalie
Bauer 940 – intermediate, great for beginners to use 2+ years
Goalie Monkey
Pure Goalie
Bauer 950 – save some money on the 950 instead of the 960
Goalie Monkey
Pure Goalie
Bauer 960 – trusted by the games best goalies, for years
Goalie Monkey
Pure Goalie
Bauer NME ONE – Bauer 960 level protection, for wider heads
Goalie Monkey
Pure Goalie

Bauer goalie has been a leading goalie mask innovator for decades and their two top of the line masks currently on the market are no exception.

It’s worth mentioning here, that the 960 and the NME are both top of the line helmets. The 960 is designed for narrow faces while the NME ONE is designed for wider faces. Both are worn by NHL goalies. We’ve personally tested (and own) both masks and vouch for their protection and durability.

Remember, it’s easy for us to tell you to buy one of these. We own both masks and wouldn’t use anything else. Make your own decision based on available funds and your level of play.

This mask uses a fiberglass base, wrapped in layers of 12k carbon composite for some of the most advanced, lightweight protection on the market. The latest iteration of the Bauer 960 goalie helmet introduces what Bauer calls “Smacwrap” technology. Smacwrap is designed to reduce impact and overall vibration from pucks rattling off the helmet itself.

What’s the difference between the Bauer 960 and the Bauer 961? The difference is in the cage. The 960 mask has a certified cage and the 961 offers the non-certified “cat-eye” cage.

Bauer NME ONE The NME is another mask built specifically to withstand pro (NHL) level shots. This mask is worn at the NHL level today and for goalies with a wider face, it’s bar none one of the best masks you can purchase for protection.

We’ve been using the NME VTX (now called the Bauer NME ONE) in our videos, and had it painted by our friends at Grangroth Graphics, it’s unbelievable. Super light, the protection is second to none and the mask hasn’t had many “ringers”.

Editors note: we have been using the original Bauer NME VTX for 4+ years and it has stood the test of time. We have been using the same Bauer 960 for 6+ years, same results. These are two of the most consistent, best quality goalie helmets money can buy.

You should buy the 960 or the NME ONE for these reasons. 

  • Bauer goalie helmets have been around for just about forever, they’re trusted at the NHL level of play by the majority of goalies in the league
  • The level of protection is second to none, pros use these things for a reason
  • The fit of a 960 or a ONE is unlike any we’ve ever used (they.. just fit right)

Here’s why I’d avoid buying this. 

  • Bauer doesn’t do a ton to innovate year over year when it comes to their masks
  • The sweatband in Bauer goalie helmets is not great (that is NOT a reason to buy something else)
Our #1 Pick
Bauer 960/ 961 Goalie Helmet

This helmet has been our #1 recommended goalie mask for a number of years. It's one of the single most popular goalie helmets of all time. Currently worn by roughly 40% of NHL goalies.

Goalie Monkey Price Pure Goalie Price
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The CCM Axis XF is the premium goalie helmet offered by CCM.   CCM has historically been behind Bauer when it comes to high-end goalie masks, but with the release of the Axis XF they’ve truly entered the conversation for the top spot.  It’ll take a lot to dethrone Bauer though, so they slide in here for now. ccm axis xf goalie mask


The Axis XF is a clean looking goalie mask.  It’s a new innovative design that we haven’t seen yet.  Looks aren’t the priority in a mask, but it doesn’t hurt to wear a cool looking helmet.

The shell of the mask is made of Exoshell Composite Carbon Fiber.  It’s carbon fiber and composite blended together, designed to with-take high impacts and fast moving pucks.  The mask also has deflection points to help redirect pucks off without taking the brunt of the energy head on.  Obviously you’re still going to take some pucks that don’t redirect off – particularly in the cage area, but we’ll take anything we can get to reduce energy on impact.

It’s padding features CCM’s AER-TEC Ventilation System with a full NEST-TECH liner.  It’s a comfortable liner with channels and pockets that help with airflow to keep you cool in the crease.  And as you know, the body can get warm fast, when defending the goal net.

The NEST-TECH liner is also designed to disperse energy upon impact.  Which is easy the most important aspect of choosing a goalie mask – does it actually protect your head?  And the answer here, is yes.

Not only the liner, but CCM added Shock Dampening System and D30 Smart Material inserts beneath the cage to help absorb the high impact energy from pucks.

The chin too, has triple density foam and D30.

Lastly, the Axis XF mask has an adjustable internal harness system to help the mask sit naturally on your head.  It doesn’t matter how much money you spend on a helmet, if it doesn’t fit your head, it’s not going to do its job.  And so to be able to adjust and make sure that it actually does fit your head is critical.


Does this mask overtake the Bauer NME ONE?  I don’t think so, but I don’t think that it’s far behind.  CCM has been gradually improving their technology and this is the first helmet that CCM has released that I think could compete with the top Bauer masks.

This is an expensive helmet, but as you know, it’s highly important to protect your head.  There are some injuries that are truly not worth the risk, head injuries are one of them.

Axis XF Overall

Overall this is a high-end goalie mask that deserves its flowers.  It’s comfortable, highly protective and looks good while doing it.  While Bauer has done very well in the goalie helmet industry, CCM closed the gap with this one.  It’s a high quality mask.

CCM Axis XF Goalie Mask

CCM's premium mask offering for this year. Highly protective & comfortable.

Pure Goalie Price Goalie Monkey Price
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Related: Best Goalie Pads

Vaughn Pros Choice

The Vaughn Pro Choice masks are some of the best goalie masks that you can get.  Each Pros Choice mask is completely custom made and no two masks of the same line are the same.  They’re hand crafted with Aramid fiber, graphite, fiberglass and epoxy resin.  Not to include that these masks are built without a compression machine which can sometimes lead to cracking.

vaughn pro choice goalie mask

The material used in these masks are also used by the US Military for fighter jets.  So you can expect a strong helmet.  The Tri Cat Cage is also custom made with the highest grade of stainless steel.   Lastly, the liner is made of comfortable HD foam.

This isn’t a cheap helmet, but it’s a great one if you are playing hockey at an elite level.

You should buy this helmet for these reasons. 

  • If you can afford a Pro’s Choice, you’re not questioning whether or not you should be buying one

Here’s why I’d avoid buying this. 

  • They’re expensive and personally think that the Bauer 960/ NME ONE is just as good an option without having to custom order.

SportMask Pro X

The SportMask Pro X is another elite-level goal mask.  It features the classic look of the NHL goal mask, and is built for it too.

sportmask pro x goalie mask


The Pro X from SportMask is built with woven composite material, Inegra Fiber – along with multiple layers of fiberglass and carbon fiber that is bonded in a resin.  It results in a light-weight, but stiff mask, that is built to withstand high impacts over a long time.

The chin flares down, which gives you a little more protection in the chin area.  SportMask also increased the strength of the chin so that well, for one, it’s stronger, but also to decrease vibrations through the mask.

The Pro Fit Backplate makes for a comfy fit.  And the 4 point elastic harness is adjustable to ensure that the fit is to your head size.

SportMask Pro X Mask

This is a lightweight, yet stiff mask that competes with the likes of the top Bauer & CCM masks.

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Warrior Ritual F2 Pro

Warrior originally entered the goalie mask market with what they called the Warrior Ritual F1 Pro. And by doing so, they immediately challenged both Bauer and CCM as one of the top three, if not top two, goalie mask manufacturers available to the goalie who doesn’t play at a level where your gear is paid for by the team (high level junior hockey, NCAA D1, Pro etc).

warrior RITUAL r_f2 Pro Mask

The initial version of the Ritual goalie mask was a large success, so much so, that they introduced the latest version of it as the Warrior Ritual F2 Pro. The Ritual F2 Pro is the best goalie helmet that warrior makes and while it is not currently worn at the NHL level, due to NHL branding, it’s a high performance helmet that certainly could be worn at the professional level.

With the Warrior R/F1, Warrior did what Warrior does when it comes to bringing new gear to the market. They offered a highly competitive, high performance product priced a little bit better than anybody else. While the actual helmet looks like a literal crossbreed of a CCM Axis / Bauer 960, the atheistic is very sleek. While looks to us parents mean nothing, to the kid wearing the bucket, they’re pretty important.

Warrior Ritual F2 Pro Goalie Helmet Specs:

  • Molded dual density foam interior: Warrior calls this “OMNIShock+”
  • Minimus Carbon 20 shell: to the average consumer, this just means that it’s going to stand up to extremely hard puck impact.
  • Invisible backplate: this may be the biggest selling point of this mask. Warrior recognized what Bauer hasn’t, making a strapping system that allows somebody to paint a visible backplate of the goalie mask!

Honestly, the first time I was able to get my hands on this lid, I was blown away with how light it is. It doesn’t “feel” like a tank of a helmet by any means. Not to the point where you’d question whether or not it actually prevents massive head injury as you would with your standard street hockey helmet, but it’s noticeable.

The single best part about this helmet? The backplate. Now, it would be sexy to rate this as the best goalie helmet on the market, of course (Sorry Warrior, but you can’t just shoot to the top of the list without standing the test of time). The helmet is great, but the backplate is even better. For those of you who choose to customize your mask with a paint job, the backplate is wide open. It’s a blank canvas.

You should buy the F2 for these reasons. 

  • More affordable than any other “pro level” mask on the market
  • The backplate has invisible straps (it sounds crazy, but to me, this is a major plus)
  • They actually invested in the sweat band in this helmet
  • You get a padded mask bag (laughable to some of you, but for most that’s a good value, especially since this lid is cheaper than the CCM / Bauer competitors)

Here’s why I’d avoid buying from Warrior. 

  • Warrior is still new to the goalie helmet manufacturing game. This isn’t their first rodeo in equipment manufacturing, but their goalie helmets have not been around for as long as their top competitor, Bauer
Warrior Ritual F2 Pro

The Warrior Ritual F2 Pro is the 2nd iteration of the Ritual goalie helmet, with a number of marked improvements over the initial release of this helmet, which was known as the Ritual F1.

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Related: Best Goalie Chest Protectors


Ever heard the saying, “if you know, you know”?

If you wear Warwick.. you know.

Warwick has built masks for many big name NHL goalies over the years, they do not need an introduction.

Full disclosure, I haven’t worn a Warwick on the ice.

But, I know about 100 pro goalies personally who have, so I am more than qualified to write about them in this context. A buddy of mine who paints for a bunch of pretty good goalies (@grangrothgraphics) paints these all the time. I’ve been over at his place when dropping off some of my own stuff, and I have to say.. the Warwick with Titanium Cage is the lightest goalie helmet on the market. It just is. That’s not setting them all on a scale next to each other things, it’s just one of those “you just know” things.

All of the Warwick masks are custom built. A new Warwick mask is going to cost a considerable amount, we only recommend their purchase if you’re a 5x a week serious goalie, or a pro / college goalie looking for something more custom than a Bauer 960.

There are a couple options to with, depending on your head size and personal preference.  No matter which one you decide to go with, it is likely going to be the last mask that you will need for quite some time.  They’re super durable and strong.  The padding and foam internally is always custom and meant to fit your head and only your head.  Warwick masks are great options for goalies that are looking for a truly custom fit mask.

Buy Warwick for these reasons

  • One of the highest quality custom built masks money can buy (they’re just not super available, which is why we rank them lower)
  • Will stand the test of time
  • Almost unmatched protection

Avoid Warwick for this

  • They’re hard to find. You’ve got to custom order these things and they can take a while.

Related: Best Goalie Sticks

Other goalie masks worth mentioning..

While these goalie helmets aren’t at the top of our list, they’re still worth talking about.

SportMask T3

The SportMask T3 is a mid-range goalie mask designed for goalies that aren’t playing 4-5 times a week, but still want a helmet that will offer solid protection.  It’s (obviously) not the same high-end quality as the Bauer NME ONE, Vaughn Pros Choice, or the CCM Axis XF, but it still will get the job done.

OTNY, a Pure Budget Goalie Mask

We only recommend one brand of goalie mask for the pure budget goalie. If you’re looking to save a ton of money, get a slightly heavier yet super protective mask, check out

We own an OTNY mask, again painted by Grangroth Graphics, with Maltese foam (unfortunately, no longer offered) and like the protection.

The one thing about OTNY that we’re not major fans of is the weight. The mask IS a bit heavier than one of the masks built by major manufacturers, however it makes up for that in protection. These things are built like mini tanks.

Recommended level of play: any


Related: Best Goalie Skates

Conclusion: Best Goalie Helmets

Confidently, I’d put my first-hand knowledge of goalie masks up there with just about anybody but the makers themselves. Between coaching thousands of goalies and playing the position my entire life, I’ve had the chance to set my hands on (or use) literally every single goalie helmet that’s on the market today. Every one of them. That’s not to say I’m the only resource worth reading on the topic, but I do happen to understand why we buy and the reasons certain folks make a bad purchasing decision. The mask is one of the most important pieces of equipment, so please tread carefully. If you’ve already purchased a mask, your next level of protection should be investing in a protective neck guard. Neck guards, along with your helmet, are two of the most important protective pieces of equipment a goalie wears.

There are a lot of high-quality goalie masks on the market.  Remember though, these are the final layer of protection between the puck and your head.  Thanks for reading and I hope this helped! Should you need help figuring out how to measure for the correct size goalie helmet, check out the linked size guide.


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