Best Goalie Masks (for protection)

Searching for a new goalie mask? You’ve come to the right place. The team at Goalie Coaches has put together a goalie mask buyers guide for 2020. This guide is designed to help you find the best goalie mask (for the money and the protection) this year.

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. If you’re looking for a low end goalie mask, talk to somebody who has used one.

These are, hands down, the best goalie masks 2020.

Helmet ImageHelmet NameDescriptionPrice at GoalieMonkeyPrice at PureGoalie
bauer 960 xpmBauer 960 XPMUsed at the NHL level in the form of a cat eye, or 961.GoalieMonkeyPureGoalie
bauer nme vtx reviewBauer NME VTXComparable to 960, offers pro level protection used in the NHL.GoalieMonkeyPureGoalie
vaughn pros choiceVaughn Pros ChoiceUsed by many NHL goalies, superior protection, hard to buy.PureGoalie
SportMask T3SportMask T3Growing in popularity in recent years. Superior protection.PureGoalie
warwick goalie mask (1)WarwickUsed at the NHL level, custom order only.
ccm pro goalie maskCCM ProMarc Andre Fleury uses one. Worn by many NHL goalies.GoalieMonkeyPureGoalie
bauer nme ixBauer NME IXThe next option in NME, below the VTX. If you can afford it, the VTX is worth the extra money.GoalieMonkeyPureGoalie
coveted 906Coveted 906The off brand version of the Bauer 960 lineup.GoalieMonkey
coveted 906Bauer 950One step down from the Bauer 960. This is the only "budget" mask here.GoalieMonkeyPureGoalie

It’s important that we add this disclaimer. We’re talking about masks that we have personally used or demonstrated. We’re not just trying to get you to go out and spend money. This article is meant to be a comprehensive guide to actually finding the best helmet for the 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.

What is the best goalie mask?

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.

Bauer 960 XPM / Bauer NME VTX

(Photo by @lullmark) Instagram

The Bauer 960 Profile Line is a series of helmets that have stood the test of time for good reason.

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 VTX 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.

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 VTX 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.

What’s the difference between the 960 and the 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 VTX 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 the protection.

We’ve been using the NME VTX 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”.

The mask features a wrap around the outside designed to withstand the chipping that we find on many masks as they age.

Recommended level of play: 

Find The Best Bauer 960 XPM Price

Pure Goalie / Goalie Monkey

Find the Best Bauer NME VTX Price

Vaughn Pros Choice

SportMask T3

Warwick

CCM Pro

Bauer NME IX

Coveted 906

Bauer 950

CCM GFL Pro Certified Mask ($$$)

The CCM GFL Pro mask is Bauer’s closest competitor from major goalie gear manufacturers. The CCM GFL Pro does feature the D30 technology that CCM uses in most of their pro level gear, a huge plus and probably the biggest advantage this mask offers over Bauer.

The shell of the helmet is constructed using Carbon-Tek composite. Carbon-Tek is a lightweight carbon weave designed to give the mask a lightweight, yet rigid feel. The D30 foam absorbs impact extremely well (see video below).

When it comes to CCM vs. Bauer masks, we typically recommend Bauer simply because we’ve used them with success over a period of many years.

The other thing, there aren’t a ton of pros wearing CCM masks. The majority of pros are wearing Bauer 961 or the NME VTX, some version of a Vaughn Pros Choice, or an unbranded Warwick mask.

Buy the CCM GFL Pro Mask

Bauer 950 vs. Bauer NME 8 ($$)

Here’s where we get into the “budget” masks. As a rule of thumb, we generally recommend purchasing a mask that’s on the upper echelon of the price scale, as they’re used in the pros for a reason.

However, we understand that every budget doesn’t work the same. Or maybe, you’re a goalie who plays beer league once a week and your wife isn’t keen on the idea of dropping $800+ on a goalie mask.

Regardless, the Bauer 950 and the NME 8 are both suitable masks for goalies looking to get a solid mask at roughly half the price of a brand new, top of the line mask.

Choose the NME line for a wider face, the 950 line for thinner faces.

Recommended level of play: pre-high school

Pure Budget Goalie Masks ($)

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 goalieparts.com.

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

Coveted 906

Coveted Masks are built by Ron Stefaniuk and you can actually buy these on Goalie Monkey.

The mask pictured to the left is the Coveted 906 design, built to model the Bauer 960 line.

We haven’t tried one of these masks personally, so leaving our honest feedback on the line isn’t 100% fair.

What we do know about these masks, Malcom Subban of the Vegas Golden Knights was wearing one at one point (not sure if he still wears that mask).

The Coveted line could be a good option for goalies seeking some relief on the price of the mask, without sacrificing the protection. With that being said, we do love the OTNY.

Recommended level of play: any

Warwick

The Warwick name is one of the most recognizable names in goalie masks and for good reason. For years the Warwicks have been making custom, high end goalie masks built specifically for pro level protection.

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

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.

Let’s talk sweatbands..

Before we get into the inner depths of this article, let’s briefly talk about sweatbands. There’s a company out there called “SHAM Sweatbands”. We put these SHAM sweatbands in every goalie mask we own and hand them out to many kids at our summer training programs.

The SHAM bands are the cheapest, most effective way to control sweat on the market today. We haven’t torn one apart, so we aren’t 100% sure what’s inside, but they’re well worth every penny.

A two pack of the bands is pretty cheap, you can wash these after they get worn or give the second to a friend.

The bands soak up a TON of water and they dry out quickly after games. Love everything about these.

Buy Sham Bands