Gear Guides

Hockey Goalie Mask Buying Guide

Every goalie mask at its core is just three plastic or metal pieces strapped together, but there’s still a wide array of options to consider when trying to protect your dome. If you’re thinking of going out for goalie, here are some tips to consider before doing so.

Types of Goalie Masks

Entry level

These helmets may be cheaper in price, but they can still be counted on to protect your noggin from low-level competition. On the outside, you can expect some form of a plastic-based compound shell and a standard metal-wire cage up front. For padding, single or dual density VN (vinyl nitrile) foam is usually good.

Not sure which brand to get? Check out these options on SidelineSwap.


Mid-level helmets, or competitive helmets, are the perfect choice if you’re trying to elevate your game to the next level. Their fiberglass exteriors are highly durable, but still lightweight. On their interiors, competitive helmets have plenty of padding, usually in the form of vinyl foam. If you’re serious about making it to the next level, you’ll need one of these at some point in your career.


If you consider yourself in the company of NHL, college, or AAA level goalies, it may be time to invest in a quality, high-end helmet. Elite masks are the cream of the crop in today’s helmet market. Most contain lightweight carbon composite, ballistic Lexan and/or kevlar materials in their shells and have highly resistant, titanium facemasks up front. On the inside, you can expect the highest level of liners and comfort.

If you’re hoping to look truly elite though, you should be prepared to open the bank for any elite helmet worth its weight in gold. Most of your top-tier helmets today will run you $500+ at local retail stores. On SidelineSwap, the same custom, pro-stock helmets start around $250.


A properly sized helmet has a snug fit around the cage, but should not feel uncomfortably tight. The helmet should press softly against the top of your eyebrows. If you’ve got a gap between your cage and backplate, your helmet is probably too big.

Keep in mind that most masks today will come with some form of adjuster along the sides. Use this to make sure the cage isn’t wobbling up or down, or to the left and right of your head when you’re moving around in net.

Other Tips

  • No matter what helmet you choose, make sure it aligns with the rules and regulations of your local league. If it’s not HECC and/or CSA certified, check with your league officials to make sure you are ready to go.
  • Cages are generally easy to swap, with a few exceptions. Not sure which cage you like? Shop tendy cages on SidelineSwap for deals as low as $15.
  • If you have questions about the size and fit of a mask you’ve been eyeing on SidelineSwap, feel free to reach out to the seller, or to our team of experts, to get all the helpful info you need.

Related Resources

SidelineSwap Hockey Goalie Leg Pads Buying Guide
SidelineSwap Hockey Goalie Stick Buying Guide
How to Fit a Hockey Goalie Helmet
How Much do Professional Hockey Goalies Spend on Helmets?
Who Invented The Hockey Goalie Mask?
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