Best Training Masks
Alright, so what exactly is the deal with training masks? If you have seen people wearing them at the gym you may have pondered to yourself the purpose as they certainly were not wearing it to keep them warm. The reality is these are used as performance tools and enhancers. Essentially, this type of mask is going to simulate the effects of what it would be like to breathe at higher altitudes. Their purpose is to make it harder to breathe in order to enhance your workout capacity, endurance, and stamina. From model to model, however, the options on the market can vary and it is critical for you to understand exactly what to look for to make the most educated decision possible. Thankfully, we are here to help. First, let’s take a look at some of the best available on the market.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 10.75 hrs of research
It is designed with high-quality material
Features ergonomic straps
You can buy swappable covers and sleeves for customization
OUR TOP PICKS FOR THE BEST TRAINING MASKS
1. PHANTOM ATHLETICS
It is designed with high-quality material
Features ergonomic straps
You can buy swappable covers and sleeves for customization
There could be more resistance settings
Worldwide, it seems as if this model right here has become the standard-bearer. When you start to assess the features and the overall design of it, it becomes apparent why that is very quickly.Read more
Due to the fact that this is designed with a combination of medical-grade silicone and durable nylon, it is ready and willing to last you for years of use. As for washing the mask, you can wash this material and it is noted in the product description that doing so can be done in only a few short steps.
The ergonomic straps are nice in the fact that they help to improve the overall fit. Also, there are multiple sizes available to choose from and each of them is recommended based on your weight. The same ergonomic straps that were just alluded to also help to prevent this from slipping during use (the anatomic design also lends its hand with this as well).
There are some models out there that are loaded with resistance levels but this actually only has four. Admittedly, you may prefer an option with more versatility in this regard.
It is okay if some of you bypass this option simply because more resistance settings should have been implemented. Understand, though, that it still is not going to get much better than this (from an overall perspective).
24 levels of resistance
Velcro strap for a dialed-in fit
Fits weights between 120-230 pounds
Could become uncomfortable for people with large noses
Isn't compatible with glasses
The Veoxline is an affordably priced and durable mask with 24-levels of resistance. With the exception of a couple of extenuating circumstances, the mask tends to fit well and comfortably. Whether you are just looking to try this method out for the first time or if you are a die-hard fan, this is a great option.Read more
The Veoxline is a vicious looking product that is made from high-end materials that provide decent comfort and impressive durability. The mask is made from medical-grade silicone with breathable elastic straps along the sides and finished with a velcro strap on the back of the head. At about four ounces, this device is very lightweight and will go more or less unnoticed during your workout, besides the lack of oxygen. To clean this product, you can disassemble it and throw the neoprene portion in the machine, if you wish. Otherwise, you can wash the neoprene and all of the other components by hand with soap and warm water. ‘
This product is available in only one size, medium. However, it is a versatile size and is ideal for most athletes between the weight range of 120 pounds to 230 pounds. Most reviewers agree that it fits comfortably and the velcro strap allows you to fit it snugly to your face. There have been a few, but not many complaints about this product falling down or sliding out of place.
On the front of this newly upgraded product, you’ll find two control levers. With these levers, you can adjust the “altitude” between 2,000 feet and 18,000 feet. In-between these altitudes, there are 24 levels of resistance. One customer noted that there is a big jump between resistance 12 and 13 and it takes some getting used to. If you feel the need to get in a few normal breaths, you will need to take the whole mask off.
With an affordable price, great customer service, and hassle-free refunds, there really is no reason to not give the Veoxline a shot. Included with your purchase, you’ll also receive a storage pouch for transportation and protection.
The resistance can easily be changed
It is designed with medical-grade silicone
Three sizes are available
The quality is really good but not the absolute best
It goes to show how impressive the Phantom Mask is because when you compare this to that, this seems to be a cheap product. However, that is the farthest thing from the truth since scholars believed the earth was flat.Read more
The good news is quality materials have been used to design this (such as medical-grade silicone and nylon). When compared to others, the quality is good yet not amazing. When you go to wash this, it can easily be disassembled to make the overall cleaning process even easier than it already would be.
Overall, there are three sizes that are available for you to choose from and it is noted that users between 155 and 220 pounds should find one that suits them. For the most part, this seems to fit very well and creates a nice seal.
In addition to the fact that you can choose between 16 resistance levels when you are wearing this, it is conveniently designed and allows you to switch between them without taking it off.
You will not find too many people complaining about this training mask. Now, it is not quite as popular as other options but that is okay. That just means you can go away from the crowd.
Comes with a free carrying case
Backed by a 100 percent customer satisfaction guarantee
Equipped with 16 different breathing levels
The adjustment levers could better
On top of the actual design, what really makes this option stand out is the fact that you are provided with a carrying case free of charge. This can prolong the shelf life of the product by keeping it safely stored at all times.Read more
This is another option that is made out of medical-grade silicone so you know, at the very least, that this is built to last and perform. While cleaning this is not hard, one user noted that one of the adjustment levers broke when they tried to. This just goes back to what was claimed about the durability (or lack thereof) of the levers.
Even though this can be a snug fit, it is designed to fit most people. For the record, the rated weight range is 120 to 230 pounds. Thanks to the non-slip training straps that are implemented, it does not matter how much you sweat as these are going to keep the mask stable on your face.
The good news is you can simulate altitudes of 4000 to 18000 feet (there are 16 levels in total). But, the adjustment levers themselves are not quite as durable as they should be.
Yes, it is a bit of a shame that the adjusters are not a bit more rugged but it just means you need to be more careful with them. Everything else is fantastic, though, so that is nice.
5. CARDIO KING
It is designed with a non-slip training strap
Features an anatomic design
There are small, medium and large size options available
It can be a little uncomfortable
No directions come with it
Even though you will need to purchase a separate head strap (according to the seller) with this model, it is well-designed and made out of premium-grade neoprene material.Read more
This is made out of premium-grade neoprene material so you know that the quality is up-to-par. Again, as with many of the other options on the market, this is not going to be very taxing when you need to wash it.
The reason it is important to note that the seller claims this does not come with a head strap is a few users has claimed otherwise. Now, as for the fitting, there are three sizes here and (overall) it is designed to fit users 120 to 230 pounds comfortably. Due to the fact that this is designed with a non-slip strap, it is going to alleviate some of the issues that you can have with slipping. Even when you start to sweat, this is going to help.
Included directions would have been nice but at least this is designed with numerous (six) levels of air resistance.
For the price of admission and the quality at hand, it is hard not to be somewhat impressed with this mask. It is not perfect but you know what, how many products are?
Backed by a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee
Features a slip-resistant design
The valve offers changeable levels of resistance
Only one of the straps is adjustable
The headband is a little flimsy
When you look at the fabric and the adjustable levels of resistance, it becomes clear why this is such a popular choice. Sometimes looks can be deceiving as this design is not without its hiccups.Read more
Sure, this could have a better headband as the current one is pretty flimsy. Overall, however, this is built fairly well. Granted you hand-wash this and do so with gentle care, you should not have any issues with the cleaning this product.
This is a one-size-fits-all model and it is ergonomically designed to enhance the fit. What would have been nice, though, is if both the straps would have been adjustable (as only one is). For the most part, the stability of this face mask is good. The straps are engineered to hold steady even when you are running so that is nice.
There is no need to take this off when you wish to switch the simulated altitude as the built-in valves will take care of that for you. As for versatility, there are 16 different breathing levels.
Some “fixes” here and there would have improved the overall design but when looking at this from unbiased lenses, you can see why so many previous buyers have raved about it.
7. TRAININGMASK 3.0
Offers six different levels of resistance
It is both lightweight and comfortable
Designed with one dial for convenience
Overall, the build quality needs to be improved
For the record, there are different versions of this mask and this happens to be version 3.0. Of the versions, from an overall perspective, many would agree that it is the best.Read more
As great as this model (and the entire series of masks, quite frankly) is, durability can be a bit of an issue. This is due to the straps and the thin nature of the sleeve. Overall, this is not that hard to clean but you will need to be careful. Remember, durability issues have been documented so be gentle with this when you go to wash it.
On top of being both lightweight and comfortable to wear, this comes in three different sizes (small, medium and large). While this is not notorious for having issues with slipping, an overhead band would have helped to alleviate slipping when it does persist (which can happen from time to time).
Outside of the fact that there are six resistance levels, the lone dial that is used to switch the resistance is convenient and simple to utilize.
Looking past the build quality issues, the Training Mask 3.0 is as good as advertised. It is lightweight, comfortable and comes with a convenient dial for resistance adjustments.
8. TRAININGMASK 2.0
Designed with six different resistance levels
It comes with an additional strap
There are multiple sizes available
The Velcro is not as long-lasting as it should be
A few users have experienced stability issues
This is a good example of a product that should not be considered obsolete. Ironically, though, the same issues that plague the other versions can plague this one too (even though it is still above-average overall).Read more
There have been a few users who have noted that the Velcro that is implemented here is poor in quality and that it easily tears so be wary of that. You need to be careful when you wash the Velcro as it is already vulnerable, to begin with, let alone if you wash it aggressively.
Though it seems that this can fit very snug, there are three size options overall to account for several different heads (small, medium and large are the sizes). Okay, so there is an additional strap that is designed to go over your ears (to prevent slipping to an extent). However, there have been a few previous users who have claimed slipping can persist when you start to sweat.
From 3000 to 18000 feet (with six levels of resistance in-between the two), this can simulate the altitude level that you want to train at.
Again, just because the Training Mask 3.0 exists, it does not mean that this 2.0 version is outdated. It is still a very competent design with not the best Velcro, admittedly.
9. PIONEERYAO FACE MASK
It is both windproof and dustproof
Backed by a 100 percent refund clause
You can change the filter when it needs to be replaced
The fabric does not breathe well
The fit seems pretty tight
In addition to the fact that this is designed with two valves to block the air, it is also built with an activated carbon filter that allows for more environmentally-friendly breathing.Read more
The fabric itself does not breathe the best and when it gets hot, it will get uncomfortable. Now, also worth noting here is the implemented activated carbon filter (that is replaceable). As with virtually every other model on this list, this will be easy to clean. But, you also need to wash it in a somewhat gentle fashion.
Thanks to the adjustable nose pad and the Velcro closure system, many of you will be able to find a close to perfect fit when you put this on. However, some users have complained about the fit is too tight. Ironically, because the fit of this model can be quite tight, the issue of slipping is minimized (but some customers will think this is not done in the right way).
Instead of offering several resistance levels, this is actually designed with two valves that simulate the effects of high altitudes.
For those of you who just want to get your feet wet with this sort of technology, this could be a great option. The activated carbon filter is also nice, though.
10. CFORWARD FACE MASK
Features adjustable Velcro
It is easy to clean
Sports a unique ventilation design
It does not quite seal to your face at the bottom
The plastic over the nose is not flexible
Due to the nature of this design, it is not going to be for everyone. The addition of the active carbon filters, of course, is going to be a welcome sight for those who struggle with pollen allergies.Read more
In addition to the fact that the material itself is comfortable on your skin, active carbon filters have also been implemented here. Cleaning this mask, like most, is not an issue. First off, the filter is replaceable but you can also clean the entire mask to get the rid of all the dirt that has built up quite easily.
Some of the most common complaints about this model have been in regard to the size. For starters, the plastic over the nose does not conform very well and, secondly, the fit itself is small and tight. An additional strap would have helped with the overall design because slipping can be a minor issue from time to time.
There are no resistance settings for this model and it is really more suited for outdoor activities where you are looking to avoid allergies.
For the right circumstances, this can be a great option. If you are looking for the best option when it comes to simulating various altitudes, though, there are better ones.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Before anything else, you need to assess the materials that are utilized in any given model that you have interest in. The reason for this is not all models on the market will be designed with the same materials and they can differ quite a bit when it comes to their performance and long-lasting nature. For starters, you can find cheaper options on the market that are made of low-quality rubber but these are not the best choices. Taking a step up, you will also see some models implement nylon. This is a lightweight, stretchy material that is quite strong. It can also help you achieve an ideal fit which is why it is used. Of course, you also have latex models which offer great stability but if you have latex allergies, you will want to avoid these.
Above everything else, however, there are two materials that tend to stand above the rest. The first is neoprene which is actually a family of synthetic rubbers. Not only will this maintain its shape with great efficiency but it will also work optimally in virtually any type of weather. And then you have silicone which a plethora of top-end models utilize. Most specifically, look for medical-grade silicones as these are tested for biocompatibility and are rated to be used for medical applications.
Relatively speaking, most models on the market are not going to be too taxing when it is time to clean and wash them. For the most part, though, you should hand-wash them as the abusive nature of a washing machine can tear them up after too long. When doing so, you can probably get away with just using warm water and dishwashing soap. Really, the one characteristic (so to speak) that you can look for to make things a bit easier would be any model that can easily be disassembled. This is going to make things much easier when you need to wash your mask as it can allow you to clean each component separately.
When you take into consideration the concept or gimmick of an elevation training mask, it makes sense that you want to find a model that can seal properly on your face. The reason for this is you do not want air to escape while you are training. At the same time, the fit should not be so tight and so secure that it is literally painful. You need to find a perfect balance but this can be tricky because some models are offered in various sizes (typically small, medium and large) and others are one-size-fits-all models. While it is always recommended to see what other users have had to say about the fit, you also need to assess the strap design.
Depending on the model you get, it may either have a single strap or multiple straps. In regard to which option is superior, single-strap masks will make it harder to achieve an optimal fit. This is especially true if the strap is not adjustable. On the contrary, several dual-strap designs will implement Velcro closure systems that allow you to have better control for the achieved fit.
Speaking of these straps, one of the last things you want to deal with when you are working out with this type of a mask (as you are going to sweat) is for it to constantly slip down your face. This is enough to buy a new model as this inconvenience is one that many of you are not going to put up with (and rightfully so). How can a training mask combat this issue? Well, one of the ways is by implementing more than one strap (which was touched on earlier).
With a strap over your ears, it can help to stabilize the mask when you begin to sweat profusely. In addition, you can also look for additional features such as built-in grips and even sweat-wicking technology. At the end of the day, though, take some time to glance through user feedback to see what others have had to say. If numerous buyers have experienced pestering issues with slippage then you may want to pursue other options.
This section right here all comes down to the implemented resistance system.
The main feature to place all your focus on when you are buying a training mask is the resistance system. You see, the entire gimmick of this type of product is to simulate what breathing would be like at a certain altitude. Well, would you want that altitude to be fixed or would you want the versatility of being able to control it? Thankfully, most models on the market will offer adjustable simulated heights (or air resistance) and most of them will range between 2000 and 18000 feet. This sort of range is ideal if you have never used this type of product as it allows you to ease your way into it. Anywhere from 2000 to 5000 feet is not going to be too intense but if you start in the 10,000 range, it could be too much to handle right away.
However, you will only be able to simulate the altitudes that the mask allows. In other words, every model you buy will come with a fixed number of preprogrammed altitudes. Some models will come with 4, others with 16, and, rarely, you will see some climb to 24 or 32. Additionally, the dial or dials that will be used to change the resistance should be simple to use.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
Without question, the quality of this type of product can come down to the materials that have been utilized. You can say this for several consumer products, though, so it should not be too much of a surprise to you. Now, while most options will either be made out of silicone or neoprene (at least the top-end options) there are other materials that you will stumble upon in your search, as well.
Let’s just say that most athletes and users are not wearing these because of how comfortable they are. That is not the point but the reality is the achieved fit you receive from any given model needs to be correct. The mask should seal to your face to prevent any air from escaping. But, you need to be aware that some options will come in different sizes and others will be one-size-fits-all.
What you need to focus on here are the air resistance systems. Look, after a while, you will probably get tired and too accustomed to training at a specific simulated height. So, having the option to either raise or lessen that altitude is going to be ideal. Thankfully, most models on the market will come with multiple resistance levels and the more there are, the more versatile your experience will be.
Other Factors to Consider
It would not be fair to not warn you of potential risks when using an oxygen-restraining mask. First of all, if you suffer from any cardiovascular issues, asthma, or high blood pressure, you should not partake in this type of exercise. These masks limit the amount of oxygen that can reach your lungs and can put some people at high risk of cardiac arrest. Additionally, many masks come with a minimum weight limit that should not be ignored. Sometimes this weight limit is based purely on the overall fit, but it is also stated for overall safety.
The lack of oxygen causes an increase of red blood cells, making your blood thicker, and in turn making it more difficult for your heart to continually pump your blood throughout your body. As the body demands more oxygen, there is extra strain put on the heart to try and provide it. The overuse or improper use of these masks can also cause symptoms similar to altitude sickness. These symptoms include headache, dizziness, nausea, shortness of breath, or a rapid heart rate, to name a few.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: What are they used for?
These products are also commonly called an elevation mask, an altitude training mask, or a cardiorespiratory mask. The reason this question is important to analyze is the fact that this type of product is actually designed to make your life harder. When you simulate a certain altitude, it is going to be more difficult for you to breathe and exercise. That is the point as you are actually training your respiratory muscles, including the diaphragm, intercostals, and the musculature.
These masks are a great alternative to traveling to high altitude destinations. They have been proven to increase the overall strength, stamina, and power output. Then, the idea is that when you go back to a lower altitude (or take off the mask), even doing the same exercises and breathing normally, you will notice a big difference. At this point, the same routine should be easier for you. After a while training like this, you should see your stamina and endurance increase.
q: Is there a special cleaner available?
These masks tend to pick up a lot of dirt, oil, and grime quite rapidly. You should wash it frequently, depending on how often you wear it while exercising. As an example, if you exercise six days a week, you would be well off to wash it twice a week. Luckily, any of the common fabrics that make up these products dry quickly and the product will be dry and ready to go in just a few hours.
There are many different methods of washing these items. The easiest way is in a sink with dish soap and warm water. After you wash and rinse the mask, do not put it in the dryer or wring it out. Just lay it flat to dry. If you do not want to use dish soap and warm water, there are specialized cleaners that you can find on the market. In fact, there are actually cleaning sprays that will deodorize your mask and remove all the dirt and grime present on it. To find this cleaner, your best bet is to look online as it will probably not be carried in retail stores.
q: Can you sleep with them on?
Not only is the answer to this question a resounding yes but it may be believed that wearing a mask of this nature is better while you are sleeping than it would be while you exercise. It seems pretty farfetched to be true but when you think about the fact that some people spend long periods of time in low-oxygen environments, it begins to make sense that it could be beneficial for you to sleep in. So, go right on ahead but only simulate an altitude that your body can handle for such a period.
q: Are there any dangers involved?
If you checked out the safety hazards criterion in our Other Factors To Consider, we have already given you an introduction to the dark side of these masks. Due to the fact that training masks are restricting your breathing, it is easy to say that there are possible dangers involved. What you really need to do is ease into it. There is no reason to start off at the highest setting if you have never simulated or trained at higher altitudes before. Instead, start at the lowest setting and work your way up when your body becomes comfortable with the current simulated altitude. And, always give your body rest if you begin to feel lightheaded and winded.