Ultimate Review of The Best Ski Goggles in 2020

A good day on snow starts with the right winter gear.

Of course, the choice of gear will depend largely on the sport.

For skiing, a ski, pole, and boots are the bare essentials. You’ll also need to pick the right attire to keep you warm, and this includes mitts, ski pants & jackets, a helmet, and neck gaiter.

But rarely do we see skiers giving much preference to ski goggles.

Does that mean they’re not a necessity for skiing?

Far from it, in fact, the choice of a ski goggle can either make or break your entire skiing experience.

Why?

Ski goggles play a vital role in protecting your eyes from the soreness and irritation from extended exposure to wind, snowflakes, and blinding UV rays.

More importantly, the high-end ski goggles have integrated technologies to help you achieve more clarity, depth, and contrast, meaning it’s possible to see beyond normal capabilities. This way, you can identify obstacles, including the dips and piste easier, so it’s easier to pick the perfect line even when speeding.

To help you find the best ski goggles, we’ve scoured the internet and come up with a list of the best ski goggles. We’ve also whittled a comprehensive ski goggle buying guide to help with the selection.

Table of Contents

Quick Comparison Table!

Smith 4D Mag

4.8

4.8/5
Anon M4 Toric

4.6

4.6/5
Smith I/O Mag

4.5

4.5/5
Dragon X2

4.3

4.3/5
Oakley Line Miner Prizm

4.0

4/5

The Best Ski Goggles For The Money

The Best Ski Goggles For The Money

#1 Smith 4D Mag- EDITOR'S CHOICE

4.7/5
4.2/5
4.8/5

Smith 4D Mag was released late 2019, and it builds upon the popular Smith’s I/O ski goggle. It’s a step-up to the original model, outclassing the I/O in every department.

However, the greatest benefit of the 4D Mag is the rounded bottom, designed to increase the downward visibility.

Plus, it comes with a host of exciting features, including a double lens to keep your vision fog-free and ChromaPop spherical lenses to give your eyes better image clarity and contrast.

Features and Benefits

Build Quality

Smith 4D Mag is built with durability in mind, and you shouldn’t have any concerns about integrity, even in the darndest conditions.

The lens, sporting the carbonic-X construction, is well made, and it’s unlikely it will pick up any scratches or damages through a full season use.

On the other hand, the more flexible nature of the 4D Mag construction means the 4D Mag is right at home, even when crammed into your backpacking ski pack.

You’ll also love the sturdy Responsive Fit Frame, which holds up pretty well as it doesn’t put up with breakages or show signs of wear even on occasional drops and knocks.

Lens Quality

The lens quality and performance is yet another department; the 4D Mag sets itself apart from the rest of the market.

Through Smith’s proprietary ChromaPop lens technology, 4d Mag will help you see detail, making it easier to identify the perfect skiing line, free of obstacles.

Another awesome 4 D Mag lens technology is the TLT (Tapered Lens Technology), which corrects image distortion and results in true optical clarity, meaning what you see is what you get.

But that’s not enough!

One of the 4D Mag goggles’ noticeable features is a curved lens around the bottom of the frame. The hard-fought-for look allows you to see more of the world, particularly straight down and vertical.

Also known as the Birds Eye Vision, the rounded bottom enhances your peripheral view, meaning it’s now noticeably easier to access your jacket’s chest pocket, verify your pockets are zipped, or even adjust the sternum buckle on your pack.

Also, the benefits of a curved bottom, the 4D Mag’s spherical lens, increases your overall visual acuity, meaning it’s easier to discern the shapes and details of things you see.

Comfort

As you would rightly assume, ski goggles at this price point and performance level deliver in all metrics, including comfort.

Smith 4D Mag offers a happy medium, and users were generally happy with the overall fit.

The Responsive Fit frame design allows the frame to adjust and flex, conforming to your facial anatomy, devoid of hot spots, and pressure points.

Smith doesn’t skimp on padding either, with the triple-layer, 3-Layer DriWix Face Foam offering a nice cushioning, and a fantastic way to wick moisture and sweat.

The final comfort creature is the Ultra-Wide Silicone Backed Strap, which offers a solid connection without creating pressure points.

Ventilation and Breathability

Ventilation on the Smith 4D Mag is accomplished through various means.

Like many other goggles, Smith 4D Mag primarily uses vents to promote ventilation, with a thin layer of AirEvac foam keeping the moisture and snow away.

Smith also uses a proprietary Fog-X treatment, consisting of a hydrophobic coating to repel water. However, unlike other brands that simply use an anti-fog coating, Smith etched the treatment into the lens, meaning it won’t wear off easily.

Pros

Cons

#2 Anon M4 Toric - Ideal for Users with Large Faces

4.6/5
4.3/5
4.6/5

Our runners up pick, the Anon M4 Toric, quickly rose to the top of our ranking, impressing us in every way with the high metrics.

The M4 Toric is Anon’s flagship Magna-Tech goggles, with a proprietary magnetic lens change system, which we feel is by far the easiest and most convenient system out there.

In our opinion, though, the pair’s greatest selling point is the larger fit. Though it offers a comfortable fit for all types and sizes of face, it easily accommodates users with larger faces.

Features and Benefits

Build Quality

We expect a high degree of quality at this price point, and the Anon M4 delivers in spades.

I’m not particularly diligent about stowing my goggle, so my M4 is either stuffed haphazardly into the helmet or even my ski pack.

But despite the abuse, the M4 shows little, if any signs of wear even after seasons of consistent use.

And when it comes to aesthetics, the M4 doesn’t fail as it comes with a pretty modern look and a clean style. While it lacks the Smith’s completely “frameless” look, they’re candy to the eye and will have everyone giving you a second look.

This is not to mention the M4 is designed to work seamlessly with any Anon’s helmet, not only from a technical specification but also color lineup.

Lens Quality

The Anon M4 comes with a pair of toric lenses, a sun-lens and low-lens, so you’ve a wide range of VLT to cover pretty much any condition you find yourself in.

When it comes to optical clarity, the toric lenses, curved vertically and horizontally, mimic the shape of your eye. With these lenses, you get a great field of view with minimal distortion and without the traditional spherical glass’s bulbous shape.

Like all premium goggle brands, Anon has its take on optics, and they choose to use SONAR lenses by Zeiss. The lens technology simply goes beyond tint and mirrored finishes; optical filters keep the gnarly rays out and let the good rays allow you to perceive obstacles with relative ease.

Additionally, the technology offers the ultimate contrast when bombing the slopes, so you get a heightened snow contrast to pick the perfect line even when speeding.

Comfort

Comfort-wise, the M4 has plenty of features working in its favor and probably the most comfortable option in the market.

The frame is nicely contoured and relatively large, a perfect fit for skiers with larger faces. Interestingly, users with medium faces also find M4 comfortable and easy to use. It’s also pliable, creating a comfortable and snug fit against the face.

On the other hand, triple-layer foam offers sufficient cushioning, soft against the skin, and doesn’t cause any rubbing, chafing, or pressure points.

Finally, the nice wide strap with two beads of silicone helps to keep the M4 in place. The straps are also adjustable, so you can easily tailor the fit depending on your head’s size.

Ventilation and Breathability

When skinning through the windy storms, there’re many instances when you need proper ventilation, and the M4 doesn’t fail in this department.

The open-cell foam across the goggle promotes more ventilation while never feeling drafty, so you can say goodbye to fogging.

And that’s not all.

The lenses are treated with an anti-fog treatment, the Integral Clarity Technology (ICT), which reduces moisture build-up on the lens, meaning you rarely have to wipe the outer lens with your gloves to clear the blurriness.

Ease of Changing Lenses

The “Magna-Tech,” the magnetic lens system works superbly and is by far the most user-friendly lens changing system.

It holds the lenses perfectly, and more importantly, it’s so easy to use that you could change it even while on the fly.

Pros

Cons

#3 Smith I/O Mag - Best Bang for Your Buck

4.4/5
4.5/5
4.5/5

The Smith I/O Mag was recently released for the 2018-19 season, replacing the popular I/O7 goggle.

It’s part of the I/0 series, boasting high-end models such as the I/OS for smaller faces, I/OX for larger faces. The Smith I/O Mag offers more of a medium fit.

Like any other Smith product, Smith I/O carries the Smith line of goggles’ quality and performance tradition.

It’s a value purchase, and while not exactly the least expensive on our list, it costs considerably less while still retaining the “price” and a coveted brand name.

But is the Smith I/O Mag the right ski goggle for you?

Features and Benefits

Build Quality

Smith I/O Mag, like most of the performance-oriented ski goggles on our list, is built with durability in mind.

The overall build quality is rugged and can take any punishment without breaking down.

Smith, I/O Mag will take on the different weather conditions and emerge out unscathed with no damage to speak of. The face foam and the air vents maintain their integrity, while the straps maintain their elasticity.

When it comes to the lens’ integrity, the folks at Smith claim the carbonic-x material offers the highest level of resistance against scratch and impact.

Aesthetically-speaking, the Smith I/O Mag is one good-looking gear, and its style is sure to please many skiers across the board.

Lens Performance

As with the Smith 4D Mag, Smith I/O Mag features two spherical Chromapop carbonic-x lenses.

The lenses are integrated with TLT technology, which helps to match the eye’s curvature allowing you to see more detail and color beyond normal capabilities. This way, it’s easier for you to discern the obstacles on your skiing path, regardless of the weather conditions.

It becomes easier to pick out details like bumps and crud with the goggle, incredibly well both on and off-piste.

Comfort

Assuming the medium fit works well for you, I/O Mag is a delight to wear.

The triple-layered foam offers a soft and plush contact, while the integrated DriWix Technology with wicking properties helps to pull moisture away from your face.

Additionally, the goggles have a good shape, easily compatible and comfortable when used with most ski helmets.

Ventilation and Breathability

With 5X anti-fog treatment and Fog-X hydrophilic etched surface, you can say goodbye to fogging.

For the better part of your skiing, the I/O Mag remains clear, and you’ll rarely need to wipe it with your glove for better vision.

Ease of Changing Lenses

The “Mag” on the I/O Mag stands magnetic, referring to the lens attachment used on this goggle.

It’s a user-friendly attachment system, allowing changing the lenses with the least effort, even when on the fly.

Pros

Cons

#4 Dragon X2 - Best Under $200

4.3/5
4.5/5
4.3/5

Dragon isn’t as popular as the Smith or Anon, but they make some of the best eyewear in the market.

If anything, the brand was among the first manufacturers to come up with the innovative frameless goggle design.

But aesthetics aren’t the only selling point for the Dragon X2.

This eyewear is reliable, and its visibility is unmatched. We also love the effortless operation, with a few goggles rivaling the Swiftlock Lens Change System.

Features and Benefits

Build Quality

The durability of the Dragon X2 is quite decent. It’s not the best in the market but will effectively hold out in moderate conditions.

When handling the goggles, we recommend exercising some due diligence because the injection-molded spherical, polycarbonate lens is likely to scratch more easily than some of its competitors.

Lens Shape and Quality

The Dragon X2 ships with two pairs of Lumalens lenses cater to your visibility needs in any conditions. So, whether you’re skiing in the bright sunny days or shadowy, overcast days, the Dragon X2 has you covered.

But that’s not all!

The Lumalens technology optimizes color vividness, contrast, and depth so you can easily decipher the bumps and slopes ahead. With the Dragon X2, the dips and any other obstacles stand out more clearly, meaning you’re less likely to trip, even at high speeds.

Comfort

The Dragon X2, like most of the ski goggles on our list, is comfortable and a delight.

The triple-layer foam is soft on your skin and doesn’t cause any rubbing or chaffing. Meanwhile, the plush hypoallergenic fleece lining has anti-bacterial properties, removing the bacteria and wicking away the sweat.

Ventilation

The armored frame ventilation with unidirectional flow offers just the right amount of airflow, eliminates fogginess, so you’ll always have access to a clear view regardless of the conditions.

Further, the lens comes with Dragon’s “super anti-fog” coating, eliminating the need to wipe the lens to clear the blurriness frequently.

Ease of Changing Lenses

Dragon X2’ Swiftlock system integrates into the frame, offering a quick and painless way to change the lenses.

Though it’s a non-magnetic option, it comes close to matching the ease of use offered by the magnetic lens change system.

Pros

Cons

#5 Oakley Line Miner Prizm - Budget Option

4.2/5
4.6/5
4/5

Oakley is a reputable brand, making some of the best eyewear in just about any activity.

The brand also has a reputation for carrying an obnoxious price tag on their products, but that’s not the case with the Oakley Miner Prizm.

This ski goggle is an inexpensive option, and despite carrying the budget tag, it is among the most practical options.

Of course, with the low price, expect some compromises, but are sufficient to make you look another way?

Features and Benefits

Quality Build

We expected some compromises on the quality build, but to our surprise, the Lime Miner Prizm is as sturdy as it gets.

This option will easily take on the rugged mountain conditions and even occasional dings and falls without compromising its integrity.

Lens Quality

Lens quality doesn’t fail either, and though a cylindrical option, you would be hard-pressed to tell the difference with the spherical options.

The injection-molded lenses offer greater clarity and a distortion-free experience, so it’s easy for you to identify the dips and piste with relative ease even when on the move.

Our only gripe with the goggle is it only features a single lens, meaning the anti-fogging performance isn’t the best.

Comfort

Regarding comfort, the Oakley Line Miner yet takes inspiration from the premium goggle playbook.

It uses the same triple-layered foam, which offers plush comfort while at the same time providing ample cushioning and moisture-wicking properties.

Ventilation

Oakley Miner might not compete with the Smith or Anon, but it’s not a bottom feeder in it either.

It is fairly a warm goggle, and we find it best suited for resort riding in the dryer, cooler conditions.

Nevertheless, you would be hard-pressed to find Oakley Miner’s ventilation, especially at this price point.

Ease of Changing Lenses

This is probably the only aspect the Oakley falls short in.

The changing mechanism is troublesome at the least and will take your time to get it right.

Pros

Cons

Best Ski Goggle Buying Guide

Best Ski Goggle Buying Guide

When it comes to picking a ski goggle that dials in your game, you’ve got a lot to choose from.

Fortunately, we’ve compiled a detailed ski goggle buying guide to help with the selection;

Optics Technology

Every year, brands are rolling out new and better technology to sharpen and protect your vision while skiing.

Some of the optics technologies that you should be on the lookout for include:

  • ChromaPop

ChromaPop is a proprietary technology specifically offered by Smith Optics.

The technology employs lenses to filter out the narrowband light wavelength, eliminating color crossover that can be misinterpreted by the eye.

In a nutshell, the technology makes the color look more vivid and sharp.

  • Prizm

Prizm is an Oakley technology resembling the functionality of ChromaPop.

Here, the lenses improve the overall optical clarity and enjoyment of color.

  • Mirrored Lenses

Mirrored lenses do a great job of reflecting light, meaning less light comes into the goggle.

They’re ideal for use during the sunny winter days.

However, the technology struggles on overcast or dark days because they block so much light blurring the overall visibility.

  • Polarized

The polarized lenses work to block light traveling in certain orientations, meaning they eliminate or diminish light reflecting off surfaces.

This translates to less glare on the snow, water, or any other shiny surfaces.

  • Photochromic

Photochromic is the pinnacle of ski goggle lens technology.

These lenses have an auto-darkening feature, meaning they react to the level of sunlight. For instance, when outdoors, they darken slowly to adjust to the bright sunlight. And on the dark indoor, they eventually turn clear or brighter for greater visibility.

Lens Shape: Cylindrical/ Spherical

The two popular types of lens shape for ski goggles are cylindrical and spherical.

The Cylindrical lens wraps around your head in a single direction, bending from left to right to fit the curvature of your face.

On the other hand, the Spherical lens wraps from side to side and top to bottom and is characterized by a slight curve in all directions like a big bubble.

They offer superior optical clarity because they receive light coming from all directions without wrapping the image.

Fit and Sizing

The ideal type of helmet should offer a comfortable fit.

Usually, ski goggles don’t have a minimum or maximum circumference, so you need to read reviews or order based on user experiences.

Again, most modern-day ski goggles are made to fit helmets, meaning they’ve grown larger with straps to accommodate. Some goggles have such large straps that it’s impossible to strap them independently without a helmet.

Visible Light Transmission (VLT)

VLT isn’t different than it sounds.

Every ski goggle has a VLT percentage, and it denotes the amount of light the lens lets through- the higher the rating, the higher the amount of light.

Here’s a rough estimate of the idleness of the VLT rating on a ski goggle:

  • 10-20% perfect for the sunny days
  • 21-60% perfect for the overcast and partly cloudy days
  • 61-90 perfect for the stormy days

Ventilation and Fogging

Ventilation and fogging are huge problems with ski goggles, but the good news is their several remedies.

You can choose a goggle with dual lenses to resist ventilation. Dual lenses trap a layer of air between the two panes of the lenses.

Alternatively, you can choose to go with chemical coating, ideally, a fog-resistant coating, to minimize fogging.

Comfort

Comfort is key when skiing, and having a goggle with comfort foam padding will make the entire skiing experience delightful.

The greater the layers of padding, the more comfortable your goggle is, but ensure it doesn’t come at the expense of size or portability.

Interchangeable Lenses

Having a goggle with interchangeable lenses allows you to release and replace a goggle lens on the fly quickly.

It’s a beneficial feature allowing you to keep two or multiple types of lenses at hand at all times to adapt to the changing weather conditions.

Over the Glasses (OTG) Goggles

OTG goggles are made to fit over the glasses and ideal for those who rely on glasses.

The goggle accommodates the glasses beneath, giving you the convenience of the ski goggle’s regular glass and practicality.

Wrap Up: Our Choice

Wrap Up Our Choice

It’s tough for a ski goggle to stand out from the crowd, but the Smith 4D Mag won over our hearts.

Smith 4D Mag carries many fantastic features, but notably, the unique rounded bottom increases the overall field of vision at the goggle’s bottom.

While this feature alone is cool, it doesn’t necessarily make the Smith 4D Mag our automatic choice.

Other features that probably cement the Smith 4D Mag as a top recommendation include fantastic fog resistance, spherical ChromaPop polarized lenses, durability, and all that in a stylish and attractive package.

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