Last updated: 16/10/2022

How we pick our products

12Products analysed

47Hours spent

25Evaluated articles

99User reviews

Welcome to our big balaclava test 2022. Here we present all the balaclavas we have tested in detail. We have compiled detailed background information and added a summary of customer reviews on the web.

We would like to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the best balaclava for you.

You will also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. If available, we also offer interesting test videos. Furthermore, you will also find some important information on this page that you should definitely pay attention to if you want to buy a balaclava.




Summary

  • Balaclavas offer protection against cold, wind, snow and, in some cases, fire, depending on the material.
  • Basically, a distinction is made between half balaclavas and full-face balaclavas; furthermore, there are different cuts for full-face balaclavas.
  • Balaclavas are suitable for anyone who enjoys winter sports, alpine sports, motor sports or other outdoor activities. They offer the best protection against all weather conditions.

The best Balaclava: Our Picks

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a balaclava

What is a balaclava?

A balaclava is also called a balaclava. It is a face-enveloping hat that either only covers the eye area or covers the eye area and mouth.

A balaclava is especially practical for protecting the face from the cold during winter sports. (Source of image: pixabay.com / Free-Photos)

Balaclavas are produced in many different variations, be it with the different cut-outs already mentioned, or made of many different materials, all of which offer different properties.

We will describe the properties of these materials for you later in this article.

What are the benefits of a balaclava?

Balaclavas basically serve to protect you from the cold. However, in addition to this property, it also has hygienic reasons or other protective functions.

One hygienic reason for wearing a balaclava is under motorbike helmets, for example. Since it is much easier to get the sweat out of the washable balaclava than out of the helmet padding. Therefore, this feature is one of the many reasons for using balaclavas.

The protective function in particular is another feature that very often speaks in favour of a balaclava. In many sports or professions, the balaclava provides protection for the face.

Who is a balaclava suitable for?

Are you an ice diver, skier, motorcyclist, mountaineer or firefighter? Then the right balaclava could be just right for you.

In principle, a balaclava is suitable for everyone; its many different designs offer different features for everyone, which make balaclavas interesting for many people.

The balaclava is used in many different areas. Some important areas of use are the fire brigade, automotive sports, military special forces, motor sports and very many different sports.

Balaclavas are suitable for both children and adults.

How much does a balaclava cost?

A balaclava comes in many different designs and because of this you can buy balaclavas from 0,01 Euro up to about 90,00 €. The price depends on the material, the brand, the design and the quality of the balaclava.

What are the alternatives to a balaclava?

Balaclavas are the perfect protection for the face and neck, but there are also other alternatives to protect the neck area in particular.

In the following table, we have selected two alternatives for you and briefly described them.

Type Description
Multifunctional scarf Multifunctional scarves are uncomplicated and versatile. The fabric adapts perfectly to any head or neck shape and protects both the neck area and the face.
Neck warmer A neck warmer is especially interesting in motor sports, as it can keep out draughts very well. With a neck warmer, however, the face is completely exposed and therefore unprotected.

In addition to these alternatives, you can also help yourself out with headbands, bandanas or bonnets.

These offer a little protection from the cold and wind, although they only protect small areas, unlike balaclavas.

Decision: What types of balaclavas are there and which is the right one for you?

Basically, we distinguish between these types of balaclavas:

  • Half-face balaclavas
  • Full face balaclava

In the following, we explain the different types and their respective advantages and disadvantages. In this way, we want to help you find the balaclava that is best suited to you.

What are the characteristics of a half balaclava and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

A half balaclava is a balaclava that extends from the neck to just below the eyes. They provide protection for the neck, mouth and nose area, but the rest of the head remains unprotected.

Advantages
  • Protection from cold, snow and wind
  • Comfortable fit
  • Large viewing window
Disadvantages
  • Half of the head unprotected
  • No hygienic protection for helmet
  • Possibility of slipping

Half-face balaclavas are perfect for outdoor sports, such as skiing, snowboarding, hiking, mountaineering, etc.

What distinguishes a full face balaclava and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

A full-face balaclava basically covers the entire head. It comes in different cuts to ensure the right protection for everyone.

The following cut patterns of full-face balaclavas are common:

  • Balaclava with cut out mouth and eyes
  • Balaclava with cut out eyes
  • Balaclava with centre cut
  • Balaclava with cut out eyes and nose

We will describe and analyse these different balaclava cuts for you in detail later in this article.

Advantages
  • Protection of the entire head
  • Hygienic protection under helmets
  • Very warm
  • No slipping
Disadvantages
  • Masks without mouth opening unhygienic
  • Possibly limited field of vision
  • Less comfortable than half balaclava

Buying criteria: These are the factors you can use to compare and evaluate balaclavas

In the following, we will show you which criteria you can use to compare and evaluate balaclavas. This will make it easier for you to get an overview and decide on a suitable and effective model.

In summary, these are the following criteria:

  • Material
  • Size
  • Cut
  • Features
  • Colour

In the following, you can read about the respective criteria and find out why it makes sense for you to purchase a model based on the criteria or not.

Material

Balaclavas come in many different materials to ensure more properties for the different areas of use.

We have researched for you and summarised the materials and their properties in the following table.

Material properties
Cotton comfortable to wear, absorbs moisture, slightly wind permeable, hardly warming
Polypropylene good moisture absorption, insulating, good wearing comfort
Polyester transports moisture but does not absorb, best in combination with cotton
Coolmax Synthetic fibre made of Dragon and polyester, very comfortable to wear, good moisture transport, dries quickly
Gore Windstopper material with Windstopper mid-layer between textile layers, windproof, not waterproof but water-repellent, breathable
Sympatex Windmaster windproof, water-repellent, breathable
Neoprene very good insulation, no special wearing comfort, relatively thick

To find the right balaclava, it is important to think about the properties you need for the area of use.

Size

Due to the often very stretchy material of balaclavas, they are often offered in one size. If different sizes are offered, the supplier will usually provide information on the classification and measurement of the different sizes in the product description.

It is important to pay attention to the different size tables of the various suppliers, as the sizes from the different suppliers often vary greatly.

Cut

The cut of a balaclava is very important for the subsequent area of use, as the different cuts offer different protection, as do the materials. Each cut has different advantages and disadvantages, which you should be aware of for your later area of application. As mentioned above, there are balaclavas with the mouth and eyes cut out, balaclavas with the eyes cut out, balaclavas with a centre cut and balaclavas with the eyes and nose cut out.

Balaclavas with cut-out mouthand eyes primarily provide a very high level of protection against cold, wind and snow. The cut-out mouth contributes to this cut being by far the most hygienic. However, a cut-out mouth also means that the air is not warmed up by a fabric before inhalation either, thus compromising protection from the cold.

Balaclavas with cut-out eyes are particularly suitable for winter sports, as the few cut-outs mean that you are also well equipped for cold glacier areas. In contrast to the previous cut, it is even easier to breathe in here because the cold air is still warmed up a little by the fabric. This keeps you warmer and your teeth hurt less.

In contrast to the previously described masks, the storm mask with a middle cut only has a slightly larger hole in the area of the eyes. Due to the closed mouth area, hygiene is the weakest point here. Breathing causes moisture to get caught in the fabric and, in the worst case, can lead to illness. It is essential to wash the balaclava often and let it dry well to prevent these pathogens.

The balaclava with cut-out eyes and nose has, like the balaclava with centre cut, only one larger hole, which keeps the eyes and nose free. This makes this cut particularly suitable for alpine sports, as there is still enough space for ski or snowboard goggles due to the cut-out. The biggest disadvantage of this cut is that the nose is not covered, which can make it very cold.

Properties

Due to the different designs and materials, balaclavas offer different features, which we have summarised for you in the next list.

  • Cold protection
  • Hygiene
  • Identity protection
  • Fire protection

Probably the most common and best-known function of balaclavas is protection against the cold, which is why the masks are very popular in winter sports, outdoor sports and motor sports.

Did you know that balaclavas are also often misused for robberies?

Masks that cover the entire face are especially popular for robberies because the perpetrator remains undetected. This led to a shop in Berlin selling its balaclavas with a discreet notice: “For motorbikes only! Not for muggings. Thank you!”.

The hygiene factor plays a big role, especially in motorsports. Under the helmet, sweat can lead to very unhygienic problems and also diseases.

As it is very difficult to clean the helmet padding regularly, balaclavas offer the solution. Balaclavas trap sweat and are very easy to clean to keep the helmet hygienic for longer.

Balaclavas are mostly used to protect against the cold during outdoor sports. (Image source: pixabay.com / rolfvandewal)

For identity protection, balaclavas are often worn by members of police and military units. These balaclavas do not require protection against the cold and are therefore often made of very thin fabric.

Fire protection is a very important factor in the fire service, but also in motor sports. The balaclava, also called a flame bonnet in this field, is part of the respiratory protection equipment.

It basically serves to protect the skin from the effects of heat and fire, this is ensured by the fire-resistant fabric.

Colour

Balaclavas are available in many different colours, although in most cases it has no deeper meaning. The exception to this is camouflage in a wide variety of applications.

For camouflage, for example when hunting, balaclavas are used in shades of green, earth and mud. This offers protection against sighting, as one is very well adapted to nature. Probably the best-known pattern for camouflage is called camouflage and is also used alongside camouflage suits for balaclavas.

In the remaining cases, balaclavas are mostly just a matter of taste and are therefore available in every possible colour and also with very many different motifs.

Did you know that balaclavas also come in great animal designs?

There are several suppliers on the internet who print animal faces on their balaclavas. In combination with goggles, it then looks like a tiger, monkey, wolf and other animals are racing down the slopes.

Trivia: Facts worth knowing about balaclavas

How do I sew a balaclava?

Sewing a balaclava is possible for both advanced sewers and beginners.

To begin, you will need to choose one of the cuts described earlier in this article. Depending on your area of application, one of the patterns may be more suitable for you. Once you have the pattern, you will need the following:

  • Fabric
  • Fabric scissors
  • Sewing needle
  • Thread
  • Pins

Of course there are different ways to sew a balaclava, we have only listed the basic equipment for making it. If you have a sewing machine, it is even easier to sew the balaclava.

How do I crochet a balaclava?

If you prefer to crochet your balaclava instead of sewing it, you will need the following items:

  • Crochet hook
  • Wool

To make the making process easier for you, we have selected a video to help you.

Image source: 123rf.com / 101213163

Reviews