Whether you’re more of a beach person or simply on a budget, cheap ski goggles can be exactly what you need for your annual trip to the mountains. Obviously, a high-end pair will give a better experience (and last longer), but there are plenty of options under the $20 mark that can work in a pinch and keep wind, sun and snow out of your eyes.
What’s the difference between expensive and inexpensive goggles?
With some goggles reaching into the $200 dollar range, you might wonder what exactly sets them apart from more affordable models. While some goggle features do cost more to produce– like more advanced lenses– much of the high price tag can come down to name brand value. Characteristics like triple-layer face foam and interchangeable lenses are nice additions, but you’ll need to consider if it’s worth the added costs. Here are some general characteristics found in cheap and expensive ski goggles:
Typical Cheap Goggles:
• Single, unpolarized lens
• Single layer face foam
• Basic anti-fog lens coating
• Simple elastic strap
• Typically polarized
• Interchangeable lenses
• Double layer of quality face foam
• Durable anti-fog lens coating
• Quick-release buckle
What should I look for in cheap goggles?
The most important factor when looking at budget goggles is airflow and vent design. Fog can turn any goggle into a literal blindfold, and without the fancy lens coatings found on higher-end goggles, airflow is your best friend in keeping your eyesight clear.
Unlike the “usual” low-end snow goggles, the following models all feature well-designed ventilation that also keep snow and ice from entering into the goggle cavity. All of them also sport double-lenses and double (sometimes triple) layer foam, bringing incredible value that rival the ski goggles four times their price.
These come in at the top of the list due to their double-lens (great for fighting fog) comfortable fit, AND being able to fit over eyeglasses. The elastic strap is long enough to fit over a helmet, and comes with a carrying case to prevent from off-season lens scratches. For cheap snow goggles, these seem anything but cheap.
Bolle is one of the bigger names in the snow goggle industry, and they have many models to choose from. For under $20, the classic Bolle Mojo goggles are a safe bet for years of use, also featuring a double-layer lens like more expensive counterparts. The lens tint on the Mojos are pretty light, so these would be best for cloudy days.
Spherical goggles like this AKAI goggle give a more optically-accurate view of the world, preventing distortion when looking down-slope. These were surprisingly effective at fighting fog all day, and the face foam was thick and comfortable, with enough ventilation to keep our face from sweating. While some goggles might seem a little too large for folks, these are a comfortable medium size for both youth and adults.
If you like the big, spherical look commonly seen in snowboard goggles, these Travers goggles are a terrific low-cost alternative. They’re perfect as a backup pair of goggles for serious riders, or as a primary pair of cheap goggles for those who may not get to the snow more than a couple times a year. The airflow/ventilation on these was sufficient, but we like forward-facing vents to catch cool air as you move down the hill.
The clarity of these Wodison goggles was on point, and we liked the forward-facing lens vents at the top. They’re a little larger (like most big snowboard goggles), but felt comfortable and well-built. If you’re looking for cheap snowboard goggles to hit the slopes, these come in a few color options and will serve you well on a normal resort day.