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Best Swim Goggles

Updated July 2018
Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

  • 6 Models Considered
  • 1 Experts Interviewed
  • 145 Consumers Consulted
  • Zero products received from manufacturers.

    We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

    Why trust BestReviews?
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.

    Shopping guide for best swim goggles

    Last Updated July 2018

    A good pair of goggles is essential for anyone who wants to swim at the public pool or in the ocean. Professional athletes, kids, and adults who just want to get in a low-impact swim workout need goggles to see their surroundings whether doing the crawl or the backstroke.

    Swim goggles can help you see clearly under and above water as you swim laps or play Marco Polo with your kids. With a pair of goggles, you don't need to rub water from your eyes when surfacing. Goggles also protect your peepers from contaminants and irritants like chlorine. In salt water, they prevent stinging of the eyes.

    Here at BestReviews, we looked at a number of different swim goggles to find the best options for both paddlers and pros. We researched various types and models to bring you the five product suggestions at the top of this page. We created the guide below to help you navigate the complicated world of swim goggles so you can pick the perfect pair for your triathlon, swim meet, or beach trip.

    Swim goggles are available in a wide variety of colors and styles. Choose a pair that makes you feel like a pro.

    Types of swim goggles

    There are various types of swim goggles available, each with its own specific purpose, benefits, and drawbacks.

    Racing/performance goggles

    These swim goggles have a smaller, more aerodynamic design, and the gaskets fit tightly around the eyes. Their secure fit makes them the best choice for situations where performance is paramount. The smaller design, however, may not be comfortable for leisurely swims or daily training.

    In this category, you'll also find Swedish-style goggles. They lack the traditional eye gasket, so they fit right around the eyes. They are great for reducing drag, so they’re a popular choice for competition purposes. They can also be adjusted in many different ways to fit various face shapes. However, they're not particularly durable. Notably, some Swedish-style goggles must be assembled before use.

    Looking for goggles for a competition or triathlon? Buy two pairs – one for competition and a more comfortable pair for everyday training.

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    Leisure goggles

    Goggles meant for recreational swimming, swim training, and other water sports feature a more comfortable fit than performance models. The gasket surrounding the eyepiece provides a seal that's gentle on the skin. They are usually larger than racing goggles, so they aren’t as effective at reducing drag.

    Mask goggles

    These goggles cover a larger portion of the face. Picture a snorkeling mask minus the snorkel. They provide strong suction, so they stay put on the face and are great at preventing leaks. Some swimmers find this type of goggle more comfortable, and they like the greater field of vision when swimming. A mask is not a great choice for competition, however.

    For leisurely open-water swimming, either at the lake or on vacation in the Caribbean, opt for mask-style goggles. You'll get a better view around you, making it easier to spot all those cool fish.

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    Prescription goggles

    You can purchase different types of swim goggles with a prescription, so this is not technically a separate category, but it's a type worth mentioning. If you wear glasses in your daily life, rest assured that there are swim goggles available that will help you see clearly while you swim.

    Children’s goggles

    Children's goggles are smaller in size than adult-specific ones, though some children may find adult goggles provide a better fit.

    FOR YOUR SAFETY

    A pair of swim goggles with a single strap is more likely to shift out of place. Two straps keep things ultra-secure.

    Swim goggle features to consider

    Here are some important features to consider as you shop for the right pair of swim goggles.

    Lens type and color

    There are a variety of lens types. Each is best suited to specific conditions.

    • Mirrored: This type of lens reduces glare and is best for sunny outdoor conditions.

    • Clear: These are best for providing high visibility indoors or on cloudy days outdoors.

    • Tinted: These provide mild sun protection and are appropriate for various lighting conditions.

    • Polarized: These provide maximum sun protection and are best for outdoors.

    • Transition: Also known as photochromic lenses, the tint of these lenses changes according to the light level, so they’re good for situations where the lighting changes randomly (e.g., open-water swimming in overcast conditions).

    Tinted goggle lenses come in a variety of colors, but some hues may be better suited to specific conditions. For example, purple-tinted lenses will provide the best visibility in an outdoor pool with a bright blue liner.

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    Anti-fog properties

    Some lenses are coated to keep them from fogging up and ruining your field of vision as you swim. This coating helps you see without having to stop and rinse out your goggles. The coating doesn't last forever, though. Even the highest-priced goggles don't have permanent anti-fog coatings. Proper care will ensure the coating lasts as long as possible.

    UV protection

    If you’re training in an outdoor pool or swimming in open water, opt for goggles that provide ultraviolet light (UV) protection from the sun. Tinted lenses sometimes do protect against UV rays, but for the highest level of sun protection, opt for polarized lenses.

    For triathlons in open water, excellent vision is essential. Look for goggles with curved side edges that allow you to use your peripheral vision.

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    Face shape

    Just because a type of swim goggles works for one person, doesn't mean it will fit your face shape correctly. Most eyepieces are oval while others are round. Your eye shape will determine which is right for you. Your nose width also plays a part in getting the right fit. Many goggles come with interchangeable or adjustable nose clips to ensure each swimmer can get the right fit.

    Gaskets

    You can choose swim goggles with or without gaskets. Gaskets help create a seal between your eyes and your goggles while offering a bit of protection and comfort for the skin around your eyes. Goggles without gaskets are usually made for racing.

    Gasket materials include silicone, foam, rubber, and neoprene. Silicone is the most durable. The soft feel of neoprene makes it the most comfortable.

    If you have long hair, it can be painful to adjust the strap of your goggles over your head. Training and racing in a swim cap will keep your hair from getting tangled in the strap. Many pools and competitions require swimmers to use caps, so it's a good idea to get used to it.

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    Fit

    • Seal

    A good seal around the eyes keeps water out of your goggles. Without a proper seal, you'll periodically have to remove your goggles to drain water. Your chosen goggles should stay put around your eyes even if you’re not using straps.

    • Strap

    A proper strap keeps your swim goggles snug and secure on your head, but don't rely on the straps for a good seal. Split straps offer better security.

    • Nose clip

    An adjustable or replaceable nose clip offers a better and more secure fit.

    CAUTION

    Goggles that fit right shouldn't leave visible red impressions around your eyes. Red marks usually mean your goggles are too tight.

    Caring for swim goggles

    Follow these tips to keep your goggles in good condition for training or fun summer dips in the pool.

    • Rinse goggles after each use. Give your goggles a good rinse in tap water to get rid of debris and chlorine residue.

    • Don't leave goggles in the sun. This can degrade the plastic and cause premature wear.

    • Dry goggles before packing them away. Storing moist goggles could promote mold growth.

    • Don't store goggles loose in your bag. The lenses may get scratched or warped.

    • Don’t rub the lenses with your fingers. Keep your fingers away from the lenses as much as possible to prevent scratches and help the anti-fog coating last longer. Excess rubbing could cause the coating to come off.

    EXPERT TIP

    Comfort is key. What good is a pair of goggles that you can’t wait to take off of your face after a single lap?


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    Swim goggle prices

    • Up to $20

    At this price, expect to find basic goggles and children's models. Swedish goggles also fall in this price range. Notably, while Swedish goggles are a great performance goggle, they aren't as durable as other options.

    • $20 to $50

    In this price range, you can find recreational or racing goggles with adjustable straps, nose clips, and anti-fog coating on the lenses.

    • $50 and Up

    In this range, you're looking at high-quality performance goggles, including those with polarized or transition lenses. Custom-made prescription goggles also fall within this highest price tier.

    The best swim goggles for you are those that fit your face. Don't be afraid to try on ladies’, men's, and kids’ goggles to find the perfect fit.

    FAQ

    Q. Water always gets into my goggles. What’s going on?

    A. It means your swim goggles aren't sealing properly on your face. This could be because you've been improperly storing them and they have bent out of shape. It may be because the gasket that helps create the seal has deteriorated due to chlorine exposure. You might be adjusting the strap too tightly, which can do the opposite of providing more suction. Or, it may simply be time to replace them.

    Q. Why do my goggles always fog up?

    A. It's possible they have no (or low-quality) anti-fog coating. If you've had them for a while, it's likely the coating has worn off. Even if you have brand-new goggles with a good anti-fog coating, excess condensation can still form and hamper your vision. Some companies sell spray-on anti-fog solutions that provide an extra bit of help in preventing cloudy lenses.

    Q. How often should I replace my goggles? How will I know it’s time for a replacement?

    A. Frequent swimmers who train in chlorinated water will probably go through two pairs of swim goggles a year. You'll know it's time to replace your goggles when the seal starts to leak or the lenses frequently fog up.

    Q. Do I need a special type of swim goggles for a triathlon?

    A. There's no such thing as triathlon-specific swim goggles, but the right combination of features makes a pair suitable for this kind of event. The type of lens you should choose depends on whether you'll be racing in open water or an indoor pool. Goggles for open-water swimming should provide excellent visibility and sun protection while minimizing glare. For indoor swimming, a clear lens might be better for visibility.

    In all racing situations, a secure fit is critical. It's especially important in cases where flip turns are necessary. Any competition swim goggles will do for a triathlon. Just pick the right lens tint, and make sure you have a good seal to prevent water from seeping in.

    The team that worked on this review
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      Bronwyn
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      Web Producer
    • Eliza
      Eliza
      Production Manager
    • Katherine
      Katherine
      Editor
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      Samantha
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      Steph
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