Updated November 2021
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Buying guide for best elevation training masks

If you’re an athlete trying to improve your competitive edge, and you’ve tried every training routine under the sun but still haven’t boosted your performance as much as you’d like, it may be time to invest in an elevation training mask.

An elevation training mask is a face mask that replicates the lower oxygen levels experienced at higher elevations by restricting airflow to the user. That means your lungs are required to work harder to take in the same amount of oxygen that you would at the altitude at which you normally work out. Over time, your body is able to utilize oxygen more efficiently and your respiratory muscles, including the diaphragm, are strengthened to improve your overall fitness performance.

To choose the right elevation training mask, you need to figure out the best material, fit, resistance levels, and other features so it’s as easy and effective to use as possible.

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Most elevation training masks are unisex so they can comfortably fit both men and women.

Key considerations

Materials and thickness

Because an elevation training mask should fit snugly on your face, the materials that it’s made of can determine how comfortable and effective it is. Elevation training masks are made of a variety of materials that can help the mask last and stay in place on your face.

  • Rubber is often used in more affordable elevation training masks, but some cheaply made masks use low-quality rubber. Quality rubber masks can stay in place and hold up well to regular use, though they can be uncomfortable in warm weather.

  • Nylon is a lightweight, stretchy material that can provide an ideal fit for an elevation training mask. It’s still fairly durable and works well in nearly any weather.

  • Latex is a commonly used material in elevation training masks because it is extremely durable and doesn’t slip on the skin. However, if you have a latex allergy, using a mask made with this material can be dangerous.

  • Neoprene is a flexible, durable material for an elevation training mask. It maintains its shape in any condition, stays in place on the skin, and works well in nearly any kind of weather.

  • Silicone is an excellent material for an elevation training mask, so many high-quality models use it. It’s durable, doesn’t slip, and feels comfortable against the skin. It’s also heat-resistant so the mask won’t lose its shape in hot conditions. Silicone can shrink when wet, though, so you must be careful to dry it thoroughly after cleaning.

No matter what materials you choose, pay attention to the thickness. Thick masks are often more comfortable, but they can be fairly heavy, making them more likely to slip when you’re working out. A thick elevation training mask is usually able to offer more resistance levels, and many users find a thick model is easier to adjust.

Thin elevation training masks have a lighter feel, but that doesn’t usually equate to greater comfort because there’s not as much cushioning. A thin mask typically doesn’t provide as many resistance levels either, but they are usually more affordable.


An elevation training mask must have a snug, secure fit to create a seal around your face that prevents air from escaping while you’re training. Most masks are available in at least three sizes: small, medium, and large. Manufacturers usually supply a sizing chart to help you determine which size is best for your particular face.


Resistance levels

Elevation training masks have valves that allow you to adjust the mask’s oxygen resistance levels. The settings are typically labeled with the different altitude levels that they’re trying to simulate and range from 2,000 to 18,000 feet. Higher settings provide greater airflow resistance to really take your workout to the next level.

Low altitude settings typically range from 2,000 to 5,000 feet and don’t activate the respiratory muscles or improve the way your body utilizes oxygen, but these lower levels will allow a new user to get used to working out with a mask. Medium altitude settings usually range from 5,000 to 12,000 feet and provide better results than low settings. High altitude settings generally range from 12,000 to 18,000 feet and provide the best workout for your respiratory muscles and boost your oxygen utilization.

Elevation training masks usually have either 4, 8, or 16 resistance or altitude levels, though some masks offer as many as 24. The more settings that a mask offers, the better you’ll be able to customize your workout.

Strap design

Elevation training masks have straps that hold the mask on the face. Some masks have a single strap, while others have two.

Single-strap masks are typically more affordable but don’t necessarily offer the best fit. That’s because they usually aren’t adjustable so the mask may not be as snug as you need. A single-strap mask may be more likely to slip during a workout.

A two-strap elevation training mask can provide a better fit, though they’re usually heavier. Many two-strap masks have Velcro closures, which allows you to adjust how snugly the mask sits on your face to make sure you get the best fit.

Ease of cleaning

Because an elevation training mask can get sweaty, it’s important to choose a model that isn’t difficult to clean. Opt for a mask that comes apart easily so you can remove the sweat and dirt from all of its nooks and crannies. Most masks must be hand washed, but they can usually be cleaned with warm water and mild dishwashing soap.

Best elevation training mask prices

Elevation training masks vary in price based mainly on the materials used and the number of resistance levels they offer.

Inexpensive: The most affordable elevation training masks are usually made of rubber, nylon, and/or latex. They typically offer four resistance levels or less and range from $14 to $26.

Mid-range: In this range, elevation training masks are usually made of nylon, latex, neoprene, and/or silicone. They usually offer four to eight resistance levels and cost between $26 and $45.

Expensive: The most expensive elevation training masks are typically made of nylon, latex, neoprene, and/or silicone. They usually offer eight to 24 resistance levels and range from $45 to $79.


  • Before you start training with an elevation training mask, consult your doctor to make sure that it won’t negatively affect your health.

  • Use an elevation training mask for low-exertion activities rather than high-exertion workouts. A mask can work well for biking, running, and other cardio exercises, but you shouldn’t wear one for weight training.

  • Clean your elevation training mask after every workout. It can get sweaty easily, so bacteria can grow on it if you don’t wash it thoroughly.

A bald person in a blue t-shirt uses exercise equipment while wearing an elevation training mask.
If you select an elevation training mask with latex components and find that your face is red and/or itchy after use, you may have a latex allergy. Discontinue using the mask and find a replacement model that’s latex-free.


Q. Are elevation training masks safe to use?
If you’re in good health and don’t suffer from any respiratory issues, it should be perfectly safe to use a mask. Pay attention to how you feel while wearing the mask during a workout, though — if you begin to get dizzy or lightheaded, take the mask off immediately. For your next workout, try a lower resistance level to see if that helps.

Q. How do I know what resistance level to use on an elevation training mask?
Even if you’re physically fit, it can take some time to get used to training with an elevation training mask. If you’re new to working out with a mask, it’s always best to start with a lower resistance level. If you have experience with a training mask, though, you probably have a better sense of what level to use.

Q. Can an elevation training mask help me lose weight?
 Exercise is obviously a key to effective weight loss, but you won’t necessarily get any additional weight-loss benefit out of a workout with a mask than you would from exercising without one.

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