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What do the different lens categories of ski- and snowboard goggles mean?

What do the different lens categories of ski- and snowboard goggles mean?

When you do winter sports, it is important to buy good ski/snowboard goggles. They protect your eyes from harmful UV rays and help you see better in both light and dark conditions. In this blog we will go over all different lens categories, what they mean, and which one you should use when.

When you do winter sports, it is important to buy good ski goggles. They protect your eyes from harmful UV rays and help you see better in both light and dark conditions. In addition, ski goggles protect your eyes against sharp winds and drifting snow. Next to that they should fit properly, it is important to pay attention to the category of the lenses. Below you can find the different categories.

Category 0
Ski goggles with lenses that fall into category 0 are suitable for days with extremely low light. Think, for example, of skiing at night or skiing during heavy snowfall. The lens can provide more contrast and depth. Usually, these lenses are only used by competition skiers.

Weather conditions: heavy snowfall, heavy cloud cover
Light transmittance: 80-100%
Lens color: clear or yellow

 

Category 1
Goggles that fall into category 1 have lenses that absorb almost no sunlight. They are therefore suitable for situations where there is little light, such as heavy clouds, fog or snowfall. Click here to find your category 1 goggles.

Weather conditions: snowfall, cloudy, fog
Light transmittance: 43-80%
Lens color: Light yellow or orange

 

Category 2
Ski goggles with lenses in category 2 are suitable for partly cloudy conditions. These lenses offer protection against weak sunlight. They are therefore very suitable if you often ski in forests or on the shadow side of a mountain. Click here to find your category 2 goggles.

Weather conditions: Slightly cloudy, shadow
Light transmittance: 18-43%
Lens color: Orange or red

 

Category 3
Ski goggles with category 3 lenses allow very little light through and are often pink or amber. Therefore, they are ideal on a sunny day. On such a day your eyes could get damaged from the suns UV, because a lot of light will be reflected by the snow. It is therefore important that your field of view is kept clear and that the sun is well blocked. Click here to find your category 3 goggles.

Weather conditions: Sunny
Light transmittance: 8-18%
Lens Color: Pink or Amber

 

Category 4
Ski goggles with lenses from category 4 are very suitable for extremely sunny days, high in the mountains, or when skiing on a glacier. These lenses are also ideal for people with sensitive eyes. Click here to find your category 4 goggles.

Weather conditions: Bright sun
Light transmittance: 3-8%
Lens color: Brown or black

 

So, when choosing goggles, it is important to know the conditions in which you will ski. If you are not going to ski in the dark, or even on days with heavy snowfall, categories 0 and 1 are definitely not interesting for you.

In general, you better have a ‘too high’ category than too low. Also if you have sensitive eyes, almost always go for category 3 or 4.

Many ski goggles belong to several categories. Often it is stated on the ski goggles how much light it lets through. This way you can see in which category it belongs and for which situations they are suitable.

 

What if you want to use your goggles for more than 1 condition?

Interchangeable glasses
If you are a fanatic winter sports enthusiast, then glasses with interchangeable lenses can offer a good solution. This way you can choose a lens that fits well depending on the weather. This way you always have good vision, and you don't have to take multiple glasses with you.

Photochromatic lenses
Another option are photochromatic lenses. These lenses can discolor and adapt to the weather conditions. This way you don't have to change ski goggles or lenses anymore and you have all categories in one ski goggle. So, the brighter the sun, the darker the lenses become and the less light, the lighter the lenses become. See here our photochromatic lenses.

 

Note! The color of the lens does not determine which category it falls into. Glasses with orange lenses can also fall into category 3. The category of ski goggles only says how much light passes through the lens. The color of the lens determines how the vision is and how much contrast the glasses offer. Ski goggles with pink lenses are the most all-round. These usually let less sun through than a yellow one, but also filter out some of the blue light.

 

Other lens features

Not only the category of the lens is important, but there are also a number of other features you should take into account. You can find the specification of each goggle on our website.

Cylindrical vs spherical
Cylindrical lenses can often be found with cheaper lenses and give you sufficient vision, but can distort the image more. A cylindrical lens has a curvature from left to right. A spherical lens has a curvature not only from left to right, but also from top to bottom. This will not distort your image.

Mirroring
Reflective glasses reflect the glare of the snow, so you will be less bothered by it.

Polarizing
Polarizing glasses filter the glare from the snow, so you will be less bothered by glare.

Ventilation
Ventilation holes give your face breathing room for necessary cooling. Condensation will also be less likely to form through the ventilation holes.

Double lens
These ski goggles have two lenses with a piece of air in between. This results in less condensation and a perfect view.

Antiphog
A lens with anti-fog has a layer that prevents condensation.

OTG
OTG stands for Over The Glasses. You can wear these ski goggles when you also wear regular glasses. Another solution for when you also wear glasses is a visor on your helmet.

 

The perfect match will save you a lot of irritation and give you a better performance. Good luck finding your ski or snowboard goggles match!

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