Best Face Saver Headgear – Review & Comparison

What’s the best Face Saver Headgear?

We’d say it’s the one that keeps you looking presentable at work the next day, without making you appear like atom ant in the ring during sparring.

Atom ant? The wide helmet? Ah, forget it.

Face Savers are in vogue. And for good reason.

Everyone from little kids to baby boomers are stepping into the ring for their dose of MMA-Inspired fitness. The least they can do is take enough protection to prevent black eyes and broken noses.

Face savers save their face. Ha!

Pardon us. Our humor sense has taken a pounding cause we were caught sparring with Pacman without wearing one of these.

Jokes apart, face Saver headgear not only offer protection from injuries, they also ensure that you can spar uninhibited.

But they come in all sorts of shapes, sizes and weights. Most of them will affect your visibility and weigh you down.

The ones below don’t.

Here’s our recommendation of the top 9 face saving headgear that are lightweight, offer the protection you seek and let you see what your sparring partner is up to.

comparison Of The Best Face Saver HeadGear

NAME

PRICE

OUR RATING

CHECK PRICE

Winning Headgear FG5000

$$$

Cleto Reyes Traditional Headgear

$$$

Venum Elite Iron Headgear

$$$

Ring to Cage Full Face Headgear

$$$

Fighting Sports No Contact Headgear

$$$$

Fairtex HG14

$$

TITLE Face Protector Training Headgear

$$

Rival Boxing Headgear-Guerrero FS3

$$

Ringside Deluxe Face Saver Boxing Headgear

$$


Winning Headgear FG5000  – The Best Face Saver Headgear in 2019

Noteworthy Features

  • Upgraded design
  • Good all round protection
  • Doesn’t block vision completely
  • Moldable face plate
best face saver headgear

Winning is a very popular Japanese made headgear brand, that’s used mainly by professional fighters.

The FG5000 is an upgrade to one of their earlier models that has since been discontinued. The upgraded version is 21% lighter and offers ample padding (most users barely feel the punches).

Most importantly, it doesn’t block your vision completely.

The FG5000 offers good, thick all-round protection. The nose bar is adjustable and there’s a pop-out extra layer of padding near the ears.

You can sort of press the metal plate inserts to mold it to fit faces of all sizes. Something that’s not normally seen on face savers. Go gentle with it though.

It features laces in place of Velcro straps on the back and on top of the head. On a positive note, it stays secure even when you are sweating after a couple of hours of practice.

The caveat is that you’ll need a partner to help you tighten the lace if it gets undone. Maybe a single Velcro straps in the back would have made it easier to secure. A small niggle though. Not a biggie.

The FG5000 is made of durable synthetic leather and is available in two sizes. Some fighters might be surprised that despite the price tag, it’s made of synthetic leather instead of real leather.

Well, it depends on how you look at things. As long as it does what it’s supposed to do, who cares what it’s made of?

Moreover, synthetic leather is easier to clean than real leather, which needs to be air dried after a sweaty session or two.

PROS

  • Brand used by professional fighters

  • Upgraded design
  • Good all round protection
  • Moldable face plate
  • 21% lighter than the earlier model
  • Synthetic leather

CONS

  • Lace instead of Velcro straps which makes it difficult to tighten by yourself
  • Pricier than most other brands

Verdict: Reliable protection during sparring is priceless. The Winning headgear will keep you safe and let you spar without bogging you down. It’s the brand of the pros. A premium quality product all the way. Enough said.


Cleto Reyes Traditional Headgear

Noteworthy Features

  • Budget-priced offering
  • Latex-foam padding
  • Velcro straps and adjustable chin strap
  • Latex-foam padding
best face saver headgear

The Cleto Reyes is undoubtedly more popular than the Winning FG5000. That’s because it’s a budget-priced headgear normally used in gyms and clubs.

It has a narrower design but there’s a thick layer of latex foam that offers good, 360-degree impact protection. It could have done with thicker padding near the ears though.  

You can’t have it all, can you?

Having said that, some fighters prefer a sleeker profile for their headgears and the Cleto Reyes offers just that.

The Reyes is lightweight and made from natural leather. We spoke to a couple of guys in the gym who said that it came with a very strong ‘leathery’ smell that took days of air drying to dissipate. We personally didn’t face that problem though. It smelled just like any other new headgear.

It has a hook and loop Velcro closure system on the rear and an adjustable chin strap that allows you to secure it firmly. Even if you sweat and the face saver moves a bit, you can easily readjust it yourself.

Adjusting the front metal bar on the Cleto Reyes isn’t as easy as it is on the Winning. If you have a round face, you will find the fit a tad uncomfortable.

Also, the Reyes weighs 1 pound and 5 ounces. That’s close to 500 grams. While that’s not ‘bog-your-head’ heavy, there are lighter weight options available for roughly the same price.

PROS

  • Well-known brand

  • Budget-priced offering
  • Real leather
  • Latex-foam padding
  • Sleek profile
  • Velcro straps and adjustable chin strap

CONS

  • Lacks the pop-out padding on the ears
  • Some users complained about a leather smell
  • Might be better suited for angular faces than round ones

Verdict: Some minor niggles apart, the Cleto Reyes is a very good face saver headgear. It protects your nose and face and is made from real leather, which at this price point is a premium feature. Looking for a reliable headgear without paying through your nose? This is one of the best options.


Venum Elite Iron Headgear

Noteworthy Features

  • Aggressive styling
  • Thick high density foam padding all round
  • Skintex leather construction
  • Velcro straps for easy adjustment
best face saver headgear

The Elite Iron Headgear is the mid-range offering from Venum and just like most of the other products from the brand, is a perfect combination of style and functioning.

It looks aggressive, especially in matte black, with the thick padded front bar and the overall rounded edges.

Wanted to intimidate your sparring partner even before you land a punch? This might help.

As evident from the look, the padding is top-notch. It’s high density foam and chances are that you won’t feel a thing land on it. We particularly love the all-enclosed ear padding with the protective strap running across. Much better than any other headgear at this price point.

The tradeoff is a slightly wider front bar that might obstruct your vision if you have a small, narrow face. It is available in a universal size only. So, you can adjust it to an extent to fit your face. But not completely.

The Elite is made of Skintex leather, a tested and proven synthetic leather from the brand. And it is handmade in Thailand.

Stitching and overall build quality is second to none. It features a Velcro-strap on the rear for quick, on-the-go fit adjustments. There’s lace on the top of the head and a Velcro chin strap. No complaints there.

The Venum Elite weighs a pound and five ounces. So it’s slightly heavier than some of the other face saver headgear in this list.

PROS

  • Aggressive styling

  • Skintex leather construction
  • Handmade in Thailand
  • Thick high density foam padding all round
  • Ear padding with a protective strap running across
  • Velcro straps for easy adjustment

CONS

  • May obstruct the vision for users with narrow faces
  • Weighs 1 pound and five ounces

Verdict: If you are a large, burlesque guy, then the Venum elite will be a snug fit. The pricing and the quality pit it against much higher priced headgears. For users with smaller faces, our #2 pick, the Cleto Reyes will be a better option.


​Ring to Cage Full Face Headgear – Best Padding

Noteworthy Features

  • Thick all-round padding
  • GelTech rubberized lining for impact protection
  • Moisture-absorbing nylon layer on the inside
  • Best Headgear for youth and beginners
best face saver headgear

Jeremy, a senior coach in the gym had just returned from an MMA tourney in Sydney and he couldn’t stop raving about this new brand of face saver headgear that he’d used.

After a quick tête-à-tête, we couldn’t wait to get our hands on the Ring to Cage Full Face Headgear.

It arrived three days later and as we unboxed it, the first reaction was that it’s a lot bigger than what it appears to be in the pictures.

Oh yes, this is one big brute of a headgear. It weighs 24 oz. and if you have a problem keeping your head steady during punches, this is gonna help you. A lot.

There’s a thick layer of foam that goes all round the head and it’s lined with a layer of GelTech foam, which is a rubberized foam used for impact protection.

On the inside it is lined with a moisture absorbing layer of nylon, which is excellent. Not only does it keep your skin cool, it also means that there will be fewer instances of the headgear shifting during those fast dodges.

The Ring to Cage full face headgear features velcro straps all around to secure it. While we loved the snug fit that it gives, the padding on the back hindered movement to an extent.

Also, the lower bar is so thick that we could barely see Jeremy’s feet. He’s 6’3 and he can land a punch. While we appreciate the protection, we’d have lived with more visibility.

PROS

  • Thick all-round padding

  • GelTech rubberized lining for impact protection
  • Moisture-absorbing nylon layer on the inside
  • Velcro straps to secure it
  • Synthetic leather construction

CONS

  • Bulkier than most others in this list
  • Weighs 24 oz.
  • Might affect visibility for smaller users

Verdict: There are some users who care a hoot for the added weight and width. The Ring to cage headgear is perfect for them. It offers the most superior protection that we’ve seen in budget-priced headgears


Fighting Sports No Contact Headgear

Noteworthy Features

  • Extra thick padding
  • Blend of foam and sponge
  • Full-grain leather construction on the inside and out
best face saver headgear

This one came highly recommended from the parent of 16-year-old boy who’d suffered a concussion in football a few years ago.

The boy had been able to resume boxing training and had not suffered a single headache since using this one. That testimony was gold.

In came the No Contact Headgear from Fighting Sports.

And we have to give it to them for protection. It’s a blend of sponge, high and low density foams and it is top notch. Goes all round, good protection in the back and on the ears.

But as expected, the extra padding comes at the cost of extra bulk. This will turn you into Atom Ant.

Having said that, it’s not as heavy as the RTC headgear. Weighs 1 pound and 6 ounces.

The faceplate is made of plastic which makes it easier to mold to fit faces of all shapes and sizes. But is it really better than a metal plate which is a standard in headgears at this price point?

Only time will tell.

Is made of authentic full-grain leather and is available in one size only

Another niggle that we found is that the inner lining is leather as well. Sweat and leather make for a bad, slippery combo.

You might find that this headgear moves a lot more than what you like. Use some head straps as a workaround and you should be fine.

Also, visibility tends to be a problem for shorter users due to the thickness of the padding.

PROS

  • Extra thick padding

  • Blend of foam and sponge
  • Full-grain leather construction on the inside and out
  • Weighs 1 pound and 6 ounces

CONS

  • Bulky profile
  • Available in one size only
  • Might hamper visibility and movement to an extent if you are short

Verdict: The Fighting Sports No Contact Headgear offers more protection than what you’ll ever need for sparring sessions. It does make your head appear twice the size that it is. And that’s our only gripe with it.


Fairtex HG14

Noteworthy Features

  • Extra thick padding
  • Blend of foam and sponge
  • Full-grain leather construction on the inside and out
best boxing face saver headgear

This one came highly recommended from the parent of 16-year-old boy who’d suffered a concussion in football a few years ago.

The boy had been able to resume boxing training and had not suffered a single headache since using this one. That testimony was gold.

In came the No Contact Headgear from Fighting Sports.

And we have to give it to them for protection. It’s a blend of sponge, high and low density foams and it is top notch. Goes all round, good protection in the back and on the ears.

But as expected, the extra padding comes at the cost of extra bulk. This will turn you into Atom Ant.

Having said that, it’s not as heavy as the RTC headgear. Weighs 1 pound and 6 ounces.

The faceplate is made of plastic which makes it easier to mold to fit faces of all shapes and sizes. But is it really better than a metal plate which is a standard in headgears at this price point?

Only time will tell.

Is made of authentic full-grain leather and is available in one size only

Another niggle that we found is that the inner lining is leather as well. Sweat and leather make for a bad, slippery combo.

You might find that this headgear moves a lot more than what you like. Use some head straps as a workaround and you should be fine.

Also, visibility tends to be a problem for shorter users due to the thickness of the padding.

PROS

  • Extra thick padding

  • Blend of foam and sponge
  • Full-grain leather construction on the inside and out
  • Weighs 1 pound and 6 ounces

CONS

  • Bulky profile
  • Available in one size only
  • Might hamper visibility and movement to an extent if you are short

Verdict: The Fighting Sports No Contact Headgear offers more protection than what you’ll ever need for sparring sessions. It does make your head appear twice the size that it is. And that’s our only gripe with it.


​TITLE Face Protector Training Headgear

Noteworthy Features

  • Thick leather shell with a molded finish
  • Ample padding
  • Inner suede lining absorbs sweat
best boxing headgear

This Face protector from Title is as basic as it can get. No bells and whistles.

Just a simple face saver headgear that does the job.

It has a thick outer leather shell lined with multiple layers of foam with a molded finish. It can take a pounding and keep the bruises at bay.

Wearing the headgear can be slightly tedious. It has a hook and loop attachment at the rear and a lace-tie on top of the head. The chin strap is poorly made and if heavy users will find it a challenge to secure firmly.

Like most other headgear with rounded finish, it does increase the bulk of your head and with it, the likelihood of your opponent landing a punch at you. But so do 9 out of 10 headgears in the market. So, we won’t call that a deal breaker.

What we liked even better was the inner suede lining. It does an amazing job of absorbing sweat and dries just as quickly.

PROS

  • Basic design

  • Thick leather shell with a molded finish
  • Ample padding
  • Inner suede lining absorbs sweat
  • Lace-tie on top and hook and loop closure on the rear

CONS

  • Increases the bulk of your head
  • Poorly made chin strap

Verdict: To be honest, the Title Face Protector looks a tad outdated when you pit it against newer designs. But if you are old school and prefer the barebones design, then go for it by all means. It does a fair job of protecting your face.  


Rival Boxing Headgear-Guerrero FS3 – The Facesaver headgear with best visibility

Noteworthy Features

  • Wide front opening gives you the best visibility
  • Latex and rubitex padding
  • Good quality leather outer shell
best boxing headgear

The Guerrero FS3 is Rival’s Mexican-styled headgear that offers the best visibility among all the face savers that we’ve tried so far.

It has a wide front opening and you should have no problems getting an uninterrupted view of your opponent the whole time.

The FS3 has a reasonably thick layer of latex and Rubitex, which is a rubberized foam and it is enclosed in an outer layer of high quality leather. The padding is fairly good all around, including the ears.

The inner layer is PU, which may not be the most absorbent material. But it’s easier to clean. You don’t need to air dry it. And there won’t be odor issues either.

To top it off, it is extremely lightweight courtesy the plastic frame insert in the padding. You can press the frame inwards or outwards to mold it to the shape of your face.

Almost makes it sound like the best face saver headgear in the market. But there are a few tiny quibbles that we have with it.

Firstly, we aren’t big fans of plastic inserts in headgear. We feel that metal inserts are more durable despite being heavier.

Secondly, the PU leather layer might shift. Almost every face saver in this list will shift a little during padding. It’s kind of annoying to go to your partner and ask him to secure the strap every time.

PROS

  • Wide front opening gives you the best visibility

  • Latex and rubitex padding
  • Good quality leather outer shell
  • PU inner layer that’s easy to clean

CONS

  • No Velcro straps
  • Plastic insert is not as durable as stainless steel inserts
  • The PU layer makes it prone to shifting due to sweat

Verdict: If you hate sparring half-blind then the Rival Guerrero FS3 is just what you need. It offers a full-range of vision without compromising on the padding. Despite the plastic insert, it is said to last well with minimum care. Hard to go wrong with this.  


​Ringside Deluxe Face Saver Boxing Headgear

Noteworthy Features

  • Wide front opening gives you the best visibility
  • Latex and rubitex padding
  • Good quality leather outer shell
best face saver boxing headgear

Our last pick is this budget-priced offering from Ringside.

This is their Deluxe model, a full-face headgear that offers good protection from direct punches.

It is available in two-sizes and three colors and has a sleek profile, that doesn’t make your head stand out like a sore thumb in the ring.

The caveat is that it’s not as heavily padded as some of the other models in this list of best face saver headgear are.

The padding is decent. There’s a quarter of an inch of space in between your nose and the bar which ensures that the inside of the guard doesn’t touch you during punches.

There are no pressure points elsewhere either. Just not the extra plush padding that most headgears offer these days.

One thing that we noticed is that it’s a little tight near the temples. We tried both sizes mind you and the tightness around the temple was consistent.

Some guys who’ve been using it said that it eases up after a few days of use.

There’s an inner moisture wicker lining that keeps the headgear dry and your head cool. Thankfully, even after three days of use, it didn’t stink.

The manufacturer claims that it offers a full vision range. But we found it partially obstructed due to the face bar like most other headgear.

PROS

  • Lightweight headgear with full face protection

  • Sleek profile
  • Decent all-round padding
  • Moisture absorbing wicker lining inside
  • Keeps your head cool even during long sparring sessions

CONS

  • A little tight around the temples
  • Partially blocks the vision

Verdict: The Ringside Deluxe Face saver headgear is one of the best options at this price point. It is light, stays dry on the inside and offers good protection for your nose and mouth. Ringside has now included a set of instructions that show how to ease the head guard if you find it too tight near the temples. 


The Face Saver Headgear Buying Guide

Most manufacturers these days go over-the-top trying to promote their face savers as the best in the biz.

Full range of vision, inner moisture lining, all these are add-on features that might make the product more appealing. But, at the crux of it, is the kind of protection that it offers.

As long as it keeps your face, nose and lips protected from punches, most buyers will be willing to overlook tiny niggles.

At least, that’s what we’ve been told.

Here are some of the factors to consider before you narrow down on one.

Padding

What kind of padding does the headgear offer? Is it foam? Is there an impact-absorbing layer of gel added for good measure?

Is there 360-degree protection or is the thick padding limited to the front of the headgear?

Ideally, you’d want a headgear with uniform padding all around. Many brands do not have the thick padding on the ears and in the rear.

Also, the thicker the padding, the heavier the headgear will be. A thick face bar will also block your vision to an extent (Despite what the manufacturer would like you to believe)

Not to mention that a headgear with a bulkier profile will be easier to hit.

Sadly, this is a tradeoff that you’ll have to live with.

Stability

When you make quick maneuvers and take punches, even the most securely fastened headgear will shift.

Add sweat to the equation and suddenly, it becomes an annoyance during sparring.

Look for headgears with an inner fabric layer. It will absorb moisture.

It might still shift, but not as much as headgears with an inner PU layer.

Once again, the tradeoff is that headgears with fabric will need to be dried after every sparring session.

Pressure points

When cheaply made headgear take repeated blows, the padding starts to get compressed causing pressure points on the inside.

This can start off as a minor niggle but quickly transform into a major hindrance that affects your performance.

Read reviews. Look for word of mouth recommendations. Buy products from trusted brands only.

The Inner frame

Some users prefer the added stability and protection that comes with a stainless steel frame insert in the headgear. But headgear with metallic inserts usually weigh above 20 oz., which might affect maneuverability.

Others pick headgears with plastic or nylon frame inserts for this reason. It’s light weight.

Also, plastic can be equally durable and more moldable than stainless steel.

Pick one that works for you.

Material

While authentic leather sounds more appealing, it’s not the be-all, end-all.

Thai made brands like Venum have pioneered synthetic leather technology to an extent that their products rival those made of real leather in terms of durability. 

To top it off they are cheaper and easier to maintain.

Don’t get swayed purely by the material. Take other factors into consideration before you buy.

Price

The old YGWYPF axiom holds true. Face Saver headgear look like mirror replicas of each other. At first glance, you’d hardly be able to notice the difference between a high quality $500 headgear and a cheap $50 one.

But they are poles apart when it comes to comfort, protection and longevity.

A Winning face saver headgear will easily last for years without its quality diminishing. A cheaper one on the other hand will start to deteriorate with just months of use.

Think about what you seek and make an informed decision.


FAQ About Face Saving Headgear

All said and done, there’s an ongoing debate about sparring with headgears vs. sparring without it.

And to be honest, it’s a fair debate.

Why wear a bulky, heavy helmet when you are not in combat? It’s just practice after all.

Right? Let’s find out.

Why You Need to Wear Face saving Headgear?

Because practice can hurt.

A punch gone wrong during can even cause a serious injury to your nose or even your eyes.

If you are employed, then picture yourself walking into office with a black eye or a heavily bandaged nose.

The first rule of Fight Club is: You do not talk about Fight Club.

Does Headgear Prevent Concussions? 

We don’t know. Experts are divided over this.

It’s highly unlikely that your sparring partner will land concussion-causing punches on your head.

It may or it may not prevent a concussion. But the extra padding will surely absorb some of the impact of those heavy punches on the head.

Moreover, headgear is mainly used for protection to the face.

What are some popular Brands of Headgear? 

The market is flooded with cheaply made products. We highly recommend that you stick to trusted and reputed brands like these.

  • Winning: Winning is a premium boxing gear brand with an elite lineup of boxing gear. Their products are handmade in Japan and are considered to be the best that money can buy. Typically used by pros.

  • Venum: Good quality products handmade in Thailand. Usually made of synthetic leather, their products offer good aesthetics, reasonably good quality and a very affordable price tag. Perfect for beginners, intermediate users and hobbyists.

  • Cleto Reyes: Mexican brand with a good range of products to choose from in various price brackets. Often used by professionals. Great quality. Attractive designs.

  • Fairtex: One of the oldest, award winning brands in the world. Authentic Thai made products. Known for their attractive pricing.

  • Title: US-made products. Reasonably good quality. But cannot match the others in terms of brand presence and popularity.


Our Last Thoughts on Face Saver Headgear

That’s it folks. We hope that this article helps you narrow down on the best face saving headgear in 2019.

To sum it up, our #1 pick is the Winnings FG5000. It has such a well-rounded profile.

Whereas if you seek maximum protection, then there’s no better choice than the Ring To Face Headgear.

The Rival Guerrero FS3 offers the maximum visibility with its wide open frame.

Choose wisely and box safe.

Recommended Reading:

The Best Boxing Headgear

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