Play the game of airsoft long enough and you will, without a doubt, experience goggle or mask fogging. Even with all the anti-fog wipes, solutions, sprays, and hoodoo rituals on the market, nothing seems to stop it entirely. That is, until you begin to look at the optimal solution to fogging – namely, getting fresh air into your mask or goggles. This can be done in passive or active methods. The passive systems are not very effective and usually rely on grilles or vents built into the mask or goggles to allow for airflow. For the airsoft player looking for the ultimate in anti-fogging tech, however, look no further than electric fans. Even better is a pair of goggles with an electric fan built into them, such as the Smith Optics Elite OTW Turbo Fan Goggles.
Using the same body/frame as their Outside-the-Wire goggles, the OTW Turbo Fan Goggles also have a built in fan unit with control/battery pack that attaches via a small plug. Right out of the box, you will find this control pack attached to the nylon headband. The goggles are very strong and durable, meeting MIL-DTL-43511D, ANSI Z87.1-2003, AND EN166 standards for protection. They are available in black and 499 tan colors and feature an included, on-headband dust protector for use when not being worn.
The set we are reviewing came with both clear and gray tinted lenses – each of which are very easy to install and remove. Of course, the reason why this pair of goggles has a high MSRP of $180 is its fan system. Embedded into the brow of the goggles is a small, two-speed, multi-bladed fan capable of moving a nice amount of air. Simply pull off the rubber cover on the control unit, insert two AAA batteries, then close it back up. With a click of the control button you can cycle through the low and high speeds as well as turn the fan off if not needed. The nice thing about this button is that it is large enough to use while wearing tactical gloves, so you can manipulate the fan speeds in the field without having to remove them from your hands.
I was able to play airsoft games throughout the afternoon and into the early evening over at Hollywood Sports Park in Bellflower, CA and experience no fogging to report. Additionally, the area around my eyes was kept much cooler than with regular goggles, and I didn’t sweat as much there thanks to the increased airflow. Shouldering my airsoft rifle, I had no issues getting a proper cheek weld and using my optics and was consistently impressed with how solid and protective the goggles felt.
The Smith Optics Elite Outside-the-Wire Turbo Fan Goggles is easily the best pair of goggles we have found yet for playing serious airsoft games. The fan keeps fog from coating your goggles and its low-decibel noise rating won’t distract you in the field. You also get all the protection provided by the base Smith Optics Elite Outside-the-Wire goggles, so you can rest easy in the fact that your eyes will be protected.