Spherical vs Cylindrical Snow Goggles: Which are Best?

Choosing the right type of goggles is super important for snowboarding and skiing. There are two main types of snow goggles which you’ll need to decide between: spherical and cylindrical.

In this article, I’ll be comparing these two types of snow goggles and their pros and cons so you can decide which option is best for you.

Cylindrical vs Spherical Snow Goggles

Cylindrical snow goggles lenses only curve horizontally whereas spherical goggles curve both horizontally and vertically to match the shape of the eye. Spherical goggles are less prone to glare and produce less distortion in the periphery view compared to cylindrical goggles which are less expensive.

Cylindrical Goggle LensesSpherical Goggle Lenses
Curve horizontallyCurve horizontally and vertically
Less surface areaMore surface area
More glareLess glare
Wider peripheral viewNarrower peripheral view
More distortion in the peripheral viewLess distortion in the peripheral view
Lower priceHigher price
Cylindrical vs spherical snow goggles

Spherical Goggles

Spherical goggles are curved horizontally and vertically which gives them a rounded shape.

This design aims to match the shape of the eyeball more closely compared to a cylindrical design. Hence, spherical goggles create less glare and distortion as they have a larger surface area. Spherical lenses don’t fog up as easily as they have a larger surface area. This is very useful for advanced skiers and snowboarders!

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Advantages of Spherical Goggles:

  • Less glare and distortion
  • Less prone to fogging

Advantages of Spherical Goggles:

  • More expensive
  • Narrower peripheral view

Cylindrical Goggles

Cylindrical goggles are curved horizontally but not vertically. This means that they curve from one side to the other to fit the face properly, but it does not curve from the bottom to the top like spherical goggles do.

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Since cylindrical ski goggles are flatter, they tend to product more glare and distortion compared to spherical goggles.

However, with cylindrical goggles you get a wider peripheral view. You can also get very wide sizes of cylindrical goggles whereas with spherical goggles the size is slightly more limited due to the curvature.

Another advantage of cylindrical goggles is that they are cheaper to produce and hence, cheaper to purchase so they can be a good option for beginners in particular.

Advantages of Cylindrical Goggles:

  • Wide peripheral view
  • Not very expensive

Advantages of Cylindrical Goggles:

  • More glare and distortion
  • Slightly more prone to fogging

How Much Do Different Types of Snow Goggles Cost?

So we know that spherical goggles are more expensive than cylindrical goggles, but how much should you expect to pay for a decent pair?

  • Spherical snow goggles typically cost between $50 and $250
  • Cylindrical snow goggles typically cost between $30 and $200

What are Toric Lenses?

Toric goggles offer a compromise between the cylindrical and spherical designs. Toric lenses have some degree of curvature in the vertical plane so they are not as flat as cylindrical lenses but not as curved much as spherical lenses.

This means that toric goggles give you a balance between a wide peripheral view and good optical clarity. The technology is fairly new and these types of lenses are growing in popularity in the skiing and snowboarding world.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Which are better, spherical or cylindrical goggles?

Spherical goggles are generally regarded as the best option compared to cylindrical goggles. This is because spherical goggles produce better optics because there is less glare and distortion in the peripheral view.

Are spherical goggles worth the money?

You can expect to pay at least $50 more for a pair of spherical or toric snow goggles compared to an equivalent pair of cylindrical ski goggles. For advanced skiers and snowboarders it is worth paying extra for spherical or toric goggles as the optics are improved. However, for beginners, a pair of good quality cylindrical goggles will be perfectly fine.


I have been a keen skier for a number of years, skiing in different locations around the world, and have a real passion for snow sports. My favourite skiing resort is in Banff, Canada!

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