The Schutt XV and Champion P2xx are the budget-busters of their class. Hardshell, compact, and using advanced foam jackets to achieve equitable protection with minimal bulk. The Schutt is better ventilated, and is using the more advanced foam (called D3O), but comes with a wretched Y-yoke harness (hence why you need this mod inspired by some guy named MadMax; or, wait for or locate the Adams XV version), and is one-size fits most (13” tall), but does include an attachable 4” D3O extension. The Champion is available in three different torso lengths (P200 = 17”, P210 = 15”, P220 = 13”), and the harness, while simple and basic, is easily replaceable with a Flex -style harness (ULFH RayFlex, All-Star DeltaFlex, Force3 NewFlex).
In regards to the masks, the Diamond iX3 family is top-notch. Diamond went all-in on aluminum, which is a tremendous benefit and value to amateur-level umpires. Only recently has Wilson wised up to this and is offering their iconic DynaLite planform in an aluminum version. Aluminum doesn’t bend, unless there is constant load applied to it in an unplanned direction. In the masks, the welds are more likely to break (pop) under a tremendous or sudden impact than for the bars to bend. Why is this advantageous to Wilson and Diamond? Because a bent mask is a customer service / warranty return issue, whether it be steel or titanium (which both do bend, albeit from differing load forces). And of course, aluminum is cheaper than titanium but just as light.
Within the Diamond iX3 family, though, the only differences between the DFM-iX3, DFM-UMP, and DFM-UMP-BL are cosmetic – the frames are all the same. A semi-gloss paint job was applied to the DFM-iX3, while the BL version gets a matte black or clear anodized finish. The BL is the only one that has even remotely useable pads, as they are twice the volume (thickness) of the pathetic pads on the original iX3 and basic UMP. If, however, you are already considering advanced pads (and you should), such as Team Wendy’s or Wilson MemoryFoams, you can save yourself the premium price tag of the BL and get a “lesser” model and switch out the pads. Or, if this explanation just prompts you to snatch up a Wilson DynaLite Aluminum with MemoryFoam pads, go for it.