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Best Scuba Diving Mask Reviews – Editor’s Choices for 2018


The Top 10 Scuba Diving Masks for 2018

Having your own scuba diving mask is in our opinion essential. While you certainly can rent one, you will more often than not have to find out that they don’t fit or leak. This can put a big damper on your dive excursion.

It makes a lot of sense to get your own mask. It will fit comfortably and you know it won’t leak because you take care of it yourself. In case you need prescription lenses in your mask you won’t have a choice anyway but to buy your own.

Below you’ll find the best 10 scuba diving masks for 2018. There’s not a single best mask that outshines all others. Each has its strengths and weaknesses and we try to highlight this for you.

There’s a number of factors you should consider before buying a scuba mask. These factors include:

  • Single, Dual or Multiple Lenses
  • Frame or Frameless
  • Adjustments through straps and buckles
  • Mask skirt
  • Overall Fit

Name


Type

Scubapro Synergy2 Trufit

Scubapro Synergy2 Trufit

Dual or Single

Mares i3 Liquidskin

Mares i3 Liquidskin

Multiple

Atomic Aquatics Venom

Atomic Aquatics Venom

Single

Mares X-VU LiquidSkin

Mares X-VU LiquidSkin

Dual

ScubaPro Spectra Trufit

ScubaPro Spectra Trufit

Single

Cressi F1

Cressi F1

Single

Aqua Lung Impression

Aqua Lung Impression

Dual

Cressi Big Eyes Evolution

Cressi Big Eyes Evolution

Dual

Octomask

Octomask

Dual or Single

Tusa M1001 Freedom HD

Tusa M1001 Freedom HD

Single

Let's jump right into the detailed reviews for each mask. At the end of this article you can also find our Scuba Dive Mask Buyers Guide for further information about what you should consider when looking for a diving mask.

The 10 Best Scuba Masks in 2018

#1 - Scubapro Synergy2 Trufit – Best for the Regular Diver

Scubapro Synergy2 Trufit

Scubapro is one of the most recognized brands in diving. Their gear is outstanding and reasonably priced.

The Synergy2 Trufit is no exception. It offers two high-quality silicone skirts. The inner skirt is soft and provides an exceptional fit and seal against the skin. The outer, more rigid skirt is thicker and provides the support and the rigidity needed around the mask frame.

The Synergy Trufit is a low-volume mask that offers an outstanding field of view. The buckles attach to flexible tabs on the skirt allowing for better adjustments and less pressure points. The buckles and strap system received praise from many divers. The buckles and attachment points are designed to fold flat so you need less space in your luggage when travelling.

The mask comes as a dual lens or single lens design. You can get it with clear or mirrored glasses. While the mirrored glass look is certainly cooler and can help with reflections, do not forget that it might be harder to see your eyes in the case of an emergency.

The tempered glass is designed to provide exceptional clarity and features high light transmission. It is specifically designed to not have any color distortion which results in ultra-clear visibility under water.


Ideal for

Scuba enthusiasts that regularly dive.

Lens

Single and Dual Lens models are available

Price

$$


Best Features

  • Superb fit
  • Ultra-clear glass lenses

What Could Have Been Better

  • Mirrored glasses might make it hard to see your eyes in case of emergencies

Summary:

The Scubapro Synergy2 Trufit is an outstanding mask. It's one of the most comfortable masks available. Pricing is average, yet the quality justifies the price point. A great mask overall for a diver that regularly has a chance to dive.

#2 - Mares i3 Liquidskin – Best for Clear Visibility

Mares i3 Liquidskin

The Mares i3 Liquidskin is a panoramic mask. It features three different lenses where you have a single front lens and then one lens each on the left and right. This dramatically improves peripheral vision compared to other masks.

The skirt consists of two different types of silicone. The area around the frame is firmer to add stability. The skirt that touches your face is made of softer silicone which provides a perfect fit and prevents leakage. In addition Mares employs the Tri-Comfort Technology which is a softer silicone around the area of the forehead and nose for even more comfort.

The buckles attach to the skirt and not the frame. This allows for a more comfortable fit due to the reduced pressure of the frame against the face.​

The tempered glass is clear and the side glasses greatly improve visibility. If you use the mask for snorkeling or simply want the larger view then make sure to pick a color with clear material instead of the black one. This will additionally enhance the visibility up and down.​



Ideal for

Divers that want/need to have a huge field of view

Lens

Three lenses overall

Price

$$


Best Features

  • Panoramic views
  • Comfortable wear

What Could Have Been Better

  • Divers have reported that buckles can break

Summary:

The Mares i3 is a mask with a superbly large field of view. The two windows on the sides allow for a panoramic view of the sealife and seascape underneath and besides you. A great mask for diving and snorkeling in clear visibility.

#3 - Atomic Aquatics Venom – Best for the Semiprofessional

Atomic Aquatics Venom

The Atomic Aquatics Venom Mask is one of the most expensive and possibly one of the best scuba masks you can lay your eyes on. It’s a unique mix of a mask that has a sub-frame and one that is frameless. There is an internal frame that acts very much like a sub-frame. It is molded directly beneath the surface of the skirt. This provides to provide rigidity yet features a reasonably low profile of a frameless mask.

The silicone used for the skirt is nicknamed ‘Gummi Bear’ silicone. It’s super flexible and adjusts to the contours of your skin. Many men that have mustaches or beards swear on this mask as it is leakage free even in those cases. Similar to the Scubapro Trufit the skirt consists of two different silicones. A rigid variant around the frame and a super-soft one where it touches your skin.

The straps attach to buckles that need to be squeezed for attachment. This makes them easy to use. The buckles are mounted onto the skirt providing superior adjustment capabilities with increased comfort and fit. They are soft-mounted on the skirt allowing them to be folded flat when you pack them.

Other high end scuba masks use ultra-clear glass to avoid color distortion under water. The Venom goes one step further. It uses Superwhite glass from the German glass manufacturer Schott. This allows even more light to penetrate providing extraordinary vision under water. It’s probably the best glasses you can find in any dive mask to date.

Additionally, the glass features an anti-reflective coating (ARC). This allows even more light into the mask and reduces glare and reflection. This technology can only be found on Atomic Aquatics masks. The outcome is a dramatically increased transmission of light into the mask compared to many other masks on the market.


Ideal for

The most high-end mask there is...

Lens

Single Lens

Price

$$$


Best Features

  • Excellent fit and comfort
  • Clearest glass available for outstanding visibility

What Could Have Been Better

  • The price. The most expensive mask of all in this list.

Summary:

There's no denying it. The Atomic Aquatics Venom is the most expensive mask in our best of list. However, it is also the best mask, period. The glass is clearer than clear and it's a pleasure to wear. If you dive often and for long times then this is the mask for you.

#4 - Mares X-VU LiquidSkin – Best Allround Mask

Mares X-VU LiquidSkin

The X-VU is the first mask with two lenses by Mares featuring the LiquidSkin technology. LiquidSkin practically describes a skirt consisting of two different silicones. A stiffer and more rigid silicone around the frame to provide for the stability required of a mask. The second part is a soft silicone that molds to your face providing great comfort and a tight seal.

The Tri-Comfort Technology featured by Mares masks provides an additional softer silicone layer around the forehead and nose. This makes the mask overall more comfortable to wear and relieves pressure from these specific areas on your face.

The buckles and straps are easy to use and allow for a wide range of adjustments. The buckles mount to the skirt which provides a tighter fit with less pressure on your face. This mounting also allows for a lower profile and volume of the mask.

The overall mask design provides a large field of vision. If you choose a mask with clear silicone instead of black you increase the visibility even more. The mask provides an easy to squeeze nose well that allows to equalize pressure.


Ideal for

Great all-around mask for the recreational diver.

Lens

Dual Lenses

Price

$$


Best Features

  • Very comfortable to wear
  • Large field of view

What Could Have Been Better

  • Straps and buckles could be of slightly higher quality and more sturdy.

Summary:

The Mares X-VU LiquidSkin is a solid mask for a good price. The LiquidSkin in combination with the Tri-Comfort technology make this one of the most comfortable to wear masks.

#5 - ScubaPro Spectra Trufit - Best mid-range Mask

ScubaPro Spectra Trufit

​The Scubapro Spectra uses the same Trufit technology as can also be found on many other models. The skirt consists of two different variants of silicone. A stiffer one around the frame to add support and stability and a softer silicone to provide a tight seal on your face. This provides a tighter fit with less chance of leakage.

The skirt is designed with contoured textured ribs which adjust to nearly any size and shape of face. This practically guarantees a superb fit for any shape of head.

The easy to adjust swivel buckle system is mounted on the skirt for a tighter fit and more comfortable wear. This results in a low-profile and low-volume mask that is easy to travel with. The strap adjustment swivels are even large enough to allow you to

It is a mask with two lenses made from ultra-clear glass. The design offers superb field of view specifically when you look down. The teardrop design of the lenses allows for great visibility to reefs and other sights underneath you.

This is overall one of the best diving masks you can buy. Not as expensive as some other models yet reliable with highest quality materials and build.


Ideal for

Recreational divers that dive regularly in a variety of conditions

Lens

Dual Lenses

Price

$$


Best Features

  • High quality build and components
  • Great visibility through ultra-clear glasses

What Could Have Been Better

  • Mask is a little small when you have a large head.

Summary:

The Scubapro Spectra features Trufit which makes for a very comfortable fit. It's a great mask for divers that regularly and want a high-quality item. It might be a little too small if you have a large head. The fit can become uncomfortable and you might be better off with other masks.

#6 - Cressi F1 – Best for Beginners

Cressi F1

The Cressi F1 Frameless Mask is truly one of the best masks available. It’s very affordable yet offers good quality as you would expect from a mask built by Cressi. It’s a single lens design and the glass provides exceptional clarity under water.

The F1 has a high-grade silicone skirt which has a double feathered edge for a tight fit to your face. The skirt is directly bonded to the single tempered glass lens. Being a frameless mask the Cressi F1 is a low internal volume mask that’s easy to handle. It also folds flat for easy storage and travel.

The skirt is made of flexible silicone and the mask provides a tight fit with your face. The nose pocket can easily be accessed even with gloves on your hands. It’s designed to allow for ear equalization with one hand.

The quick-adjust strap buckles are directly molded into the skirt. This allows for a more comfortable fit and less pressure on your face. The straps also fit tighter around your head which improves the tightness of the fit and reduces the possibility of leaks.


Ideal for

Great and affordable mask for beginners

Lens

Single Lens

Price

$


Best Features

  • Great quality for the price
  • Large field of view

What Could Have Been Better

  • Too tight against the face for some.
  • Buckles and straps can break

Summary:

The Cressi F1 is an easy to use mask that offers great quality and features for the price. It's one of the most-sold scuba masks available and is perfect for beginners and recreational divers. You might look at some other masks if you dive a lot and have grown out of the beginning stages of diving.

#7 - Aqua Lung Impression – Best Affordable Mask

Aqua Lung Impression

The Aqua Lung Impression is another highly rated mask. It is offers latest technology in its design and manufacturing. Where other masks are molded and snapped together in different stages, the Impression’s Lens, Frame and Skirt are molded together in one single step. This ensures a leak-free seal between all the parts.

This method also allowed to design the mask with the lowest volume possible. This allows to place the lenses closer to the face which helps to maximize the field of vision. It also reduces the buoyancy and it is easier to clear.

The mask sports two lenses which optimize visibility under water. The combination of the tempered glass with the closeness of them to the eye dramatically improves your ability to see clearly under water.

The skirt is made out of silicone and designed with double feathered edges. Together with the wide split strap it results in an extremely tight fit with the best level of leak avoidance. The straps connect at the skirt which allows for a more comfortable and tighter fit with less pressure.

Aqua Lung uses their Advanced Fit Technology (AFT) which uses different silicones and textures around the skirt edge. This allows the skirt to reach farther to the back and create a larger area where it fits onto the skin. The increased contact surface results in a more comfortable fit with less pressure.

The nose pocket is designed to be accessible with one hand. This allows for ear equalization even with thick gloves.


Ideal for

Solid mask for any dive situation

Lens

Dual Lenses

Price

$$


Best Features

  • Great fit with Advanced Fit Technology
  • Extremely low volume mask

What Could Have Been Better

  • Mask could be a little hard to adjust and fit comfortably for large heads.

Summary:

The Aqua Lung Impression is a great overall mask. It's priced reasonably and offers a great value. The fit of the mask is great but it might be a little small for large heads. Otherwise, you can't go wrong with this mask.

#8 - Cressi Big Eyes Evolution – Best for Underwater Sightseeing

Cressi Big Eyes Evolution

The Cressi Big Eyes Evolution is exactly what the name says. It’s a mask with quite large lenses allowing great visibility under water. The inverted teardrop shape of the lenses allows for a large field of view. In combination with the crystal clear glass it allows the maximum amount of light to penetrate.

In relation to your face the lens of the mask is inclined. The result is that the lens is closer to your face and eyes. This in turn increases the field of view at the bottom which lets you see more sealife underneath you.

The mask is made from a specific hypoallergenic soft silicone. This material is providing a superb fit and is very comfortable. Cressi calls this material ‘High Seal’. The skirt is specifically designed to fit your face and in combination of the soft silicone will not leave any marks on your face even after long use.

The buckles are mounted not directly onto the skirt but onto an elastic element on the vertical plane. This it can be bent sideways up to 180 degrees. This way it reduces the pressure on the face and frame and allows for a much tighter fit. The buckle has full range of motion and allows for easy adjustment. For travel and to store you can fold the mask flat as it has a frameless design.

The skirt is designed with a double feathered edge that fits tight to the skin and prevents leakage. The nose pocket is designed to be handled with one hand. Even with gloves you can get ear equalization easily with the use of one hand.

Cressi designed the mask so that the lenses can be replaced with vision correction lenses. These can be ordered separately. It is easy to replace the existing lenses yourself.


Ideal for

Underwater sightseeing

Lens

Dual Lenses

Price

$


Best Features

  • Large field of view
  • Can be fitted with prescription lenses

What Could Have Been Better

  • Fogs easily due to relatively large build

Summary:

The Cressi Big Eyes Evolution is a great mask for diving and snorkeling in clear water. The large lenses allow for a lot of light to penetrate and increate the field of view. All in all a great mask for underwater sightseeing!

#9 - Octomask – Best for Underwater Video

Octomask

The Octomask is a special mask as it comes with a mount for a GoPro camera. You can shoot incredible videos while you dive without the need to hold a camera in your hands.

The mask itself is a solidly built diving mask. One would be somewhat skeptical assuming that the only thing good about this mask is the built-in mount but that’s far from the truth.

The mask has tempered glass lenses and a low volume design. It comes in two designs, either with a single lens or with dual lenses. Both variants offer a wide field of view.

The skirt is made out of soft silicone and provides a tight fit. It also is quite comfortable to wear and offers a good seal.

The low volume design results in a close and snug fit. It also allows for easy clearing and reduces buoyancy.

The skirt fits tight and the straps and buckles attach to the skirt. The straps are easily adjusted and you will get a tight fit between the mask and your face.

The mount for the GoPro fits all different models including the Hero 3 and 4 models as well as smaller Session cameras. There’s a few things to consider when you’re diving with a GoPro mounted to your mask.

First, you want to stay as horizontal as possible. Otherwise, the bubbles will go in front of the camera and screw up your video.

A very simple mistake is also to think that you have the camera running but it is not on. Check it yourself before putting the mask on and then have somebody else double-check it before you go in the water! Nothing worse than expecting a great video from your dive and the camera isn’t switched on…

The Octomask is a great mask if you intend to shoot video. Otherwise, there are better masks for diving but there’s no mask better when you want to shoot a video while having your hands free.

You can also check out the model with the single lens by clicking here.​


Ideal for

Any diver wanting to shoot video with a GoPro camera

Lens

Single or Dual Lenses models are available

Price

$


Best Features

  • Good quality and good fit
  • Built-in mount for GoPro camera

What Could Have Been Better

  • Some complaints about non-sufficient seal can be found.

Summary:

The Octomask might not be the best scuba mask on the planet. It's a good mask overall and the biggest advantage is that you can mount your GoPro camera right onto it. If you want to shoot video then there's basically no alternative if you want to keep your hands free.

#10 -Tusa M1001 Freedom HD – Best for the Largest Field of View

Tusa M1001 Freedom HD

The Tusa M1001 Freedom HD mask shines with a large single lens. It’s quite a bit larger than most other masks. The result, as you can imagine, is a large field of view. The glass itself is super clear and you’ll be surprised how much more you can see under water!

The skirt consists of soft silicone. It provides a tight fit to your face. The mask is frameless and the glass sits close to your eyes. Despite the large lens this mask is low-volume and easy to clear.

The buckles can rotate 180 degrees and have proven to be very sturdy. They are easy to use and adjustment of the straps is done without complications.

The nose pocket is designed to be managed with one hand. You can get ear equalization with ease even if you wear thick gloves.


Ideal for

Divers that want a large field of view when diving

Lens

Single Lens

Price

$


Best Features

  • Large lense
  • Huge field of view

What Could Have Been Better

  • Some rare complaints about fogging up.

Summary:

The Tusa M1001 Freedom HD mask has a really large lens. It's also a rather large mask overall fitting pretty much any size of head. The visibility out of this mask is simply amazing.

Scuba Diving Mask Buyers Guide

There’s a few things you need to consider when you’re out buying a scuba mask. The most important is that you get a dive mask in the color you like best. Just kidding…

Here’s what you should consider when you’re going to get a new mask.

​Single, Dual or Multiple Lenses

Historically dive masks had either one or two lenses. Two lenses results in a separator along the nose. A single lens doesn’t have that separator so you overall have a better view.

If you need your lenses setup with prescription glasses then you can’t have a single lens! Take that into consideration when shopping for a mask and wearing glasses!​

Masks with multiple lenses usually have a single lens in the front and then two lenses on the side. This gives you a better side view. Overall, this might feel more natural for some people.​

Angle of the Lens

​Sometimes you can see old-fashioned dive masks that pretty much run parallel to the face. Modern masks often (usually) have an angle where they slope towards the cheekbones at the bottom. This reduces the internal volume of the mask and more importantly makes it easier to look down.

Frame or Frameless

​The majority of dive masks have a frame. Pretty much all components of the mask attach to the frame. These are the lens/lenses, skirt, and the straps and buckles. The frame holds it all together and allows to take it apart for cleaning and maintenance.

Frameless masks have the skirt molded around the other parts of the mask. They are not assembled but become one piece. The result is that they typically are smaller and slimmer. Some of them are small enough to fit into a pocket. The downside is that you can’t take them apart for cleaning or repair. You also cannot install prescription lenses in a frameless scuba dive mask.​

Adjustment Possibilities​

It is important to be able to adjust the mask so it fits your face and head. If every head was the same shape then it would be simple to build a mask that fits perfect for everybody. As this is not the case, the masks need straps and buckles that allow to adjust the fit. Most newer masks have the attachment area for the buckles as part of the skirt. This reduces the pull on the frame and allows the skirt to create a tighter seal.​

Mask Skirt

​The function of the mask skirt is to provide a tight seal between the mask and your face. This is necessary to ensure that the water stays out of the mask while the air stays inside. If the seal between the skirt and the skin is not tight then the mask will leak.

Some of the best dive masks come with dual skirts to provide a better and tighter seal. Other alternatives are specifically formed skirts that create a tight fit. Modern mask skirts are made from high quality silicone as it is very flexible and durable.​

Overall Fit

​Finding a mask that matches your head and face is very important. The mask has to fit comfortably and has to have the right size for your face. Most dive masks come in different sizes and if your mask is too big then it won’t be able to create a tight fit.

A good fitting mask will stay on your face if you put it on without the straps and then inhale through your nose to create a vacuum. If the mask is the right size for you then it will stay on. If it’s too large then it will fall off as there’s no tight seal.​





Conclusion

You might or might not agree with out best of list of scuba diving masks above. Everybody has different experiences and most important, everybody is individual. Your face might or might not fit a certain mask better or worse. And as such, you might prefer a mask that we haven't listed or you might not like one that we have listed.

We try to use objective evaluations to come up with our ranking and we try to find masks that match specific target groups. It is completely understandable that a diver that has the chance to dive 5 times a week will not need a super-expensive mask like the Atomic Aquatics Venom. But, if you dive a lot and can afford it, then go for it.

We hope you get value from our list above and we'd love to hear from you. Please leave a comment or contact us. We're looking forward to hearing from you!

If you are just starting with scuba diving then you want to have a look at our guide to find the best dive computer for beginners.​

Update

We checked the list from 2017 and didn't find much happening in the world of scuba masks since then. We kept the contenders the same as we think that they are still the best scuba diving masks  you can get for 2018. If new and better masks hit the market during 2018 we will update our list accordingly. Until then, Happy Diving!

Best Scuba Diving Fins – Editor’s Picks for 2018

The Ultimate Guide to Find the Best Scuba Fins

Fins are an essential part of your scuba gear. They propel you underwater and make or break your dive experience.

If you don’t own your own set of scuba fins you will rely on the dive shop to have some to rent. In many cases, you’ll end up with lower quality fins that kind of fit but are not really comfortable. It can seriously put a damper on your dive experience!

Having your own gear and having it fit perfectly is important in scuba diving. The familiarity you gain with your gear improves your precision during dives and builds your trust into your gear.

Scuba fins should be comfortable and provide you with the ability to transform the power from your kicks into forward motion. Along with that they should be easy to put on and off, to transport and certainly sturdy enough to last a long time.

Last but not least they have to fit your dive style. Our guide to the best scuba diving fins will provide you with the information you need to get the best fins that match your diving style.

The 10 Best Scuba Diving Fins

If you’re in a hurry then here’s the short list of the top 10 scuba diving fins.

Below you can find the details on each of these best 10 scuba dive fins. Please also check out our Buyer’s Guide for Dive Fins as well as our short overview of important things to consider when buying new fins.

Aqua Lung Stratos 3 – Best Full Foot Scuba Fins for Warm Waters

The Aqua Lung Stratos 3 is a full foot dive fin that is durable and affordable. It’s comfortable and easy to put on and off. The inside of the foot pocket is finished with a special material that makes sure that you get in and out easily while not slipping out during a dive.

The bending point is close to the front of your foot. This way the entire fin is used for a powerful kick with the least amount of effort.

Aqua Lung Stratos 3 Full Foot Fins

The Stratos 3 comes in six different sizes and you shouldn’t have an issue finding the best fit for your size. The toe area offers a lot of space which makes it very comfortable to wear. The overall design and build quality is impeccable.

The Aqua Lung Stratos 3 is best used for dives in warm tropical waters. It’s our best choice for a full foot scuba diving fin for warm waters.

Mares Avanti Quattro Plus – Best Overall Open Heel Scuba Fins

The Mares Avanti Quattro Plus are open heel scuba fins. They have a bungee strap so you’re able to quickly get in and out of them. The huge advantage is also that you won’t have to adjust any straps. Simply slide in and let the bungee strap do the rest.

This fin is made from somewhat stiffer material which is combined with four soft channels to provide the most possible thrust when kicking. The blade is overall a little more stiff than other dive fins. However, it creates a lot of thrust with each kick!

Mares Avanti Quattro Plus Open Heel Bungee Strap Fin

These scuba fins come in four different sizes and a large variety of colors. You’ll find the perfect fit amongst those four sizes as the bungee strap makes sure that you’re securely in the fin once you put it on.

The Mares Avanti Quattro Plus is a great all-around choice for diving. It works well in warm and cold environments. It’s our overall best choice for a dive fin.

DiveRite XT – Best Open Heel Scuba Fins for Technical Diving

The first thing you’ll see when you look at the DiveRite XT is that it’s surprisingly non-flashy looking. Most newer fins have shapes and designs and color schemes that make them look ‘cool’. These fins are just what you see – excellent scuba diving fins.

They are specifically designed for strong and ripping currents and tougher conditions. They are made from a Monoprene blend which is used by DiveRite since the 1990’s in some of their best performing fins. The XT fins are designed as open heel fins with spring heel straps made from reinforced steel springs. This design provides a tight fit while being able to get in and out quickly.

DIVE RITE XT SCUBA FINS

The blades are designed to maximize the thrust with every kick while making sure that they stay stable in rough conditions. The DiveRite XT fins are a great choice for technical divers in varying conditions.

ScubaPro Seawing Nova – Best High Thrust Split Fins

The ScubaPro Seawing Nova offers a unique design. They combine the advantages of paddle fins and split fins. The design provides the thrust of a paddle fins with the comfort and efficiency of a split fin.

The design is unique in that it offers a joint in the blade that maximizes thrust while reducing drag through a pivoting motion. The fins offer tapered edges which make it useable for different kicking styles. The bungee strap makes it easy to get in and out of the fins and have the perfect fit.

Scuba Pro Seawing Nova Open Heel Fins

The fins come in five different sizes and a variety of color choices. The well designed and sturdy bungee strap ensures a perfect fit.

There’s no question that these are some of the best fins you can buy. However, the complex design results in one of the highest prices you can find for any scuba diving fins.

Atomic Aquatics – Best Split Fins

Atomic Aquatics is known for their high-end design of scuba gear and the Atomic Aquatics full foot split fins make no exception when it comes to quality. However, compared to other scuba gear from this manufacturer, they are actually affordable.

These fins have a full foot split design. During a kick the split blade changes shape into a pair of wings. These wings reduce drag when slicing through the water while creating thrust to propel you forward. This works great in calm waters but does not provide enough thrust in strong currents.

Atomic Aquatics High Performance Full Foot Split Fin

Overall these fins allow you to move through the water with less effort. They can help to reduce air consumption during a dive.

They come in six different sizes and two color combinations. Make sure to study the sizing information with your shoe size to find the best fit.

The Atomic Aquatics Full Foot Split Fins are a great choice for diving in calm warm waters. The split fin design reduces drag and helps you to conserve energy and air.

Tusa Solla – Best Affordable Scuba Fins

The Tusa Solla is an open heel paddle fin that has some very interesting features. It uses a thermoplastic elastomer mixing hard and soft materials within the blade. The same combination of different stiffness levels is used in the side rails and the foot pocket. This improves the thrust while reducing the energy required to generate that thrust.

TUSA Open Heel Solla Dive Fins

The fins use an anatomically formed strap to secure your foot to the fin. While it’s not a bungee strap, it’s still easy to use and fits the back of your heel perfectly and comfortably.

The paddles are medium in size which provides a good compromise between maneuverability and thrust. The Tusa Solla is pretty affordable and definitely worth a look.

Mares X-Stream – Best Fins for Reduced Turbulence

The Mares X-Stream is one of the newer dive fins on the market. It is an open heel paddle scuba fin that has a comfortable foot pocket. The shape of the blade is rather unique and it is designed for less turbulence while you’re diving.

The X-Stream works on a similar split mechanism as the ScubaPro Seawing Nova in that it has a flex area right in front of the foot pocket that allows the blade to act like a split blade. This way the fin provides the thrust of a paddle fin with the reduced effort and drag from split fins.

Mares X-Stream Open Heel Fins

The strap is designed to provide a secure closure while your foot is in the fin. It’s comfortable to close and initially needs adjustment. A bungee strap would be a good change but the standard strap works fine.

The blade transfers your kick and transforms it into a powerful thrust forward. It features a center channel that is designed to force the water down the blade instead of allowing it to spill over the sides. This reduces the energy needed to propel yourself through the water.

The Mares X-Stream come in four different sizes and a variety of different colors. They are not the cheapest pair of fins on the market but you get high-tech fins for a good price. They are certainly not more expensive compared to other high-quality fins on the market!

Cressi FROG Plus – Best Overall Paddle Fins

The Cressi FROG Plus fins are open heel paddle fins. Coming from Cressi you can trust to get highest quality and latest technology.

That’s not different for these fins. They are combining several materials into one fin to optimize the flow of water during a kick and reduce the drag.

Cressi FROG PLUS Open Heel Fins for Scuba Diving

They are designed to require the lowest amount of energy for each powerful thrust. The combination of the different materials provides strength and flexibility as needed during each kick.

The strap is adjustable and allows to get in and out of the fins quick and easy. While not a bungee strap, it’s still easy to initially adjust and use.

The Cressi FROG Plus comes in four different sizes and a few different colors. They are very affordable in price and made of highest quality products.

Sherwood Triton – Best ‘Old Style’ Dive Fins

The Sherwood Triton looks at first glance like a pretty old-fashioned scuba fin. However, it is anything than that. These are open heel paddle fins with an adjustable strap.

It features three vents in front of the foot pocket that are designed to increase the thrust on the downward motion of the kick. They also decrease the drag on the upward motion of the kick. This increases the thrust while reducing the energy needed to both kick and recover.

Sherwood Triton Fins

The strap is adjustable and offers quick-release buckles. The large heel pull tab makes it easy to put the fins on or take them off. A great feature of these fins is that they float. They are positively buoyant so they won’t sink to the bottom should you ever lose one in the water.

The Sherwood Triton comes in three different sizes and is only available in black. They are not any of those futuristic looking fins but rather look like fins from old times. Yet, when it comes to the power they produce they are top of the line. Due to their light weight they offer great flexibility when it comes to diving, snorkeling or even surface swimming with fins.

Pricing of the Sherwood Triton is what you would expect of a high-quality pair of fins. They won’t break the bank but are also not the cheapest fins you can find.

Tusa SF-15 X-PERT ZOOM Z3 – Best New Split Fins

The Tusa SF-15 X-PERT ZOOM Z3 are open heel split blade fins with a patented fin design. The blades are angled at 27 degrees. In combination with the three material design this creates a powerful thrust during a kick.

The blades are designed to provide a powerful thrust while using the least amount of energy. They combine three different materials to provide the stiffness where needed while offering the flexibility at other places. This allows to provide a quick response to any movement.

Tusa SF-15 X-PERT ZOOM Z3 Fins

The foot pocket is developed to increase the power transfer to the blades for improved performance. The multi-compound design of the pocket increases the comfort as well as improves the transfer of power to the fins.

The Tusa SF-15 X-PERT ZOOM Z3 comes in three sizes and four colors. Pricing for these fins is great for the quality you will get.

Things to Consider when Buying New Scuba Diving Fins

Without repeating the information you can find in the Scuba Fin Buying Guide, let’s have a quick look at the important factors you should consider when buying a new pair of scuba fins.

Full Foot or Open Heel Fins?

Full foot dive fins are usually better for snorkeling and for warm waters. You will have a harder time to get a tight fit compared to open heel fins.

Check out our Buying Guide for Scuba Fins for more information on those two kinds of foot pockets.

Split of Paddle Fins?

Split fins are a relatively new invention and innovation. They work like a propeller when you kick and the advantages are that you need less energy for a kick. However, in rough currents the power is simply not transferred as well and you won’t be able to maneuver quite as good as with a paddle fin.

You can find more information on split fins vs. regular fins to help you make the best choice!

Size

The overall size of the fins can become an issue when you want to bring them for traveling. Most fins are ok to bring but some, specifically fins for freediving, are simply too large to pack. The ones reviewed above will all somehow fit into a suitcase but none of them are specifically designed for travel.

You can get travel fins which are either shorter or can be disassembled. This can be an important factor for you but you might consider trying to find a way to pack our preferred fins instead of compromising on either the quality or performance of your fins.

Other Considerations

There’s not much else to consider except that you need to make sure that you get fins that fit comfortable while keeping your foot secure in the foot pocket. Nothing’s worse than losing a fin during a dive!

Make sure that you get the right size of fins for your size of foot. If you wear booties during diving then take the additional size of those into consideration.

Lastly, and the least important consideration, is whether you want to get fins in a specific color. Color or patterns on the fins have no impact at all on the quality of the fin. However, if you have a specific color scheme going then you might not want to disrupt your colors of your wet suit, etc. with fins that don’t match at all.

Conclusion

​There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to scuba fins. All of the fins we highlighted above are great fins.

In the end you will have to find out for yourself what style of diving you perform, in what surroundings you dive and how often you dive. It makes sense to have your own gear no matter what. As long as you don't specialize into specific types of diving you might simply go for fins that work in a variety of conditions.

Update

When we reviewed our picks that we made in the later half of 2017 we came to the conclusion that since then really nothing much has changed. There were no new fins that would have been better than the ones we have picked above so we decided that we leave the list the same and keep an eye out for new introductions. When and if we find new noteworthy scuba diving fins that make the list then we'll update the post so you know for sure to have the up-to-date selection available!

1

Best Full Face Snorkel Masks in 2018 – Editor’s Picks

Buyer’s Guide to Find the Best Full Face Snorkel Masks

Full Face snorkel masks have made a real impression on the snorkel mask market in the last few years. They also opened the activity up for many new people as they allow to breath more natural with your face under water.

Best Full Face Snorkel Mask Reviews 2018

We evaluated the best available full-face snorkel masks and reviewed them for you. Have a look at the masks below if you are looking to buy one.

Mask

GoPro
Mount

Rating

Seaview 180°

Editors Choice

Seaview 180 Degree Full Face Snorkel Mask

Yes

Tribord Easybreath

Editors Choice

Tribord Easybreath Full Face Snorkeling Mask

​Optional

Octobermoon
Snorkel Mask

Best Budget Mask

Octobermoon Full Face Snorkel Mask

No

UooCool Snorkel Mask

UooCooL Full Face Snorkeling Mask

No

H2O Ninja Snorkel Mask

Way Overpriced

H2O Ninja Full Face Snorkel Mask

Optional

The Super Snorkel Mask

The Super Snorkel Tubeless Design Full Face Snorkeling Mask

Yes

Ocean Reef Aria
Snorkel Mask

Ocean Reef Aria Full Face Snorkel Mask

Optional

1. Seaview 180 Degree Snorkel Mask

The Seaview 180° snorkel mask by Wildhorn Outfitters is a staple for full face masks since it came out several years ago. Until this day it is one of the best, if not the best, 180° full face snorkel mask available. It provides a full 180-degree view which lets you enjoy the underwater wildlife and scenic beauty.

Seaview 180 Degree Full Face Snorkel Mask

You can breathe through your mouth or nose with this mask while having a surround view through the wide-angle lens. The mask comes in two sizes and roughly fits kids 7 years or older if they wear the smaller size.

The Dry Snorkel Technology prevents water from coming through the snorkel into your mouth. No more swallowing salt water and gagging on it. The overall design of the mask is also a lot more comfortable than traditional snorkels as you do not have to bite down on the mouth piece!

The mask skirt is made from silicone which provides a comfortable and snug fit to your face. The wide straps allow easy adjustment and won’t get tangled in your hair.

The mask does not provide the ability to wear glasses as the tight fit would be disturbed by the arms of the glasses. There is also no option to replace the lens with prescription lenses! Also, if you have a beard you might not be able to get a snug fit with this mask or any other snorkel or dive mask for that matter. You shouldn’t have a problem with a mustache though.

The separate breathing chamber is an innovative design. It forces the airflow away from the lens. This in turn pretty much eliminates any fogging on the lens. You can enjoy the view a lot better than with many other masks.

Due to the design of this being a full-face mask, there is a lot of air between the lens and your face. This will provide quite a lot of buoyancy which means that you will have a harder time diving with this mask. As the Seaview 180-degree mask is meant for snorkeling and not for diving, this is not really an issue at all.

The Seaview 180° full face snorkel mask also has the added feature of a GoPro camera mount. It’s your perfect companion if you want to make a video of your snorkeling experience as you don’t need to hold the camera in your hands.

The mask comes in a range of colors. You can get it in Navy Blue/Gray, Plum/Gray, White/Blue, White/Pink and White/Teal. It comes in two different sizes to fit children and adults perfectly.

2. Tribord Easybreath Snorkel Mask Review

The Tribord Easybreath is the original full face snorkel mask. And today it’s still every bit as good as it was the first day it came out. It provides and exceptionally big field of view that lets you enjoy all the sights and sea life while you snorkel.

Tribord Easybreath Full Face Snorkeling Mask

The full-face mask allows you to breath with your mouth or nose. The days of having to force the snorkel into your mouth and biting down on it are gone. This makes for a much more comfortable snorkel experience that is less tiring.

Tribord patented the breathing system in the mask and it is a really cleaver design. The mask has a relief valve at the bottom that allows to easily clear out any trapped water in the mask. It’s a quite ingenious mechanism and quite helpful when snorkeling.

The snorkel itself has a one-way valve which closes the snorkel when it gets immersed in water. This prevents water from coming down the snorkel that end up in your mouth and more often than not gets you to gag. A nice feature is also that the top of the snorkel is kept in bright orange which makes it easy to see by others while you snorkel. This is a great safety feature which does help to prevent collisions while you snorkel!

The window is large and clear. It’s made of a shatter proof polycarbonate which makes the mask a very durable piece of gear. Compared to many cheaper masks you will save money by not having to replace the mask that often due to broken windows, etc.

The Easybreath is not your mask if you require to wear glasses while snorkeling. None of the full-face masks will be good for that as you cannot get prescription lenses for the window. Your fit might also not be perfect if you have a full beard. Otherwise, you can trust to get a tight fit through the silicone skirt of the mask against your face as well as the straps to adjust the mask.

The Tribord Easybreath is a rather large mask. The trapped air inside will make it nearly impossible to use it for free diving or any other sort of diving as it causes to much buoyancy. That should not be a problem considering that it is a snorkel mask and not a dive mask.

The mask comes in various sizes and colors. The sizing should allow to find a perfect fitting mask for any shape of head, even for children. There are four sizes available which is truly outstanding!

You can get the mask in three different colors: Atoll, Blue and Pink. The top of the snorkel is always kept a bright orange to make it easy to see in the water.

​Comparing the Tribord Easybreath and the Seaview 180 Degree

The Tribord Easybreath is overall a great mask. In the past it kind of lost the comparison with the Seaview 180° full face snorkel mask for the fact that it didn't offer a GoPro camera mount. This has been remedied and you can purchase an optional mount for your GoPro camera when you own the Subea/Triboard Easybreath mask. ​Overall though, both masks are pretty much equally as good.

The Tribord has a slight advantage as it’s basically impossible to fog the mask up. The Seaview mask can fog up a little when breathing heavy but it easily clears when going back to a shallower breathing.

On the safety side the Easybreath also has a tiny advantage through the bright orange end piece of the snorkel. It simply is easier to see in the water and at least in theory can help to prevent collisions.

Besides those small differences both masks are on par. They even look very similar when you hold them next to each other. In our opinion you can’t go wrong with either​!

3. Octobermoon Snorkel Mask Review

The Octobermoon full face mask is definitely the ‘best of the rest’. It’s a similar design as the Triboard Easybreath yet it is somewhat cheaper in price.

Octobermoon Full Face Snorkel Mask

One could also call it a cheaper knock-off of the Tribord mask. While there is some truth to it, it’s also not fair to simply categorize the mask that way. It’s a quality snorkel mask that is actually really high quality.

The snorkel is a model that will automatically close when it submerges. The mechanics of this are quite sophisticated as the valve closes the snorkel instantly when you dive down. It also is not one of those cheap mechanisms that sometimes doesn’t work but a really well designed piece of gear.

The snorkel is not in a highly visible color like on the Easybreath. This is not a problem but a highly visible color can help others to see you and to avoid collisions.

The skirt of the mask is made from high grade silicone and it shows when you put the mask on. It fits tight while still being comfortable. It’s so well designed that you even have a chance to get a tight seal if you have a beard!

Even with this great skirt you won’t be able to wear glasses while using this mask. You won’t be able to get a tight fit around the arms of your glasses. There’s also no possibility to change the lens with a prescription lens.

The volume of the mask will make it really hard to dive down. The trapped air produces too much buoyancy and that will force your head to stay afloat. A full-face mask will not be a good choice if you need a mask for both snorkeling and diving.

The Octobermoon snorkel mask comes in two different sizes. The smaller version is intended for children and people with smaller sized heads. The larger size works for medium to large heads.

You also have the choice between two color combinations. You can either get it in black or in blue.

If you’re looking for a great budget priced mask, then you don’t have to look any further. You get a great mask for a lower price than the Seaview or Easybreath masks.

4. UooCool Full View Snorkel Mask

The UooCool mask is one of the latest new masks in the full-face snorkel mask market. And they have designed a solid and high quality full face snorkel mask.

UooCooL Full Face Snorkeling Mask

The snorkel is designed to stay dry under water and the design actually works quite well. It stays completely dry under water. Additionally, the mask has a water purge valve at the bottom of the mask to be able to get any water in the mask out easily.

The mask seals well even when you’re not freshly shaved. It provides a comfortable fit with a good skirt. The straps allow to adjust the fit perfectly.

The mask has no attachment for a GoPro camera which seems surprising for a rather new model on the market. The overall design is solid and the field of view is large.

The snorkel top is colored to match the mask. It’s not a bright signal color so it might not be easily visible like for example the Easybreath mask.

The mask comes in two different sizes to fit nearly any size and shape of face. The mask comes in several colors which include black, blue, green and two different pink masks.

It is overall a well-designed mask for a good price.

5. H2O Ninja Snorkel Mask Review

The Ninja mask is a seriously good and high quality mask. It comes in two editions. The standard version and the GoPro version.

H2O Ninja Full Face Snorkel Mask

We could write a lot about this mask as it seriously is a good mask. However, the price in our opinion is simply not justified. The Ninja is in no way better than the Seaview or the Easybreath yet it costs nearly double the price.

There’s no reason to spend that much money in our opinion so for a mask that is not in any way better than others we already looked at above. However, if you have too much money to spend then you can be sure to get a great mask for the money you spend.

For this money that you spend you’ll get a mask with a dry snorkel, a great fit, and last but not least one that is fog free. You can count on getting a mask with all the features you’d expect and that we already reviewed for our two top-rated masks. Yet, you’ll spend way more money than you have to…

6. The Super Snorkel Tubeless Design Full Face Snorkeling Mask

The name is a mouthful but thankfully the snorkel is not. Being a full face mask means that there’s no snorkel piece to bite onto. You can breathe through your mouth or nose as if you are on land.

The Super Snorkel Tubeless Design Full Face Snorkeling Mask

This mask is a relatively new contender on the market and their claim to fame is that they have the longest snorkel of all full-face masks. We have not measured it against all of the available snorkels but yes, it is a pretty long snorkel. This gives you a little more leeway when moving around before accidentally submerging the snorkel.

The mask has a soft skirt that provides a tight and leak free fit to your face. You might have trouble staying completely dry if you have a beard. If you end up with some water in your mask, then there is a valve at the bottom of the mask to drain any water that accumulated. You will have to stand upright to enable the automatic draining of water from the mask.

The snorkel is designed to stay dry even if submerged. That will save you a lot of salty or dirty water in your mouth which otherwise will lead to gagging and a less than perfect experience snorkeling.

The mask is designed to give you a full 180 degree field of view. The window is built with impact resistant polycarbonate. It is fog free.

Another great feature of this mask is that it has a mount for your GoPro camera. It’s designed to allow you to get an easy view out of the mask onto the viewfinder or the screen of the camera so you can see what you’re filming while you snorkel.

This is a great mask with good features at a good price. We don’t think it’s any better than the Seaview but it’s also not necessarily worse. It only comes in black and the snorkel does not have a color piece that would make it easily visible when you snorkel.

7. Ocean Reef Aria Snorkel Mask Review

The Aria mask is a clear knock off of the Tribord mask. And it’s actually a really good knock-off. It’s high quality, fits great and works as advertised. Yet, there’s a real issue. It’s more expensive than the original product and so it doesn’t seem to make any sense to get the Ocean Reef Aria vs. the Easybreath.

Ocean Reef Aria Full Face Snorkel Mask

There’s nothing not to like about this mask. It comes in a few color combinations that might make you scratch your head though. Ever thought of orange and pink? In one mask? You might want or need this mask if you want color combos like that. It might even be worth to pay more than you’d pay for the original.

One thing to consider is also that technically this mask comes in a large variety of sizes. Four to be precise. Including a XS sized mask for children. However, it seems that specific color combinations will only be found for certain sizes.

This is an overall good full-face mask. It’s a high-quality product that will last you a long time. The price in our opinion is too high. And on top of that you have to pay money if you want to add the GoPro camera mount. You’re better and cheaper off to look at the Seaview 180 Degree.

Other Contenders

The market for full face snorkel masks will only get more crowded. So far none of the new contenders was able to knock the Tribord or the Seaview off of the throne. Here’s a list of other masks that are available today. Please be advised that many of these masks are not made of the same high-quality materials and/or are not as well designed. You can expect these masks to not last as long and to potentially leak at times.

Some of these masks might save you a few dollars compared to the ones we reviewed above. Otherwise, we don’t think there’s any need to go for a knock-off when you can get the top contenders in the market for around the same price.

Buyer’s Guide to find the Best Full-Face Snorkel Mask

When you’re in the market for a new full-face snorkel mask and you only look at the pictures then you quickly will realize that they do look all pretty much the same. If you compare that for example to looking at the different best dive masks then you at least can see a difference between those.

Full-face snorkel masks all are derived from one original design. And that was the Tribord Easybreath. The major updates and innovations you can get are improvements and changes on the breathing chamber and mounts for action cameras. You can find these on the Seaview 180 Degree mask.

Important factors to keep in mind also are to have a snorkel that stays dry and a valve to get rid of water inside the mask. Regarding safety you need to make sure that the window is of high-grade, impact resistant polycarbonate. Another good feature to have is a snorkel end piece that is in a strong signal color. This allows others to see you easily and avoid collisions.

Why to pick a full-face snorkel mask

Snorkeling is a very family-friendly activity. It’s relaxing and there’s so much to see under water. You also do not need any skills whatsoever once you know how to swim. It is important to use the right equipment to make it a pleasant recreational activity for you and your family.

Until a few years ago the masks you could get for snorkeling where the same as the ones you used for diving. Technically, nothing wrong with that. You added a snorkel and you were good to go. And that’s where the problem started for most.

Snorkel Design

The snorkels had a mouth piece that you needed to bite down to keep it in place. Even if it’s your own snorkel, that’s a rather unhygienic piece of equipment. The more important issue though is or was that you had to breathe through your mouth. The old masks and snorkel combinations did not allow for any nose breathing. Many people didn’t like to snorkel because of that as their natural instinct was to breathe through their nose.

Another problem with the old snorkels was that they didn’t keep water out when they got submerged. There’s a lot of drinks that taste better than a nice swallow of salt water. A lot of people tried to snorkel and immediately stopped this activity once they drank a mouthful of salt water and gagged under water. Not only does it taste gross, it also can lead to panic attacks for some people as they immediately fear they’d be drowning. Newer generations of snorkels are dry which means that they don’t allow water to get into the snorkel and your mouth when submerged.

The full-face masks completely took away with those snorkel and breathing problems. As they cover the whole face, they do allow to breathe through your mouth or your nose. Just as if you’d take a stroll in a park. They also are designed to be dry snorkels and will keep the water out of the snorkel and the mask if they get submerged.

Comfort

Another advantage of a full-face mask is that it is overall more comfortable to wear. As it covers your whole face, the skirt is pressing all around your face. Traditional masks at time can have pressure points in the middle of your face which might make that more uncomfortable to wear. This is true especially when you snorkel for a longer time and also if you use a cheaper dive mask.

Many people, for whatever reason, think that the cheapest dive mask is good enough for snorkeling as they won’t really dive. Technically, that might be true but these cheap dive masks also don’t use the best components and materials and thus are often leaky and/or uncomfortable to wear. A full-face mask, if it’s not one of the cheap Asian knock-offs, will usually use high-quality components and materials which make it very comfortable to wear for long times.

All in one Design

Another advantage of the full-face snorkel mask over the traditional dive mask/snorkel combo is that you can’t forget the snorkel at home. You won’t believe how many people go snorkeling only to find out that they brought their dive mask but forgot their snorkel at home. They had to clean it and took it out and forgot to put it back. Just one of those things that we all tend to do at times. A full-face mask has the snorkel built-in. If you remember to grab your mask for snorkeling, you also will have your snorkel with you. This might not be an obvious advantage but experience shows that it’s one to think about!

Fog Resistance

Last but not least these kinds of masks are usually also more fog proof than traditional dive masks. As the air continuously exchanges inside the whole mask through you breathing in and out, the humidity level also stays more regulated. This reduces the chance of your mask fogging. In a traditional mask, you have the air sealed around your eyes and nose and it’s not exchanged at all during your snorkel adventure. This increases the chances of the window fogging up and you having issues seeing the beauty of the sea underneath you.

Direct your own movies

Some full-face snorkel masks also have a mount for an action camera included. Most allow to add a GoPro camera on top of the mask so you can tape the same scenery as you see it while you snorkel. This is a great feature as it allows you to continue to use your hands while filming. If you have to hold the camera in your hand then one of your hands is constantly in use holding the camera.

Keeping you afloat

Full-face masks do not only have advantages though. There’s one disadvantage and that comes from the large volume of these masks. If you snorkel and see something really interesting a few feet below you, it’s much harder to dive down with a full-face mask compared to a traditional scuba mask. Why you ask? The air trapped inside the mask creates a lift under water. This makes it much harder to dive down as the air wants to keep you afloat. Modern traditional scuba masks are designed to minimize the amount of trapped air to make it easier to dive down. The full-face mask traps a lot of air which helps you stay afloat and makes it easier to snorkel but it also makes it nearly impossible to dive with them.

Conclusion

To be honest, the Seaview 180 or the Tribord Easybreath are the overall best masks you can find today. They offer the best performance and quality for the price and will last you for many years to come.

If you are on a budget then try the Octobermoon and you’ll end up happy. The other masks listed in our guide are all good masks but in our opinion do not reach the level of quality ad design that you get from our top contenders.

Best Dive Computers for Beginners – Editor’s Picks for 2018

Beginners Dive Computers

Eager, first-time divers, want to know everything about their newfound hobby. Thankfully, we’ve got the scoop for you on everything you need to know about dive computers. A dive computer is your digital writer lifeline, allowing you access to real-time information for the perfect dive.


Cressi Leonardo Dive Computer - White/Pink

Before jumping into buying the best dive computer for beginners, you should be aware of the standard features to keep an eye out for. These standard features include:

  • Depth
  • Time
  • Emergency decompression
  • Ascent rate
  • No stop time remaining
  • Previous dive information
  • No stop limits
  • Low battery warning
  • Enriched air (Nitrox) compatibility

​Quick tips for purchasing a dive computer include:

  • Being able to read the dive computer with your mask on.
  • Is your dive computer going to be compatible with your equipment?
  • Do you 100% understand the information you’re reading? If not, you’re putting your life at risk.

Navigation is Critical

Any qualified diver would never go down without having access to some sort of navigation equipment. The more pressure you find yourself in, the more disorienting it can be, and no matter how much you think you know, under the water is another story. Navigation is critical and owning a dive computer with an old-fashioned compass is pivotal in your safety. Without this, you may not know how to get to shore, or back to your boat for safety.

​Life-Saving Depth Gauge

​Without the life-saving component of a depth gauge, you may wander a little too far down to the point where you’re too disoriented to function and ask for help. A depth gauge works hand in hand with your decompression stops and calculates how much time you spent at a particular depth. If you’re left guessing, it will ultimately negatively affect your calculations for decompression stops.

The Perfect Calculations

​When you’re at an extremely low depth, it can be hard or near impossible to make any sort of calculations yourself while functioning in the water world around you. Dive computers take out this stressful aspect for you and perform the calculations for you. These life-saving calculations work alongside decompression calculations, decompression stops, and for specific models – no-fly times for those who are diving on vacation.

​It sounds morbid, but when you ascend in a plane after diving into a certain depth, the nitrogen in your body will expand because of the pressure. You may explode! (No, seriously, it’s a thing and a safety precaution). Some dive computers will let you know when you safely fly again.

Cressi Leonardo Black Yellow

On-Board Memory

​Most modern dive computers will have an onboard memory feature for you to review all of the information stored away during your ascent into the aqua world. It’s a nifty little feature and can help you predict and plan for future trips down.

Activation of Your Dive Computer

​Any dive computer bought will have to go through an activation process, much like a phone. Thankfully, you don’t have to activate your phone with water, though! Ultimately, there are two ways to enable a dive computer for beginners including manually or with water. The manual option requires the diver to press a button before going in the water.

​If you’re new, you should be forewarned that many divers FORGET this aspect of preparation, causing companies to come up with a solution that allows instant water activation as soon as divers are in. Now that you’ve got the scoop on the different life-saving and data recording components, we’ll go over our top three picks (and our top recommendation!) for the perfect dive computers for beginners.

#1 - Cressi Leonardo

Not overly clunky and super fashionable, the Cressi Leonardo is one of the best on the market. Its design is sleek and not bulky/heavy, so you won’t be worrying about it in the water constantly, with features that include:

  • Audible alarm
  • Easy on button
  • Air and nitrox modes
  • Large digits for better reading underwater
  • Backlit screen for night dives

Not only does this dive computer give you a readout for the different depths during your dive, but you can also read these numbers beautifully at night. The backlit screen function allows for safe tracking during dangerously dark dives. This device also has a data reset feature, which is perfect for rental companies working with beginners. This may be the only con, as beginners may accidentally stumble into this section and delete their hard-earned data.

Another significant aspect of this computer dive watch is the audible and visual automatic safety stop countdown at 15ft or 3 minutes. A wrist-held safety buddy, there’s no real reason why you shouldn’t purchase this as a beginner! This dive computer has a 24-month limited warranty.

#2 - ​Suunto Zoop Novo

​The Suunto Zoop Novo is the successor of the Zoop. It’s gotten a little bulkier and has a number of added features and functions compared to the first version of entry-level wrist mounted scuba diving computers by Suunto.

The size is overall easy to manage and navigation is super easy with four dedicated buttons places strategically around the display.

​Both other devices we listed in this guide have a single button for navigation. At first glance this is an easier design but it does have a disadvantage. If you page through the different menu options with a single button you have to step through each option as you cannot go back and forth with a single button. A design with multiple buttons lets you go back and forth as needed and can make it easier to get to where you want to be in your menu options. The single button simplifies the overall handling but can make it a lengthy process to get where you want to be in your navigation options.

The Zoop Novo is the entry-level dive computer by Suunto. The standard variant is a wrist mounted design but there are also versions where you can get it as a console mounted device. The overall features are clearly targeting divers that only need the basic set of features and functions:

The Suunto Zoop Novo is the successor of the Zoop. It’s gotten a little bulkier and has a number of added features and functions compared to the first version of entry-level wrist mounted scuba diving computers by Suunto.
The size is overall easy to manage and navigation is super easy with four dedicated buttons places strategically around the display.
Both other devices we listed in this guide have a single button for navigation. At first glance this is an easier design but it does have a disadvantage. If you page through the different menu options with a single button you have to step through each option as you cannot go back and forth with a single button. A design with multiple buttons lets you go back and forth as needed and can make it easier to get to where you want to be in your menu options. The single button simplifies the overall handling but can make it a lengthy process to get where you want to be in your navigation options.
The Zoop Novo is the entry-level dive computer by Suunto. The standard variant is a wrist mounted design but there are also versions where you can get it as a console mounted device. The overall features are clearly targeting divers that only need the basic set of features and functions:

  • ​Air/Nitrox/Gauge/Freedive/Off modes
  • ​Audible and visual warnings and alerts
  • ​Four-button navigation
  • ​Large display with all data at-a-glance
  • ​Large log book with up to 140 hours of data

This is a no-nonsense dive computer with all essential features and functions for a beginner. It’s easy to use and makes it easy to read the information on the display. The backlight is strong enough to allow you to read the data on the screen in dark and murky waters.

The computer uses Suunto’s own RGBM algorithm. This is at times seen as a rather conservative one. You can adjust the conservatism of the algorithm if needed.

The Suunto Zoop Novo is a great scuba dive computer and it’s hard to find real negatives about it. You certainly won’t get all the bells and whistles but that’s what you’d expect from an entry-level device for a beginner. It does offer all the required basic features and you’ll be diving for a while before you’d really look at any more higher-end functions.

#3 - ​Mares Puck Pro Plus

The Mares Puck Pro Plus is the latest rendition of the original Puck scuba diving computer. In case there’s any confusion about the name, it does refer to a hockey puck with regards to shape and size.

You can find many other wrist mounted dive computers that are smaller or that you can even wear as your daily watch. If that’s your criteria then the Puck Pro Plus is certainly not the best device for you!

It’s designed as an entry level gadget that provides all basic features you would expect and need:

  • ​Air/Nitrox/Gauge modes
  • ​Visual and audible alarms
  • ​Single button navigation
  • ​​Clear and easy to read display
  • ​Bluetooth connectivity

​The biggest improvement Mares had in store for the Puck Pro Plus is the Bluetooth connectivity. No more cables required to exchange dive data with your computer!

The display received a few minor changes and is as excellent as it has been on the Puck Pro. Large numbers that make it easy to read combined with a strong backlight so you can still see all information in dark environments.

The Mares Puck Pro Plus is a solid contender with all necessary features and functions you’d expect from an entry-level scuba computer!

The biggest improvement Mares had in store for the Puck Pro Plus is the Bluetooth connectivity. No more cables required to exchange dive data with your computer!
The display received a few minor changes and is as excellent as it has been on the Puck Pro. Large numbers that make it easy to read combined with a strong backlight so you can still see all information in dark environments.
The Mares Puck Pro Plus is a solid contender with all necessary features and functions you’d expect from an entry-level scuba computer!

Recommendation

We think the best dive computer for beginners is the Cressi Leonardo. While the version with the stand and USB connector are nice, it's not a necessity.

You might as well save yourself some money and go with the basic model without all the connectivity items.

Cressi Leonardo Dive Computer Blue/Black

You'd thought we were going to recommend the last one? While the added gifts are lovely, they aren’t essential to the current dive missions, and they can be purchased at a later time. For beginner divers, it’s important to feel out the piece of equipment instead of splurging on the biggest package possible. If you enjoy this watch and want those added features of a download cable and stand, those accessories are available online.

For beginners, this watch is fantastic. With large fonts, sounds, and all the readings you can hope for no matter the time of day, the Cressi Leonardo hits the nail on the head.


Best Dive Computer under $500 – Editor’s Picks for 2018

Finding the best dive computer under $500 should not be a challenge. That is if you are looking for a DC for recreational diving. Don’t expect to get a device that has features that you’ll need for technical diving.

We cover what you can expect from a device at that price point and what you won’t get. Lastly, we showcase ​five dive computers that stay under the $500 mark.

Mares Smart Wrist Dive Computer

What Features can you expect?

At this price point you’ll get the basics. You can expect a reliable device that will keep you safe during a dive.

Regarding specific features you can expect the following:

RGBM with Adjustments

A safe RGBM algorithm that continuously calculates your dive data to keep your dive within healthy limits. Pretty much each dive computer manufacturer has their own variation of a RGBM algorithm.

Some are more conservative than others. If you dive with a buddy that has a DC from a different brand then you have to expect your dive limit calculations to be different!

Most algorithms also offer the ability to change the conservatism of the calculations. The settings allow to change the limits within the algorithm to be more conservative which ultimately means they end up providing you a larger safety margin.

One or Multiple Gas Mixes

Most dive computers in this price range will provide the ability to have one nitrox mix. Usually they support oxygen levels up to 50%.

For most beginners and recreational divers being able to manage one gas mix is good enough. If you’re relatively new to the sport then diving with a single gas mix will cover you for usually the first few years if not even for a lifetime.

You find more and more dive computers that can handle up to two gas mixes. Most newer models are capable to do that. Depending on your dive needs this might or might not be an important feature for you. For recreational diving it often is of less importance to have this feature.

Audible and Visual Alarms

All dive computers in this price range offer various audible and visual alarms. Typically, you can expect the following types of alarms to be setup for a dive:

  • Dive Time​
  • High pO2
  • Violation of decompression ceiling
  • Maximum depth violation
  • Ascent too fast

These are the alarms that are most important for a recreational diver and they are usually all covered by a DC at this price point.

Dive Log

You should expect the DC to have a solid dive log with enough memory to store dive data for at least 20 dives. Some models even provide enough capacity for over 100 hours of dive data to be collected.

Usually, the dive data will be collected at a fixed rate. Some models will allow to adjust the collection rate.

Connectivity to Computer (optional)

Dive computers offering a dive log will also offer the (optional) ability to connect the DC to your computer. All brands have their own software to install on your PC and in most cases you can get the software for Windows or for the Mac.

What will you be missing?

Dive Planner

Usually you will not find a built-in dive planner in this price category. However, you should be able to offload the data to your computer and perform dive plans on the PC.

Air integration

Air integration is nothing you will find in this price category. You might get lucky and find a DC on sale that is capable of air integration but you most certainly will not get a device that has an air transmitter included.

Digital Compass

Integrated digital compasses are something you will have to look at the next price level. Usually, these devices will be more in the $800 to $1,000 range where you can see digital compasses being part of the feature set of the DC.

The 5 Best Dive Computers under $500

Let’s have a quick look at the 5 best dive computers under $500 below. These are not ranked in a specific order but do show our picks for the best wrist scuba computers in that price category.

Mares Smart Wrist Dive Computer

The Mares Smart is a wrist watch sized dive computer that packs a lot of features. It’s one of the few dive computers in this category that actually can handle two gas mixes.

Mares Smart Dive Computer - Black/Grey

It checks off all the required features you’d expect in this class. The dive log on the Smart can hold around 36 hours of dive data that you can then transfer to your PC or Mac for further analysis or to plan future dives.

​Click here to find our detailed review of the ​Mares Smart

Oceanic Geo 2.0 Air/Nitrox Scuba Computer Watch

The Oceanic Geo 2.0 is a feature rich dive computer in this price category. It offers Oceanic’s unique dual algorithm. This allows you to switch between two different algorithms allowing you to pick the one you feel more comfortable with.

Oceanic Geo 2.0 Air-Nitrox Dive Computer Watch

This feature also is great if you dive with a buddy that has a different dive computer. Chances are that one of your algorithms will match that of your buddies DC and as such you won’t get conflicting data and alarms.

The Geo 2.0 is also capable of handling two gas mixes. It can even go up to 100% oxygen on the mixes which is quite unique at this price point. The dive log is capable of keeping the data of up to 24 dives.

​Click here to find our detailed review of the Oceanic Geo 2.0​

Suunto Zoop Novo Dive Computer

The Zoop Novo is the updated model of the very successful Zoop. It is a huge upgrade in capabilities and it definitely is one of the best entry-level dive computers you can find.

Suunto Zoop Novo - Black

It can handle one gas mix up to 50% oxygen. The dive log can keep an astonishing 140 hours of dive data. Connected to your PC you can also upload the data to Suunto’s Movescount portal where you can enrich the dive data with pictures and video and share it with friends and family.

Click here to find our detailed review of the Suunto Zoop Novo.​

Aqua Lung i200 Scuba Dive Computer

The i200 is the entry level dive computer from Aqua Lung. It offers all the features you expect and quite a little more. Similar as the Mares Smart, it’s roughly the size of a wrist watch.

Aqua Lung i200 Scuba Dive Computer

It handles up to two gas mixes with up to 100% oxygen. The dive log is capable of handling the data for up to 24 dives. The optional connection to your computer enables you to download the dive data from the device to your computer.

Cressi Giotto Watch Scuba Computer

The Cressi Giotto is one of the entry-level dive computers by Cressi. The level underneath it is the Giotto which is probably the most complete beginner and entry-level dive computer available.

Cressi Giotto Dive Computer Black-Red

The Giotto is capable of handling two gas mixes with oxygen levels up to 99%. That’s more than sufficient for recreational diving. The dive log is generously sized at up to 70 hours of data to be stored. Connecting the Giotto to your computer allows you to download the dive data for further analysis and to plan future dives.

Click here to find our detailed review of the Cressi Giotto!

Conclusion

There’s a good selection of highly capable dive computers in the category under $500. Looking at any of the five devices shown above as well as the many other scuba computers in this price range will provide you with a solid dive computer that’ll last you for years to come.

Which device you eventually pick depends somewhat on your personal preferences. Ask yourself whether you want an oversized device like the Suunto Zoop Novo or the Cressi Giotto. Or do you prefer a watch sized model like any of the other three? Larger displays often allow for better reading of the information on the screen under water. It also often means that it’s easy for you to switch the battery. Watch sized dive computers often have to be sent to a service center or to a dive shop to have the battery changed.

Let us know what dive computer you like best under $500 in the comments below. We’re looking forward to hearing from you.

Update for 2018

When we check this best of list for dive computers under $500 for the year 2018 we didn't change our picks. Why? They still are overall the best you can get. Now, having said that, we did discuss for a long time whether we should replace the Mares Smar​t with the new Mares Puck Pro Plus. They offer somewhat similar features yet the Puck Pro Plus is larger in size. 

This has advantages when it comes to readability as the screen simply is larger. The downside is that you can only it for diving. The Smart can be worn as an everyday watch and as we did want to have a balance in our picks we decided to keep the Smart in the list due to it's potential everyday use.

We had a similar discussion about whether to keep the Cressi Giotto in the list or replace it with the Cressi Leonardo. Why you wonder? Well, the Leonardo is a little cheaper due to not having all the features and is probably the most bought scuba computer available. Yet, again due to giving you a few more different choices we decided to stick with the Giotto. It offers more features for a slightly higher price and we feel that in the long run you might get more out of it than of the Leonardo!


Buyers Guide to Finding the Best Dive Computers 2018


There is nothing more tranquil than plunging into the abyss and watching the rays of light wafting into the water above you. It’s just you and the never-ending blue. You have corals for company and the occasional Great White.

Scuba Diving is fun, its surreal, it’s ethereal and it’s dangerous.

Cressi Leonardo Dive Computer - White/Pink

If you are a first timer, you want to ensure that you spend more time awing at the many delights the ocean will throw at you, rather than fiddling with multiple pieces of equipment, trying to figure out how much time you have before you run out of air. That’s always the first timer’s most important concern, isn’t it?

On the other hand, if you are an experienced campaigner who scrounges the ocean floor for wrecks, you already know the importance of having a good diver computer. Those wrist-watched sized data crunchers that do all the hard work of computing a thousand different probabilities and displaying on a colorful screen that, ‘Hey buddy, it’s time to head back up. Civilization calls

Personal scuba computers can be lifesavers. Not to mention that with a few schmany additives thrown in, you get some exclusive bragging rights in the scuba diving community. But if trying to select one off the shelf doesn’t make your head spin, then you are clearly not aware of the tech specifications and the gobbledygook that you will have to navigate through, just to get some numbers on the screen.

Thankfully, we help you pick the top dive computers for you, irrespective of your skill level or the tech that you are looking for. But before we wear our flippers and plunge headlong into it, let’s quickly take a moment to understand what dive computers are all about and a few desirable features that can make or break you, when you are submerged 100 feet under the ocean.

How to Pick the Best Dive Computer for Yourself

First things first, a dive computer is a computing device used by scuba divers that’s worn on the wrist, resembles a smart phone screen and does some lifesaving calculations for you. It calculates your depth (built-in depth gauge), time of the dive (timer) and then, it informs you about the amount of nitrogen that you have absorbed in your body. More the nitrogen, lesser the time left to ascend. This time is shown on a large and colorful screen that is easily visible under water.

Does that simplify things a little? Now it’s time to venture into more complicated turf.

How do you pick the best dive computer for yourself? Here’s how.

What’s your skill level?

Beginners should stick to the basics. Look for something that has a clear and visible screen and does what it’s supposed to do without you having to fiddle with it. There are a lot of good scuba diving computers which do just that. Some of the standard features that you’d want in one are depth, time, no stop limits, ascent rate, no decompression limit (NDL) or no stop time, emergency decompression and information about the previous dives. More advanced or recreational divers may want additional features like open circuit air/nitrox/trimix compatibility.

Visibility

You want to see the data large and clear. So look for a big (colorful) screen with a backlit display. A dot matrix display works equally well too as long as it is visible.

User Friendly

As we said before, you don’t want to be fiddling too much with your dive computer under water. Look for something that’s as hands free as it can be. For the tasks that demand your fingers, look for models with large buttons. Remember that you will be wearing thick gloves.

Price

The average price for a personal scuba computer with standard features is around $250-$500. Advanced ones will make you poorer by $800-$1000. Beginners can mostly do fine with entry-level devices.

Mount Style

You have two different styles to choose from. One is a wrist watch styled dive computer which once again has two different varieties, one that looks like a hockey puck and the other which resembles a normal wrist watch and can be worn on land too.

The second style is a console or boot mount styled computer that has all the features packed into a compact device.

Air Integration

Last but not the least, air integration is one of the most sought after technologies in the top dive computers. It allows you to connect it to the oxygen tank using a transmitter and it will display the amount of air time remaining and the PSI reading of the tank.

Mares Smart Dive Computer - White/Lime

The 5 Best Dive Computers in 2018

That’s about it. I think we are ready to see our list of the top 5 best dive computers in the market currently.

#1 - Shearwater Research Perdix

Shearwater Research Perdix Diving Computer

The Shearwater Research Perdix is one of the latest and flagship offerings from the Canadian manufacturer, who commands a cult following among diving enthusiasts, ever since they launched into the market with the ‘Predator’, their first dive computer.

The Perdix is an upgrade worthy of every accolade it is receiving. This is a smartly designed dive computer that can be taken along for anything from recreational dives to deep water technical dives. It is small, has a slim profile and a long lasting battery.

What greets you out of the box is a large 2.2-inch color screen display with ample space for displaying all the information that you’d ever need. You can see adaptive safety stops, the number of stops, the depth and the duration of stops that is tailored according to your dive time and previous dive history.

The Time to Surface is displayed clearly and shows you the most important information, taking into account all the necessary safety stops.

You can customize or choose from four different dive modes, OC recreational, OC technical, CC-INT and gauge.


Ideal for

Advanced divers, technical divers and rebreathers.

Display

Full color wide screen

Visibility

Clear and large numerical display as well as graphics.

Gases

Air, Nitrox and Trimix


Best Features

  • Large colorful display
  • Multiple modes including technical and closed circuit rebreather
  • Trimix compatible
  • Lots of customization options

What Could Have Been Better

  • Nothing. This is one of the top dive computers that you can invest in.

Summary:

The Shearwater Research Predix bridges the gap between a recreational dive computer and a technical one. It is a flawless package. If you intend to go beyond the average recreational dive or into deeper waters, this is what you need.

#2 - ​Suunto Vyper Novo

The Vyper Novo is the upgraded version of the very successful and widely used Vyper. The Novo model received some impressive upgrades like air integration, handling of multiple gases, etc.

These features make it also one of the best scuba diving computers you can find today. It’s a great device if you’re an experienced diver but is also not too complex to be managed by a beginner.

Compared to models that are sized like a day-to-day watch, the Vyper Novo is quite large. The benefit is that the larger display shows all important information at-a-glance.

The number of buttons to press to get any information you might need is minimized. This way the gadget is what it should be, a device to help you stay safe while diving and not yet another technical nightmare that you need a PhD to understand!

 The large size makes it easy to press the buttons even when you wear thick gloves. The display is sharp and easy to read in any light condition. The backlight allows to see data even in the darkest spots under water.

Ideal for

​An intermediate to experienced diver that ventures into mixed gas

Display

​Large with all important data displayed

Visibility

​Easy to read, no color

Gases

​Up to three different gas mixes


Best Features

  • ​Easy to read display
  • ​Navigation is intuitive with 4 buttons
  • ​Large log book for up to 140 hours
  • ​Capable to integrate up to 3 wireless gas transmitters

What Could Have Been Better

  • ​Large size which can’t be worn as a daily watch.

Summary:

The Suunto Vyper Novo is a feature-rich scuba computer that offers everything that an experienced diver needs. As a recreational diver there are no capabilities you could require that are not delivered.

The features you get even include a 3D compass. If you combine that with the wireless air integration  you end up not needing a bunch of other gauges and devices.

Even if you are in your early days of diving, you can have a closer look at the Vyper Novo. The air integration can be something you add later as it’s optional. The base device offers features that will be satisfactory for years to come!

#3 - ​Oceanic VTX

The Oceanic VTX has a visibly different design than many other diving computers. The screen alone is amazing and displays the information clearly and in vibrant color.

The overall navigation and usage of the device is easy. The buttons are placed strategically and can be used even when you’re in thick gloves.

The VTX is worn on the wrist. It is a very specialized device so it can’t be worn as a regular watch! Looking at the features it is quite amazing though to have all those capabilities packed into a reasonably small device.

The Oceanic VTX clearly targets experienced divers. It is feature rich and allows to do a lot of data gathering and programming. It easily connects to a computer by means of Bluetooth.

 The log book is a little on the small side with enough capacity for around 24 dives. Going on a scuba vacation might push you over the limit here. The other caveat is that the battery life could be a little longer. It’s around 20 hours. Diving trips where you’re not having a computer handy to offload dive data and where you use the computer more than usual can easily end up with frustrating moments where you run low on battery and/or dive log!

Ideal for

​Experienced diver with demanding needs for features and data

Display

​Beautiful and vibrant OLED display

Visibility

​Bright and easy to read

Gases

Capable of dealing with up to 4 gas mixes


Best Features

  • ​Fantastic, colorful display
  • ​Easy navigation
  • ​Up to 4 gas mixes
  • ​Bluetooth connectivity

What Could Have Been Better

  • ​Somewhat bulky
  • ​Logbook could be larger

Summary:

The Oceanic VTX is definitely considered a high-end scuba diving computer. That’s not only reflected in the features and capabilities it offers but also in the price. 

Besides all the bells and whistles that this device offers, the highlight simply is the display. Colorful and vibrant, yet very clean. It shows all information you need in a clear and concise way.

 If you’re not an experienced diver and do not you require all the data collection so you can slice and dice it as you please, then you’ll definitely find other scuba computers that are cheaper and offer a set of features that matches your needs. The VTX pretty much has it all but that can end up being a little too much for many divers.

#4 - Cressi Leonardo

Cressi Leonardo Dive Computer - Black/Blue

One of the most important features that beginner divers look for, is to get access to important information when they need it the most, without having to fiddle through unwanted screens. That’s precisely what they get with the Cressi Leonardo. With a one button user interface to get information and customize the dive computer, it is one of the most user friendly models in the market currently.

You can toggle through the various modes and settings in the blink of an eye without getting lost while doing it. The Leonardo features a module design which allows you to use it as a wrist watch and also remove it and mount it to a console. It comes in a variety of color combinations.

It includes an air and Nitrox mode (up to 50%), has a large segmented dot-matrix backlit display which displays all the necessary information clearly. While it uses a conservative algorithm, it offers users enough options to tailor this level.

An in-built log stores data for up to 60 dives and there are critical audible alarms to sound the most important information.


Ideal for

Beginners

Display

Segmented Dot Matrix

Visibility

Clear. But the backlight is not the best.

Gases

Air and Nitrox


Best Features

  • One button user interface
  • Air and Nitrox compatible
  • Nitrox settings can be retained
  • Audible alarms for critical information

What Could Have Been Better

  • Poor quality backlight
  • No air integration

Summary:

This is a perfect beginners dive computer and also a great choice for a backup dive computer for recreational dives

#5 - Mares Smart

Mares Smart Dive Computer - Black/Red

Mares Smart is a minimalist but very efficient entry level dive computer that trumps a lot of higher priced models with its intuitive user interface and two button control. It may lack the bells and whistles that are typically advertised in bold. But it more than makes up for it with its well thought out dive mode screen and comprehensive data.

It has a stylish and sleek design with both the buttons and the bezel ring made of stainless steel. This also gives it a more solid feel unlike flimsy all-plastic models. The Smart can also double up as a sporty wrist watch when you are not diving. Additionally, it comes in a variety of colors to match your style.

The main display shows you the vitals such as NDL, water depth, dive time and temperature. In addition to this, there is an ascent rate indicator and tissue loading bar graph. There is an alternate screen which shows the gas mix, the average depth, the max depth, the current time and the oxygen toxicity.

The two button controls make it easy to modify the screen. The top button can be used to tweak the settings in the upper part of the display and the lower button allows you to navigate through the alternate displays.

It allows two gas mixes (21 – 99% Oxygen) and the Surface interval countdown is another stellar feature of the Mares Smart, which makes it a versatile choice at this price point.

There are visual and audible alarms for critical alerts and the backlight is excellent allowing clear visibility even in the dark. If you make the noob mistake of ascending too quickly, it sounds an alert with a large ‘SLOW’ on the screen.


Ideal for

Beginners and recreational divers or as a backup for professionals

Display

LCD backlit display

Visibility

Excellent. It is sharp and clear.

Gases

Air and Nitrox


Best Features

  • Two button easy navigation
  • Air and Nitrox
  • ​Dive log
  • Clear visible backlit screen
  • Audible and visible alerts

What Could Have Been Better

  • No air integration
  • No compass

Summary:

Priced at under $350, the Mares Smart offers enough features to make it a great buy at this price point. It may be considered as an entry level dive computer due to the innocuous appearance and lack of a colored display. But it packs a punch with its features and is even used by professional divers.

Conclusion

We hope you enjoyed browsing through our list of the best dive computers. We have tried to include a few entry level models, something mid-range and of course, something for the serious guys to play with. Always do your research and make an informed decision.

If you are just starting to scuba dive then you want to check out our guide to find the best dive computer for beginners.​

The Best Scuba Dive Lights of 2018

The importance of a good scuba light can't be overstated. Unless you're swimming in a crystal clear lagoon things are going to get pretty dark quite quickly.

Chances are good that you already know that. Some of you may not. Either way, everyone needs a solid list of the best scuba dive lights.

What Makes These The Best Scuba Dive Lights?

"Best" being a subjective term, it's important that the context is established. There are a number of factors that must be considered, but some factors are more important than others.

Power Levels

This is perhaps the most important factor since it directly affects battery power. It also affects how much control you have over the light output. These two factors combined are the infrastructure from which all other considerations are built.

A light that's easy to hold with strong light output may sound great, but if it's a steady output then it's too bright for higher depths and a constant drain on the battery. Meanwhile, people are often willing to deal with an awkward tool if they know it's dependable.

What To Look For In Power Levels

While it may seem as if you want as many options as possible, that's not necessarily true.

That being the case, consider what you need the light for. Is it a primary light or a backup light? How often do you dive? Do you have a rechargeable battery or not? These will all affect what power output you want.

In general, you'll want a light that hits between 500 to 1000 lumens, up to 1200 if you go into darker waters. However, there are a few caveats. If you dive in dark water with a high concentration of particles then higher lumens will cause reflections. This could compromise your ability to see. Realistically you'll only need one to two power settings, a high-power and a low-power setting.

Best Dive Light

Light Bulb Types

As a sub-section of Power Output, there are three types of light bulbs; halogen/xenon, LED, and HID.

Halogen/xenon light bulbs are the classic flashlight bulbs. They can produce powerful beams of light but they drain battery power quite quickly.

LEDs have become the standard battery these days. They're durable as well as energy efficient, and they don't corrode as quickly over time.

HID bulbs produce light that's twice as bright as LEDs and use only half the battery power. As you might suspect, these lights are rather expensive.

Beam Shape and Size

This is probably the second most important factor. Once you allow for power levels (and therefore the light output) then the size and shape of the beam is the next step in functionality.

Just like with power output you're going to want multiple settings. A narrow beam is great when you want to target a smaller area, a wider beam spreads over a wider area. So you'll obviously want at least two. However, you may not know that beam sizes can be much more versatile.

As an example, you may want to pinpoint an area further away. You want a beam wide enough to circle the area, but not so wide the light diffuses. You've no doubt used flashlights before, so the scenario is easy to imagine. That's a third setting you might want.

Again, what you consider the best scuba dive lights will rely quite heavily on what you need. Are you looking for a primary scuba dive light or a backup one? You've likely already answered those questions, so there's no need to go over them again.

Overall Ease of Use

Much like the word "best", ease of use is often subjective. However, there are several things that make a scuba dive light objectively easier to use even if you don't mind using one without those features.

A pistol grip is a great feature on any scuba dive light that gets regular use. It's the most functional hand-grip for the human hand and allows for ease of movement. A softer pistol grip is always better, but some people do prefer plastic molded around the natural shape of the fingers.

A holster or clip also makes a dive light objectively easier to use. When you don't want to carry it, you want it to be easy to set down. Being able to clip it to your belt, your tank, or simply holster it means you can free your hands without worrying about losing your light.

Durable casing not only makes a dive light easier to use, but it's mandatory if you dive on a regular basis. A person who makes regular dives simply can't afford to have fragile equipment, not unless they want to buy a new light every other dive!

Other factors may influence a person's ultimate choice, but these are the most important. In general, you want rechargeable batteries, 2 to 5 power settings, and 3 to 5 beam settings.

The Five Best Scuba Dive Lights

The Light and Motion Sola Dive Light 1200

The diving weight of this light is low (clocking in at only 285 grams), and it also features two highly illuminating light modes. The first is a 500-lumen spot mode for lighting up a specific area of focus. For a broader reach, this light also offered a 1200 lumen flood light for a larger view of what’s in the dark parts of the water. This is incredibly powerful, so keep in mind the problems with particle-ridden waters.

This light does have some downsides though. The big one is that Light and Motion uses propriety technology in its batteries. While the battery is a lithium-ion device that can be recharged by plugging it into a wall outlet as readily as a smartphone if these batteries sustain any damage, one will need to return the product to Sola. 

Unfortunately, it has only two light settings, bright and even brighter. Great if you dive in dark waters, not so great otherwise. While the batteries are rechargeable, you'll have to recharge them often.

Scubapro Nova Dive Light 700R

This dive light from Scubapro is a more minimalist light. The product is fairly lightweight with an aluminum casing for durability. It features a 700 lumen light that is fairly bright even in the darker regions of the waters, and can definitely handle enough water pressure to survive medium depth dives.

Let's talk about downsides first. It only has one light beam setting. The batteries are rechargeable, or rather the battery is. One battery, singular. Which is sold separately. You also have to buy the recharge kit separately. This adds to the price, so keep that in mind.

The upside is a feature that keeps the light on but lowers the power output of the battery. This means you can extend battery life when you don't need the full brightness, which is essentially a second power setting. This makes it a great backup light if you're a casual diver, but if you're a serious diver looking for a dedicated light then this one probably isn't for you.

ORCATORCH D520 Diving Flashlight

The light is a 1000 lumens diving light, which means you probably shouldn't even consider it if you're not deep-sea diving. The light can handle trips downwards of 150 meters, however, which means if you're using this light to full capacity then the 1000 lumens is more reasonable. The light's on/off switch is used by twisting the front rather than hitting a switch. This does mean you'll be less likely to accidentally turn it on or off.

The first disadvantage is that the light has a hard time piercing murk and dusk underwater. It's hard to overemphasize how much worse visibility becomes with a bright light in murky water. Cold water also puts it at a disadvantage since it makes the twist on/off switch more difficult to use.  Given the fact it's being billed as a deep-water light that does lower its functionality.

All that said, ORCATORCH lists this light as a backup light. Given that fact, it's hard to get upset that it doesn't work as a primary light. Either way, it's a durable light that works great as a backup.

BlueFire 1000LM XML-L2

The 1000 lumen flashlight can reach up to 100 meters, though as always murky water makes it tougher. Intended for up to 150 meters deep and fishing work, the XML-2 is focused mostly on casual divers. It draws its power from a 18650 battery that isn’t included but can be easily found elsewhere. The light does, however, make the best use of its battery power. Even beneath the water at 90 feet, the battery stays active for an hour.

It also offers three different beam settings; bright, dim, and strobe. Bright and dim are obvious, but the strobe light can be quite useful for scaring off sea creatures. If you do a lot of diving with critters, it might be a good idea.

The major disadvantage of this light is that it won't hold up in salt water. In point of fact, the light is somewhat fragile in general. If you get sand in the on/off switch it can get stuck, and the battery must be removed if it doesn't see use for a while.

Still, as a freshwater work-light, this might be the light for you.

Underwater Kinetics C8 eLED

Possibly the second most advanced dive flashlight on the list, the C8  features an unusual pistol grip hold. Plenty of lights have one, but the C8 extends the similarities to a pistol by placing the switch to turn the light on like it was a gun trigger.

The dual power light has high and low settings, with the high mode providing 1200 lumens. The low mode produces 560 lumens but lasts for upwards of five hours. A focused flashlight, 90 percent of this torch’s light appears in the center of the light beam for maximum visibility, albeit in a smaller place.

Of course, with a focused level of light, this does mean that the C8 is a poor floodlight. The dual-light settings address battery power, but the battery is built in. This makes the light weigh less but renders it non-functional should the battery break for some reason.

Even so, this is another scuba dive light that may be great for professional work purposes.

Which is Best?

So which of these lights are the best? As you can see, the answer to that question has much to do with what you need. So do you need a brighter light or is a dimmer light acceptable? How durable do you really need?

For a powerful light with a solid battery life, you probably want the Sola Dive Light 1200. The proprietary battery is annoying but there are few complaints about it. For a light for freshwater work purposes, you probably want the BlueFire XML-L2.

And for all-around backup light, the ORCATORCH D520 is almost certainly the way you should go.

What about if you're a dedicated diver who needs a solid primary light? Then you almost certainly want the Underwater Kinetics C8 eLED. Yes, the fact that the battery is built-in makes it a little bit more fragile. However, the pistol grip makes it incredibly easy to use and the batteries last up to 10 years.

Whichever one you choose, take note of the fact that these lights all have some aspect of the best things to look for. Most of them have multiple power settings as well as beam types. They all have rechargeable batteries.

If there has to be one "clear winner", the ORCATORCH D520 is probably the answer. It's strong enough to use as a primary light if needed and is rather durable even with the on/off switch issue. Still, "clear winner" is as subjective as "best", so it really comes down to what you want and need.

Cressi Goa Dive Computer Review

Cressi introduced the new Goa dive computer earlier this year. It’s a wrist watch sized device that comes packed with functionality.

It’s not available yet in the US so we evaluated the technical specs as they are available at this time. Based on that information it seems like you’re looking at similar features as in a Cressi Leonardo that is sized as a watch that you can wear every day.

Review Summary of the Cressi Goa Dive Computer

Experience Level

For the beginner and recreational diver.

STYLE

Wrist watch sized to be worn every day.

Ease of Use

Simple two button navigation allowing quick menu access.

Price Level

Reasonably priced for the features it offers.

We Like

  • Can be worn as a day-to-day watch
  • Large numbers on display for quick reading
  • Large number of dive modes
  • Can be completely reset

We Don't Like

  • No air integration capability
  • No built-in digital compass

Summary:

​The Cressi Goa is a very compact scuba wrist computer where most of the features match the Leonardo. You’re ​looking at a great dive computer for beginners and recreational divers. Many divers never require the missing features like air integration or a compass and as such this might just end up being the only one you ever get.

Cressi Goa Dive Computer Black and Blue

The Cressi Goa is available in a number of color combinations: black, black/grey, black/blue, white/pink and white/grey. You'll be able to find a stylish color combo that you can wear every day.




Capabilities

The Cressi Goa supports the following dive modes:

  • Air
  • Nitrox
  • Gauge
  • Free Dive
  • Off Mode
Cressi Goa Scuba Computer White and Pink

The Cressi Goa has a diameter of only 48 mm making it a great size to use and wear as an everyday watch. It features a high contrast display with large numbers to make it easy to read under any circumstance.

As you would expect, the display is backlit for dark environments. The time can display in 12/24 time format and it has a calendar function.

Navigation on the Goa is managed through two buttons on the side. The navigation is easy and straightforward.

The Goa offers a number of alarms that are both visual as also audible:

  • ​Breach of ascent speed
  • Decompression ceiling violation
  • pO2 limit violation
  • Low battery

A great feature included in the Goa, similar to the Leonardo, is that the computer can be completely reset. This makes it a perfect device for dive shops as they are able to perform the reset between different divers. At that moment no dive history is in the memory anymore and the calculations for decompression, etc. start from zero.

Technical Capabilities

The Cressi Goa can handle Air and Nitrox diving. You can switch between nitrox and air during desaturation.

The operational max. depth is 120 meters/393 feet. Additionally, the Goa provides altitude adjustments. It also includes no fly time calculations as well as a surf time and a desaturation calculator.

The algorithm used is Cressi’s RGBM. It can be adjusted for different conservatism settings. Cressi’s algorithm has a long history and is proven to be safe and sound.

Dive Log and Connectivity

The dive log is reasonably large. You can keep dive data for the last 50 dives for each category. So, you can save 50 air dives, 50 nitrox dives, etc. That’s plenty of capacity to store data on the dive computer itself.

Missing Functionality

If you are a beginner or a recreational diver without the need for multiple gases then this could very well be the dive computer for you. If you are already considering switching to technical diving then this will not be the right device for you.

It’s not to be expected to have air integration for a dive computer in this category. It is also not necessary to have it. It’s pushing the price point up a lot to have wireless air integration and it quickly becomes uneconomical for most divers.

A built-in compass is also a nice-to-have feature that is missing. However, assuming you have a console with a compass and a pressure gauge does already take care of both of the missing features for the Cressi Goa.

Features/Specifications

  • Two button navigation
  • Air/Nitrox capable
  • Five different dive modes (air, nitrox, gauge, free diving, off)
  • Cressi RGBM algorithm with adjustments for additional conservatism settings
  • Maximum operational depth of 120 meters/393 feet
  • Cressi RGBM algorithm based on a modified Haldne and Wienke model
  • Maximum depth display to 120 meters/393 feet
  • Data displayed in either metric or imperial units
  • Dive log of up to 50 dives for each mode
  • You can change the battery yourself
Cessi Goa Dive Computer Black

Pros and Cons

The Goa does have the features you’d expect from a recreational dive computer. Judging the features based on the Leonardo, you’ll be able to get a great dive computer for the money. In the case of the Goa you even get more features in a smaller package for some more money.

Pros

  • Simple dual button navigation
  • Small size, can be worn as a daily watch
  • Cressi RGBM algorithm with conservatism settings
  • Different Dive Modes(air, nitrox, gauge, freediving and off)
  • Complete reset capability

Cons

  • No air integration
  • No compass

​The features match at least the functionality that the Leonardo provides. This alone ensures that ​you get a great dive computer. The couple of missing features are nothing you'll be missing in a scuba computer in that price range.

Where to Buy?

The Goa ​is available for purchase online. As with any purchases you will usually find that Amazon is one of the best places to get any of your dive gear including the Cressi Goa​. In addition to the best pricing you also typically have the widest selection of different colors on there.

Another advantage of Amazon is that you can get free two-day shipping if you are a Prime member. It’s also easy to return or exchange products if they’re not what you expected or if they’re not working.

Cressi Goa Dive Computer White and Grey

Comparing the Cressi Goa

The comparison chart below shows the differences between the Cressi Goa, the Cressi Giotto and the Suunto Zoop Novo.

Suunto Zoop Novo

Cressi Goa

Cressi Giotto

Suunto Zoop Novo
Cressi Goa Wrist Computer Black and Grey
Cressi Giotto Dive Computer black-yellow

Max. Depth

80 m / 262 ft

120 m / 394 ft

120 m / 394 ft

Nitrox Capable

Free Dive Mode

Gas Mixes

1 gas

(Oxygen 21 - 50%)

1 gas

(Oxygen 21 - 50%)

  2 gases

(Oxygen 21 - 50%)

Connectivity

USB

Special Adapter

USB

Compass

Bezel

Composite

Stainless steel

Composite

Case

Composite

Composite

Composite

Log Size

~ 140 hrs

~ 50 dives

~ 70 hrs

Visual Alarms

Audible Alarms

Battery Life (Avg)

1.5 years avg

2 years avg

1.5 years avg

Conclusion

​The Cressi Goa ​is a dive computer with more features than the Leonardo yet all packed into a smaller package makes us believe that it’​s a great device to have. Based on the technical data you can expect a lot of functionality in a small device for a great price. ​

Whom is the CRESSI Goa not for?

​If you are into technical diving then you will need features that the Goa doesn't offer. You might want to consider looking at the Suunto Vyper Novo in that case as a great choice.

GoPro Mount for the Tribord/Subea Easybreath

The Tribord Easybreath was the first full-face snorkel mask. It undoubtedly even today is the best one you can get.

Yet, there was one little flaw with this mask. You couldn’t get a mount for your GoPro. Using a GoPro on your snorkeling excursions allows you to capture the amazing world under water to watch with friends, post on YouTube and so on.

When snorkeling it is most convenient to be able to mount the GoPro camera directly to the mask so you can keep your hands free. Many, if not most, full-face snorkel masks have at least an optional mount for your GoPro camera.

Clipping it on

One of the few exceptions was the Tribord Easybreath. This has finally been resolved with the optional GoPro mount that you can get for this snorkel mask.

The mount conveniently clips onto the base of the snorkel and then positions the video camera on top of the mask. The engineers designed it cleverly so the camera always stays in water while your head is submerged. This guarantees that you capture the same view that you see out of the mask.

The mount simply clips onto the base of the snorkel. It sits secure and won’t simply fall off by accident. You can rest assured that your camera is safe and won’t get lost. That might not be true for third-party mounts or mounts you built yourself.

Adjust the Angle

Another great feature of the mount is that you can adjust the angle so it can point farther up or down. This does allow to get a better view on what you see when you snorkel.

The mount does not only fit a GoPro camera, you can also attach a Decathlon G-Eye if you have one of those cameras instead. The designers made sure that the mount works for both types of cameras.

Removable Mount or not?

You might find people arguing that a removable mount is not as safe and good as a mount that is integrated into the mask. However, there’s one large advantage with a removable mount. That is that you can remove it when you don’t need it.

If you don’t own a camera and you’re not looking to get one for snorkeling then you won’t need the mount at all. You also don’t know what type of mount you might need for cameras coming out in the next few years. An integrated mount will always limit you to what currently is available. A removable mount might get updated to match new and different cameras.

If you want to capture your underwater adventures on video then the combination of the best full-face snorkel mask and your GoPro will be about the best combination you can find. The Tribord Easybreath was the best snorkel mask covering your whole face before and with the GoPro Mount it became even better!

A first look at the Dive Rite HP50 Lighting System

Dive Rite introduced a new lighting system, the HP50. It’s a modular system which can grow with your needs as a diver. While not cheap to begin with, it’s an outstandingly capable light system!

The first version of using the HP50 is to set it up as a regular hand-held scuba torch. But don’t be surprised when you switch it on and have a super-bright 3,500 lumens light! That’s by far more than what you usually have with a standard torch! In this hand-held configuration you can expect a burn time of 1.5 hours before your battery is empty.

If you are doing longer dives then instead of a standard torch configuration you can use battery packs which give you up to 6.5 hours of light before the pack is empty. There are two packs available that come in canister form. The Slimline provides enough power for 4.5 hours of burn time while the Expedition canister has enough power for a burn time of 6.5 hours at full brightness!

As a torch the light weighs 1.4 pounds. It measures 2 inches in diameter and 3.5 inches in length. The measurements and weight make it easy to handle and hold. The head can be paired with a standard metal Goodman handle. If you prefer otherwise, there’s also the option to use a soft hand mount.

The table below shows the detailed information for the three different variants of the HP50 lighting system by Dive Rite:

​HP50 Handheld Torch

HP50 Handheld Dive Torch

​HP50 w/ Slimline Canister

HP50 Slimline Canister Dive Light

​HP50 w/ Expedition Canister

HP50 Expedition Canister Dive Light

​Burn time high/medium/low

1.5/3/30 hours

​3.25/6.5/​65 hours

​5/10/100 hours

​Size

​6.4 in long, 2.15 in diameter

​Light Head: 3.5 in long, 2 in diameter
Canister: 9 in high, 2.6 in diameter

​Light Head: 3.5 in long, 2 in diameter
Canister: 11 in high, 2.6 in diameter

​Weight

​1.4 lbs

​3.8 lbs

​4.1 lbs

Pricing is on the high side but you receive one of the brightest, if not the brightest torch light you can currently get. For dives in wrecks or caves this is a tremendous improvement compared to many other torches you can get!

You can find out more on Dive Rite’s website at https://www.diverite.com/hp50-light-system/!

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