Finding the Best Full Face Snorkel Mask for Kids – Reviews and Advice
Going on any sort of snorkeling trip you see more and more people use full-face snorkel masks.
The reasons for choosing a full-face snorkel mask are obvious. These full face snorkel masks are great for adults and kids as they make snorkeling so much more comfortable. Yet, there also have been safety concerns. Let’s shed some light on that and find the best full-face snorkel mask for kids.
- 1 Making Snorkeling easier than ever!
- 2 What about full-face snorkel masks for the children?
- 3 What about pricing though?
- 4 Right Sizing a full face mask for your kids
- 5 How do they stay dry inside?
- 6 What else to consider?
- 7 Are they safe for Children?
- 8 Does it make sense to buy a full-face snorkel mask for your child?
- 9 The Top Full-Face Snorkel Mask for Children
- 10 Which of these masks should you get for your child?
- 11 Frequently Asked Questions
But, these full-face snorkel masks are not only great for adults. They make snorkeling a lot more enjoyable for children too. We all try to protect our kids so check out our thoughts on what you have to consider before you buy such snorkeling goggles. We picked a number of full face snorkeling masks for kids that are high-quality and safe and won’t break the bank!
Making Snorkeling easier than ever!
A kid’s full face mask makes breathing a lot more convenient and easier. A good mask will also be fog-free, and you don’t have to deal with visibility issues.
Moreover, you also have a superior view when your child is using such a kid’s full face snorkel mask as she’s getting a 180-degree view. Any of the higher quality masks also come with a dry snorkel which prevents water from entering the mask through the snorkel when using it as designed. More about that later…
The most important factor is that you can breathe through your mouth and nose which makes snorkeling a lot more convenient and simpler. With traditional masks you had and have to deal with the mask which covers your eyes and nose and then the snorkel which you use through a mouthpiece. This way you can breathe through your mouth but not your nose. This is way less comfortable and convenient when you compare it to a full-face mask.
In a rush? Check out the list of masks we think are the best for children:
- Wildhorn Outfitters SeaView 180 Degree (comes in XS and S sizes)
- Subea/Tribord EasyBreath (comes in S size)
- Ocean Reef Aria (comes in XS and S sizes)
What about full-face snorkel masks for the children?
You’ll see many adults using a full-face snorkel mask but what about children? Having all these advantages over traditional masks should certainly make these masks perfect for use with children.
Yet, there are some differences to consider. First and foremost, the heads of children are smaller. Looking at a full-face snorkel mask you can easily see that the mask has to sit tight over your face. A smaller face will be harder to fit if there are not special sizes available.
What about pricing though?
Children grow practically by the minute. Many people do not like the thought of having to pay a lot for anything kid-related that they will grow out of within the blink of an eye.
This won’t necessarily be the case with a full-face snorkel mask. While you certainly have to make sure to get the correct size, it’s usually taking a while before one would grow out of a full-face snorkel mask that fits small faces great today.
Newer masks enter the market all the time and they have come down in price a lot since their introduction. The flipside is that many of the masks you can find that are on the lower spectrum of the price range are not of the best quality. This can and will negatively impact the experience your kids will have.
The high-quality children’s full-face snorkel masks are overall barely more expensive than a good traditional mask with a dry-top snorkel. Yet, compared to the traditional setup your kids will definitely enjoy a full face mask a lot more. Getting them excited about snorkeling and making it a fantastic family activity should not be something you want to risk for saving a few bucks by buying a cheap mask.
Looking for cheaper alternatives?
If the price of a regular high-quality kid’s full-face mask is too high, then do not go for a cheap knock-off. The quality of these cheap masks is simply not there. The materials used are often very cheap and often the design does not take CO2 buildup inside the mask into consideration.
Using these cheap masks a few times might result in you throwing them away because they don’t work or they did break after using them just a few times. The high-quality masks we highlight below are great and are not that much more expensive than the cheap versions.
If you truly cannot afford to purchase one of the top-contenders in the full-face snorkel masks then have a look to find a model from the previous year. They are pretty much as good but might have a few cosmetic or minor design changes. Yet, they will be cheaper while you won’t have to compromise on quality!
Right Sizing a full face mask for your kids
Sizing a full-face mask is straightforward. You measure the distance from the bridge of the nose to the chin while the mouth is closed. That distance will decide which size of the mask to get.
Manufacturers that have specific children sizes will use the same type of measurement. Something you do not want to do is to get a size larger in the hopes that the mask will fit your child longer.
What will most likely happen is that the mask won’t fit as it should, and it will not keep the water out. The water will get into the mask and your child will not enjoy the experience for a minute. In the end the money you saved will have the potential to ruin the experience for them!
How do they stay dry inside?
There’s a combination of things that make such a kid’s full-face snorkel mask stay dry inside. First, it’s using the right size as pointed out above. Most people including children using these masks and getting water inside have an ill-fitting mask. The goggles for kids need to be a snorkel mask for small faces.
The skirt of the top full-face snorkel masks for kids is made from soft hypoallergenic silicone (in most cases) that will sit tight against your skin. This seal prevents water from getting into the mask. If the size is wrong, then there’s often a gap in this connection, and water comes in.
Another common reason for water to get in is if a strand of hair comes between the mask skirt and your skin. This will break the seal in tiny areas and water will get into the mask. Usually, you will end up with a few drops of water so it’s not like the water will be gushing in.
A dry-top snorkel has a floating device in the tip. This float, usually in the shape of a ball, closes the snorkel when it dips under water. It also prevents waves from letting water in.
These dry-top snorkels do work to some extent. If your kid tries to dive straight down then the angle of the snorkel changes and the float often won’t work.
The result is that there is water coming into the mask during such an activity. If the kid is diving underwater and keeping a similar position as during snorkeling, then the dry-top snorkel of these full-face masks will keep the water out.
The snorkel tube is an integral part of these kid’s full face snorkel masks and the design is such that it sticks out of the water pretty straight when snorkeling.
Within a certain range of positioning the snorkel in any direction, it will work fine to keep the water out. However, diving straight down puts the snorkel parallel to the surface and the technology to keep the water out will fail at that moment.
There will be situations where smaller amounts of water enter the mask through the snorkel or otherwise. All of the high-end and high-quality full-face snorkel masks have a purge valve in the chin area. This valve allows to get rid of the water inside the mask without having to take the mask off.
In many cases you simply have to have your child stick her head out of the water and bend it back a little. That will open the valve and drain the water from the mask.
What else to consider?
A big difference between cheap full-face masks and higher end full-face masks is the level of distortion in the viewing area. That mostly depends on whether the viewing section of the mask is curved or flat. A flat section reduces distortion and provides a clearer view and image.
Curved Lens or Flat Lens?
A rounded visor will create some distortion but the view on the sides will be better as you won’t have sharp angles in the field of vision. However, the distortion can make some people dizzy and force them to stop snorkeling at least for a while.
The high-end masks do all come with a flat lens when you look out front. The minimal reduction in visibility to the sides is a small price to pay for being able to see clearly and without getting dizzy.
Transparent Breathing Chamber
A minor other difference between the different full-face masks is whether the mouth/nose chamber is made with nearly transparent material or not. Theoretically, you get a little more peripheral field of view if the material is transparent or close to being transparent.
In our opinion, it’s not that important as you usually will have swam right across the area that is now going out of your peripheral view and as such you usually will not concentrate on that area any longer.
Are they safe for Children?
With regards to safety there’s no difference between a traditional mask and a full-face mask. With the ability to breathe naturally the chance of an accident is smaller in our opinion.
If there is something unforeseen happening, then being able to breathe like above water can be a tremendous calming factor. If your child usually breathes through the nose, then a traditional mask can cause panic as there is no ability to breathe through the nose.
Large Field of View
Another safety related advantage is that the field of view of the full-face mask is larger than that of most traditional masks.
This can be a safety advantage as it does improve peripheral vision. That way an object that is out of the field of vision with a traditional mask can be seen with a full-face mask and a potentially harmful situation can be avoided.
The flipside is that many of the cheap full-face snorkeling masks are made with cheap and low-quality material. If you buy any of the listed full-face masks below then you can be assured that high-quality components and design are used.
You might think that whether using a high-grade silicone skirt or a lower quality doesn’t have an effect on safety. And that can be true. But the low-quality material on the visor/lens does certainly have a huge influence on the overall safety.
Shatter-proof Polycarbonate for the Lens!
High-quality full-face snorkeling masks use shatter-proof polycarbonate. In the case of a heavy impact, the lens will not break into small pieces that can cut into the skin or even the eyes.
This might not be the case for the cheap full-face masks where cheap plastics are used everywhere. In our opinion, it’s not worth saving a few bucks while increasing the chances of a serious injury in the (ultra-rare) case of an accident!
Most safety-related issues during snorkeling and swimming come from other factors than the full-face masks anyway. The best safety advice that can be given is that you as the parent watch and supervise your children anytime they go into the water whether it’s for snorkeling or just to take a swim!
Does it make sense to buy a full-face snorkel mask for your child?
There’s no straightforward answer. A full-face mask is the best choice if you and your children want to regularly go snorkeling.
They are way more convenient compared to traditional masks and take your family’s snorkeling experience to a completely new level. Breathing is easy and the visibility through the large lens is outstanding.
This makes snorkeling a whole lot more fun, especially for children. Being able to see that much more through the 180-degree view allows them to really enjoy the wonders that lie under the water surface.
The other advantages are that these full-face snorkel masks provide a variety of adjustments through straps to ensure that it sits tight and comfortably.
A side effect of such a good fit is that there’s no water getting into the mask. Yet, if there is then it’s easy to use the purge mechanism to get rid of the water.
Avoiding Jaw-Fatigue with Full-Face Snorkeling Masks
Another big advantage for both kids and adults is that there’s no mouthpiece in those snorkeling masks. A traditional snorkel tube ends in such a mouthpiece and you or your child have to bite down on it. After a while, her jaws will get tired and the whole experience stops being fun and pleasant.
A full-face mask does not require any mouthpiece and there’s no jaw fatigue coming through it. Your child can snorkel for longer times and enjoy the experience a lot more!
The Top Full-Face Snorkel Mask for Children
Depending on your children’s age and size you definitely want to look for full-face snorkel masks that are available in XS or S sizes. All of the high-quality brands have at least an S-size and some do have full-face snorkel masks in XS specifically for children.
Buying online through a trusted retailer like Amazon will make it easy to get such a mask and knowing that you can return it in the worst case that it is not fitting. Yet, using the measurement technique mentioned above should allow you to find the right sized mask for your kid.
Interesting enough, all of the full-face snorkel masks we suggest you get are the same brands we suggest in our whole-face snorkel masks guide. The truth is that you won’t go wrong with any of these full-face snorkeling masks we showcase in more detail below.
Top-Rated Full-Face Snorkel Masks for Kids
The recommended full-face snorkel masks for children in our opinion are:
- Wildhorn Outfitters SeaView 180 Degree (comes in XS and S sizes)
- Subea/Tribord EasyBreath (comes in S size)
- Ocean Reef Aria (comes in XS and S sizes)
These three full-face snorkel masks are overall the best masks you can get whether you’re an adult or a child. The SeaView 180 is the only one of the three that has a GoPro mount. Both the EasyBreath and the Aria have an optional GoPro mount that you can purchase separately.
Action Camera Mount
If your children are on the older side and can work with a GoPro (or compatible) camera then having the mount on the mask is great. It provides the same view and angle from the camera as your child has when snorkeling. The video can capture memories that last forever!
Using an optional mount does work well but it typically is not as good as a mount that is integrated with the mask. The reason is that the positioning is good but not as good as with the integrated mount.
These optional mounts slide over the snorkel and can obstruct the view on the top of the mask. The built-in GoPro mount of the SeaView 180 keeps the camera out of sight!
In the following you’ll find our rundown on the three full-face snorkel masks:
Wildhorn Outfitters SeaView 180-Degree Full Face Snorkeling Mask
Not too long ago Wildhorn Outfitters released the Seaview 180 Degree in the XS size for children. The mask is one of the top-rated ones you can get for grown-ups and it’s a great addition that they brought out one that is specifically sized for children.
The Seaview 180 is constructed and built with quality in mind. It’s the only mask of the three shown here that has a built-in GoPro mount.
If you don’t use a GoPro camera then it’s a feature you don’t need but otherwise, it’s great to have that mount. You secure the camera to it and it’ll record everything your child sees. This can add so much more excitement to a snorkel trip!
The design of the mask is pretty much flawless. Breathing is easy and the chance of fogging up is close to not existing. The materials used in the Seaview 180 full-face snorkeling masks are of the highest quality and won’t wear out anytime soon.
The S/M and L/XL versions of the full-face snorkeling mask come in a variety of colors. The XS size for children and small faces is currently only available in one color combination of black and navy blue.
Subea/Tribord EasyBreath Snorkel Mask
The Tribord Easybreath is the original full face snorkel mask. For years it was and is the standard when it comes to children’s full-face snorkel masks.
Early 2017 and also in the years after the design was slightly changed and with that initial change, the branding changed from Tribord to Subea. This latest update also meant that many of the different sizes you could get with the older model are no longer available. On the positive side, the mask did get cheaper without loss of overall quality!
Unfortunately, the XS size of the mask is no longer available. The smallest size is the ‘S’. Based on Subea’s information the two full-face snorkeling mask sizes cover about 90% of people which includes children aged around 10 years and older.
If your kid is into using a GoPro camera then you can get an optional mount for the mask. This optional mount slides over the snorkel and does make sure that the camera stays in place. The positioning of the video camera is not as optimal as with the SeaView 180 that you can see above.
Besides this one criticism, the mask is pretty much the best you can get. The measures built in to prevent fogging are best in class. The overall quality and the fit are also hard if at all to be beaten.
The Easybreath comes in a large number of different colors. Most sizes are available in both sizes. At times you can also find special editions of the mask with completely different colors or prints to make them more unique!
Ocean Reef Aria Snorkel Mask
Ocean Reef makes a variety of snorkel and scuba gear. The Ocean Reef Aria mask is their contender in the full face snorkel mask area and it’s overall a great mask.
It comes in four different sizes including an XS size for children. Not all color combinations can be had in all different sizes though!
The Ocean Reef Aria full-face snorkeling mask is built with top of the line materials and will last for a long time. One of the more unique features of the mask is that the area covering your mouth and nose is made from semi-transparent material. This can allow a slightly better view if you look down.
The Ocean Reef Aria snorkeling mask does not have a built-in GoPro mount but you can purchase an action-camera mount as an accessory. The optional mount snaps over the snorkel and positions the video camera reasonably well. The position is not as good as on the Seaview 180 but slightly better than on the Easybreath.
Another great (optional) feature of the Aria mask is that you can get an accessory that supports eye glasses in the mask. As you can imagine, using glasses with any snorkel or scuba mask is a challenge as the temples of the frame (the parts going to your ears) disturb the seal between he mask and your face. This will lead to leaking!
A downside of the Aria is the price. It’s on the high end of the pricing range when you compare it to other full-face snorkeling masks. Overall, the high price is in our opinion not justified when you compare it to the other two full-face snorkeling masks listed above!
Besides the rather high price, the Aria is a great mask for both children and adults. We have an in-depth review that you should have a look at if you are interested in the Ocean Reef Aria: https://www.deepbluediving.org/ocean-reef-aria/
Which of these masks should you get for your child?
All of these full-face snorkeling masks are great. You can’t really go wrong. If your kid wears glasses then the Aria is the one to go with as you can get adapters for the glasses to wear while your kid snorkels.
Otherwise, pick the Wildhorn Outfitters Seaview 180 if your kid will go snorkeling with a GoPro camera s it has the mount integrated into the mask. Yet, even the Tribord Easybreath can be accessorized with a mount for an action camera so it does come down to your personal preference.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is a full face snorkel mask better?
There’s no doubt that using a full face snorkel mask is a great option if you want to go snorkeling with your kids. They make breathing easier than the traditional masks as you can breathe through your mouth or nose. Specifically for children this is great as it reduces anxiety and keeps them more relaxed and calmer in the water.
Larger Field of View
A second advantage is that you have a larger field of view. A traditional snorkeling mask will allow you to look straight out but on your sides, you will have the skirt of the snorkeling mask blocking your visibility. A full-face snorkeling mask provides you with 180-degree visibility which can reduce the feeling of panic in children and adults.
The only downside of these full-face snorkel masks is if you want to dive down. At that moment the larger volume of a full-face snorkeling mask can produce a lot more upward buoyancy and make it harder to dive down.
How do you measure for a full face snorkel mask?
Measuring for the right fit of a full-face snorkeling mask is very simple. You might need help from somebody or stand in front of a mirror to correctly do it.
Simply measure from the tip of your chin up to the bridge of the nose. That measurement is used to them find the correct size of a full-face snorkel mask.
If you have a full-face snorkeling mask that’s too large or small then it will not sit comfortably on your face. It’s also pretty much guaranteed that you will end up with water in your mask as you won’t achieve a watertight seal between the skirt and your skin.
How do you wash a full face snorkel mask?
Keeping full-face snorkel masks clean is the same as cleaning a traditional snorkel mask. You use a mild (dish) soap with a soft cloth. Wash and rinse the full-face snorkeling mask thoroughly with clean water and then let it dry in air.
Do not rub hard against the lens and also make sure to not dry it or keep it in sunlight. Direct sunlight can age the material of any such mask and reduce the lifetime significantly.
How do you keep a full face snorkel mask from fogging up?
One of the big advantages of high-quality full-face snorkeling masks is that they are specifically designed to be fog-free. However, there’s never a guarantee that you won’t end up with some light fogging.
Keep your full-face snorkeling mask clean
A few steps to prevent that is to first of all keep your mask clean. You can also use any of the available defogger sprays which work very well. You simply spray the anti-fog onto the inside of the visor and distribute it across the transparent polycarbonate.
Scrub the inside of the lens
Lastly, you can use the traditional methods of scrubbing the inside of the mask with toothpaste or spit. Apply the toothpaste with a brush and then wash it out with hot water.
If the fogging happens while you snorkel then simply spit into the mask and distribute the saliva. That will typically prevent any fogging for a while.
Why does my snorkel mask fill with water?
Whether you snorkel or dive, you might always end up with a little water in your mask. Most full-face snorkel masks come with a purge mechanism.
Get rid of water in your snorkel mask
If you have water in your full-face snorkeling mask you will usually have to lift your head out of the water and tilt back a little and the purge valve will open and any water will drain.
The right fit avoids leakage!
If you experience a lot of water constantly getting inside the mask then you most likely have a set of goggles that does not fit correctly. Make sure to use the right size for your face!
It can also be that you have a low-quality mask and the skirt surrounding the mask is made from cheap materials that do not provide a watertight seal.
We would in that case recommend spending a little more money on one of the higher-end full-face snorkel masks that we list above in order to have a delightful snorkeling experience.