Best Scuba Diving Mask Reviews – Editor’s Choices for 2020
Having your scuba diving mask is in our opinion essential if you dive regularly. 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 trip.
It makes a lot of sense to get your 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 ten scuba diving masks for 2020. 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.
- 1 Best Masks for Scuba Diving
- 2 Scuba Diving Mask Buyers Guide
- 2.1 Why do you need a mask in the first place?
- 2.2 Why do you need a nose pocket?
- 2.3 Why would you need lenses made from tempered glass?
- 2.4 Can you buy a mask online?
- 2.5 Does it have to be a Dive Mask?
- 2.6 Single, Dual or Multiple Lenses
- 2.7 The angle of the Lens
- 2.8 Field of View
- 2.9 Clear or Reflective Lenses?
- 2.10 Frame or Frameless
- 2.11 Adjustment Possibilities
- 2.12 Mask Skirt
- 2.13 Mask Volume
- 2.14 Overall Fit
- 2.15 Purge Valves
- 2.16 Preparing a new Mask, Maintenance Tips and Accessories
- 3 The 10 Best Scuba Masks in 2020
- 3.1 #1 – Scubapro Synergy2 Trufit – Best for the Regular Diver
- 3.2 #2 – Mares i3 Liquidskin – Best for Clear Visibility
- 3.3 #3 – Atomic Aquatics Venom – Best for the Semiprofessional
- 3.4 #4 – Mares X-VU LiquidSkin – Best All-Around Mask
- 3.5 #5 – ScubaPro Spectra Trufit – Best mid-range Mask
- 3.6 #6 – Cressi F1 – Best for Beginners
- 3.7 #7 – Aqua Lung Impression – Best Affordable Mask
- 3.8 #8 – Cressi Big Eyes Evolution – Best for Underwater Sightseeing
- 3.9 #9 – Octomask – Best for Underwater Video
- 3.10 #10 -Tusa M1001 Freedom HD – Largest Field of View
- 4 Questions you might have about Diving Masks:
- 4.1 My mask constantly leaks. What can I do to stop that?
- 4.2 I have a beard and I can’t get a tight seal. What can I do?
- 4.3 Is a transparent or colored skirt better?
- 4.4 Is it better to have silicone or neoprene straps?
- 4.5 Why should I pick a low volume mask?
- 4.6 What can you do when you have bad vision?
- 4.7 What can you do when your mask floods?
- 4.8 How can you prevent fogging?
- 4.9 Does Silicone stay in its shape or does it degrade over time?
- 4.10 Should you buy or rent a mask?
- 5 Conclusion
There are some 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
Let’s go over the essential features you should consider first. Then you can have a look at each of the masks we suggest to get and finally, we’ll answer a few questions you might have. If you want to jump to any of the different sections, then please use the Table of Contents above to get to the part you’re interested in quickly!
Best Masks for Scuba Diving
- Scubapro Synergy2 Trufit – Best for Regular Diver
- Mares i3 Liquidskin – Clearest View
- Atomic Aquatics Venom – Best for Semiprofessional
- Mares X-VU LiquidSkin – Best All-Around Mask
- ScubaPro Spectra Trufit – Best Mid-Range
- Cressi F1 – Best for Beginners
- Aqua Lung Impression – Best Affordable
- Cressi Big Eyes Evolution – Best for Underwater Sightseeing
- Octomask – Best for Underwater Video
- Tusa M1001 Freedom HD – Best for (Largest) Field of View
Scuba Diving Mask Buyers Guide
There are 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…
Why do you need a mask in the first place?
There are some factors to consider and several components that make up a scuba diving mask that you should be aware of. The first question you might wonder about is why you even need a dive mask. Couldn’t you open your eyes underwater?
The simple answer is that the human eye is incapable to focus underwater. Therefore, a mask keeps the water away from the eye and allows you to see clearly and focus while in water.
To keep water out and the air inside, the skirt of the mask has to sit tight against the skin on your face. This seal will prevent water from flowing into the mask and as such allowing you to see while you’re underwater.
Most high-quality masks have specifically designed skirts that tightly seal to your face. The materials used are made from hypoallergenic silicone. If you have an allergy to latex, then know that you are safe with such masks.
If you are looking to use these masks for snorkeling then it might be worth to have a look at specific snorkel masks that let you breathe through your mouth or nose. These also don’t have a mouthpiece to bite down on. Have a look here!
Why do you need a nose pocket?
While you dive into the depth of the water, you will need to equalize. The most common technique to do that is to blow into your nose while you hold it. A scuba diving mask, therefore, has a nose pocket that allows you to access your nose while you descent or ascent.
The nose pocket covers your nose and prevents water from getting into it while you dive. It also allows you to equalize the air trapped inside the mask.
This does tremendously improve the comfort of wearing the mask but is also a safety issue. Not being able to equalize the air inside the mask while you descent can prevent the mask from suctioning itself tightly and painfully to your face.
Another reason is that you can blow into the mask through your nose. Any water that found a way inside the mask can that way be purged.
Swim goggles leave your nose exposed and therefore are not a good choice for scuba diving. They are designed for lap swimming and not for diving or snorkeling.
Why would you need lenses made from tempered glass?
Another issue with goggles as well as with cheap dive masks is that the lens is not made from tempered glass. They are using plastic lenses which will most likely fog when you dive. In the worst case, they might even break with the pressure around you.
The last thing you want is a lens made from regular glass or plastic that breaks in the middle of a dive. The sharp fragments could produce some severe damage to your eyes!
Tempered glass is safe and won’t easily break. Even if it would break, it usually won’t fall apart so there wouldn’t be any sharp fragments to cut yourself with.
Another advantage of it is that it’s scratch resistant. This prolongs the lifetime of the mask as it otherwise could easily scratch while you transport it with other diving or snorkeling gear.
Can you buy a mask online?
You also might be wondering whether it’s a good idea to buy a dive mask online. The truth is that most masks will fit most divers. The skirts are soft and flexible and adjust to the shape and contours of the diver’s face.
That might not be true for cheap masks though. There you might end up with low-quality material components that will not easily mold to your face!
Does it have to be a Dive Mask?
When you start looking around, you’ll find masks for diving, spearfishing, freediving, and snorkeling, to name a few. To some degree, these masks are similar or even the same.
There are some subtle differences though. For example, a typical snorkel mask might use lesser-quality materials. You won’t dive down, and the pressure won’t build up around the mask, so there’s no need to go for more expensive top-notch components.
You most likely won’t have an issue using a scuba mask for snorkeling though. Or for most activities underwater. A good scuba mask will have a low volume to trap only the minimal amount of air. The reason for that is that a lot of air caught in the mask will impact your buoyancy and make it harder to dive down.
Single, Dual or Multiple Lenses
Historically dive masks had either one or two lenses. Two lenses result 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.
The angle of the Lens
Sometimes you can see old 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.
Field of View
The most important feature of a mask is that it lets you see underwater. A good mask will not only allow you to see straight out of the mask but give you some area up and down and left and right where you can look at your environment.
This is the field of view. It’s quite essential that you have a good look downwards. Why might you ask? Well, that’s where all your gear is.
All your gear and gauges are towards the bottom of your body. Having a clear view of all of those devices can make it a lot more comfortable to dive as it’s easier to access all those parts.
Clear or Reflective Lenses?
This is pretty easy. When you dive, it’s dark. There’s no sunlight when you go down and as such, there’s no good reason to have reflective lenses to reduce glare.
The primary concern of reflective lenses is safety-related. When you have an issue during your descent or ascent and others need to help you, then they can’t see your eyes if you have reflective lenses.
Your eyes are one of the first things your buddy or a rescuer will look for to see whether you’re in trouble, unconscious, etc. Reflective lenses prevent anyone from being able to see your eyes which makes it a huge safety concern. In short, stick with clear lenses and you end up safer!
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.
The downside of a frame can in some cases be that it is too bulky and gets in the way or your field of view. Some manufacturers try to overcome that by using clear silicone for the frame which allows you to be somewhat able to look through it.
There are a few masks out there that have frames that allow you to disassemble the mask. This provides you a great way to clean all components separately. It’s also an advantage when a single part breaks and you can replace it instead of having to buy a new mask.
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. They are also usually much lighter compared to masks with a frame.
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.
It is essential to be able to adjust the mask, so it fits your face and head. If every head were 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 adjusting 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.
There are undoubtedly different buckles and strap systems. Some are easy to pull and adjust and others not so much. Typically, buckles that are integrated into the skirt are overall more straightforward to handle.
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. It usually creates a more reliable and also more comfortable connection to your skin.
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.
Every manufacturer varies the silicone they use. Some use softer and other stiffer versions. Depending on the brand and quality the thickness of the silicone is also different.
Skirts come in different colors. Traditionally, the skirts were and often still are black. For some people, this can be a problem if they are claustrophobic. Black or otherwise dark skirts have an advantage as they block glare and reflecting lights.
Clear skirts let more light into the mask. This makes it feel airier for people that are claustrophobic. That additional light makes them a great choice in not-so-clear waters. On the other hand, they do let a lot of reflected light into the mask if you dive in clear waters and bright light which can quickly strain your eyes and merely be annoying.
The volume referred to is the amount of air being trapped within the mask. The less air, the better for diving.
A low volume mask has many advantages. First, they require less breath to clear if water gets into the mask.
The second advantage is that they produce less drag when diving. Also, as there’s less air they also have less of a buoyancy impact than a mask with a lot of air could have.
The lenses in a low volume mask sit closer to your eyes. This usually creates a larger field of view that allows you to take more images in.
Special freediving masks are designed to have extremely low volume. This reduces the amount of air even more and makes it easier to dive down. However, the closeness of the lenses and the skirt can make it a real problem for people that are claustrophobic.
Finding a mask that matches your head and face is crucial. 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 well-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. That is hands down the best method to figure out whether a mask fits or not.
Very few divers have continuous issues finding a mask that fits perfectly. However, most divers at some point will have a mask that leaks. Having a mask with a purge valve can be a good alternative for them.
It can also be a good idea to get such a mask if you cannot stand the thought of any water accidentally building up inside. The valve is usually located at the bottom of the nose pocket.
The valve is designed to drain any water building up inside the mask. Most masks with such a purge valve will allow getting rid of water with just a gentle blow through your nose.
You might think that this could be the solution to the problem of all ill-fitting masks. It’s unfortunately not. The disadvantage is that you have another component on your mask that can malfunction.
Any valve can quickly turn into an opening if a tiny piece of dirt gets lodged in it. If that happens, you end up with a leaky mask and if you can’t clear the debris from the valve you might have to purchase a new one.
You can clear a mask without a purge valve quite easily also. Hold the top of the mask against your forehead, tilt your head back a little and then strongly blow through your nose until the water is out of your mask.
Preparing a new Mask, Maintenance Tips and Accessories
Getting a new mask is exciting. Before the first use, you should prepare it to get the optimum performance from it.
Scrub it out with toothpaste, soft scrub, or whatever method the manufacturer recommends. This cleans off any residue from the manufacturing process which can fog up otherwise.
Use defogger on the lens(es) before each dive. This prevents or at least dramatically reduces any fog build-up while you’re underwater.
After each dive, you have to rinse your mask with fresh water. This will remove any residue building up from your last dive.
You also want to keep the mask out of the sun. The UV rays of the sun can break down the silicone and shorten the lifespan.
When storing the mask be careful to keep it in a well-ventilated space. Only save it when completely dry.
You also want to make sure that you keep it away from bugs. Some do eat silicone which, as you can imagine, is not a good thing!
When you get a new mask, specifically an expensive one, you might want to consider to keep a few accessories around. It’s always a good idea to get a case that is made for your mask. It will make it easier to travel and store.
Strap covers can also be a great idea. They are usually made from neoprene and will slide over the silicone straps. The advantages are that you can move them around easier even if you wear gloves. They also will no longer tangle and yank your hair making it much easier to put the mask on or off.
When you’re going on a trip with your mask, then you should consider bringing a set of extra straps with you. In case that one of your straps breaks you have a replacement with you instead of cutting your dive short.
The 10 Best Scuba Masks in 2020
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.
#1 – Scubapro Synergy2 Trufit – Best for the Regular Diver
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 fewer 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 traveling.
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 undoubtedly 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 not to 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|
- 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
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
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. Besides Mares employs the Tri-Comfort Technology which is a more elastic 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 significantly improve visibility. If you use the mask for snorkeling or merely 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 vast field of view|
|Lens||Three lenses overall|
- Panoramic views
- Comfortable wear
What Could Have Been Better
- Divers have reported that buckles can break
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 sea life and seascape underneath and beside you. An excellent mask for diving and snorkeling in clear visibility.
#3 – Atomic Aquatics Venom – Best for the Semiprofessional
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 fasteners 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 highest end mask there is…|
- 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.
There’s no denying it. The Atomic Aquatics Venom is the most expensive mask in our best of the 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 All-Around Mask
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 soft silicone that molds to your face providing exceptional 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 fasteners 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 equalizing pressure.
|Ideal for||Great all-around mask for the recreational diver|
- Very comfortable to wear
- A large field of view
What Could Have Been Better
- Straps and buckles could be of slightly higher quality and more sturdy.
The Mares X-VU LiquidSkin is a solid mask for a reasonable price. The LiquidSkin in combination with the Tri-Comfort technology makes this one of the most comfortable to wear masks.
#5 – ScubaPro Spectra Trufit – Best mid-range Mask
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 that adjust to nearly any size and shape of the face. This practically guarantees a superb fit for any form of the 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 a superb field of view specifically when you look down. The teardrop design of the lenses allows for excellent visibility of 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 the highest quality materials and build.
|Ideal for||Recreational divers that regularly dive in a variety of conditions|
- 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.
The Scubapro Spectra features Trufit which makes for a very comfortable fit. It’s an excellent 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
The Cressi F1 Frameless Mask is genuinely 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 underwater.
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||Excellent and affordable mask for beginners|
- Great quality for the price
- A large field of view
What Could Have Been Better
- Too tight against the face for some.
- Buckles and straps can break.
The Cressi F1 is an easy to use mask that offers excellent 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
The Aqua Lung Impression is another highly rated mask. It offers the 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 placing 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 underwater. The combination of the tempered glass with the closeness of them to the eye dramatically improves your ability to see underwater.
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|
- 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.
The Aqua Lung Impression is a great overall mask. It’s priced reasonably and offers excellent 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
The Cressi Big Eyes Evolution is precisely what the name says. It’s a mask with quite large lenses allowing great visibility underwater. The inverted teardrop shape of the lenses allows for a large field of view. In combination with the crystal clear glass, it will enable the maximum amount of light to penetrate.
Concerning 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 sea life 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 with the soft silicone will not leave any marks on your face even after prolonged use.
The buckles are mounted not directly onto the skirt but onto an elastic element on the vertical plane. Due to this design they 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 a 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 intended 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|
- A large field of view
- Can be fitted with prescription lenses
What Could Have Been Better
- Fogs easily due to relatively large build
The Cressi Big Eyes Evolution is an excellent mask for diving and snorkeling in clear water. The large lenses allow for a lot of light to penetrate and increase the field of view. All in all an excellent mask for underwater sightseeing!
#9 – Octomask – Best for Underwater Video
The Octomask is a unique 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 configurations, either with a single lens or with dual lenses. Both variants offer a full 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, 4, 5 and 6 models as well as smaller Session cameras. There are 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.
An elementary 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|
- Good quality and a good fit
- Built-in mount for GoPro camera
What Could Have Been Better
- Some complaints about a non-sufficient seal can be found.
The Octomask might not be the best scuba mask on the planet. It’s a good mask overall and the most significant advantage is that you can mount your GoPro camera right onto it. If you want to shoot video, then there’s no alternative if you’re going to keep your hands free.
#10 -Tusa M1001 Freedom HD – Largest Field of View
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 underwater!
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 made 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|
- Large lens
- A huge field of view
What Could Have Been Better
- Some rare complaints about fogging up.
The Tusa M1001 Freedom HD mask has a huge lens. It’s also a rather large mask overall fitting pretty much any size of a head. The visibility out of this mask is just amazing.
Questions you might have about Diving Masks:
My mask constantly leaks. What can I do to stop that?
There are many reasons why a mask might leak. One of the most common ones is that the straps on your mask are tightened too much. It might sound strange that you can prevent your mask from leaking by loosening the strap but when you think about it, it does make sense.
If your strap is too tight, it pulls the mask too hard against your face. This squeezes the skirt and prevents a tight seal.
The straps should only keep the mask from falling off your face. They are not there to make a seal. The seal is produced through the feathered edge of the skirt adhering to your skin.
If your mask leaks because the strap is too tight, then tightening it even more will result in even more leakage. When you end your dive and your mask and skirt leaves an indentation around your face, then you most likely had the strap too tight!
Many divers end up tightening the straps too much as a somewhat loose strap can move around when you enter the water. If that’s the case, then hold the strap on the back of your head when you go into the water to ensure it stays in place.
If your leakage is severe and not related to straps being too tight, then it might just not be the right fitting mask for you. In this case, you might have to invest in a new one that fits your face better.
I have a beard and I can’t get a tight seal. What can I do?
Facial hair is often the cause of a lot of headaches when it comes to getting a seal against your face. The hair will get caught between the skirt and the skin. Water can and will get into the mask this way.
There are some things you can do though. First, you can shave a small area of your face where the seal hits the skin to prevent any hair from being in the way in those areas.
Another possibility is to use silicone paste that you put on your beard hair. It’ll allow the skirt to produce a tighter seal against your skin and beard, but it usually is not a correctly working solution.
Some masks are better or worse if you have a beard. We have collected more information in our post on the best masks for snorkeling and scuba diving when you have a mustache!
Is a transparent or colored skirt better?
For the most part, that’s up to you and what you prefer. Both types work very well and have good and not so good features about them.
A transparent skirt can help if you have some level of claustrophobia. Being able to at least somewhat look through the skirt provides a more open feel and does increase your peripheral vision. This can be helpful in any case if you are in darker environments or murky water.
A colored, usually black, skirt, on the other hand, can help with reducing glare. If you dive a lot in shallow, sunny waters then the glare from the sunlight can get distracting and annoying. Most underwater photographers use a dark skirt to eliminate any glare while taking pictures.
Is it better to have silicone or neoprene straps?
Many, if not most masks come with silicone straps. If they are not wide enough then your hair may get tangled. They also can be problematic to adjust underwater if you’re wearing gloves.
Neoprene straps, on the other hand, are softer and more comfortable. They are easier to adjust underwater, and hair does not get tangled in them.
Why should I pick a low volume mask?
A low volume mask traps less air inside compared to one with a high volume. The air inside the mask will impact your buoyancy as it wants to drag you to the surface.
This might overall not have a significant impact on most recreational divers. It does become a real issue if you’re freediving.
That doesn’t mean that high volume masks are bad. They have one significant advantage. The larger volume variants provide a better peripheral vision and feel a little less cramping.
With a low-volume mask, you do have the lenses sitting very close to your eyes. That does allow you to clear out any water much, but it also can be an issue if you are claustrophobic in any way!
What can you do when you have bad vision?
Not surprisingly, a lot of divers wear eyeglasses. One thing they can’t do is wear their glasses with a scuba mask. You will not be able to get a seal between the mask and your skin over the frame.
Contrary to what you might expect, farsightedness is often less of a problem than nearsightedness. While nearsightedness prevents you from clearly seeing things in the distance which might often make your dive not very enjoyable, farsightedness prevents you from seeing things closeup in focus. This means that you might not be able to read your dive computer screen and other gauges.
If your prescription is not very strong, then you might be able to dive without any corrective measures. Otherwise, there are a few options you can look at.
Some divers use contacts instead of glasses. This does work for some folks while not for others. If that’s not working for you, then you can always have a look at dive masks with prescription lenses which can make a world of difference.
What can you do when your mask floods?
It is very rare that you would encounter a gear problem that leads to flooding of your mask. Smaller seal issues take usually care of themselves. The pressure of the air inside the mask pushes small amounts of water out if the seal is broken.
If your mask completely breaks and floods you would try to either use a replacement mask if you have one or to do a safe ascent. There’s usually no reason to panic.
If it’s just a temporary issue where water flooded your mask, then try to purge the mask first. You can only do that by looking up and then lift the bottom of the mask slightly and press the purge button of your regulator. That will usually allow air to get trapped inside your mask and push water out.
Alternatively, you can breathe out into your mask and purge the water that way. Neither of these methods is foolproof though. The worst that usually might happen is that you have to ascent to replace the mask.
How can you prevent fogging?
Fogging is another nuisance during diving. No matter what mask you use you will most likely experience it during some of your dives. The principles are similar to what happens if you wear glasses outside in the cold and you enter a warm room. They instantly fog up. The same occurs underwater when you transition between different temperature layers.
There are some possibilities to prevent it though. First, prepare your new mask as we have mentioned above. Use toothpaste to clean out the mask and then rinse with warm water. After that use defogging spray every time you go diving. That should usually help you avoid that your mask gets foggy during a dive.
Does Silicone stay in its shape or does it degrade over time?
A lot of components of diving masks are made from silicone. Usually, it’s the skirt and the straps that are made from this material. Some masks you can buy are quite expensive, so it’s more than reasonable to question how long your mask will last.
Silicone will usually not degrade or lose its softness or shape over time. Some situations can shorten the life of silicone though. First and foremost, UV rays will start to degrade silicone. Make sure that you don’t leave your mask baking in the sun while you’re on the beach or a boat. Store it in a dark place when not in use.
Another issue can be that you encounter bugs that like to chew and nibble on silicone. It’s rare, but it can happen. Again, you want to store your mask in a dark and dry place that is secure from outside elements and where insects cannot get to.
Lastly, do not store your mask when it’s wet. Let it dry thoroughly to prevent mold from growing in a steamy environment. That’s not a problem of the silicone, but a mold-infested mask might end up in the trash.
Should you buy or rent a mask?
There’s nothing wrong if you rent a mask or loan it from a friend. That is if it is the right size and fits your face. You also want a mask that is reasonably high quality and has no damages to it.
If you dive a lot, then it makes sense to buy your mask. If you only occasionally dive, like a couple of times a year during vacation, then it might be more convenient to rent. However, do not expect these masks to fit as well as your mask would!
The skirt over time will begin to shape into the form of your face slightly. If you use somebody else’s mask, you might have a harder time to get a tight seal. So, if you can afford one and if you will use it often enough, then it does make a lot of sense to purchase your mask.
You might or might not agree with our best-of list of scuba diving masks above. Everybody has different experiences and most important, everybody is an 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 the 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.
Nothing much changed since 2019. The masks that are top-rated are still the same.
We are constantly looking for new and improved masks to be introduced in the market that are worth to replace any of the masks in the list above. So far we haven’t come across any. Let’s see whether 2020 will bring such a new contender.
We checked the list from 2018 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 2019. If new and better masks hit the market during 2019 we will update our list accordingly. Until then, Happy Diving!