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 2019. 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 are some factors you should consider before buying a scuba mask. These factors include:
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!
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…
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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 to all of those devices can make it a lot more comfortable to dive as it’s easier to access all those parts.
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!
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 buckle 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 others 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 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. 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.
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.
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.
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|
What Could Have Been Better
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.
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|
What Could Have Been Better
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 besides you. An excellent mask for diving and snorkeling in clear visibility.
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…|
What Could Have Been Better
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.
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|
What Could Have Been Better
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.
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 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 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 regularly dive in a variety of conditions|
What Could Have Been Better
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.
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 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||Excellent and affordable mask for beginners|
What Could Have Been Better
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.
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 under water. 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|
What Could Have Been Better
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.
The Cressi Big Eyes Evolution is precisely 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 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. 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 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|
What Could Have Been Better
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!
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|
What Could Have Been Better
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.
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|
What Could Have Been Better
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.
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.
Facial hair is often the cause for 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!
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.
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.
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 to clear out any water much, but it also can be an issue if you are claustrophobic in any way!
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.
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.
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.
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 its 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.
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 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.
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!
Full face diving masks have, until recently, been something that only commercial divers would use. They are becoming increasingly popular in the recreational diving space, however. Today, even casual divers can enjoy the comfort and convenience of diving with a full-face mask. Here is a quick look at some of the most popular consumer-grade full-face diving masks on the market today.
If you're in a rush then here's our list of top contenders when it comes to full-face scuba diving masks:
If you’ve never dived using a full face diving mask before then you may be wondering why you would want to do so. What are the differences between a full face and a standard mask? This video does a good job of explaining some of the differences:
Full face masks are more comfortable to wear, and they have a lot of benefits. Rather than having a dive mask that covers your eyes and your nose, and then also wearing a regulator in the mouth, a full face dive mask will combine those two elements. The regulator is integrated into the mask which means that the wearer doesn’t have to “hold it” in his mouth. This means that the diver can talk over a dive radio easily communicating with people on the surface. Equalizing pressure is easy, and the mask is generally more comfortable to wear.
There is less risk of losing the regulator while diving, and for people with dental issues, not having to hold the regulator in the mouth can be a huge relief. In addition, the mask can have a larger viewport offering near 180-degree vision, which means that the diver feels less confined when under-water. The same is true for full-face masks that are getting more and more popular for snorkelers.
There are some downsides. Full face masks are far less likely to flood, but when they do flood they are much harder to clear, and there is the risk that the flooding may reach the part of the mask where the regulator is, meaning that the diver cannot breathe. It is also harder to put the mask on correctly, and if it is ever dropped or lost then it is a critical issue. Losing a standard mask is not so much of a problem because the regulator is separate and most likely still in your mouth. In theory, you should still be tethered to a full-face mask, so it would be easy to find it underwater, but you will have to move quickly.
Many full-face scuba diving masks have additional features, such as diving lights and comms built in. Others can have them added relatively easily. If you are looking to add a diving light to your mask, then there are a few things that you should consider including the life expectancy of the lamps, the beam angle, the brightness output, and the color temperature. You may be inclined to think that "a light is a light" but the temperature of the light offered does make a difference to how clearly you can see, and can also affect how quickly your eyes get tired. When you are diving, your body is under enough stress already, without adding harsh light to the experience.
Ideally, you want a hands-free light for your visor, and then you may want to carry a secondary light if you are going to be working underwater. Visor lights for full face masks are not always designed to be a primary light. They are more of a safety feature that will help other divers to see you, and help you to orient yourself. Primary dive lights are useful for daytime and night-time dives in very deep water, and have incredibly powerful central beams. Visor lights tend to be less bright and less focused but this is by design. Very bright lights can cause a white-out. Think of how it looks when you have your lights on high in the fog. Primary dive lights have a focused central beam to prevent this.
When you’re choosing a dive mask, your first priority should be making sure that it fits well and is comfortable, and that it will work with the rest of your diving equipment. Everything else things like communications units and lights can come later.
It helps if you can try the face masks on before you buy them, but if you’re buying online, then read the descriptions carefully. Think about how each feature or specification item might affect you. Some full face masks, for example, are very heavy. You probably won’t notice the weight too much when you’re in the water, but lugging it around on land could be an issue. Pay attention to things such as the hose position, for example. A lot of divers like a second stage hose set up with the hose coming out of the right-hand side, but not all masks offer that. It would be frustrating to spend a lot of money on a dive mask only to find that the hose and regulator set up gets in the way in normal use.
The Ocean Reef Predator T Divers FFM is designed for use by technical divers, and is intended for those who dive in extreme conditions. The max is nitrox compatible up to 40%, which is classed as the recreational limit. This diving mask is suitable for use with glue-in corrective lenses for those who have vision issues. It is sold as one-size fits most (for medium to large faces, with a weight recommendation of 110lbs+) and comes with a surface air valve, but no quick connect/disconnect attachment.
This dive mask is well made, and the straps are easy to adjust. The 3-D equalization system promises to make it easier to clear the mask compared to other full-face designs. The directional exhaust valve is a nice touch, too, encouraging bubbles to flow away from the comms unit, and to keep your view un-obstructed. Purging the mask is done via an easy to access button, and the visor has a large visual field, with a visible light transfer of 92%, allowing you to see clearly even when deep under water. This particular model was designed by Ocean Reef in association with Team Blue Immersion Dahab,and combines the technical diving experience of Team Blue with the robust design and many years of equipment manufacturing experience of Ocean Reef, to produce a recreational dive mask suitable for diving in difficult conditions.
OTS are a well-known brand, and this is a diving mask with a good viewing angle thanks to having a visor that is low profile, offering improved visibility. The mask includes an ABV valve, something several others lack which helps to preserve air when the diver is on the surface. This full face mask helps to keep your face warm when diving in cold water, and allows divers to breathe through their nose, which helps to prevent dry throats during long dives. This mask is popular with smaller divers, and in particular women, who often find that other consumer-grade full face masks are too big for them. The double seal configuration ensures that both small and large divers can wear it comfortably, and the adjustable head straps support secure fitting.
The mask bag is designed to protect the mask at all times, and features large drain holes and a vent screen, ensuring that the mask dries out properly between dives. While this is sold as a recreational mask, it is often used by search and recovery teams and commercial drivers. The second stage regulator is easy to remove for maintenance and storage, and the mask itself is robust and well made, so divers can be confident that it will serve them well for numerous outings.
The ScubaPro Full Face Dive Mask is a lightweight full face mask which is designed with comfort in mind. It is useful for technical diving, caving, and diving in cold water. It features separate compartments for the nose and mouth, and easy to use adjustment buckles to keep the diving mask secure and comfortable at all times. It is easy to add an underwater communications system, and the snug two-compartment design makes this mask a popular choice for those diving in contaminated environments.
The design of the mask means that users cannot breathe through their nose, unlike with some other full-face masks. The trade-off here is that the mask is easier to equalize than the average full-face mask. This diving mask offers a good compromise between the comfort of a full-face design, and the ease of use of a standard mask.
This is a small and lightweight mask with a clear lens and a double seal that will fit most people whether they have a small or a large face. The mask is easy to equalize simply by pinching your nose, and it offers warmth and comfort in cool water. The regulator is not supplied, but the design should fit most full-face regulators.
This is an affordable full-face mask designed for recreational divers, and it is a good choice for those who are looking to test out the full face design for the first time. It holds a seal well and it allows you to talk to your partner under-water with ease. One downside of the mask is that you will need to stay on the air while wearing the mask; there is no surface valve supplied. For people who remove their mask and regulator while on the surface this may not be an issue. Overall, the mask is cost-effective, no frills, and suitable for most recreational divers.
The Ocean Reef G Divers Full Face Mask is a robust diving mask with a second stage regulator, a low-pressure hose, and a diver adjustable flow control knob. This large mask offers a good viewing area, and is a comfortable fit for most people. The head strap ensures that the pressure from the weight of the mask is distributed evenly, and there are six straps in the harness, which will keep the mask securely in place and ensure minimum movement. The visor is made of a transparent polycarbonate, and is designed to sit close to the face, and to offer good peripheral vision. The polycarbonate has a visible light transfer of 92%. The mask can be fitted with communication devices and is suitable for recreational use and for some commercial diving, however the manufacturer offers other commercial-grade masks for extreme conditions.
This is a positive pressure diving mask that is resistant to fogging, and that is easy to use. It is quite bulky and does require careful cleaning and maintenance, however the improved visibility and comfort under water makes it worth the choice.
So, which mask do we love the most? The OTS Guardian Full Face Mask is our winner, because it offers a good compromise between cost and features. It is a robust and well-made mask that will fit most people, and that offers good visibility in the water. The ABV valve is a welcome addition that even some of the more expensive masks in the list above lack, and the ability to breathe through your nose is something that divers will quickly come to appreciate once they have tried it for the first time.
There are other masks with more features, but it can be hard to justify the expense as a recreational diver. We believe that the OTS Guardian offers everything that most divers need, and is well worth the money. This mask is good for technical divers and recreational divers. It may not suit those diving in extreme conditions, but OTS produces commercial masks for that purpose.
You know the secret to a great underwater video with your GoPro camera? You use lens filters to improve the color in the video. And that’s not just a little improvement on the colors, it’s a dramatic change!
You probably wondered why the world under water doesn’t look the same for you as it does in some of the videos you see. The filters make the difference.
XS Scuba thought the same and they created the XS Scuba Switch Mask. You have the ability to drop filters in front of the lens of the mask. And you won’t believe what a difference these filters can make!
To optimize your viewing experience under water you do need various filters. Depending on the light conditions you have to enhance and filter certain colors.
Just have a look at the images below from XS Scuba. On the left you see the view without a filter and on the right with the red filter. The difference is truly astounding.
There are a number of different color filters that you can get with the Switch Mask. And each of those filters is used for a different condition.
You use the red filter to enhance the warm colors. These warm colors usually fade out when the sunlight penetrates the water. Scaling back the light that is not faded out brings the warm colors to the forefront.
The magenta filter should be used in green water. It performs color corrections and makes the overall colors around you more realistic and pleasant.
This filter improves the overall contrast under water. That’s specifically true in low light conditions like early morning or late in the afternoon. Everything around you will look brighter while you’re also able to see further due to the improved contrast.
The tinted filter works the same as it does on your sunglasses. It reduces the glare and filters out the bright sunlight. It also filters out the UVA and UVB rays. You best use this filter for surface swimming or for shallow dives when it’s really sunny.
This filter really only has limited use for training purposes. The filter blocks out all light which allows dive instructors to train divers for conditions with no visibility. Most people will never require to use that filter but if you are training divers then it’s a great thing to have!
This is the filter to use on a night dive. However, only in combination with a blue LED light. Take that to a reef and it turns alive with fluorescent colors all around you.
The XS Scuba Switch Mask is designed to have a slot in front of the clear lenses into which you can drop the different filters. There’s a locking mechanism that makes sure that the filter lens stays in place.
You can get a caddy for the different filter lenses so you can bring a bunch of them to a dive. The caddy conveniently straps to your forearm allowing you to quickly switch filters if needed.
This mask is not just a gimmicky cheap scuba mask with a bunch of color filters. It’s constructed with high quality materials as you’d expect from any top notch scuba mask.
It’s a low volume mask with two tempered glass lenses. They are made from clear glass for the best visibility available. The mask uses a frame which makes sense as it needs to have the ability to hold the filter lenses. The frame itself is made from high-quality, sturdy Polycarbonate. The filter lenses are made from the same long-lasting material.
The skirt is wide and made from hypo-allergenic silicone. It uses a double feather-edged sealing surface to provide a tight and waterproof seal with no leaks.
The strap is linked with quick connect, swivel design buckles. The ratcheting single-pull adjustments allow for easy and quick fitting.
If you envy the colors you see on many of the underwater videos then you clearly should try the XS Scuba Switch Mask. It’s made of high-quality, long-lasting components and it truly will allow you to see the world under water in a different light!
If you have a mustache then you certainly have wondered with the question on how to get a dive or snorkel mask to site tight without leaking. Which then leads to the next question of what the best scuba and snorkel mask is if you have a mustache. Is there one? What are the options?
The first option is that you shave. Simple as that… Problem solved… Just kidding. While this is a solution it’s most likely not the one you had in mind.
If you are snorkeling and have a mustache then you might be in luck. The newest innovation of full-face snorkel masks can provide a tight seal even if you have a mustache.
It might not or most likely will not create a tight seal if you have a full beard. But for a mustache you should be able to get a full seal as the mask is stretched over your whole face. The best choice that you can get for these masks is either the Seaview 180° or the Tribord Easybreath Snorkel Mask. In our Best Full-Face Snorkel Masks article we specifically highlight the Seaview 180 Degree Snorkel Mask and the Tribord Easybreath as our Editor Choices.
Both of these masks cover your face completely. As such, the mustache is not in the way at all and you get a tight seal around your face.
Some people use Vaseline on their mustache to get it smooth and to tighten it up. We do not recommend that solution as the Vaseline can interact with the silicone of the skirt and reduce the lifetime of your dive mask. You can get specialized products like Mustache Sealer to help with getting the seal between your mask and your mustache to be leak free. Feedback is overall positive but it’s not a bullet-proof solution.
A possible alternative is that you shave a small area right underneath your nose. This usually provides enough clear skin to get a tight seal between the mask and your face. The shaved area typically doesn’t have to be big and is often barely visible to others but it’s something you have to try to see whether it can work for you.
For scuba diving the answer is not as simple as a full face mask. Well, it can be when you look at masks with integrated regulators like the Ocean Reef Neptune Space G. divers mask or the OTS Guardian Full Face Scuba Mask. Both masks are full face scuba masks of highest quality with a 2nd stage regulator built-in. Reviews on both of these masks are incredibly positive so if you have a mustache and you want to go diving then these masks can be your best solution!
For both scuba diving and snorkeling the best solution seems to be to switch to full-face masks if you have a mustache. All other possible solutions have some success but mostly are not bullet-proof.
Full face masks will need some getting used to but they are overall very comfortable to wear. You have to get used to a different way to equalize. The scuba diving masks have a nose block feature for equalizing. In the case of the Ocean Reef mask you push the mask upwards which then blocks your nose and you can equalize. Slightly different than with a standard dive mask but it does work.
If you have a full beard you will most likely have a hard time getting a tight seal even with a full-face mask. You will have to test it out for yourself. Feedback on both the snorkel as well as the scuba full face masks is that it does work for some that have a full beard but not for everyone. In the worst case you might consider to shave your beard a little shorter as this can help tremendously to produce a tight seal.