Picture this: you’re swimming underwater flanked on both sides with castles of corals. Fish scurry past you, some stop to stare at you out of curiosity. But this entire Disney moment is ruined because of water that has either started seeping into your mask, or is fogging up your incredible view. In order to make your scuba experience enjoyable, it is essential for you to choose the best scuba mask that fits you perfectly.
What to Look for in a Scuba Mask
If you’re a beginner, looking at the different types of masks available can be overwhelming, so I’m going to take you through the process step-by-step.
What Are the Core Features of the Mask that You Need to Consider?
Before you start testing out masks for their size and fit, it’s important for you to know which style works best for you:
Frameless vs. Framed Masks
Frameless masks don’t have a thick frame, which reduces the distance between your eyes and the lens. While this will increase the clarity of your vision in the water, the chances of your mask fogging up are higher.
The reverse is true for the framed masks. If you’re new to diving, I’d advise looking at the framed masks only since they’re more stable and you’ll feel more comfortable wearing it underwater.
There are some hybrid options available in the market - you’ll be able to get the best of both worlds with the lightness of the frameless masks combined with the stability of the framed ones.
Single Pane vs. Double Pane vs. Quad Pane Masks
Single lens masks feature a single lens that can increase your field of view. However, just keep in mind that single pane masks tend to be heavier than double pane masks.
Double pane masks are divided into two separate lenses, kind of like a pair of glasses. However, if you do decide to go with a double pane mask, make sure you don’t tighten your budget. Poorly designed double pane masks can obstruct your vision at the bridge of your nose.
For panoramic vision, you need a quad pane mask. In simple terms, it’s a double pane with two side panes that allow you to look in any direction without having to tilt your head around.
Choosing the Mask That Works for You
Remember, when you scuba dive, your mask will be subjected to an immense amount of water pressure (which will only increase as you go deeper into the water). Basically, don’t compromise on the mask quality. Here are a few deal breakers when you’re looking for the perfect scuba mask:
Glass Quality of the Lens
Tempered glass can withstand water pressure and is resistant to scratches and breaking. If the glass of the scuba mask you’re considering is not tempered, it’s out of the running instantly.
A mask that doesn’t fit your face properly won’t seal up. And you know what that means - water in your mask or a fogged-up view. Rather than going for an estimate based on the “Small, Medium, Large” scale, make sure that you measure your face and compare the measurements with the specifications of the scuba mask in question.
Masks with silicon skirting should be your preferred option, even though they’re a little pricier because they’re more comfortable, fit better on your face and are likely to last longer.
If possible, try on the scuba mask to check if the straps and buckles are easy to use and comfortable to wear.
Check if the Mask Fits Well Before Buying It
Once you’ve found a mask worth trying, the next step is to see if it’s the right fit for your face. You can figure this out by following the given method from PADI:
- Start off by holding the mask against your face without putting on the straps or tightening them.
- Inhale and allow the mask to tighten against your face. If the mask stays in place without any air leaking through it and without you constantly having to breathe in to keep it in place, then you know it has properly sealed on your face.
- Now you can adjust the straps and test out how comfortable the mask is.
- The mask skirt should rest evenly on your face. If you have a mustache or a beard, it’ll be harder to create a seal, but it shouldn’t be impossible.
- Test the mask out by attaching a snorkel and putting a scuba regulator in your mouth. If it’s a good fit, adding either of these shouldn’t make the mask uncomfortable.
- Look around, up, down and sideways through the mask lens to ensure that you can see clearly and there aren’t any strange blind spots.
Once you’ve found a mask that fits your requirements, you’re ready to make your purchase.
Our Reviews of the Best Scuba Masks
If you’re having trouble picking out the perfect scuba mask, don’t fret. I’ve picked out the masks which can fit into any budget and are suitable for any diver, from a beginner to a pro.
1. Atomic Aquatics Venom Frameless Mask
Whether you choose the black mask or the black and red one, the Venom Mask is ideal if you’re looking for a lightweight mask, which also has a high build quality. I love this one because it provides a clear view since it’s a single pane mask, but it’s made of silicon so it’s not too heavy either. It can easily be stuffed in your luggage and taken on a scuba holiday. The silicon material makes it long-lasting and you probably won’t need a new mask for a few years to come.
The adjustable straps and the flexible fit make it a good fit for almost any face shape. The mask seals beautifully so that even if your hair comes loose and gets stuck, the mask will stay sealed. As long as you defog it before and after each dive, you’ll never have to deal with unwanted condensation underwater.
The mask sits on the bridge of the nose which can make it a tad uncomfortable, especially for newbies still trying to get the hang of breathing underwater.
If the mask doesn’t properly seal onto your face, it will instantly fog up or start leaking the moment you get into the water.
2. SeaDive Oceanways Superview-HD Dive Mask
This is the ultimate scuba mask if having a 100% clear view is at the top of your checklist. It’s a single pane mask, which boasts special antiglare properties. The silicon skirt makes the mask extremely comfortable and allows it to seal on your face without any trouble. It fits well onto practically any face.
The single-paned mask isn’t uncomfortable to wear since it doesn’t sit on the bridge of your nose. The mask comes with a tinted glass that makes the entire view of the ocean brighter and truly elevates your scuba diving experience.
While the mask is great to start out with, if you’re a frequent diver, it may start fogging up over time (we always use defog even if the masks includes anti-fog properties). In some cases, the rubber seal might not be able to seal properly because of the extremely soft material.
3. OCTOMASK Frameless Dive Mask
I personally love this one because you can attach your GoPro to it and record your entire diving experience. Especially if scuba diving is one of those once-in-a-lifetime activities for you, being able to get the entire experience on tape will be great. And the best part is that you don’t need to hold on to your camera during your dive. Just attach it to the top of your mask and forget that its even there (just don’t forget to turn it on!). It even offers different colors in case you want to match your mask to your dive suit.
The skirt is made of high-grade silicon that seals perfectly every time. The brand also offers a choice between a single and double pane depending on whichever one you’re more comfortable with. If you’re a beginner, it’s best to try both on to see if you prefer the clarity of vision of the single pane, or the spectacle-like fit of the double pane mask.
The straps are not too strong so the mask is not perfect for deep dives. There’s also the fact that the videos recorded by the camera on your head may fall victim to bubbles spurting around, but it’s not a deal breaker.
4. Scubapro Spectra Low Volume 2 Window Dive Mask
With a range of color options and a variant with tinted lenses, this mask caters to every kind of diver. It is a double pane mask, so you’ll have to deal with that slight discomfort at the bridge of your nose (as is characteristic of any double pane mask), but other than that, it’s an ideal scuba mask.
The tempered glass lenses are strong enough to withstand the rigors of diving. The lens also has anti-glare properties protecting you from the harsh sun while on the surface during daytime dives. The mask itself comes with button-buckles that make adjusting the mask an easy task, even if you’re underwater.
This mask is ideal for people with smaller faces and prominent cheekbones. This means that for larger, fuller faces, the mask may be too tight. If the mask isn’t a good fit, it will start fogging up or leaking the moment you get in the water.
Overall, this mask might be the ideal scuba mask for the niche of people who have smaller faces, but it doesn’t act as a universally well-fit mask.
5. TUSA M-1001 Freedom HD Scuba Diving Mask
I feel like I might have saved one of the best for last. With every color imaginable and a price point that is suitable for any serious diver, this scuba mask might just make it into your dive kit.
The mask features a single pane that gives clear vision without you having to constantly move your face around. The mask doesn’t even fog up so you’ll have a clear view of the ocean throughout your dive. There are multiple straps to ensure that the mask is adjusted to meet your comfort level. It fits pretty much any face- flat or round.
If the mask doesn’t sit well on the bridge of your nose, it is likely to leak. For a really full face, there is a chance that the mask might not seal properly and you’ll have to deal with leakages or a fogged-up lens.
And The Winner Is...
After reviewing a number of masks, the SeaDive Oceanways Mask is my top pick because it has pretty much everything I’m looking for: apart from being a single pane mask that gives me a great view, it also has a tinted lens, which makes any dive more enjoyable. The silicon material makes it easy to carry around and comfortable to wear, and I won’t need to worry about replacing it for another few years.
Just remember, whichever dive mask you go with, it should fit perfectly and not obstruct your vision underwater. Once these two factors have been checked, you’re good to go.
Megan Jones is the lead author of Seaside Planet. She is an avid surfer, scuba diver, and travel enthusiast who takes any opportunity she can to spend time in the ocean. You can learn more about Megan and the rest of the editorial team here.