Why choose the best Scuba mask
So you want to get into scuba diving or it is already your hobby. Maybe you have just been on holiday & had a go at scuba diving & now have the bug for it. Well one of the first pieces of equipment you may want to buy is the best scuba diving masks you can afford. I can tell you from experience that being 50 feet down & having your scuba diving mask leak, really does make for a poor dive! We have identified some of the best scuba diving masks out there for you, using all our years of knowledge & our own experiences.
Without our scuba masks, we would be little more than blind explorers in the underwater world. A scuba diving mask mask allows us to see all the majestic views of the reefs, marine life & wreaks we are privileged to visit.
This is one piece of diving equipment we think you should never want to rent, you will want the best scuba diving masks. For these reasons & you don’t have to spend a huge amount to get a quality scuba mask. In this guide, we’re going to explain all the important features to look for in scuba diving masks. As well as showing you a selection of the best scuba diving masks to help make your choice easier.
What makes a good scuba mask
The best scuba masks are comfortable & have a good field of vision. Without good vision, you won’t have fun diving. They should make it easy for the diver to pinch their nose to equalize. They should be cleared of water without a lot of effort. They definitely should not continue to leek.
You will need to ensure a scuba mask perfectly fits your face to avoid leeks. Your face shape is unique to you so it is important that you get the best scuba mask specifically for you. Ensuring you have the best scuba diving mask will greatly improve your dive.
Function of a Scuba Mask
The human eye forms a lens that focuses images on the retina. Our eyes are adapted for viewing in the air. Water, however, has approximately the same refractive index as the cornea (part of the eye) (both about 1.33). So diving underwater effectively eliminates the cornea’s focusing properties. When our eyes are in water, instead of focusing images on the retina, they now focus them far behind the retina. Resulting in an extremely blurred image from hypertrophy.
By wearing a flat diving mask, humans can see clearly underwater. The scuba diving mask’s flat window separates the eyes from the surrounding water by a layer of air. Light rays entering from water into the flat parallel window. Change their direction minimally within the window material itself.
But when these rays exit the window into the air space between the flat window and the eye. The refraction is quite noticeable. The view paths refract (bend) in a manner like viewing fish kept in an aquarium.
Different types of scuba mask
- Single window scuba diving masks. The window has a cut out to fit around the nose, which is covered by the rubber or silicone.
- Two window scuba diving masks. One for each eye. It can have the windows closer to the face than the one window type. So containing less internal volume ( low volume) for the diver to equalize.
- Dive mask with bifocal lenses for reading instruments
- The double dome scuba diving masks. This was invented by hydo-Optix. Double-dome masks allow a wider field of view. They avoid the refraction error in perceived distance and size of objects.
- A twin-lens, low volume dive mask. With a wide peripheral view of the type favored by many Underwater Hockey players because of the low volume and great field of vision.
- Full face masks. Provide the ability to communicate with each other. Or with a surface support person, while they are underwater.
What to look out for
The main mask strap should be sturdy & reliable. Most scuba diving masks have two straps which run parallel to each other at the back of the diver’s head. Many new divers mistakenly believe that an over tightened mask won’t leak. This is not true at all. This can actually lead to the opposite happening. Your dive mask does not need to be too tight!
Most scuba diving masks are crafted from similar materials. These include tempered glass windows with a skirt made from soft silicone. Some dive masks will have windows made from plastic, these are for snorkeling or swimming. Not for scuba diving.
Scuba mask features
This is the glass / faceplate / window part of the dive mask, through which you behold the underwater world!
Types of Lenses:
Mono / Single:
A single lens that is undivided by the nose bridge. Some users find that a dive mask with one single lens gives the feeling of a more open, spacious mask. Single lens cannot accept true corrective lenses.
Twin / Double:
Most masks use a twin/dual lens construction as this positions the viewing glass closer to the wearer’s eyes, which can increase field of view. They can accept prescription or corrective lenses. Twin lens masks are always framed and offer a wide field of vision.
Multi Lens / Panoramic:
These are essentially single or dual lenses, with side windows to increase peripheral vision as well as to let in more light. This results in an airy, open feel. A great example of a good panoramic mask is the Cressi Liberty Triside with a good field of view.
However, the intersection of the front and side lenses, whilst producing a seamless joint when the mask is worn in air, can create blind spots and distortion at depth. It’s a trade of between being able to see what’s on your flak, vs the aggravation of distortion at depth.
Features a Lens can have:
A polarized mask reduces harmful or irritating light glare, though it only does this truly effectively if it has a UV rating, like the Gull Vader. Polarized masks can also improve underwater visibility by making colours brighter and shadows more defined.
The classic scuba diving mask is that of a teardrop lens; i.e. it looks like two teardrops! This is a reliable shape to get a good all round field of view. Inverted teardrop lens generally refers to masks where the bottom section has been lengthened slightly, to offer improved downward view which makes it easy to do things like read a dive gauge.
Tempered Glass Lenses:
Nowadays, virtually all scuba diving masks have safety or tempered glass lenses, meaning they will not shatter on impact. A few masks have plastic lenses to reduce the weight of the mask, but these are also resistant to shattering.
Prescription / Corrective:
Some models of framed, dual lens scuba diving masks have the ability to accept corrective lenses (they will need to be specially fitted by the manufacturer). Whether negative or positive diopter correction is available or bifocal correction, varies with each mask and brand.
Corrective lenses are usually available in half diopter increments. If your prescription happens to fall between two lens strengths, go for the stronger of the two.
The dive mask skirt is the soft portion of the dive mask / snorkel mask that makes a seal against your face. To be effective at stopping leaks, the skirt must wear a water-tight seal against your face. Modern dive masks usually have what’s called a “double feathered” skirt design lining: two edges of silicone that act like a suction cup outlining your face.
Most quality mask skirts are made out of hypoallergenic silicone, but the thickness and suppleness varies from dive mask to dive mask. Generally speaking with silicone skirt, better quality masks have high quality silicon skirts that mold to your face like a second skin, creating a comfortable, watertight seal.
Some manufacturers add different surface textures in the forehead and cheek areas to further increase comfort and improve the seal of the silicone skirt.
Try to avoid plastic / siltex skirted masks which often cause face rashes, are uncomfortable and more prone to leak (don’t worry none of the scuba masks we’ve reviewed have plastic skirts, they all have silicone skirts!).
Clear Vs Opaque / Black Mask Skirts:
Clear Mask Skirts maximize the amount of available light they allow into the dive mask. This can be handy when diving in shadowed or green water. Some divers claim the water skirt gives them better peripheral vision. However, when diving in bright tropical waters over a white sand bottom, all that reflective light streaming through a clear skirt can be blinding. New divers generally prefer clear dive mask skirts because they feel less claustrophobic.
Opaque / Black dive mask Skirts may seem a little claustrophobic at first. However, they are great for blocking reflective light, which is why underwater photographers like them so much.
High or Low Volume Design?
Low volume Design dive masks have been designed to have very little space between a diver’s face and the dive mask glass (this is known as the internal volume). The low volume design means they hold very little air and thus require less air to equalize and easy to clear, which can be a huge advantage! As well as making things easier, it saves air, saving more for scuba diving!
Frameless Masks always have low volume. Some newer designs of framed dive masks also have low volume.
However low volume masks sit very close to the face which can be irritating for some people, low volume masks can also increase the risk of leaking if they have a large nose or facial hair which is a problem of the low volume design. By contrast, high volume masks can be harder to clear and exert more pressure on the face when at depth; however they’re less prone to leaking.
Mask Purge Valve:
Mounted in the bottom of the nose pocket, a purge valve is designed to keep water from building up inside a leaky mask. All you have to do is ensure that the valve is at the lowest point and exhale through your nose whilst holding the mask against your face to force the water out.
This is particularly useful for divers who struggle with getting a dive mask to seal and frequently suffer from a leaky mask, such as those with a moustache or who smile a lot underwater.
Most scuba masks don’t have a purge valve and it’s not essential – but if this sounds like a really cool feature that you want to have on your mask then we recommend going for the AquaLung Pacifica.
Straps and Buckles System:
Some buckles are easy to operate and make strap adjustment easy whereas others are just frustrating. The buckle systems on many modern masks mount on the skirt, rather than to the frame. This improves the range of motion for strap positioning as well as enabling the buckles to be folded flat against the lens for easy packing.
If you have long hair, it’s a good idea to get a mask strap wrapper to reduce the risk of entanglement and hair breakage.
The primary benefit of a low volume mask is that it offers a wide field of view. Because the windows are closer to the divers’ eyes hence low volume. This also helps when you have to clear your mask as there is less available air space inside the mask. There is less available room for water. So you should be easier to clear.
So let’s dive in!
We have identified 6 scuba diving masks for you. Take into account why you need a diving mask and what features to look for so you make the right choice. This is an important part of equipment so don’t go for the cheapest hoping it will do. So let’s go over the options we have reviewed for you, to identify the top rated dive mask.
Our first pick to review is the Cressi F1 scuba frameless mask. Frameless masks are loved by many divers for their low-profile and ability to fold flat for easy carrying, even in a BC pocket. Cressi’s frameless design bonds a high-grade silicone skirt directly to a single lens for the ultimate in simplicity. The lens is made of tempered glass and certified by the CE (Communauté Européenne).The low-internal volume allows for effortless clearing and quick-adjust strap buckles are molded directly into the skirt for a flexible fit and reduced drag. The F1 is designed in Italy by Cressi and made in Taiwan. Cressi is an Italian brand pioneer in scuba diving, snorkeling and swimming equipment since 1946.
This mask offers more comfort than your usual mask, users have found when diving below 60Ft. They have found it seals well & is soft & comfortable. We have found that the suction on this mask is exceptionally good.
What worked well
Very comfortable to wear
Seals very well
Little or no leaks at all
Crystal clear field of view through the glass
Small & easily to store
Fits on face very well
Users feedback that this mask represents good value for money.
The mask fogs up quite quickly
Some users have fed back that there is too little room around the nose to equalize
Next up is the TUSA M-1001. This scuba diving mask has freedom Technology is a set of technologies to enhance fit and performance exclusive to TUSA.
Freedom model masks feature a dimpled skirt surface with varied silicone thicknesses and stability ridges in addition to a proprietary low-friction skirt surface on the fitting line.
The buckle rotates a full 180 degrees to accommodate varying head sizes for optimum fit. The thin frame and rotation of the buckle allow the mask to be folded into a compact size.
Users have found this mask accommodates the nose very well and provides a comfortable fit. Along with this it provides an even amount of pressure across the face.
Panoramic View masks feature a variety of designs offering an incredibly wide field of view. Several designs incorporate minimum frame volumes, domed side-windows, reduced frame structures as well. Users found the views this mask offered particularly spectacular.
Key areas around the forehead and cheek bones have been designed with dimples which combine to increase the skirt’s softness, flexibility and skin surface contact.
What worked well
Users really liked the comfort of this mask
The scope of view is fantastic
The mask is comfortable for a variety of face shapes
Great fit in the nose area
Leaks a lot & hard to clear
Fogs up a lot
The third mask in our list we are reviewing is the Clareza panoramic mask. The Clareza Metallic Panoramic Three Window Tempered Glass Lens Scuba Snorkeling Dive Mask, With it’s patented tempered single glass lens design, with patented no-seam side windows for increased field of view.
The lenses are no-tint glass for greater visual clarity and safety in diving. With its double feathered edge sealing crystal clear silicone rubber skirt for increased comfort, wide split style mask strap and streamline shape combined for a snug fit all makes this one great mask.
The mask is equipped with push-button swivel buckles for easy adjustment. This mask provides an exceptional panoramic view of the underwater world. Although it is a 3-window mask, the Clareza Three Lens Mask provides a low internal volume that is easy to clear. It also has an over-molded frame for strength and durability.
The quality of this product stands out for most users. It is very easy to adjust & stays in place without having to readjust. The visibility that this mask provides is extremely good along with the soft comfortable fit with the soft seal, feathered edge Users have found this a great product.
What worked well
Quality construction with good durable materials
Great field of view for the user.
Low volume which makes it easy for clearing
Comfortable fit for all head shapes
Leaks very little
Users have reported that this mask can break easily.
Users reported that this may not fit well over bigger noses
This is the Kraken aquatics dive mask which comes with all the features you would expect from a high quality mask.
Flexible Silicone for Leak-Proof, Comfort Seal: Skirt and strap come in soft, supple silicone, which molds to the shape of your face for comfortable fit and watertight seal. No more leaks or discomfort.
This soft, supple silicone conforms to all the contours of your face. Result? A more customized fit, with a watertight seal. No leaks, no hassles. Plus, the silicone feels so comfortable you’ll forget it’s even there.
Tempered-Glass Lens for Safety: This one is quality tempered glass, which resists scratching and shattering. This tempered-glass single lens is safer and is far less likely to fog or yellow when properly treated. It also resists scratching and shattering. Users have fed back that the field of view is in fact excellent.
Convenient Buckle for Easy Adjustment: Simply pull the straps to desired fit and the buckle will hold the straps securely in place. This makes for a comfortable fit
Users believe this scuba mask represents good value for money.
What worked well
Great wide field of view
Good fit around the face
Easy to clear with low volume
Soft across the top of the nose
Easy to keep from fogging
Can press against your face
Leaks to much
Feel uncomfortable when pulled tight
This mask from aqua lung is a single lens dive mask. The large, open styling of the Pacific is a classic design. The high-volume, single lens construction gives a wide, unobstructed field-of-view. The modern silicone skirt includes access to the nose pocket to aid equalization. The silicone skirt also provides an improved fit that is a more secure seal against the skin.
The mask is a very durable product that holds up well to the abuse that masks can get when diving constantly, the windows also remain stay scratch free.
What we found was, that this is the type of mask that is used in the Airforce special warfare training so would be ideal for anyone who is training for this.
The masks design takes you back to the classic design with its single lens, it provides great visibility & comfort.
Available only in black, with black silicone skirt.
What worked well
Very durable & strong
Windows are quite scratch resistant
Provides a good seal
Great for advanced training
Some have reported they have to constantly readjust
The final mask in our review of best scuba masks, is the Oceanways Superview-HD mask displays a classic teardrop shaped single glass lens to improve most of your underwater view with a great field of vision.
The lens includes the Optical MultiCoat Technology. HD “High Definition” lenses minimize harmful UV and glare. Reduce lightwave length to 400-600 nanometers-less harsh white light-BluRay for comfortable human-eye viewing-improved definition at all depths.
The HD coating offers exceptionally clear underwater vision. This mask’s features include a solid impact proof plastic frame attached to a black skirt and an adjustable strap.
The Anti-Fog coating present on the inside of the lens reduces the tendency to fog. The Superview-HD mask fits most medium-to-large faces. Offers a mirrored effect on outside to hide your eyes and a polarized affect when looking out.
This mask remains largely leak free even at depths of 100 Ft.
What worked well
Removes glare well and makes colours more vivid
Strong & durable
Body of mask is soft & comfortable
Great field of view
Good at lower depth without eye fatigue
Rubber is too soft
Still fogs up like any other mask
Can hurt across the nose
Scuba Mask care and cleaning
How to Defog New Mask:
As with all diving equipment, a little care and maintenance for your new dive mask goes a long way towards keeping it in working condition for a long time.
The first time you buy a dive mask, it’s very important that you treat/clean/defog it before scuba diving with it; otherwise it’ll end up fogging up in a major way and you’ll not be able to see anything and you want to have a good field of view.
That’s because during the manufacturing process, a film of silicone and mold release agents forms on the surface of a scuba mask and this film is annoyingly resistant to the usual defogging methods of spit, baby shampoo or commercial defogger.
But how does one clean or “defog” a new scuba mask? All you need to do is get a small blob of regular toothpaste and rub it firmly in circular motions all over both sides of the mask lens/lenses. Be sure to push the toothpaste in extra hard – I find rubbing it in firmly with a thumb is the best way! (Some people prefer to use a dry toothbrush).
Once you’ve firmly coated both sides of the mask lens/lenses in toothpaste leave the mask for about fifteen to twenty minutes and then wash the toothpaste off using water. Be sure to get all the toothpaste off, you would not want it to irritate your eyes when you wore the mask! Then repeat the entire process three or four more times! Might be good to put on a good scuba diving movie for this one.
Another strategy is to burn your mask. You can do this using a lighter – hold it to the glass lens and move it about. You’ll notice the glass turning black which means that the silicone layer that is stuck to it is burning off. Once the glass is all black you can let it cool and wash it with dish soap or toothpaste. You may also have to repeat this process a few times if the mask still fogs.
If you do opt to burn your mask, take great care not to damage the skirt and also do not apply heat for too long on any one spot of the lens! A steady sweeping motion across the surface of the lens is best!
Diving Mask Care:
Throughout the time that you are using your scuba mask you’ll also want to give it a little lovin’ in the form of some basic care and cleaning to ensure it remains clear, doesn’t end up fogging and is safe to use.
Caring for your scuba diving mask is easy. After every dive wash your scuba mask with fresh water until it is fully clean. Warm, fresh water that is less than 120°F is best for dissolving salt crystals that are stuck to the mask. Afterwards rinse, it throughly and dry it off with a towel.
Periodically, you should take the time to do a deep clean on your mask, to cut through build up that may not have been removed in your post dive cleanings. To do this, take watered down dish soap and rub it into both the lens and skirt. Make sure you get into all the sides, the nose area and every little pocket around the dive mask.
Next, use fresh, warm water to clean the soap of. Rinse the mask three times to ensure all the dish soap is removed. Leave the mask to dry and only stow away when it is completely dried off.
When storing your mask, be sure to keep it in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. It’s best to store it in an airtight container or insects may start to chew on the mask, especially if it’s not cleaned properly.
Store with the face covered or lens up to avoid scratches. Also, if you have a clear skirted mask, store it away from other scuba gear as the black colour of other gear items can discolour a clear skirt.
How to Clear a Dive Mask Underwater:
This is something you learn when taking your open water certification, but just in case you’ve forgotten, here’s what you need to do:
Press two fingers on either side on the top of the mask lens.
Exhale hard until the mask is cleared.
Conclusion of the best scuba diving masks
The dive mask you dive with in our opinion is the most important piece of dive equipment you will need. As we have seen if your mask fits well you will have a fun dive and get the most out of this great activity so picking the best scuba diving masks is very important.
It is easy to spend a fortune when scuba diving but that is not necessarily the way when purchasing the best scuba diving masks. Understanding what you need from your equipment. What works well for you will help you form a decision based on knowledge. We hope after reading our review of the best scuba mask. This will help you to decide. Along with providing information that will help you make an informed decision.
Out of the six masks we have reviewed. The general opinion was of the best scuba diving masks. Based on value for money. Generally fitting well with good visibility was the Clareza panoramic mask. Overall people felt this was comfortable, the dive mask fitted well and provided a good field of view.
We would love to hear your thoughts & feedback on masks you have purchased.