Choosing the Best Scuba Mask: What to Consider
Scuba masks are your eyes when diving, and choosing the best scuba mask for you is vital to a successful dive. The most important aspect of choosing a mask is that it fits correctly, doesn’t leak, and is comfortable. Everything else is just a bonus.
It’s not unusual that divers may have multiple masks for different types of diving, each one working to optimize a specific type of dive. Here’s what to consider when choosing the best scuba mask.
Scuba masks need to fit properly or else you risk leaks, discomfort, and frequent fogging. Most scuba masks have an outer and inner seal that are meant to both touch the face. Make sure that the reach of the inner seal touches your face with no gaps. Many prefer to get their masks fitted professionally so that they know they have the optimal fit.
Scuba Mask Lens Types
Scuba masks have four lens types that are used for different diving scenarios. Regardless of lens type, you’ll need a mask that gives you a good seal and clear vision. Keep this information in mind when you decide to make a purchase.
According to the majority of divers, single lens masks offer a wider field of view. They have one lens that stretches across the length of the mask. These types of masks have one single lens that connects about the nose, generally making for a comfortable fit for all.
Some features and benefits of single lens masks include:
- A more open and spacious view underwater
- No solid nose bridge means that the front window is unobstructed
This type of mask is perfect for dives when you want to take in all the sea critters and other wildlife around you. Technical diving and cave diving also benefit from a frameless single lens mask. Whether you’re diving through coral or exploring deep, underwater caves, a single lens mask is optimal here.
A single lens mask that users love is the Synergy 2 Trufit. It’s widely considered to be one of the most comfortable dive masks on the market and provides a watertight seal on all face shapes. Another single lens mask that SCUBAPRO recommends is the Frameless Dive Mask. It offers a soft silicone skirt and double-edge seal, making it comfortable and secure. The Galileo HUD Frameless Mask is compatible with our HUD Dive Computers for those who want a hands-free dive.
While single lens mask are popular among divers, many prefer a dual lens—also known as twin or double lens masks. Instead of one solid lens across the entirety of the mask, dual masks have two separate lenses.
Some features and benefits of dual lens masks include:
- A teardrop lens shape that optimizes looking down
- They are low-volume and easier to clear if they become flooded
- They can come with corrective lenses. For those who wear glasses or don’t wear contacts, corrective lenses can make for a clearer underwater dive
Dual lens masks are popular among freedivers due to their low-volume design and those who need corrective lenses in the water. The SCUBAPRO D-Mask offers a wide view and a comfortable water-blocking seal, featuring a UV coating for protection from UV light while on the surface. The Zoom Dive Mask is ideal for divers who need optimal lenses. You can switch the lenses yourself, without tools, in less than a minute.
Tri lens scuba masks are becoming more popular in the diving world, offering many benefits to its user. Essentially, it’s a single lens mask with clear windows on either side, providing minimal interference, an increasing peripheral vision, and a panoramic view.
Some features and benefits of tri lens masks include:
- A panoramic view of the ocean
- Truer colors and clarity underwater
- Minimized blind spots in the water
- Low-volume style
Perfect for an expansive underwater view, tri lens masks are low profile with small side windows, giving all divers optimal water views. The Crystal VU PLUS has a patented single lens design with side windows creating a panoramic field of vision, while the ultra-clear no-tint glass delivers optimal clarity under water. The SUB VU Mini Dive Mask offers all of the features that make tri lenses popular but is created with smaller divers in mind.
Just like the name suggests, a full face scuba mask is a mask that covers the entire face. They are generally not used by recreational divers, but many professionals like commercial divers and videographers use them. They are also optimal for cold water divers for extra heat protection.
Some features and benefits of a full face scuba mask include:
- You can communicate with your diving partners with integrated intercom systems.
- Fitted straps help to keep the mask firmly in place
- They eliminate the need to hold onto the diving mouthpiece.
Full face masks are used by serious divers who need optimal vision, clear communication with their diving partners, and cold water diving. This Full Face Dive Mask features large anti-fogging treated lenses that provide a wide field of view and create an open, airy at-depth experience. The design is also ideal for using a secondary air source, for diving in contaminated environments, or if you want to set up an underwater communication system.
Scuba Mask Features
Lenses aren’t the only component you need to consider when choosing the best scuba mask. Let’s take a look at some important mask features before you decide to buy.
Skirt Seal and Color
The skirt of a scuba mask is what creates the seal against your face. It’s the most important element of the mask, as a well-sealed mask with help to ensure a dive free from leaks. For the best scuba diving masks, look for skirt seals made of high-quality silicone. Masks with higher-quality silicone are more durable, comfortable when pressed against the skin, and last longer.
The majority of mask skirts come in clear or black silicone, but other colors are offered through SCUBAPRO. Clear silicone gives divers the allusion of better transparency. Some think that black skirts can inhibit vision, though all colors offer the same field of vision—it just comes down to personal preference.
Mask volume refers to the amount of air space that is inside your scuba mask. High-volume masks offer a feeling of openness to divers and can extend their peripheral vision. One con of a high-volume mask is that they take quite a bit more effort to clear when fogged or full of water. Low-volume masks sit closer to your face, giving the mask less air space and making for a quicker water clearing process.
Frame vs. Frameless
Framed masks can be taken apart and cleaned separately. They also have the added benefit that if one part of the mask breaks, a replacement is easy to install. Framed masks are constructed with thick materials and can offer a visual range of around 150 degrees.
Frameless masks have grown in popularity over the last decade, optimized for comfort and sealing. The straps are connected to the skirt, and, when combined with all the features, leads to a mask that sits closer to your face, enhancing your field of vision.
Visibility is another key factor when choosing the best diving mask for you. Single lens masks offer a wider field of view, dual lens masks are low-volume, and tri lens masks minimize blind spots in the water. The type of mask you want will depend on your ultimate dive goal. Are you going deep-sea diving? Do you want to swim and interact with tropical fish? Or, do you need corrective lenses due to your vision?
Regardless, always buy a mask that has a tempered glass lens. Tempered glass protects the diver in case the lens breaks from entering the water incorrectly or from an impact.
As mentioned when we were talking about dual lens masks, prescription lenses have been a life-saver for divers with poor vision. Dual lens masks have separate lenses that can be changed to fit your needs. SCUBAPRO offers drop-in lenses that make it easy to to help with your underwater visibility. Contact lenses are not recommended when diving, so having a mask with drop-in lenses makes a huge difference for those who need corrected vision.
Color and Style
For many, the best scuba masks are those that coordinate with their diving gear! Most masks now come in a variety of colors instead of the standard black. A colored mask to coordinate with the rest of your gear lets you express yourself—even underwater.
Scuba Masks for Types of Diving
Different types of diving require different types of masks. Here are the best scuba masks for your type of diving.
Recreational diving is diving done for pleasure and enjoyment. It’s different from technical diving that requires a higher level of training. Recreational diving is enjoyed by both beginners and advanced divers alike.
When buying the best scuba diving masks for recreational fun, you’ll want to consider a few factors such as:
- Where are you diving?
- What are your goals for this dive trip?
- Are you looking for specific objects or marine life?
Most recreational divers don’t need anything other than a single or dual mask that fits properly. The Solo Dive Mask is a modern single lens mask that offers a panoramic, low-volume field of view in a streamlined design. The crystal-clear, double-sealed silicone skirt molds to the face to create a comfortable, watertight seal. This mask is a favorite among recreational divers.
Another option for the best recreational diving mask is the Flux Dive Mask. It comes in six colors to coordinate with your gear, or you can just go with the standard black. The hypoallergenic silicone skirt features a double-feathered edge to provide a comfortable, watertight seal on a variety of face shapes. The non-slip strap and easy-adjust buckles let you dial in the perfect fit. It’s a comfortable fit that allows for crystal clear underwater views.
Technical diving involves two key points: Venturing beyond the depth limits of recreational scuba diving (130 feet) and involves operating in an overhead environment. This means that you have a “ceiling” to deal with, whether it’s an actual structure like a cave, or a depth ceiling where you must complete a series of mandatory decompression stops before you can return to the surface.
The best dive masks for technical diving are:
- Low volume masks
- Have a comfortable, watertight fit
- Easily adjustable
- Come with optional accessories for computer mount adapters for easier communication
Travel diving is very common amongst divers, either because they are vacationing, don’t live near water, or are itching to have a new adventure. There’s a lot of equipment that goes into scuba diving, so being prepared beforehand can help prepare you for your trip.
Factors to consider for travel masks include:
- Is it easily storable?
- Is it lightweight?
- Is it durable and resistant to scratches?
- Does it work with the type of dive you are planning on doing?
The Zoom Dive Mask is ideal for all divers because of its universal fit, integrated buckles making adjustments easy, and compatibility with optional comfort straps. Those who have an eyeglass prescription prefer this dive mask because there is a convenient lens-change system for divers who need optical lenses.
The Right Scuba Mask Can Make All the Difference
There’s no one best scuba diving mask for everyone, making it especially important to consider what type of diving you are doing, how experienced you are, and the various features that will make your dive as comfortable as possible. The ultimate goal of any dive is to both enjoy and learn something from it, and the right dive mask can do just that.