Snorkeling is truly a delight to the senses. But if you want to truly see the wonders of the ocean, you’re going to have to dive deeper than that. And to do that, you’re going to need your very own fins, watches, dive lights and most importantly- diving mask. Of course, not all masks are the same just like no person’s faces are exactly the same (except identical twins, of course). Which means searching for the best diving mask can be an exercise in patience. To help narrow down your choices, we’ve rounded up the best diving masks in the market today.
Top 6 Diving Masks Of 2018 Reviewed
1. Phantom Aquatics Panoramic Dive MaskBest Diving Mask On The Market
The Phantom Aquatics Panoramic Scuba Mask comes with a snorkel but that doesn’t mean it’s limited to surface swimming. This low volume dive mask features an EZ Equalize nose pocket for, er, easy equalizing or clearing your ears. It has a single lens design with side windows for a wider field of vision, all of which are made of tempered glass. The silicone skirt is clear and double-sealed to provide a comfortable fit. However, you’ll need to do some pre-dive treatment to prevent the mask from fogging as you would with most new masks. This is not ideal for individuals with slightly large noses.
- Easy to equalize
- Tempered glass lens
- Panoramic field of view
- Requires anti-fogging treatment
- Nose pocket is too small for large noses
2. Cressi Big Eyes EvolutionBest Diving Mask For Large Faces
The Cressi Big Eyes Evolution features ultra clear tempered glass lenses that are inclined to keep the lens as close to the eye as possible and improve downward visibility. The skirt is constructed out of High Seal Silicone which makes it incredibly comfortable. The low volume design and “thinness” of the frame ensures that nothing blocks your view of the underwater world.
The adjustable buckle is easy to use and located directly on the skirt, making it easy to position the strap and allowing you to fold the buckles flat against the lens when storing it. This also allows the skirt to seal better. The skirt, by the way, can be clear or dark, depending on your preference. However, you will also need to apply the anti-fogging treatment on this mask prior to use. And this mask may be too big for small faces so you won’t be able to achieve a watertight seal.
- Inclined lens for downward visibility
- High Seal Silicon skirt
- Adjustable buckle system on the skirt
- Requires anti-fogging treatment
- Not for small faces
3. Octomask GoPro Dive MaskBest Diving Mask For GoPro
If you want to create memories of your dives, you’re going to need the Octomask GoPro Dive Mask. This dive mask allows you to capture video of your underwater adventures hands-free. It comes with a camera mount that is compatible with all GoPro models. The skirt is made of ultrasoft silicone.
The mask also comes with an aluminum thumbscrew to make attaching the GoPro a breeze. However, you’re going to need an Allen wrench (not included) to lock the thumbscrew in place. Otherwise, the camera will keep moving and filming stuff you aren’t even looking at. Also, the mask is a little small for big heads and large faces. It can still fit but might not be very comfortable for some.
- Allows you to mount any GoPro model
- Very soft skirt
- Great customer service
- The mask is a bit small; may not fit well with large faces
- Requires an Allen wrench to tighten GoPro on the mount
4. Tusa M1001 Freedom HD Scuba MaskBest Diving Mask For Narrow Faces
The Tusa M-1001 Freedom HD mask is a single lens, low profile mask that provides you with a larger field of view than most other dive masks. It comes with a large nose pocket and a 180-degree Rotational Buckle System with a five-position strap angle adjuster. All of which ensures it’ll comfortably fit faces of varying sizes.
The round-edge skirt is made of soft silicone which creates a watertight seal. However, the skirt is a bit wide which some users have complained about due to marks left on their face. You will also need to apply defogging treatment to avoid fogging. And this mask is definitely not cheap.
- Easy-to-use rotational buckle system
- Can fit most faces
- Round-edge skirt for watertight seal
- A bit pricey
- Requires anti-fogging treatment
- The wide skirt may be uncomfortable for some
5. COPOZZ 4100 / 4260 Diving MaskBest Diving Mask For Small Faces
The COPOZZ 4100 / 4260 Diving Mask features tempered glass lenses, a low volume design, hypoallergenic silicone double skirt and strap, and a fast-adjust buckle system. The 4100 is a frameless design while the 4260 is a split lens with a frame made out of premium PVC. Because of the low volume design, the mask provides you with a wide field of view which is great. And there are different sizes available. However, the sizes tend to run small. And the strap seems a bit on the flimsy side.
- Very affordable
- Low volume design
- Tempered glass lenses
- Sizes tend to run small
- Strap seems flimsy/easily broken
6. Hollis M1Best Diving Mask For Mustache
The Hollis M1 is a frameless dive mask that features a 100% pure silicone skirt. The lens is tempered glass with a low iron content to ensure higher light transmittance and less distortion, improving visibility in low light conditions. The lack of frame helps the mask fit more comfortably on large noses and a wide variety of faces. However, it requires a special anti-fogging treatment – using a lighter – to prevent it from fogging up all the time. And the mask is definitely expensive.
- Very comfortable on most faces
- Improved visibility in low light conditions
- Super seal
- Requires specialized anti-fogging treatment
- Very expensive
Dive Mask Buying Guide
So, you want to buy a dive mask. Well, it’s definitely not going to be a quick in-and-out purchase. While most dive masks look similar, there are a lot of factors that need to be considered when choosing one that would suit you best. To help you in your quest of finding the dive mask of your dreams, we’ve constructed this short guide on what to look for when choosing the best window for viewing the underwater world.
What’s the fit like?
The most important factor to consider when choosing a dive mask is fit. You need to get this part right before you even consider any other feature for a simple reason – water. If the fit isn’t right, water will leak into the mask which is uncomfortable, to say the least. This will also cause you to clear the mask constantly which is a huge inconvenience when you just want to take in the wonders of the deep blue sea. For beginners, this can be a cause for panic which is not something you want to do when you’re deep underwater.
In addition, to fit, you’ll also need to consider comfort. Yes, a diving mask should be watertight but not to the point that it keeps blood from traveling to other parts of your face. If a mask feels uncomfortable now, don’t delude yourself into thinking that it’ll sort itself out later on just because it has a lot of the features you want. Remember, comfort and fit are key to ensuring you’ve got the right mask.
Let’s talk skirts
Before we get to the other important features of a dive mask, we need to have a short discussion on the skirt of your mask. Now, the skirt is responsible for creating that watertight seal Dive masks come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and colors.
What is the skirt made of?
Most, if not all, dive masks, have skirts made out of high-grade silicone so that they’re supple and provide a better fit which, in turn, results into a tighter seal. However, not all skirts are made equal. The thickness and suppleness of the skirt will vary. Some will feel a bit thick and stiff, digging into your skin while others will mold to your face so well, it’s like the skirt is not even there.
Some skirts like the one on the Tusa M1001 Freedom HD Scuba Mask will feature a surface texture that will not only improve the seal but also make wearing the mask even more comfortable. And then there’s the color. Some masks will have a clear skirt which is perfect for diving in shallow water or low light conditions. This is because it allows the maximum amount of available light to enter into the mask which gives you greater visibility and more peripheral vision.
However, this is not ideal if you’re diving in bright, tropical waters where the reflective light can blind you. Black skirts, on the other hand, are perfect for underwater photographers because it reduces glare.
What features are most important?
Low volume: A mask’s volume refers to how much airspace is inside the mask. When it comes to dive masks, low volume is preferred because it provides you with a wider field of view due to the fact that the lens is closer to your eyes. It also requires less effort to equalize and clear when water gets in. As an added bonus, a low volume mask creates less drag. The Phantom Aquatics Panoramic Dive Mask, like many of our other picks, features a low volume design.
Field of View: speaking of view, you’re going to want a mask that has an optimal field of view, both horizontally and vertically. More importantly, you’re going to want to make sure that the downward view of your mask is pretty good because you’ll be able to easily see your gear in relation to your body. The Cressi Big Eyes Evolution provides you with an excellent field of view, including downward visibility.
Tempered Glass Lens: don’t choose a mask that does not use tempered glass lenses. This type of lens is scratch-resistant and easily withstand the pressure underwater. Plus, it is incredibly clear so you never have to worry about missing anything during your dive. Even better, if the lens breaks for some reason, it’ll crumble into small fragments that are less harmful, much like your car’s windshield.
Buckle/Strap System: to create a comfortable fit, you’ll need to be able to adjust the buckle or strap of the mask. Some masks come with buckles that are incredibly easy to operate, one-handed even. Others seem to require you to have an engineering degree. Look for a buckle/strap system like the one built in the COPOZZ 4100 / 4260 Diving Mask that you can easily operate even with dive gloves on.
Purge Valves: some people have a hard time finding that perfect mask that provides them with a watertight seal. It’s possible. So, if you’re one of those individuals, you’re going to have to look for a mask with a purge valve. This is located at the bottom of the nose pocket and serves to prevent water from building up inside the mask.
Ideally, you should get one that will drain the water without any effort from you. However, some will require you to gently blow through your nose to get the water out. Keep in mind that you will need to ensure the valves are clear of grit, sand, or any debris because these could cause a leak.
Nose Pocket: Obviously, this is the part where your nose goes. Now, it should fit comfortably over your nose, not too tight. You should also be able to easily pinch your nose when equalizing. The Phantom Aquatics Panoramic Dive Mask has a nose pocket that’s quite easy to equalize.
What features are non-essential?
Frame or Frameless: traditional dive masks feature a frame made of plastic or metal where the lens is attached. Some modern dive masks do away with the frames altogether like the Hollis M1. Whether or not a mask has a frame will not impact on how good it will perform underwater. This is more of a matter of preference.
Split Lenses: another feature that is a matter of how you prefer it. A split lens is when it is divided into two sides – one for the right and one for the left. Some people find the split lens distracting so they choose a single piece instead.
Side and/or Bottom Lenses: these will increase your field of vision, particularly your ability to see peripherally and downwards. You’ll get to see more sea life around you but more importantly, this type of lens will enable you to easily see your gear in relation to your body.
Color: while you’d probably like a cool colored mask to match the rest of your diving gear, it isn’t going to matter one whit if the fit and comfort aren’t right. If you do still plan to create a matching set, make sure to choose your fins first as those tend to have a limited range of colors available compared to masks.
Anything else I should know about?
Price will, undoubtedly, have an impact on whether you choose a particular dive mask. However, keep in mind that you should never sacrifice the fit and comfort of a mask just for the sake of your budget. Instead, experts generally recommend saving up to get the gear that fits you best. Once you’re underwater, you’ll be glad you did.