The most important piece of equipment a diver has is their mask. So, you need to find the best dive mask for you. We’ve scoured reviews, forums and the opinions of the global diving community to find the best scuba masks and best freediving masks. Let this be your guide to picking the best diving mask for your lifestyle.
Keep in mind that every mask has pros and cons depending on which specific diving preferences you’re looking for. Don’t know about all the preference options? Read on to see which elements fit best with your dive style.
Maxlux S Dive Mask
MATERIAL: Hypoallergenic silicone
TECHNOLOGY: Low internal volume for ease of equalization and excellent field of vision, frameless design
FIT: Smaller face shapes
BEST SUITED FOR: Narrower face shapes, comfort seekers
EXTRAS: This mask comes in 14 different colors
Inexpensive, micro-metric adjustment buckles
Extremely soft silicone skirt for maximum comfort fit
Low volume may cause fogging
Big Eyes Evolution Crystal Mask
MATERIAL: Hypoallergenic silicone, tempered glass
TECHNOLOGY: Cressi Crystal Silicone technology preventing yellowing, raked inverted-teardrop shaped lenses for increased downwards visibility, micro-metric adjustable buckle
FIT: Small to medium face shapes, smaller noses
BEST SUITED FOR: Divers with smaller faces, those needing prescription lenses
EXTRAS: Accepts optical lenses to become a prescription dive mask
Great for narrow faces
Not suitable for wider faces or big noses
Nano Dive Mask
MATERIAL: Hypoallergenic silicone, techno-polymer frame reinforced with inorganic fibers and stainless-steel torsion bar to stop misalignment, tempered glass
TECHNOLOGY: Lowest internal volume on the market (83 cm3) which doesn’t require intentional equalizing, inverted teardrop lenses shape for increased downwards visibility, micro-metric adjustable buckles, flexible hinge system allows it to pack completely flat
FIT: Small faces
BEST SUITED FOR: Spearfishing, freediving, small faces
EXTRAS: Mirrored glass versions are also available to cut surface glare
Ultra-low volume mask
Angled tempered glass lenses increase the field of vision
Spectra Mini Dive Mask
MATERIAL: Silicone skirt, UltraClear optical tempered glass
TECHNOLOGY: Buckles are attached to skirt (not frame) for pressure redistribution, semi-inverted, raked teardrop lenses shape for increased downwards visibility
FIT: Narrow face shapes
BEST SUITED FOR: Divers with very narrow faces, women, children
EXTRAS: This ScubaPro mask comes in many colors (the pink mask donates money to fight Breast Cancer). For larger faces, check out the Spectra model.
Low volume for easy equalization
A mirrored lenses option is also available to cut surface glare
Not for wider faces
X-VU Liquidskin Sunrise
MATERIAL: Mares Scuba Bi-Silicone Liquidskin for ultimate comfort and perfect fit
TECHNOLOGY: Small tri-comfort ribs around nose relieve pressure, reverse teardrop glass shape for improved downward visibility
FIT: Wider faces
BEST SUITED FOR: Wide faces, divers who struggle to find masks to fit their nose
EXTRAS: The Mares Scuba Sunrise Mask is almost identical to the Mares Scuba X VU Liquidskin Spearfishing Mask, just with a wider face option and more colors.
Additional soft silicone around the nose
Optical lenses are available to turn it into a prescription dive mask
Not for smaller faces
GoPro Dive Mask
MATERIAL: Dual safety tempered glass, super-soft matte silicone skirt
TECHNOLOGY: Embedded nut for thumb screw to hold GoPro, low volume mask
FIT: Average to large face shapes
BEST SUITED FOR: Hands-free videography
EXTRAS: Those with thinner noses are recommended to try the Octomask GoPro Freediver model. GoPro camera not included.
Keeps your hands free
Compatible with all GoPro models inc. Hero 5 & GoPro Session
Low volume design for easy equalization
Exhalation air bubbles may obscure videos
Not recommended for environments with overhead obstructions such as swim-throughs, caverns or caves
8. ATOMIC AQUATICS
Frameless 2 Dive Mask
MATERIAL: UltraSoft silicone sealing flange, optical-quality distortion-free UltraClear glass
TECHNOLOGY: Squeeze-to-adjust buckles, low-volume frameless design
FIT: Everyone, come in medium (narrow), standard (average) and large sizes
BEST SUITED FOR: Spearfishing, freediving, photographers
EXTRAS: UltraClear lenses, which allow more light, are also great for lessening feelings of claustrophobia.
UltraClear lenses allow for maximum pure light to reach the eye for increased visual acuity
One of the widest field of visions on the market
Mask may be prone to fogging
FIT: The fit of your mask is the most crucial factor. A great fit keeps your face dry, your lenses clear and your dive distraction-free. On the other hand, a poorly fitted mask could leak, fog and distract you. A leaky or foggy mask may ruin the dive or, even worse, create a negative experience which may discourage future diving. So, don’t worry about trying on too many masks to find the one that perfectly forms to your face shape. You’ll know when you’ve found the one. Ideally, a good mask fit should form to your features and hold to your face with a gentle breath in, without straps holding it in place.
LENSES: There are generally two types: single and twin lenses. Single lenses have nothing between them and your eyes, creating a better view. The downside is they can’t be changed out for prescription lenses or replaced if broken like twin lenses can. The lens glass MUST be tempered, meaning it won’t shatter into small pieces under pressure. Common tempered glass contains iron impurities which give the glass a slight green tint and can obscure light. Glass without those impurities is called UltraClear or St. Gobain glass, which is more expensive but lets in pure light. Some lenses may be coated to mirror against glare or UV light.
FIELD OF VIEW (FOV): Field of view is the horizontal and vertical degree a specific mask allows you to see underwater. Round or rectangular lenses tend to increase horizontal FOV. Inverted teardrop lenses are very popular because of their raked design. A rake is a gradient along which the lenses sit, with the bottom of the lenses closer to the cheek then at the top. This design clears the downwards view making the mask bottom less visible and the diver’s own instrumentation more so.
FRAME: Essentially, there are two types: framed and frameless. Framed masks have a rigid frame form which is used as a backbone for the skirt, buckles, and lenses to attach to. Framed masks can often be fit with prescription lenses. Frameless masks have the lenses directly molded to the silicone skirt, streamlining the design while improving the ability to fold it flat, usually creating low internal volume.
INTERNAL VOLUME: Internal volume is the amount of airspace inside of a mask when it is on your face. The more internal volume there is, the more air there is to be compressed on the descent, leading to a greater need for equalization. A low-volume mask usually has the lenses close to the eyes to increase FOV while decreasing internal volume. Freedivers and spearos use their held air to equalize, so a small internal volume is crucial to being down for longer on each breath.
SKIRT: The skirt is usually silicone, and its job is to protect against leaks. It is the barrier keeping your face dry while allowing for equalization. Soft silicone is great for both equalization and comfort. Clear skirts let in light and are great for decreasing senses of claustrophobia. Opaque skirts, such as black, focus the view while minimizing distractions and glare. Dark opaque skirts are favored by photographers, spearos, and freedivers.
STRAPS AND BUCKLES: Make sure to find a strap that gives you enough stretch so you can make minor adjustments comfortably. Strap covers are recommended for divers with long hair that could tangle. Also, check that the strap buckles are easy to use, especially if you wear gloves.
CLAUSTROPHOBIA: Some divers may experience feelings of claustrophobia. A clear skirted mask may allow the diver to not feel so closed in. UltraClear and St. Gobain glass options let in the most pure light. Additionally, panoramic masks, which feature additional side windows, let in even more light and peripheral vision. However, divers often see distorted images from those peripheral windows that may be distracting so the cons should be weighed against the pros.
PURGE VALVE MASKS: Traditionally, all divers should have the ability to clear their masks; nonetheless, some divers simply don’t enjoy doing it. The answer for that lies in masks featuring a purge valve. This mask type has a purge located under the nose which clears the mask with a nose blow out. However, there have been instances where the purge valve may become clogged or malfunction, leading to a leaky mask. Perhaps it would be better to find a mask that more perfectly fits your face than go for a purge valve mask.
GOPRO MASK ATTACHMENTS: Masks that have GoPro attachments situated at the top of the mask are an interesting invention for hands-free videography. However, due to the position, exhalation bubbles will most likely obscure the camera. Additionally, the GoPro sits high on your head, so this type of mask is not recommended for overhead environments like swim-throughs, caves, and caverns where the camera could catch on the roof, dislodging your mask. Consider keeping a backup mask in a BC pocket if using a GoPro attachment mask.
LEAKING: Most commonly, leaking it due to ill fit. Make sure the mask fits your features. If you have a small, narrow or round face then find a mask that accommodates those features. The same goes for people with high or wide noses. Another common cause is hair coming under the skirt. Make sure to sweep stray strands away. For beards, try a mask with a small sub-nose seal or loosening your strap. In general, loosening your strap can help with leaking as well as equalization within the mask.
FOGGING (NEW MASK): New masks usually come with a silicone film that has accumulated over the manufacturing process. To remove the film from glass lenses, use a soft cloth to rub white toothpaste on the dry mask in circles. Rinse, dry and repeat. In rare cases, carefully using a lighter to burn off the film has also been proven to work where toothpaste has failed. However, for obvious gear-damaging reasons, this method is more of a last resort that should be attempted very, very carefully.
FOGGING (USED MASK): If a mask is fogging after initial de-fogging treatments, it may be the closeness of the lenses to the face. Heat from the skin added to humidity may result in condensation, known as fog. Some popular favorites to reduce this are mask de-fog treatment solutions, using baby shampoo-water mixtures (baby shampoo won’t sting if it gets near your eyes) or good old spit.
MAINTENANCE: Post-dive make sure to rinse your mask in warm freshwater and let it dry before packing it up. Don’t squash it in storage or it may lead to skirt disfigurement or frame distortion. Also, make sure to regularly check the skirt, straps and buckles for signs of fine cracks. If you see any, immediately replace that part. If it cannot be replaced, it is time for a new mask.