A freediving mask is one of the most essential pieces of freediving gear that a diver can have during a breath hold. If your mask leaks, has too much volume, or is a challenge to equalize, you’ll struggle to have a successful dive. In this guide, we’ll cover the best freediving masks of 2020 and show you what to look for when buying your own.
The Best Freediving Masks: At a Glance
- Mares Star LiquidSkin
- Cressi Nano 2
- Salvimar Noah
- Scuba Max Arc
- Seac One
- SeaDive RayBlocker
- Hollis M1 Frameless Mask
- Mares X-Free Mask
- XS Scuba Apnos Freediving Mask
- Aqua Lung Micro-Mask
The Best Freediving Masks: In Depth
The Mares Star LiquidSkin freediving mask is one of the most comfortable freediving masks around thanks to the comfortable silicone. It also has a smaller nose section than many other freediving masks on the market, making it one of the best freedive masks for petite faces.
can confidently say that the Mares Star LiquidSkin is one of the few freediving masks that gives you comfort, fit and visual satisfaction as a result from years of research.
The masks’s geometry is optimized to reduce water drag. This is obvious when wearing thanks to the angle of the lens. You will appreciate this feature as it gives you a wider visual field compared to other freediving masks on the market. The silicone is ultra comfortable and composed of two types: a firm silicone that supports the frame and the lens and a soft silicone that composes the skirt which comes in contact with your skin. Read our full review: Mares Star LiquidSkin Review
If you are looking for a compact and hydrodynamic mask, then you might consider the Cressi Nano 2. The Cressi Nano 2 naturally cuts through the water as you swim, glide or penetrate in tight spaces. It’s a top contender against the Mares Star LiquidSkin and one of the most popular freediving masks around.
It’s low volume profile means freedivers won’t have to waste precious air on equalization. The mask itself is made from high-quality silicone with a feathered skirt, split-type straps, easy-adjust buckles and an easy-to-reach nose pocket.
Weighing only 4.94 oz, the Salvimar Noah is one of the most compact and lightweight freediving masks and its easy adjustment gives it an edge over some of its competitors.
This hypoallergenic freediving mask has an anatomical design composed of a soft silicone skirt with a double-feathered edge. The straps have a dual split design that is attached to a micrometric quick adjust buckle. This means that you will get the fit you want with just a simple adjustment. This mask has dual lenses made from tempered CE approved lenses that give you superb vision.
At first glance, you may not notice the Scuba Max Arc’s teardrop-shaped lenses. This lens provides extra downward vision, allowing recreational freedivers to gaze along the line or at the bottom as they descend into the sea.
On top of its innovative lens, this mask has an extremely low-volume profile design and a small frame to reduce water drag.
The Seac One is considered to be the best freediving mask for all face sizes–making it a popular pick among freediving schools. This is brought to you by its anatomic silicone skirt that can adapt to various facial contours and sizes.
While it has a low-volume profile, what stands out with the Seac One is the camouflage design. Using WFT technology, the camouflage feature of this freedive mask allows you to interact with marine life at close proximity. Keep in mind that fish are highly aware of our eyes and they usually hide or swim away when they see it. But when our eyes ares camouflaged, they might treat us as one of their own.
The SeaDive RayBlocker has anti-reflective tempered lenses that allows absolute transmission of light. In effect, visual distortion is eliminated. The lenses further reduces harmful ultraviolet glare that can impact how clearly you can see underwater.
The freediving mask also has a standard low-volume profile, split-type straps attached to the swivel buckles that are embedded in the integrated compact frame, silicone skirt and a one-pinch nose pocket.
If you are looking for a freediving mask that will give you the clearest and greatest underwater vision, then the Hollis M1 might veer towards the top. The lens is made from Saint-Gobain Diamant tempered glass. This is the type of tempered glass that provides superb and clear underwater vision without suffering from major distortions or refraction.
On top of the superb lens quality, the frameless feature is another characteristic that is worth noting. It is compact, lightweight and can be easily stowed away. It also makes for a great backup mask. This is a contender if you’re looking for a mask that can crossover from freediving to scuba diving as well.
The Mares X-Free is a low-volume mask with an over-molded silicone frame. This gives you a soft feel when worn while holding the lens tightly in place. It uses the same tempered glass, but the lenses are positioned near your eyes giving you a wider range of vision. This mask has also one of the softest nose pockets where a mild pinch allows for a quick equalization. No need to struggle.
The XS Scuba Apnos masks gets high marks for feeling as though it’s one with your face. This “natural feel” is brought to you by its frameless construction made by using the latest in technology. The dual tempered lenses are held in place using an internal stiffener that is crafted in a minimalist mold.
The skirt and the head strap are made from high quality silicone. When you wear the Apnos, you will observe that it is smooth, lightweight and the lenses are located close to your eyes. It’s just like wearing eyeglasses that have a wider peripheral view.
Check Price: LeisurePro
The Aqua Lung Micromask is one of the best freediving masks for peripheral vision–a major downside to freediving masks compared to scuba diving masks in general. The fit is comfortable, secure, and a single-piece lens cuts down on drag. The lenses themselves are made with tempered glass, meeting strict ANSI standards.
Scuba Diving vs. Freediving Mask
Do you really need a dedicated freediving mask?
Freedivers only have one breath to take them from the surface of the ocean to the target depth–every sip of air is precious. As a freediver descends, the air inside of the mask compresses as pressure from the surrounding water pushes against the mask. A freediver must blow some air into the mask to equalize the mask. However, during a scuba dive, the small amount of air it takes to equalize a mask isn’t much in the scheme of a whole tank of air–so there is little incentive for a scuba diving mask to be low volume.
While freediving and scuba diving masks look similar in appearance, they are different when it comes to shape and volume. Freediving masks tend to be smaller and as a con, the range of vision might also be more limited. Scuba diving masks have a high volume profile.
If you do both scuba diving and freediving, it’s best to choose a mask that suits what you’ll be doing 80% of the time. If you split both activities equally, opt for a freediving mask (you can use it for scuba diving as well).
Features to Look for when Choosing a Freediving Mask
While you might be overwhelmed with several features a freediving mask may have, it all boils down to volume and comfort.
Low volume profile
This should be the main feature that is given weight when choosing a freediving mask. As a general rule, the less volume, the better.
Comfort and fit will also come into into play. You’ll want a freediving mask that fits flush against your face and is easy to equalize. One of the main pain points of a freediving mask is the nose pocket. If you have one that’s too big, you’ll be wasting precious space and struggle to pinch your nose. If you have one that’s too small, you might have issues with leaks. We recommend borrowing from friends and freedive schools before purchasing one outright.
This feature will help you significantly improve your underwater performance in terms of holding on to that single breath and converting your fin kick to the longest possible glide. A good freedive mask should have a compact design, no unnecessary design that takes up space and no dangling accessories that could increase drag.
Every face is different when it comes to wearing a freediving mask. What feels comfortable to you might feel torturous to another freediver. A freediving mask should be lightweight, as if wearing one naturally becomes a part of your face. Materials should be soft and comfortable, allowing the mask to be an afterthought rather than the focus of your dive.
Mirrored lenses have seen an uptick in popularity over the past few years–but we recommend going for a lens with some transparency. Why? Making clear eye contact with your freediving buddy allows you to calm them (or be calmed) in times of crisis. It also allows for easier communication underwater. How will you know if your buddy has seen your signal without being able to track their line of sight? Mirrored lenses may look nice, but can be a nuisance from a buddy’s perspective.
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