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A scuba diving mask should be the first piece of equipment you purchase as a scuba diver. A great dive can be ruined by a leaking, fogging mask. Many rental shops offer a one-size-fits-all approach to gear–which might be fine for equipment like weights and snorkels, but masks need to be tailored to your face to work properly. In this guide, we’ll show you the best scuba diving masks on the market.
The Cressi F1 is a frameless mask and one of the most popular diving masks around the world. This mask uses a single lens made from tempered glass directly molded in the silicon skirt. The silicon used in this mask is of high quality. You can really feel this mask’s softness when worn, as the skirt edges naturally conform to the contours of your face. The Cressi F1 has a simple design. It can even be folded which allows you to place this mask inside your BCD pocket.
Similar to the lens, the quick-adjust buckles are also molded directly into the skirt. When worn, this gives you an optimal fit and an evenly distributed tension on the skirt. Some divers claim the Cressi F1 only requires minimal effort when performing mask clearing and equalization.
The Mares Star LiquidSkin Mask has is a popular mask for freedivers, but the mask’s comfort makes for a great scuba divign mask as well. It’s new “liquidskin” silicone is ultra soft and comfortable against the face. A smaller nose pocket means it is also a scuba diving mask for smaller faces. Having a compact build, the geometry of the mask is optimized by reducing the distance between the lens and the eyes. The lens is also fixed at an angle that allows better vision and perception of distance underwater.
When it comes to material, the Mares Star Liquidskin Mask uses the bi-silicone material. It has a firm silicon surrounding the lens and the buckles that acts as a structural support while a softer silicone is embedded in the skirt that comes in contact with your skin.
Designed for streamlined vision, the Scubapro Solo is a scuba diving masks in the market that offers a wide, minimally obstructed view. Classified as a modern diving mask, it is made from a single lens that is molded from a crystal clear double-sealed silicon skirt, a contrast from the two-lens masks that have been popular throughout the last few decades. While maximizing facial comfort, the soft silicone skirt of the mask naturally molds to the contours of the face, providing a watertight seal. Once worn, it gives a low volume profile that is easy to purge if water gets inside the mask. The mask can easily be placed back to on the face underwater and cleared with minimal effort.
The mask is set with buckles at the side that has a flexible mounting where the non-slip strap is attached.
If you’re looking for a low profile and a low volume diving mask in one, consider the Tusa Freedom Ceos. This mask has a dual-window tempered glass that can be upgraded to a prescriptive lens. The scuba mask can also be customized to be fitted with progressive lenses (though this tends to add time onto a delivery–so you’ll want to place an order well before your next dive trip).
The edges of the lens of this mask are wrapped around with a soft silicone skirt that has a dimpled surface with varied silicone thickness. Ridges improve stability and a round edge minimizes facial lines, even when worn tightly.
If you are looking for a low volume mask that fits a small facial profile, consider the Oceanic Shadow Frameless Dive Mask. The skirt is made from black hypoallergenic silicone that is soft to the skin. The lenses are made from a one-piece tempered glass molded directly into the silicon skirt, making this a frameless diving mask. The result of this integrated mask design is a low volume profile that will be appreciated by beginner scuba divers. Clearing the mask is easy!
The side buckes are easy to adjust and have a swivel that angles the strap position. While this is an adult mask, there is a version for kids called the “mini.”
If you have a medium to a large facial profile and/or are considering considering a mask that can be upgraded to hold glare-free mirrored lens, check out the Scubapro Spectra. This mask has a large skirt made from high-quality silicone with a double flat seal on the edge. When tightened, this mask provides a secure facial seal. The nose pocket of this mask is highly pronounced. You can easily grab it for a quick equalization.
Encased in a sturdy plastic frame, the Scubapro Spectra uses a dual lens that is made from tempered glass. The lens can be upgraded into a glare-free mirrored lens which minimizes the entry of bright light and this feature is highly appreciated–especially on a sunny day or while diving in areas with spectacular visibility.
Have you heard of the Atomic Aquatics Venom Mask? Well, it is one of the best Atomic Masks in the market. It is a blend of the Atomics SubFrame and the Atomics Frameless Masks.
It still has the low volume profile of a frameless Atomic mask, a pronounced nose pocket, a single tempered glass, squeeze-to-adjust buckles and a soft silicon skirt. But what makes it different from other Atomic masks is the lens construction. This mask has a reinforced internal frame that is molded directly underneath the surface of the silicone skirt. The mask comes in red and black.
If you are looking for a scuba diving mask that offers one of the widest fields of underwater vision, the Hollis M1 Frameless Mask is one of the best scuba diving masks in its class. Aside from having a wide lens, the tempered glass used in this mask is made from a crystal-clear Saint-Gobain Diamant quality lens that raises the bar for optical quality and distortion-free underwater vision. This type of lens has a low iron content which produces higher light transmittance and a reduced green tint which is inherent in other tempered glass. The skirt is made from 100% silicon with a double-feathered edge and a wide split style mask strap that is attached to a low-profile quick adjustable buckles.
Designed to camouflage your face so that you can go near a fish, the Sherwood Onyx is made from a high grade silicon that has a stealthy matte black finish that covers the skirt and the strap. Aside from having soft silicon material, the skirt has a double feathered edge that adds more facial seal. The strap is also made of silicon that is attached to a unique push-button buckle system, making adjustment very easy.
For its lens, aside from being tempered, it uses hyper-clear lenses which greatly improves clarity and increases the transmission of light. The lens also has an anti-reflective coating that reduces glaring or light reflection. This feature will come in handy if you are diving at the middle of the day or when you explore dive sites with excellent visibility.
Coming from the highly popular nano-mask technology of Cressi, the Cressi Calibro bears the innovative tapered structure that has an integrated dual frame technology. This allows the silicone skirt to be joined with the lens frame without creating obvious curvature. And the result is a mask that is hydrodynamic.
Taking a closer look at the mask, you will see that it has inclined and inverted tear-drop lenses for wider vision. Aside from being soft, the double-feathered skirt has a thick silicone at the front which acts as a structural support which increases its sealing ability. It also has a highly elastic strap that is attached to an easy-to-use buckles for quick strap length adjustment.
Things to consider when looking for the best scuba diving mask for you
While comfort and fit is a basic consideration when selecting any scuba equipment and accessories, this is particularly emphasized when choosing a mask. The mistake of not considering comfort and fit often leads to a distorted vision, either caused by mask fogging, flooding, or squeezing. A bad mask can distract from a dive that would’ve been amazing if only your mask had fit properly.
Each person has a different facial contour. The most expensive mask may have a skirt that gives a good seal on your face, or perhaps the best budget mask fits instead. With this, it is paramount to fit your mask before diving.
All scuba diving mask lenses should have a tempered glass or lens. A tempered glass means that if the glass shatters, it will collapse into tiny, blunt pieces of glass rather than sharp shards. Never buy a mask that uses other materials such as polycarbonate lenses and the like.
If you are using prescription eyeglasses, then you may consider consulting with your dive instructor or accredited dive shop about masks with prescription lenses. This will greatly improve your vision and allow you to see things clearly underwater. Wearing a mask over glasses often comes with the trouble of leaks and both the mask and the glasses fogging. Contact lenses paired with a normal scuba diving mask or prescription lenses tend to be better options.
Scuba diving masks are classified into low volume and high volume masks. While most diving masks nowadays have a low volume profile that requires less effort to clear or equalize, there are masks that still have the high volume profile. While it gives you a wider field of vision, a high profile mask requires more effort when clearing or equalizing. Ultra low-volume masks can double for freediving masks.
Design and material
Specifically on the skirt and the strap, masks are either made of rubber or silicone. While this may not be a big deal, those will skin allergies will want to look at the materials carefully. For highly sensitive skin, you may opt to choose a material that is hypoallergenic such as medical grade silicone.
Frameless masks are fast becoming a fad in the new line of scuba equipment. While they are sleek and more compact, some have found it difficult to handle when doing a mask clearing or recovery as there is no frame to hold onto. So if your diving habits often require you to do mask clearing, you may opt to select the traditional framed masks.
At the end of the day, you have to ask what good does an expensive regulator, BCD, computer, or any other scuba equipment account for if your mask is poor quality? Investing in the best scuba diving mask for your face is a great way to ensure that every dive you do is clearly seen and memorable.
How to fit a scuba diving mask to your face
First, place the mask onto your face without pulling the strap over your head. Inhale and hold your breath. Then, look down and wiggle your head.
If the mask does not fall off your face, that means it fits well and has a good seal. Be sure to brush the hair away from your face. Just a few strands of hair can cause a scuba diving mask to leak. Note that masks often leak if they are too loose or too tight. Test a mask in a pool before a dive trip to ensure the perfect fit.
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