Buying a scuba mask is one of the best investments you can make into your scuba gear (along with a dive computer) and will likely be your first. If you are considering getting into scuba diving or just need snorkeling gear, you will quickly find out what most of us have already learned. Masks come in various shapes and sizes which can be good but it also makes it challenging to find the right one.
Jump right in and view our quick list! Below that are a few things to consider when searching as well as comparison chart and summary list detailing the best scuba masks. Our picks include various configurations and price ranges so there is something for everyone.
QUICK ANSWER: The Best Scuba Masks of 2016-2017
- Hollis M1
- Atomic Aquatics Frameless
- Tusa Freedom HD
- ScubaPro Synergy 2 TruFit
- ScubaPro Spectra Trufit
- Cressi Big Eyes Evolution
- Cressi Nano
- ScubaPro Solo
- Atomic Aquatics Sub-Frame ARC
- Aqualung Impression
- Bonus Pick: ScubaPro Synergy TruFit
- Bonus Pick: ScubaPro Spectra 2
How To Choose The Best Scuba Mask – Quick Guide
Below are a few things to consider when searching for the best scuba mask for you. Try not to get overwhelmed as there is no “best configuration” only one that is best for you. Also, there is usually no difference in a scuba mask and a snorkeling mask as they are one in the same.
You have probably already noticed that there are single lens masks, dual lens masks, and even multi lens masks and you may be wondering if one is better than the other but that is something you have to decide. You can expect a few differences with each. A single lens will be less obstructive to your view but it will not accommodate prescriptive lenses. A dual lens can accommodate both prescriptive and replacement lenses but some do not like the vision split between the bridge of the nose. Multi lenses (my lens style of choice) will have a pane on each side of the scuba mask that provides a brighter and even greater field of vision.
Each dive mask will have a different angle than that of a diver’s face. The degree of angle will impact two things, the internal volume of the mask and most importantly, the lower field of view which is used most during dives and snorkeling. Note: Some divers find that the really low angled masks will cause the frame to put pressure on the bridge of their nose due to the lower part of the frame being designed to sit closer to the cheekbones and out of view.
One of the most important parts of a scuba mask, the skirting needs to provide a perfect yet comfortable seal to keep water from entering and obstructing a diver’s view. The quickest way to ruin a perfect dive is a leaky dive mask. Just about every manufacturer uses high grade silicone which everyone agrees is the best material for comfort and seal. Some have even started marketing mask skirting with a skin-like feel which is said to improve comfort even more.
The best masks will have a secondary skirt which increases the surface area that creates a water tight seal. Another aspect often overlooked is the skirting color which is typically either black or clear. It is certainly a preference thing but I prefer clear skirting due to the increased light it lets in (which is great for night dives) whereas black skirting feels too closed in. Clear skirting also allows me to detect movement in my periphery. I will note that sometimes clear skirts can allow a glare on the lens when used near the surface as a snorkel mask but I have never had an issue.
The most common dive mask has a rigged frame in which all components are attached to including the lens, skirt, and strap buckles. There are also frame-less masks which mold the silicone skirt directly around the other components which makes the mask very slim and low volume but if any one part fails it usually cannot be repaired and you will need to buy a new scuba mask.
Frame-less masks are great as a backup mask however due to the very low profile which allows them to be easily stowed away in a BC pocket. If your primary use will be as a snorkel mask then you can probably skip the added cost and purchase a rigged frame snorkel mask. Note: Frame-less masks usually do not accommodate prescription lenses as an option and will have to be sent to a third party in which RX lenses will be epoxied to the mask lens. I personally just wear my contact lenses as scuba mask with prescriptive lenses are pricey.
BUCKLES AND STRAPS
Diving masks usually come with a silicon strap which is looped through a buckle which is either attached to the skirt or the frame where you can adjust the strap. Having the buckle attached to the skirt reduces the tension put on the sides of the mask but I do not feel one system is better than the other. One essential accessory for your straps is the
slap strap! The dive mask slap strap is a wide neoprene sleeve that fits over the silicon strap which protects your hair from tangling in the strap and makes it easy to take the mask on and off.
HOW TO CARE FOR YOUR SCUBA MASK
With proper care your mask will easily last many years. After every dive be sure and rinse with plain warm water to remove any dirt or salt that may be on the dive mask. After you have rinsed it be sure and let it dry completely before storing it away in a dry location out of direct sunlight.
My list of best scuba masks was determined based on personal experience, mask features, quality, price, as well as customer reviews of each mask across several websites. Determining a single best scuba mask is something that is really not possible considering all of the different face shapes and preferences. My list contains the 10 best scuba masks which feature the most important and popular configurations so you can decide the best scuba mask with the features and fit you desire.
Compare The Top 10 Best Scuba Masks
|Image||Scuba Mask||Lens Type||Mask Frame||Skirt Color||Price|
|Atomic Aquatics Frameless||Single||Frameless||Black/Clear||$$$|
|TUSA Freedom HD||Single||Rigid||Black/Clear||$|
|ScubaPro Synergy2 TruFit||Twin/Single||Rigid||Black/Clear||$$$|
|ScubaPro Spectra TruFit||Twin||Rigid||Black/Clear||$$|
|Cressi Big Eyes Evolution||Twin||Rigid||Black/Clear||$|
|Atomic Sub-Frame ARC||Single||Rigid||Black/Clear||$$$|
The Top 10 Best Scuba Mask Reviews
The Hollis M1 is a frameless, low volume mask, and has an outstanding field of view. The M1 single lens is made with extra crystal clear Saint-Gobain Diamant Tempered Glass and has a low iron content, providing higher light transmittance and reduced green tint than other glass. Visibility is also outstanding with this mask and distortion free.
The M1 is also very comfortable to wear and has a very durable skirting. This is a great mask for both primary use or stowed away in a BCD pocket as a backup. If folds up nicely and is very slim when folded down for storage in a pocket. If you need a high quality, light weight versatile mask, the M1 is a great option.
Manufactured very much like the M1 with a low iron tempered glass, the Atomic Aquatics Frameless also boasts an “Ultra Clear” view and an extremely wide viewing angle with its single lens and low volume.
Atomic focused the mask design on fit, comfort, and functionality by equipping it with Easy Squeeze-to-Adjust buckles that are mounted behind the lens providing better access and a more hydrodynamic design. You can find it available in a regular or medium fit (for smaller, narrower faces).
Another comfortable, low volume option that can be used as a primary or stowed away in a BCD pocket as a backup.
The Freedom HD mask is a Single Tempered Glass Lens Mask with an incredibly wide field and a 180° Rotational Buckle System, which allows it to Fit a variety of face sizes while maintaining a low profile. The buckle system also gives you more options with how you choose to position the strap.
This mask also features a dimpled skirt surface with varied silicone thicknesses and stability ridges in addition to a double feathered edge skirt surface allowing it to maintain a great seal while conforming to varied face shapes. The Tusa Freedom is a great choice and a great mask at very reasonable price.
If you have had issues with mask fit and finding a mask that can seal to your face, definitely give the Tusa Freedom a try.
The Synergy2 is a single lens mask utilizing ScubaPro’s Ultra-Clear lens which provides exceptional clarity, light transmission, and no color distortion. This mask utilizes the latest TruFit skirt which features an inner thin skirt for amazing comfort and a thicker outer skirt. This provides support and rigidity near the frame, combined with the swivel buckles system it provides the best fit.
Synergy2 also has a twin lens option if that is your preference. Overall both masks offer an extremely comfortable fit and an amazing seal.
Same great shape as the Synergy2 but uses a single, varied thickness skirting, combined with the swivel buckles system it to, provides the best fit. It is also slightly cheaper that the Synergy2.
The Spectra is a two window mask with ultra-clear tempered lenses and features Scuba Pro’s first generation TruFit ultra-soft skirt which incorporates a uniformly thin silicone for max comfort and a universal fit. Its low profile and low volume makes for easy clearing of the mask.
The easy to reach nose pocket is also extremely convenient for ear equalization while wearing thick gloves. ScubaPro’s Spectra is an all-around great mask that fits well and is very comfortable.
For those with smaller faces checkout the SCUBAPRO SPECTRA 2. A smaller version of the Spectra without the Trufit Skirt but all of the other great features of the Spectra and a slightly cheaper price.
The mask is made from High Seal, a new material that offers extraordinary comfort. The new design uses High Seal silicone for softness and comfort, and new the design allows a point of contact between the mask and the face that has a very open angle. The entire structure of the skirt is differentiated, with internal ribs that stiffen the parts of the mask that are most stressed.
The raked inverted drop shape lenses are brought as close to the pupils as possible, so the visibility of the Matrix is increased by 25%. Big Eyes Evolution has been created to take prescription lenses: a small screwdriver and a few seconds are all it takes to replace the standard lenses with prescription lenses.
The Cressi Nano design utilizes an extremely low internal volume and hydrodynamic shape to reduce drag and improve efficiency making it especially useful for free-diving and spearfishing. The nose bridge has been thinned and strengthened to eliminate uncomfortable contact between the mask frame and the face.
The low profile and streamlined design makes this one of the best scuba masks for spear fishing. If a quality mask in a small form factor is what you are after, the Cressi Nano is certainly a great option.
The Solo is a 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.
Buckles with flexible mounts on the skirt allow you to easily route the non-slip strap to achieve the perfect fit. These are a great option to have corrective lenses added to the lens.
Sub-Frame is a low volume mask that features Atomic Aquatics developed ARC (Anti-Reflective Coating) technology to reduce reflected light and actually increase the amount of available light transmitted to a diver’s eyes. It greatly improves transmission at 98% of available light while also great at reducing any glare from stray light.
The Sub-Frame is one of the strongest masks on the market and carries a lifetime warranty against frame breakage. If you are concerned about durability, the Sub-Frame is one of the best scuba mask options.
The Impression’s lens, skirt, and frame are molded together in one shot as opposed to other masks where multiple pieces are snapped together. This allows the lens to come closer to the face which maximizes the field of vision.
The mask skirt goes further back on the face increasing the contact surface between face and silicone skirt enhancing comfort. The mask’s low volume also helps enhance the field of view.
Divers that have tried the Impression often comment that it is one of the best fitting masks they have tried. This low-profile mask seals great both on narrow and wide faces alike. A useful tip when choosing this mask is the black skirt is slightly softer than the clear skirt.
Quick Tips: Best Way To Prevent Mask Leaks and Lens Fogging
Once you have purchase a scuba ask you need to know a few tips to keep your mask from leaking or fogging up. A leaking or foggy mask will turn a fun and enjoyable scuba dive into a bothersome dive real quick. You will be constantly clearing your mask of water pooling at the bottom of your mask from leaks or water you intentionally introduced to clear any fog accumulation.
Avoiding Leaks: The main thing you want to focus on is achieving a proper fit. The two most common causes of leaks are facial hair or an encroaching hairline, and a mask that is pulled too tight with the straps. A scuba mask doesn’t actually have to be secured too tightly by the straps as the under water pressure does a good job of securing the mask. When the straps are too tight it will deform the skirting preventing a proper seal. Loosen that mask up if you are getting leaks and they will likely clear up.
As for hair under your skirting, this is an unfortunate factor for a lot of divers but there is a silicon paste you can use to improve and maintain the seal but there is no perfect solution.
Foggy Masks: Aside from being annoying a foggy mask can actually be dangerous as it limits diver awareness by obstructing your view and making you focus your attention on clearing the lens fog. The best way to deal with lens fog is prevention! You should always follow a manufacturers guidelines before attempting this but most masks will need to have the protective coating removed from the lens and a common way is rubbing toothpaste over the lens. You can also you a few drops of dish soap spread all over the lens and rinsed just before a dive, as well as products like antifog sprays to help keep your scuba mask from fogging up. These are cheap and easy solutions that can be easily stowed away in a dive bag.
Be sure and let us know which scuba mask you think is best in the comments and maybe we will check it out and see if it is worthy of the best scuba mask list. Feel free to check out our other reviews and lists of the best scuba diving gear at the links below!