Best Scuba Mask
Cressi F1 Frameless Scuba Diving Mask
TUSA M-1003 Freedom Elite Scuba Mask
Hollis M1 Frameless Scuba Diving Mask
Each piece of diving equipment is important in its own way, and the scuba mask is one of those pieces of equipment. Your scuba dive mask will be your window to the underwater world. It will need to be clear, clean, and safe for it to be useful.
Scuba masks will have different features and require different specifications than a snorkel mask, so it important to know the difference between the two and what these features and specifications consist of.
First, we will go over the best scuba masks available today. This will lead to the best scuba mask buying guide that will have everything you need to know about scuba masks.
How to Choose the Best Scuba Mask
Many features should be considered when choosing the best scuba mask. It is important to understand why these features are important and should be considered when making your decision. We will discuss the fit, skirt, frame, volume, lens type, prescription compatibility, and purge valve.
The fit of the scuba mask is one of the most important features you should consider. A scuba mask that does not fit correctly can be both dangerous and ineffective. Your scuba dive can quickly shift from enjoyable to deadly if the scuba mask does not fit correctly.
First, the mask will have to seal properly so that water does not leak into the mask. However, the mask should not be sealed so tightly that it is uncomfortable or painful while diving, as this can cause you to struggle during the dive. The mask should comfortably fit and seal around your face for it to be a correct fit.
The best method for finding a scuba mask that fits correctly will come from a simple fitting. If possible, you can test how a scuba mask will fit by placing it over your face and evaluating where the skirt of the mask settles.
If the mask is too big, the skirt will pass your hairline. If the mask is too small, the lens will touch your nose or forehead. A mask that is too big will leak, and a mask that is too small will be painful.
Finding a mask with a skirt that fits your face correctly will ensure it will remain leak-free while not being too tight.
If you are unable to try on a mask before purchasing it, you can take a simple measurement that will tell you the size of the mask you should buy. Measure the distance from the top of the nose to the bottom of the chin.
- Extra small mask = 3.9 inches or less
- Small/medium mask = 3.9 inches to 4.7 inches
- Large/extra-large mask = 4.7 inches or greater
The material of the mask skirt can mean the difference in having a leak-free mask and a mask that leaks.
The best material to provide maximum comfort and to prevent leaking is silicone. Silicone is pliable, comfortable, and creates an airtight seal that keeps water from entering when pressed against the face.
A rubber skirt will also seal against the face, but it is not as pliable or sealable as silicone. Rubber can also quickly deteriorate, especially in harsh sand and saltwater conditions. This can cause the skirt to leak water into the mask.
The scuba mask can be framed or frameless.
A framed scuba mask will have a plastic frame that encompasses the lens(es) of the mask. The lens(es) and skirt are sealed within the plastic frame. The plastic frame cannot be moved, folded, or bent; otherwise, the scuba mask could break.
A frameless scuba mask is made of silicone, and the skirt is attached directly into the glass lens. Frameless scuba masks can be easily folded or bent for convenient storage or packing.
Both framed and frameless scuba masks have advantages and disadvantages.
Framed scuba masks will be able to accommodate prescription lenses. Framed masks are typically more durable, more affordable, and are overall more resolute.
The downside to framed scuba masks lies mostly in the heaviness of the frame. When pressurized, the frame of the scuba mask can become painful as it is worn.
Frameless scuba masks will have a wider viewpoint through the large lens window. Frameless scuba masks are typically less likely to leak and more comfortable to wear. Frameless scuba masks are ideal for traveling as they can be easily packed.
The downside to frameless scuba masks is that they are more expensive and cannot accommodate prescription lenses.
The volume of scuba masks is defined by the amount of air space inside the mask.
Low volume means there will be less air space in the mask, whereas high volume means there will be more air space in the mask. Medium volume means there will be a medium amount of air space in the mask. This is important because this will tell you how much air will be in the mask as you dive, which can affect the speed at which you will be diving.
Low volume masks will have less air space, making them less buoyant. This means they can quickly travel underwater without resistance or much buoyancy. Low volume masks are designed to be quickly and easily cleared when fogged.
High volume masks will have more air space in the mask, making them more buoyant. However, more than that is the high volume is recommended for saturated, deep diving where water pressure becomes intense. High volume masks will give you a larger field of vision, which is ideal for saturated diving.
Choosing a low volume mask or a high volume mask will depend on the type of diving you will be doing. Freediving and diving in shallow waters are best for low volume masks. Low volume masks will allow you to travel quickly without much resistance while also letting you easily clear the mask should it become fogged.
Saturation diving in high-pressure conditions is best when using a high volume scuba mask. The high volume scuba mask is more comfortable under high-pressure conditions. Water is less likely to enter the mask through leaks, which is extremely beneficial when saturation diving.
The lens of the scuba mask can be one large window or two individual lenses. The lens type you choose may depend on if you want prescription lenses to replace the standard lenses, or if the frame will allow there to be two separate lenses.
For example, frameless scuba masks will have one large window and not two individual lenses. This means the frameless scuba mask you choose will only have the option for one large viewing window. Therefore, if you want a frameless scuba mask but two individual lenses, you will likely have to forego one or the other.
On the other hand, if you want a scuba mask to have one window lens but would like to have the window lens upgraded to a prescription, you will have to switch to a two-lens frame, as one lens will be unable to upgrade to a prescription.
A purge valve is a mechanism that is built into the nosepiece of the scuba mask that allows you to clear water and fog from the mask when you exhale through your nose. Purge valves are recommended by divers who are using a high volume mask and cannot easily clear it.
To use the purge valve, simply exhale into the scuba mask through your nose. This will force the water out of the mask and clear it without using your hands to move the mask to clear the water.
Clearing the water from the mask without a purge valve will require you to tilt your head upwards to clear the water from the mask. With a purge mask, you don’t have to worry about positioning your head in a way that will allow the water to escape. Instead, you will simply exhale through your nose to have the water expelled from the mask.
How to Care for Your Scuba Mask
After each dive, you should clean your scuba mask with warm fresh water, no hotter than 120°F, with gentle soap and a soft cloth. Salt crystals within the saltwater will be removed from the mask when using warm water, gentle soap, and a soft cloth. Saltwater that is not effectively removed can corrode and deteriorate the overall condition of the mask, including the mask skirt, straps, and lens of the mask.
Once the mask has been cleaned, rinse it with warm fresh water to eliminate all soapy residue. Dry the mask completely with a towel before storing the mask in a dry storage bag or case.
Make sure the case or bag is not stored in direct sunlight, as this can quickly cause the material of the mask to deteriorate. The lens should be placed face up so that scratching does not occur. If your mask can be disassembled, we recommend disassembling the mask to ensure each component of the scuba mask is stored appropriately.
For example, if the straps can detach from the mask, we recommend removing the straps from the mask and placing them in a separate bag for storage.
Adequately cleaning and storing your scuba mask will preserve its condition and expand its overall lifespan.
The scuba masks we have included are the best available on the market today. While the personalized features may vary between these models, the most important feature the scuba mask must possess is the right fit. Make sure you measure your face correctly from the top of your nose to the bottom of your chin to ensure you purchase the right size scuba mask for you.