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If you’re new to freediving, the very first piece of gear you should buy is a high-quality mask. Rentals can be ill-fitting and uncomfortable, or even worse, prone to leaking and flooding. The best freediving mask for you will fit well, be super easy to equalize, and offer the diver-friendly features you’ll use the most. 

Keep in mind that most SCUBA and snorkeling masks aren’t suitable for freediving. They hold a much higher volume of air and are harder to equalize. In this article, we’ll walk you through all the features and considerations to look for in a freediving mask. Plus, we’ll share our favorite models on the market, with an ideal match for all budgets and skill levels.

For more of our top freediving gear recommendations, check out the Best Freediving Fins.

 

Quick Answer - The Best Freediving Masks

  1. Scuba Max Arc
  2. Cressi Frameless F1
  3. Mares Tana
  4. Omer Alien
  5. Mares Star Elite
  6. Mares Viper
  7. Omer Zero 3
  8. Cressi Nano
  9. Scubapro Scout
  10. Aqua Lung Micro

 

Comparison Table - Best Freediving Masks

PictureNameSkirt ColorVolumeLensPriceRating
Scuba Max ArcBlackLowReverse Teardrop$4.4
Cressi Frameless F1Clear, Black, ColoredMediumOne Window$4.8
Mares TanaBlack, ColoredLowTwo Window$4.6
Omer AlienBlack, ColoredExtra LowTwo Window$$4.8
Mares Star EliteBlackLowTwo Window Angled$$4.6
Mares ViperBlack, ColoredExtra LowTwo Window Angled$$4.2
Omer Zero 3Black, ColoredExtra LowTwo Window Angled$$4.3
Cressi NanoBlack, Clear, ColoredExtra LowReverse Teardrop$$$4.7
Scubapro ScoutBlack, ClearLowTwo Window$$$5.0
Aqua Lung MicroBlack, ClearLowTwo Window$$$4.5
PictureNameSkirt ColorVolumeLensPriceRating
Want to learn more about a technical term? Check out our Features Explained section below.

Need buying advice? Take a look at these Things to Consider.

Reviews - The Best Masks for Freediving

Scuba Max Arc

Specs
  • Lens: Reverse Teardrop
  • Volume: Low
  • Skirt Color: Black
  • Strap Style: Skirt Mounted Split
  • Skirt Seal: Double Feathered
  • Materials: Silicone
Features
  • Corrective Lens Compatible
  • Texturized Nose Pocket for Easy Equalization
  • Extra Wide Skirt Fits All Face Shapes
  • Semi-Frameless Design for Extra Flexibility

BEST FOR: BUDGET

If you’re new to freediving or don’t want to spend a ton of money on your mask, the Scuba Max Arc is an excellent option. This entry-level model looks and feels high end, but won’t break the bank. It’s low volume and features an extra-wide feathered skirt, so it fits a variety of face shapes. Its nose pocket has two texturized equalization pads, making it effortless to grip. Plus, its semi-frameless design makes it lightweight and flexible, perfect for dive travel, or carrying underwater as a backup. The Scuba Max Arc uses reverse teardrop lenses, so it offers excellent lookdown vision and is prescription lens compatible, too.

Cressi Frameless F1

Specs
  • Lens: One Window
  • Volume: Medium
  • Skirt Color: Clear, Black, Colored
  • Strap Style: Skirt Mounted Wide Split
  • Skirt Seal: Double Feathered
  • Materials: Silicone, Rubber
Features
  • Frameless Design for Extra Flexibility
  • Extra Wide Field of Vision
  • Sold in a Variety of Colors
  • Folds Flat for Easy Storage

BEST FOR: SCUBA AND FREEDIVING 

Are you into freediving and SCUBA? Most masks won’t work for both sports, but the Cressi Frameless F1is a rare exception. This model features a single window, so it’s higher volume than the other options on this list. But, it’s just fine for beginners in apnea. The F1 is travel-friendly, folding completely flat for easy storage in your luggage or gear pocket. Plus, it comes in a variety of eye-popping colors, so it’s easy to spot underwater and coordinate with the rest of your gear. The F1 fits best on small and narrow faces and even comes in a “mini” size, perfect for kids and female freedivers.

Mares Tana

Specs
  • Lens: Two Window
  • Volume: Low
  • Skirt Color: Black, Colored
  • Strap Style: Skirt Mounted Split
  • Skirt Seal: Pocketed Double Feathered
  • Materials: Silicone
Features
  • Oversized Ergonomic Buckles Are Easy to Use Even With Thick Gloves
  • Sold in a Variety of Colors
  • Extra Soft Silicone Skirt Seals Well On High Foreheads and Cheeks
  • Pocketed Skirt Fits Large Noses Comfortably

BEST FOR: PROMINENT FACIAL FEATURES

If you have a large nose, high cheekbones, or a prominent forehead, you know it can be hard to find a mask that fits well. The Mares Tana uses an extra soft silicone skirt, so it seals and contours well over a variety of face shapes. Its double feathered skirt features miniature pockets around the nose, making it more spacious, but still easy to equalize. The Tana comes in a variety of camouflage colors like blue and green, making it a favorite for spearfishing. Plus, its oversized and ergonomic buckles are easy to grasp and grab, even if you’re freediving with thick gloves.

Omer Alien

Specs
  • Lens: Two Window
  • Volume: Extra Low
  • Skirt Color: Black, Colored
  • Strap Style: Skirt Mounted Narrow Split
  • Skirt Seal: Feathered
  • Materials: Silicone, Rubber
Features
  • Designed Specifically for Spearfishing
  • Narrow Skirt Fits Well Over Facial Hair
  • Hydrodynamic Low Drag Design
  • Optional Mirrored Lenses

BEST FOR: SPEARFISHING

Explicitly designed for spearfishing, the Omer Alien is an industry favorite. But, this mask’s super low volume and nearly drag-free profile make it a top pick, even if you aren’t on the hunt. The Alien is sold in multiple camouflage colors and is available with mirrored lenses. This extra feature reduces glare, protects your eyes from harmful UV rays, and allows your pupils to adjust to light on the surface faster after each dive. Its narrow and flexible skirt seals well over facial hair, and its lightweight, flexible frame contours to fit most face shapes. This mask does have a narrow field of vision when compared to other models, but you’ll get used to it after just a few dives.

Mares Star Elite

Specs
  • Lens: Two Window Angled
  • Volume: Low
  • Skirt Color: Black
  • Strap Style: Frame Mounted Split
  • Skirt Seal: Double Feathered
  • Materials: Silicone
Features
  • Oversized Ergonomic Buckles Are Easy to Use Even With Thick Gloves
  • Narrow Skirt Fits Well Over Facial Hair
  • Frame Mounted Strap Stays in Place Even While Diving With a Hood
  • Spearfishing Friendly Tinted Lenses Hide Your Eyes From Potential Prey

BEST FOR: COLD CLIMATES   

The Mares Star Elite is a freediving and spearfishing mask, designed for use in a variety of challenging climates. Its specialized silicone won’t fog as much as the competition, even if you’re in cold water. This model also features oversized, easy to grab buckles, mounted directly to the mask frame. This strap design is less flexible than other options, but it’s easier to adjust if you’re wearing gloves. Plus, it won’t let your strap slip or slide if you’re wearing a hood. The Star Elite’s slightly tinted lenses are perfect for hunting, hiding your eyes from potential prey. Plus, this mask’s narrow skirt fits well over beards and mustaches, making it a top pick among men.

Mares Viper

Specs
  • Lens: Two Window Angled
  • Volume: Extra Low
  • Skirt Color: Black, Colored
  • Strap Style: Skirt Mounted Split
  • Skirt Seal: Non-Feathered
  • Materials: Silicone
Features
  • Wide Field of Vision
  • Sold in a Variety of Colors
  • Flat Finish Silicone Reduces Glare
  • Semi-Frameless Design for Extra Flexibility

BEST FOR: EVERYDAY USE

If you spend a lot of time in the water, you’ll want a mask that’s lightweight, comfortable, and built to last. The Mares Viper is a super low profile design, meant to hold as little internal air as possible. Its matte finish reduces glare, no matter which bold color you choose. And, it’s semi-frameless design makes it super flexible, perfect for easy packing and storage. The Viper has a unique non-feathered mask skirt made from super soft, flexible silicone. This special feature helps it seal over facial hair, as well as wide and prominent features, without leaving a ring around your face.

Omer Zero 3

Specs
  • Lens: Two Window Angled
  • Volume: Extra Low
  • Skirt Color: Black, Colored
  • Strap Style: Frame Mounted Wide Split
  • Skirt Seal: Ribbed Double Feathered
  • Materials: Silicone, Rubber
Features
  • Texturized Nose Pocket for Easy Equalization
  • Oversized Ergonomic Buckles Are Easy to Use Even With Thick Gloves
  • Frame Mounted Strap Stays in Place Even While Diving With a Hood
  • Wide Set Frame Fits Well on Round and Asian Face Shapes

BEST FOR: WIDE FACES

Freedivers with round and wide faces sometimes have trouble finding a low profile mask that fits. The Omer Zero 3 has a few unique features, just for you! This model uses a ribbed and texturized nose pocket and bottom skirt to seal well around less prominent facial features. Plus, it’s easy to equalize. Its angled lenses sit close to the eye and are situated far enough apart to accommodate broad foreheads and cheeks. The Zero 3 also uses a frame-mounted mask strap, which is less likely to slip and slide, even if it’s a tiny bit less flexible. This makes the buckles easy to operate, even if you’re diving with a hood and gloves.

Cressi Nano

Specs
  • Lens: Reverse Teardrop
  • Volume: Extra Low
  • Skirt Color: Black, Clear, Colored
  • Strap Style: Frame Mounted Split
  • Skirt Seal: Double Feathered
  • Materials: Silicone
Features
  • Teardrop Lenses
  • Corrective Lens Compatible
  • Optional Mirrored Lenses
  • Designed to Fit Small Faces

BEST FOR: SMALL FACES

The Cressi Nano is an excellent option for freedivers who also enjoy SCUBA, and it works well for both sports. This mask uses a narrow double feathered skirt to form a watertight seal, even on the smallest of faces. It has one of the lowest air volumes available, so it’s super easy to clear. Plus, it offers excellent lookdown vision and prescription lens compatibility thanks to its reverse teardrop design. This mask’s frame-mounted strap features small hardware, so adjusting it underwater might be a challenge for divers with big hands or wearing thick gloves. But, it’s perfect for women and kids who freedive.

Scubapro Scout

Specs
  • Lens: Two Window
  • Volume: Low
  • Skirt Color: Black, Clear
  • Strap Style: Frame Mounted Split
  • Skirt Seal: Double Feathered
  • Materials: Silicone
Features
  • Wide Field of Vision
  • Designed to Fit All Face Shapes
  • Oversized Ergonomic Buckles Are Easy to Use Even With Thick Gloves
  • Frame Mounted Strap Stays in Place Even While Diving With a Hood

BEST FOR: PRO PICK

The Scubapro Scout has been a favorite with working divers for years. This model has all the features you need but skips the trendy bells and whistles that tend to wear out and break. It’s low profile, easy to equalize, and fits a wide variety of face shapes, so it’s a top pick for shop rental gear, too. This mask’s frame-mounted strap and oversized buckles are easy to adjust and won’t budge a bit while you’re in the water. Plus, the Scout is available with a clear skirt, perfect for divers who experience mild claustrophobia with black masks. This model does cost more than the competition, but it’s totally worth it.

Aqua Lung Micro

Specs
  • Lens: Two Window
  • Volume: Low
  • Skirt Color: Black, Clear
  • Strap Style: Frame Mounted Split
  • Skirt Seal: Non-Feathered
  • Materials: Silicone
Features
  • Swiveling Buckles Won’t Pull Your Hair
  • Wide Field of Vision
  • Sold in a Variety of Colors
  • Designed to Fit Small Faces

BEST FOR: FEMALE FREEDIVERS

The Aqua Lung Micro doesn’t have a female-specific design, but it’s an excellent choice for women who freedive. Its frame is slightly narrower than similar models, helping it seal around small foreheads and temples. Its wide, non-feathered skirt contours over chipmunk cheeks and smile lines, preventing flooding. Plus, it offers a large field of view despite its low volume, especially if you opt for the transparent mask skirt. The Micro is available in a variety of colors, making it easy to match with the rest of your gear. And, its easy to adjust, swiveling buckles won’t rip your hair out like most models.

 

 

THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN BUYING A FREEDIVING MASK

 

FIT

When you’re shopping for freediving gear, proper fit should be the most important factor. This is especially important if you’re buying a mask. There’s nothing more uncomfortable than a mask leaking and flooding at depth. Plus, a poorly fitting mask will be challenging to equalize, and can even cause a painful squeeze. No matter what model you choose, be sure to try your mask on before making a purchase. Follow these simple steps to ensure a proper fit:

Start by holding the mask over your face. Without using the strap, see how the skirt (the rubber trim that sticks to your face) fits. If this edge overlaps with your hairline or sits too low on your top lip, it will let water in. If your mask’s silicone skirt is the right size, you’re ready to test the seal. To check for a watertight seal around your face, keep holding the mask in place without using the strap. Then, inhale gently through your nose. This should create enough suction inside the mask to hold it firmly in place. If the mask slides around or moves up and down, it will leak during your dives. 

Double-check that your mask’s lenses don’t press against your nose or forehead. This can cause discomfort at depth. If you have pronounced features, look for a mask designed to fit your face shape. Design elements like a raised or ribbed nose pocket can reduce pressure around the bridge of your nose. 

 

SKIRT COLOR

Freediving masks come in all different colors. While you might prefer the look of one over another, this design element isn’t about fashion. Various skirt colors perform differently in the water, and the best way to know which you prefer is to practice with multiple styles.

A clear mask skirt lets more light in, allowing for more peripheral vision and an “open” feeling while freediving. Divers who sometimes experience mild claustrophobia at depth often prefer this transparent style. The biggest drawback to using a clear mask is that it can allow too much light in. Extra light inside the mask may cause distracting reflections of objects outside your field of vision. Some freedivers find this effect annoying. 

A black skirt will let less light in. The contrast it creates between light and dark clarifies your vision and helps you see further underwater. That’s why spearfishers usually prefer this style. Matte black finishes are especially useful for reducing glare and improving distance vision. But, a solid black mask can create the illusion of “tunnel vision” and leave some divers feeling boxed in. These feelings of discomfort usually affect newly certified freedivers and should pass with time and experience. 

Solid colored mask skirts are gaining in popularity thanks to their versatility in the water. These colorful options offer the best of both worlds, blocking excess light and reflections without creating claustrophobia. Some light colors like pink, white, and yellow are easy to spot from a distance, making you more visible underwater. Camouflage options are available, too, helping you remain invisible to potential prey. 

 

VOLUME

Your freediving mask’s “volume” refers to the amount of air it holds. The amount of air inside your mask determines how difficult it is to equalize, how much drag it creates underwater, and how close it sits to your face. Freediving masks are generally much lower volume than those designed for SCUBA because apnea divers need to conserve energy and focus as they descend.

 

WINDOWS

Most masks for freediving have two windows. Unlike masks for SCUBA diving, these styles use highly flexible silicone and sit very close to the face. These masks sometimes feature teardrop-shaped lenses for improved “look down” vision, helping you to see straight down toward your fins. Teardrop lenses are usually compatible with prescription and colored lenses, too. Other two window models, especially those designed for spearfishing, may feature angled lenses for extra peripheral vision. 

One window masks use one big piece of glass for a lens. These masks are less practical for freediving, so you won’t find many on our list. If you’re looking for one mask that works for SCUBA and freediving, you might wind up with a single-window. But, most freedivers prefer a more traditional style for apnea. 

 

SKIRT SEAL

All freediving masks use a silicone skirt to create a watertight seal around your face. Some models use design elements like a “feathered” or multi-stage skirt, ribbing, or textured “low friction” edges to help the plastic form a more stable bond. While you probably won’t feel the extra grip of these tiny plastic pieces, they will help your mask stay in place. Mask skirts also come in varying widths, ranging from narrow to wide. How much of your face the skirt covers is especially important if you have facial hair, deep smile lines, or uncommon features. 

 

FEATURES EXPLAINED

 

FRAMELESS

Frameless and semi-frameless masks don’t use a traditional plastic frame to attach the mask’s skirt to its lens. Instead, the windows bond directly to the mask’s silicone skirt using a thin, flexible seal. That’s why frameless masks are more lightweight, compact, and foldable than other designs. Frameless masks also make great backups because they are easy to pack and store. 

 

TEARDROP LENSES

Teardrop-shaped lenses allow you to look down toward yourself while diving. This added “lookdown vision” is more important for SCUBA than apnea, but some freedivers do find it helpful. Extra look down makes it easy to read gauges, fasten and adjust your weights, and see your feet during entry and exit from the water. If you wear glasses or contacts, the teardrop shape is your best bet. This design is the most compatible with vision-correcting magnifiers and prescription lens replacements.

 

WIDE FIELD OF VISION

Because freediving masks are low volume, they often have a narrow field of vision. Single window masks and models that use angled lenses will give you a bit more peripheral, but you can still expect to see less than with a traditional SCUBA mask. If you sometimes feel a bit “crowded” by your mask, choose a model with a clear skirt to let a little extra light in. 

 

DESIGNED FOR SPEARFISHING

Freediving masks designed for spearfishing offer special features to help you hunt. Some models help hide your eyes using tinded lenses or camouflage-patterned frames. Others use a flat or matte finish silicone to help reduce glare and improve distance vision. 

 

ERGONOMICS

Unlike SCUBA diving, freediving requires deep concentration and energy conservation underwater. Every movement of your body will add or take away from your breath hold performance. So, if you’re spending a lot of time in the water, there are a few ergonomic features that you’ll find especially helpful. Oversized buckles and frame-mounted straps tend to be the easiest to adjust, even if you’re wearing gloves. And, a texturized nose pocket will help you equalize quickly and easily, even if you have small facial features.

READ MORE

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