Do you know what two pieces of gear you should buy first when you start to get into scuba diving? My answer is: a mask and a dive computer. Why? Because these are the two things you don’t want to rent. Who wants a leaky mask or a computer you don’t know how to use? But how do know what’s the best scuba diving mask for you?
One of our big goals here at The Adventure Junkies is to help make your life easier when it comes to gearing up for scuba diving. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the how to choose a mask and show you our selection of some of the best models out there.
THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO FIND THE BEST SCUBA DIVING MASK OF 2016
SCUBA DIVING MASKS 101
6 THINGS TO CONSIDER TO FIND THE BEST SCUBA MASK
1. LENS ANGLE
Dive masks don’t run at the same angle as the diver’s face. Having a mask with a bit of an angle has two advantages. First, it reduces the internal volume of the mask. And second (and most important) it increases the lower field of view. In other words, it’s easier to look down. This is made possible because with an angle the lower part of the frame is pushed back towards the cheek bones and out of the visible range.
2. SINGLE, DUAL & MULTIPLE LENS
All dive masks have either single, dual or multiple lenses. Single lens masks seem more open as they don’t have any frame across the bridge of the nose, but the downside is they can’t be replaced with prescription glasses while the dual (also called “twin”) lens masks can be easily replaced. The multiple lens masks normally feature a window pane on each side that provides a feeling of having brighter and more open field.
3. MASK SKIRT
The skirt of a mask does something simple but very important: to provide a good seal to keep the air in and the water out. Most manufacturers use high grade silicone to make their skirts and it’s been proven to be the best material for comfort and sealing. The best models also come with a secondary skirt which increases the surface that is able to seal and reduces the possibilities of having a leak.
4. MASK FRAME
Most of the dive masks come with a frame where all the other components (lens, skirt, straps and buckles) are attached to, making them easy to dismantle for cleaning, repairing or fitting prescription lenses. But there are also frameless diving masks in the market where the silicone skirt is molded around the other components to keep them all together. These are very slim masks that can fit into a pocket but it’s not possible to fix them if they break or installing prescription lenses on them.
5. STRAP AND BUCKLES
Everyone’s head is different, diving masks come with a silicone strap that keeps the skirt close to the skin. To adjust the strap, a buckle system is needed. There are different types of buckles out there but the latest models have moved the buckle attachment point off the frame and incorporate it into the skirt. By doing this, the stress transferred to the side of the mask is reduced and the skirt seals better.
Once you know the features you want for your mask, you’ll need to get a model that fits your face well. To find a good fit, do the following:
Put the mask over your face without straps. Inhale through your nose and shake your head a bit. If the mask stays in place, that’s a good fit. If it falls, the fit is not good. Try a different model.
HOW TO CARE FOR YOUR SCUBA MASK
After every use, you should always rinse your dive mask in fresh water. It’s been demonstrated that warm water works better to dissolve any salt particles from your equipment. Once washed, allow enough time to completely dry before putting away. Remember to store your mask in a dry location and out of direct sunlight. Want to learn more about how to care for your scuba gear? Check out our guide on how to maintain and store scuba equipment.
VIDEO: ADJUSTING YOUR DIVE MASK
SCUBA MASK REVIEWS
THE TOP 10 BEST DIVE MASKS COMPARISON
SCUBAPRO SYNERGY TRUFIT
The Scubapro Synergy Trufit ultra-soft skirt has been developed to not only fit any face shape, but also incorporates a unique rigidity allowing perfect seal and comfort.
Rather than consisting of two separate materials, the new Trufit skirt uses two different thicknesses of the same high quality silicone in one skirt, assuring total comfort.
A great mask that provides performance and comfort at the same time.
The Cressi Nano uses an extremely low internal volume and hydrodynamic shape to reduce drag and improve efficiency.
The bridge across the nose has been thinned and strengthened to eliminate uncomfortable contact between the mask frame and the face.
The reverse teardrop lens shape and closeness to the eyes provides an extensive field of view with little or no visibility of the frame itself.
RIFFE MANTIS LV
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The Riffe Mantis LV is built to fit mainly medium to wide faces.
Featuring a coated UV protective film on a tempered unsymmetrical glass lens this design provides the diver with the best view, both top and bottom as well as side to side.
Included in this new design are drain channels for water evacuation below the eye. A very popular mask among experienced divers.
ATOMIC AQUATICS VENOM
The Atomic Aquatics Venom is built with German Schott Superwite glass that allows even more light to penetrate than Ultra clear glass.
It also comes with an ultra-wide panoramic-view tear drop design and integrated easy-to-adjust swivel buckles. The reinforcing internal frame is molded beneath the silicone rubber skirt.
A top of the line mask ideal for those looking for high quality components and performance.
MARES X-VU LIQUIDSKIN
The Mares X-VU LiquidSkin is the first completely new 2-lenses Mares mask using LiquidSkin technology after the X-vision model.
Beyond the natural comfort provided by LiquidSkin skirt, an additional soft silicone part is injected in the nose area acting like an anti-shock bumper.
I’ve been using Mares Liquidskin models for years and I’m really happy with their performance and comfort.
SCUBAPRO SPECTRA TRUFIT
Like other Scubapro masks, the Spectra Trufit uses the the new Trufit skirt that is built using two different thicknesses of the same high quality silicone in one skirt, assuring total comfort and sophisticated simplicity.
This dual-lens mask features a low volume for clearing convenience, yet designed for maximum visibility, a provides a comfortable fit for a variety of face shapes.
AQUA LUNG IMPRESSION
The Aqua Lung Impression uses Micromask technology where the 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 close to the face which maximizes the field of vision.
Featuring Advanced Fit Technology (AFT) that uses bands of different textures around the edge of the skirt results in a superior seal against the face.
MARES STAR LIQUIDSKIN
The Mares Smart Liquidskin is the most compact model of the Mares Liquidskin series.
The geometry of the Star was optimized by greatly reducing the distance between the lens and the eyes. This allows for better vision and perception of distance.
This low volume light weight mask has a skirt with a double feathered edge for an improved seal, easy to squeeze nose well that allows one handed equalization, tempered glass lenses and quick adjusting buckles.
CRESSI BIG EYES EVOLUTION
The Cressi Big Eyes Evolution is made from High Seal, a new material that offers extraordinary comfort.
The raked lenses, with their inverted drop shape, are quite small and are brought as close to the eyes as possible, so that the visibility of the Matrix is increased by 25%.
The headband uses the exclusive system of double injection of an elastomer on a rigid element and allows the buckles to be strapped on an indestructible elastic element that tilts on a vertical plane and can be completely bent sideways on a 180° curve.
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The Octomask built in GoPro Camera mount offers divers a great way to shoot incredible video while diving in addition to keeping your hands free.
It works with all GoPro models. The mask itself features safety tempered lens, and a low volume design that helps keep the mask close to the face for great visibility, while the super-soft silicone helps ensure a great seal.