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Do you ever struggle to clear your mask? A little bit of water trickling in during a dive is totally normal, and in most cases, it’s unavoidable. But, some divers find the sensation uncomfortable. And, pushing the water back out, or “clearing” the mask is one of the most challenging skills for new divers. If you’ve ever found yourself stressed out by this situation, don’t worry. There is an alternative! Some masks use a two-way flap in the nose pocket known as a “purge valve” to make clearing easier. In this article, you’ll learn about the best dive masks with a purge valve, and all the helpful tips and tricks to keep in mind while shopping.

A purge valve makes it easy to clear (push water back out of) your mask if some leaks in during your dive, but only if you know how to use it. To operate the purge valve, hold your mask in place and exhale hard. The purge valve, found inside the nose pocket, will automatically open and release any water trapped inside. Keep reading to learn more about this specialized type of SCUBA diving mask.

For more of our top scuba gear recommendations, check out the Best Dive Masks

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Quick Answer - The Best Scuba Mask with a Purge Valve

  1. XS Scuba Fusion
  2. Genesis Panview
  3. SeaDive Eagleye RayBlocker HD
  4. Aqua Lung Pacifica
  5. Scubapro Crystal VU-Plus

 

Comparison Table - Best Scuba Mask with a Purge Valve

PictureNameColorVolumeWindowsPriceRating
XS Scuba FusionClear, BlackMedium3$4.4
Genesis PanviewClear, ColoredMedium4$4.8
SeaDive Eagleye RayBlocker HDBlackMedium1$$4.7
Aqua Lung PacificaBlackHigh1$$$4.2
Scubapro Crystal VU-PlusClearMedium3$$$4.8
PictureNameColorVolumeWindowsPriceRating

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

Reviews - The Best Scuba Diving Mask with a Purge Valve

XS Scuba Fusion

Specs
  • Color: Clear, Black
  • Material: Silicone, Rubber, Polycarbonate
  • Volume: Medium
  • Windows: 3
  • Strap Style: Split
  • Skirt Seal: Double Feathered
Features
  • Side Windows for Added Peripheral Vision
  • Designed to Fit All Face Shapes
  • Sold in a Variety of Colors
  • Cold Water Compatible

BEST FOR: EXTRA WIDE FIELD OF VISION 

The XS Scuba Fusion offers one of the widest frames of vision on the market. This mask uses a combination of one large front lens and two small side windows so that you can see both sides of your body clearly. This extra peripheral vision can come in handy for keeping an eye on the rest of your dive group. Plus, this mask feels “open” and lets plenty of light in, even if you prefer to dive with a black mask skirt. The Fusion’s oversized, easy to adjust buckles are mounted directly to its sturdy frame, so it’s a breeze to tighten and loosen, even while wearing thick gloves. And, it’s available in a variety of eye-catching colors, so it’s easy to spot in low visibility.

Genesis Panview

Specs
  • Color: Clear, Colored
  • Material: Silicone, Rubber
  • Volume: Medium
  • Windows: 4
  • Strap Style: Split
  • Skirt Seal: Wide Double Feathered
Features
  • Side Windows for Added Peripheral Vision
  • Cold Water Compatible
  • Swiveling Strap Base for a More Flexible Fit
  • Prescription Lens Compatible

BEST FOR: BUDGET

If you’re new to diving or don’t want to spend a ton, the Genesis Panview might be perfect for you. This model packs a ton of intuitive features, and it won’t break the bank. For starters, this mask’s four window design gives you a massive field of vision and is also prescription lens compatible. Its strap attaches to a swiveling base, so it’s easy to adjust underwater and won’t tug on your hair as much as a traditional model. Plus, an oversized nose pocket and buckles make this mask easy to adjust, even if you’re still getting used to wearing a mask.

SeaDive Eagleye RayBlocker HD

Specs
  • Color: Black
  • Material: Silicone
  • Volume: Medium
  • Windows: 1
  • Strap Style: X Split
  • Skirt Seal: Double Feathered
Features
  • Wide Field of Vision
  • Designed to Fit All Face Shapes
  • Reflective Anti-Glare Lens Coating
  • Strap Attaches To Frame for Increased Stability

BEST FOR: REGULAR USE

The XS Scuba Eagleye wasn’t designed for the fashion-focused. But, what it lacks in style, it more than makes up for in diver friendly features. This mask is a utilitarian piece of equipment, designed for daily wear and tear. It features an oversized, easy to grip nose pocket and purge, perfect for use in climates that require thick gloves. The Eagleye also uses a reflective anti-glare and UV blocking lens coating. This protective film helps your eyes adjust more quickly on the surface and protects them from the sun. But, it still lets plenty of light in, so it won’t negatively impact your vision underwater.

Aqua Lung Pacifica

Specs
  • Color: Black
  • Material: Silicone
  • Volume: High
  • Windows: 1
  • Strap Style: Split
  • Skirt Seal: Extra Wide Single Feathered
Features
  • Wide Field of Vision
  • Designed to Fit Large Faces
  • Cold Water Compatible
  • Strap Attaches To Frame for Increased Stability

BEST FOR: LARGE FACES

The Aqua Lung Pacifica features one of the widest frames available, paired with a single feathered silicone skirt. This combination prevents leaks around the eyes and top lip and is perfect for divers with broad faces or facial hair. The Pacifica’s high volume design leaves plenty of room for pronounced facial features, too, so it’s very unlikely to give you a mask squeeze. And its super simple design makes it easy to put on and adjust, no matter what climate you’re diving in. But, if you’re hoping to make a fashion statement underwater, this mask might not be your best bet. It only comes in one color and has a bit of a “clunky” appearance.

Scubapro Crystal VU-Plus

Specs
  • Color: Clear
  • Material: Silicone, Rubber
  • Volume: Medium
  • Windows: 3
  • Strap Style: Wide Split
  • Skirt Seal: Wide Double Feathered
Features
  • Side Windows for Added Peripheral Vision
  • Cold Water Compatible
  • Strap Attaches To Frame for Increased Stability
  • Raised Nose Pocket to Reduce Pressure Around the Bridge of Your Nose

BEST FOR: TOP OF THE LINE  

If you’re hoping to invest in a high-quality purge mask that will last for years to come, the ScubaPro Crystal VU-Plus might be your best bet. This mask features side windows for an extra-wide frame of vision, and clear silicone skirt to let plenty of light in. Its wide double feathered skirt fits well on large faces, and a raised nose pocket prevents contact pressure around the bridge of the nose and forehead. Oversized buckles and swiveling straps make this mask easy to adjust underwater and keep it from tugging on your hair. And its “over-molded” frame is impact-resistant and shatterproof, making this one of the most durable options around.

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THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN BUYING A DIVE MASK WITH A PURGE VALVE

FIT

If you’re shopping for dive gear, a good fit is the most important factor to focus on. And this is never more important than when you’re buying a mask. If you choose a design that doesn’t fit your face well, it might leak and flood underwater, or even cause an uncomfortable mask squeeze. Follow these simple steps to ensure proper fit, no matter what dive model you choose.

First, check that the mask is an appropriate size. To test this, you should first hold your mask in position over your face without using its strap. See how the rubber skirt around the mask’s edge fits. It shouldn’t overlap with your hairline or top lip, as this will prevent an airtight seal from forming and cause the mask to leak. If the skirt is an appropriate size, you can move on to testing how well it seals.

Continue holding the mask in place without using the strap, and inhale through your nose. The suction created inside should hold your mask firmly in place. If you can move the mask up and down or slide it around, you can expect it to leak at depth.

Your mask’s lenses or “window” shouldn’t push against the bridge of your nose or forehead. The pressure created by this contact will increase during your descent and can lead to painful headaches and sinus pressure. If you have pronounced facial features, consider a mask with a raised or ribbed nose pocket for extra room.

If you are shopping for a mask with a purge valve, keep in mind that you’ll need a little space between your nose and vent for it to clear properly. If your skin is touching the valve, it will be difficult to operate.

 

SKIRT COLOR

Diving masks come with two primary skirt colors, black and clear. While you may prefer the look of one over another, the difference between them isn’t about style. Different skirt colors enhance your underwater performance in contrasting ways. If you aren’t sure which mask color you prefer, try diving with both. Most divers immediately favor one over the other.

A clear mask skirt lets more light in. Plus, it gives you a wider field of peripheral vision and a more “open” feeling underwater. This can help prevent feelings of claustrophobia and tunnel vision during your dives. On the other hand, a clear mask skirt can allow too much light to enter, creating visual distortions. These reflections and refractions of objects outside your field of vision can be distracting.

A black mask creates the opposite effect by allowing less light to enter. This contrast between light and dark helps clarify your vision underwater and improves distance vision. That’s why you’ll see most technical divers, spearfishers, and underwater photographers wearing black masks. But, some divers may feel anxious or enclosed by a black mask. These mild feelings of tunnel vision and claustrophobia are most common among new divers and gradually fade with time and experience.

 

VOLUME

Volume refers to how much air your mask holds, and how close it sits to your face. If you opt for a traditional design, volume also determines how hard your mask is to clear (push water back out of) during a dive. But, this isn’t the case if you are using a purge valve. In fact, most purge masks hold a large volume of air.

 

WINDOWS

Dive masks come in 2 common styles, single and double window.

Single Window

Single window masks use one solid piece of glass for a lens. This style is generally more compact and folds into a flat shape for easy packing or storage in your BCD pocket. A single front window gives you a wider field of vision than multiple pieces of glass, too. Some single window masks feature a wider frame, so they might not fit well on narrow foreheads, and may leak around the hairline. Keep this in mind if you have a small face. Single lens models don’t usually accommodate tinted or corrective lenses either, so be sure to consider these features before making a purchase.

Double Window

Double window masks use two individual pieces of glass for their lenses. These models are often bulkier and less compact, but fit a wider variety of faces. Some double window masks use teardrop-shaped lenses for increased “look down” vision. This feature makes it easier to read your gauges while diving and allows you to see your feet while entering and exiting the water. Most double window masks are compatible with prescription and colored lenses, too.

Some masks use additional pieces of glass to create side windows. These styles offer enhanced peripheral vision but are especially prone to visual distortions underwater. Because they use multiple panels of glass, reflection, and refraction inside the mask are common issues. Masks with side lenses often use wide frames, so they usually fit better on large faces.

 

STRAP STYLE

Your mask’s strap holds it in place throughout your dive and keeps it from sliding around on your face. While most straps may seem identical, they do feature small differences in design if you look at them closely. Split straps tend to slide around less than one solid piece of silicone. Wide x shaped straps fit well over a ponytail or bun, and some divers prefer them while wearing a hood.

Your mask strap’s connection points are also a factor to keep in mind. Some straps attach directly to the mask frame or a molded silicone base. These connection points will last longer and feel more secure than a strap that attaches to your mask’s skirt. A swiveling strap rotates around a pin or post, making it easy to adjust underwater without ripping your hair out.

 

SKIRT SEAL

SCUBA diving masks use a silicone edge or “skirt” to create a seal around your face. Some masks have specialized features like a “feathered” or multi-level skirt, ribbing, ridges, bumps, or a textured “low friction” edge. These surfaces can help form a more watertight bond by increasing the size of the seal. While you might not feel the extra grip of these small plastic pieces, they do help your mask to stay in place. Mask skirts also come in different sizes, ranging from narrow to wide. How much of your face is covered by this silicone edge is especially important if you have a difficult face shape to fit.

 

 

FEATURES EXPLAINED

TEARDROP LENSES

A teardrop shaped lens improves your “lookdown vision.” This feature makes it easier to find and read your gauges, and fasten or adjust equipment like straps, buckles, and weights. This lens shape is also helpful while entering and exiting the water because it’s easy to see your feet and fins.

WIDE FIELD OF VISION

Single window masks give you a wider field of vision than models with two windows. They don’t help with “lookdown vision” like a teardrop lens but instead increase peripheral or side vision. Masks that use more than two windows offer an even fuller field of vision because they use side lenses. Keep in mind that more light in your mask can mean more reflections and refractions during your dive.

CORRECTIVE LENS COMPATIBLE

If you wear glasses or contacts, you might want to upgrade your mask to prescription lenses. Two window designs with teardrop shaped lenses are the most compatible style for lens replacement and magnifiers.

COLD WATER COMPATIBLE

Masks designed for use in cold water feature oversized buckles and nose pockets, so they are easy to use, even if you’re wearing thick gloves. If you plan to use your mask in cold conditions, be sure to try it on with your other diving accessories like a hood and gloves.

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