Ever come up from a dive and wonder why you seemed to missed out on all the cool critters everyone else saw?
It’s not you, it’s your mask! A poor fitting mask will cause leaking and frustration, leading to hours spent underwater trying to fix an unfixable issue.
Ready to stop fidgeting and start seeing? Keep on reading to see finbin.net’s list of best scuba masks on the market today.
The Top 10
#1 Best Overall: TUSA M 1001 Freedom HD
Coming in hot at the top of the list is the Tusa M 1001 HD Scuba Diving Mask. Offering an amazingly wide field of view for a single lens mask, this great piece comes in an awesome variety of colored trims to allow for maximum customization.
Boasting a large frame but a low internal volume, the freedom HD truly excels at fit. A rotating buckle system and five position strap adjuster allows a truly great fit. The round edge skirt continues to up the ante by allowing the mask to fit a wide variety of faces.
A great choice for beginning divers looking for something bombproof but basic, it would be hard to go wrong with this great piece.
#2 Best Overall: SeaDive Superview HD
Number two on our list, the SeaDive Superview HD boast a unique array of features that work to improve vision underwater.
The HD lens features unique UV reduction, working to minimize glare and take it easy on your eyes. The true color lenses work hard to replace the wavelengths of light lost at depth, allowing for better depth perception and the sharper definition of objects. The rigid frame allows for a wide field of vision, granting divers a true Superview!
#3 Best Overall: Cressi Panoramic 4
One, two, or even three lenses not cutting it for you? Then check out the Cressi Panoramic 4.
Featuring four lenses that work together to offer fantastic peripheral vision, the Panoramic 4 is truly one of the greats. Constructed from high quality silicone this mask offers the maximum in terms of field of view. Easy adjusting buckles go the extra mile to ensure this great piece can fit a variety of faces.
#4 Scuba Pro Solo
If you’re familiar with our “best lists,” then you’re probably familiar with scuba gear manufacturer ScubaPro. Once again they’re bringing quality gear to the market with the Solo, a sleek frameless mask offering crystal clear views.
The dual colored single lens design works to significantly increase your field of view, while the tempered glass lens is sure to resist years of use. It’s low volume design allows maximum comfort and portability, making it another great choice for roving divers, beginners, and veterans alike.
#5 Atomic Aquatics Venom
In addition to having an awesome name, the Atomics Aquatic Venom also happens to be one of the best masks on the market today.
Offering an ultra-wide panoramic view, this frameless mask features an unparalleled level of style, comfort, and optics. Designed to complement other pieces in the Aquatics gear line, the Venom frameless incorporates two unique types of silicone to create an amazingly comfortable fit.
#6 Phantom Aquatics Panoramic
Featuring a sleek, three pane design, the Phantom aquatics panoramic mask offers a great field of view in a variety of options.
A new, foldable, push button buckle attachment allows for quick strap adjustments, ensuring this mask fits like a charm in as little time as possible. A wide split strap further works to increase comfort, working further to form the perfect seal, regardless of condition.
#7 Cressi Perfect View Liberty Triside SPE
The Cressi perfect view liberty triside is the perfect addition to our list of best scuba masks. Another three lens design that is ideal for scuba diving and snorkeling, the perfect view offers a great field of view with easy access for clearing and adjustments.
Allowing for an uninterrupted panorama of crystal clear vision, the liberty would be a great choice for new and veteran divers alike.
#8 Cressi Pano 3
If you think this mask seems familiar, then you’ve been paying attention! Nearly identical to the top rated Cressi Pano 4 (see above), this is another fantastic entry from Italian maker Cressi.
The Pano 3 utilizes an unbroken single frame for the forward facing lens, with two panoramic lenses complementing it on the sides. Offering another wide field of view in a great, lightweight package, the Pano 3 is not a masked to be missed!
#9 Aqua Lung Maui
The Aqua Lung Maui puts function ahead of fashion to deliver a bombproof mask for scuba and snorkelling.
Large, single lens design grants excellent visibility in all directions, while a simple, functional strap and buckling system ensures a proper fit on a variety of faces. A popular choice for professional and military master divers, this utilitarian mask is a great addition to any kit.
#10 Cressi F1 Frameless
Italian manufacturer Cressi rounds out our list of best scuba masks with their basic but awesome F1 frameless mask.
Featuring a high-grade silicone skirt and single tempered-glass lens, this low volume piece allows for effortless clearing. Comfortable quick-adjust straps and buckles are connected directly to the skirt, minimizing drag and creating a flexible fit.
A perfect mask for traveling divers, as well as those skeptical of the frameless craze but interested in giving it a go, the F1 is a great addition to any collection.
How To Fit a Scuba Mask
Finally, have your new mask in hand, but unsure what to do next? If you are anything like me, you’re apprehensive to take gear in the field before making sure it is going to be an awesome piece. Follow along with us as we show you the best way to ensure a watertight fit without even getting wet!
Step 1: Make the strap as loose as possible, or remove it completely. On a well-fitted mask, the strap is just extra insurance. Water pressure, not the strap, is what creates the seal and makes or breaks a good fit.
Step 2: Get all that hair out of the way! Push it out of your eyes, tie it back, whatever you need to do. If you are a diver of the lumberjack variety and are loathe to part with that full, rugged beard, consider applying a bit of petroleum jelly to that luscious beard so as to ensure a watertight fit.
Step 3: Put that mask on your face! Don’t be afraid to move it around a bit and find the sweet spot. It should be centered and feel comfortable, with the skirt making contact with your skin all the way around your face.
Step 4: Holding your breath, gently suck in through your nostrils. If you’ve found a good fit, the mask should stay in place for a couple of seconds. Be sure not to suck in too forcefully, you’ll simply distort the silicone and create a false sense of security. If you can feel the mask evenly pulling into your face as you suck in, you know you’re ready to rock and roll.
Step 5 (Optional): If the mask won’t stay in place, find a mirror and look at the seal. Be sure all your hair is out of the way and that the skirt doesn’t touch anything like your eyebrows or upper lip. Once you know you’re in the clear, head back to step 4 and try again.
Things To Consider When Buying Scuba Mask
Undoubtedly, the most important thing to consider while looking for the perfect scuba mask is fit. If your mask doesn’t fit, you’ll most likely spend the whole dive distracted by it. But how should a mask fit? While part of what makes a good fit personal preference, there are a few general rules to live and die by when looking for the perfect mask.
First things first, follow the steps we laid out above. If you’re mask isn’t going to fit outside the water, there’s no way it will magically improve once you jump in the water. It’s especially useful if you can try a few different models back to back, this way you can directly compare between different styles, sizings, and brands. If any part of your face touches a part of the mask that isn’t supposed to, move on to the next one!
It’s tempting to be drawn in by sleek designs, colors, and brand names while searching for the perfect mask. Like sunglasses, it’s the piece of gear most closely associated with your face. Take your time searching and resist being drawn in by any extraneous bells and whistles. For the most part, the extra “features” of scuba masks are more style than function. Pick something that fits well and is comfortable to wear, you’ll be thankful you did!
There are plenty of options for you to consider when looking for the perfect new dive mask. Keep on reading too see which one may be right for you.
Single Lens Mask: Descended from the original, ovular scuba mask design, the single pane mask has take on a life of its own in the pantheon of scuba gear. Unsurprisingly, the lens of a single pane mask is one seamless piece of glass, with no separation. In general, single pane masks are low profile, lightweight, and compact making them great for traveling or stuffing in an already full dive bag.
Twin Lens Mask: Probably the most popular type of mask among divers today, twin lens masks are most likely what you picture when you think of a diver. Resembling a standard pair of glasses, these masks are two large glass lenses connected by an internal plastic frame. Often found in a variety of colors and styles, these can easily be converted to prescription lenses for the visually impaired.
Full Face Mask: Generally not favored by recreational divers, full face masks cover, unsurprisingly, your entire face. While there are options featuring both single and twin lenses, the monkey wrench of the full face mask is that it will seal around your entire face, not just your eyes. Additionally, most full face masks will incorporate your regulator, eliminating the need for a mouth piece, but allowing for other features, such as underwater communication devices, to be used. While sweet in theory, they are often overkill for those of us who have no need for the benefits they offer.
Frame Vs. Frameless
One of the more recent developments in the realm of scuba innovation is the frameless mask. Becoming highly sought after in the past ten years, these masks seem to have taken the market by storm. While every diver has their own preference, they do offer a variety of advantages to traditional frame-based masks.
Frameless masks are much lighter and more flexible than framed masks, making them perfect for travel, or even just tossing in your already stuffed dive bag. Thanks to their low profile, they sit closer to the face and offer wide, clear views. Some models boast a view of up to 180 degrees! Because of their manufacturing process, the lenses of these masks are molded directly to the skirt, which means you can’t take them apart for cleaning or lens replacement, but with proper care, you shouldn’t have to!
By comparison, traditional framed masks are bulky and heavy. While by no means a “lesser” choice, they will not pack down as small, and are more susceptible to being cracked on a boat or bag thanks to their plastic frames. However, these masks can easily be taken apart, allowing deep cleans or even a full lens replacement. Because of this, many visually impaired divers will opt for a framed mask because they can outfit it with their customized prescription lenses. If you can’t see anything underwater, then really, what’s the point?
Since all quality scuba mask skirts are made of silicone, there is really only one question to ask here: Blackout or Clear?
Many underwater photographers, spearfishers, and tropical divers often opt for black mask skirts. Besides from looking cool, they block out unwanted light that may lead to odd reflections on the insides of your lens. Additionally, they work to reduce glare and help shade your eyes from the sun, which can be punishing in crystal clear tropical waters. Some divers complain that black skirts increase any feelings of claustrophobia they may have in the water.
On the flip side, clear skirts work to produce a light, airy feeling in the water. If the skirt is truly clear, it may even help extend your field of view and improve your vision in low light conditions. If you’re prone to claustrophobia, a clear mask skirt will help you feel free and unencumbered. Often these are beneficial for new divers, especially those who are anxious about getting in the water.
If you want a hard and fast rule to follow, go dark if it’s warm and light if it’s cold, but for most of you, it’s simply a matter of personal preference.
Straps and Buckles
Every mask comes straight out of the box and ready to roll with a silicone mask strap and plastic buckles, usually made from the same colors and materials of the skirt. However if you hate the feeling of silicone sticking to your hair, a replacement may be in order.
A plethora of replacement straps are available through most popular retailers, many of which will even show off your favorite brands. Be sure to note whether or not the replacement strap you order is a full on strap, buckles and all, or just a neoprene cover. It would be a shame to trash your original strap in anticipation just to find out the one you ordered is only half of what you need!
Throughout the years, manufacturers have tried a variety of different materials for mask construction, including neoprene, various plastics, and of course, glass. The vast majority of scuba masks on the market today are made from relatively simple materials: tempered glass, silicone, and polycarbonate plastic.
How To DeFog a Scuba Mask
Anyone who has ever bought a new scuba mask is painfully aware of the need to defog it before first use. Foggy masks can be just as frustrating as masks that don’t fit well. You’ll be spending the whole dive struggling to see, frequently flooding and clearing instead of relaxing and enjoying.
For years, instructors have been touting the toothpaste method as a way to counteract and prevent mask fogging. To do this, place a healthy amount of non-abrasive toothpaste on the mask lens and rub it all over. Feel free to use your finger or a gentle bristle brush, being sure to spread it to all the corners. Once spread, use tap water to rinse it off, gently rubbing as you go, until it’s all cleared. Feel free to repeat this until you can put the mask on and breathe through your nose without experiencing any fogging.
The problem with the toothpaste method is that it often takes multiple applications to ensure your mask is fog free. Want a simple, effective way to defog your mask once and for all? Then look no further than the lighter trick. In theory no different to the toothpaste method, the lighter method uses fire to remove the chemicals causing your mask to fog. Simply take a lighter (longnecks work the best; be careful not to burn yourself!) and apply the flame directly to the inside of the glass. You’ll see a black substance begin to form on the glass, don’t worry, this means its working. Continue applying heat to all parts of the lens until no more of the black substance appears to be forming. Now, take your mask to the sink and remove the blackness by gently scrubbing at it with your finger under running water, using a gentle cloth or brush if a bit of extra scrub is needed. It should come of easily, leaving you with an awesome, fog free mask.
How Can I Prevent My Mask From Leaking?
The best way to prevent your mask from leaking is ensuring it fits in the first place! If your mask fits well, but you are still having issues, the next step is checking in with your hairline.
It’s easy for those pesky hairs to get trapped between the skirt of the mask and your face, leading to a frustrating dive full of futsing with your gear instead of checking out the reef. If you have long hair, it may be best to consider diving with your hair tied up in some way, be it a bun, pony tail, or under a hood.
If the thought of having to shave your trophy beard sends anxious tremors down your spine, then fear not! Contrary to popular belief, it is actually possible to enjoy both a leakless dive and a bushy beard. No compromise necessary! The trick? Apply vaseline (or any other greasy substance) along the portion of your facial hair that will be in contact with the skirt of the mask. It may take a few tries to get the just of how much you have to apply and where, but before you know it, you’ll be leak free.
How Do I Clean My Scuba Mask?
Keeping your scuba mask clean is especially important. Since it’s always in contact with your face, your mask picks up all the dirt, grime, and oils that are found there. In addition to the standard freshwater rinse, it is a good idea to disinfect your mask from time to time.
I prefer to soak my mask in something such as diluted bleach or mouthwash for a couple of minutes every few months. After removing it from the soak, take a gentle brush and lightly scrub in all the cracks and crevices. This will help mitigate the buildup of any organic material that may have begun to accumulate.
What’s the Difference Between a Scuba and a Snorkel Mask?
There are two main differences between scuba and snorkel masks: materials and design.
Due to the increased pressure on scuba diving masks, design is of paramount importance. By using quality materials like tempered glass and high grade silicone, these masks can hold up to the rigors of the underwater world. To help offset the prolonged pressure of diving, these masks are carefully designed to evenly spread force across the face, resulting a comfortable fit for lengthy periods of time.
In an effort to save on manufacturing costs, snorkelling masks are often built out of cheaper materials. Because they’re generally relegated to surface use, plastics, rubber, and neoprene are all able to get the job done just fine.
As you might expect, the higher quality of the average scuba mask is translate to the cost. Expect to pay anywhere from $50 - $150 (before adding in bonus features like prescription lenses or integrated computers.) In contrast, an average snorkel mask can be found for anywhere from $10 - $50 dollars. While any scuba mask could easy be used for snorkeling, we wouldn’t recommend taking a snorkel mask to your favorite dive site. The increased rigors of scuba may cause the mask to break, leading to an unnecessarily dangerous situation.
Consider the scenarios you plan on using your mask in before you buy, and remember, always better safe than sorry!
Final Thoughts - Which Should You Get?
At the end of the day, every diver has their own desires when it comes to picking out the best scuba diving mask.
Thanks to it’s awesome blend of comfort, style, and high quality optics, we here at finbin.net have deemed the TUSA M 1001 Freedom HD mask the best of the best. Offering a variety of options, it is really the perfect choice for divers of any experience level.
With a mask like the TUSA M 1001 in your arsenal, you will easily have the best answer to that dreaded dive boat question: “So what do you think is the best scuba diving mask?”
By now you have an idea of your perfect mask. To collet your other gear, make sure to head on over to our best scuba gear FinBin page!