If you love being under water and are in the market for a snorkeling mask that will help you maintain your stamina and aid breathing, keep reading. Below are some reviews for popular tried and tested full face snorkeling masks that have proven to be excellent under water activities aids.
Best Full Face Snorkeling Masks 2017
1. Tribord Easybreath Snorkeling Mask
Tribord is a well known name in manufacturing snorkel masks. This one is has a polypropylene rim and a silicone skirt that’s translucent. It’s a huge mask that provides full face cover with 180 degree of unobstructed vision. The top of the snorkel has a plug that blocks the entrance once air is expelled out, stopping water from getting in and clouding the mask. A bright orange hue at the top makes the snorkel stand out against the blue of the water, to keep it from being lost to sight. It also employs a double airflow mechanism to prevent fogging.
It’s a snorkeling mask and should be used near the surface of the water and not deep diving. It allows you to breathe freely through your nose and mouth. Leaks are quickly dispelled. It fits perfectly on your face and doesn’t move once you are in water, allowing you hours of snorkeling time without worrying about coming up for air. It is one of the best full face snorkeling masks on the market even if it’s a bit on the steep end of the price spectrum.
2. Snorkel Mask With GoPro Mount By Azorro
Full face snorkeling masks are used by professionals in lieu of traditional masks that need to be bitten down and held in place with jaws. It becomes tiresome after a while and jaw fatigue could bring your underwater time to an end. A full face snorkel mask doesn’t require any effort on your part to stay in place, covers your face with a silicone bubble that’s usually transparent, allowing you to explore in relative comfort. So comfortable that now we can have attachments for accessories like a camera to capture our sojourns.
This is one of the best full face snorkeling masks in the market today. Anti-fogging technology is incorporated by default. It seals in around your face, for an air tight fit that doesn’t let water get in. An elastic headband provides additional staying support. Equipped with drainage valves. Dispel any water that gets in by simply raising your head. The snorkel tube is 9” long providing good surface exploration for up to 8 hours. At a modest price, this is a decent snorkeling mask with the only drawback being distorted vision sometimes due to the mold of the lower half of the mask. The Go Pro will have the correct images though!
3. WildHorn Outfitters’ Seaview Snorkel Mask
For the perfect snorkeling mask that will fit your face to a “T”, measure the length from bridge of the nose to the chin. If it comes to less than 4.7” buy a small/medium size mask, if not, go for the large/extra large sizes.
WildHorn’s easy to use full face snorkeling masks are affordable and incorporate all the standard features like anti-fogging design, draining valves, no clouding, and more. In addition to the regular features, this mask has a separate breathing chamber that keeps the airflow at a distance from the front visor, preventing clouding and providing clear vision. There’s a water draining valve at the chin, you just have to raise your head once to get rid of any leakage.
It comes in good size variations, making it the go to mask for kids and adults both. There’s a camera mount version too in addition to the regular full face snorkeling masks.
This mask is made of two different toned materials and as the plastic changes, it distorts your vision. Objects at some distance are magnified while others appear much further. This is not a great way to explore underwater life and could also lead to miscalculations in depth and penetration range. Use it if you only need to stay a little below the water surface.
4. Shark Gear Evo Full Face Snorkel Mask
Shark Gear’s Evo full face snorkel mask lets you breathe naturally and comfortably. The anti fogging viewing window has a wide angle and provides 180 degree vision. The snorkel tube has a dry seal to prevent water from getting in. Draining valve is incorporated below the chin in case of leakage. You can lift your head and all the water will be gone in a second. Materials used are polypropylene. The viewing window comes with silicon padding for comfort and is made of shatter proof polycarbonates.
There’s a camera mount attachment on the top that allows you to have a camera working in tandem. This is a separate and a more expensive product than the regular no camera mount version.
The package also includes a mesh carry bag, and a useful additional rubber ring. It has adjustable nylon straps that are soft and do not dig into your head. The snorkel tube is designed to follow the mask and not take its own course.
As long as you are mindful of staying close to the surface, this mask provides an excellent view with almost no distortion, only the peripheral vision seems to be a little bent. Otherwise, this mask comes highly recommended for a reasonable price.
Which are the best full face snorkeling masks?
Most of the best full face snorkeling masks seem to have almost the same price range except the Tribord, which happens to be the market leader. You could give the ones listed above a try but remember, the mask is in aid of surface exploration and helping you breathe naturally. To get the most out of any mask, keep these tips in mind:
- Breathe through your mouth as much as possible when wearing these masks underwater.
- Do not tilt you head unnecessarily. Professional divers can help you with head angles that are best to keep the water out, vision clear and not clouding the snorkel mask.
- The snorkel tube must have good quality and the top should have a plug or stopper to prevent water from seeping in.
- Easy water dispelling mechanism is a plus.
Full Face Snorkel Mask – Buyer’s Guide
Single and Dual Lens Dive Masks
Originally scuba masks had a single, thick lens to protect from the pressure of the water. The problem with this was that the amount of air trapped between the lens and the diver was quite large which was a problem if the diver wanted to clear water out of the mask.
The original single mask lenses were round and looked like ship’s portholes and were quite far away from the diver’s face to allow for the design of the dive suit or, depending on the design, to allow for different face shapes to fit the same mask.
This was especially problematic for free divers since it also covered the nose and upper lip, making it hard to equalize the ears. Another issue was that the original single lens masks were set in a thick rubber housing which made things look like tunnel vision and blocked all peripheral vision.
This then changed to a more oval design which gave divers better field of vision and changing from a rubber to a silicone skirt allowed for more light penetration since the silicone was opaque. Allowing more light into the mask area made it feel less like tunnel vision.
At the same time the swim industry was creating goggles with two separate eye areas and scuba designers saw the value in this.
The separate dual lens design allowed for the mask to be closer to the face (like goggles) and allowed for smaller lenses which improved the field of vision dramatically. As the quality of silicone improved this also changed to clear skirting.
While peripheral vision was still an issue with the newer dual lens design this was fixed by adding side windows to the masks which were at a 90 degree angle to the main lens or lenses. This design actually created four lenses in total and looks quite boxy since each lens has to be framed separately.
The newer versions of these use a bonding process which cuts out the need for framing by bonding lenses together and creates a geodesic design like an insect eye instead. This creates multiple lenses in a more panoramic view and allows the diver to see around them properly when housed in a clear silicone skirt. You can find masks with six lenses or more these days.
Having more lenses allows you to see better when diving but if the mask doesn’t fit properly or isn’t comfortable then it’s going to be a problem while in the water. Single lens masks often fit better for those who have smaller faces or who find peripheral vision distracting.
You’ll also need to consider having corrective lenses in your mask if you’re used to having glasses on land as you can’t fit your mask over glasses and contact lenses can be dangerous.
Another reason to choose a single lens mask is that the more lenses a mask has the higher the profile and the more drag it will create in the water.
The higher mask also has a larger volume which means when it floods you’ll have more water to clear. Depending on your face size you may also find that larger masks cause distortion because of the way the housing is bending to fit.
Mask maintenance happens before and after your dive. Your mask is the only thing between being able to see what you’re doing and being blind. Usually your mask will come with an owners manual and this should give you all the information you need to take care of it properly. If in doubt always refer back to this manual as many masks have different features which are specific to that brand or model.
BEFORE THE DIVE:
- When the mask is manufactured the entire thing is coated in silicone. While the layer of silicone on the lenses is quite thin it will cause them to fog up once in the water and this is almost impossible to fix while underwater. You’ll need to remove this film by scrubbing with a mild abrasive like toothpaste but not scrub too hard or you risk scratching the lens. If your lens has some opacity to it instead of being clear you may have scratched it. Rinse and dry the lens after. This only needs to be done the first time you use the mask.
- Even if you remove the silicone it’s still common for your mask to fog which is why you need to rub the lenses down with an anti-fog solution or saliva. Rub the lens completely and then rise it off.
- If you have decided to use an anti-fog agent that contains alcohol or formaldehyde you’ll want to take a wet cloth or wipe and wipe down any plastic areas on the mask which it might have gotten on. Over time these substances will damage the plastic of the mask so it’s important to remove them.
DURING THE DIVE
- When you go into the water hold your mask firmly onto your face. This will keep it secure and stop the mask coming loose during your entry into the water. It will also deflect any buffering from the force of waves or hitting the water itself if you’re jumping from a boat.
- Do not leave your mask lying around in the staging area. Tanks and other equipment can easily get dropped on it and break it. Weight belts too are easy to toss onto a pile of gear and crack a mask. Place your mask somewhere safe or in a protective case when not being used and out of the way of gear dumps.
- Do not put your mask on your forehead. Any movie scene including diving ultimately shows a diver with their mask on their head. If you put the mask here it’s quite likely to come off and get lost. If you need to temporarily take the mask away from your face always pull it down around your neck which will prevent it falling.
AFTER THE DIVE
- Immediately after your dive soak the mask in warm water no hotter than 120ºF. This will dissolve salt crystals and cleanse pool water. You never want to store the mask without doing this first as the chlorine can damage the silicone and the salt can cause leaks in the mask or damage the silicone by drying it out. Rinse under fresh running water when you’re done.
- Dry the mask thoroughly using a clean and soft towel, make sure you have gotten into all crevices.
- Store the mask in a cool, dry location which is away from direct sunlight.
- Separate the mask from any other gear using a storage bag or box to avoid transfer from other equipment which may color the silicone skirt and affect the light transfer in the mask.
Your mask should never come into contact with chemical solvents, oils, aerosols, or gasoline as this can degrade rubber and plastic. Avoid petroleum products and alcohol on or near the mask as this can react with the silicone and do not store it near these.
It doesn’t matter if your mask comes from Kmart as long as it fits right! The most expensive masks and brands do have better quality but they come at a price. If you’re strapped for cash choosing a cheaper mask isn’t a crime, but it certainly won’t last you as long as these.
The better brands have been around for years and they’ve got much better technology behind their products. You’ll often see features like “crystal silicone” or “liquid silicone” which are unique to the manufacturer and may provide a small difference between these and others.
No one wants a mask that’s foggy or leaking all the time so you need to find one that is durable, comfortable, and has a quality construction.
A Tabata company, it’s a Japanese brand that’s headquartered in Japan and has ISO 9001 Certified facilities. They have strict quality guidelines and are one of the first scuba manufacturers.
The company started in 1952 and are known for producing quality materials including the first ever clear silicone mask and brightly colored diving equipment.
They also use strict testing procedures to make sure that any equipment being sold has been thoroughly tested not to fail, even if it has a warranty which makes them very reliable in the water.
An Italian company that is still owned by the original Cressi family. The quality control is impeccable since the owner still oversees production personally. The equipment is tested in the Portofino bay, a popular diving location and every product is tested.
The company was founded in 1939 by two brothers who hunted in the waters there and wanted more efficient masks, one of which was the original Sirena mask which was used for almost 30 years.
The company was legitimized in 1946 after the war ended and has since then been responsible for several innovative changes in design including the first nose pocket and the freediving fin. They use angled lenses and crystal silicone in their masks and their products are so reliable that the Italian armed forces use them.
A relatively new company, it was founded in the 1960s and is part of the Johnson brand. They produce all sorts of diving equipment including the famous Jet Fin which is still popular 50 years later.
They created the forerunner to the dive computer as well as the first dive computer itself, and have some of the most copied products in their lineup.
They boast that more than 50% of their employees are divers themselves and a third are certified diving instructors. Their products are produced in 23 locations worldwide and they cover everything a diver could need.
Founded in Italy in 1949 they have a passion for innovation and are constantly creating new products and designs.
Their catalog covers technical diving, spear fishing, and more with a professional approach so that they have everything you could need to dive. They have a huge social media presence and a very recognizable brand image.
Another young company, this was founded in America in 1972 and is part of American Underwater Products which has since branched out by acquiring several other smaller brands. They produced the first mechanical depth gauge with a digital timer, and are primarily involved in electronics and computers.
They have an array of the most sophisticated equipment. Their products are produced in California and most are produced, manufactured, and tested in the same facility. The company also covers OceanPro, Lavacore, and Hollis Gear under their brand.
One of the newest companies out there they were founded in 1995 by two designers working for other dive companies. They created several new patents for high quality dive equipment. Their ethos centers around providing the best of the best and every product has been thought from the ground up.
They do a lot of innovation to try and recreate and improve their products constantly without having a massive lineup.
This allows them to focus on quality rather than quantity. Their products are manufactured and tested in the USA and use simulated computer situations rather than real life to go beyond the sport diving limits and push the equipment to it’s max before it’s allowed to the public.
Unlike the other companies, Ocotmask is produces solely in connection with action camera companies to produce a combination of dive mask and camera mount.
Their products are not the same level as other dedicated dive companies but if you’re dead set on having a camera in your mask then these guys have it handled.
It’s designed specifically for GoPro cameras and for those with average/large faces. Their products are quite basic, but they can be upgraded by other companies such as adding prescription lenses etc.
Buying vs Renting
There’s a lot of reasons out there why you might choose to buy or prefer to rent gear. Scuba is not a cheap sport. Most teaching companies and retail centers recommend purchasing but often renting is the only way to test out if you like something before you commit.
If you live in an area where you’ll have the opportunity to dive constantly then it’s probably worth shelling out for your own gear. When using something frequently like that it becomes more expensive to rent than to own.
However, if you’re only planning on diving once or twice a year renting will cost less and you won’t have to maintain the gar. If you’re a vacation diver then renting is more than adequate.
If you choose to purchase pieces of gear at a time this can also keep the cost down rather than getting everything at once. This is also something to take into account if you’re traveling to dive as you’ll have to carry everything and pack it with.
This can be a problem with luggage allowances and the weight of the gear alone which you could simply rent when you land instead and save yourself the headache. Some airlines do allow extra for sporting equipment but it can still cost more if you’re bringing it with you.
One of the main reasons it’s better to buy your gear is familiarity. If the gear is yours then you’ve used it before and you know all about it.
You know if there’s any foibles you need to work around and if anything goes wrong you’ve probably practiced how to fix it. It’s also going to fit you properly which rental gear may not. This is especially true of masks and if you have a small face. If your mask doesn’t fit properly it may leak which will ruin your dive.
Sanitation is another reason why buying is preferable. Since maintenance includes spitting into the mask there is a small chance of disease or bacteria transfer, because frankly you have no idea who spit in that last.
The same goes with wetsuits and pee, many people want their own wetsuit just because there’s no guarantee that the last person didn’t pee in it and you’re trusting the rental company to clean it properly.
While your mask is a basic necessity of scuba there are four main accessories you’ll need to keep it safe and in great condition – Mask Defog, a carabiner, a case, and a good strap. With good maintenance your mask should last years, and especially if you’ve spent the extra money on upgraded lenses you don’t want to ruin them.
A good mask case will protect your lenses from getting scratched, protect your housing from getting contaminated, and prevent your mask coming into contact with anything like aerosols, alcohol, or petroleum.
Cases don’t need to be hard, a simple bag design will do but a good, hard case will also protect the mask from getting smashed if anything is dropped on it.
This seems rather silly, but having a carabiner for your mask allows you to clip it on while you’re out and about if you’re not wearing it. Putting your mask on your head is an easy way to lose it and walking around with it in front of your mouth isn’t comfortable.
Having a carabiner allows you to clip the mask onto your gear elsewhere without having to worry about losing it. This does not have to be a mountaineering grade by any means, a simple and cheap keyring carabiner should be ample.
Antifog cleaners and treatments come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Most are in spray or gel for ease of use. This should be spread on the inside of the lens before diving to prevent the mask fogging.
Not all products are created equal and some contain harsh chemicals which may damage your mask over time so it’s important to choose a quality product or you might as well just spit in it instead. There are a few products which are liquid but this is less popular.
While some masks do come with straps these are not usually the best quality. A good mask strap will prevent your mask slipping on your face and potentially leaking. Depending on the brand there are different strap attachments – some to the frame and others to the skirt.
This can vary even within a manufacturer so you may be limited only to that brand. You can also look for features like a quick release button, and a rotating attachment which allows you to slide the mask up and down and rotate it without moving the strap.
The traditional design simply clips in and while this isn’t so impressive it’s less likely to break and less likely to slip.
Neoprene Snorkel Keeper
As a bonus, if you plan on doing any snorkeling with your diving this neoprene attachment works much better than the one that usually comes with your mask.
It’s a neoprene sleeve that your snorkel slides into so that it stays in place and won’t get lost while you’re diving. It attaches to your mask and is much more comfortable because it’s a soft neoprene compared to the hard silicone or plastic which may dig into your head when pushed aside for your regulator.
While this isn’t an essential accessory it’s a useful one and it will make your life easier rather than losing your snorkel or being uncomfortable.