Trying to find the best scuba mask without having a fair idea of what features to look for, is akin to shopping pig in a poke.
Scuba masks come in all sorts of shapes, sizes and configurations. On the internet, fancy advertising and hype often supersede necessary features. This means that divers often get swayed into buying overpriced gimcracks that start to fog on your first plunge, despite all the toothpaste in the world, or even worse, start to leak.
That’s where this guide steps in. I have done the legwork for you and handpicked what I believe are the best scuba masks around.
Regardless of whether you are a rookie diver or a PADI Dive Master, this list will shine some light on the best masks in terms of build quality, customer reviews, features and value. Strap in as we back roll into the blues.
Best Dive Mask Reviews – Top 11 Picks
#1 – Cressi F1 Scuba Diving & Snorkeling Frameless Mask
The Cressi F1 is a frameless scuba mask, and a pretty economical one at that. Frameless dive masks are generally not cheap.
In case you are wondering why, most frameless masks are low volume and hence easier to clear.
Coming back to the F1, it comes from Cressi, one of the most popular Italian brands in the industry. It has a very low profile and can be folded flat for storage.
The soft silicone skirt fits snugly and does not bite into your skin like some heavy, framed masks do. Creates the perfect seal and you should have zero problems with leaks.
The lens is a single-window, tempered glass one, which is pretty durable to wear and tear. Visibility is as good as you’d need and the field of view is reasonably wide too.
What I like about it
This is almost too good for the price. It has consistently good dive mask reviews and the quality is top notch. It’s easy to adjust, does not leak and the frameless design translates into no bad lines on your face after the dive.
It takes minimal prep and is almost zero maintenance too.
It fogs! Well, so does every other mask out there. Just be diligent about scrubbing off the inner-coating of silicone before use and you should be good to go.
PS – You will still need to prep the mask like any other one.
If you are transitioning into a frameless scuba mask from a framed one, the Cressi F1 is a terrific option at less than half of what you’d pay for a similar big-brand mask. Don’t be thrown off by the low price tag. Give this a shot, I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.
#2 – Cressi Pano 4 & Supernova Dry Mask and Snorkel Kit
This is a bundle that features the Cressi panoramic wide view mask and dry snorkel kit. I’d have recommended either one of these two products as standalone choices, without batting an eyelid. They are worth every dime. As a bundle, it’s a no brainer choice.
Let’s talk about each component in detail. The panoramic wide view mask is a more conventional, framed scuba mask with a classic teardrop design. The big draw is an additional set of lenses on the sides, which will give you a 180-degree peripheral view, or close to it.
If you love a wide-open feel (who doesn’t?), then check this one out. The peripheral vision is uninterrupted and if a mammoth squid decides to sneak up on you with them nasty tentacles, you won’t be caught unprepared.
The dry snorkel is a simple, no-frills attached design that will keep water out of your mouth during your snorkeling trips. It has a purge valve which means flushing out any water is a cakewalk. The design is flexible and the snorkel is pretty comfortable, which is very important.
What I like about it
Great value! The mask is quintessential Cressi. Sturdy polycarbonate frame that’s probably going to outlast you, tempered glass lenses and a soft silicone skirt. As long as it fits well on your face, you will have no problems with leaks or an ineffective seal.
The strap buckles have a ratchet-locking mechanism which makes them super easy to adjust.
The Dry Snorkel is one of the most comfortable ones you’ll ever use. I love the soft silicone mouthpiece. It’s a tiny, but very useful addition that keeps your jaws from going sore. You will have fond memories of the dive a few hours later, rather than painful blisters in the mouth.
The additional lenses on the side may make things in the water appear a little distorted. It’s not like you are going to see things warped or anything. It’s just that when you look at it as a whole panoramic vision tool, the sides may appear a little bent. That’s not a deal breaker for me.
If you would love to enjoy uninterrupted views of the blue during your maiden scuba or snorkeling trip, go for this budget scuba mask bundle.
#3 – Kraken Aquatics Dive Mask
The Kraken Aquatics scuba diving mask is a no-frills attached option. It’s a simple, framed scuba mask with a soft silicon skirt and a one-piece tempered glass lens. That’s all there is to it. But that’s all you really need for a good quality mask.
It fits comfortably, does not leak and will not fog with decent prep. The easy-adjustment buckle allows you to tighten or loosen the mask on-the-fly. In the event of the mask leaking and filling up, you’d want to empty it after a bit of snorkeling. This makes it easy.
What I like about it
Kraken Aquatics has a great reputation in the industry and this mask is testimony to the quality they have maintained. The frame is tough and not a scratch magnet, even if tucked into a tote with a million other ‘scratchy’ things.
The right fit, is subjective. But based on hundreds of reviews, the mask fits comfortably and creates a secure seal preventing water leaks. The silicone skirt deserves a special mention here. It is one of the softest ones that I’ve seen on a dive mask, and I’ve seen a lot of these.
There’s nothing special about the lens except for the fact that it’s durable and gives you a great view. It comes pre-prepped from the factory and should be ready to go out of the box. But I recommend that you spend some time cleaning the inner layer. There might be some silicone residue that you want to get off before you dive. If you prep it well, you should have no problems with fogging either.
Some customers have complained that it ships without a box. However, the most recent orders don’t seem to have this problem. In all probability, it was a one-off instance and is no longer a concern.
This is a tried and tested budget scuba mask. It has great reviews, provides a great fit regardless of your facial structure, and comes with a 2-year warranty.
#4 – SeaDive Oceanways Superview Dive Mask
They certainly weren’t kidding when they named this ‘Superview’. This is a framed scuba diving mask from SeaDive, one of the newer brands in this crowded marketplace. It manages to stand out from the competition by offering dive masks with high-definition lens coatings.
While lens coatings may appear to be gimmicky, they do serve their purpose. When you dive into the water and look upwards, you can see the ‘Snell’s window’. But if the sea is choppy, all you will be able to see is an extremely bright visual field with strong glares. The coating makes it easier for your eyes to adjust to the brightness by reducing the intensity.
An added benefit is that normal colors underwater appear more vivid. The world around you pops out.
What I like about it
The Superview has a classic teardrop design with a one-piece tempered glass lens. This translates into an excellent field of view. It’s not panorama, but it’s wide enough to give you an unabridged front view.
The silicon skirt is as soft as they come. With the one piece design, you won’t have problems with the nose-bridge chaffing after a longish dive. It sits softly on your face and keeps the water out.
Lastly, the view is amazing. If you have never used a coated-glass mask before, you are in for the time of your life. The colors will just pop.
It’s not a low-volume mask. While it works great for snorkeling, deep sea scuba divers might feel the drag.
This is a great dive mask for beginners. It is economical, has a classic design and a HD lens coating that will make the underwater world come alive.
#5 – Scubapro Spectra
The Scubapro Spectra is generally considered to be the best scuba diving mask for females with narrow faces. It fits snugly without the silicone flapping around causing leaks. This is a dual-window or twin lens mask with a rigid plastic frame.
At first glance, the twin lens makes it appear like the nose bridge would limit your field of view. But if you look closely at the lens, it’s a modified tear drop design. This actually accentuates the view. So you can easily see your gauges and of course, the reefs.
What I like about it
It’s a framed dive mask with a rigid plastic frame. But the purpose of the frame is to just provide support to the mask. The straps are attached to the soft silicone skirt with the double feathered edge.
The buckle has a double-pinch adjustment with ratchets. This makes it very easy to get a great fit. You just pinch and pull until it fits snugly. The silicone is thinned out a little on the nose bridge which ensures that there are no marks left, because it does not bite into the skin. Also, very easy to equalize the mask thanks to the nose pocket.
The lenses are Ultra Clear tempered glass. So there will be no distortion or tinting. The view is as clear as it gets.
It may not be a great fit if you have a large face. The Scubapro Spectra seems to fit people with narrow faces better.
This is an excellent dive mask for beginners. Its low-profile which reduces the drag, has a wide-spread silicon skirt which evens out the pressure, and there’s an inner silicone seal in addition to the primary one to prevent leaks.
#6 – Aqua Lung Atlantis
A lot of divers prefer single lens masks because of the unobstructed field of view. If that sums you up, then you’ll love the Aqualung Atlantis. This mask borrows the design from vintage dive masks of yore and peppers it with some modern elements.
It’s a high volume dive mask which means that the peripheral vision is top notch. Features a polycarbonate frame with a soft silicone skirting for a leak-proof seal. There’s a nose pocket for equalization as well.
What I like about it
Aqualung Atlantis is one of a kind, given that there aren’t too many single lens masks that feature this design. Based on reviews, the fit seems to be great regardless of facial features. Equalization is relatively easy as well thanks to quick access to the nose pocket.
The Atlantis comes with standard straps and ratchet buckles, which means that you can clear the mask easily without fumbling around too much.
High volume masks find few takers these days. The common gripe is increased pressure on the nose and the added effort required to clear it. Yes, the Atlantis is a little heavy as compared to the modern mask.
That said, it is an absolute brute of a mask. In case you were unaware, this is the one they use for the ‘para rescue jumper’ training course called ‘Indoc’, in the US Air Force. So, the added bulk is a small tradeoff.
If you aren’t satisfied with the tear drop, twin window masks, then give the Atlantis a shot. Aqualung is a trusted brand and they know their diving gear. You get great view and military-grade quality.
#7 – Cressi Perfect View Mask
The Cressi Perfect View is a more beginner-friendly mask that’s available in a wide range of colors. It has a classic low-volume design that’s effortless to clear. The mask features a tough polycarbonate frame and a soft silicone skirt that creates a great seal without biting into the skin.
The nose pocket is positioned perfectly for one-hand access, for on-the-go ear equalization. Adjustments are made easy thanks to the wide straps with push-button swivel buckles.
What I like about it
This is a panoramic view mask with three windows. There’s the primary single lens window made of Ultra clear tempered glass. But there are two side windows as well which give a panoramic view with minimal distortion.
The hard frame on the forehead has a part on the inside that can bite into your skin making it a little uncomfortable. This of course depends on your facial features and how well the mask fits you. But this does seem to be a problem with multiple users.
The Cressi Perfect View is a great entry-level dive mask. You have multiple designs to choose from, with a panoramic view. At this price, the combo is hard to beat.
#8 – Cressi Pano 4
There’s a huge demand for wide-view masks these days as recreational diving picks up steam. The Cressi Pano 4 is a tried and tested design that has been around for a while. It features 4-windows, one primary one, and one on each side of the mask.
Goes without saying, that the peripheral view is amazing. But it’s not a high volume mask like most wide view dive masks are. It’s not entirely low volume either. It lies somewhere in the middle. There’s a fair bit of internal volume and it’s not as hard to clear as high volume masks are.
What I like about it
Cressi’s masks are pretty versatile. Regardless of your diving credentials, you will find that these masks work great. They are easy to adjust, have one of the best nose pocket designs for effortless equalization and the quality is second to none.
I also like the tempered glass quality on these masks. While the budget pricing and the fancy design is clearly aimed at the recreational diver, the glass is almost on par with masks that are priced south of $200.
The straps are not the easiest to adjust. If you tighten them, the left over strap just hangs loose. There’s no way to cinch this up. It’s a minor design flaw that does not interfere with the functioning of the mask in any way though.
Looking for a cheap dive mask with panoramic view? Look no further. The Cressi Pano 4 will make your next scuba trip worth the wait.
#9 – TUSA M-1001 Freedom HD Scuba Diving Mask
The Freedom HD has been one of Tusa’s bestselling range of wide view masks. This is the M-1001, a recent addition to this range that boasts of names like the ‘Visualator’. Big shoes to fill for sure. But the M-1001 matches its predecessors in the unabridged field-of-view and comfortable fit.
For starters, it features a 180-degree rotating buckle that moves inwards and outwards. This does away with fitting problems. Regardless of your face size or structure, the M-1001 will fit. The strap position on the buckle can be adjusted in five different angles which further reduces pressure on your face. You can choose the most comfortable option.
What I like about it
The Tusa M-1001 has one of the widest fields of view in a single-lens design. This means that there are no tiny side windows that can sometimes distort the view. It’s like peeping out of an extra wide window instead. Add to that a sleek frame, and the lens sits very close to your eyes, minimizing the drag, despite it being a high volume mask.
Tusa’s masks feature a dimpled silicon skirt with varying thickness across the frame, and a feathered edge on the fitting line. Also, it has a rounded edge instead of a straight one, for a snug and comfortable fit.
It’s a high volume mask. If you are not used to it, you might experience some minor discomfort on the nose bridge.
The Tusa M-1001 is the best scuba diving mask with a single-lens wide view. There’s nothing that even comes close to offering this view at this price point.
#10 – Atomic Venom Frameless Mask
The Atomic Venom is a new hybrid mask that clubs the best features of two of the most popular diving masks, the Atomic mask and the Venom. The result is pretty close to perfection, if you ask me. There are a lot of new features on offer.
Let’s start with the new gummi bear seal. It’s a lot softer and more pliable than conventional silicone. This translates into more even pressure distribution across the edge. Also, the seal is impenetrable. You won’t find any leakage complaints about the Atomic Venom.
What I like about it
This is a frameless mask that features silicone of varying thickness. The outer silicone is the softer gummi bear material, while the inner black one is more rigid to give the mask its form.
The inner frame with the double skirted layer ensures that even if you have a beard, the seal remains intact. Adjustments are effortless thanks to the easy ratchet system with the double pinch buckles. Just pinch it and pull to adjust.
I almost forgot to talk about the clarity of that Ultraclear Schott Superwite™ glass. It’s hands down, one of the best optical glasses in the industry. Great light transmission and crystal clear views.
The frameless design with the dual silicone layers is a hit or miss when it comes to divers with facial hair. There are people who say that it fits like a charm. But there are a few who say that it leaks water from the mustache area.
The Atomic Venom features some of the best in-class technology. Super soft silicone creates a comfortable seal, no panda face after coming out of the water, and impeccable clarity.
#11 – Hollis M1
Last but not the least, is the Hollis M1, an economical alternative to the Atomic Venom. The M1 is a frameless mask with a modified teardrop design for great visibility. Keeping track of your gauges becomes easy, regardless of where they are mounted.
Also, it’s a single lens design with a very wide field of view. The lens is Saint-Gobain Diamant, which is on par with the Schott Superwite glass in terms of clarity. There’s zero impurities in the glass and this means excellent light transmission even if you fancy diving into the mesopelagic zone.
What I like about it
The M1 has a soft silicone skirt that sits comfortably on your face, but creates a secure seal. It’s a double skirt design which results in a much wider seal and hence, even pressure distribution. Also, the softer silicone means that it can mold on different face types without popping a leak. On the back, you have a double strap that will hug your neoprene suit perfectly.
The strap buckle is attached directly to the skirt allowing you to quickly make adjustments. It’s a one-way ratchet design with a press-release lever. Everything is designed for easy operation.
We have noticed that the nose pocket rarely gets prominence in the feature list. But the M1 has a big one that makes it very easy to equalize ears.
None. This is an excellent mask. There are some complaints about fogging despite trying the lighter technique and everything else under the sun. But that’s individualistic and not a design flaw.
If you are looking for a sturdy and reliable dive mask with a wide field of view and great clarity, this one comes next to the Atomic Venom. It’s a little cheaper than the Venom too, if that’s an additional motivator.
How to Select the Best Mask for Scuba Diving
With so many brands flaunting their flagship masks and vying for a larger share of your attention pie, it’s no wonder that buyers are overwhelmed while trying to select the best scuba mask.
Here’s my two cents. There’s no one-size fits all in scuba masks. Both literally and figuratively. You’ve got to consider your intended use, comfort level and your budget. Then run it against this checklist of vital parameters that I have listed.
First things first, look for a mask with a tempered glass lens. Tempered glass, also called toughened glass undergoes thermal tempering either with chemicals or with heat. This makes it about 6-times more stress resistant than untreated glass. In other words, it’s less likely to break on you or form micro cracks even if you accidentally drop the mask, or during storage. Even if you dive into the twilight realm, where the pressure ranges from 300-1500 psi, the glass will easily withstand it.
Even if it does break, the force is evenly spread across the glass surface breaking it into tiny blunt pieces. There will be no sharp shards.
While tempered glass is an industry standard now, you might bump into cheap dive glasses that look like a million bucks, but sport untreated glass lenses or even plastic ones.
The Silicone Skirt
The silicone skirt is the soft portion that’s tasked with the mountainous responsibility of creating a tight seal against your skin, without biting into it. If you’ve ever dove with cheap masks, you’d know how tough that is.
That’s where high-grade silicone, also called Pure Silicone shines though. This is 100% silicone, or pretty close to it. It is noticeable softer than regular silicone and hence, will mold better regardless of your facial structure. It is also hypoallergenic, resistant to UV damage, chlorinated water and salt water even with repeated use. Normal silicone will harden with time and start to crack. Pure Silicone retains its softness for years.
You might have commonly heard about masks leaking. In most of those cases, it’s the silicone seal going loose or not fitting well on the face. Soft silicone generally bypasses this problem.
The skirt color can affect your peripheral vision. Darker colors limit the light that permeates into the mask, but can increase clarity because of the contrast it creates. Transparent skirting allows more light in and hence may be better suited for divers who feel claustrophobic. The caveat is that too much light can cause glares and distortions sometimes.
Buckles & Straps
There are as many buckle and strap designs, as there are masks themselves. You need something that’s easy to adjust on-the-go and equally easy to unlock in case you need to clear the mask frequently.
The best option is a one-way ratchet buckle with a squeeze, or quick-release design. The ratchet must move freely at a gentle tug of the free tab. Each ratchet should have positive feedback, in the form of an audible click as it moves. Lastly, it must not loosen automatically when you are underwater.
Scuba masks are categorized into low and high volume. Volume is defined as the size of the airspace, between the lens and your eyes. So, low volume masks will have the lens much closer to your face. This makes them easy to clear in case some water manages to sneak in. The tradeoff is that your field of vision is limited somewhat. It feels a little tighter, for lack of a better word.
High volume masks have a lot more airspace and hence feel open. They are more difficult to clear though. This is more of a personal preference than anything else. Some divers prefer low volume masks, while others swear by their high volume ones.
High volume ones tend to cause some discomfort on the nose bridge. So you might want to consider that as well.
Optical Grade Glass for Visibility
Normal tempered glass has a greenish tint, due to the high ferric oxide content, which can also interfere with light transmission. In some cases, it can cause distortions under water. That’s why professional-grade masks feature optical-grade glass like Ultraclear and Saint-Gobain Diamant. It prevents loss of peripheral vision and provides you with true color fidelity.
Last but not least, pick a mask that fits your face. It might not be the fanciest one in this list, nor have all the bells and whistles you wished for. But as long as it fits your face and does not leak, you will have a great time underwater.
It’s very easy to do a fit test.
- Hold the mask in place against your face and gently press it. Do not secure it using the straps yet. Check if there are gaps against your cheekbone or your facial hair. If it fits snugly, inhale and let go.
- Ideally, the mask should stay put because it creates a seal. If it does, check if there’s any part of the seal that bites into your skin. The forehead window is a common culprit. If it does, or it’s uncomfortable during the test, that discomfort is going to be amplified when you dive.
If you have trouble finding the perfect fit, you may as well try a full face dive mask for your next underwater adventure, as those should fit no matter the face type or size.
That sums up my recommendations for the best scuba mask out there. If this is the first time you are shopping for masks, chances are that it might take a little trial and error before you are able to find that perfect dive mask.
Spend some time with the mask. Wear it in the pool. Go snorkeling or for surface dives. Once you and the mask fit each other like hand in glove, it’s battle ready.