How to Choose the Right Mask for Scuba Diving

The scuba mask is the most basic yet important piece of equipment you need for your underwater adventures. It may be confusing to purchase the perfect one though, as there are so many varieties available in the market.

How do you choose the right mask for scuba diving?

It comes down to a number of factors, such as how well the mask fits on your face without causing any irritation or discomfort. The materials used in various parts of the mask such as the skirt, lens, frame etc. also need to be ergonomic so that you don’t experience physical pain underwater.

Read below to learn about what to look for in a scuba mask while shopping for one, what materials are the best, what are the different types of scuba masks, and more.

What Makes a Good Diving Mask?

A mask has various components, which can make it confusing to decide which one to get when you’re shopping. I’ve compiled the most essential things you may want to consider in a dive mask.

dive mask components

Fit

The fit is one of the most important aspects to a scuba mask. If your dive mask doesn’t fit you well, water will leak into your mask and cause you a lot of discomfort. On the other hand you don’t want to be left with red marks on your face from the mask afterwards either.

A well-fitted mask will ensure you won’t have to clear your mask as much, making sure you can focus more on the diving experience.

Scuba diving masks come in various sizes to accommodate different face shapes, so whether you have a small face, large face or even a lot of facial hair, you should experiment with different pieces till you settle on one. There is definitely a mask out there that can fit any face properly.

Nose Pockets

The nose pocket in a dive mask refers to the component which houses the nose. It’s important for the nose pockets to be of flexible material so that they are comfortable on your nose and are not restraining you from breathing properly. Flexible nose pockets also help for easy equalization of ears while you pinch your nose – a vital part of your scuba diving experience.

The right nose pocket shape should not be too loose nor too tight – there should be enough space for you to be breathe easily and it should be snug enough to prevent water from leaking into the mask.

Lens

The material that the lens are made of is a serious matter, since you don’t want the lens to end up breaking and causing water to enter the mask, or the broken shards of the lens hurting your skin. Tempered glass is one of the best materials as it has excellent durability, as compared to plastic which is more suited for snorkeling rather than diving.

Apart from material, you can also consider the color when it comes to the lens. There are both clear and tinted lens available in the market. Tinted lens reduce the amount of light reaching your eyes, which you might want to consider if your eyes are sensitive. Clear lens are good if you’re diving along with other divers, as they help other divers easily see your eyes and judge whether you’re feeling well or bad.

For people who wear contacts, scuba masks with prescription lens are also available in the market.

Skirt

The skirt is the component which forms a seal around the mask – it’s important for the skirt to be of a comfortable material since it touches against your face, so something like silicone is great since it’s extremely soft and flexible.

Apart from ergonomic material, good skirts usually also have double seals inside the mask, which help reduce leak to the best possible degree.

Frame

The frame is attached to the lens as a sort of housing. Previously, they used to be bulky and added an extra weight to the mask, which was uncomfortable. Nowadays, you not only have lightweight frames available, but even frameless masks in which the lens is directly incorporated in the skirt.

One thing to consider here, though, is that although frameless masks are more lightweight, it’s usually more difficult to get them fixed if they break, because unlike in a framed mask, the lens and skirt are bonded together as one piece. So you might have to get the whole mask replaced instead of fixing just one part as you would in a framed one.

Different Types of Scuba Masks

Single-Lens Masks

Single-lens masks are those that, as the name suggests, have just one lens over the mask without any nose pocket in the center. They are usually preferred by divers who like to have a wider, clearer view underwater.

Dual-Lens Masks

Dual-lens masks have two lenses with a nose pocket in the center for easier equalization and clearing. Dual-lens masks can also accommodate prescription lenses for users with visionary problems.

Multiple-Lens Masks

Multiple-lens masks have extra lenses to offer the diver plenty of light and a variety of views. This is especially suitable for divers with claustrophobia.

What Are Scuba Masks Made of?

Scuba masks use different materials for different components; for example, the skirt is usually made of flexible materials such as silicone to ensure comfort. Silicone is also used for the mask strap. Some modern designs include neoprene straps and elasticated straps.

The faceplate or lenses may be of plastic or tempered glass, the latter is used in more professional designs as they are much more durable. The lens are supported by a frame, which is usually made of rigid plastic or metal.

Does the color of the mask matter?

Depending on your needs, yes. For example, a clear mask is suitable for claustrophobic divers. A black mask is usually for those who want to do underwater photography. Colored masks are either for the aesthetics or for easy identification underwater in case you’re in a group.

Are expensive scuba masks better?

Not necessarily. What matters the most is functionality – is your mask fitting you perfectly? Is it comfortable? Are you able to breathe easily? Expensive diving masks may have a lot of gimmicky additional features for the marketing – if you don’t really need them, don’t buy them.