In the market to purchase a Scuba Mask?

Learning the components of the scuba mask and their use will help you make the best descision.  The human eye cannot focus in water, the mask provides an air pocket so your eyes can focus and you can see clearly underwater. The Skirt of the mask must seal to your face to provide this air pocket.  The mask encloses your nose to allow you to equilize your air spaces during all pressure changes.  Because swim goggles do not enclose the nose and have no way for you to equalize they cannot be used for Snorkeling or Scuba Diving.  Always look for tempered glass, plastic fogs up and standard glass is hazardous if accidentally broken. Fit and comfort are very important to check before you choose the your mask.  The skirt of the mask should wrap around your eye area with no gaps and seal from leakage.  See our video on How to Properly Fit a Mask.

Check the diving mask for a proper seal to your face.

For most people, the problem in choosing a mask is deciding which one they like best rather than finding the right mask with the perfect fit for your face. 

Here is the BEST method to use:

  • Hold the mask gently against your face. Do not use the strap.
  • Look up and take your hands away
  • Inhale gently through your nose. 
  • If it fits, the mask will colapse onto your face and stay there without leaking and without continuous suction through your nose.
  • Choose from the ones that fit 

Features to look for:

  • Enclosed nose - Your nose must be within the nose pocket so you can adjust for pressure changes. This is why swim goggles cannot be used for scuba diving. 
  • Tempered glass - Plastic fogs up and standard glass is hazardous if accidentally broken.  
  • Featthered, double skirt - Makes a seal more reliable and comfortable 
  • Wide strap with touch buckle adjustment - Mask adjusts quickly, easily and stay adjusted during the dive.
  • Shaped Lens panel - for maximum viewing angle up and down and side to side. 
  • Low volume - The smaller the mask, the less drag it has while diving. Your face may require something a bit larger, so don't consider this an absolute. 

Optional features:

  • Purge valve - Used to blow water out (but you can do this easily without a valve) 
  • Special lenses - Some masks can be fitted with prescription lenses, which is convenient if you wear glasses or use contacts.

Different Mask styles to choose from 

Two window masks are characterized by two separate panes of glass held together by a frame which separates the windows. Depending upon the design, these masks can bring the the lenses very close to the divers face and help reduce the internal volume of the mask, which makes it easier to clear and to equalize. When selecting a two window mask, make sure that the mask frame does not press against the bridge of your nose

Single window masks have one continuous pane of tempered glass. For many divers, it is easier to see out of this style of mask than out of a two window mask because there is no frame running between the diver's eyes. Depending upon the design and fit of a single window mask, it can leave plenty of space between the the lens and the bridge of a diver's nose, or it can run right up against it.
Side window or Pano-vision masks have two additional panes of glass arranged on the sides of the mask. The side windows allow additional light into the mask and increase the diver's field of vision. Hey that's why we're down there to see the wonders of the underwater world.  These masks may have a slightly larger internal volume (hold more air) than other mask styles, which means they may require alittle more air to clear of water.

Masks with a purge valve is a one-way valve built into the nose of a mask to facilitate clearing water from the mask. It eliminates the need for a diver to look up when clearing his mask. While some divers love this feature, many feel it is unnecessary. Purge valves can make it more difficult pinch the nose during equalization. They add an extra failure point to the mask, because if they break (which is uncommon) the whole mask will flood. A purge valve is an additional luxury or a unnecessary excess, depending upon your point of view.  Many folks love them.

Color Correcting Lenses are specially formulated to pick up red (lost at ten feet) and yellow (lost at twenty feet) and define objects and give better depth perception. 
Corrective lenses many manufacturers offer masks which can accommodate a wide variety of corrective lenses. Divers who wear glasses or contact lenses should consider requesting a mask with this capability. Dive shops can sometimes order masks with a customized prescription directly from the manufacturer. Some masks are created so that the user can change the lenses with just a screwdriver.

Mask Tips: 

  • After purchasing a new mask scrub out the mask and use defog. Mask fog plagues beginning divers, but it's actually easy to prevent. First, scrub out a new mask with soft scrub, toothpaste or as recommended by the manufacturer. This removes a chemical that sometimes coats the glass during manufacturing and causes fog up. You only need to do this when you get the mask. Then, before each dive, use defogging solution according to the instructions. Your mask will stay fog-free.
  • Over-tightening a mask will cause mask leakage
  • Bugs eat silicone, make sure to store your mask in your plastic mask box.
  • Consider prescription lenses or optical inserts if you normally wear prescription glasses
  • Rinse your mask thoroughly with fresh water after each use let dry and return to it's box.  Keep out of direct sunlight as much as possible.