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Full Face Snorkel Masks – Pros & Cons and How To Choose One

While snorkeling is a fun and interesting sport, using a snorkel requires a bit of a learning curve. You have to practice getting comfortable breathing with a snorkel. But if you are not comfortable or confident using a traditional snorkel and mask combo, you can find a way around this by using a full-face snorkel mask.

Full-face snorkel masks allow you to breathe naturally through the nose or mouth which is the main reason behind their explosion and popularity. There’s no learning curve with full-face snorkel masks and they seal around your face. Lack of mouthpiece means no jaw fatigue which further improves your snorkeling experience.

There are several full-face snorkel masks available on the market and it’s important you know what to pay attention to when choosing one. Here we go.

Why Do You Need A Full Face Snorkel Mask?

Full-face snorkel masks are ideal for people that aren’t comfortable using a traditional mask and snorkel combo. You can breathe through your nose and mouth with a full face mask which is more comfortable than breathing only through the mouth with a conventional snorkel. Lack of mouthpiece means no jaw fatigue which makes you more comfortable.

Full-face snorkel masks also provide a much wider and uninterrupted view when snorkeling. And there’s less chance of water getting in the mask.

Pros and Cons of Full Face Masks

Pros

  • Great for kids and adults that are new to snorkeling or have anxiety about the activity.
  • You get to breathe naturally through the nose or mouth.
  • Full-face snorkel masks come with dry snorkels so no water gets through the mask.
  • Less likely to fog.
  • Leakage is automatically drained.

Cons

  • CO2 buildup is the main concern of full-face snorkel masks and this is why you should choose reputable brands that have tested their products for safety.
  • Bulky and will take some room in your luggage.
  • Should only be used at the water surface.
  • Some models are not designed for heavy swimming or swimming against a current.

Are Full Face Snorkel Masks Dangerous?

One of the main concerns about full face masks as I said earlier is the risk of CO2 buildup which can lead to headache, dizziness, and unconsciousness. However, this can be prevented by buying a quality model. Cheap and knock-off models of full-face snorkels don’t expel air properly. So, don’t cut corners where full-face snorkel masks are involved for your safety.

How to Choose Your Full Face Mask?

Fit

Fit is one of the most important things to look out for in a snorkel mask. If the mask is too big, water will get in and if it’s too small, the mask will be too uncomfortable to use. Manufacturers have sizing charts to help consumers choose the right-sized snorkel mask. Be sure to use the chart.

Materials

Full face masks are made from a combination of plastics and silicone. And the quality of the materials used depends on the manufacturer. This is why it’s important to buy your full-face snorkel mask from a reputable manufacturer to get a mask that works properly and lasts longer.

Straps

The best full-face snorkel masks are those with a fully adjustable strap which helps to create a perfect fit. Straps can be made from plastic, rubber, or soft elastic material. Plastic and rubber straps bring about a more secure fit but can get tangled in long hair. So, people with long hair should go for full-face snorkel masks with soft elastic straps.

Also, check if the strap has a quick-release attachment that makes it easy to remove the mask. You may want to quickly remove your mask due to an accident, water getting in the mask, and so on.

Visibility / Field of View

Full-face snorkel masks provide a 180° view which is more than you can get from traditional snorkel masks. There is a little drawback of distortion on the sides due to the shape of the mask.

Fog Resistance

Thanks to the one breathing system of full-face snorkel masks, fogging is eliminated or reduced to the barest minimum.

Camera Mount

If you’d like to record your underwater adventures, you should go for a full-face scuba mask with a camera mount.

Pay attention to the location of this camera mount. If it is located at the top above your head, you might record what’s happening above the water surface and not always what you are seeing underwater! To ensure great video, better choose a model with a camera mount located near the chin or on the side of the mask.

Final Thoughts

Full-face snorkel masks are more convenient and comfortable for beginners and kids. Nothing beats the old-school mask and snorkel combination especially if you want to venture a bit more underwater. But if you want to stay close to the surface, a full-face mask can make snorkeling more fun for you if you have anxiety about the sport.

The safety concerns about full-face snorkeling masks have some credibility and you should go for the best ones on the market. No cutting corners here. It’s for your safety.

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