Without scuba masks, we wouldn’t be able to appreciate the beauty of the underwater world which would be a great shame since exploring underwater is one of the main attractions of scuba diving.
Scuba masks should be the right fit, comfortable, have a good field of vision, and be easily cleared of water. There are other factors, which depend on the components of the masks, that you have to consider. And that’s why I’ll be explaining the most important features of a scuba diving mask later in this article.
It should be no surprise to you that scuba masks come in different shapes, sizes, styles, and colors. There are many things to take into consideration to choose the perfect mask, that will be suitable for your own use. That’s why I have created this easy-to-follow guide to help you choose the right dive mask to put in your bag for your next diving trip. So let’s get started!
Scuba Masks vs. Snorkeling Masks
Scuba masks have requirements different from that of snorkeling masks which makes sense when you consider that scuba diving involves going deep underwater while snorkeling is closer to the surface.
This means masks to be used for scuba diving must be able to withstand the high pressures underwater. The deeper you go underwater, the higher the pressure. As a result, scuba masks are usually made of strong tempered glass that can withstand the pressures of diving.
Scuba masks must also feature skirts that enclose the nose to prevent water from leaking in and allowing the airspace within the mask to equalizes as the diver goes deeper underwater.
Generally, you can use snorkeling masks for scuba diving unless such snorkeling masks meet the requirements for scuba diving masks.
How To Prevent Mask Fogging?
Fogging occurs in a scuba mask when water vapor condenses on the inside of the lens as a result of temperature difference between the inside and outside of the lens. Fogging reduces the visibility of your mask and can ruin your diving experience.
One of the best ways to prevent fogging in your mask is to clean your mask with non-whitening toothpaste after you buy it before going for your first dive. There are also specific scuba mask cleaning agents on the market but using toothpaste is cheaper.
Put the toothpaste on the inside of your mask’s lens and use your fingers to spread it all over the surface. Leave the toothpaste for a while before cleaning it off.
You can also use baby shampoo to prevent fogging. All you have to do is dilute a few drops of any baby shampoo product in water, pour in a spray bottle, and apply to the inside of your lens.
It’s important you take steps during diving to prevent fogging like trying not to breathe out of your nose or avoid touching the inside of your mask.
How To Choose Your Scuba Diving Mask?
Below are factors to put into consideration when choosing a scuba mask:
Scuba masks’ materials must be made from durable materials that can withstand the pressures of diving. This is why you should go for scuba masks made from tempered glass (the window) and soft silicone (for the skirts).
Quality scuba masks also have a silicone seal at the bottom and two silicone seals at the top to provide a tight seal, keep water out, or easily remove water from the mask.
One Window vs. Two / Multiple Windows
Scuba masks can have one or multiple windows. Those with a single window have a single pane of glass which provides a wide field of view with less obstruction i.e you get the widest uninterrupted field of vision possible.
Two-window scuba masks come with two separate lenses and have the advantage of being compatible with prescription lenses for divers with eye defects.
Scuba masks with three or four lenses provide a wider field of view. This can be especially beneficial for divers that feel claustrophobic underwater. However, there will be distortions or even blind spots in the adjoining areas of the lenses.
Framed vs. Frameless Masks
The difference between framed and frameless masks is not the presence or absence of frames as frameless masks also have frames. However, the frames of frameless masks are not as visible as those of framed masks.
In a frameless mask, the frame is less prominent, the skirt is attached to the front of the mask, and the window is molded into the silicone. And the result of this is a compact and lighter scuba mask with a superior field of view.
Who should use frameless masks? Divers that want a wide, unobstructed view or feel claustrophobic will do well to go for frameless masks because of the field of view. If you have a smaller face, frameless masks will snugly fit you although they can be used by divers of varying head sizes.
In a framed design, there’s a hard frame that holds the lenses, and the skirt is attached to the frame, a distinction from frameless masks where the skirt is attached to the front of the mask (the faceplate).
Framed masks have the advantage of being more durable, compatible with prescription glasses, and have a tried and true fit, an advantage for divers with beards or big noses.
However, frameless masks are the rage nowadays because of the superior field of view they provide.
Low Volume vs. High Volume
The volume of your scuba mask is the amount of airspace that’s inside the mask. Your mask can either be high or low volume. Masks with high volume offer a feeling of openness but are difficult to clear because of the large airspace available.
If you don’t want to be clearing your mask regularly, you’ll do well to go for a mask with low volume.
Straps and Buckles
Straps can be made of silicone or neoprene. Silicone straps see better for divers that don’t have facial hair or problem with their straps slipping. Also, silicone attaches to your face like a second and is effective in keeping water out thanks to the tight, waterproof seal it creates.
Buckles allow you to attach your mask to your face and you should go for scuba masks with an easy-to-use buckle system.
This is one of the most important features of scuba masks. Your mask should snugly fit your face without leaking. A good way to know if your mask is a true fit is to wear the mask to check if the inner seal is touching the face or not. If it does, then there’s a good chance the mask will work well.
Skirt color can be black, clear, or colored. When it comes to vision, there isn’t a significant difference between black, clear, or colored skirts and the one you go for is a matter of personal preference or aesthetics.
A mask is obviously an essential part of the scuba diver’s equipment, and not all masks are created equal. The quality of your mask can make or break your diving experience, so it’s worth taking extra time to make sure you choose a good one.
Hopefully this guide will have answered your questions on how to choose the best mask for scuba diving. Don’t hesitate to use the comment section for any other doubt you may have!