One of the first things new divers pick out is their scuba mask. I think we can all agree that diving is that much more enjoyable if we have a mask that fits comfortably, is easy to clear, and doesn’t leak. This post reviews the best scuba masks to help you find the perfect fit for you.
I’ve only had 2 masks in the last 10 or so years but I think I bought more than 5 in my first couple of years of diving. No I didn’t lose them (well maybe I lost one to the ocean depths) but I kept buying the wrong mask and regretting my purchase. It took multiple tries and hundreds of dollars to figure out how to select a good scuba diving mask.
Picking the best scuba mask can be daunting even for experienced divers so we’ve done the hard work for you. Hopefully with our research you can find the perfect fit with far less trial and error than I’ve had to go through. So let’s get into our picks for the best scuba masks of the year!
Best Scuba Mask in 2023
Best Scuba Mask Feature Comparisons
|ScubaPro Synergy 2 TruFit||Double||Low||Framed||$$|
|IST Pro Ear Mask||Double||Low||Framed||$$|
|Aqua Lung Wraparound||4 Pane||High||Framed||$|
|ScubaPro Crystal VU Plus||4 Pane||Low||Framed||$$|
|Ocean Reef Space G||Single||High||Full||$$$|
The Best Scuba Mask Reviewed with Pros and Cons
Best Ultra Low Volume
The Ghost has an ultra low volume and frameless design. This makes it easily pocketable as a backup mask and also a breeze to quickly clear underwater.
It is comfortable and for its size has a great field of vision. The strap buckles rotates making it great for packing it up for your next dive trip as it folds down fairly flat. We recommend protecting it in a padded bag for travel to save space.
Photographers will appreciate that the soft silicone skirt that comes in white or black. It is anti-reflective so there won’t be a glare when you’re trying to get the perfect shot.
Best For Color Correction
The TUSA Paragon has a price that can put a dent in your scuba fun money but for many people it is the ideal purchase. It makes the colors underwater much more vibrant because of the added coating to the lenses.
Photographers in particular will enjoy the more vibrant views underwater with an improved ability to color balance well the first try.
Since the coating also provides UV protection, dive professionals and anyone spending a good deal of time on the water will benefit from the added eye protection.
Best For Small Faces
With the latest version of the Synergy you’ll not only keep the glare down at the surface but you’ll also catch some looks from other divers. The mirrored lenses reflect the sun and just plain look cool.
Underwater, the colors will be enhanced with a softening of the blues so you’ll see a bit more of the true colors.
From a fit perspective, the Synergy has a double skirting system that makes it the ideal choice if you’ve struggled to find the right fit before. The double layer makes for a great seal even on smaller faces.
Best For Large Faces
The Oceanic Shadow comes in two sizes with the regular size being good for large faces. While it has a good sized nose pocket the skirt comfortably molds to your skin creating dives with less leaks. At the same time it comes in a form factor that is minimal and can even fit into a BCD pocket for a backup mask.
You have the option of a clear skirt or the mask comes in white and black. Photographers tend to prefer black as there’s less reflective glare.
Best For GoPro
The OCTOMASK pioneered making it easy to dive with a GoPro handsfree. The built in mount attaches to all models of the GoPro with a nut and thumbscrew so you can record your dive from the viewpoint you experienced it.
It has a dual safety tempered lens and low volume design. In our testing we found it comfortable to wear and really enjoyed being handsfree during the dive.
Apeks is one of the best Scuba brands around and their mask collection shares the same high quality as the regulators we love. The VX1 is our pick for the best frameless as it’s lightweight and low volume making it easy to clear and to travel with.
We love that there are 2 lens options to choose from, a Pure Clear and a UV filter version. With the clear lens the clarity is excellent. For just a slight price increase you can get the UV filtered lenses to protect your eyes from UV rays on the surface.
Best Framed Mask
The Atomic Sub-Frame has a frame built to last years. Made of 316-grade stainless steel you won’t have to worry about the corrosive damage saltwater can do for a long time to come.
It comes with the Ultra-Clear glass which gives great clarity underwater. You’ll also appreciate the teardrop shape to the lenses as it gives a wider range of view especially when you need to glance down and check your gauges.
Best for Beards
The Atomic Venom is the mask for those of you with furry faces. It maintains a seal even with a mustache or beard which means you don’t have to shave to have leak free dives anymore.
While this is our pick for guys with facial hair, there’s a lot for everyone else to like. The Venom is a high quality mask that is extremely comfortable to wear. It sports an aptly named ‘Gummi Bear’ ultra soft silicon skirt. You can really feel a difference as the mask stays in place without needing to overtighten it.
The Superwhite UltraClear lens cuts out the green tint that can be found in lower quality masks. This means the colors you see will be more real life and crisp.
Finally the ultra wide lens makes you feel unrestricted in your view from side to side.
Best for Ear Problems
This mask incorporates ear covers that both keep your ears drier and help you to equalize more easily. For those that have frequent ear infections this is a mask to definitely try out. Many people have ended their struggles with ear difficulties by using this mask.
A tube connects the mask with the ear cups. If you experience difficulty equalizing you simply breathe out slightly through your nose and your ears should clear.
Best For Backup Mask
The Hollis M1 has a simple and clean design that makes a great everyday mask. It’s even better as a backup mask as its low profile design makes it easy to stow in your BCD pocket.
There’s also reduced iron content in the lens which resulted in increased clarity and less green tints that can sometimes be present with other masks.
Best For Panoramic
Originally a design from US Divers before Aqua Lung bought them many years ago so it’s sporting an old school design. Its squared off shape does make it bulkier than other masks but the side view windows keep the field of view open.
Many decade long divers swear by this mask so its built to last and at a price point much lower than the more modern styles.
Best with Purge Valve
The options are limited for masks with purge valves but the Crystal Vu Plus is a fan favorite.
If you haven’t used a purge valve before it can make clearing water from your mask easier. It works similar to a snorkel with a purge valve. You give a hard blow from your nose and the water is pushed out through a small valve below the nose pocket.
Best for Budget Frameless
The Cressi F1 is a comfortable and compact mask but its the price that stands out. To get a similar look you’d normally pay double or triple the price.
The silicone is soft and flexible making it easier to equalize your ears. It also is extremely compact, making it a good option for travel or as a backup mask.
The F1 comes in a variety of colors. We like the white the best as it stands out underwater. Pink is also a popular choice that you don’t find in other masks.
Best for Budget Framed
The Matrix delivers a big field of view in a small package. With the extended tear drop shaped lenses the downward view is particularly good. The internal volume is very low even rivaling some free diving masks so clearing it is a quick and easy effort.
Also, the skirt is made from a hypoallergenic silicone perfect for anyone who struggles with skin allergies.
Best For GoPro
Are you ready to try out a full face mask? The Ocean Reed Space G is our pick for an entry level mask that will get you started comfortably and in style. It replaces your mask and regulator and attaches to your existing low pressure hose and first stage.
We like that you have the options for integrated communications or to leave it out as many divers aren’t ready to disrupt the serenity of their underwater experience with talking. It can be nice however, for buddy teams or when working in groups to be able to communicate more easily than with hand signals.
The mask also comes in a bunch of colors so you’re sure to find a look that fits you.
What to Look for When Buying a New Scuba Mask?
Different Mask Designs
There have never been so many options in dive masks before. This means its both easier and more complicated to find the best scuba mask for you. It’s great to have options, but understanding what they are and the benefits will help you make the best purchase for you.
Low Volume Mask
Masks that have less air inside are considered low volume. These masks will be easier to clear underwater as you won’t have to breath out as much to fill them. Another benefit to the low profile is how compact they pack up for traveling or even as a backup mask stowed in a pocket.
Single Lens Scuba Mask
A mask with a single lens can be a bit easier to clean and apply defog to. Depending on its volume it may also feel like you have greater visibility in your peripheral view. Normally people with larger noses will not find the fit of a single lens mask as comfortable.
Double Lenses Scuba Mask
A double or dual lens mask has two individual windows. This mask style is typically lower volume than a single lens mask. It also offers more options for people who need (or want) corrective lenses. There are a number of masks that take prescription lenses now and you can even install bifocals that help even those with the best vision to more easily see the tiny critters like pygmy seahorses.
Frameless Dive Mask
A frameless mask typically has a greater visual range than its framed counterpart. This means you’ll feel a bit less impeded from seeing everything around you during your dive. One of the biggest benefits of the frameless mask is its size. Because the les is molded into the skirt instead a frame its a space saving alternative that’s especially good for those that travel great distances to get their dives in.
Framed Dive Mask
Alternatively, framed masks feel sturdier as they have thicker materials in the frame supporting the lenses. It is more common to find a framed double lens mask so it’s often the choice for those needing corrective lenses. The field of view will feel a bit more constricted than with a frameless mask.
Panoramic Dive Mask
A panoramic mask is a framed mask that has a bit more volume inside to accommodate the addition of side windows. It helps to open up your peripheral vision on a dive, though some argue the difference is negligible and doesn’t offset the added bulk and volume.
Full Face Diving Mask
A full face mask, previously reserved for commercial use or high end divers, is now becoming more used in recreational diving. They are known to be safer since you have a seal around your entire face and can breathe normally through your nose. This type of mask also allows for communications systems to be used to talk to other divers.
Purge Valve Masks
Much like you clear a snorkel with a forceful breath, some masks have built in purge valves. It is a one way valve at the base of the nose pocket that allows the water to be pushed out. The best part is you don’t need to use your hands to clear your mask.
How to Care for Your Scuba Mask?
Preparing Your New Mask
The first step you should take when you get your new mask is to give it a good rub down with toothpaste. Yes toothpaste. It may sound strange but it helps to remove a protective coating added by the manufacturer. We want to remove this coating as its the main reason people complain of having a mask that fogs.
If after cleaning your mask with toothpaste you are still experiencing fogging during your dives you can also try burning the lens with a lighter. The lighter will burn off any of the remaining coating. As you put the lighter to the lenses don’t be concerned that it turns them black. It will easily wipe away and will not damage your mask. Just be careful not to burn your fingers.
Cleaning After Diving
After each of your dives you should rinse your mask thoroughly with fresh water. You can place your mask in the camera bucket on the boat, but only if you haven’t treated it with anything more than spit. Soaps and chemicals aren’t good for the cameras.
After rinsing the salt off, hang your mask to dry. It’s best if the lens faces up so that any water inside the mask has a chance to drain out. Also, make sure to keep it out of direct sunlight as much as possible.
Storing Your Mask Between Dives
When it’s time to pack up your gear until the next trip, it’s best to store your mask in the plastic case it came with. Bugs like to eat silicone and after a while you will start to see little nibble marks on the skirting if you haven’t locked it away. For traveling back from a vacation it’s fine to use a padded bag. You can then transfer your mask to the plastic case when you return home.