How To Choose The Right Mask
A mask is one of the first pieces of dive gear that most scuba divers purchase upon starting diving. Making sure you have the right mask for you and your diving style is very important in ensuring you have the best experience possible underwater.
What Will You Be Using It For?
The first thing you should consider is what exactly you will be using the mask for. If you are primarily a snorkeler then you may wish to try one of the full face masks which have become popular in recent years. If you are interested in doing mainly freediving or spearfishing, there are masks which are designed specifically for this. If you are interested in scuba diving there is a wide variety of styles of masks, shapes, sizes, and colors to choose from.
Full Face Snorkel Masks
A relatively new option for people who are mainly interested in snorkeling is the full face mask. We carry the Ocean Reef Aria Masks which are a very good option for this style of mask. The benefit of this type of mask is that you don’t have a normal snorkel at all. This means no clinching your mouth over your snorkel and no jaw discomfort. You are free to breathe out of your mouth or nose. There is a dry top on the snorkel which prevents water from entering the snorkel. The constant circulation of air inside your mask also results in your mask not fogging up while you are snorkeling.
If you are interested in snorkeling at or near the surface, the full face snorkel mask may be a nice option. At $99 it is also quite affordable, especially when you consider that you will not have to purchase a snorkel separately from your mask.
Freedive and Spearfishing Masks
If you are mainly interested in freediving or spearfishing there are masks designed specifically for these activities. With these masks you will find that they are almost exclusively dual window masks. These masks also have a very low volume of air present. This makes it much easier to equalize the mask with a smaller amount of air. The field of view is quite impressive as well because the mask sits very close to your eyes. Most of these masks are also made of dark or camouflage material.
Scuba Diving Masks
If you are going to be using your mask specifically for diving there are a multitude of options available to you. The majority of our masks that we carry are designed for scuba diving. We will dive into what goes into finding the right mask for you. Things you will have to consider include the size of the mask, single lens or dual lens, color of the skirt, the strap system, price, etc.
Size Of The Mask
The first thing to consider when choosing a mask is ensuring that it is the proper fit. The masks skirt needs to go beyond the outside of your eye sockets and also rest comfortably on your upper lip. You also want to ensure it isn’t too big and going into your hair line on either the top or the sides. This will lead to a leaky mask.
A great way to test the fit is to hold the mask on your face and inhale gently through your nose. If it is comfortable and creates a suction that allows you to remove your hands with the mask staying in place, chances are it will be a good fit in the water. When assessing the comfort make sure it feels alright on your upper lip, temples as well as your nose.
Color Of The Mask
Besides scoring high in style points there certainly are practical reasons relating to the color of your dive mask. The main difference being whether you are purchasing a mask with a black silicone skirt or a clear skirt. A black skirt won’t let as much light into the mask, however, will also limit the glare. This comes down to a personal preference for people. Most avid underwater photographers tend to go with the black skirts.
The next thing to consider is the color of the lenses. The vast majority of dive masks have clear lenses, however, there is the opportunity to have color corrective lenses in your mask.
Single Lens vs Multi Lens
The next thing you will need to consider is whether you prefer a single lens or a multi lens mask. The single lens masks tend to have a much more open and spacious feel. They are a bit heavier than a multi lens mask due to the extra glass. Multi lens masks sit much closer to your face and have a much lower volume of air present. This allows for easier equalizing of the mask. Multi lens masks are also the only way to install true corrective lenses to your mask. With each eye having it’s own window you can get an accurate prescriptive lens cut and installed for both eyes which leads to a much better dive experience.
The way that a mask adjusts is also very important. You want to find a mask which allows for comfortable and easy adjustments underwater and which also is rugged and durable enough that it won’t break. The buckle system is generally one of the first things to go on a mask so making a smart decision from the outset is especially important.
The mask is a very important piece of dive gear and there are a wide variety of options available. Come into the shop and take your time when choosing your mask to ensure you get the proper mask for you and your needs. We carry a huge selection of masks from several different brands which can fit most budgets. If you have any comments or useful tips to add please leave them below.