How to Choose: The Best Snorkel Mask

how to choose the best snorkel mask

Buying a Snorkel Mask: Contents

Down below are the aspects that distinguish good-quality from low-quality masks, so you know how to pick them.

Leakage

What’s the point of a mask if it’s letting in water, right? This all depends on the seal around the mask. It needs to be a feathered, double skirt seal. Silicone is the preferred material for seals. And as a plus, the feathered double skirt will make for a comfortable seal against your skin.

Equalizing

When you’re snorkeling, you certainly want to avoid inhaling water through your nose. And when you dive below water, you need to be able to equalize, which is why you need eye pockets with an enclosed nose.

Glass

If you use a regular plastic glass snorkel mask, it’ll likely fog up too much, worsening your vision. Otherwise, if you use a glass mask, it’ll shatter due to accidents or underwater pressure, so you won’t be able to wear your mask for scuba diving. Tempered glass, however, is shatterproof and can withstand underwater pressure, making it the best option.

Volume

Ultimately, this is a matter of personal choice. But if you want our take, opt for a low-volume mask that sits closer to your face. Less volume means just the right amount of trapped air, no more. It’ll also reduce its drag in the water and make it easier to clear out water and to equalize when submerging.

Comfort

We’ve briefly alluded to a feature that plays into the mask’s comfort: feathered, double skirt seals, but there’s more to it than that. For a mask to fit you comfortably, it needs to have a wide head strap with touch adjustment buckles.

Vision Scope

The range of vision you’re looking to get will determine the type of lens you need. If that’s peripheral vision, consider buying shaped lens panels because they allow you to see up and down and left and right.

Mask Types

You need to familiarize yourself with the different mask types if you’re going to choose one, so here are the six most prominent types of masks.

- Side-Window Mask

These masks have two added glass panes on both sides of the mask. Side window masks serve two primary functions: widening your vision scope and allowing for more light entry. We have to note that these masks tend to be larger; hence, they need slightly more air to clear them.

- Two-Window Mask

What distinguishes two-window masks is the two glass panes separated by a frame. Unlike the former type, these have small volume and sit close to your face; a useful feature as we’ve demonstrated. Just make sure it doesn’t press against your nose bridge and you’re good.

- Corrective Lens Mask

Corrective lens masks are designed for all the folks with prescription glasses or contact lenses. Some even have interchangeable lenses!

- Single-Window Mask

With single-window masks, a continuous window of glass covers the entire mask with no frame. This provides an unobstructed view and high comfort.

- Color Correcting Masks

Certain colors are lost at certain depths in the ocean, such as red at 3m and yellow at 6m, but color-correcting masks can revert perceived objects to their true colors underwater.

- Built-In Purge Valve Mask

Built-in purge valve masks are more suited for divers than snorkelers, as they facilitate expelling water out of the mask significantly.

In Summary

Clearly there’s more to think about than just being able to see under water. Choosing a snorkel mask can be a tough process, particularly getting the fit and build type right for you – it’s a personal experience. Hopefully our guide will help you step-by-step through the buying process.