The Best Scuba Masks of 2018 – Compared & Reviewed

When it comes to scuba equipment, the first thing we fit new divers with is a good mask—the piece of equipment that may be the single most important part of a dive system.

A properly fitting mask will fit perfectly to your face, will not allow water to leak in, and will stay in place as you move through the water. If all this is working, you will have a stress-free dive where you can almost forget that you have a mask on your face. I have been on dives that were so clear and great that I forgot to take my mask off for over five minutes after the dive was over.

That said, the opposite is nothing short of tragedy. When you are underwater with a leaky mask that slides and fogs, that immediately increases your stress level. It doesn’t matter how good your regulator, computer, fins, or suit are, if you cannot see, your body starts to use more air and you miss out on all the fun of diving.

So, I reached into my 15 years of dive experience to put together 10 of the best scuba masks out there on the market.

10 Best Scuba Masks - Comparisons

Best Scuba Masks - Reviews

1. Atomic Aquatics Venom ARC Mask

The Atomic Venom mask is a low-volume mask that sits close on your face. The close fit and the single-lens design open up for a wider view. The sub-frame that rests under the mask skirt moves the frame outside of the viewing range and creates a large and unobstructed view underwater.

Atomic uses Schott Superwite glass with anti-reflective coating to provide some of the most outstanding viewing clarity of any mask on the market.

What we liked

  • Excellent lens clarity
  • No glare or lens distortion
  • Durable and comfortable

What we didn't like

  • The low-volume design may be uncomfortable if you have a larger face or nose

2. ScubaPro Synergy 2

The Synergy 2 scuba mask is all about comfort. This low-volume scuba mask uses two silicone skirts to mold the mask to your face and provide excellent frame support. The smaller skirt is made from ultra-soft silicone that molds to the shape of your face without rubbing or pulling the skin. The second skirt is a thicker silicone that supports the mask frame and helps hold it firmly in place while you are diving. The result is an almost custom fit without actually having to get the mask customized.

What we liked

  • Low-volume single lens provides a wide field of view
  • Wonderfully comfortable mask skirt
  • Seals easily on many face sizes

What we didn't like

  • Low-volume can feel cramped on larger faces

3. XS Scuba Seadive Eagleye SLX, HD Rayblocker Mask

XS Scuba is a company that has been in the industry for many years and makes quality products for every range of recreational diver. The Seadive Eagleye is designed with an anti-reflective coating that lets almost 100% of light to pass through the lens, which creates a stunning visual field.

The single lens gives you a larger field of view that is unobstructed by the mask’s frame. The design of the mask and skirt create a comfortable and streamlined feel that reduces the weight and drag while diving.

What we liked

  • Clear and bright viewing
  • Comfortable face seal
  • Sleek and streamlined

What we didn't like

  • Tends to fit a little narrow on wide faces

4. Atomic Aquatics Frameless Mask

Atomic Aquatics strives to make diving equipment that is both functional and innovative—and this frameless scuba mask achieves both goals admirably. The silicone skirt of the mask is bonded directly to the tempered glass of the lens to provide one of lightest and most streamlined masks on the market. The low-volume, wide single lens combined with the lack of a frame creates a huge field of view to compliment the sleek design.

What we liked

  • Light and comfortable fit
  • Wide panoramic field of view
  • Tempered glass lens provides great clarity

What we didn't like

  • Nose pocket can be too large for smaller noses

5. Cressi Eyes Evolution Crystal Mask

The Cressi Evolution offers the near-flawless integration of super soft silicone and a minimalist frame. The silicone skirt of the mask is light to provide minimal pressure against the face, but includes ridges that are specifically engineered to provide extra strength and durability at the highest stress points of the mask.

Together, the silicone and frame pull the tempered glass lens as close to your eyes as possible without touching your face to create a pleasingly wide field of view.

What we liked

  • Low-volume design creates wide field of view
  • Silicone skirt is soft and comfortable
  • Comes in different sizes to match different-sized faces

What we didn't like

  • Clear frame can cause glare in bright diving conditions

6. TUSA M1001 Freedom HD Scuba Diving Mask

The TUSA Freedom is a mask engineered to provide a comfortable fit while maximizing visibility. The tempered glass lens is oversized and sits on a wide frame to create a great field of view. At the same time, the rounded silicone skirt helps the mask mold to the curves of your face to provide a comfortable and reliable seal.

What we liked

  • Single lens helps keep pressure from nose
  • Soft silicone for a comfortable seal
  • Good field of view

What we didn't like

  • Not forgiving for divers with facial hair, causes slight leaks

7. Mares X-Vision Ultra

The Mares X-Vision features a bi-silicone skirt that provides a high degree of flexibility for a comfortable fit on multiple face types. The X-Vision is low-volume to reduce drag and increase your visual field while you’re underwater. The lens is also mirrored to reduce any light reflection and produce a clearer underwater view.

What we liked

  • Comfortable fit
  • Reliable seal against face
  • Great field of view

What we didn't like

  • Replacing the strap is highly recommended

8. TUSA Imprex 3D Hyperdry Mask

The TUSA Imprex has a classic high-volume design that has 3 windows to provide a panoramic view. It features a reduced frame size to minimize weight and further increase the visibility provided by the mask.

A hypoallergenic silicone skirt uses a rounded mold design to better fit the natural curve of the face and create a tighter seal around it.

What we liked

  • Flexible seal for a variety of face sizes and shapes
  • Large lens surface is great for corrective lens inserts
  • Comfortable and soft silicone skirt

What we didn't like

  • Frame design makes it tough to reach nose for equalizing

9. Cressi Onda Mask Blue

The Cressi Onda is a great basic mask for anyone who is looking to try scuba diving with minimal investment. The mask has an average volume, which means that is doesn’t sit close to the eyes. The hypoallergenic skirt is soft and molds well to different face shapes.

What we liked

  • Good budget mask
  • Comfortable seal
  • Great for narrow faces

What we didn't like

  • Limited field of view
  • Divers with wider faces may experience leaks

10. Ocean Reef G Divers Full Face Mask

For the final pick I decided to introduce a completely different style of dive mask. The full-face mask design integrates your regulator into the mask to create a full-face seal. The advantages of going full-face is that you can breathe both through your nose and mouth, and it helps divers who might struggle with feeling claustrophobic.

Ocean’s Reef G features a patented silicone skirt and multi-facet straps that make the mask easy to fit, and create a good seal. I recommend meeting with a scuba professional to help learn equalization and mask clearing techniques for using a full-face mask. If you decide to go this route, you likely will never go back to the standard scuba mask design.

What we liked

  • Mask has natural resistance to fog
  • Can adjust regulator air flow with valve on mask
  • No jaw fatigue from holding the mouthpiece

What we didn't like

  • It takes a little time to adjust to the different mask style

Choosing the best scuba mask 

What makes each mask on this list great is the quality of their build and the materials used. A mask made with the best silicones, rubbers, plastics, and glass will go a long way in helping you stay focused on the school of eagle rays cruising the sea floor around you.
The silicone you want in a scuba mask is crystal or medical-grade silicone. The cheap masks you get at a department store are typically made with a PVC silicone. The difference between the two is the feel and the durability. PVC silicone is a much harder silicone that can definitely feel pressed against your face while you are in the water, while the softer crystal silicone feels much lighter and molds to your face better to prevent leaks. Also, crystal silicone will resist warping and malformation, making these masks useable for years instead of months.

The glass used for the mask is the second most important feature. You want to make sure that the lens is made from tempered glass—it resists scratching, is harder to break, and when it does break, the glass into granular pieces instead of shards. That means the glass won’t smash into sharp and dangerous edges in the unlucky event of a break. Similarly to silicone, this higher-quality glass will ensure that your mask will stay with you for years to come.

A note about fogging: All masks will fog without the proper application of a defogger. When you first receive your mask, it is coated with an anti-bacterial film for storage and transport. I recommend picking up a mask scrub that is designed to clean out the lens to allow more effective defogging. You will also use the defog periodically to clean the lens of built up defog solution residue, about every 10 dives or so. I recommend this combo pack of a defogger and mask scrub.

Fitting a mask 

When the wonderful day arrives that you get to hold your mask in your hands, the first thing you want to do is check for the fit. The following steps will help you fit the mask: 

  1. Without using the strap, place the mask over your eyes and nose. Make sure you don’t feel excess pressure against your eyes, forehead, or nose. Make sure no hair gets between your skin and the mask. 
  2. Inhale through your nose. You should feel the mask seal against your face without feeling or hearing air leaking anywhere around the mask. No air means a good fit, and a good seal.
  3. Slide the strap over your head and adjust the tightness. The strap should be tight enough to hold the mask in place, but not cause the mask to seal. The pressure of the water will seal the mask, and applying too much pressure with the strap will cause the mask to leak. 

The best-fitting masks will actually stay in place underwater without even using the strap.
To increase your comfort and durability, I recommend changing out the included silicone mask strap with a nylon and neoprene one like the Oceanic Comfort Mask Strap. The upgrade will feel more comfortable on your head, and is less likely to snap. I have been using my current strap for thirteen years of active diving.

David Valle
 

I started this blog to provide advanced material, guiding you towards a better and more comfortable fishing experience. I deliver more than fishing gear guides, and motivate people to hit the water!

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