When it comes to buying kit, one of the most important pieces of equipment to own is the right dive mask. It is often the first piece of gear that new divers buy and there are numerous different masks to choose from, which can make it difficult to know how to choose the right one.
When choosing a mask, it’s important to consider the type of diving a diver intends to do and what is most important to them in their mask. Some divers prefer a wide field of vision, whilst others look for minimal glare, travel masks, or masks that are easily recognisable amongst others’ diving kit.
There are masks available to suit all budgets, ranging typically from 50 USD to over 1,000 USD for some full-face masks. Whilst it is important not to buy a cheap supermarket snorkel mask that isn’t designed for scuba diving, the price tag isn’t the most important factor when choosing the right mask. The fit of the mask is always the first priority.
A well-fitting mask prevents water entering the mask and ensures a comfortable dive without the need to constantly clear the mask. People comes in all shapes and sizes and thankfully there are many different masks available to account for this and ensure a good fit.
The nose enclosure, or nose pocket, is also worth considering. A flexible nose pocket allows divers to pinch their nose and equalize easily, whilst the right shape prevents water from entering the mask under the nose. This is especially important for new divers who may panic or be uncomfortable if there is any water around their nose.
Other things to consider include different skirt colours, lens configuration and mask volumes. Variations in each have distinct advantages for divers. A low volume mask, for example, is helpful for clearing the mask easily and for equalising the mask, whilst single lens frameless masks fold flat for packing.
Try a mask on – clear your hair away from your face and place the mask on without the strap. Breath in – does it seal well?
More information about the different mask types and their advantages, plus information about diving with a moustache and alternative snorkel attachments, can be found in Top Tips for Choosing the Right Mask.