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Scuba Diving Masks Choosing the Right One

Updated on June 9, 2010

Not all diving masks are the same. The diving mask that you end choosing as part of your scuba diving gear will significantly influence on the harmony and comfort throughout your dive. When on a dive shops looking at the wide range of scuba masks, keep in mind that the best scuba mask is the one that fits you best.

In other words, it’s the scuba mask that will not cause you an uncomforting state while diving. I´ve seen many occasions when a diver cuts his/her diving time in half just because the scuba mask was constantly filling up with water and this situation was building up stress in them, or the nose pocket on the mask they bought was to small and after a while this pressure can really start hurting your nose.

You´ve just gotten in to this wonderful world of scuba diving and my advice is, don´t go straight buying that first scuba mask of yours. The best option is to rent and try different models from your diving school on your first dives and that will give you an idea which model fits you best.

Scuba Diving Mask Types

  • Single Lens Scuba mask – Remember the old 007 movies where Bond was fighting the villain underwater and the type of masks they wore? Those rounded oval masks are single lens. They are nowadays much more stylish and squarer on the sides to give you a wider angle of vision.
  • Double Lens Scuba mask – Same as above only the lens is divided in the middle just above your nose, so you have two lenses. They are most common type of scuba masks found in the market nowadays.
  • Multiple Lens Scuba Mask – There are many diving masks styles with multiple lenses on the market. This style of lens could be just like a single or double lens type described above but in addition either it could have small lenses on the sides of the mask to help your peripheral vision and or smaller lenses on the bottom to help you visually locate your scuba gear on your BC.
  • Scuba Masks with Purges – All the scuba masks mentioned above can come supplied with or without a purge. A purge is a one-way valve that lets you clear water by exhaling into the mask. Purges can come on the bottom of the nose or on the side of your scuba mask. This last one to clear the water away, you will have to tilt your head to the side where the purge is and exhale. I have never had one of these, but some diving buddies have told me that sometimes the purge can block and even some have problems equalizing the pressure while on deeper dives.
  • Integral or Full Face Scuba Mask – These masks cover the whole face of the diver. They are mostly used by professional divers or when for some reason verbal communication is necessary and these masks can easily be fitted with that device.

Scuba Diving Masks-Choosing the Right One

  • Following along the lines of which type of scuba mask you should choose as mentioned above, you have to consider as well with each and every scuba mask you try, which one gives you a better field of vision.
  • Nose fitting is important, not too tight not too loose. Pay extra attention to the fitting and comfort on the top part of your nose. This is where a lot of people fail when buying a mask and then find out after their first dive that the bridge of their nose is a bit sore.
  • There is various quality degrees of silicone used on masks skirts. On the more expensive masks you can notice the silicone skirt more flexible, softer and “gluey” as you try it on your face.
  • Pending on your scuba mask buying decision, a double strap can be bought separately for your mask if it comes only with a single strap. Double straps are more comfortable on your head and hold your mask better.

Scuba Mask Fitting Tips

  • Fold over the strap that comes along with the mask to the front, so that it will not interfere when you´re testing and placing the mask on your face.
  • Now place the mask on your face gently in a way that it´s lightly touching it. Do not press it against your face. Feel if the skirt is touching all around your face. If not dish it and go to the next mask.
  • The next step is to slightly inhale and while holding your breath, remove your hands slowly to see if the mask falls off your face. If it falls then air is getting in and try the next mask.
  • If all goes well up to now, put the mask aside but keep it in mind. Try other ones following the same advice until you have 5 or 6 masks and then do your process of elimination and test those again until you have narrowed down the one that best fits you.
  • Don´t forget about nose fitting. Inhale a bit more and check fitting and comfort on the top part of your nose.
  • When you have decided on your mask, remember that it´s now a personal item that with each and every dive and with the help of pressure will mold and memorize your face features. So try not to lend it out too many times.

Do it safely and enjoy diving!


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