If you are learning to dive, a mask is one of the first pieces of equipment you should invest in…
Our vision is one of the things we rely on the most when diving. It allows us to communicate with other divers, take in sights that are out of this world and aid us if in the need of safety.
However, our eyes have not evolved to work underwater and at depth, so we need a little bit of assistance from a scuba diving masks.
There are tons of scuba diving masks on the market and you’ll often see wall upon wall of choices if you step inside a dive shop. Some will fit smaller faces, whilst others are more suited to larger faces. Some will provide maximum comfort and be easy to adjust, whilst others focus their efforts on optimising field of vision and colour quality at depths. Then there are others that have found the perfect balance between all of the above.
Best Scuba Masks
- Tusa Visio Pro
- Atomic Aquatics Venom
- Tusa Paragon
- Apeks VX1 Mask
- Scubapro Synergy Twin Mask
- Scubapro Solo Dive
- Aqua lung Micromask
- Mares X-Vision – lens compatible
- Cressi Big Eyes Evolution
- Hollis M1
Top Ten Best Scuba Masks
There is no doubt that the market for dive masks is huge! It can often be difficult to know where to start. One thing I would say though, try before you buy. Visit your local shop and try your top choices on.
Whether you are looking for a mask that fits narrow faces, allows for dual lenses, easy to handle straps and buckles or a mask with wide field vision, read on to find out which are the best tempered glass lens diving masks.
The balance is hard to achieve, but there are several masks that have demonstrated excellent comfort and fit, great vision and are easy to adjust, even in the most cumbersome of gloves!!
Read on to find out about the brands and models that have achieved this delicate balance in the world of dive masks and have made it onto our list of the best scuba diving masks.
You could argue that I am biased, but this is my favourite mask on the market by far. The Tusa Visio Pro is low profile, single window teardrop design mask that I first tried out in Thailand. I had forgotten my mask and one of the other instructors lent me this one. It was like I was seeing the ocean for the first time again, and in 4K! I purchased one straight away and still use it to this day.
It’s anti-reflective and UV treated lenses provide crystal clear vision, even in the lower visibility environments. The field of vision it offers is immense, much better than 2-window masks. It’s round edge skirt provides perfect fit and comfort, even for smaller faces like mine. Need to quickly adjust the fit? No problem! It has a silicone skirt mounted quick-adjust buckle system that allows for rapid but smooth adjustment even underwater.
Tusa always produce top quality scuba equipment. This diving mask is, in my opinion, one of the best scuba diving masks that you can buy.
Atomic Aquatics have pulled it out the (dive) bag here. The only reason that I have placed this second and not first is because of the price tag. It is a little higher than what I would like to pay. However, when I tried this mask, I realised immediately the work that had gone into this mask to craft the perfect underwater vision.
This dive mask is a blend of the Aquatic subframe and frameless masks. The low volume style is inspired by the frameless mask which is loved by many. A beautiful, high performing design that is easy to adjust and offers a single window to ensure a wide field of vision.
But it doesn’t stop there. This scuba mask out performs all other masks on the market thanks to the specialised, high quality, tempered glass that is imported from Germany. But how does this differ I hear you ask?! It allows more light to penetrate the single lens, thus enhancing your visual experience. The Tusa Visio Pro is amazing at this, but this special glass called Schott Superwhite takes it up another level.
If you can afford the price of the Atomic Aquatics Venom then don’t look any further – just go for it!
Another brilliant mask from Tusa. The Paragon competes closely with the Atomic Venom in terms of its level of vision quality. However, this diving mask offers a TRI-MIX frame, a reinforced combination of three layers that allows for superior strength. It is a little smoother looking than the Tusa Freedom, but still not a frameless mask. The use of materials such as Polyurethane means that there is no need to worry about damaging the frame on those days spent on the crazy dive boat!
With Tusa’s newest frame and skirt designs, Crystal View glass and UV 420 coated lenses this is yet another impressive, high performing scuba mask. This means that you will be diving with the highest light transmittance and colour clarity that a mask can offer whilst utilising top UV ray protection. The UV420 coating used on the lenses ensures that the damaging UV-A and U-V B lights are removed before they reach your eyes.
Apeks rarely disappoint. Each piece of dive equipment that they introduce to the world has undergone rigorous design and testing protocols. But hey, that’s what’s needed if you are to be one of the most recognised and respected diving brands out there.
The VX1 mask is true quality in every aspect. The geometry based skirt design ensures that the pressure on the face during long dives remains non existent, ensuring comfort whether on short or extended technical dives. The high quality medical grade, soft silicone skirt uses a mixture of matte and gloss sections which allow for the fit to be perfect no matter the shape or size of the face, minimising pressure points.
The tempered glass is made into a single lens embedded within a frameless design. The use of Pure Clear optical glass means this is another one of the masks which allow for uninterrupted, high quality, vibrant vision.
Apeks have gone one step further than all other mask manufacturers. This was their first product that was transported from factory to retailer with NO plastic packaging!!! Apeks have since started to expand this to many of their other top of the range dive products.
If you’re looking for a scuba mask that is tough, offers quality vision and is environmentally conscious then the Apeks VX1 mask is for you.
If you are on a budget but looking for a mask that is extremely comfortable and provides excellent underwater vision, this will be your go to diving mask. It is also one that I have seen fit so many different face shapes. The silicone that us used for the mask skirt utilises a unique rigidity that ensures the comfort remains at the highest level. This also means that you will spend less time clearing water from your mask, because less water will be entering!
Integrating comfort into the design, Scubapro did not just stop at the mask skirt. The strap that sits at the back of your head is not made of silicone but of a textile material. It remains secure throughout the dive and offers that extra comfort, a bit like wearing a mask strap cover. One of the biggest pet hates I have with scuba masks is that sometimes my hair will get stuck in the strap. However, this easy-to-adjust textile strap does not do that, and it sits securely on the head, not sliding up or down.
The Ultra Clear glass which creates the lenses allows the true colours and vibrancy of the underwater world to reach your eyes – ultra clear glass really does not dissapoint. However, this mask is noticeably cheaper than the previous masks I have reviewed here. If you were to wear this one back to back with the Tusa Paragon, for example, you would certainly notice the difference in vision. But with the much lower price tag than the Paragon, that is to be expected.
Another single lens, low internal volume mask that is super comfortable to wear. This scuba diving mask is suitable for many different shaped faces, large or small, narrow or wide. The ultra clear field of vision is excellent, ensuring you don’t miss some of those valuable moments underwater.
The double sealed silicone skirt ensures comfort whilst preventing water from entering the mask. Most divers probably clear their mask at least once per dive but with the Scubapro Solo, I found that it did not leak at all. Apparently, this is the best one for people with facial hair. Facial hair can often cause leaks, but I’ve heard this one does so well at combating that problem! This mask is simple, straightforward, hassle free and can be grabbed at a very good price. There is little else to say about this one.
This two-window scuba mask brings the lenses closer to the eyes than any other mask providing an excellent peripheral view and low volume fit. Suitable for freedivers and scuba divers alike, Aqua Lung have worked hard on perfecting the low volume design of this scuba mask. It’s low volume design is similar to that of the Cressi Nano.
Thanks to its low volume, it allows for divers to achieve minimal in-water drag, better supporting streamlined habits. I don’t think I had tried a mask as low volume as this one, but one thing I noticed was the ease of clearing water from it. Many beginner divers struggle with clearing their mask and often overthink the technique involved. If this is you, invest in this mask. It is your best choice without a doubt. The low volume makes it ridiculously easy to remove water – I exhaled the slightest bit and all water had gone!
This is the best diving mask for those of us that use glasses or wear lenses. The X vision mask has been designed to allow the use of corrective lenses that can be interchangeable with regular ones. It is also one of the best scuba diving masks for those with narrower frame faces that often struggle to get a good seal to prevent leaking.
It allows for an excellent field of vision, with a low internal volume, claiming an increase of 20% – there’s no excuse for not keeping an eye on your buddy at all times now!
Cressi rallied up a lot of fans after the release of the Big Eyes Evolution, a scuba diving mask that dabbled in a design that allows for a point of contact between the skirt and the face with an extremely open angle. This open angle allows for the accommodation of a range of face shapes.
Like the Apeks VX1, this scuba diving mask provides maximum comfort during long dives or dives at higher pressures. Cressi own the patent of the lenses used in the Big Eyes Evolution, which bring the lenses closer to the eye providing low volume and a result in a mask with the best field of view.
Cressi was the first ever mask brand I tried, back in 2007. They are a great starting point for new divers and offer a great range of affordable, well made equipment. If you are just learning to dive, you can trust this mask.
If you are looking for a mask with clear vision, super low volume and a wide ranging field of view, then you may have just discovered your best scuba diving mask. The Hollis M1 is an impressive frameless design that has altered the thickness of the soft 100% silicone skirt to bring the crystal clear lens much closer to your eyes. Easy to clear, this mask is a firm favourite of both freedivers and scuba divers.
The lenses are distortion free and minimise the amount of green tint that other lenses allow through. the beauty of the Hollis M1 is best noticed in low light environments where you can really see the power of the higher light transmittance that the M1 gives.
It is a frameless mask that has a very sleek design.
What To Consider When Buying a Scuba Mask
Coming across the best scuba diving masks can be a challenge. As I mentioned at the beginning, there is a delicate balance between functionality and comfort that all brands are trying to achieve. However, there are models of scuba diving masks out there that have successfully achieved this, and set the bar very high for others to compete with!
Scuba diving masks should be one of the first bits of equipment that a new diver invests in. There is nothing more annoying and potentially dangerous than an ill fitting mask. Therefore, have a look at purchasing your dive mask early on in your training – you will not regret it. When looking for your trusty best dive mask, make sure you consider the following specifications to find the most comfortable fit.
Although most masks have a silicone skirt, there are small subtleties within the design of these skirts that will make a huge amount of difference to the comfort and the fit of the mask. The silicone skirt of scuba masks have a double seal at the top and a single seal at the bottom of the mask. This just makes it easier for divers to clear water from their masks when required.
The best scuba diving masks are made from high grade 100% silicone. This is hypoallergenic, soft, comfortable, resistant to UV damage and are really hardy against repetitive chlorine or salt water exposure. Your dive mask should last you years, therefore, it is really important you check that it is made with high grade silicone when you purchase it – you want it to last hundreds and hundreds of dives right?!
The colour of the skirt is also something to consider. But this isn’t a consideration that is made in relation to style. Many masks are made with a clear, opaque, soft silicone skirts and this helps increase the peripheral vision for the diver. Some divers, in particular beginners, may find that a dive mask with a dark skirt reduces their field of view and causes anxiety or claustrophobic feelings. If you are a new diver, and are unsure about how you may feel when wearing something over your face and eyes, look at buying a mask with an opaque skirt.
I touched on it briefly earlier, but if you hate clearing your mask then opt in for a low volume mask. A masks “volume” refers to the size of its internal airspace. The lower the volume, the less airspace there is. If a mask holds a lot more air then it can be difficult to clear because it takes a much bigger exhale to remove the water.
Masks with low internal volume and a low volume design sit very close to ones eyes, which some divers may find uncomfortable and a bit claustrophobic. However, the fact that they sit close to the divers face means that they offer a wider field of vision which may help ease the claustrophobic feelings.
This is very much individual preference – do you want one lens or a dual lens? Neither one is better than the other, although I personally find that the best scuba diving masks have a single window, no nose bridge, offering an uninterrupted view.
Straps and Buckles
Look for a strap that gives you enough stretch to make easy adjustments, but not too much stretch that it ends up sliding up and down your head. Most of the masks listed above have excellent straps and are partnered with buckles that are very easy to use and adjust, even in the most challenging dive environments.
If your strap is catching and pulling on your hair, don’t panic, look at buying a strap cover. These are super cheap and can make the world of difference. I use the Shark Guardian mask strap, you can help save sharks and save you hair at the same time!
Prescription Scuba Diving Masks
Scuba masks have come a long way in recent years, and many now accommodate the needs of those of us with impaired vision. Of course, it is perfectly safe to wear contact lenses whilst scuba diving although I recommend only using dailies so that you can dispose of them at the end of the dive. However, in some of the models reviewed above, you can specify the prescription of the lens they will arrive to you with. Some models, like the X Vision can easily be changed between non prescriptive lenses to prescription lenses!
For more information on diving with corrective lenses and contact lenses make sure you check out my article on Snorkel Masks for glasses wearers, where I talk a bit about Scuba masks and options.
Is There a Difference Between Scuba and Snorkel Masks?
Yes there is! Snorkel masks are not built to withstand pressures that are experienced at depths of scuba diving.
Scuba masks are made from tempered glass which are designed to withstand the higher pressure the deeper you go. A mask with tempered glass has been through a special process and undergone treatment from heat and chemicals. When you are purchasing a scuba mask, make sure you look for the “tempered glass” note, sometimes found on the lenses themselves. If in doubt, ask!
Do not go scuba diving with a snorkel mask – it is likely not to have been made with tempered glass lens! Diving with a mask that is not using tempered glass lenses is extremely dangerous and could lead to a serious accident. I talk more about this in my blog, the differences between snorkeling and scuba diving.
Is There a Scuba Mask That Doesn't fog?
Unfortunately not! I said scuba masks have come a long way, but not that far! All masks will fog, that’s just a given.
There are ways that you can minimise the fogging, especially during the first few times you use your mask (it’s always the case that new masks fog more)!
Some people say take a lighter to the glass to burn the top layer off. Don’t do this. Your best scuba mask will become a broken scuba mask. You run the risk of damaging your mask and this won’t be covered under a warranty.
Try spreading toothpaste over the lenses and leaving overnight. Give it a good wash before you use it so all toothpaste is removed and keep doing this during your first few time of use. I’ve always found this the best way to reduce fogging.
There are also some great de-fogging fluids you can buy online, specially designed for Scuba masks.
And last but not least, there is always the good old fashioned way of spitting on the lenses of your dive mask and rinsing. A great way to combat fog if you have already entered the water and started steaming up at the surface. Don’t be embarrassed, we all do it!
Once you have chosen your best scuba diving mask, it is likely to last you for years! Treat it with respect and make sure you clean it after every use. The best scuba diving masks are not hard to find, once you know what you are looking for. Enjoy your new mask!
Looking to buy more diving equipment? Take a look at my best scuba fins of 2020 guide and review page for another piece of important diving equipment. Or why not check out my review of the best dive computers?