Everything you need to know...Buying Your First Dive Mask
Whether you’re SCUBA Diving, Snorkeling or Freediving your mask is one of the most personal items in your gear bag and thanks to their reasonably low cost one of the first items most divers purchase.
The most important factor when buying a dive mask is, without exception: fit. Even the most hi-tech, super-mask will give you nothing but suffering if it doesn’t fit and seal comfortably.
Learn how to fit your dive mask here
Low Volume Vs High Volume
Mask Volume refers to the quantity of air between your face and the lens. While High Volume masks used to dominate the market, these days low volume are far more prevalent.
The big advantage of low volume masks is that they’re easy to clear of water (and let’s face it, at some point water is going to get into your mask!). Additionally, they equalise easily and sit close to your face meaning they offer a wider field of vision.
Some divers find high volume masks more comfortable and easier to achieve a seal with, however they’re much less common in today’s diving.
Fit should be your priority
The lenses used in any reputable dive mask will be made from tempered glass. While normal glass shatters into tiny, jagged pieces, tempered glass is far more robust, and if it does break, it cracks into larger, less dangerous pieces rather than lethal shards.
Most modern masks feature reverse teardrop shaped lenses. This unique shape extends your field of vision down your body, making it easier to read your dials or reach for instruments. More specialised masks such as those used in freediving forgo this extended visibility in favour of a lower volume mask.
Mirrored lenses are sometimes used by spearfishers, the idea being that fish won’t be spooked by your eyes. On the other hand, divers won’t be able to read your eyes either making communication difficult, especially if you’re in danger.
Single vs Dual Lens
Due to the absence of a nose bridge, Single lens masks feature a single piece of glass to deliver an uninterrupted field of vision that makes them feel a touch more open and free.
Dual lens masks, like spectacles, have 2 separate lenses. While these masks are often lower in volume, they also allow you to use interchangeable corrective lenses if your sight isn’t 20:20
At Deep Blue we offer a corrective lens swap-out service where lenses are available.
Single Lens Mask
Dual Lens Mask
Frame or Frameless?
The vast majority of masks are made using a rigid frame - for good reason. Their solid nature means they seal more securely than frameless designs and are harder wearing
Frameless masks bond a semi-rigid silicone edge to the lens and skirt meaning that they are extra slim for an incredibly low volume mask, and foldable too: allowing you to stow them in your pocket as a backup mask. This one-piece nature means that you can’t take them apart for cleaning, meaning framed masks are likely to last longer.
- Many Freediving or Spearfishing divers use frameless masks due to their low-volume.
- Frameless designs don’t support prescription lenses.
Only the cheapest masks use plastic skirts. These should be avoided at all costs. Any decent modern mask will feature a soft silicone skirt that seals comfortably on the skin. Different brands might use a combination of different silicone's bonded together to maximise comfort for the diver. It’s not really worth worrying about beyond asking the question: Does it Seal?
Clear or Black Skirt?
Generally speaking, clear skirts create a more open feeling mask with many divers shunning black skirts on the grounds that they feel claustrophobic. However, clear skirts can cause distracting reflections as light bounces around the mask making it difficult for your eyes to focus. Similarly brightly coloured skirts can effect the colour of what you’re looking at through your mask.
It’ll probably take a bit of experience before you really know which style works for you
Buckle Strap System
No mask will stay on for long without something to attach it to your face! A silicone or neoprene strap secures the mask to your head. Basic masks come with a simple buckle with only rudimentary adjustability. More advanced masks will feature swivel to allow for some vertical movement and comfort.
Mask Extras and Accessories
Purges - Far from strictly necessary, if you’re the kind of diver who suffers with leaks no matter what, or struggles to clear your mask ‘the old fashioned way’, a built-in purge might be the only way to go. A purge is a one way valve built into the nose that makes clearing your mask of water impressively easy at the expensive of a little bit of a extra bulk around your nose.
Neoprene Mask strap Cover - Many divers will never leave home without one! A Neoprene mask strap cover covers your strap to create a comfortable surface that doesn’t drag your hair (if you have any!).
Anti-fog - Always keep some at the ready! Anti-Fog spray prevents your mask from fogging up, meaning you can focus on enjoying your dive, rather than struggling to see!
With all that said, we really want to stress how critical fit is. If you haven’t already check out for Mask fitting guide!
Our Recommendations: The Budget Friendly Option
The Mares X-Vision Mask
The Mares X-Vision is one our best sellers. It's super comfortable design that seals well with most peoples faces, and combined with an affordable price-tag it makes for a great inexpensive choice for beginners and experienced divers alike. The latest design of the X-Vision delivers a 20% wider field of vision than the previous model. Don't want to blow your budget. Get the X-Vision.Buy Now