Choosing a diving mask is one of the most important decisions a snorkeler or diver will make. After all, it will most likely be the first piece of gear you buy. So what makes a great mask and which brands offer the best? Let’s dive right in and then examine a few of the top brands and top diving mask brands.
What Makes A Great Mask?
Manufacturer descriptions will always make things sound shiny and even little features seem amazing. However, there are key features to be aware of before purchasing your mask.
Buying a cheap mask may seem like a good idea at the time, but TRUST ME…you will regret it the moment you hit the water. Cheap masks are made from cheap materials which are prone to leaking, dry-rotting, fogging, breaking, and even complete failure. If you plan on using your mask more than once, I would highly recommend budgeting at least $30 towards your mask. Nothing will ruin a trip faster than having a less than stellar mask, so save up and buy great quality.
It may sound odd talking about price in terms of what makes a great mask, but there is a huge difference between the $19.99 bargain bin masks…and a $40, $50, $60 and up mask. Dive masks consist of the lens, frame, buckles, and strap. As you can imagine, you could pretty cheaply throw these 4 parts together if you were trying to make a quick buck. However, the last thing you want is a leaky mask at 80 feet! Also cheaper masks tend to be made with cheaper rubber and flimsy plastic buckles, so watch out.
Bottom line: Spend at Least $30 on a mask if you plan on having a reliable product!
Brand Name and Reviews
In today’s consumer market, it is easier than ever to create cheap products and flip them. However, brands such as Cressi, ScubaPro, Aqualung, and U.S Divers have stood the test of time and consistently make great products. I highly recommend any products from the above manufactures and have been underwater with each of their products.
It is also good to pay attention to user reviews, but with a grain of salt. Any dive mask with >100 reviews and still hovering well above 4 stars is a good bet. Let’s take a look at the best masks each brand has to offer. If you want to skip straight to the best of the best, check out my post on Best Snorkel Masks and Combos 2016.
Diving Mask Brands
If you have ever visited this site, you know I am a huge Cressi fan. I have never had a bad experience with any of their products and am happy with their quality. In fact, the number 1 post on this website is a Cressi Product! (Check it out here)
The mask that come in this combo is actually perfect for both beginner and advanced users. Features to look for are tempered glass, silicon skirt, and wide field of view. This combination guarantees comfort as well as longevity of your dive mask.
A final factor that Cressi tends to be on top of is color options. While you may not be picky, the woman or children in your life will love the multiple colors most Cressi products offer. For instance, the mask featured on this post comes 10 colors!
Known for their regulators, which are amazing by the way, Aqualung makes a mean technical diving mask. My favorite mask from them incorporates the elements of a well fitting mask with that of a freediving mask. For freediving and scuba diving, you must equalize quite often which means a low volume mask is desirable. Low volume simply means having the least amount of air possible in your mask. Aqualung has spent years perfecting masks that fit well and have minimal volume.
I would highly recommend Aqualung for anyone who is looking to get into scuba and freediving. Per reviews, this mask (featured photo) also is great for fitting those of us with larger faces!
Just from the name, it is pretty easy to tell what ScubaPro specializes in. I personally own this ScubaPro BCD for diving and absolutely love it. They also make great masks of which I have owned a few. While typically aimed and feature rich for diving, ScubaPro masks make perfect snorkeling masks as well.
Slightly smaller masks are perfect for diving and ScubaPro offers a few of their masks, such as the featured, in over 20 colors! Customization can be tough to find in the mask market but ScubaPro often has choices.
When the time comes you decide to start diving, I highly recommended revisiting ScubaPro for BCD’s and other essential gear. They have a reliable name and usually have great warranties on most products.
If there is a brand that creates products specifically for snorkeling, US Divers is it. I am a huge fan of their snorkels, but their masks can be found at nearly every dive shop in the world! For those interested, US Divers is actually the United State branch of Aqualung.. so it is good stuff!
The U.S. Divers Admiral LX is probably the most poplar model and comes with a snorkel. Choose between 9 colors and one of my favorite buckling systems and you can not go wrong.
I am aware that there are hundreds of brands out there and I have only reviewed 4. I will continue to add to the list as time goes on, but I personally have owned each mask brand above and can vouch for them. If you need more ideas about finding that perfect mask, head over to my Best Of post!
What brand mask do you use?