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Best Scuba Masks: Tested & Reviewed | Start Scuba Diving
Best Scuba Masks

Best Scuba Masks: Tested & Reviewed

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“The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.”

This Jacques Cousteau quote started resonating with me after I was introduced to the extraordinary underwater world. If you’ve ever tried scuba diving, it’s highly unlikely that you didn’t want to do it again. After all, its beauty is inexplicably rare!

I won’t trade it for anything else. When I’m diving, it’s almost like I’m a part of marine life, but it also feels like I am flying. And that feeling is priceless! So, if you want to experience it, the first thing you need is proper scuba gear.

Let’s face it; all scuba divers swear by the importance of using top-notch, reliable masks. Unlike surface water activities like snorkeling, the best scuba masks play a far more crucial role when you’re planning to explore the depths of the sea.

Why? Because water pressure increases as you go deeper. Talk to anyone who has had an unfortunate incident with a faulty mask, and they will probably warn you about mask squeeze leading to bloodshot eyes.

And that’s only one of the several problems you may run into if your scuba mask is not good enough. But don’t worry; Whether you’re a diving veteran or complete beginner, I’ve got an easy fix for those problems in this guide…

If you’re also in the market for other scuba diving gear, be sure to check out our other buying guides!

Best Scuba Masks

Mask Best For Shop Now

TUSA M-1003 Freedom Elite
All Divers

Cressi Pano 3 & Supernova Dry
Small/Medium Faces

Kraken Aquatics Single Lens Mask
Beginners

EXP Vision Pano 3
Value

COPOZZ 4260
Budget

Factors To Consider When Choosing a Scuba Mask

Before I get to my top 5 scuba diving masks, let’s take some time to talk about the different factors that determine how good or bad a scuba mask is. If you’re going to buy one for the first time, keep this guide handy to ensure that you pick the ideal option.

Skirt & Lens Panel

First things first, you must pay attention to the skirt. As a rule of thumb, opt for a mask with a supple and soft silicone skirt. It should have a double seal at the top and a single seal at the bottom. The skirt should enclose your eyes and nose entirely to ensure a pleasant and safe diving experience.

When it comes to the lens panel, I’d say it’s more about personal preference. You can choose masks with single or double windows, as well as panoramic or wide-view variants. That said, irrespective of the type of lens panel, make sure that it is made of durable tempered glass.

Ease of Use

Another essential factor to keep in mind when shopping for scuba masks is the adjustment straps. They must be user-friendly and straightforward, without many moving parts. You can also consider covering the straps with a neoprene cover to make them soft and more comfortable.

Fit & Comfort

The last thing you need while exploring the underwater world is a mask that needs constant readjustment. So, perhaps the most crucial point is focusing on fit and comfort. I highly recommend taking a decent time to test and try different masks instead of hastily buying one recommended by someone.

Volume

As far as the volume is concerned, there isn’t one universally applicable answer. While most people prefer low volume options to reduce the drag while diving, some may need a high volume mask depending on their face size and structure. For instance, if you have a large nose or substantial facial hair, a low volume mask will feel uncomfortable.

Additional Features

Those of you who use contacts or wear glasses should go for masks with special prescription lenses. That way, you won’t have to wear contacts while diving.

Some masks also come equipped with a purge valve to help you blow the water out. But in my opinion, you don’t need a purge valve for scuba diving.

With these factors in mind, let’s take a look at some masks!

Top Pick

TUSA M-1003 Freedom Elite

Drum roll, please! After testing each of the recommendations extensively (for various diving activities in different locations), I found the M-1003 Freedom Elite mask to be the best. And the sole reason for that is the sheer comfort it has to offer. Kudos to TUSA!

With the patented Freedom Technology, this mask can be the ideal fit for most scuba divers. I’ve heard good things about it from experienced diving instructors, who have tested much more expensive masks but found this one to be better.

So, if you’re looking for the best of the lot, the M-1003 won’t disappoint!



Top 5 Masks For Scuba Diving

TUSA M-1003 Freedom Elite

To start things off, I’ve picked the M-1003 Freedom Elite mask from TUSA. Featuring a single lens with a wide field of view, it offers one of the best underwater viewing experiences. Thanks to its minimal volume, the medium-large frame does not feel cumbersome when you put it on.

What truly sets this mask apart from the others is TUSA’s Freedom Technology. Let me explain each aspect of it so that you know why this is such a win-win.

First, you’ll find dimples at the key areas around your cheekbones and forehead to enhance comfort and reduce leakage. Second, stability ridges under the cheekbones maintain ideal skin contact by reducing compression even when the water pressure increases. And third, the varied silicone thickness and low-friction surface of the skirt deliver unmatched comfort and safety.

Moving on to its user-friendliness and versatility, the 180 buckle system allows you to fold it into a compact size for convenient storage. Also, the 3D strap snugly fits the natural curvature of your head for maximum comfort.

Finally, the strap can be adjusted at five different angles to accommodate various head sizes and micro-adjust the pressure points of the mask.

Pros
  • Available in 16 color options
  • 180° rotational buckle system
  • Equipped with Freedom Technology
  • 5-step variable strap adjuster
Cons
  • Tad bit heavy due to the metal piece

My Experience

My diving instructor, Marty, introduced me to the TUSA brand during the PADI certification course. After hearing him sing praises for a few days, I knew I had to try it. And when I was looking at the masks offered by the brand, the M-1003 Freedom Elite stood out based on its overwhelmingly positive reviews.

I have used it for the last couple of months, and I haven’t faced any significant fogging issues. Plus, unlike the mask I rented for the first few scuba lessons, this one did not give me tunnel vision. So, I was quite impressed with its extensive field of view in spite of its single-lens design.

On the downside, there were just a couple of occasions when I dived quite deep, and the mask seemed to weigh down on my face just a bit. I’m guessing that’s because of the tiny metal piece in it. But overall, it is one of the best options out there!

Verdict

Based on the features, materials, and fit of the M-1003 Freedom Elite mask from TUSA, I highly recommend it to beginners and professionals alike. Also, irrespective of your face structure, the Freedom Technology packs enough nifty features to ensure a comfortable and safe fit.


Cressi Pano 3 & Supernova Dry

Next up, I have selected the Pano 3 & Supernova Dry mask from the reputed brand of Cressi. Cressi has been offering some of the best watersports equipment for more than 70 years. And this mask packs a powerful punch to live up to that reputation.

For starters, it doubles as a snorkel mask, so you can use it for multiple recreational activities in the water. And because of its compatibility with snorkeling, it comes equipped with a bottom purge valve to blow out any remaining water.

Moving on, the mask is made of super-soft, hypoallergenic silicone to make sure that you always get the perfect seal without any discomfort at all. Also, the soft nose pocket facilitates quick and easy equalization.

As far as its design is concerned, the push-button buckles help adjust the strap length without much effort. Moreover, its high-quality, tempered glass lenses are easy to clean and ensure top-notch safety. You will appreciate the lightweight and compact build of this low volume mask.

Cressi’s confidence in this mask is best exemplified by the impressive 2-year limited warranty. Lastly, like the M-1003, it is available in 16 different color options.

Pros
  • Backed by a 2-year limited warranty
  • Ultra-lightweight and compact design
  • Push-button buckles
  • Soft, hypoallergenic silicone
Cons
  • The frame is not very durable

My Experience

After I got my certification, I decided to explore some shipwrecks off the Adelaide coast. And that’s when the M-1003 weighed down on my face more than usual. So, I decided to reach out to my friend, James, for help. He has been diving for over four years and is one of the reasons I decided to start scuba diving.

He told me to try the Cressi Pano 3 & Supernova Dry, and my problem was solved. Unlike TUSA’s M-1003, it has no metal piece in it, making it more suitable for deeper dives.

Another benefit of this mask is that it seemed to let in a lot more light than the others I’ve tried before. Hence, it is the perfect option for low visibility areas. Moreover, the panoramic view offered by it allowed me to see a large chunk of the shipwrecks without moving my head much.

The only gripe I have with it is that the frame is a bit fragile. On a rather clumsy day, I dropped it on a concrete floor, which was enough to crack it.

Verdict

Cressi’s Pano 3 & Supernova Dry mask is a great scuba mask best suited for small-to-medium-sized faces, as well as female divers. The low volume, lightweight design will not be ideal for you if you have a large face.



Kraken Aquatics Single Lens Mask

Continuing with another multi-use mask, this Kraken Aquatics option can also be used for snorkeling and scuba diving. But unlike my first two recommendations, it is very reasonable and comes in only three color options. So, if you’re a beginner who wants to get a reliable mask without spending a lot, this fits the bill perfectly!

At this price point, I was expecting the skirt to be made of plastic. However, I was glad to know that Kraken Aquatics cut no corners in terms of quality. The flexible silicone skirt provides a watertight yet comfortable seal. Furthermore, its high-quality tempered glass eliminates the risk of shattering or scratching.

Now, the next praiseworthy feature of this budget option is the convenient buckle that guarantees easy and quick adjustment. All you need to do is pull the straps till you get the desired fit, and the buckle will hold them securely in place.

Pros
  • One-piece tempered glass lens
  • Buckle for straightforward adjustment
  • Flexible silicone skirt
Cons
  • You’ll see the frame in your peripheral vision

My Experience

I had heard a lot about the unparalleled manta ray and whale shark sightings in the Ningaloo reef. So, James and I went to Exmouth for an extended weekend to give it a shot. I borrowed the Kraken Aquatics Single Lens mask from him for a solo expedition. And it worked just as well as my Cressi and TUSA models, if not better.

In fact, I was surprised when James told me the affordable price of this mask. And I immediately placed an order for one of these as a backup.
What truly impressed me was its top-notch quality and design. The deep pockets around the nose fit quite well, and the soft silicone allows you to get a good pinch to equalize pressure when needed.

If I had to nitpick, the only thing that can be improved is the thickness of its frame. By no means is it a low-profile mask, and I could see a bit more black than usual in my peripheral vision.

Verdict

Honestly, I would not use this mask for my shipwreck exploration dives in Adelaide. And that’s only because of the bulky frame. Long story short, this Kraken Aquatics model will work fine as long as you don’t go too deep in a low visibility area. In my opinion, a great scuba mask for beginners.



EXP VISION Pano 3

My penultimate pick for you comes from EXP VISION. The Pano 3 mask offers excellent value for money, given its highly affordable price and range of features. The first thing you’ll notice is its stylish and sleek design. And it’s available in three trendy colors.

Straight off the bat, I was impressed by the lifetime breakage warranty and 30-day money-back guarantee. That is a true testament of the quality of materials used to make it – silicone skirt, tempered glass lens, PC frame, and PE coating for anti-fogging.

Yes, it comes with an anti-fog coating. But for best results, it is recommended that you put it into the water and wash it before using it for the first time. You could also use the good old spitting technique to make sure that there is no fogging whatsoever.

Coming to its ergonomic design, you’ll appreciate the thoughtful inclusion of a three-lens panoramic window for exceptional peripheral vision. Moreover, the soft, hypoallergenic skirt ensures a perfect seal and comfortable fit for all face sizes and shapes.

Pros
  • 30-day money-back guarantee; lifetime breakage warranty
  • Equipped with PE anti-fogging coating
  • Push-button buckles for strap adjustment
  • Three-lens panoramic design
Cons
  • Lets some water in through the lip area

My Experience

Although the Kraken Aquatics mask served well as a backup, I wanted to find an alternative that would offer a better peripheral vision. And my search led to this excellent offering from EXP VISION.

I mostly used it for exploring the reefs, and I must say, I found the panoramic view to be surreal. In fact, it is one of the few masks out there that offer an uncompromised 180° view.

But that’s not all; the overall design leaves little to be desired. To be honest, the straps looked a bit weak initially, but they held up quite well. And the adjustment clips make the entire process quick and straightforward.

The only problem I had with it was when I got a bit too lazy to get rid of the ‘tash. You see, the portion of the skirt below the nose that sits above the upper lip is relatively light and flexible. So, due to the added facial hair, some water crept into the mask. But not to the point of posing any severe risk.

Verdict

This EXP VISION mask is an excellent option for anyone who has no facial hair and wants to get budget-friendly scuba gear. In its class, it’s probably the best value scuba diving mask. None of its peers comes close in terms of the overall value for money you get.



COPOZZ 4260

It is time to introduce you to the most affordable option on my list – the 4260 diving mask from COPOZZ. But don’t let its low price fool you; it is every bit as durable as my top recommendation. And the credit for that goes to its safety tempered glass lens and durable silicone strap.

I especially liked the design and overall build of this product. The skirt is made from hypoallergenic, odorless silicone and comes with a no-leak, double seal design. Plus, it is relatively light and compact, so you won’t feel any significant drag while diving.

Furthermore, this mask’s 3D design, coupled with the improved nose cover, makes it compatible with nearly all kinds of divers. Add to that the easy adjustment buckle for the straps, and you’ve got an option that is user-friendly and affordable.

Pros
  • 3D ergonomic design
  • Dual lens frame; double seal skirt
  • Safety tempered glass
  • Easy adjustment buckle
Cons
  • Maximum dive depth of 98 feet
  • Fogging issues

My Experience

I’ve only been able to explore some of Australia’s underwater treasures yet, but I plan to go to Italy, Spain, and Japan soon after it’s safe to travel again. So, I was looking for a budget option that I wouldn’t be scared to lose or damage while traveling. And that’s when I came across the 4260 diving mask from COPOZZ.

Now, when I tested it out, I couldn’t help but notice slight fogging despite having followed all the anti-fogging steps recommended by the brand. I applied non-whitening toothpaste on the inside lens and rinsed it five times. And I spat in the lens and rinsed it with water before every dive. So, it is far from the best in terms of fogging.

Moreover, I can only use it for depths of up to 30 meters (98 feet). While that may not be a dealbreaker for you, I would have to carry another mask to explore deeper when I’m diving abroad.

Verdict

The COPOZZ 4260 mask offers excellent value for its low price. But due to its fogging issues and limited depth capacity, I recommend it to beginners who won’t be undertaking more complicated dives anytime soon. At the end of the day, it’s a cheap scuba diving mask and you can’t expect the world, but it does make for one of the best budget scuba masks for beginners.



Final Words on the Best Scuba Masks

And there you have it! That brings me to the end of this comprehensive guide on the best diving masks. Were you able to pick the ideal one for your needs? No? Don’t worry; I have some handy steps to help you.

With the mask pressing gently against your face and the straps out in front, inhale through your nose. Once a seal is created, check to see how it rests along the edges. Now, put it on and adjust the straps to see how comfortable it is.

To be sure that it is the right one for you, put a scuba regulator in your mouth, and check if the fit changes significantly. You should also be able to pinch your nose and look around conveniently. Follow these steps, and you’ll find the perfect mask for your scuba sessions.

Before I sign off, I want to share some useful maintenance tips that will help you make the most of your purchase. If your mask comes without an anti-fogging coating, apply a defog solution to the lens before every dive. Rinse it carefully with fresh water after every use and keep it away from direct sunlight.

On that note, I will let you go. Till next time, happy diving!