It’s midsummer, and it’s no surprise that everybody (and their mother) wants to go for a dip. And one of the best ways to do so is to go snorkeling in the nearest body of water. But as soon as you start looking for a snorkel set, you’ll realize there’s a whole lot more to this leisure sport than grabbing some goggles and jumping in the water. In fact, you don’t want to go with snorkeling goggles at all. Instead, you need a snorkel mask!
Quick Answer: The Best Snorkel Masks
- Best Overall: Cressi Big Eyes Evolution Snorkel Mask
- Best Budget: Greatever G2 Full Face Snorkel Mask
- Best Full-Face: WildHorn Outfitters Seaview 180° V2 Full-Face Snorkel Mask
- Best Frameless: Cressi F1 Frameless Scuba Diving Snorkeling Mask
- Best Anti-Glare/UV: SeaDive Oceanways Superview-HD Dive Mask
- Best for Large Faces: TUSA M-1001 Freedom HD Scuba Diving Mask
- Best for Beards: Scubapro Spectra Low Volume 2 Window Dive Mask
- Best for Large Noses: Hollis M1 Frameless Scuba Diving Snorkeling Mask
- Most Comfortable: Atomic Venom Frameless Dive Snorkel Mask
- Best Set: Cressi Panoramic Wide View Mask & Dry Snorkel Kit
How to Choose the Best Snorkel Mask
As soon as you get in front of the snorkel mask options, you’ll realize there is a dizzying amount to choose from. So, let’s get you started on your quest for the best snorkel mask with a breakdown of what to look for:
The first step in choosing the best snorkel mask is determining which activity it will be used for as snorkel masks are designed for different underwater activities and typically categorized for snorkeling, scuba diving, or spearfishing. In addition, there are full-face snorkel masks that fall into their own category. The main differences between snorkel masks and diving or spearfishing masks are their durability and cost. Quality scuba diving and spearfishing masks are usually made of higher-quality materials like silicone and tempered glass. But snorkel mask materials can vary quite a bit and may include cheaper, less durable plastic or rubber components.
Full-face snorkel masks are a relatively recent addition to the snorkeling scene. They feature a single pane mask that covers the face from the forehead to below the chin. Full-face masks were created to allow snorkelers to be able to breathe through their nose while wearing a snorkeling mask. The full-face mask is also considered to be more comfortable and convenient because the mask and snorkel are not separate pieces. And, theoretically, a snorkeler should never have to remove the mask after entering the water. For this reason, there is virtually no threat of losing your snorkel or mask from taking it on and off when you use the full-face mask.
After you’ve decided which style of snorkeling mask you need, the next step is selecting one that fits correctly. First, start by determining what size of snorkel mask you’ll need. Generally, snorkel masks come in sizes from extra-small to extra-large and are designed to account for differences in face shapes. Such adaptations account for common variations like nose size, facial width, cheek fullness, forehead length, and more. Unfortunately, there isn’t an industry standard for these sizing generalizations, so it’s essential to study each brand’s sizing charts and measure your face accordingly before you begin shopping.
Beyond the sizing, the best way to test the fit of a snorkel mask is by trying it on. First, attach it to your face without the head straps secured in place. You want to feel a good suction but not uncomfortable tightness. Then, inhale and exhale, shake your head around, or even tip your head upside down to ensure that it doesn’t fall off. Testing it like this is a crucial step as the strap is not meant to be used to tighten the mask or make it fit better. The straps are only meant to keep the mask from falling off accidentally. If the mask falls off, slips around, or bumps your nose while testing, you don’t have the correct size. Keep trying different sizes until you find a mask that stays snuggly in place without causing any discomfort.
After you find a mask that passes the first test, put it on again, this time with the straps in place.
Notice how it fits around your nose and ensure there is plenty of air inside the nose pocket. Also, the mask should not be touching or putting pressure on your nose at all. It’s also essential to be able to pinch and release your nose through the mask. Sometimes when you’re snorkeling, you may need to decompress by doing this, so ensure that you can effectively restrict and open your nostrils without any discomfort.
3. The Skirt
Next, carefully inspect the skirt of the mask. The skirt is the soft, pliable part on the outer edges of the mask that touches your skin. It’s responsible for providing an effective suction and seal. Skirts are usually either rubber or silicone. Silicone is a better option if you hope to use the mask for a long time, as rubber is more apt to deteriorate over time. Also, opt for the broadest skirt you can find, as the wider the band is, the better the seal will be.
Skirts also come in a couple of different color options, and each of these colors has a specific purpose. The most common colors are clear or black, and occasionally white. Clear masks are designed to let in extra light and are ideal for diving in deep and dark or cloudy water. Black masks have the opposite effect: to reduce glare. They are often better for shallow snorkeling, sunny days, and snorkeling in areas with white sand or white rock seabeds. White skirts have a similar effect as clear skirts and are a top choice for underwater photography.
4. Mask Lens
Now let’s talk about the mask lens, the glass or plastic viewing part of the snorkeling mask. Choosing a good one is a critical part of choosing the best snorkeling mask. But there are a lot of details to consider. For starters, there are coating options. Just as when you buy prescription glasses, you’ll have to say yes or no to specific add-ons for your mask. These options include anti-fog, vision enhancement, UV protection, reflective coatings, and more.
After that, you’ll have to weigh the differences between single, double, multiple, peripheral, and panoramic lenses. Single lenses are one solid pane of plastic or glass good for maintaining a broad view and accurate depth perception. Double lens masks have a teardrop lens shape that provides an extrawide and extradeep viewing perspective. Double lenses are the preferred lens for snorkelers who wear prescription lenses as it is the easiest lens to have a prescription added to. Many snorkel manufacturers even sell premade prescription snorkel glasses, like premade reading glasses, but designed for snorkeling.
Multiple lens snorkel masks have two small windows on the side of the mask in addition to the primary lens. These are some of the best goggles for snorkeling because they offer the best viewing range and light entry. They are also the best option for snorkelers and divers who feel claustrophobic when wearing a mask. Some snorkel manufacturers have renamed multiple lens masks as panoramic or peripheral lens masks. You will also sometimes see full-face masks listed as panoramic lenses.
While you’re on the hunt for the best mask for snorkeling, you’ll eventually notice snorkel masks marketed as low volume, low profile, or microvolume. These masks are specialty snorkel lenses made with 100-millimeter thickness or less. As a result, they have less air around the eyes and nose pockets because they sit closer to the face than traditional snorkel mask lenses.
In addition, you will notice that snorkeling masks vary between two types of material: plastic or tempered glass. Basic or cheap snorkeling masks sometimes have plastic lenses. In contrast, most good-quality snorkel masks, scuba diving masks, and spearfishing masks are made with superior materials like tempered glass, resin, or silicone.
Finally, you’ll have to decide if a framed or frameless version should be a part of your snorkel equipment. Framed snorkel masks are naturally more rigid and stable, which makes for a more reliable fit. Frameless snorkel masks are designed to accompany low-profile lenses as they work best with masks that fit closer to the face. The main goal of a frameless mask is to provide a wider field of vision. The lack of a frame also makes them foldable and more portable. Frameless masks are often stowed away as a backup lens just in case a snorkeler’s primary lens is lost or unusable for any reason.
Finally, the cost of a snorkel mask will certainly influence if you’ve found the best snorkeling gear for you. Supermarkets, pharmacies, and big box stores commonly sell super-cheap snorkel masks that can be as little as $10. But good snorkel masks will run a lot more than that and typically cost between $50 to $100, sometimes even more. So, ultimately, how often you snorkel and how serious you are about the sport will influence how much you’re willing to spend on a mask.
Best Snorkel Mask Reviews
Now that you’re armed with all the need-to-know information about buying a snorkel mask, let’s show you the snorkel masks with the best reviews:
Best Overall Snorkel Mask
Cressi is a front runner in the snorkeling world, always creating snorkeling and diving products with the latest technology and innovations. The Cressi Big Eyes Evolution Snorkel Mask is a unique design that caters to women and small faces. The patents for the big eye frames, revolutionary skirt, and new buckle system make this one of the best snorkeling masks out there. It all starts with the tempered glass inverted teardrop lenses designed to promote greater downward visibility by 25%. The clear crystal silicone skirt facilitates light transmission, offers a comfortable seal that won’t leave marks on the face, and is resistant to yellowing with age. In addition, the side buckles are made with Cressi’s new double injection technology, which is fully flexible and easy to adjust.
Best Budget Snorkel Mask
Finding the best snorkeling gear can be incredibly daunting if you’re hoping to find an affordable option with the latest technology. Fortunately, the Greatever G2 Full Face Snorkel Mask has come to the rescue with a budget-friendly full-face snorkel mask with all the newest features. The 180° lens is a panoramic, high-definition flat lens made with premium, clear anti-fog PU resin and a high-quality, anti-leak, food-grade silicone frame offered in a rainbow of colors. The inside-facing features are layered in silicone to isolate the air from the nose and mouth, preventing heat condensation. After two years of testing, the snorkel tube was developed and features a foldable, dry-top snorkel design with a wide diameter and a two-channel exhaust valve. The Greatever G2 Full Face Snorkel Mask also features quick-release adjustable, premium elastic straps and a removable top-of-the-head camera mount.
Best Full-Face Snorkel Mask
If you’re looking for a full-face snorkel mask, you already know there is quite a bit of controversy around this product. Therefore, it’s imperative to opt for a version with safety testing and thousands of positive user reviews. Wildhorn delivers on both counts, with the Outfitters Seaview 180° V2 Full Face Snorkel Mask measuring within the EN250 breathing standards of fresh oxygen rates and safe levels of carbon dioxide. These standards are being met thanks to the patent-pending Flowtech maximum air intake system that includes a constrained air passageway for the mouth, two circulation chambers, and four intake valves that allow air circulation without pressure or resistance. The fog-resistant mask is made with anti-leak silicone, an angled, above-head arched tube, and an autodrain system. The ergonomically fitted mask comes in three sizes, is fully adjustable, features a 180° viewing plane, and has an under-chin camera mount. Please keep in mind that full-face masks are only suitable for casual snorkeling and are not recommended for strenuous swimming, diving, or users under age 12.
Best Frameless Snorkel Mask
Cressi takes the second spot, too, for the best frameless snorkel mask on the market. This model is a favorite among divers who prefer a single lens, low-profile, foldable snorkel mask that can fit in their pocket. In addition, certified tempered glass, a high-grade silicone skirt, molded quick-adjust straps, low internal volume, and the frameless aspect make this snorkel mask among the best low drag options around. Plus, the solid color profiles available in pink, yellow, white, black, and clear effectively complement the minimalist goals of a frameless mask. And if that’s not enough to take note of this mask, this Cressi product is shockingly more affordable than comparable frameless masks by leading competitors.
Best Anti-Glare/UV Snorkel Mask
For divers especially concerned about finding a high definition, anti-glare snorkel mask with UV filtering, SeaDive is where it’s at. The SeaDive Oceanways Superview-HD Dive Mask utilizes the rigid teardrop frame style, a vision-brightening lens, and a black mask skirt for enhanced viewing. But what sets it apart from the rest are the defined fainted edges that reduce distortion, plus UV and glare filters alongside a coated lens with blue or coral tint for a calming effect that lessens eye strain. Plus, the single lens, low-profile style is super-effective at reducing window fog. In addition, the sleek, minimalist design with a colored lens makes for a snorkel mask that is as beautiful as it is effective.
Best Snorkel Mask for Large Faces
TUSA is a trusted name in diving circles and a true innovator in scuba technology, always making the best diver-approved products. Its scuba diving masks fall under the Freedom logo, a design targeted explicitly at developing a super-sealing, super-comfortable mask skirt. This technology uses a low friction, dimpled silicone skirt composed of alternating thicknesses and stability ridges that promote ultimate comfort while reducing leakage. In addition, special attention has been given to the areas below the cheekbone to ensure an optimum skin seal. More specifically, the TUSA M-1001 Freedom HD model is a low-volume, single lens version with a vast field of vision. It also features a 180°, five-position rotational buckle system that allows for micro-adjustments incomparable to anything else on the market. The snorkel mask currently comes in a range of six colors with black skirts, four colors with clear skirts, and an indigo mask with an indigo skirt.
Best Snorkel Mask for Beards
Men with facial hair who want to snorkel often must go the extra mile to find snorkel equipment that is compatible with a mustache or beard. Usually, the solution is to find a low-profile mask, a large nose pocket (for mustaches), and a great mask skirt (for beards) to create a seal even if there is facial hair between the skin and the silicone. Men with facial hair often like the Scubapro Spectra Low Volume 2 Window Dive Mask (or the Scubapro Synergy 2) because it’s excellent for all the features above, plus it boasts untinted, extraclear tempered glass and a swivel side buckle system loved by users. It also has an ear equalization nose pocket, easy to activate with one pinch, even with gloved hands. Scubapro also offers a unique mirrored lens option to reduce underwater glare or a no-tint glass for viewing the underwater world with enhanced clarity and colors. In addition, this mask is especially appreciated for its stylish appearance with multiple color options and design meant to mimic the appearance of eyewear.
Best Snorkel Mask for Large Noses
When extralarge nose space is desired, Hollis offers the perfect snorkel mask to meet those needs without delivering a bulky, ugly mask. Instead, the M1 Frameless Scuba Diving Snorkeling Mask features a sleek, streamlined appearance that mimics glasses. This design includes an extralarge nose pocket that leaves enough run and flexibility to equalize quickly. Plus, it won’t rub on the nose bridge and is especially great for snorkelers with facial hair. In addition, the frameless lens offers a low-profile, single lens panoramic viewing experience with distortion-free glass that improves the color and visibility in low-light snorkeling conditions.
Most Comfortable Snorkel Mask
Although it’s one of the most expensive stand-alone snorkel masks on the market, the Atomic Venom Frameless Dive Snorkel Mask’s seamless design and comfort paired with outstanding optics make it worth the price. For starters, the mask utilizes two different kinds of silicone – the exclusive Gummi Bear UltraSoft silicone for the face seal – and a more rigid silicone for the skirt to keep it firmly in place in the most turbulent conditions. And then there’s the lens! Atomic uses a computer-designed Superwhite UltraClear single lens that allows 96% of the available light to enter the lens. In addition, the distortion-free lens allows for the maximum field of downward and side-to-side vision.
Best Snorkel Set
If all the decision-making between buying a separate mask and snorkel is too overwhelming, opt for a premade set designed to go together. Cressi’s Panoramic Wide View Mask & Dry Snorkel Kit combines the Pano 3 mask and the Supernova Dry snorkel for a foolproof set. The mask is made with a panoramic lens, hypoallergenic silicone, and a soft nose pocket, and the snorkel has a submersible dry valve snorkel, a silicone mouthpiece, and a bottom purge valve. Their combined features ensure outstanding visibility and comfort, plus an optimum seal and easy equalization. The snorkel is a submersible dry valve snorkel with a silicone mouthpiece and a bottom purge valve. Together they are ready-to-use straight out of the package. The set comes in a variety of colors including black, lime, red, cobalt, purple, and clear.
Now that you have the lowdown on all the latest snorkel masks available, take your pick and seize the summer out at sea! And don’t forget to check out our list of the best dry snorkels and snorkeling fins to complete your set.