The 10 Best Dive Masks

Updated March 17, 2018 by Chase Brush

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We spent 41 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. There's a world of magical creatures and fascinating colors awaiting exploration on your next underwater adventure. Wouldn't it be a shame if you missed any of it because of foggy lenses or uncomfortable head straps? These dive masks were hand-picked for their quality, ease-of-use, and ergonomic features, and will ensure that your next scuba or snorkeling trip is a success. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best dive mask on Amazon.

10. Mares i3 Sunrise

The Mares i3 Sunrise features a wide, X-shaped strap that helps keep it secured to your head, no matter your size. In addition to the main front lens, it also boasts two side panels, which work together to increase your peripheral vision.
  • comfortable skirt
  • easily adjustable even with gloves
  • not ideal for narrow faces
Brand Mares
Model 411040-BXCYLYL
Weight 11.2 ounces
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

9. Cressi F1 Frameless

The Cressi F1 Frameless makes it easy to see underwater, and can add a bit of stylish flair for the diver who wants a more colorful ensemble. It's made of 100 percent silicone and high-quality tempered glass, so it's sure to last longer than cheaper options.
  • available in 7 bright colors
  • folds flat for easy packing
  • head strap is a bit thin
Brand Cressi
Model ZDN284000
Weight 7.2 ounces
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

8. Aqua Lung Atlantis

The Aqua Lung Atlantis is a classic single-lens model that offers great visibility and fits snugly around the nose and brow, helping to prevent leaks. While your nose is sheltered inside the oval, two bottom pinch pockets do allow for easy pressure equalizing.
  • used by military divers
  • very durable construction
  • may require defogging solution
Brand Aqua Lung
Model pending
Weight 15.2 ounces
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

7. IST ME67 Pro Ear

The IST ME67 Pro Ear is one of the only masks that allows the diver to keep their ears 100 percent dry, helping to prevent a variety of potential problems, including swimmer's ear and difficult pressure equalization. The covers have double-skirt edges for a complete seal.
  • air flows directly into earcups
  • hypoallergenic material
  • may have trouble with long hair
Brand IST
Model pending
Weight 15.2 ounces
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

6. Octomask Session

The Octomask Session sports a nifty mount that's compatible with almost every generation of GoPro camera and many other action cams, so you can transform your next underwater outing into an adventure movie. The mask itself isn't bad, either.
  • comes with all mounting accessories
  • backed by satisfaction guarantee
  • bubbles may interfere with images
Model pending
Weight 8.8 ounces
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

5. Phantom Aquatics Panoramic

Recreational snorkelers will appreciate both the quality and affordability of the Phantom Aquatics Panoramic, which offers an extra-wide viewing panel that allows you to see more of your surroundings. Plus, it comes with an easy-to-use breather, too.
  • provides a snug fit
  • fits almost all heads comfortably
  • best for temperate waters
Brand Phantom Aquatics
Weight 1.2 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

4. Atomic Aquatics Venom

The Atomic Aquatics Venom is a professional offering that uses high quality optical glass to significantly improve underwater vision, letting you see farther in dim light environments. It's a great choice for deeper dives or for going where sunlight can't penetrate.
  • lens minimizes distortion
  • frameless design
  • fairly expensive
Brand Atomic
Model pending
Weight 15.2 ounces
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

3. ScubaPro Spectra

This ScubaPro Spectra is specifically constructed for narrow faces, making it a good option for women or anyone else who's struggled to find a model that fits their features. The low volume, dual-window design means it's also easy to clear water from.
  • mirrored lenses reduce glare
  • push-button buckles
  • stylish accents on edges
Brand Scubapro
Weight 12 ounces
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

2. Tusa M1001 Freedom HD

When it comes to maxing out your field of view, there's no beating the Tusa M1001 Freedom HD, which sports a huge single lens for capturing whole underwater panoramas. Its build quality is exceptional, yet it's also reasonably priced.
  • comfortable round-edged skirt
  • rotating buckle system
  • thick and sturdy frame
Brand Tusa
Model ZDN291020-P
Weight 13.6 ounces
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

1. Cressi Panoramic Wide View

Never miss a fish with the Cressi Panoramic Wide View, which blends two side windows seamlessly with its main lens to provide a nearly uninterrupted 180-degree field of vision. It's great for snorkelers looking to get the most visibility out of their equipment.
  • comes with j-style breather
  • double-feathered edge on skirt
  • great value for price
Brand Cressi
Weight 1.2 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

A Brief History Of Scuba Diving

Inventions such as the diving bell in the 15th century allowed people to stay underwater for longer periods of time. It had surface air pumped into it to allow the user to breathe, but this cannot be considered scuba diving. Scuba is actually an acronym that stands for self-contained underwater breathing apparatus. This means that to be considered scuba diving, the air must be completely contained within the system.

The first scuba system was created by Sieur Freminet in 1772. It was a rebreathing device designed to recycle exhaled air into a barrel, so the diver could inhale it again. Unfortunately for Freminet, it was not understood at the time that humans use the oxygen in the air and exhale carbon dioxide. He died from lack of oxygen after just twenty minutes of using his invention.

In 1825, a more successful device was created by William James, an English inventor. He created a unit that contained a cylindrical iron belt that held 450 psi of air, a breather, and a copper helmet. It allowed for dives up to seven minutes.

Over the next 120 years, the history of diving is filled with many amazing triumphs and catastrophic failures. One such notable success was the 1865 underwater breathing apparatus called the Aerophore, patented by two Frenchmen, Auguste Denayrouse and Benoit Rouquayrol. It had a steel tank which held roughly 300 psi of air.

The diver was only delivered air when they inhaled, unlike previous systems which continuously fed air to the diver: a notable failure was the 1876 invention by English Henry Fluess. He created a closed-circuit oxygen rebreather. Like William James, he learned another valuable lesson of scuba diving too late. Pure oxygen is toxic to humans past a depth of 25 feet. He died while attempting a dive at a 30 foot depth.

The most significant figure in diving history must be Jacques Cousteau. He, along with engineer Emile Gagnan, created the first truly successful open-circuit, on-demand breathing apparatus in 1943. Over the next two years he made over 500 dives with the unit to depths of 200+ feet.

Picking The Right Dive Mask

One of the most vital aspects of a dive mask is its fit. If it does not fit right, nothing else matters as it will not only be uncomfortable, but will also leak water around the seams making it unusable. Before making any dives with a new dive mask, perform the following steps to ensure it fits correctly.

Start by placing the mask on your face and leave the strap off. Push it tight against your face and inhale through your nose. The mask should create a seal against your face with no leaks. This means you should not be able to continue inhaling air through your nose. If it does not seal, double check to make sure there is no hair in the way.

Next you want to check for a second seal, which is something all good quality dive masks should have. You can do this by having a friend perform a visual inspection of the dive mask while it is sealed against your face. It will be visible to your friend as it is the exterior seal. The second seal should lay completely flat against your face creating a backup airtight seal.

After ensuring your mask seals correctly, you should check it for comfort. Place the strap over you head and take a moment to turn your head in all directions, including up and down. It should not restrict your movement in any way. Next, just using your eyes, glance in each direction to check how wide the field of view is. A wider field of view will allow you to see more while diving.

Finally you will want to check how easy it is to perform an equalization while wearing the mask. If you usually dive with gloves, this should be performed with gloves. This will ensure you can effectively reach and pinch your nose to perform an equalization while diving. In some masks, the nose pocket may not be accessed easily enough.

Getting Fit By Scuba Diving

If you are looking to get into shape, but are tired of spending time at the gym, then scuba diving might be just what you need. Recent studies show that an average boat dive in warm, tropical waters burns anywhere from 300 to 400 calories an hour. This is equal to the amount of calories burned by walking briskly for the same amount of time.

For a larger calorie expenditure, dive in temperate waters, which can burn as much as 600 calories in an hour. This equate to roughly one hour of jogging. For the average three dive boat trip in warm waters, you would be burning an extra 900 calories in just one day.

In addition to burning a large amount of calories, diving is a great way to tone the glutes and thighs, while strengthening the core and back. Maneuvering through water requires activating a large number of muscles. Your legs contain the largest muscles in your body.

The more developed those muscles are, the more calories you will burn even on resting days. A strong core and back is also a great way to reduce the chance of injury when lifting heavy items in your daily life.

In addition to the in-water benefits, lifting heavy dive tanks and taking the time to prepare and wash you equipment before and after a dive is a great way to burn a few more calories and strengthen the core. Diving is also a low impact exercise so there is virtually no chance of joint injuries, which are often caused by too much high impact exercises.

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Last updated on March 17, 2018 by Chase Brush

Chase is a freelance journalist with experience working in the areas of politics and public policy. Currently based in Brooklyn, NY, he is also a hopeless itinerant continually awaiting his next Great Escape.

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