The 7 Best Snorkel Face Masks

Updated January 15, 2018 by Brett Dvoretz

7 Best Snorkel Face Masks
Best High-End
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Best Inexpensive
Snorkeling has come a long way since the days of your old J-style breather and single-window dive goggles. Just take a look at these full-face masks, which feature extra large lenses that offer unobstructed views of your underwater surroundings. Plus, because they allow you to breathe through your nose or mouth, they don't require much practice to get the hang of. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best snorkel face mask on Amazon.

7. Shark Gear SeaFin

While there are many knock-offs out there, the Shark Gear SeaFin is an original offering by a company that specializes in quality water accessories. Their own version of the product features a flat, wide-angle viewing window and comfortable silicone face padding.
  • available in different colors
  • comes in mesh carry bag
  • sizes are limited
Brand Shark Gear
Model pending
Weight 4.4 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

6. Super Snorkel Tubeless

The Super Snorkel Tubeless combines a soft silicone skirt with a 4-point head strap that keeps the mask tight against your face, even during intense movement. In the event you do get water inside, the bottom drain allows you to easily remove it by raising your head.
  • separate breathing chamber
  • more hygienic than a mouthpiece
  • large bubble lens
Brand The Super Snorkel
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

5. H2O Ninja GoPro Edition

The H2O Ninja GoPro Edition is designed to make breathing underwater feel as natural as above, and while that may not literally hold true, getting the hang of this mask will certainly be easier than your traditional tube and goggle sets.
  • vibrant color options
  • built-in safety valves expel water
  • can be difficult to get tight seal
Brand H2O Ninja
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

4. SeeReef Anti-Fog

The improved SeeReef Anti-Fog incorporates an upgraded lens design that is supposed to provide clearer vision and easier breathing for the user. Plus, at half the price of some other models, it's also one of the most affordable options on the market.
  • new extra long breathing tube
  • backed by satisfaction guarantee
  • includes ear plugs and spare seals
Brand SeeReef
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

3. WildHorn Outfitters Seaview 180°

The dry snorkel technology of the WildHorn Outfitters Seaview 180° stops saltwater from entering the mask's tube even when submerged, allowing you to take short dives and get a better close-up of that colorful coral. Its generous lens is one of the largest out there.
  • comes in youth sizes
  • shatterproof plastic material
  • stays secure even in rough water
Brand WildHorn Outfitters
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

2. Tribord Easybreath

It was the Tribord Easybreath that first revolutionized the snorkeling industry with its innovative design, and it continues to lead the pack today. This best-selling unit prevents fogging with a double air-flow system that is identical to those used in extractor fans.
  • 180-degree field of view
  • bright orange tip for visibility
  • available in multiple sizes
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

1. Ocean Reef Aria

With a broad window and sleek frame that together offer unparalleled viewing angles, the Ocean Reef Aria is for serious water enthusiasts. Its winning feature is a detachable GoPro mount that lets you capture high definition footage of your underwater adventures.
  • distributes pressure around the face
  • extra wide air tube
  • great for swimming workouts
Brand Ocean Reef
Model pending
Weight 2 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

A Brief History Of Snorkeling

For as long as man has lived near the ocean, he's wondered what's going on under there. The simple snorkel has provided us with the opportunity to take a peek at the undersea world — and it's been around a lot longer than you may realize.

The first known snorkelers were sponge farmers off the Greek island of Crete in 3000 B.C.E. They would use hollowed-out reeds to store air, and then they'd dive to the depths of the Mediterranean to pluck sponges from the reefs. Meanwhile, a couple millennia later, Assyrians began using animal skins to trap oxygen in order to prolong their dives so that they could explore their coasts and evade enemies when things got hairy in battle.

The next big advancement in dive technology came courtesy of Alexander the Great. He pioneered the use of the diving bell, which is a huge chamber lowered into the water that traps air inside. Divers can explore at their leisure, then return to the bell for a gulp of air as needed.

Leonardo da Vinci sketched out an idea that closely resembled the modern snorkel in 1500 C.E., and in fact designed an entire scuba suit, including the first mask. However, snorkeling wouldn't really take off until the 20th century, as the invention of waterproof swim goggles in 1930 by Frenchman Guy Gilpatric allowed people to enjoy improved vision while submerged. This led to a rise in underwater tourism in tropical areas, as well as increased attention from the military.

The U.S. Navy commissioned special soldiers known as frogmen during WW II, and their role was to carry out special missions against the Japanese in the Pacific theater. As a result, more time and money were poured into research and development, improving both the safety and effectiveness of snorkels and masks.

Today, snorkeling is primarily a leisure activity, enjoyed by tourists and sport fishermen. Modern gear uses high-quality rubber and glass, allowing snorkelers to enjoy a crystal-clear view of the underwater world around them.

How To Choose A Snorkel Face Mask

If you're looking for a sure-fire way to ruin your vacation, buying the wrong snorkeling gear will do it, as nothing will spoil your dive faster than having to adjust your gear every few seconds.

That's why the most important thing to look for is proper fit. If it's not sealed air-tight on your face, it's worthless and you should not buy it. Shopping online for a mask is still a good idea, as you can find more options and better deals, but don't pack your mask without trying it on first, and if it doesn't fit, send it back immediately.

Don't put up with any air leakage. Even if it's just a slow leak, it will cause water to flood the mask, and you'll have to keep treading water to empty it, and when you put it back on, it will fog up. Seriously — this is not something to compromise on, even a little bit.

Make sure it fits the contours of your face, as well. When trying it on, press it to your face and hold your breath; if it seals without you needing to hold it on, it's a winner. Not only will this prevent leakage, but it will also ensure that you don't have to cinch the strap down too tight, making it more comfortable to wear for an extended period of time. The skirt (the material that touches your skin) is another important factor to consider here. Generally speaking, the more material touching your face, the tighter the seal.

There are quite a few options to choose from when picking out a mask. A low-fog lens, for example, will help keep your vision clear, and certain masks have special lenses that sharpen your eyesight. Check your peripheral vision while you're at it — more is certainly better in this case. When comparing materials, choose silicone over rubber. Rubber will crack over time, requiring replacement, while silicone should last you for many years.

Above all, make sure your mask has plenty of room for your eyes to bulge cartoonishly out of your head in case you see a shark.

Other Tips For Enjoying Your Snorkeling Experience

If you're going snorkeling for the first time, it pays to study beforehand. Many tour companies do little to prepare you for your experience, choosing instead to just hand you your gear and turn you loose, so doing some research can make your experience much more enjoyable.

I've already covered the importance of getting gear that fits, but if you can, practice with it before you go out in the open sea. Find a shallow beach or pool somewhere and make sure that you know how to use everything, there are no leaks, and that you're comfortable and relaxed.

Learn how to read ocean conditions before you set out, as well. It's important to find a calm, interesting area for your first time out, so being able to spot a current is essential. The last thing you want is to find yourself taken out further than you're comfortable going, but you may also be able to let the current carry you, reducing the amount of energy you expend and allowing you to simply enjoy the scenery.

Finally, practice proper sea etiquette. Don't touch anything; most marine life, like coral, doesn't appreciate being interfered with, and oh yeah — some things down there can kill you. Don't try to pet or feed any fish or turtles you come across, and give everything some space. Remember, you're in their home, so try not to be an obnoxious houseguest. Make sure your sunscreen is biodegradable as well, as many sunblocks contain chemicals that kill reefs.

Most importantly, though, remember to have fun. Oh, and if you see Nemo down there, tell him his dad is looking for him.

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Last updated on January 15, 2018 by Brett Dvoretz

A wandering writer who spends as much time on the road as behind the computer screen, Brett can either be found hacking furiously away at the keyboard or perhaps enjoying a whiskey and coke on some exotic beach, sometimes both simultaneously, usually with a four-legged companion by his side. He hopes to one day become a modern day renaissance man.

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