Last updated: August 4, 2021

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Whether professional divers or holiday snorkel goers - for people who are admirers of the underwater world, the diving mask is a must for every holiday and swell. Those who have a diving mask protect their eyes from exposure to salt water and dirt and have a clear view of the colourful goings-on below the water's surface.

But how do you find the perfect diving mask for you? Our big diving mask test 2021 will certainly make your decision easier. Do colour, shape or size matter? Here you can quickly become an expert and find your favourite diving mask!



Summary

  • A suitable diving mask protects against eye irritation and injuries and makes every dive a special experience.
  • The most important thing when buying a diving mask is to get the right fit for the individual, so be sure to shop according to your target group and look for a suitable material and a flexible closure.
  • Single-glass masks are more suitable for snorkelling, while two-glass masks are more suitable for diving.

The Best Diving masks: Our Picks

Diving masks: buying and evaluation criteria

To ensure that your diving mask neither pinches nor fits too loosely and thus allows water to penetrate, it is important to pay attention to certain criteria, which are listed here. For example, a low weight or a particularly supple material can significantly improve your diving experience! The following criteria are fundamentally important:

In the following you will get a short overview of each criterion. You will quickly understand what is important.

Type of diving mask

Before you decide on a diving mask, you should know that there are different types of diving masks. Once you know them, it will be easier for you to decide which model suits you and your ideas. Basically, there are 3 types and a special form. The construction of a classic diving mask consists of a frame or mask part that encloses the eyes and nose and covers them with a rubber seal. Conversely, this means that you can only breathe through a snorkel, otherwise your diving mask will fog up. The first model was launched in 1952 and this type of diving mask is still available in different versions.

  • Single-glass diving mask: This diving mask is similar in concept, except that the nose and eyes are enclosed separately. Because the glass is continuous, there is not much room for the nose. It is therefore particularly important that the diving mask fits perfectly.
  • Two-glass diving mask: As the name suggests, this model is most similar to a pair of goggles. In this model, the right and left viewing windows are separated and are usually held together by silicone. The advantage of this model is that the nose notch is larger, which makes it more comfortable to wear. In addition, there is a huge selection on the market, the model is represented by almost every major brand.
  • Frameless diving mask: The frameless diving mask can be seen as a further development of the single lens mask. The name already suggests it - the lenses are directly connected to the silicone without a frame. This makes the mask very flexible and light. Due to the lack of a frame, the field of vision is also larger, but, similar to the single-glass diving mask, the nose notch in this model is comparatively small. A distinction is also made here between light and dark models. The diving masks designed with light silicone offer an almost unrestricted field of vision, which can, however, also lead to irritation due to incident light. With the dark models, the dark-coloured silicone ensures that this is avoided. The only difference is that the field of vision is more restricted.
  • Special shape: With the classic diving goggles mentioned so far, it is noticeable that a snorkel would have to be bought separately (or as a set). This is not the case with the full-face snorkel mask. This special model encloses the entire face and has an integrated small snorkel, which is usually attached to the upper part of the mask. This has the advantage that you can breathe freely through both the mouth and the nose. The large glass also gives you a spectacular view.

You should now have a rough overview of the different types of diving masks. Further down in the guide section you will find a tabular overview of the advantages and disadvantages of each model.

Target group / size

It has already been mentioned that the most important thing when buying a diving mask is that it fits properly. Therefore, the criterion of target group / size is fundamental. The most important thing is that there are no pressure points and that the mask does not fit too loosely. Here is a brief overview of what you should look out for.

Basically, the size specifications for diving goggles vary. For example, the information may state either "children's diving goggles", "women's diving goggles" or "xs diving goggles".

Sometimes you will also find the exact measurements. However, most diving masks are offered in unisex sizes for adults and children. The models for children are sometimes divided into a smaller and a larger model. The smaller one is suitable for children aged 3 to 7 years, the larger one mostly for children aged 7 to 13 years. As a rule, children from the age of 13 can already wear the adult models. However, you should take a closer look at the full-face diving mask in particular. You will often find specifications such as XS, S/M or M/L. It is important that you measure your face and see which model is suitable.

So how do I check if the diving mask really fits well?

  • The most important thing is that there is enough room for the nose. The "nose notch" should completely enclose the nose. A soft material also ensures that you can press the nose shut from the outside with your hand. This helps to equalise the pressure when diving.
  • Tip: Put the mask on your face without attaching the strap to the back of your head. When the mask rests comfortably on your eyes, nose and face, check once by inhaling forcefully through your nose whether the diving goggles remain in place even without holding them. If it does, your mask is tight underwater.

So make sure to shop according to your target group, a diving mask for children is not suitable for adults!

Material

The diving mask can be divided into three basic components: The mask frame, the visor and the cap. Here you should take a closer look at the material. Basically, your diving goggles should be robust on the one hand, i.e. not susceptible to damage and scratches, but on the other hand they should also be soft and flexible to avoid pressure points and guarantee a comfortable fit.

  1. The mask frame: Probably the most important component of the diving goggles for wearing comfort. The most commonly used and most comfortable material is silicone. Skin irritations, injuries or unpleasant pressure points are rare here. A double sealing edge also ensures that a) no water penetrates and b) the mask fogs up less. So you should also pay attention to this.
  2. The lens: If possible, it should be made of tempered glass. This has the advantage that it is break- and scratch-resistant - in contrast to plexiglass. Models made of Plexiglas are therefore usually in the affordable price category. Tempered glass also has the great advantage that it does not shatter if damaged and thus dangerous injuries are largely avoided. If you want something really high-quality, we recommend laminated glass (glass and plastic processed in layers).
  3. The fastener: The mask strap has an adjustment mechanism that allows the size to be individually adapted to the shape of the head. The wider the mask strap, the better the pressure is distributed on the head. The following also applies here: The strap should be robust, i.e. tear-resistant, but still comfortable to wear. At the back of the head, the strap should run in two bands so that it does not slip. To prevent the fastener from pinching, this part should also be padded if possible.

A distinction is also made between single and double glazing: Double-glazed models have the advantage that the outer glass is slightly tilted downwards. This enhances the visual focus, which is usually angled downwards when diving.

Weight & Internal Volume

The weight and internal volume of the diving goggles are also important factors when buying. The weight is mainly about wearing comfort, the inner volume about visibility and easier blowing out (see Questions & Answers). When it comes to weight, the general rule is: the lighter the weight in grams, the more comfortable it is to wear. Particularly inexpensive models are usually heavier, so it is worth investing in a better model. Best therefore:

  • light weight
  • small inner volume

The following also applies to the inner volume: more does not equal better. The inner volume is the space between the lenses and the diver's head. If you have to "blow out" your mask under water, it is advantageous to have as little internal volume as possible so that you do not lose valuable breathing air. A small internal volume also increases the field of vision.

Waterproofness & anti-fogging

Every diver knows it: you just discover a beautiful school of fish and suddenly your diving goggles start to fill with water or they fog up. But - what is the reason for this? And what do I have to look out for when buying to counteract this? First of all, it can be said that this criterion is largely based on those already mentioned. In other words, the better your diving mask fits, the better the material is and you have chosen the right model for you, the less likely it is that water will penetrate.

Soft silicone seals and a double sealing rim prevent water from entering. And if water doesn't get in, the dive mask usually doesn't fog up as quickly. You can counteract fogging by, for example, spreading spit on the inside of your lenses. If water enters, this "natural fogging" is damaged.

Diving masks: Frequently asked questions and answers

Now that you have learned something about the important buying criteria, there are probably still a few questions left unanswered. Here you will find short and concise answers to the essential questions about "diving masks". Once you have read them, you will be well informed.

Who is a diving mask suitable for?

The main purpose of a diving mask is to provide a clear view under water and to protect the eyes from pollutants in the water (chlorine/salt).

This is how fascinating a view through a diving mask can look. If you want to experience the colourful underwater world up close, you should definitely get a diving mask! (Image source: joakant / pixabay)

Thus, a diving mask is suitable for the most diverse target groups, whether children, teenagers or adults, especially on holiday everyone really enjoys discovering the underwater world.

If you want to protect your eyes and have the best possible view of fish & co., you should definitely get a diving mask!

Only for small children under the age of three is the diving mask not perfectly suitable. However, this is mainly due to the fact that the little ones usually cannot swim or dive yet and cannot pay attention to their breathing. A snorkel is the perfect complement to a diving mask if you want to follow the underwater action for longer than is normally possible.

What types of diving masks are there?

You already got an overview of the different types and models in the buying criteria. For the sake of clarity, however, here is a short and concise overview of the advantages and disadvantages of the respective diving masks. Important! Many people confuse swimming goggles with diving goggles. Swimming goggles are closer to the characteristics of "glasses" than diving masks or goggles. These are used solely to protect the eyes from chlorine, for example, during certain water sports. Since there is no closed nose section, they are only suitable for diving to a limited extent.

The single lens diving mask

The classic among diving masks is probably the single-glass diving mask. The mask part encloses the eyes with a continuous glass and has a separate nose notch.

The classic shape of a single-glass diving mask impresses with its large field of vision. Great for snorkelling! (Image source: Thomas B. / pixabay)

Visibility is very good due to the large, continuous glass, but this design also has the disadvantage that the inner volume is quite large.

Advantages
  • great view
  • good for snorkelling
Disadvantages
  • small nose cone
  • large inner volume

If you are a snorkel lover, this model is great. You have great visibility, and if water gets into your goggles, you're right at the surface and can remove it without the hassle of blowing it out. But be careful: For people with rather large noses, this design is usually not so suitable, because the nose stem is quite small. This can lead to the mask leaking and water getting in.

The two-glass diving mask

In contrast to the single-glass diving mask, the twig-glass diving mask is easy to blow out because it has a small internal volume.

Advantages
  • small internal volume
  • large nose notch
Disadvantages
  • restricted field of vision

The mask part consists of two separate lenses and a nose cone. There is also much more space for the nose.

So if you like to do without a snorkel and want to dive a little deeper, this design is very well suited for your project.

You don't have to sacrifice much of your precious breath to blow out the mask if water gets in. Visibility is a little more limited, but there are also models with extra-large lenses, which almost makes up for this shortcoming.

In addition, not all noses are the same, which this model takes into account and therefore almost every nose is well made for these goggles.

The Frameless Diving Mask

The frameless diving mask as a continuation of the single lens diving mask impresses with soft material and an even larger field of vision. The silicone is bonded directly to the lenses.

Advantages
  • large field of vision
  • soft and flexible material
  • less risk of pressure points
  • light and dark models for different purposes
Disadvantages
  • small nose notch
  • large inner volume
  • light model: irritation from light
  • dark model: restricted field of vision

However, just as with the single-glass mask, there is not much room for the nose here - top for children and people with rather smaller noses, otherwise the two-glass mask is better suited. However, with light and dark frames, there are various possible uses, which is another advantage.

The full face diving mask

The newest model on the market is the full-face diving mask. This type is designed to enclose the entire face.

Advantages
  • largest field of vision
  • integrated snorkel - long underwater time possible
Disadvantages
  • cheap models partly dangerous
  • mask must fit perfectly
  • very large and therefore not so easy to store

An integrated snorkel, located on the upper side of the mask, allows you to stay underwater for extra long periods. With cheaper models, however, there is a danger of pendulum breathing, which means that your exhaled air is not expelled quickly enough through the snorkel. This is where it pays to invest. In addition, this mask must fit perfectly, because blowing out is not so easy here. This overview should have helped you to recognise the differences between the various models and to find out which design suits your project. If you still have questions, take a look at the buying criteria above, where you will find some more information.

How much does a diving mask cost?

Since there is a huge range of diving goggles on the market, the price range is correspondingly large. Starting with a price range between 10 and 20 euros, up to prices in the three-digit range, everything is there. Of course, expensive doesn't mean better, but it's also clear that a very low price usually means that high-quality materials are not used, which can have an impact on the comfort and durability of your diving mask. It's best to read the customer reviews, as they provide the best information about the quality of the diving goggles. Prices also vary depending on the model, so a full-face mask is naturally much more expensive than a two-glass diving mask. On average, the prices are probably between 20 and 60 euros.

Type Price
Single-glass diving mask approx. 12 to 85 euros
Dual-glass diving mask approx. 10 to 75 euros
Frameless diving mask approx. 15 to 75 euros
Full-face diving mask approx. 12 to 300 euros

As you can see, the price ranges for diving masks are quite wide. But more expensive doesn't always mean better. If you are a professional diver, it is certainly worth looking for goggles in the upper price segment. For hobby and recreational divers, however, there are also great models in the lower to medium price range. When it comes to full-face diving masks, however, you shouldn't necessarily pay too much attention to the money, as poor workmanship can have far-reaching consequences and the Co2 may not be led out of the snorkel properly.

What are the alternatives to a diving mask?

There are hardly any alternatives to the diving mask models already mentioned. You can of course try diving without goggles, but your eyes will thank you if you refrain from doing so. If you are not really interested in diving, but rather in protecting your eyes while swimming, it is advisable to buy swimming goggles. These are often confused with the diving mask, but they do not have the same purpose. For the professional divers among you, a professional full-face mask that encloses the entire head may also be an option. Here there is an external oxygen supply, and the other positive aspects are heat retention and the possibility of a voice connection. Of course, the price is considerably higher and is rarely used by professional divers.

Alternative Description
Do not use diving goggles With this alternative you are not doing yourself any favours. Your eyes will hurt from the chlorine and/or salt water and in the lake or sea the visibility will be very poor.
Swimming goggles Swimming goggles can be very helpful for water sports enthusiasts and swimmers. However, they do not have the same purpose as diving goggles, there is no pressure equalisation due to the missing nose section and your vision is also limited. For men with a full beard, however, they may be an option if no diving mask fits.
Professional full face masks For this alternative you have to spend a lot of money. However, if you are a professional diver, it might be worth it. But you know that best yourself. For hobby divers there are cheaper and more accessible alternatives.

As you can see, there is no way around a diving mask for an optimal diving experience if you want to protect your eyes and have the best possible view.

Do you have prescription diving masks?

For those of you who wear glasses, there is good news: YES, there are diving masks with prescription! However, it is also possible to wear contact lenses under the diving mask. In this case, you can choose freely among the models. If you are looking for diving goggles with dioptres, it is best to choose a two-lens model. Here, the lenses can be exchanged, the optical lenses are then glued onto the viewing windows, or you can get a model with prescription directly.

From what age is a diving mask suitable?

As already mentioned above, there is no clear age limit for the use of diving masks.

Diving masks are suitable for anyone who is confident enough to use them.

Those who are confident are usually also able to use goggles. Of course, this automatically excludes young toddlers, as they are not yet able to really grasp and comprehend the entire process. On average, most manufacturers recommend diving masks from the age of 10 and accordingly most diving goggles are also offered for children from the age of 10.

If you feel big enough to use a diving mask and are aware of its function, you are ready for your first diving mask! (Image source: Claude Piché / unsplash)

There are some individual cases where diving masks are also offered for 3 to 6 year olds. However, children should never snorkel or dive unsupervised!

What brands and manufacturers of diving masks are there?

There is a huge range of diving masks from a wide variety of manufacturers and brands. From discount brands like Aldi, Lidl or Netto to professional diving brands. However, a few brands have become particularly established on the market and are also very well respected:

  1. Cressi (this is already shown in our product ranking)
  2. Scubapro
  3. Subgear
  4. Mares
  5. Aqua Sphere
  6. Mares X-Vision
  7. Aqua Lung
  8. Atomic
  9. Intex
  10. Tusa

If you see diving masks from these manufacturers, you are basically on the right track. You just have to find the right model for you. Of course, there are also up-and-coming manufacturers that are not as well known but may be just as good. The list only serves as a guide.

How do I prevent the diving mask from fogging up?

Diving masks fog up mainly due to a temperature difference between the water and the air inside the diving goggles. To prevent your diving mask from fogging up, there are a few tips and tricks you may have even heard of. The first rule is, of course, not to breathe into your mask. To avoid this, it is advisable to dive with a snorkel. However, there are one or two other precautions that are useful:

  • Tempered Glass: When buying, make sure to choose models with anti-fog coated glass. This is usually called tempered glass, and is usually made clear in the product description or you will find a "T" on the lenses of the diving goggles. Models made of pure plastic instead of glass fog up more quickly.
  • Toothpaste: A common reason for fogged lenses is silicone, which came into contact with the lenses during production. In this case, the only thing that helps is toothpaste! Toothpaste, unlike washing-up liquid or other household remedies, absorbs silicone and is therefore perfectly suitable. Rub your glasses carefully with toothpaste and let them dry well. Then you can simply wash out your diving mask and the silicone should be removed without a trace.
  • Burn out: Burning out has the same purpose as using toothpaste - to remove the silicone residue. Children should not use this method unless a parent is present. To burn out, use a lighter or match to hold the flame against the inside of your glasses. The soot that forms is largely made up of the silicone residue. Depending on how dirty the glasses are, you can repeat the process two or three times. The soot residue can simply be wiped out with a paper towel.
  • Dishwasher: Here, too, it is a matter of removing the silicone residues. Basically, you should never put your diving goggles in the dishwasher, as this can make them leaky or brittle. A new mask will tolerate a rinse cycle, but this is not the best option available.
  • Cleaning agents: There are currently some offers from manufacturers in the trade that offer special cleaning agents to remove the silicone.

After the first use or when you use it for the first time, there are other tips to prevent fogging:

  • Spit: Everyone has probably heard of this method. If the diving mask fogs up in the middle of the bathing fun, it helps to spread your spit on the glasses. After it has dried, rinse it briefly with water. The reason for success? Some substances in saliva are difficult to dissolve in water, which is why water simply rolls off the glass.
  • Washing-up liquid: This trick works just as well with washing-up liquid. The film that remains on the glasses when the washing-up liquid is rubbed in causes water to bead up. The only drawback is that washing-up liquid is not always to hand.
  • Anti-fog sprays: Meanwhile, some manufacturers offer sprays that guarantee to prevent the diving goggles from fogging up.

If you follow one or two of these tips, you should always have clear vision when diving and snorkelling.

How do I blow out a diving mask?

If the annoying case occurs that water gets into your diving mask while diving, you have to blow it out. Here we explain how to do this in a few quick steps:

  1. Put your head on the back of your neck and lift the lower part of your mask slightly while pressing the upper part firmly.
  2. Take a deep breath and blow out the water that has come in.
  3. Now you can press the diving mask completely back onto your face, preferably without letting any new water in.
  4. You now have a clear view again!

The following applies: The smaller the internal volume of the diving mask, the easier it is to blow it out, because you save air. That's why the internal volume is also an important purchase criterion.

Is the colour of my diving mask important?

The colour of diving masks is not only an optical design factor. Especially little girls and boys would like to have goggles in pink, red or purple or maybe even a diving mask with a shark. Apart from these stylish factors, however, the colour is also an important feature of quality. Light-coloured diving goggles with a transparent or very light-coloured silicone frame increase the field of vision considerably and allow more light to enter.

However, this can also obstruct and perhaps even impair your orientation because the curved frame reflects the light. Dark diving goggles are black, dark blue or other dark colours. This clearly limits the field of vision, which can be seen as a disadvantage, but at the same time light reflections from the side will not irritate you. The colour is therefore important for the usefulness of the diving mask in addition to its stylish factor, and light or dark models can be used in different ways.

Do I need accessories for diving?

In principle, you need nothing but your mask to be able to dive. However, some extras can make your diving experience easier, richer or simply more fun! The ABC equipment you may have heard of is the diving mask, snorkel and flippers. Find out below whether you really need all of this.

  • Snorkel: Probably the most sensible purchase in addition to your diving goggles would be a snorkel. This means that you don't have to keep coming up for air, but can breathe comfortably through the snorkel. A snorkel looks like a tube with a mouthpiece. Some diving goggles, such as the full-face snorkel mask already mentioned here, already have an integrated snorkel.
  • Swimming fins: You don't really need fins for snorkelling, but they are super fun! Fins allow you to glide through the water faster than you would normally be able to. These also come in all sorts of different sizes.
  • Wetsuit: You've probably seen a wetsuit on a surfer or diver. It is very snug and keeps you warm even in cold waters. It also protects you from sunburns and injuries. A wetsuit makes sense if you want to protect your body. They come in a variety of styles, with long and short sleeves or legs, for children and adults.
  • GoPro: There are certain models to which you can attach a GoPro to capture the special moments you experience while diving with a camera. Full face snorkelling masksoften have this advantage.

If you have a single-lens mask, it is particularly useful to get a snorkel, as its large internal volume makes it more difficult to blow out.

Diving goggles, swimming goggles, diving mask - all the same?

Diving goggles, swimming goggles, swimming mask, diving mask, snorkelling mask - it is easy to lose track of all these terms! But what is actually meant when someone talks about diving goggles? Diving goggles is actually just the colloquial term for a diving mask, also called a diving mask. This is characterised by the fact that there is both eye protection and nose protection, as these parts are equally enclosed.

This contrasts with swimming goggles, which many people confuse with diving goggles. Swimming goggles only cover the eye area with two individual elements! They are used exclusively to protect the eyes from stress elements in the water and are mainly used in water sports.

Does long hair or a beard interfere?

Long hair or a beard can become a problem when using diving masks if they get between the sealing ring of the diving goggles - water can enter quickly. However, if you have your mane tied in a braid or are careful not to let your hair get under the goggles, this should not be a problem. If your beard growth is very high and therefore also under the goggles, this will certainly also affect the seal.

Especially with full-face snorkelling masks, a beard is problematic because the mask covers the entire gasket and therefore probably also comes into contact with your beard at the lower edge.

In the case of a pronounced beard growth, it is advisable to look for a model that does not come into contact with the beard. If in doubt, resort to swimming goggles. So: Long hair or a beard only interfere with the function of your diving mask to a limited extent, that is largely up to you.

Conclusion

A diving mask gives you an unforgettable diving experience. In order to have the best possible experience with your diving goggles, however, you need to pay attention to a few things when buying them: the right size, a high level of wearing comfort, a snug yet robust material and a low weight & internal volume. Single lens, dual lens, rimless and full face masks have different advantages.
For snorkelling, single-vision goggles are more suitable, for diving, dual-vision goggles. And even if you don't necessarily need accessories for diving, if you are interested in a longer dive, you can find great set offers with snorkels and/or fins here. The most important thing is that you know what you want from your diving mask and stick to the given buying criteria and customer reviews - if you do, nothing will stand in the way of your next great diving experience!
Image source: dmosreg / 123rf
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