How to.. select the right dive mask
Posted on 05 May 2016
A couple of tips to take into consideration when selecting a dive mask
Selecting parts of your diving equipment isn't always the easiest task. To help you out with this process, Online Dive Gear will be running regular blogposts to help you make the right choice. If you have any questions regarding dive gear that are not answered in our blog posts or F.A.Q. section, please don't hesitate to send us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Today, our first post will provide some tips on selecting a diving mask. A dive mask is one of the most comfortable pieces of equipment to own yourself, and therefore the first piece of equipment we would suggest buying when you start from scratch. The reason for this is that having a dive mask that does not fit your face properly or feels uncomfortable can have a tremendous effect on your dive. Having to clear your mask all the time, getting a headache, or pain around the nosebridge area because you have a mask that doesn't fit can really ruin your dive. Most dive schools rent out masks, but they usually won't have high quality masks in their rental department. (Because they're being used very often by a high variety of face-shapes they deteriorate a bit faster than usual, making it a high cost investment for the shops). It's a small piece of equipment that's easy to bring in your suitcase on holiday, even when you're only planning to go for a bit of a snorkel. If you buy a high quality mask that comfortably fits your face and you take care of it properly, it will last you the rest of your life! Of course all masks on Online Dive Gear are proper dive masks of high quality.
1. Choose a mask with high quality silicon.
Let me start by mentioning that there are many different masks available, and that the silicon used in these masks varies heavily in quality. Masks that you can buy for a really low price in an adventure store or beach shop will usually be lower quality masks, which will not be the most comfortable on your face or last for a long time. If a strap on of these masks breaks, it could be difficult to get a replacement strap, while with a dive mask from a well known brand you can always get replacement straps.
The biggest difference in quality between masks is the quality of the skirt (the area that seals on your face). Cheaper masks are usually made with Silitex which is much harder/stiffer than Silicon, the material used for proper dive masks. Silicon will adjust to your face shape when you use it more often. The higher quality mask, the softer the silicon. Some masks have extra soft silicon, like the TUSA Freedom skirt masks, which also have a rounded edge to make them seal even better.
2. Choose a mask that suits your face.
Most new dive masks have features that are really clever! However, a mask that has extra side windows to enhance your vision may seem a great idea, but if has quite a wide skirt on it, it probably won't fit your face very well if you have a narrower face like me. So think about things like size. If you have a larger, rounder face, most masks will fit you well, but if you have a smaller narrower face, look for the smaller masks like the ODG Proteus or Micro masks.
Most men will have a slightly larger nosebridge area too. If that's the case for you, you will probably find that single lens masks are more comfortable on your face.
3. Choose a mask that suits your eyes.
If you wear glasses or lenses in daily life you might want to choose a mask in which you can use prescription lenses. Most brands offer a couple of masks that you can order with prescription lenses. A popular choice is the Tusa Freedom Ceos mask. If you have sensitive eyes and spend a lot of time on the surface (like instructors) you can consider getting one of the Pro series masks, which have undergone a UV and Anti Reflective treatment.
4. Choose a skirt colour for your dive mask you feel comfortable with.
With most masks you can choose a frame colour that suits you, but what about the skirt colour? Your mask of choice may come with a black or a clear skirt. For most people this is a very personal choice. The pro of a clear skirt is that you get a little more vision around you. The pro of a black skirt is that it stops the sun from shining through the lens and refracting back on the glass lens. Most underwater photographers prefer black skirts because they feel they are less bothered by reflections in the water.
There are many masks out there and they're all different, so if you would like to get a suggestion what masks will generally fit better on a larger face and which one will generally fit better on a smaller face, please don't hesitate to shoot us an e-mail at email@example.com!