Best Snorkel Mask Fitting and Buying Guide

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Expert: Cameron – I have snorkeled for over two decades and have been a PADI certified diver for over three years. I have gone through countless variations of snorkeling masks over my decades or being in the water. I have not only purchased my own fair share of masks, but I have also assisted friends and family with their snorkel mask purchases. All of whom have been completely content with the results provided.


When selecting a snorkel mask, important considerations include ensuring the right size and fit, choosing the appropriate lens type for optimal visibility, prioritizing comfort and durability, and obtaining a secure seal to prevent leaks.

Some masks even offer options for prescription lenses to cater to individual vision needs.

When I am on the search for a new snorkel mask I always try them on before I purchase to meet each of these considerations.

But what considerations should you prioritize and how do you know which factor is important to you?

Below we will break down every aspect and factor you should absolutely consider when making your next snorkel mask purchase.

How To Choose the Right Snorkel Mask?

What Are the Factors to Consider When Choosing a Snorkel Mask?

Snorkel Mask
  • Price Range
  • Full Face vs Traditional
  • Fit and Comfort
  • Lens Quality
  • Prescription Lens
  • Quality of Material
  • Snorkel Pairing
  • Mask Accessories
  • Color and Style
  • Facial Hair

Mask Price Ranges

Snorkel mask prices range widely based on type and quality.

The reason this is the first aspect to consider is because this selection is the grounding of where your options span from.

Not all snorkel masks are created equal and certain features will not be included in cheaper options.

Basic masks cost between $20 to $40, suitable for casual snorkelers.

Intermediate masks, offering better features for more frequent use, range from $40 to $110.

Advanced masks, designed for regular snorkeling with top features, are priced between $110 to $200.

Full-face snorkel masks, providing an integrated snorkeling experience, cost between $30 to $175.

These prices reflect the variety of options available to cater to different snorkeling needs and preferences.

Full Face Mask vs Traditional

Full Face Snorkel Mask

Here is a very bad metaphor to put it into perspective.

Choosing between a full-face snorkel mask and a traditional snorkel mask is like deciding between a smartphone and a classic flip phone.

Full-face masks offer a panoramic view and let you breathe through your nose and mouth, making it feel more natural, especially for beginners.

They’re like the latest smartphone: packed with features for ease and comfort.

Traditional masks, on the other hand, are like flip phones: simple, reliable, and giving you a clear view with a separate snorkel to breathe.

They’re preferred by experienced snorkelers for their simplicity and effectiveness underwater.

Not to mention that a traditional snorkel mask is more easily usable if you want to transition into scuba diving.

Fit and Comfort

Ensuring the correct size and fit of your snorkel mask is essential to prevent leaks, maintain a comfortable seal, and enhance overall snorkeling or diving experience.

A well-fitted mask reduces the risk of water seepage while maximizing comfort and underwater visibility.

It is crucial to properly adjust the straps of your mask to achieve a snug fit without causing discomfort on your face.

To prevent leaks, make sure the mask skirt creates a seal against your skin by gently pressing it while inhaling through your nose.

Checking for gaps around the edges and adjusting the mask as needed can significantly improve the seal effectiveness.

Feeling confident in your mask fit not only boosts your comfort but also allows you to focus on enjoying the vibrant marine life without distractions.

Face Shape

Woman Snorkeling
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For a snorkel mask, face shape is crucial when selecting the right one as it directly influences the fit, comfort, and performance of the mask.

Factors such as face size, width, and length play a significant role in determining the most suitable mask for an individual’s unique facial structure.

Choosing the correct mask based on your face dimensions ensures a proper seal, preventing water from entering the mask during underwater adventures.

For example, individuals with a narrower face may require a mask with a narrower skirt design to achieve a snug fit.

Conversely, those with a wider face might benefit from masks with broader skirts to accommodate their facial width.

Evaluating the distance between your eyes and the height of your nose bridge is also crucial to prevent the mask from pressing uncomfortably against these areas, enhancing overall comfort and reducing the risk of leaks.

Comfort and Durability

Prioritizing comfort and durability when selecting a snorkel mask ensures a pleasant and long-lasting experience during water sports activities.

Features like a soft silicone skirt for a secure seal, adjustable straps for a customized fit, and durable materials contribute to the overall comfort and quality of the mask.

The silicone skirt plays a crucial role in creating a water-tight seal, preventing leaks and discomfort while underwater.

Adjustable straps allow users to fine-tune the fit, ensuring that the mask stays in place even during active movements.

High-quality materials like tempered glass lenses and impact-resistant frames enhance the longevity of the mask, making it a reliable companion for numerous snorkeling adventures.

Investing in a snorkel mask with these key features not only prioritizes comfort but also guarantees a durable and enjoyable snorkeling experience.

Lens Type and Quality

Selecting the appropriate lens type for your snorkel mask is vital for ensuring clear vision and optimal visibility underwater.

Standard lenses are ideal for individuals with normal vision, providing crisp visual clarity during underwater adventures.

The quality of the lens material plays a crucial role in reducing distortions and enhancing color vibrancy, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the beauty of the underwater world.

By selecting the right lens, you can enjoy a sharper, more focused experience while snorkeling or diving.

Prescription Lens

Prescription Snorkel Mask

For snorkelers who need glasses, prescription lenses in snorkel masks are a game-changer, letting you see the underwater world with clarity.

I personally use prescription goggles and it is really a night and day difference when underwater.

These special lenses are tailored to your vision, ensuring you don’t miss any of the vibrant fish or colorful coral.

You can choose from masks with built-in prescription lenses or get custom lenses fitted to your favorite mask.

This way, you can enjoy snorkeling without worrying about contacts or blurry views, making your underwater adventure even more magical and accessible.

Quality of Material

Inside a snorkel mask, silicone skirts play a key role.

They’re like the seal that keeps water out and comfort in. Imagine the skirt as a soft, flexible barrier that molds to the shape of your face.

This isn’t just any material; it’s high-grade silicone, chosen for its durability and ability to maintain a snug fit without causing irritation.

This means no leaks and no discomfort, even if you’re exploring the ocean’s wonders all day long.

Are there other materials besides silicone that are used in snorkel masks?

Yes, besides silicone skirts, some snorkel masks use rubber or PVC (polyvinyl chloride) for the skirt material.

However, these materials are generally considered less comfortable and flexible compared to silicone.

Silicone offers better durability, a softer feel against the skin, and a more effective seal to prevent water from entering the mask.

Rubber and PVC might be found in more budget-friendly options, but they may not provide the same level of comfort and watertight seal as silicone does.

Snorkel Pairing

Two Snorkel Masks Lying on the Beach
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When snorkels come with masks, it’s like getting a bonus pack!

This combo means you’re all set for your underwater adventure without worrying about compatibility.

These sets are designed to work perfectly together, ensuring a snug fit for the mask and a comfortable bite for the snorkel.

It’s like having a matching outfit – everything just works better when it’s meant to be together.

Plus, getting them as a set can often save money, making it easier to start exploring the ocean’s wonders right away.

The negative side to this is if you are looking for a specific more expensive brand they will likely not be paired with a mask.

There are several different types of snorkels and each one has its advantages and disadvantages which may also mean that you as a snorkeler will have a preference over use and testing when in the water.

My recommendation is that if you plan on only snorkeling once or twice over a vacation then go for the pairing, and if you are making snorkeling a hobby buy the mask you want and the snorkel separate.

Mask Accessories

Snorkel mask accessories can really upgrade your snorkeling game, kind of like adding extra toppings to your favorite ice cream.

Anti-fog spray keeps your view crystal clear, while a protective case shields your mask from scratches and damage.

Some accessories are permanently attached to the mask like camera masks.

For those who want to capture underwater memories, a camera mount lets you attach a GoPro directly to your mask.

And, for a personalized touch, there are various strap covers available, adding comfort and style.

These accessories make sure your snorkeling experience is as smooth and enjoyable as possible, letting you focus on the beauty beneath the waves.

Color and Style

Choosing the right color and style for your snorkel mask is like picking out the coolest outfit for a party.

It’s not just about looking good; the right color can improve visibility underwater for both you and your snorkeling buddies.

Bright colors are easier to see, making it simple for friends to spot you among the waves.

Plus, picking a style that suits you adds to the fun of snorkeling.

Whether you go for sleek and modern or fun and funky, your snorkel mask can express your personality while you explore underwater wonders.

Facial Hair

For snorkelers with facial hair, finding a mask that seals properly can be tricky.

Beards and mustaches can create tiny gaps between the mask skirt and your skin, letting water sneak in. A solution?

Trim facial hair where the mask sits, use a bit of silicone-based lubricant to improve the seal, or look for masks with extra-soft silicone skirts designed for a better fit.

Choosing the right mask and preparing your facial hair can make all the difference, keeping your view underwater clear and dry.

Personally, this is what I have seen works since I also have a mustache and usually a beard.

For traditional snorkel masks, you either cut it off or trim is just enough to gain skin contact with the mask itself.

The other option is to use a full face mask but with a beard you will need to trim it up to where the skin meets the seal as well.

I have also heard of people using Vaseline to make the seal but this sounds messy and the Vaseline will eventually eat through the rubber material.

Why Is Choosing the Right Snorkel Mask Important?

Choosing the right snorkel mask is crucial for a comfortable and enjoyable experience while snorkeling or diving underwater.

The fit of the mask plays a significant role in ensuring it stays in place without leaks, offering optimal visibility and a tight seal to prevent water from entering.

A properly fitted mask should mold effortlessly to the contours of the face, securing a snug yet comfortable fit.

The shape of one’s face, including the width and size, greatly influences the choice of a suitable mask.

For instance, individuals with narrower faces may prefer masks designed with a lower profile to prevent unnecessary bulkiness.

In contrast, those with wider faces would benefit from masks offering adjustable straps for a customized fit.

The right mask fit not only enhances comfort but also ensures that the snorkeler or diver has unobstructed views, fostering a sense of safety and confidence underwater.

Summary

Within this article we have gone through every aspect you need to consider when you are going in to purchase a snorkeling mask.

The main factors to consider include your price range, how well the mask fits and seals, comfort associated with the fit, and the quality of material it is made from.

After this we moved into the lens quality and the difference between synthetic materials and glass for the snorkel mask.

Along with the lens material you can also look for prescription mask lenses that will help you see more clearly when snorkeling.

After these considerations we delved into the issue of facial hair when snorkeling and the color and style you might want to consider and why.

Good luck on your search for the perfect snorkel mask for you!

[Image Attribution and Licensing]

#1 Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay
#2 Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay