One of the most recent innovations in the snorkeling industry is the development of full-face snorkel masks. These masks make it easier for kids and beginners to snorkel comfortably without having to worry about breathing and swallowing salty seawater.
The best snorkel masks for both beginners and pros fit perfectly without leaking, give you a clear underwater view without fogging, are built from comfortable yet durable lightweight materials and allow good circulation of air without hypercapnia.
Selecting the right mask for your next snorkeling can be a tedious and time-consuming task since there are several options in terms of style, shape, size, color and models from different companies.
To help you make a quick and informed decision, we’ve picked the top full-face snorkel masks for kids, women and men including a guide on important features to look for and some factors you want to consider before buying.
Ocean Reef Aria
This is a product of Ocean Reef Group, a brand that has been specializing in creating snorkeling accessories, diving equipment, and other water-related developments for over 20 years.
While this brand has a variety of full-face snorkel masks, the Ocean Reef Aria QR+ is the most outstanding.
This easy-to-use dry-snorkel style mask provides a comfortable fit and distortion-free great view.
The features and pros of this mask include;
- Made from durable, lightweight and comfortable material-silicone skirt and soft elastic straps
- 180º panoramic largest field of vision
- Patented one-way air circulation system that ensures breathing fresh air
- Compatible with a wide range of accessories including a camera
- Dry-top Snorkel that won’t let you swallow salty water
- Purge valve to easily clear excess water and exhale quickly for shallow dives
- Optical lens support
- Various sizes and super bright colors
- Comes with a reusable carry-bag
- Dark face seal to avoid glare
- Quick release and adjustable buckles that adjust to head size for optimal fit & hold.
- Tested for CO2 levels
While this mask comes with great features, it is a little than other masks. This does not allow you to equalize for deep dives. It is designed to be used on the surface.
Based on the reputation of the company and reviews from most users, this is a safe and highly recommended mask. It comes with decent excellent features and it has worked pretty well for most snorkelers
Ocean Reef has gone a step ahead to create unique mask accessories such as a snorkie talkie. This gadget enhances communication between snorkelers.
Other Ocean Reef snorkeling masks include the models of masks from Ocean Reef Uno, Classic and Junior for kids.
Overall, masks from this brand come with decent and excellent features which have worked pretty well for most snorkelers.
Based on the years of effort Ocean Reef has invested in testing and developing water sports gear and the positive reviews from different snorkel enthusiasts and experts, these are safe and highly recommended masks.
Greatever G2 Full Face Snorkel Mask
This is one of the most affordable masks that has all the features you would expect in a decent full-face snorkel mask.
As of this review, it is one best-selling masks on Amazon with over 10k reviews! One feature that makes it stand out is the foldable design that makes it easy to pack and carry around. This folding design also keeps the snorkel tube in place without falling off.
Other features include;
- Different sizes and colors
- Single lens with 180-degree field of view
- Adjustable straps
- Hypoallergenic silicone skirt
- Anti-fog lens for maximum visual clarity and reduced distortion
- A dry top system that allows you to breathe normally underwater.
- Support for additional accessories such as a camera
The manufacturer, Greatever, has been designing and developing diving products since 2015; you can count on their experience. They also offer their snorkeling gear in personalized color combos.
Why this is a good mask.
- Portable and space-saving making it perfect for travel
- Variety of options (colors and sizes for kids and adults)
- Constructed from high-quality materials
- Fog-free and leak-proof
- Comfortable and reliable design
- Wide-angle lens offers exceptional clarity
The downsides include
- No quick-release buttons for the straps to remove mask
- Sizing can be an issue for some users.
- Not tested for CO2 levels
Wildhorn Outfitters Seaview 180 Degree V2
The Wildhorn Outfitters FFSM is well made and comfortable in terms of fit and breathing and as its name reads, it offers a 180-degree anti-fog enhanced view.
One feature that makes it stand out is its angled and side-positioned removable snorkel tube that not only allows for less restricted, two-way airflow but also easily stays above water giving your head a little more freedom of movement compared to the non-angled and mid-positioned tube designs.
It comes with an innovative ‘Flowtech Maximum Air Intake System‘ that allows for less resistance and natural breathing through both your mouth and nose. This system has two chambers and 4 intake valves to allow air to circulate in and out freely.
Using one-way valves and a separate breathing chamber ensures fresh air is always circulating through the mask. This ensures there is absolutely no build-up of carbon dioxide and fogging, making this one of the safest full-face masks on the market.
It comes with a one-way drain system that is integrated into the chin area, the base of the mask, to allow any water that does happen to get in to automatically drain out when you surface. When you tilt your head back, any water that does get in simply drains out the one-way chin valve. No ‘purging’ or removal of the mask to release water.
Dual elastic strap system that is fully adjustable allowing you to customize your mask for the perfect fit.
The durable silicone insert creates a comfortable watertight seal that will keep you snorkeling all day.
Custom-designed, removable action camera mount (fits all GoPro cameras) with ball-point adjustment.
Why this is a good choice
- Enhanced comfort, ergonomics, and fit
- Leakproof even for snorkelers with facial hair.
- 180° lens for Maximum visibility
- Detachable snorkel for travel
- A variety of colors and sizes are available
- Auto drains
- No quick-release buckles
- Slightly pricier than other masks.
- Some users have had it leaking.
SEAC Libera Full Face Mask
This FFSM features transparent materials that make its overall look quite impressive. This mask also has one of the top breathing systems.
The SEAC mask has one of the best natural breathing systems through your mouth and nose, with the lowest breathing effort in its category. The mechanism comprises completely separate circuits for fresh air (IN) and exhaled air (OUT). Exhaled air is expelled through a SEAC-patented exhaust circuit.
In addition to the advanced breathing technology, the mask comes features;
- An anatomical hypoallergenic liquid silicone skirt that is created to adapt to every kind of facial contour for the best seal, safety, and comfort.
- Dry top snorkel design to prevent water from entering the tube.
- Two ways to adjust the strap, both in front and in the lower section.
- Silicone straps with quick-release buckles.
- An anti-fogging system
- A smaller internal volume offers optimization of residual CO2 making it lightweight
- A broad field of vision
- Tested for CO2 levels
While the SEAC Libera has a pro breathing system, a cool design, is built with quality material and fits well, it is quite pricy and a substantial number of users have had problems clicking/snapping the snorkel tube into place.
Cressi Duke Snorkeling Full Face Mask
If you are into water sports and activities, Cressi should not be a new or strange name. This Italian brand has been developing scuba diving, snorkeling and swimming equipment since 1946.
With the experience and reputation of the manufacturer, the Duke is built with safety and comfort in mind. It comes in a high-quality design that features an excellent breathing system and lasting construction materials.
It also features a valveless design that offers safer and effortless breathing and reduced fatigue. This design is more effective especially when it comes to eliminating carbon dioxide fast.
More features include
- 30% larger viewing area for maximum visibility
- Dry snorkel keeps water out.
- Specialized deflector maximizes air circulation and eliminates fogging.
- Effortless and natural breathing, with a wide breathing area around the nose and mouth.
- Water draining valves remove any water that may enter the mask.
- Designed for surface use only and should not be used at depth.
- Face skirt is made of soft hypoallergenic. The frame and lens are made of polycarbonate material.
- Two x-cross straps are easy to adjust. Made in two sizes to ensure proper fitting.
- Easy to breathe
- Panoramic 180° clear view
- Variety of colors and sizes available
- Auto drains
- Tight seal-no leaks
- No camera mounts
- Pricier than other masks
- No quick-release buckles
- Does not fit some faces
Tribord Subea Easybreath
This is a comfortable and easy-to-use full-face mask that gives you a 180° panoramic field of vision while enjoying a fog-free viewing experience as you snorkel.
Tribord is one of the oldest manufacturers of full-face snorkel masks. Old versions of this mask have been some of the most popular on the market. The latest version(2023) of Tribord Subea Easybreath is basically an upgrade of the previous versions.
This mask comes with an exclusive anti-fogging patented design that features two separate ventilation channels which allow you to inhale and exhale through your nose as you normally do on land while underwater just as easily as you would breathe above water or on land.
Comes with a hypoallergenic silicone skirt that comfortably seals the mask to your face and adjustable straps for a perfect fit.
It comes with a Dry Freak replacement ring which serves as a cushion preventing friction between the snorkel head and the base of the mask.
It also comes with a more secure lock to prevent the snorkel head from detaching from the body unexpectedly!
The mask is available in multiple colors and in 4 sizes which are: XS is perfect for kids up to the age of 9. S/M is generally for kids 10yr+, teenagers & most women. M/L for older Teen Boys & some larger women. L/XL for most men.
With both adult and child sizes and colors available, quality construction materials, among other excellent features, this is a family-friendly option you should try out today.
The downsides are that it is quite pricey, lacks a quick-release buckle and leaks after a few uses.
Cozia Design Set
If you are looking for a snorkel set that includes a foldable full-face mask and adjustable swimming fins, Cozia set is our pick.
This set is affordable, easy to use, comfortable and lightweight making it a good choice for those who are on the go.
Features and Pros of this set include;
The full face mask;
- Ultra-compact affordable snorkeling set
- Strong polycarbonate plastic and soft hypoallergenic silicone around the face
- Foldable extra-long tube
- Flat lens that offers you a clear 180° view
- Snap-on camera mount
- Anti-fog & Anti-leak
- Available in two sizes and multiple colors
- Clear 180-degree panoramic view
- Adjustable straps
- The flippers are super flexible for easy movement and extra propulsion
- They feature an adjustable strap that comes with an easy and pull system for different foot sizes.
- They also have a non-slip bottom for a good grip on any surface.
The main downsides include leaking for faces especially those with beards, lack of quick-release buckles
Other FFSMs worth mentioning include;
What makes this mask stand out is its adorable shark-style design which makes it a perfect present and the best choice for kids. It also features a 180-degree field of vision, easy to breathe system, anti-leak & anti-fog technology
Full Face Snorkeling Mask Buy Guide + Tips
The following are the key features you should look for while shopping for a full-face snorkel mask.
Airflow has been one of the major concerns in the design and use of full-face masks. FFSMs that have not been designed to optimally get rid of your exhaled breath are likely to cause CO2 build-up inside the mask which can lead to deadly outcomes including dizziness, and eventually blackouts.
A good mask should allow you to breathe naturally and comfortably through your mouth and nose. Most masks have small air pockets around your nose, mouth, and eyes, to allow you to breathe underwater.
How well a full face mask handles inhalation and expiration have a lot to do with how its breathing system is designed. The system should have separate breathing chambers to prevent the risk of suffocation because of the mixing of fresh air and exhaled air. It should also have airflow valves that allow air to circulate in and out freely.
When shopping, the easiest way to ensure that the breathing system is on point is to look for masks that have been tested for CO2 levels by known and reputable organizations. Also, inspect the breathing system; check that one-way valves are in place in both the snorkel and orinasal mask sections.
The width and length of the snorkel tube can also affect breathing. A tube that is too long and thin, though quite a rare problem nowadays, makes breathing difficult and laborious. Longer tubes also do not recycle air well, and you may end up breathing the same air, causing elevated CO2 levels.
Size is one of the most important factors you should consider since faces come in different sizes and shapes. Some masks come in one-size-fits-all while others come in small, medium, and large sizes. For maximum comfort, you want to get a size that fits you perfectly.
A poorly fitting mask will either be too tight or too loose. If it is too tight, it may not only hurt but also lead to other issues including headaches, bruises, and long-term damage to muscles and nerves. If the mask is too loose, it will leak or even slip off ruining your entire snorkeling experience.
Good masks come with adjustable straps which will let adjust how it fits. In addition to the adjustable straps, high-quality silicon skirting will prevent leaking while enhancing comfort.
Always ensure that the mask you choose provides an airtight seal around your face and is comfortable without having it too tight/loose. You can confirm this by putting on your mask and then shifting your head vertically and horizontally, a correct-fitting size full-face snorkel should stay firm on your face without movement.
While most manufacturers provide masks in different sizes and sizing guides, they do not work for everyone. The best you can do is try the mask on before buying it.
Further Reading: How to determine the right full-face snorkel mask size for you
Field of View
While most recent FFSM designs offer a 180° field view, some are slightly more distorted than others. A distortion-free 180° field view allows you to see a lot more underwater.
Another benefit of having a larger field of vision is to easily spot your snorkel buddies or children who you want to keep an eye on. You can easily reduce the distortion by buying masks with flat lenses…details are in the next subtitle.
Lens Shape & Quality
FFSMs differ in the shape of their lens, alongside other factors. Some have convex viewing domes while others are flat.
Scratch-resistant flat lenses offer a clear view, including your peripheral view with minimal distortion. This type of lens is the ideal option for underwater viewing. Curved lenses on the hand result in some distortion which may lead to dizziness for some people.
For a clear view and long-lasting use, it is important to have lenses that are made from high-quality materials. Avoid masks that are made from cheap plastic that is unclear, scratches and breaks easily.
Instead, opt for lenses made from polycarbonate that’s shatterproof; they don’t disintegrate into sharp pieces when they break, but instead remain in one piece. Polycarbonate lenses are also scratch-resistant especially when you use and keep them carefully.
Some lenses are also made up of tempered glass, which is in fact sturdier than polycarbonate. Sturdy lenses are especially convenient when traveling since they are less prone to scratching or breaking under pressure.
You want to make sure before you get in the water that your lens is clean and clear. Microdust particles can stick to the inside of your lens and when you exhale, the moisture in your breath can mix with these particles creating blurry vision and condensation – also known as, fog.
Thankfully, most of the masks listed are built with lenses that won’t fog. They too have separated breathing and viewing chambers to avoid fog build-up. Clean your mask before and after each use to prevent fogging and remember to store it properly.
Snorkel Tube Design
The traditional wet snorkel tube design was quite difficult to use especially when underwater. Snorkelers who used it ended up swallowing mouthfuls of seawater before they learned how to effectively expel water out.
This dilemma has been fixed by dry snorkel design. This snorkel design features dry-top technology. The top has a built-in mechanism that shuts the tube once it is completely submerged in water
Further Reading: How a Snorkel Works + Differences between Dry Top and Wet Snorkels
Collapsible vs Detachable vs Fixed
Another feature of the snorkel you should look for is the ease to carry around or store. Depending on the brand or model, some tubes are detachable while others are collapsible. Some may come fixed.
Both the collapsible and detachable are good options because you can easily pack/store them in your travel bag. While the collapsible types are easy to use, the detachable versions are more durable. Not many masks come with fixed tubes; they are not the best option if you’re a regular traveler.
The flimsy material found at the edges of your FFSM is known as a skirt. This helps the mask efficiently stick to your skin by creating a suction that keeps out water and air.
While cheaper options may feature skirts made of plastic or rubber, these materials are not comfortable, do last and may cause allergic reactions.
For optimal comfort and performance, pick masks that have skirts made from pure and hypoallergenic silicon. Silicon skirts provide a better seal and are less prone to tearing or ripping.
Straps and Buckles
Some FFSMs come with straps only while others come with straps and buckles. The function of the straps is to stabilize the mask. The quality of the material from which these parts are made is something you should be keen on. Ensure the material is wide, flexible, stretchable, and durable.
The straps are mostly made from either silicone or fabric. Silicone straps are a good option for they dry quicker and are typically easier to adjust, but some users, especially those with long hair find them uncomfortable because they are prone to tangling.
Fabric straps take some time to dry but are less prone to tangling and therefore more comfortable. Straps with a quick-release mechanism, such as buckles, are a better option since they let you to remove the mask with one click in the event of malfunction or danger.
The ease to adjust once on is also something to check. Adjustable straps allow you to tighten or loosen the straps for a fit that is best and most comfortable for you.
While this specific point may seem like an aesthetic whim, it is actually about your safety! If you’re snorkeling in shallow waters, bright colors like yellow or orange may help a lot in making you visible, which in turn increases the chances of you being rescued fast in case of an emergency.
Bright-colored snorkel-end pieces can also act as a signal, especially in spaces with many snorkelers as they allow others to see you easily preventing collisions.
However, if you want to dive deeper, and in areas that are not designated for snorkeling, most expert divers recommend that you avoid bright and highly contrasting colors to reduce the possibilities of interacting with wild marine life such as sharks. Go for neutral or dull colors such as grey, black, blue, or even transparent.
If you check your local/online stores, you’ll notice that both new and old brands are ever coming up with new masks or upgraded versions of the old masks at different prices. Some are extremely cheap, others reasonably priced whilst others are overpriced.
The truth is, not all overpriced masks are of good quality and not all cheap masks are of bad quality. Generally, the saying “you get what you pay for” holds true for full-face snorkel masks.
Although it is possible for some over-priced full-face masks, especially from unknown manufacturers, to provide value that is way below the price, it’s worth spending the extra money to get a quality mask like any of the ones in our top picks.
Extremely cheap masks tend to be made from low-quality materials which never last. However, it is also important to remember that there are still some reliable and safe options that are fairly priced. Whenever possible, remember to buy branded models from established diving manufacturers who have sufficient experience and ensure their masks are carbon dioxide tested. If you are buying from generic retailers, be sure they’re reputable, and do not forget to check out reviews from verified buyers.
Additional Mask Features
Action camera mount-This allows you to add a GoPro camera on top of your mask so you can easily capture the same scenery as you see it while you snorkel.
A drain or purge valve, usually in the chin area, aids in expelling any water that gets inside the mask
Snorkie Talkie-Some mask manufacturers like the ocean Aria have snorkel talkies to enable communication with snorkel mates underwater. These talkies can also allow you to listen to some music while you snorkel.
Wave Guard-While most modern masks have a dry-top snorkel, those that come with wave guards will keep away water if you snorkel in waters that have waves.
How Safe are Full-face Snorkel Masks?
When used correctly, full-face masks are safe but they might not be safe at times if they are poorly designed. The safety of FFSMs depend on how you choose to use them and the quality of the mask you buy. Both you, as the user, and the manufacturer determine the safety of a full face snorkel masker.
Some manufacturers who are out there to make money have flooded the market with poor-quality masks. Use of these masks has led to dizziness, fainting and in the worst cases drowning.
Further Reading: Full Face Snorkel Masks Dangers & Reported Deaths
In some cases, users who use the masks incorrectly have exposed themselves to various dangers. These masks are designed for mild recreational purposes on the surface and not for deep diving or vigorous swimming activities.
In nutshell, safety will depend on the mask you will choose to buy and how you intend to use it. Taking your time to look for quality ones and using them properly will help avoid most of these dangers. If you’re using them for the first time, try them on and learn how to use them in a swimming pool or shallow waters.
How do I put on/ take off a Full Face Snorkel Mask?
For modern full-face snorkel masks, the first step is to ensure there’s no hair or any object that will interfere with the seal. if you have some hair, especially ladies, pull it back. For men with facial hair, trim it.
Further reading: Snorkeling with Mustache
While one of your hands is holding the straps at the back of the mask use the other hand to hold the front and gently put the mask on.
You can as well hold the front part with your two hands and slide it down onto your head as shown in the photo below. Note; this will depend on the design of the mask.
After the mask is on, adjust the straps until they comfortably fit. Then, try to breathe as usual to confirm everything is okay. The seal should be airtight and comfortable.
If you want to take it off, loosen the straps/buckles and hold it with both hands and take it off as shown below.
To put on a traditional snorkel mask, fit the goggles onto your eyes, and insert your nose in its allocated pocket. Gently press the mask to create better suction. And pull the adjustable straps to the back of your head. Aiming the straps higher will help keep the goggles in place.
Can I go Underwater with a Full- Face Snorkel Mask?
Most FFSMs are meant to be used on the surface or just near the surface of the water. They lack features that will enable you to stay deep underwater for a long duration of time.
However, brands like Ninja shark and Deep Sea come with an equalization feature that will allow you to dive and breathe underwater. These masks have a soft nose piece that allows you to pinch/ touch your nose for proper equalization allowing ear pressure relief.
Ninja Shark and Deep Sea manufacturers boldly claim that their masks make breathing under the water as easy as on land.
Can you Wear an FFSM over Glasses?
You can’t wear your snorkel mask over your glasses as the arms of your glasses will create space between your face and the skirting which will let water in. Full-face masks are not designed to be worn with glasses.
Can you Put on a Full-face Snorkel Mask if you have Facial or Long Hair?
FFSMs are designed to cover the face area meaning that hair in other areas, no matter how long, should not be a problem. The only known minor issue, especially for individuals with long hair is tangling.
However, if you have facial hair, the masks won’t fit properly hence breaking the seal. The hair comes in between the skirting and the suction and their uneven and plentiful nature does not let the silicone stick to your skin.
However, there are a few fixes for men who want to snorkel with a beard or mustache. You can trim it down or try some masks that are thought to work well with facial hair.
Should I Buy or Rent a Full Face Snorkel Mask?
First-time snorkelers tend to rent their snorkeling equipment. While logical and rational, it may not be a good idea because of the following reasons.
FFSMs are affordable nowadays. The increase in supply has dropped prices for snorkeling gear significantly and buying the equipment will cost you less in the long term, especially if you are a frequent snorkeler
Poor-quality masks. Some rental shop owners do not really care about their consumers…all they care about is the money. They buy cheap masks to maximize their profits. Cheap materials can have adverse effects on individuals with sensitive skin. On the other hand, the poor quality may not be very functional either.
Hygiene-No one airs their dirty laundry in public, so it’s quite hard to determine how clean the mask you want to rent is. Dirty masks can grow mold and even cause acne. If you have your own gear, at least you know where it’s been.
Conveniency-Rental shops will have various sizes of masks for everyone. This means you will have to go through a few masks before you find the most comfortable one. When you have your own snorkel, you know how it fits and how to optimize its functionality.