The most important consideration when purchasing a mask is the comfort and fit. All masks nowadays have tempered glass lenses and are low volume, making these pre-requisites quite outdated…
The cheap masks are made of silica or PVC. This is a hard material that does not seal well. Usually found in chain stores and sports shops. The silita is definitely something to avoid when looking for a comfortable mask. Proper masks are silicone of various thicknesses. Thinner skirts are soft and comfortable but not as hardy.
You get 1,2,3 or even 6 lens masks.
There are also curved wrap around masks.
But be warned that there is often vision distortion with these and the lens is plastic and very, very prone to scratching.
Side lenses are great for increasing vision so well worth getting provided these masks fit your face correctly.
The standard straps have an incredible ability to get tangled in long hair. Fit an add-on neoprene strap to reduce this bad behaviour.
These help to stop the tangles. They are also far more comfortable and they float.
Certain masks have a thinner strap so spares can be tricky to find and you may have to pay more than those that are generic.
You get masks with plastic frames or they are quite simply frameless.
The frameless use the glass lens as support and allow the lens to be closer to the eye.
They usually have better vision but are slightly more expensive.
Really expensive, top quality masks have metal frames instead of plastic.
Clear skirts give the impression of lightness. They look better but will yellow quite quickly. This is normal. Black masks have better view when in bright light. Black masks also don’t cause a reflection in the lens.
It’s like looking out from a cave or a green house.
So black, although less attractive, actually tends to work much better.
The small minimal volume masks are for free divers that have to equalise them with only limited air. These have sacrificed vision for low volume and are like diving wearing blinkers.
This is not really a point to look at when buying a diving mask.
Trying the mask on and making sure it is comfortable and has a good field of vision is far more important.
This is one of the most important features!
You want to see as much as you can. Try on the best fitting masks and compare how much you can see. Up, down and side to side.
A mask that has a poor field of vision is incredibly annoying. You will find yourself bumping into other divers or the reef when using a mask with a poor peripheral vision. actually tends to work much better.
Some masks just look good, in fact some just look great!
Others are the dog’s breakfast. While it’s nice to have a cool mask, try to remember that the other features should come first.
Make sure you have tried on a number of your favourite looking ones before making your decision. Once you have the right fit then worry about what colour will match your fins.
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