A mask is one of the most important, and personal, pieces of scuba diving equipment you own because it lets you explore with your eyes. You want a good quality mask that fits you well and gives you the best viewing area possible, because you don’t want to miss anything underwater. Visit your PADI Dive Center or Resort to try on a scuba mask.
Standard Mask Features
- Tempered-glass lens for safety, or lenses made from really strong, high-quality composite materials.
- Comfortable, feathered, double-skirt made of soft silicone rubber.
- Enclosed nose so that you can adjust for pressure changes by exhaling.
- Finger pockets around your nose so that you can equalize your ears.
- Low profile for easier clearing of water and a wider vision field.
- Adjustable strap that can be locked in place.
Optional and Desirable Mask Features
- A purge valve is a one-way valve used to clear water from a mask.
- If you wear glasses, some masks are specifically designed to fit prescription lenses. Consult with a dive professional at your PADI Dive Center or Resort.
- Black versus clear or translucent silicone rubber.
- Mask strap made from wetsuit material that connects and adjusts using Velcro®.
- Colored lenses or special anti-reflective lens coatings.
- High-tech, heads-up display that allows you to check critical dive data.
How to Choose Your Scuba Mask
With the wide variety of masks available today, it will be more difficult to decide which one you like best rather than finding one that fits and is comfortable.
- Hold the mask gently against your face with the strap looped in front, out of the way.
- Gently inhale through your nose. If the mask stays there – no air leaking in and you don’t have to continuously suck in through your nose – then it should create a seal for you.
- Check to see that the mask skirt rests evenly against your face along the entire edge. Mustaches and beards make finding a good seal a little more difficult, but still possible.
- Adjust the strap, put the mask on and evaluate how the mask feels on your face – it should be comfortable.
- If you can, attach a snorkel to the mask and put the mouthpiece in, or put a scuba regulator in your mouth. This should not significantly change how the mask fits.
- Try pinching your nose.
- Look around – straight ahead, up, down, sideways – to see if there are any annoying blind spots.
- Try on several masks and narrow down your choices by fit and comfort. Don't sacrifice fit and comfort for price.
Take Care of Your Mask
- Most new masks’ lenses need a scrub before use because the glass gets stuff on it during manufacturing. The dive center staff and the manufacturer will have various recommendations.
- Before every dive, apply a defog solution to your mask lens.
- Be familiar with your mask strap adjustment and locking device so that you can make quick adjustments at the dive site, if necessary.
- Rinse thoroughly with fresh water after each use. Keep out of direct sunlight as much as possible. Store in a cool, dry place.
- Keep your clear silicone out of contact with anything neoprene, like black scuba fins, because neoprene leaches into the silicone and discolors it.