Best Full-Face Snorkel Masks

Updated November 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

7 Models Considered
9 Hours Researched
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186 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best full-face snorkel masks

Last Updated November 2019

Snorkeling is one of the most popular water activities, especially on vacation — if you’re visiting a tropical coral reef, you’ll want to get into the water face first and witness the colorful ocean life up close and personal.

In recent years, full-face snorkel masks have come onto the market to address some of the issues of the standard mask and mouth tube versions. Full-face models offer more natural nose breathing, give wider visibility and avoid the problems of claustrophobia or jaw fatigue inherent to traditional designs.

We’ve investigated the best ones out there, in a range of prices. Look for a comfortable mask with padding that will fit flush on your face, so there’s no water seepage. Note that different manufacturers designs fit face shapes differently, so check the sizing directions. If you plan on using a GoPro, check to see if the mounting will work. Anti-fog and non-distorting masks are also a plus.

Full-face snorkel masks are designed for surface snorkeling only, not for diving in deep water.

Benefits of full-face snorkel masks

Typical equipment for snorkeling includes a face mask to improve your vision underwater and keep water out of your nose and a separate snorkel tube in your mouth that enables you to breathe with your face underwater. The mask simply straps around your head like goggles, and the snorkel mouthpiece is held in place by your teeth.

With a full-face snorkel mask, the mask and snorkel are connected in one unit. The mask covers your entire face to protect your eyes, nose, and mouth, and there is a snorkel tube at the top that enables you to breathe. You don’t have to hold the mouthpiece with your teeth; you just breathe normally inside the sealed mask and inhale oxygen through the tube at the top.

There are many reasons why many snorkeling enthusiasts prefer a full-face snorkel mask over the traditional mask and snorkel:

Easier for beginners to use: If you’re new to snorkeling, it’s much easier to get used to breathing with a full-face snorkeling mask rather than a separate snorkel. You can simply breathe through your mouth or nose as you would on dry land without worrying about holding the snorkel in place with your teeth.

More comfortable to wear: Individuals who have jaw pain or suffer from a sore jaw when using a traditional snorkel usually find a full-face snorkel mask much more comfortable. Even if you don’t have any chronic jaw pain, you won’t suffer from an achy, tired jaw after using a full-face mask.

Keeps water out of your face: A full-face mask has a seal along the perimeter of your face, which means that no water comes into contact with your face. This often helps new snorkelers feel more comfortable underwater.

Allows you to breathe through nose: Unlike a traditional mask and snorkel, a full-face snorkel mask enables you to breathe through your nose when your face is underwater. This makes it easy for many snorkelers to stay calm and relaxed, making snorkeling an even more pleasant experience.

Doesn’t fog up: Because of the way that air flows through a full-face snorkel mask, it’s less likely to fog up when your face is underwater.

Offers unobstructed views: A full-face snorkel mask provides a larger field of vision than a traditional mask. The full-face mask has a much wider lens, so you’re able to see more of the surrounding area.

Full-face snorkel mask features to consider

Size

With a full-face snorkel mask, getting the size right is key. Most manufacturers use a measurement of the face from the bridge of the nose to the tip of the chin for sizing purposes. When you’re measuring your face for a mask, both the length and width are important. If you have a larger than average face or a large nose, it helps to choose a mask made of flexible materials, so there’s some give to accommodate your features.

Masks are available in extra-small, small, small/medium, medium/large, and extra-large, but there are some variations among these sizes based on the manufacturer. Always consult the brand’s sizing chart before buying a mask to make sure it will comfortably fit your face.

Adjustability

While you should choose a full-face snorkel mask that fits as well as possible, it’s a good idea to choose a model with adjustable straps. These allow you to tighten or loosen the mask based on what feels most comfortable on your face.

Lens material and shape

The lens is the clear portion of the mask that you look through, so its design affects how much and how well you see beneath the water surface. For the best view when you’re underwater, pay careful attention to the lens material and shape. For the most durable, scratch-resistant lens, opt for a mask with transparent polycarbonate. It’s a rugged, shatterproof plastic that resists impact more effectively than most other materials.

Some masks have slightly curved lenses that can distort your underwater vision, which is already limited due to natural ripples in the water. For minimal distortion, it’s best to opt for a flat lens.

Skirt material and color

The skirt is the soft, flexible portion of the mask that creates a watertight seal around your face. The skirt is usually made of rubber, silicone, or PVC. Silicone tends to be the best option because it doesn’t get brittle over time, is chlorine resistant, and usually feels more comfortable against the skin.

It might seem like a minor point, but pay attention to the color of the skirt on any full-face snorkel mask you’re considering. Solid-colors are the most common, but some snorkelers prefer a clear skirt because they feel it improves their peripheral vision.

Watertight valve/dry top

Some full-face snorkel masks have a watertight valve that can make underwater breathing  a little easier, especially for beginners. A watertight valve, or dry top, is automatically activated and closes when you go underwater to make sure that water doesn’t flood the mask. Once you surface, the valve opens to enable you to breathe. You’ll usually pay more for a mask with a watertight valve, but it can keep you from gagging or choking on water as you’re snorkeling.

Viewing angle

Choose a mask that offers a full 180° panoramic view for the best underwater viewing.

Antifogging

There are few things more frustrating than dealing with a fogged up lens when you’re trying to see the underwater sights. Many full-face snorkel masks have an antifog lens to prevent condensation. It’s a good feature to look for if you want to make sure that you get to see everything possible on your adventure.

EXPERT TIP

Full-face snorkel masks usually have a safety valve at the bottom that enables you to quickly drain the mask if water gets inside.


Staff  | BestReviews
EXPERT TIP

If you’re not sure what size mask to buy, it’s usually best to go down a size rather than up.


Staff  | BestReviews
EXPERT TIP

Don’t wear a full-face snorkeling mask if you’re swimming a long distance to get to a new snorkeling spot. The tube doesn’t provide adequate oxygen when you’re exerting yourself, making it harder to breathe inside the mask.


Staff  | BestReviews

Full-face snorkel mask prices

The price of full-face snorkel masks varies based on size, materials, and features. Smaller sizes usually cost less than larger sizes. In general, you can expect to pay between $13 and $120.

Inexpensive: Full-face snorkel masks that have rubber or PVC skirts, lower-quality plastic lenses, and few extra features typically run from $13 to $35.

Mid-range: Full-face snorkel masks with silicone skirts, polycarbonate lenses, and a few extra features typically run from $35 to $70.

Expensive: Full-face snorkel masks that have silicone skirts, polycarbonate lenses, and a variety of extra features, including a camera mount, typically run from $70 to $120.

Full-face snorkel masks work best in calm water because the dry top is designed for horizontal use.

FAQ

Q. Are full-face snorkel masks safe for children?

A. Full-face snorkel masks are often easier for children to use because kids don’t have to get the hang of holding a separate snorkel in their mouth as they swim. However, for safety’s sake, you should always supervise your children when they’re snorkeling. Purchase a high-quality mask, too, so you don’t have to worry about possible leaks that might cause your child to choke.

Q. Can I wear a full-face snorkel mask if I have a beard?

A. It depends on the length of your beard. If you have an especially thick and/or long beard, the hair can affect the way the seal fits on your face, which can lead to leaks. Most manufacturers don’t recommend using a mask with more than a day’s worth of facial hair growth.

Q. How should I clean a full-face snorkel mask?

A. It’s important to keep the mask away from sand. If sand particles get inside the mask, they can scratch the lens or clog the snorkel tube, which will affect the mask’s performance. Rinse the mask immediately after use to dislodge any sand. When you get home, disassemble the mask according to the manufacturer’s instructions and wash the components with water and mild dish soap. Allow the mask to air-dry completely before storing it.

The team that worked on this review
  • Bronwyn
    Bronwyn
    Editor
  • Jennifer
    Jennifer
    Writer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer

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