A scuba mask is an essential part of any diving kit. It allows you to see underwater, where the naked eye can’t otherwise focus. It provides a barrier between your eyes and the water around you without compromising visibility.
The best scuba masks fit snugly without feeling uncomfortable. They provide clear, unimpeded views of your surroundings, so it feels like you aren’t wearing a mask at all!
However, there are a lot of shoddy products out there.
There are clunky models which create drag and buckle under water pressure, and flimsy models which tear easily and can’t hold a seal. It’s tricky to find that ideal middle ground where your mask seals securely, but comfortably - with a low profile that never feels too tight.
In this guide, we’ve put together in-depth reviews for six fantastic options. We’ll talk you through why we think they’re better than the competition, and help you decide which is ideal for you! We’ve also written a handy guide on How To Choose The Best Diving Mask.
In This Guide
- Best Dive Mask 2019 Reviews
- Which is the Best Diving Mask for You?
- How to Choose the Best Scuba Mask
Best Dive Mask 2019 Reviews
|1. Cressi Air|
|2. Cressi F1|
Sleek & Low Profile
|3. Cressi Ranger|
Great for Frequent Users
|4. Kraken Aquatics|
|5. Cressi Panoramic|
Better Peripheral Vision
|6. Promate RX Prescription Snorkeling Mask|
Compatible with Vision Problems
|7. Cressi Ondina|
Real Deal for Kids
|8. Cressi Matrix|
Wider Vision but with Slightly Lesser Visibility
1. Cressi Air
The Cressi Air is our all-time favorite dive mask. It’s an ultra-low profile, close-fitting option that’ll satisfy the most advanced divers. We love the specially modified materials, which allow for sleek curvature with optimal hydrodynamics and visuals at the same time!
The Air maximizes peripheral vision even more than the Matrix, and it manages an even lower overall volume. If you’re a technical or advanced diver who wants the best on the market, get this one!
This top-of-the-line Cressi mask builds on the company’s superb Nano model. We used to recommend the Nano in this top spot, but the Air improves on the design substantially!
For this model, Cressi have used a special construction technique taken from their fin manufacturing process. They’ve managed to joint the silicone skirt to the lens frame without interrupting the curvature or continuity of the mask at all! Thanks to that, it fits even closer to the face, with an even lower volume! So, you get to make the most of the wide windows.
All in all, this thing provides the best underwater visibility of anything we’ve reviewed!
You’ll definitely notice it looking to the sides. Peripheral vision is even better than you get with the Matrix or Panorama. We’d estimate that it’s about a 5-degree improvement over the Matrix (the next best thing).
It seals very well, without getting uncomfortable. One of the small design touches you appreciate over extended use is the structural silicone component under the front of the skirt. It’s nice and cushioned, but still fits tightly. That’s one of the best things about silicone compared to rigid materials. It can provide some structure while retaining enough flexibility to glom onto different faces tightly!
It comes with a case.
While we think it’s the cleverest, best-made mask on the market, nothing’s foolproof. There will be some folks who simply don’t find it comfortable, or who struggle to get a tight seal with the shape of the frame. That’s true of anything, at any price. So, be sure you have free returns when you buy, or check the Air out in person before ordering online!
It’s pretty expensive. The Air is also almost certainly overkill for snorkelers, unless you’re filming underwater. It’s really suited more to technical and advanced divers.
2. Cressi F1
The F1 is one of our all-time favorite diving masks. It’s smartly designed, well-made, and affordably-priced. We like the frameless design because it fits close to the face, and eliminates a lot of the bulk and drag from bigger models. This is a sleek, refined choice that’s suitable for all kinds of dives.
It’s frameless. That design tweak has a number of benefits. By eliminating the frame, Cressi has greatly reduced the volume of it.
That improves its performance in the water, since it doesn’t create nearly as much drag! It also makes clearing it easier, since there’s far less space inside for water to fill.
Our favorite benefit of frameless models is that the viewing window fits right up close to your face.
That gives you a clear picture with no angles or other optical disturbances between your eyes, the glass, and your surroundings. It’s also more flexible, which makes for a better-fitting product.
Frameless models also perform better at lower depths, since there’s less mask for water pressure to push against.
They’re far less likely to collapse or crumple. That makes the F1 an excellent choice for more advanced divers!
The super flexible skirt around the window is very adaptable. As a result, previous buyers said it fit a huge range of faces, from larger adults to young kids. It’s nice that it manages to be so versatile without needing as much bulk as the Kraken.
Aside from the viewing window and the buckles, the F1 is all silicone. It’s much less rubbery and plasticky feeling than the Kraken, which isn’t pure silicone. Previous buyers said it felt.
The viewing window is made from tempered glass, like the Kraken.
The best part about the F1’s construction is that it’s all made in Italy. That’s a sure sign of better quality control, higher quality materials, and superior quality overall. It’s also covered by a 2-year warranty. That warranty coverage one of the best perks of buying equipment from a real dive company. They stand by their goods!
The quick-adjust buckles have a ratchet system for helping you get the right fit. They also have a push-button feature for releasing the straps easily. Previous buyers found the straps and adjustment features much easier to use than the Kraken.
It comes in half a dozen different color options, whereas the Kraken just comes in black.
This one provides tremendous value. For just a few dollars more than the Kraken, it provides superior Italian construction quality, a smarter, more streamlined design, and excellent warranty coverage. We think it makes an excellent all-around companion for all your water activities!
As with any model, some previous buyers had issues with fogging. They recommended a range of solutions, from rubbing spit on the lens to washing it with shampoo. Unlike the Kraken, they said that once they’d treated the lens successfully, they didn’t have any fogging problems again.
Some buyers didn’t like the low profile design. They said it felt like it was squished up to their face. If you’re the sort of person who likes more of a gap between your face and the viewing window, the F1 probably isn’t for you.
A few buyers had issues with leaking. As with any model, there are going to be some buyers who just can’t get a good seal.
We found a few reports of straps breaking off. However, the vast majority of buyers didn’t have any problems. In any case, breakages would be covered under the warranty.
The Cressi Ranger is one of the most comfortable models we’ve ever reviewed.
It’s primarily a snorkeling mask, but it’s an excellent choice for casual diving as well. If you’re more of a sightseer than a technical diver, this is a great option for you. The Ranger is comfortable enough to wear for multi-hour snorkeling jaunts, and it keeps a seal well enough to suit casual divers. An excellent all-day choice!
It’s extremely comfortable. The Ranger has a thick silicone skirt that’s been specially designed to seal over virtually any face. It’s wide, soft, and feathered at the edges to keep water out while you’re in the water.
The feathered edge is especially effective at keeping water out, since it has two sealable layers instead of one. Plus, all that skirt gives you a very nice amount of cushion between the frame and your face.
The Ranger doesn’t have the wraparound lens structure like the Panoramic, but its two main lenses have a wide teardrop shape that provides exceptional visibility.
The elongated shape of the window is ideal for looking underneath you as you snorkel, and it gives you plenty of visibility around you as you dive. Since it doesn’t have the side lens panels, it’s actually a lower volume mask than the Panoramic.
The nose-piece has an easy-access pocket which you can use to equalize pressure in your ears.
Like the Panoramic, it has a wide, split strap at the back. It fits securely over the curve of your head, so there’s no slipping, sliding, or breaking of the seal while you’re swimming. The buckles on the strap use the same ratchet adjustment system as the other Cressi models we’ve reviewed, and they also swivel at the joint to provide a range of motion. Plus, there are quick-release buttons on each buckle.
There are 8 color options to choose from. These come in either black or clear silicone, with contrasting bezels around the frame.
Like the other Cressis, the Ranger is made in Italy and covered by a 2-year warranty.
Previous buyers overwhelmingly loved the Ranger! They said it felt exceptionally comfortable, and provided a clear, crisp view for all their aquatic adventures.
Above all, they said that the quality of the materials felt superior to other brands they had used before. They said that the silicone was soft, the glass was rugged, and the buckles and clasps were secure.
Just like we’ve seen with all our other recommendations, you’ll have to take care to wash the lenses carefully before you take the Ranger in the water. Previous buyers stressed that it might take a few tries, but once you clean it thoroughly, you won’t have any more fogging issues.
It’s not meant for intense scuba diving. If you’re going to be diving beyond a casual depth, the thicker skirt on this model might buckle, and break the seal. This is primarily a snorkeling mask, with some basic diving compatibility.
Our least expensive recommendation comes from Kraken Aquatics. It’s a simple, no-nonsense diver with a tempered glass viewing window and a silicone mask and frame. That’s the same basic design as even the most expensive models!
We like the Kraken because the wide, thick skirt can find a seal on nearly any face. It’s a low-cost solution for people interested in snorkeling, water sports, or even recreational diving!
The lens is a one-piece design, with no central divider to obstruct your view. It provides a wide, unimpeded picture of your surroundings. Even though it’s the cheapest of our recommendations, it’s made just as sturdily as the pricier options!
The viewing window is made from tempered glass, which is scratch- and shatter-resistant.
That’s super important for diving, and for durability in general.
It’s easy to adjust, and to fit to your own head. There are quick-release ratchets at both sides of it. We like that you can adjust them easily with one hand.
The other great feature on the strap is that it’s split in the back. That gap allows both pieces of the strap to fit around the natural curve of your head, without slipping off easily.
It has a nice wide skirt around the lens. It’s made entirely from silicone, and it’s thick enough to provide decent cushioning for your face, as well as creating a seal.
Previous buyers said it fit very comfortably, without leaving lines or feeling too tight. We like it because it’s essentially a big, cushy suction cup.
Overall, previous buyers said the Kraken’s comfort level and effectiveness at keeping water out far belied its price.
Many found that while they had tried both cheaper and more expensive models in the past, the Kraken fit the best and sealed easiest. That’s probably thanks to the sheer size of the skirt on this one, which provides lots of surface area to adapt to your face’s shape.
Some previous buyers had issues with the Kraken fogging up. They said that despite treating it with toothpaste (as recommended in the manual), shampoo, and other solutions, it still fogged on occasion. You’ll find that cheaper models like the Kraken usually have the most problems with fogging.
Overall, while previous buyers said they were impressed by the Kraken for the price, they thought it felt cheaper than some nicer models. They said the silicone parts felt more plasticky, and that the snorkel clip was a bit awkward.
Overall, it’s certainly a bit less refined than our other choices. It also doesn’t have as reputable materials.
It won’t fit every face.
The frame on this model isn’t high-volume, but it’s certainly not the slimmest option out there. If you’re doing any advanced or technical diving, the pressure at those depths might be a problem.
The Cressi Panoramic provides some extra peripheral vision and light translation over the F1. It’s one of the best choices for sheer visibility. Thanks to the 4-lens design and molded fit.
It actually wraps around your head slightly to give you a full view of your surroundings, without as much shadowing.
We recommend it to recreational divers and snorkelers who want a big view in a small package.
The 4-lens design lives up to the name. The Panoramic has two front lenses, like a pair of goggles. They’re joined in the middle by a seam that’s joined in such a way as to be barely noticeable.
There are also two side lenses, parallel to the sides of your head. We like the squared-off corner arrangement because it provides a true perspective on your surroundings! Many wraparound models have curved lenses, which can make things look a bit fish-eyed.
The 4 lenses work together to give you a lot more peripheral vision than the Kraken or the F1. We like the wraparound design for a few reasons:
- First and foremost, it lets you see your surroundings to the sides, and keep an eye out for other swimmers or incoming aquatic life.
- Second, it allows a lot more light in than the F1 can provide. Overall, it feels very open and unrestricted. You feel like you’re part of the ocean instead of looking in through a window!
All the lenses are made from tempered glass, like our other recommendations.
While the Panoramic isn’t quite as sleek at the F1, it uses a slimmed-down frame to provide lightweight, low-volume structure. As with the F1, the Panoramic’s skirt is made from 100% silicone, for a comfortable but secure seal.
Previous buyers said they had great success with getting a seal on their face. Even buyers with smaller framed faces had no issues fitting the Panoramic to their heads.
Like the F1, the panoramic has a silicone strap with ratchet adjustments and a quick button release. We prefer the Panoramic’s strap because it’s both split and widened. That allows it to fit much more securely on the back of your head, without slipping out of position.
It’s made completely in Italy, and it’s covered by a two year warranty. The Panoramic is just as well-made as the F1, and previous buyers reported that they didn’t have any issues with the strap breaking.
Overall, previous buyers said this one provided some of the best views they’d ever seen through any diving mask, period. They found it comfortable, secure, and very well made. What more could you want?
As with our other recommendations, a few isolated buyers couldn’t quite get a proper seal.
Some buyers didn’t like the split-lens design. They said that the side panels and front panels were confusing and distorting. However, most people said that they preferred the split-corner design to a rounded bubble lens.
Again, some buyers needed to treat the lenses to get rid of fogging problems. We’ve tried to stress that you’ll have to clean down the lens on any new mask, but some buyers were disappointed that the Panoramic wasn’t fog-free out of the box.
It’s a bit bulkier than the F1. If you’re doing lots of deep, technical dives, this one might not perform as well as a frameless model under pressure.
This mask looks a lot like the rest of our recommendations. It’s low-profile, low-volume, and it’s made from tempered glass and silicone. It has hinged, adjustable straps, and a flexible nose pocket for helping you equalize your mask’s pressure on a dive.
We like the Promate because it’s almost infinitely compatible with vision problems.
You can get these in 20 different variations of nearsighted adjustment, from 1-10, with half-sizes available.
Plus, you can even order one with two different lenses in the same mask–at no extra cost! Previous buyers said this one fit just like a typical diving mask. It sealed easily, fit comfortably, and stayed in place during dives. If you have vision issues, try this one!
Snorkeling with kids is a great time, but it can be stressful or even dangerous if you don’t have the right equipment. Kids’ faces are smaller than adults’, which means that most adult masks simply won’t fit on young ones.
At the other end of the spectrum, lots of kids’ masks are cheap, toy models which are built with flimsy materials. They might be a bargain, but they’re nowhere near as safe as a silicone and safety glass model.
When you’re bringing kids on your next snorkeling adventure, make sure they’ve got a real mask, made with the right materials, and sized correctly for their face.
Our current favorite choice for kids is this Cressi Ondina. It’s the real deal, just sized down to suit smaller heads.
The Ondina is made just like Cressi’s full-size models. It has a safety glass lens, and a 100% silicone skirt and strap. The strap is split wide at the back, to make sure it never slips or loosens in the water. It’s adjustable, with ratcheting buckles at either side.
We especially like the Ondina because it has a smaller skirt without sacrificing the size of the viewing window. The frame actually extends out from the skirt in every direction, which is the opposite of normal mask designs. The result is lots of visibility in a small package.
Unlike other kids’ masks, this one is covered by a full 2-year warranty. If you’re shopping for your family vacation, the Ondina is an essential part of your kit. It’ll fit kids 3 years and older.
The Cressi Matrix has one of the best view-to-size ratios we’ve ever seen! It’s a compact option that uses nearly all of its surface area to give you wide, unimpeded views of your surroundings. Think of it as an ultra-slim version of the Ranger.
We love the extended teardrop lenses, which give you optimal visibility for tracking and adjusting your dive equipment. This is a real divers’ mask which still won’t break the bank.
It makes full use of its size. While other models take up a lot of space on the frame or the skirt, the Matrix uses nearly all of its surface area for the lenses.
They’re a patented Cressi design which inverts the usual teardrop shape. That gives you lots of downward visibility, which is ideal for scuba divers. You’ll be able to keep an eye on your equipment at a glance, without having to move your head.
Both lenses are raked inwards.
That allows them to sit closer to the eyes, which increases peripheral visibility in all directions.
The angle of the lenses alone improves visibility by 30%! It almost entirely eliminates the edges of the mask from your field of vision while you’re in the water.
This is a patented design, so you won’t find angled lenses like these on competitors’ models. We’re supremely impressed by the wide view on the Matrix. It’s really a diver’s dream!
The skirt and edges of the Matrix have been redesigned for even better sealing than the Panoramic, Ranger or F1. They have a special wide seal strip, and a rubber grip where it meets your forehead. The overall effect is a mask that fits more snugly and securely without compromising comfort.
The combination of the redesigned skirt, angled lenses, and compact frame makes this one of the lowest-volume options on the market.
It’s ideal for free-diving, as well as advanced or technical diving expeditions. You’ll have practically no resistance with this one, since it fits so close to the face. Plus, it can withstand any pressure because there’s no thick skirt to fold or crumple.
The molding around the frame has a rubber grip, so it’s easier to manipulate in the water. You can even adjust it with gloves on.
It’s available in an all-black design, or one of 6 clear options with brightly colored frames.
The buckles are built into the frame to save space and make adjustments more precise. The back strap also fits wider on the back of the head than the other Cressis we’ve looked at.
Just like the other Cressis, it’s made in Italy from tempered glass and silicone. It’s covered by a 2-year warranty.
While it’s not the most expensive model on the market, it is twice the price of our cheapest recommendations.
Some users with smaller faces had issues with leaky edges. While most of them didn’t have any serious issues, a few buyers said they sometimes noticed a bit of a trickle at the sides of it.
This one’s probably not a good choice for people who have smaller than average faces.
One problem lots of new divers run into is the fact that most diving masks aren’t designed to work well with people who have vision issues. That means you’re stuck wearing contacts (which are unsafe underwater), or dealing with fuzzy vision.
Thankfully, you don’t have to muddle through your dive without seeing at 100%! There are a few options on the market for people with prescription eyewear needs, and we’ve been going through them all to see how they stack up.
Which is the Best Diving Mask for You?
The Kraken is the cheapest mask here, and it’s the clear choice for people who are on a tight budget.
Even though it’s the least expensive of our recommendations, it’s still made with a tempered glass lens and a silicone trim.
We’re especially impressed by how well it fits a variety of facial structures.
However, it’s a bit bulky for advanced diving, and it’s not as refined or durable as our other recommendations.
The Cressi F1 only costs a few dollars more than the Kraken, and it provides a pretty big upgrade in quality. This one’s made in Italy, and the low profile design makes much better use of its size than the Kraken.
It’s also guaranteed to last for two years, whereas the Kraken doesn’t have any warranty at all.
We like the F1 because it’s sleek and low-profile — perfect for divers on a budget who don’t want to skimp on function! We highly recommend it to any buyers looking for a deal who don’t mind spending a couple dollars extra. It’s the smarter investment for the long term.
The Cressi Panoramic is a great choice for people who want a low-profile mask with some extra visibility. It provides much better peripheral vision than the Kraken or F1, without adding much bulk to the design.
It’s a good choice for divers who want to be able to look around a bit more while they’re underwater. While it’s not as sleek or low-volume as the F1, it simply gives you more to look at.
The Cressi Ranger is our top recommendation to people who do lots of snorkeling, with a few occasional dives. It’s the most comfortable mask here, thanks to the wide silicone skirt and modified mask shape.
It also has wide teardrop lenses to give it the perfect viewing range for snorkeling.
We think it’s perfect for long snorkeling trips, where other masks might get uncomfortable.
It’s a bit too bulky for deep dives, but it can handle the average recreational scuba trip easily.
If you’re a serious diver, the Cressi Matrix is our least expensive recommendation to you.
It’s a low-profile winner with angled lenses that provide some phenomenal views with a much wider field of vision than any of our cheaper recommendations. It’s an excellent choice for the advanced scuba diver.
On the downside, it’s not quite as low-volume as the Aqua Lung, and it offers slightly less visibility. With that said, it’s covered by a two-year warranty, which makes the Matrix a safer buy over the long term.
The Cressi Air is even better than the Matrix in terms of its visibility-to-size ratio.
We’re recommending it as our ultimate pick for advanced, technical divers, and everyone else who simply wants the best diving mask available. It’s low-volume, efficient, and smartly-designed.
We’ve weighed up all the different products on the market and we’ve come to the conclusion that the best diving mask of all is the Cressi Air thanks to its clever design and maximized peripheral vision.
Compare on: House of Scuba
How to Choose the Best Scuba Mask
Consider your budget:
The difference between the cheap models and the more expensive options is the quality of those materials.
The more costly the mask, the more resilient the glass will be, and the more safety standards it’ll be rated to meet.
Likewise, nicer masks use higher-quality silicone. It seals more securely, fits more comfortably, and is less likely to have chemical odors.
In terms of the overall design of your mask, you’ll pay more for smarter engineering.
That means that the cheaper options are a bit bulkier, and have more drag in the water.
A bulkier model means you’ll see the frame more around the edges of your vision, and it’ll be more likely to flood in deep water.
You’ll find that the sleeker and lower-volume the mask, the more it’ll cost. Design perks like angled lenses and frameless skirts, which help improve visibility and hydrodynamics, will raise the cost, as well.
Think about durability:
As we’ve said, the vast majority of masks are made primarily from silicone and tempered glass. So, when you’re comparing models, you’ll want to look at the quality and reliability of the specific materials used.
Make sure the glass is tempered safety glass, with a specific safety rating in the listing.
We’ve gone out of our way to make sure all our recommendations are up to the latest safety standards.
Looking at standards is an important way to verify that a mask is safe under deep water pressure. It’s also a good step to take in ensuring that your mask won’t shatter if you drop it.
When you’re thinking about the specific silicone used in a given mask, make sure it says it’s 100% silicone, so you know the manufacturer hasn’t mixed cheaper plastics into the material.
One easy way to judge quality is to look at the country of origin.
This isn’t a foolproof system, but as a general rule, you’ll see better quality control and superior materials in masks that are made in Europe, rather than China. These brands are also more likely to offer warranty coverage on their products.
Know your face:
The trickiest thing about choosing a mask is judging which one will best fit your face.
The most important thing to think about is whether your face is on the larger or smaller end of the spectrum. If you’ve got a facial structure that’s right in the middle, you’ll have the easiest time shopping.
Think about your own preferences, as well.
Make sure you know how you like your mask to fit, whether you want it far from your eyes, or up close and tight to your face.
Remember that just because a mask fit well for people with similar faces, every facial structure is slightly different.
Some masks just might not fit your face, no matter how much you adjust them. That’s why we recommend making sure you can return your new mask for free, if you realize it’s not quite right for you.
Consider your activity level:
If you’re buying a mask primarily for snorkeling, we recommend one of our cheaper recommendations. While diving requires a low-volume masks, snorkelers can get away with a larger (less expensive mask).
Larger masks often give you a bigger viewing window anyway. After all, sightseeing is the whole point of snorkeling.
Look for a mask with big windows and lots of light transmission. Clear frames are ideal, because looking down and glancing light through the edges of the mask will help give you more visibility.
Snorkelers should also make sure the mask is comfortable enough for multiple hours in the water.
One of the reasons we recommend a larger mask for snorkelers is that these models tend to have bigger, softer skirts which fit more comfortably for long jaunts. Look for thick, soft silicone which seals securely without pressing into your face or feeling too intrusive.
If you’re a casual diver, you’ll also be fine with a less expensive mask.
Unlike snorkelers, though, you should start to think about volume. It’s not as important as it would be for a technical diver, but any extra bulk underwater will be more awkward and cumbersome the deeper you dive. Look for a mid-size to lower-volume mask which can handle some depth.
If you’re a more adventurous recreational diver, you’ll want to pay lots of attention to volume.
Look for models with compact, thin frames or frameless skirts. The more bulk, the more water pressure will push a mask into your face. That can buckle thicker silicone skirts, breaking the seal and flooding your mask.
If you’re an advanced, technical, or free diver, you’ll want to look for the lowest volume mask you can find. Every bit of drag matters at advanced depths, so go for an ultra-low volume mask.
Look for something with angled or inset lenses, which allow the viewing windows to sit practically on top of your eyeballs. These models will fit more like a latex Halloween mask than a pair of safety goggles.
Angled or inset lenses increase the viewing area significantly, and usually give you such a wide field of vision that you won’t see the edges of the mask at all.
The best silicone skirts for advanced dives have feathered or split edges, which create a double suction seal.
Make sure you’ve got lots of downward visibility, so your equipment is never far from view. We prefer teardrop-shaped lenses, which allow you to check your gauges and your computer at a glance.
You’ll also need some very flexible straps and precise adjustment buckles to be sure you’ve got a secure fit. You can’t afford to have a mask flood at depth, so get something that fits perfectly.
We put our heads together and compiled our collective diving expertise to come up with this guide to the best scuba masks out there today! We included our personal favorites, as well as some of the most popular, well-rated options on the market.
We consulted other review experts, and we took a comprehensive survey of feedback from previous buyers, to see how our recommendations performed over the long term.