My Review Of 2016’s 3 Best Full-Face Snorkel Masks
During a recent cruise to the Bahamas with my wife, we decided to sign up for a snorkeling trip. We thought it would be a great way to explore the beauty of the ocean and experience something we had never done before.
We were a little nervous, as we are not certified SCUBA divers. Our guide assured us that folks of every age snorkel with no experience, other than knowing how to swim. We were excited to get started, and grabbed our gear and headed out to the ocean.
Our guide gave us the standard face mask and snorkel, and showed us how to use each. We set out with our equipment, but both found the mouthpiece rather cumbersome, and my wife found it rather difficult to breathe out of the tube while her face was under water. We had a continual problem with the SCUBA masks steaming up, which was aggravating, as we had to surface and take the mask off to clear it.
Our guide, being a professional diver, saw our dilemma and suggested we try one of the new full face snorkel masks. We both laughed at the design, resembling a firefighter’s mask, or something one would wear on their way to the Space Station.
Triboard Easybreath Full Face Snorkel Mask
The mask we both tried was a new design called the Tribord Easybreath mask. We both found it comfortable, and headed to the water.
The first thing we noticed was how much easier it was to breathe with our faces in the water. We didn’t feel panicked and in fact, it was almost like breathing on land. Since I have a mustache, I found it fit better than the traditional mask, and any water that came in was quickly drained through a cool valve on the chin.
Taking photos while under water was a dream, as the large viewing window did not obstruct the camera. I was able to take some great underwater shots. I tried to dive deeper under the water, but found it was like wearing a giant beach ball on my head. It was rather difficult to dive, as the mask was so buoyant, but that was not a problem, as my wife and I were enjoying the view from the surface.
My wife and I had a spectacular first experience snorkeling thanks to our guide, and his recommendation of the full face snorkeling mask. We had so much fun in fact, we came back home and did some more research on snorkeling masks so we could purchase our own for our new-found hobby.
We were able to find a SCUBA shop near our home, so we went there to see if we could try out some of the other masks. Much to our surprise, they had a small, indoor pool in which we could “try before you buy.” Here is what we found during our review.
- Durable, quality construction
- Allows you to breath like being on the surface
- Comfortable straps
- Huge field of view
- If water enters the mask, it drains on its own
- Cannot be used for diving due to its buoyancy
- Small children may find it too bulky
While we were at the dive shop, we were able to try out a couple other snorkeling masks, so we could pick out the one that best suited our needs.
The Seaview 180 Degree Snorkeling Mask
This is another great full face snorkeling mask. My wife and I both enjoyed using this one in the pool. It was lightweight, easy to wear and comfortable.
We were both impressed by the large viewing area offered by the mask. It was like we were not wearing any type of mask. Breathing under water was a little more difficult than with the Tribord mask, but still relatively easy.
The dive shop said it was available in three different colors. My wife liked the pink and thought it would be great for ocean snorkeling, as it is highly visible, and easy to spot from a passing boat.
We did find it fogged up a bit, which was more of a minor hindrance than a problem. It should be eliminated by using some anti-fog spray.
Here is a quick video demonstrating how to put the Seaview Full Face Snorkel Mask on, if you’re just using it for the first time.
Another thing we liked about this mask was the ability to mount an underwater camera to the top of the mask. We did find the mount rather flimsy, and would be cautious using it with an expensive camera.
Like most other full face snorkeling masks, it is quite buoyant, and difficult to dive under the water, but we did rank it close with the Tribord for first place.
- Generous 180 degree viewing window
- Comfortable fit with many sizes to fit most
- Variety of colors available
- Fogged up while wearing
- Too buoyant to dive below surface
- Camera mount rather flimsy
Ocean Face Aria Full Face Mask
The dive shop saw our interest in the full face snorkeling masks, and introduced us to a brand new design that had not hit the market yet.
The Ocean Reef Aria Full-Face Snorkeling Mask looked great right out of the box. It had a similar look and feel as the other full face masks, however, it felt like it was a bit more durable. Thus, the increased price when compared to similar masks.
Since it was only available in a large size, my wife was unable to try it out. I loved the feel of it on my face.The dive shop owner, who has a full beard, said he was able to wear it with absolutely no leakage, despite his beard.
I wore this mask in and out of the water, and there was no fogging to speak of. It too had a large, 180 degree viewing area, and kept the water outside the mask, where it belonged.
Breathing seemed to be easier to do than with the other masks. It felt natural, and eased my mind knowing that I was safe and able to breath comfortably under the water. Should water enter the mask, it was easy to use the valve to clear the water once I surfaced.
The mask was quite buoyant, but I was able to dive under the water for short periods before it became too much of a chore to fight against the mask’s desire to surface.
There was no camera mount on the mask, which was not a problem for me, as I rarely take underwater photos.
If I had to choose between the three masks, I would go with the Ocean Reef Aria Full Face just because of its overall look and feel.
- Lightweight and comfortable
- Nice design and large viewing window
- Valve to flush out water that may enter
- Good for people with facial hair
- More expensive than other similar masks
- Limited size selection
- No camera mount
We had a great experience trying these masks out. If you are new to snorkeling, or even if you are a seasoned pro, you will enjoy snorkeling with any of these full face masks.