Everyone who’s been to the beach, lake, or river knows the joys of snorkeling near the water surface. But, breathing through your mouth can be so annoying, and constantly having to keep the air tube inside can get painful after a while.
Thankfully, around 2014 a new design for snorkeling masks was developed that allowed you to breathe through your nose! These full face snorkel masks let you enjoy all the wonders of snorkeling minus the constant pain in your lower jaw.
Since then, their popularity has skyrocketed, and these days full face snorkeling masks have become extremely common. But, just how they work? Is there a way for you to tell which one is the best for you? And, is there anything important you should know before buying?
Well, we did the research for you, and brought you all the important stuff to know before choosing the best full face snorkel mask for yourself!
Full Face Snorkel Masks Need to Know Basics
The first thing you should know is a word of warning. There have been numerous articles suggesting the use of these masks can lead to death due to improper ventilation of CO2. The documented cases suggest that it’s due to the buildup of the gas as the body becomes fatigued, but thus far there has been no direct proof of correlation between the deaths and the masks.
However, this does not mean you shouldn’t be careful while wearing one, always make sure you buy from a reliable brand (and no, price is not indicative of quality).
HEAD/MARES (a well-known diving company) has actually conducted CO2 testing on these through the use of an ANSTI machine and determined that at a calm breathing pace the buildup of Carbon Monoxide is higher than when breathing heavily at a higher level of stress. However, please keep in mind that breathing faster will not help you as the amount of oxygen that comes through the mask might not be enough for your body if you’re hyperventilating.
Still, all the aforementioned are just a few words to the wise of caution. There are plenty of benefits provided by full face snorkel masks that will make them totally worth it. These advantages come in the form of comfortability and ease of use, but let’s list them all first:
To summarize it, these are some serious benefits, as most people who’d be looking into these want to avoid getting water in their faces while swimming and as long as the user has a good seal it won’t be a problem.
The range of movement provided from them, plus the field of view gives them more visibility in order to see everything that’s beneath the water and the lenses won’t fog up thereby blocking your view.
Additionally, the built-in snorkel stays with you even in rougher seas and they’re built to drain in case water does manage to sneak in.
Finally, your jaw won’t get tired and they’re fairly easy to use. But, what about the downsides of using a full face snorkel mask? After all, we all know no product is without its flaws.
Here are Some of Those Disadvantages
These disadvantages might seem trivial to some, but do consider that claustrophobia can be dangerous while in the water and that can cause someone to drown easily if they panic.
The lenses getting scratched up could be seen as something easy to manage, but keep in mind that the masks tend to be expensive, taking proper care of it will let you get more bang for your buck.
Don’t go diving into the water while wearing one as you won’t be able to equalize the pressure without being able to reach your nose.
Finally, you might have trouble storing them in backpacks that are loaded with other supplies for the beach due to their size.
With all the aforementioned being said, is there anything else you should know?
Yeah, always keep water safety fundamentals in mind whenever you’re participating in any activities that include swimming. All of them involve the risk of drowning and using low-quality products can actually increase that risk.
Thankfully, a lot of manufacturers have taken steps to mitigate these risks by improving their masks as time goes on, but that doesn’t mean that every copycat on the market has your safety in their minds. In those cases, it’s up to you to monitor your status and keep yourself in safe by always choosing to buy a mask from reliable brands.
8 Best Full Face Snorkel Masks 2019
A solid all-around mask that offers solid performance, with additional features to keep you safe under the water, the Unigear 180° Snorkel Mask will have your ear canals dry and even allows you to mount a camera.
One of the best parts about this snorkel mask is the great quality of the visor, you’ll find that images are crystal clear, and it will easily adjust to your face thereby preventing or minimizing any potential leaks. The anti-fog design also prevents your view from becoming blurry due to condensation. You’ll appreciate these features as you record your experience without having to lose the use of one of your hands.
However, as with other masks of the same type, these are not designed for diving, and water will seep in if you decide to attempt to do so. Still, its adjustable fold-down snorkel feature will help you keep your face at a comfortable position while floating.
Finally, you’ll find it in an assortment of colors that will suit your tastes, an overall solid purchase and one of our favorites, the Unigear 180° Snorkel Mask will give you a new way to see the beauty of nature.
As a plus you’ll find that it will fit most kids aged eight or older comfortably.
Featuring a polycarbonate lens, and with all the great features you’re looking for in a full face snorkel mask, the Seaview 180° is durable and reliable.
Made with thermoplastic, and skirted with silicone, it will feel comfortable and snug around your face, making a tight seal that feels safe, and doesn’t cause any potential discomfort. You’ll appreciate that feature as you enjoy the view provided by the lens (a whole 180°and don’t worry about magnification as it won’t create any distortions either).
Additionally, if you want to swim for longer distances, feel free to do so with the help of its breathing chamber, a built in fan helps it circulate air that will prevent both fogging, and helps with oxygen circulation.
One of the cooler features has to be the snorkel as it is designed with a valve that shuts the tube if the water gets into it. But, even if water does manage to sneak in, you can simply eliminate it by using the purge valve at the bottom without having to even remove your mask.
One caveat is that polycarbonate is easily scratched (which requires you to care for the masks properly to avoid such damage). Thankfully, it’s coated with a scratch-resistant layer that can mitigate some potential scratches.
Traveling with this mask is also easy as you can remove the snorkeling tube to reduce the amount of space taken. Finally, it’s available in a variety of colors!
A solid purchase and another great contender for our list, the Seaview 180° is a fantastic full face snorkel mask.
Easier breathing for a greater time underwater, the Greatever Snorkel Mask is great!
This mask is extremely beginner friendly, and most kids will have no problem using it thanks to its easy breathing design. The snorkel is also designed to stop water from getting into your tube and can even be folded.
Anti-fogging means that the lenses will not fog up regardless of condensation created from your breaths by separating the breathing chamber from the rest of the mask! You’ll once again appreciate this feature thanks to its camera mount that allows you to record everything you see if you install a GoPro.
Available in a variety of colors, and featuring a lifetime warranty, the Greatever is a solid purchase for any enthusiast looking to get a full face snorkel mask for themselves or their kids.
You won’t be disappointed by the cool design on the DIVELUX snorkel mask. But, appearances aren’t everything, everyone knows how important it is to have substance and the DIVELUX doesn’t disappoint in this department either. It has all the features you want from a full face snorkel mask, but it also comes packaged with a few extras.
You’ll be able to breathe naturally without worrying about fogging your lenses as the air outlet valve does its best to prevent condensation. The lens is also made out of polycarbonate plastic which is durable and extremely clear, but can suffer from scratching. This is all complemented by 180 degree range of view.
But, what about the snorkeling tube? Well, it’s designed to keep water out so you can continue swimming even if the seas are rough, and if water were to sneak in, then just purge it.
The DIVELUX’s main calling though is the ability to dive down to around ten feet in depth without having to worry about losing your breath!
Still, the best part about the DIVELUX has to be the low cost as it is one of the most economical ones in the market, and is great for kids (and adults) who want to try one out without breaking their piggy bank.
You’ll be happy to take a look at the Ocean Reef Aria, thanks to its ease of use and comfortable fit. The Ocean Reef is definitely one of the best available, and we couldn’t recommend it more!
A larger number of users have vouched for how comfortable the Ocean Reef Aria feels, and it can be worn for prolonged periods of time without causing you any discomfort. Additionally, it’s designed to be anti-fog and will give you with a clear view of what you’ll be recording with your camera thanks to its crystal clear lens.
But, not only is the Ocean Reef comfy and clear, it’s also meant to give provide you with outstanding airflow, allowing you to breathe comfortably while wearing it, even if the waters are rough that particular day.
Available in a number of colors, the Ocean Reef Aria is a great full face snorkel mask for beginners and experts alike.
One of the best products of its kind in the market, the TriMagic provides you with everything you expect from a high-end full face snorkel mask and more!
Its tight fit, ensures you have a great seal on your face, while feeling safe in the water. You’ll find that its lens is also fantastic providing you with a clear image of your surroundings, and letting you see everything you’ll want to record if you install a camera.
The anti-fog mechanism will also prevent you from having your screen fog up, providing you with an even better view. But, if you’re more worried about having water enter your breathing chamber, fear not as the tube is designed to keep the water out (as long as you don’t start freediving under the water of course).
Great for both kids and adults, the Trimagic Full Face Snorkel Mask is a great choice for any snorkeling enthusiast!
Another solid product for a low price the AQUA A DIVE SPORTS Snorkel Mask has all the features you want without making your wallet suffer.
Easy to use and adjust to your face you’ll find yourself swimming comfortably while you peacefully gaze down the at the ocean life thanks to its easy breathe design. Don’t worry about water coming either as it also features a water stopper in the tube to prevent it from sneaking in on you while swimming if wild waters.
Its 180 degree field-of-view also means nothing will sneak by you as you swim. Couple the lens with an anti-fog mechanism and you’ll be avoiding condensation or fogging with ease.
You might be asking yourself, if it offers anything different that the other solid products on this list, and it does! It’s cheaper than most for the quality it provides!
While it might be low on the list, the AQUAEGIS Full Face Snorkel Mask is by no means a slouch. This bad boy is designed to help you breathe easily, whether that is through your nose or mouse as you swim.
Unlike other full face snorkel masks this one has a larger tube to provide you with more air than others, and helps you keep your breathing at ease. A nose equalizer and ear plugs will also keep your ear canal safe and avoid potential pain.
Designed to adjust nicely to your back, you’ll also notice that it’s meant to prevent fogging and leaks thanks to the way it contorts to your face and the tube is even built with a system that can keep water out of it if you were to dive. A purge valve near the chin will also help you remove any water that manages to sneak in!
Basically, you’ll get the full package with this mask and it is definitely a solid purchase for anyone who wants to try their hand at full face mask snorkeling!
How to Snorkel With a Full Face Snorkel Mask
Full Face Snorkel Mask FAQs
Should I buy one for my child?
You’ll find that children often do better using these types of masks than the regular one. Regular masks (with the separate tube) can be difficult for children to use as they have a harder time keeping the snorkel safely in their mouths.
However, does that mean you should go out and buy one of these and let your kid roam free? No, it doesn’t, when it comes to kids never sacrifice quality over price, get the best one you can afford and is marketed towards children, also, always keep an eye out while they’re playing in the water. Don’t ever leave children unsupervised.
Should I wear water fins while using a full face snorkel mask?
Water fins help minimize the exertion of your legs while swimming, and while they’re completely optional, it certainly won’t hurt to wear some.
Are these masks safer than other masks?
Yes and no, they carry their own set of risks with them, but overall they’re fairly comfortable to use and can provide a sense of security as long as there is a tight seal. You’ll always want to keep your physical condition in mind whenever you use them.
However, you do run a different risk to the regular ones which is the CO2 poisoning that might or might not be correlated to the use of these masks. Just make sure you take regular breaks and don’t overexert yourself while using it.
These would be great for exercise, should I use it while doing laps?
No! Don’t ever use these masks for practicing any sort of exercise or intense energy sport. You can’t get the amount of oxygen your lungs need while using it and you run the risk of getting CO2 poisoned as mentioned above.
How do you clean a full face snorkel mask?
First of all, keep them away from any abrasives such as sand that can clog up your tube or scratch the visor. Always wash it off with clean water and follow the user’s guide pamphlet (or manual) to wash the components and disassemble it properly. Allow it to air dry after washing it with water and soap. Finally, store it in a safe place away from anything that might break it.
Are full face snorkel mask compatible with beards?
Facial hair such as beards can affect the performance of a full face snorkel masks depending on its length and thickness. You’ll find that manufacturers don’t recommend their use if you have anything past a day’s worth of growth. But, also keep in mind that you can adjust them for a tighter seal.
Does the price of the mask correlate to its quality?
This is a difficult question, as we’ve come to associate higher prices with better quality products. But, the reality is that the prices for full face snorkel masks are all over the place. You might find that some of the mid-range prices actually offer better features than some of the more expensive ones. Ultimately, it’s up to you to read up on them and decide which one you want best, but never assume that just because it costs more it’s better.
Buying a breathing mask is more about comfort and utility than anything. Certainly, you could go out there and buy a regular snorkeling mask, but they don’t provide the luxury and coziness of a full face snorkel mask.
As far as the risk, any activity involving water carries its own set of risks and full face snorkeling is no different. Just pay attention to your body, keep yourself alert, and take breaks to allow any potential buildup to go away. Always buy products from recognized manufacturers, and consider your safety before anything else.
Overall, going snorkeling with a full face mask is awesome; you’ll score some amazing sights, feel at ease with the water, and get to see the underwater in a whole new way thanks to their ample field of view!