Freediving has increased in popularity over the past decade. On the one hand, it allows you to get a better look at amazing reefs and ocean life than you would snorkeling.
On the other hand, you don’t need the same level of training as you would when scuba diving. There is also much less equipment needed. Usually, a mask and set of fins and your good to go. We’re going to talk about freediving masks today to help you get started.
We’ll go over what you should look for in a mask and what the best freediving masks on the market are. To close it out, we’ll look at some final tips for freediving mask maintenance.
Best Freediving Masks
What Should I Look For In A Freediving Mask?
Buying a freediving mask isn’t too complex. Masks, whether used for scuba diving, spearfishing, or freediving, are quite simple. There aren’t too many moving parts or other features you have to worry about.
But, you should know that not all masks are made equal. What works for scuba diving or snorkeling may not work for freediving. Lets, take a look at the primary considerations you should have when buying a new freediving mask:
This is the total amount of air which is present in the mask when you put it on. This is important because the more air trapped between your face and the inside of the mask, the greater the chance of a mask squeeze.
If you’ve ever been scuba diving and experienced a painful feeling around your mask, that was a mask squeeze. It is caused when the pressure inside the mask becomes unequal to that outside of it. The mask then pushes inwards and squeezes around your face which can become quite painful.
The solution for this is to equalize the air pressure in the mask by blowing air through the nose. When scuba diving, this isn’t usually as much of an issue as you are carrying your air supply with you. Neither is it an issue when snorkeling as you are spending most of your time floating on the surface. When freediving though, you will be wasting valuable air by having to constantly equalize the air pressure in the mask.
The solution to this is to buy a mask with as little mask volume as possible. The less air that gets trapped inside the mask the less you are going to have to equalize. This is going to save you air and allow you to extend your time under the water when freediving.
You want your mask to fit just right. If it is too big, you will experience difficulties with it fogging up and potentially leaking water. On the other hand, if it is too small, it can become too tight on your face from the pressure pushing against it. This can become painful and cause you to shorten time under the water. Instead, you want a fit that is in between. Snug enough to comfortably fit on your face without pushing too hard or being too loose that it has gaps.
The best way to test this out is to try the mask on. You want to take the mask and put it to your face without strapping it on. Suck in air through your nose so that you are holding the mask in place via a vacuum seal. If the mask falls off and does not stay in place when you take your fingers away, it is too big. Make sure that it is comfortable. Pay close attention to the bridge of your nose and around your face where the skirt rests. If it is pressing too much then you may have problems.
Remember, there is hardly any pressure when you are holding it out of the water. But, once you dive down, the pressure is going to push the mask closer to your face. If you can feel the mask pressing against the bridge of your nose or if the mask skirt is tight out of the water, that feeling will be much worse in the water. Comfort should be your number one priority when it comes to how your mask fits you.
Generally speaking, masks usually come in black. There are however a wide variety of masks that come in tons of different colors. The main thing to think about here is whether or not you plan on using your mask when spearfishing later on down the road. You can spearfish as a freediver. If this is something you plan on doing, stick to black. The two major issues with colored masks are that they can cause glare and they can alert your prey to your movements.
Remember that bright colors in nature usually signify danger. In many cases, bright-colored animals can be poisonous or venomous. It is a defense mechanism that many animals have developed over the years. So, think about what you are signaling when wearing a bright blue or red mask and swimming towards a fish to spear it. Try and stick to black if you can as it has more upsides than down.
You want to look for masks made from silicone and that use tempered glass for the lenses. Cheaper masks tend to be made from rubber. The main issue here is that rubber has less give than silicone so it doesn’t fit as comfortably around your face. It is also more prone to breaking down over time due to the saltwater. For the lenses, quality masks will use tempered glass over plastic. Usually, plastic is what is used in cheaper snorkeling masks and also will not last as long as tempered glass.
The main thing here is whether you want a polarized lens or a regular clear lens. You can also choose to get a prescription lens if you normally wear glasses or contacts. These are usually custom made and will be more expensive than an out of the box mask. You probably already have experience using a regular clear lens. It allows for plenty of light to come through so that you can see clearly and there are no obstructions. Polarized lenses and tinted lenses, on the other hand, can lessen the amount of light which comes through. There are certain benefits to this but at the end of the day, it will be up to your personal preference.
You will also need to think about how many lens panes you want. Masks come in either double pane or single pane options. Single panes are usually the large oval shape where there is no separator between the eyes. It is one full piece of glass or plastic. Double panes, on the other hand, have a piece of silicone separating the two pieces of plastic or glass on either side of the mask.
The upside to a single pane mask is that it can increase your field of vision and allow you to see more of what’s around you. The downside is that it increases the mask volume which, as we stated above, may lead you to waste air. Double pane options may decrease your field of vision slightly causing you to have to move your head more. But, they allow less air between the mask and your face. At the end of the day, it will come down to what is more important to you. Having a better field of vision or preserving air by having to equalize the mask less often.
What Are The Best Freediving Masks?
Now that you have an idea of what you need to look out for, let’s take a look at the best masks currently on the market:
Kraken Aquatics Dive Mask
- Flexible Silicone for Leak-Proof, Comfort Seal:...
- Tempered-Glass Lens for Safety: Forget flimsy...
- Convenient Buckle for Easy Adjustment: Simply pull...
- Rugged Enough for Scuba Diving: Thanks to its...
- One-Piece Lens: A snorkel mask should help you see...
Kraken Aquatics hasn’t been around for long. But, since their founding in 2015, they have solidified a reputation as a high-quality mask manufacturer. This is their base model black diving mask. It has the distinction however of being both the cheapest and most highly rated freediving mask on our list. It meets all of our above criteria for what to look for in a quality freediving mask. This is a good mask for both beginners and advanced freedivers alike.
- The mask skirt is made from high-grade silicone. This is a great material as it is more form-fitting than rubber masks and more resistant to corrosion. For the lenses, Kraken has opted for tempered glass. As we stated above, tempered glass is always preferable to plastic as it will both last longer and is more resistant to scratches than plastic.
- As we mentioned in the introduction this is the cheapest mask on our list. Kraken has done an excellent job of striking a balance between high-quality materials and price. The craftsmanship is also top-notch so that each mask is form-fitting and comfortable.
- The Kraken is a low volume mask so you won’t be wasting valuable air equalizing it as you dive down. This is a two-pane freediving mask with a good field of vision. The two-pane design helps to keep the total volume lower than if it were a one pane lens.
- The biggest drawback to this mask is that we felt it doesn’t seal well enough around the lip area. While this normally isn’t an issue, if you are a man with facial hair you may experience a looser fit than if you are clean-shaven. Even with only a week’s worth of stubble, we felt that the fit was a little loose. This issue isn’t specific to this mask and we’ve used many masks that were much more expensive with the same problem. But, for users with heavy facial hair, you might think about an alternative.
SeaDive Oceanways Superview-HD
- High Definition Single Lense
- Super Soft Silicone Skirt
- Vision Brightening Lense
- Wide Field of Vision
- Tear Drop Rigid Frame
SeaDive, like Kraken, is a relatively new manufacturer when it comes to diving equipment. They’ve been around for around seven years. In that time though they’ve developed a good reputation for quality products that won’t break the bank. Their founders are divers and each piece of equipment is designed with specific needs of scuba and freedivers in mind. The Oceanways Superview-HD is one of the only ones on this list that offers an anti-UV and anti-glare lens. It also meets all of the above-listed requirements for what to look for in a good freediving mask.
- The Oceanways Superview-HD comes in at a lower to mid-level price. We like that SeaDive has managed to produce a high-quality mask without having to charge wallet-busting prices. You are getting a solid mask with anti-UV lenses which would normally run much higher. A great option if you are looking for these specific type of lenses and are working with a tighter budget.
- The mask skirt is made from silicone which is both durable and comfortable. When compared to rubber, which cheaper masks are often made from, silicone is much less corrosive. It should hold up for many years longer than a cheap rubber mask. The lenses are made from tempered glass which, as we’ve noted previously, are more resistant to scratching and better overall.
- The lenses are tinted with an anti-ultraviolet coating as well as an anti-glare and anti-fog coating. As we noted in the intro for this mask it is the only one that made the list that offers the tinted lens. This can be a great option for sunny tropical waters where you know you are going to be dealing with annoying lens glare.
- The biggest issue we have with the Oceanway Superview-HD is that we feel it could be a bit lower volume. We added it to this list because of the lens features and the overall level of quality for the price. But, it does have slightly more volume than you would normally look for in a freediving mask. If you are a beginner looking for a solid all-around mask, this is still a good option. But, if you are an advanced freediver looking to conserve every bit of breath you can for more complex dives, you may want to look elsewhere.
TUSA Freedom HD
- Low-profile low volume single window mask
- Proprietary low-friction double feathered edge...
- Round edge skirt with soft fit suppresses pressure...
- Tempered glass lens provides superior vision
- Quick-adjust buckle system makes easy adjustments...
TUSA is one of the leading manufacturers of diving gear around the world. They have been in business for nearly seventy years. Their Freedom HD mask is just one of many quality products they have on the market which has helped them to solidify this reputation. This is actually one of our favorite masks. We’ve been using this specific mask for almost four years now and have had zero problems. It is a well-priced mask just slightly more expensive than the others on this list but in terms of quality a level above the rest. It’s made from quality materials with special attention paid to the normal weak points such as where the straps connect to the mask.
- The Freedom HD has a silicone mask skirt that has been specifically manufactured to fit comfortably against any face type. It has a double feathered edge on the skirt which helps it to fit more snuggly. At the same time, it will also fit more comfortably and reduce creases normally left by masks. The lenses are made from tempered glass which is more resistant to scratching. The Freedom HD also has larger lenses giving you a wider field of vision perfect for both freediving and spearfishing.
- Unlike many other masks, the Freedom HD has been created with many different face types and head sizes in mind. The straps attach via a quick-adjust buckle system allowing you to easily set it for your personal features. The buckles are also moveable and provide a 5-point system to adjust them to your specific facial features. This makes it accessible to a wider number of users rather than a one size fits all approach many mask manufacturers take.
- The Freedom HD is priced as an upper mid-level mask. For all of the features which the mask comes with and the superior level of craftsmanship and materials, this is perfect. This is probably one of the best masks on the market when it comes to value for your money. Also, you can purchase this mask in many different colors. So, if you won’t be spearfishing and are looking for a personal touch, you can find the exact color option for your tastes.
- As we said, we’ve used this mask for many years now with zero problems. The biggest issue we had when we first started using it was that the strap was a bit uncomfortable. This isn’t an issue unique to the Freedom HD as silicone and rubber straps, in general, are not the most comfortable. To get around this, we replaced it with a soft strap which fixed the issue altogether.
Mares Viper Freediving Mask
- The product's latest-generation silicones deter...
- Ergonomic buckles with double buttons on the skirt...
- Developed in partnership with the best athletes in...
- Dedicated to the most demanding free divers and...
- The skirt has been modeled with meticulous...
Mares, like TUSA, is a leading manufacturer of diving and other watersports equipment. They’ve been in business since 1949 when they were first founded in the town of Rapallo, Italy. Over the past seventy years, they’ve established themselves as a powerhouse for quality scuba equipment that doesn’t break the bank. They are not a low budget brand but produce high-quality equipment that is well priced. The Viper Freediving Mask continues their tradition for quality.
- The Viper has been designed specifically with freedivers in mind. Many of the masks marketed for freedivers are just scuba masks that are also good for freediving. But, Mares opted to work with high-level freediving athletes to design a mask with their needs specifically in mind. The Viper freediving mask is the end result of this.
- The skirt is made from high-quality silicone so that it is resistant to corrosion. It has also been ergonomically designed to better fit most faces. This is in contrast to the one size fits all approach that many mask manufacturers take. As a freediver, you may find that the Viper is much more comfortable than your average scuba mask allowing you to make longer dives.
- As this mask has been designed for freedivers, it is very low volume. The lenses are double pane reducing much of the volume that other masks might have. It does so without sacrificing the field of vision which is important for freedivers.
- The biggest drawback of the Mares Viper Freediving Mask is that it is so heavily customized for freedivers. A number of users have noted that it isn’t the best mask for larger heads and faces because it is such a low profile mask. They have also noted that it fits rather tight around the strap area. If you have a larger had and normally have issues with masks fitting too tightly, this may not be the best option.
Cressi Nano Low Volume Mask
- Cressi Nano 2 Window Free Diving Mask
- Designed for Advanced Free-Diving and...
- Completely flexible, virtually indestructible...
- Helps Divers Cut-through-the-Water and...
- Internal Volume is Minimal, Doesn't Require...
Our final entry on this list comes from one of the largest and oldest scuba manufacturing companies in the world. Cressi has been around since 1943 when they first began to produce masks for diving and spearfishing. They have since become a powerhouse in the diving industry and produce almost everything you can think of related to diving. Their masks are top-notch and built from quality materials resistant to damage from corrosion. The Cressi Nano Low Volume follows in this same tradition and is a great choice for freedivers. It is simple, well constructed, and as the name implies, low volume.
- The buckle system for their Nano low volume freediving mask is similar to the buckle system fitted on the TUSA Freedom HD. It is completely flexible which allows the mask to fit a large number of face types and sizes. This is a great feature as it allows each user to customize the mask to their specific facial type. In turn, this increases the overall level of comfort you can experience when using the mask.
- The Nano is specifically made with advanced level freedivers and spearfishers in mind. This is why it is a low volume mask. Cressi has designed this so that there is no need to continuously equalize the mask. This can help you to completely avoid mask squeeze while at the same time saving valuable air and allowing you to stay down longer. It is actually the lowest internal volume mask currently on the market.
- If you are planning on diving in small spaces this is a great option. The Nano is designed to have a low profile so as to minimize drag. The added benefit of this is that there aren’t a lot of points sticking out past the face which can snag on objects such as in caves. It is a great all-around freediving mask for advanced freedivers with different needs.
- The biggest drawback for the Cressi Nano low volume mask is the price. This is the most expensive freediving mask on our list. But, because it has been specifically designed with freedivers in mind, it is also the best freediving mask on this list. If you are serious about freediving this is one of the best masks currently on the market. The price may be high but it is reflective of the high-quality design and attention to detail that went into its planning.
What are some final tips for choosing a freediving mask?
Remember that masks are not one size fits all. As we’ve stated before scuba masks are not always great for freediving and snorkeling masks are not always good for anything else. Make sure that you don’t just look at the price. Many snorkeling masks are quite cheap. But, this is because they are not made for advanced depths for scuba and freediving. If you are on a tight budgent then you can easily find lower-cost masks. But, expect to pay more than you would for a low-quality snorkeling mask.
Make sure you are taking care of your mask if you want it to work for many years. This primarily means that you need to rinse it thoroughly after every dip in the water. You should be doing this both for saltwater and freshwater. Remember that salt water is corrosive. Even though silicone is resistant to corrosion, over time it will begin to wear down if you are not rinsing your mask. Try using a mask cleaner such as this one from Gear Aid.
Lastly, if you’ve ever worn a dive mask you know that the straps can be uncomfortable. They pull your hair, leave marks on your head, and are not always the most comfortable part of any piece of equipment. We recommend replacing the strap on your mask with a soft strap. These are padded straps that gently slide over the back of your head to secure the mask. They are much softer and do not pull your hair and leave marks the same way a silicone strap does. Also, they are just as effective at securing the mask as a silicone strap. You can get a complete strap that will completely replace your silicone strap. Or, you can opt for a strap cover that fits over the back part of your current freediving mask strap.
Wrapping It All Up
Making a best-of list like this is always difficult. Over the years we’ve been diving we’ve used many different masks and have like each one for different reasons. But, the above represents some of the best freediving masks currently on the market. Regardless of your skill level when it comes to freediving, one of the above masks will work perfectly for you.
What do you think? Do you have some experience with one of these masks? Or, do you have a recommendation that we didn’t cover? Make sure to let us know in the comments. We like to hear from fellow divers. You never know when your information might help someone else.
Last update on 2019-10-15 at 10:45 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API