How to choose a scuba mask?
We continue our blog series on how to choose your own scuba equipment. Today let's look at how to pick the best dive mask for you.
We will look at:
- what fit to choose
- single lens ou double lens
- how much to spend
Choose one you like and look good in (no, really!)
Ok, this is probably completely contrary advice to what you learnt about choosing gear in your open water course but trust me if you think you look like a twat in your mask you won't want to wear it, even if it's a great mask. So buy one you like and feel like you look pretty good in. Surprisingly, this will also help you chose one that fits. If you have a tiny face you'll look silly in a huge mask and the opposite is also true. The breath in and see if the mask sticks trick kind of works but it's definitely not a dead cert for a no-leak mask so find out from the shop if you can return it if it leaks and try it in the pool (before you remove any of the shop plastic protections, etc.). Find one with nice soft silicon, that feels comfy and feels 'yours'.
Choosing a type of mask.
Single lens masks tend to give you a bigger field of vision but often at the cost of big dead air spaces. So you might chose a small two lens mask with very little dead air space if you fancy doing freediving with it as well. Black silicon skirting tends to avoid reflection on the inside of the mask and doesn't go all grey and nasty with time (though you can avoid that, I'll get back to that in a nex post) and I always feel I look more like cat woman in it (which to be fair is one of my main objectives when I go diving, not that I've nailed it yet).Transparent silicon skirting gives you way more light and, in a way, more field of vision since you can see shadows and movement on the sides too.
How much to spend?
A mask will last you a very long time if you look after it so it's worth putting the money in to buy one you really like, you shouldn't be changing it in a hurry (unless you loose it of course). The big brands charge quite a lot for their masks and often with reason: you get really good masks, with super comfy silicon skirting, good lens angle combining great field of vision and small dead air space. However some new less known barns are coming out with simple, yet great masks at very affordable prices- you know, the ones the dive centres buy. They are not necessarily a bad choice. Many dive centres will look for masks that fit most people, are comfortable, long-lasting, resistant and affordable. So unless you really fall in love with a very cool mask, if you are on a smaller budget, this type of purchase can be a very good choice. If they have a mask you like in one of the places you dive or where you did a dive course, ask them where to buy it or get them to order one for you. That tends to be what I do these days since I broke my really awesome cat woman mask (which leaked terribly but looked really cool- I think it breaking may have been a blessing in disguise).
Happy shopping, Embrace the new masked you!