January has passed, Christmas seems like a lifetime ago and now we are all waiting for the summer to arrive. Summer, sun, vacations, and of course scuba diving!
If you’re a regular scuba diver, you probably have all or at least most of your scuba gear and are ready to hit the water. But have you seen the new piece of kit on the markets this year?! – Full face masks!
In the past, full face masks were used by commercial and scientific divers only. That was until very recently when several different full face masks became available for the general diving public. Yay for us!
Don’t have time to read the full review right now? Don’t worry, here are the 3 best selling full face scuba masks:
- Very Comfortable Fit
- Visor Light Available
- Multiple Color Options
- Balanced 2nd Stage-Regulator
- Adjustable Regulator Knob
- Lightweight & Comfortable
- Fav for Commercial Divers
- Anodized Anticorodal Material
Prices have been reduced as some manufacturers have started producing more basic and entry-level versions of their full face scuba masks for recreational divers. In the following post, therefore, we are not only going to discuss exactly what they are but also highlight our top picks from the available products and look at some of the key advantages and disadvantages of using them.
So what do we mean by a full face mask? You may have seen the full face Tribord Easybreath snorkel mask which was very popular in the past couple of years for snorkeling, now this year is all about full face masks.
Many recreational dive masks just cover your nose and eyes and generally your breath using a regulator which is placed in your mouth. With full face diving masks, the regulator is built into the mask itself, so you don’t need to keep anything in your mouth, which means you can forget jaw fatigue and also talk while you dive, thanks to a special radio intercom system that works underwater!
The team here at Ocean Scuba Dive are really excited about these new products and therefore have reviewed the first full face masks on the market that are available for you to try right now! Let’s take a look at them and also some of the pros and cons of using full face scuba masks.
Best Full Face Scuba Masks
Our Review Score
The first on our list is this cool option from Scubapro, a company that most divers will be familiar with. As usual, Scubapro have tried to make an easy to use accessory as possible. Their full face scuba mask has been constructed to have a reduced weight increasing how comfortable it is to wear. One of our favorite things about this design and model is the fact that you have a separate compartment for your mouth and nose. This is going to be a must-have feature for anyone who has been diving for a while and used to using more traditional models.
Scubapro are known for their reliable, comfortable and safe diving equipment and gear, and this full face dive mask is no different. It features stainless-steel adjustable buckles, that have positive locking and quick release buckles so you will never feel insecure or too restricted or trapped wearing it.
At just under $700, it is, like all these full face masks, a significant investment, but considering the fact it allows you to communicate more freely, it’s worth considering.
Our Review Score
OTS are another highly reputable manufacturer of diving equipment, particularly masks and, in fact, one of the first to start making full face scuba masks. We must admit this does look rather badass, and it has a wide selection of color options, whereas the Scubapro was only available in one plain color. Color aside, what’s it like as a breathing and diving apparatus? Well, it has a very low-profile visor that offers you a great amount of visibility and benefits from an ABV valve that ensures you can preserve your air supply whenever you are at the surface.
The build on this full face diving mask shows the more than 60 years’ experience OTS have in designing and building diving masks and although its equalizing tab is not as comfortable as others on the market, the mask seems to be incredibly easy to wear. It even has a double seal making it ideal for virtually anyone, whether you have a larger or smaller face.
While in cold water you won’t feel the temperature drop, which helps you to maintain and regulate your breathing and avoids your throat drying out. The full face dive mask comes with a mask bag that was designed specifically for this model, with large drain holes to the bottom and a vent screen to the top. This helps with drying out the full face dive mask when you are finished diving.
All in all, it’s a bit more expensive, but considering the build quality, that’s not surprising.
Our Review Score
Now, if we were basing it solely on looks, this might be the full face mask that just edged it ahead of the others on the market. As that would be foolish though, we’re not. That’s not to say that this awesome looking full face mask is not just as effective in the use and performance department than it is aesthetically.
It benefits from having a balanced 2nd stage-regulator with a 3.5” 3/8” threaded low-pressure hose and a fully-patented bellows-style design face skirt. This full face mask has been molded using high-quality silicone rubber and a large sealing and spring profile to give you a very supported and comfortable fit.
The visor will not fog over and has a visible light transfer of 92%, this makes a huge difference to the amount you are able to see and experience while diving. The airflow can be fully adjusted to ensure you are comfortable and getting the most effective use out of your air as possible.
This is undoubtedly a great, if slightly more expensive, full face mask. It is let down ever-so-slightly by the surface valve and quick disconnect which have to be purchased separately.
It is worth noting though, and if you really want to treat yourself, the Ocean Reef Neptune Space G Diver also has a visor light option. This can either be installed after your purchase the full face diving mask or you can get the full face scuba mask with the visor light already included here.
Our Review Score
The last model of full face scuba mask we are highlighting in this post is another from Ocean Reef. This time it’s the Neptune Space Predator full face mask and is something of an upgrade on the above Neptune full face model from the manufacturer. If you needed a little encouragement to spend a bit more on a mask, then you may be swayed by the fact that this is one of the full face dive masks that many commercial divers swear by and even the Special Corp use. Compared to the others full face masks on our list, it has been made to be as lightweight and therefore, comfortable as possible.
This is thanks to the Anodized Anticorodal material used in the regulator cover, featuring highly resistant and durable aluminum. As with the above model, it has an easy to use adjustable regulator knob. Its stainless-steel buckles and frame give you that reassuring sense of sturdiness. The major down point to this otherwise amazing product is the price tag it comes with.
But, if talking while you are diving is vitally important and you don’t mind making such a serious investment, then you could do a lot worse than this full face diving mask!
Pros and Cons of Full Face Scuba Masks
Now that you have had a look at the different options of full face scuba masks available, there’s a couple of things you should consider before making your purchase.
At Ocean Scuba Dive, we are of the opinion that they are a great addition to any diver’s gear and can enhance the experience. We also know that they might not be for everyone. As with anything, they have their good points and bad ones. If you don’t like the feeling of using a mouthpiece, suffer from jaw fatigue or sometimes feel claustrophobic, a full face diving mask would be a great option for you!
Many divers believe that diving with a full face mask is a whole new diving experience in itself. In many of the online reviews of these products, divers talk about completing a PADI FFM (Full Face Mask) dive course which may also with your new piece of gear if you are unsure about investing in a full face dive mask.
To help you decide further, we will discuss some of the pros and cons of full face masks below.
Pros of Buying a Full Face Scuba Mask
They Enable You to Talk
This is undoubtedly the main reason why people switch to full face dive masks. Thanks to the fact you don’t need to keep the regulator in your mouth and the integrated intercom system, you are able to talk to anyone in your dive group, from your dive buddy to the surface boat, as well as anyone else on the same radio channel as you.
Whether you are doing search and recovery or exploring and want to communicate more effectively and clearly than using the traditional hand signals, being able to speak underwater is a major benefit.
It just also means that you can enjoy the experience of diving even more and tell everyone about everything you see, when you see it!
They Have a Larger and Wider Field of Vision
You will find that most full face masks offer just under 180-degrees worth of vision. This is a lot more than the bog-standard diving mask you have been using in the past.
You’re Less Likely to Lose Your Regulator
While many of you may not have had the experience of losing the regulator while in the watery deep, it is something that could happen when wearing a traditional scuba mask.
As the regulator is built into a full face mask, you are unlikely to lose it. Furthermore, if you have any jaw or dental issues, you may benefit from not having to hold a mouthpiece for the duration of your dive.
They Provide a More Secure Fit
Due to their design, compared to the single strap you get with most standard scuba diving masks, full face scuba masks feature numerous straps that need to be fastened tightly, but comfortably around your head. This gives full face masks a much securer fit than traditional models.
Cons of Buying a Full Face Scuba Mask
They’re More Difficult to Put on Properly
The downside to there being more straps means that a full face scuba mask is harder to put on properly. If you are not careful and fasten the straps tightly enough, it could fall off or even flood.
Slightly More Difficult to Clear
Although full face masks are far less likely to flood than traditional masks, it still can and does happen. The problem is, when it does happen, it is more difficult to clear because there is a greater amount of water.
To make matters worse, breathing may not even be possible while it is flooded if there is too much water in the full face dive mask.
Dropping Your Full Face Dive Mask is a Serious Problem
When you are diving with a traditional mask on and you drop it, you don’t have to necessarily rush to find it and put it back on. You still have your regulator and besides, you may have more than one spare in a handy pocket.
With full face scuba masks, dropping a mask is a lot more serious, because it incorporates both your regulator and mask. The good thing is that due to the design, the regulator hose in a full face mask should provide you with a tether to the mask, so you hopefully won’t spend too long without one if it does fall off.
The Deterioration of Basic Diving Skills
Many divers who use full face scuba masks, because they become accustomed to just speaking to their dive buddies and the boat on the surface, they are out of practice using even the most basic of hand signals. While it is fine if you are diving with a whole party of full face mask divers, what happens when you are out with those not using them?
As technology is not perfect all the time, what happens when the intercom system goes down?
Although we are not suggesting that you use this as a reason for not investing in a full face mask, it is a very important side of things to consider. Basic communication and diving skills, including regulator recovery techniques and mask clearing will always be useful, even when you are using these awesome full face dive masks.
Consider the Weight and Price
It goes without saying really, as you can see from the models we highlighted further up the page, that full face scuba masks represent quite an investment.
On top of that, even the most streamlined and lightweight full face diving masks are still heavier than standard scuba masks.
Overall though, we think these full face masks are a great addition to a diver’s equipment. For any dives that require fast and effective communication or for those of you who enjoy diving most when it’s an inclusive and shared experience, they are worth serious consideration.