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You’re planning a snorkel adventure and looking for gear. A snorkel, mask, and fins are essential gear you’ll need.
If you’ve visited the beach in recent years, you’ve probably noticed a new phenomenon, the full face snorkel mask. It looks much different than a traditional mask and performs differently too.
Before deciding on buying a full face snorkel mask, there are a few things you should know. They have their benefits but there are also negatives, including the seal, safety concerns, and quality.
In this article I’ll share how these unique snorkel masks work. We’ll review the best full face snorkel masks available and what you should look for when making a purchase. Let’s get started.
How Full Face Snorkels Work
It’s easy to observe how different full face snorkel and masks work.
Traditional snorkel masks cover the eyes and nose. They use a contoured silicone material to create a great seal against the face and the seal is much smaller than a full face mask.
Traditional masks separate the snorkel and the mask so once can be used without the other. When using a snorkel mask, you can’t breathe out of the nose, only the mouth.
Full face snorkels and masks cover the entire face using the same silicone material to create a seal. Dual straps cover the back of the head and ensure that the entire face stays dry.
Full face snorkels do not use a traditional snorkel so you can use your mouth or nose to breathe. The modified snorkel connects to the mask and is fixed to be upright when the body is horizontal in the water.
Why People Like Full Face Snorkel Masks
There’s a certain type of person that will prefer the full face snorkel mask to a traditional option. Someone who prefers a full face snorkel will appreciate the larger range of visibility and its ease of use.
Many kids use full face snorkels because they feel more secure and they are easy to learn.
Related: Best Snorkel Kits For Kids
People also like the option to breathe out of the mouth and nose. I find that most people using a full face snorkel and masks are tourists and people wanting to try something new.
Many of these masks also have GoPro attachments, making them great options for underwater photography and video
Below is a list of reasons people might prefer the full face mask:
- Greater visibility
- Feels more secure
- Keeps the entire face dry
- Ability to breathe out of nose or mouth
- Looks cool (something new to try)
- Works well for floating on water
- Easy way to help kids learn
- GoPro attachments
Challenges With Full Face Snorkel Masks
Full face masks aren’t perfect. You’ll notice that only a few premier diving and snorkeling brands manufacture full face masks. Why?
One reason is that companies view full face masks as a gimmick and not a serious snorkeling product. Another reason is safety.
Converse to their popularity, full face snorkels and masks appear to have a higher incidence of lifeguard emergencies. Maybe it’s because the mask provides a false sense of security?
The seal in a full face mask can be problematic. Because the seal has a greater surface area with the face, there is a greater chance for leaks.
Minor facial hair and beards can be a problem with full face masks (much less chance of a problem with traditional masks). Facial expressions or opening and closing of the mouth can also cause the seal on a full face mask to be broken.
After learning how to snorkel on the traditional option, I appreciate the ability to remove the snorkel and breathe out of my mouth when above water – I can do so without removing my mask.
With a full face snorkel and mask, you can’t remove the snorkel without removing the mask.
7 Best Full Face Snorkel And Mask
#1 Wildhorn Outfitters Seaview – GoPro Compatible
Wildhorn comes in at number one on our list because it has extra features and great reviews. Please note that the 2 masks listed below are much better snorkeling brands (AquaLung and U.S. Divers).
In fact, their brands are the best in the business. The problem with those masks is there isn’t a camera mount (so Wildhorn is #1).
- Excellent reviews
- 10 colors and multiple sizes
- Panoramic view for good visibility
- GoPro compatible mount
- Fogproof design
- Flexible silicone seal
It’s hard to take any credit away from Wildhorn because it’s a well-liked and it looks great. It focuses on a wide panoramic view and a GoPro compatible mount.
Its fogless design ensures that you won’t need to remove the mask once it’s on. You’re free to breathe out of your mouth or nose with ease (check Wildhorn face mask on Amazon).
This mask is designed for leisure snorkeling on the surface of the water. Strenuous swimming or use in rough waters will likely result in a poor seal against your face and leaking.
#2 AquaLung Full Face Snorkel and Mask
AquaLung is the best brand on our list and I can attest that they make a long lasting product. My snorkeling mask is made by AquaLung and although it was an investment, it’s the best mask I’ve ever had.
This mask comes in one color scheme (blue/clear) and 3 sizes (small, medium, and large).
- Top snorkel brand
- Uses Smart Snorkel technology
- Panoramic views
- Fog-free design
- Dry top keeps water out (submersible)
- Silicone skirt for a snug seal
One thing I really like about the design of this mask is the head straps. The design was well thought out and will help provide a strong seal against the face.
The Smart Snorkel technology ensures that CO2 exits the mask and you’re not breathing it in (check AquaLung full face mask on Amazon).
I also like that the snorkel is submersible – although you won’t be able to breathe underwater, you won’t have to worry about water entering the mask.
Reviews for this mask as limited, however, keep in mind that this brand is one of the best in snorkeling and diving (it won’t let you down).
Why isn’t this our #1 ranked mask? It’s not camera compatible and that makes a big difference to recreational snorkelers.
#3 U.S. Divers Full Face Snorkel and Mask
U.S. Divers is another reputable company that offers scuba, diving, and snorkeling equipment. If you need gear for the water, U.S. Divers makes it.
This full face snorkel and mask is offered in one color option (clear and black) and 3 sizes.
- Well respected brand
- Dual chamber exhaust system
- Wide panoramic view
- Smartfit straps
- Fog resistant
- Silicone seal
- One way purge valve for easy clearing
Similar to the AquaLung, this mask isn’t compatible with cameras or GoPros. It is, however, an excellent brand that will provide years of snorkeling if well cared for (check U.S. Divers mask on Amazon).
The silicone seal and Smartfit head straps will ensure a strong seal. The mask is fogproof and offers a wide view of the ocean, perfect for snorkeling.
This mask also has few reviews, but if you know ocean sports, you know U.S. Divers is a brand you can trust.
#4 X-Lounger Full Face Snorkel and Mask – Camera Mount
The X-Lounger brings us back to a mask that is camera and GoPro compatible. This option was made for leisure snorkeling and great views. It offers 14 colors, earplugs, and a wide view.
- 14 color options
- Camera mount (detachable)
- 180-degree view
- Submersible snorkel
The X-Lounger might not be a well-known brand, but they offer plenty of great options with this mask. The price and reviews are great too (check X-Lounger mask on Amazon).
Reviews are overwhelmingly positive and comment on the view, the fact it didn’t fog, and the bonus of a camera mount. The smaller sized appears to fit kids well too!
The camera mount may seem like a minor detail but if you’re on vacation you want to capture all those memories.
#5 Easy Snorkel – Adult and Kids – Optional GoPro Mount
The Easy Snorkel is the perfect full face snorkel and mask for kids. It comes in a variety of colors and sizes. I like the bag it comes with that makes it easy to travel with and carry to and from the beach.
- 8 color options
- Great for both kids and adults
- 180-degree panoramic view
- Optional GoPro mount
- Dry Snorkel Technology
- Anti-fog design
With almost perfect reviews, this mask is one of the best available and great for kids. If you’re planning a snorkeling trip and want to have a great view of marine life and coral reefs, then Easy Snorkel will help make it happen.
Similar to the other options, it has an anti-fog design that allows you to stay in the water for a long time without having to remove the mask (check Easy Snorkel mask on Amazon).
This mask isn’t built for diving, but it works well for leisurely swims on top of the water. Reviews mention the “good seal” and handy bag for carrying.
One comment mentions that you can go underwater without worrying about water leaking inside the mask.
#6 Outer Limits Full Face – GoPro Compatible
The Outer Limits face mask is very similar to the Easy Snorkel listed above. This mask has fewer colors to chose from (4) but includes the same handy carrying bag. It also has great reviews.
- Good reviews
- Panoramic view
- Bubble design with a long snorkel
- GoPro compatible
- 1” longer than the competition
- Fog resistant design
- Good customer service
Outer Limits offers a quality mask with perfect reviews (maybe it’s because of their customer service (check Outer Limits mask on Amazon). The masks look great and they are marketed as being slightly larger than their competition (this provides a better view).
The mask can go underwater without worrying about leaks in the snorkel, however, just like the other masks on our list, it’s not meant for diving. It comes at a good price in a similar range as other on the list.
#7 Ocean Reef – Full Face Snorkel and Mask – Detachable GoPro Mount
Ocean Reef has a good looking mask and comes with optional accessories. It has a unique look to the others on the list – I like it. The colors are mixed, but come in blue, orange, white, and pink. There are optional “walkie-talkie” and GroPro mounts.
- Various color options
- Walkie Talkie option
- GoPro mount
- Unique design
- Great customer feedback
- Can install prescription lens insert
Customers really like this full face snorkel and mask. Some reviews mention they tried other brand but preferred this mask (check Ocean Reef mask on Amazon).
Other comments are about the fog resistance and the ability to snorkel for a long time before removing the mask. Another comment touches on the sizing and how it worked well for men and women with various head sizes.
Maybe this mask should be higher on the list!
Maintenance and Cleaning: Full Face Snorkel Masks
As with all ocean gear, cleaning and maintenance are important. Saltwater can erode most materials and stain masks if they aren’t properly cleaned.
I recommend rinsing all ocean gear with fresh water after each use. This will help keep them in good condition.
I have a mask that I’ve had for several years and it was a big financial investment. I diligently rinse the mask with freshwater (and let it soak) after each time it’s used.
Take care of your beach gear and it should last a decade!
Why I Prefer The Traditional Mask Over A Full Face Mask
If you’ve read this far you’ve probably found a mask that you like. I like the novelty of full-face snorkels and masks but I prefer traditional snorkeling and diving because it’s more versatile.
I like coming up for air and removing the snorkel to breathe out of my mouth. I like being able to remove the snorkel and hold my breath while diving. My mask can also be used for scuba, whereas a full face snorkel and mask can’t.
If you’re an advanced snorkeler, I suggest sticking with the traditional snorkel gear but I’ll admit the GoPro compatible masks are awesome.
Full face masks have become very popular in recent years. They offer wide, panoramic views, the ability to breathe out of your nose and mouth, and an option to photograph and record your snorkeling adventure.
For casual snorkelers, a full face snorkel is a perfect option, however, it’s not without its negatives. These masks are not for diving or swimming, and lifeguards have seen a rise in snorkeling emergencies with full facemasks.
In this article I mentioned a few of the best full face snorkels and masks and shared option from reputable brands, from masks that had great reviews, and others that had fun accessories like camera attachments and walkie-talkies.
I hope this article provided the information you were looking for. Thanks for reading the Beach Life and visit us again soon.