2018 – The 5 best full face snorkel masks reviewed & which to avoid?
Full face snorkel masks have come a long way to overcoming many of the negatives aspects of snorkeling. New brands continue to enter the market, and prices and quality varies.
We've put together a list that covers the best quality brands, and which full face snorkel mask and snorkling gear to buy if you need to stick to a tight budget.
Click the item below to see the answer to your most pressing question, or keep reading to read the entire article.
What is a full face snorkel mask?
The first full face snorkel mask was developed by Tribord and released in 2014. Full face snorkel masks cover your whole face from forehead to chin. They have 2 separate sections inside the mask. The top section is for viewing, and the lower for breathing. They have a silicone skirt that runs around the edge of your face, creating a waterproof seal.
Full face snorkeling masks have wide elastized straps that are adjustable, and comfortable.
Well made snorkel masks have virtually no fogging, and there's no mouthpiece. The snorkel is incorporated into the mask. These appear shorter than traditional snorkels, as the snorkel stops at the top of the head. Air is funnelled through the snorkel and to the lower section of the mask, internally.
Full face snorkeling masks vs traditional snorkel masks
Fogging and leaking are the biggest complaints with traditional snorkel masks. Sometimes, no matter what you try, you can't stop a conventional mask from fogging.
One of the main reasons people enjoy full face snorkel masks so much is because they allow you breathe through both the mouth and nose. This such a more natural way of breathing.
With full face snorkel masks, the fogging is either eliminated completely or drastically reduced (depending on the brand). These masks cover your entire face but are split into two separate chambers. The upper chamber is the viewing section. The second chamber covers both your mouth and nose and is connected to the snorkel piece. Fogging can be seen in the lower area, which is ok as it's separate from the viewing section. Air is drawn through the snorkel piece and circulated through this bottom section.
Just like a traditional snorkel mask, full face masks leak if it's not the correct size for your face. This is the most important thing when choosing a mask. The size needs to be correct - and the company you purchase from should have a good returns policy in case you need to swap it for a different size.
Should you buy a Full Face Snorkel Mask?
Absolutely you should! If you love leisurely snorkeling, the recent innovations in full face masks are a massive improvement over conventional snorkel masks. The new designs make snorkeling an astonishing and unforgettable experience. These masks really are comfortable and easy to use.
After the initial adjustment of the elastic straps, you'll quickly realize how much fun these are. There is no need to stop to empty out water, defog, or re-adjust the straps.
There is no jaw fatigue, no sore teeth and no gagging on a snorkel mouthpiece. There are some of the best reasons right there for making the switch!
Moustaches are just fine with full face snorkels, which is the complete opposite of regular masks. A regular mask will leak with a moustache.
What stops water from getting in? How does a Dry Top Snorkel work?
Full face masks have a dry top snorkel system. This is a ball float inside the snorkel piece. As the snorkel is submerged, the float rises up and won't let water into the mask. There are conventional snorkels with these incorporated into them, but the full face snorkel mask takes snorkelling to a whole new level.
Every time you go under water, the ball float rises and stops water from coming into the snorkel and into your mouth. You still need to take a breath and hold it as you go under water. This Dry Top system means you don't need to blow water out of the snorkel when you come back up. You just breathe normally again once back on the surface.
If water does enter the snorkel, it drains out through a valve located in the chin area, as soon as you raise this above water level.
Can Children use full face snorkel masks?
Children love these masks so much more than traditional masks and snorkels. The video below shows how easy it is for kids to put on, adjust and use full face snorkel masks. Kids take to these so much quicker than traditional snorkels as they're able to breath naturally through their nose and mouth. There's no gagging on a snorkel mouth piece that's too large.
When selecting snorkel masks for kids, make sure you go with brands that have XS or S sizing. These brands should also have a good returns/exchange policy in case the size isn't quite right.
Looking for some more information on full face snorkel masks for children?
When selecting any full face mask, go for ones with a flat lens. Masks with a curved viewing area distort the view and can make people feel dizzy.
Best Quality, Well Made Full Face Snorkel Masks
With each of these full face snorkel masks, you are buying a quality product that will give you many hours of enjoyment. These top brands are all good choices and close in price. There are slight differences between them.
They all have full manufacturer's warranties and outstanding reviews on Amazon. Always make sure you purchase from somewhere with a good Returns Policy so that it can easily be exchanged if the sizing is not quite right.
Have a look at our full reviews of quality brands and decide which one you want to go with. These really bring full pleasure back into snorkeling.
Once you’ve tried snorkeling with a full face snorkel mask, you'll never go back to the old style mask and mouth piece again.
#1 - Ocean Reef Aria Full Face Snorkel Mask
Ocean Reef make diving equipment as well as snorkel masks. They're a great brand and their products are made with higher quality materials.
Ocean Reef also makes full face Scuba diving masks so you know their snorkel mask is going to be exceptional quality.
The Ocean Reef Aria now comes in 3 sizes, including one especially for the kids. The Aria also has more options when it comes to accessories.
They have an optical accessory available for supporting eye glasses.
#2 - Wildhorn Outfitters SeaView 180° Full-Face Snorkel Mask
Wildhorn Outfitters SeaView 180° Full Face Mask is both popular and great quality! The big advantage the SeaView 180° Snorkel Mask has over its closest competitors is that it comes complete with a camera mount. Camera mounts are often sold as an optional accessory with other full face masks in this price bracket.
The camera mount is located high on the front of the mask making it ideal for taking video of your underwater adventures.
Seaview 180° Snorkel Masks come in 3 sizes, including an XS for children. They have also released a big range of new colors for 2018.
The Wildhorn Outfitters SeaView 180° Panoramic Snorkel Mask is the best selling full face snorkel mask on Amazon!
#3 - Tribord EasyBreath (New Version) Snorkel Mask
The Tribord EasyBreath full face snorkel mask is very well designed and made with good quality materials. It's not a cheap version of an expensive brand. This is a great mask at a very good price.
Tribord developed the first full face snorkel mask. When they released the Tribord EasyBreath full face mask, this became a game-changer for the world of snorkeling.
Tribord has improved on their original design and released a new version for 2017. These masks come in 4 sizes making it easy to find the right one for all members of your family.
Which Full Face Snorkel Mask to buy on a Budget?
Not everyone's budget will stretch to a top quality full face snorkel mask. And that's ok. If you're on a budget, you can still enjoy the amazing benefits of the full face snorkel mask.
There are some well made mid-range full face snorkel masks available. The most important thing is that you get the correct size for your face. The compromise may be that you buy last year's model of a quality brand.
Great mid-range full face snorkel masks
Two stand out examples of a great compromise are the Octobermoon Full Face Snorkel Mask and the SeeReef Anti-Fog Full Face Snorkel Mask. These are online best sellers at the mid level price range. They have really good levels of customer satisfaction, and great reviews.
#4 - SeeReef Full Face Snorkel
SeeReef are developing quite a following since releasing their new full face masks with a flat mask area, and longer snorkel piece. SeeReef masks come in 2 sizes, which are suited to most men, women, and teens.
The SeeReef come in a choice of two colors, and with combo of 2 different sets of ear plugs to make sure they fit you perfectly, a handy travel bag and spare seals.
#5 - Octobermoon 2nd Generation Full Face Snorkel Mask
The new version Octobermoon 2nd Generation Snorkel Mask is the top selling full face mask in this price range. They have updated and improved on the earlier design of the lens which is now flat. Previously this was convex which distorted the view, and made a lot of people feel a bit woozy.
The new flat lens makes a big difference to the enjoyment of snorkeling with full face masks and brings this mask in to line with other quality top sellers.
A minor drawback of the Octobermoon is that its straps are not as long as others.
Octobermoon full face masks come in 3 sizes, including one for children. They come with a built-in camera mount.
There have been comments made on minor fogging with this mask. Buy a $6.50 bottle of Jaws Quick Spit or Cressi brand Anti-fog Spray and you'll have a quality mask at a reasonable price that you will be happy with.
Helpful Tip: Make sure you're buying the 2nd Generation Octobermoon mask as this has a flat lens. The earlier masks have a rounded lens which can distort the view.
Picking the correct size full face mask can be a challenge
It may sound basic, but make sure you get the right fit for your face. Full face snorkels will leak if you're not wearing the correct size. For adults, the width of your face as well as the size of your nose can play a big part in the level of comfort.
Sizes are not universal across different manufacturers. Size charts with measurements are available for all brands of snorkel masks so follow these as best you can.
READ THIS before buying a full face snorkel mask!
No matter how good the brand, there’s just no getting around some things with full face snorkel masks.
Whether it’s a traditional mask or a full face snorkel mask, water will get in if there’s any hair between the skirt of the mask and your face. Beards create tiny spaces that will cause water to enter the mask.
These are not designed for Free Diving or spear fishing. There’s too great a volume of air inside the face cavity of the mask, and it quickly becomes uncomfortable when diving below 10 feet (3 meters).
Full face snorkel masks are designed for snorkeling in relatively calm water. As with a traditional mask and mouthpiece, if you lean your head too far forward, water will enter the snorkel. The float valve system only works when the snorkel is in a vertical position. Water may enter the snorkel when duck diving.
These are not designed for swimming laps in a pool. Full face snorkel masks are designed for leisurely surface snorkeling. They work wonderfully well when breathing calmly, but are not a good choice for swimmers while exercising. Most snorkel pieces are not wide enough to provide a swimmer with enough oxygen when swimming at an exercise pace.
The reality of Quality full face snorkel masks
There are manufacturers who have spent countless hours and dollars developing their full face snorkel mask. These innovations have been game changers for snorkelers.
The best full face masks are made with quality materials. Innovation and quality comes with a price tag. Many of the most popular full face snorkel masks available online are direct rip-offs of good quality brands. Often the materials used are not as good, and the masks don't work as they're meant to.
The good news is that even the best quality full face masks are becoming cheaper as new versions are released. It's easy to snap up a bargain if you're happy to go with last years model.
What about really low priced full face snorkels?
Just like traditional snorkel masks, many of the cheaper brands come with their drawbacks.
A lot of lower priced brands won't last as long as a quality, branded full face mask. If the material is poor quality, the fit of the silicone (or plastic) skirt that creates the seal with your face won't be as good. This will cause leaking, fogging and frustration.
Less flexible material means you need to adjust the straps so it's super tight just to create a seal that equals a quality mask with a softer silicone skirt. This puts extra pressure on your forehead, cheeks and the bridge of your nose, making it very uncomfortable to wear.
Another common problem with some of the cheaper masks is that the ball-float can get stuck in the snorkel piece causing the airflow to stop.
There are also cheap versions using the words Easybreath, or 180 seaview or panoramic in their branding in an attempt to cash in on the better known brands. These are all imported from China and made with inferior quality materials. Most of these are not made well and will fog, leak and fall apart.
If you dig a bit deeper into their reviews, you'll find complaints on how the cheap full face mask don't live up to expectations.
Which full face snorkel masks to avoid?
When choosing any full face mask, go for ones with a flat viewing section. Full face masks with a curved viewing area distort the view and sometimes make people feel dizzy. You'll notice ALL of the expensive, quality brands have a flat viewing section.
Two full face snorkel masks in particular to AVOID are the Azorro and the Neopine. Forget the misleading 4 and 5 Star reviews on Amazon. These masks are made of very poor quality materials, and will cause nothing but disappointment. They are not recommended at all.
If you're unsure of any cheap snorkel mask, go to the Amazon star ratings and click on the 1-Star ratings. This will show you all the 1-star reviews. Many knock-off snorkel masks made in China are very poor quality. This is where a bargain is NOT a bargain. Camera mounts are not well made, snorkel tubes break when you're trying to detach, and the mask joins are so poorly made that they leak in places they just shouldn't.
Other Snorkeling Gear
Not a confident swimmer but want to enjoy snorkeling?
Don't miss out on the fun and relaxation of snorkeling. If you're not a strong swimmer, then there are snorkeling vests available to give you that extra peace of mind. These will really help increase and control your buoyancy.
Even if you're a strong swimmer, these will keep you going for longer in a choppy reef environment. These take the hard work out of snorkeling.
#1 - ScubaPro Snorkel Vest
Ranked number 1 is the ScubaPro Snorkel Vest. This is a quality product that offers a nice sense of security. It covers both the front and back of the swimmer giving extra sun protection. These are easy to inflate, and deflate and are very comfortable to wear.
#2 - SealBuddy Snorkel Vest
Next best is the SealBuddy Snorkel vest. These are also very easy to inflate and deflate, and come in a range of colors in adult and children's sizes. These have a tie around the back to keep them in place.
Snorkeling Booties / Socks and Snorkel Fins
#1 - Seavenger Premium 3mm Neoprene Bootie Socks
Not only can you match your booties to your fins, but you'll avoid cutting your feet on coral or rocks with these Seavenger Premium 3mm neoprene booties. These are 4-way stretchable neoprene for great fit. They have a dotted silkscreen sole to provide some traction to avoid slipping on slimy rock surfaces. These also have glued blind-stitched seams for extra strength, comfort and durability.
#2 - Fun Toes Snorkeling Socks
Fun Toes are 2.5mm thick neoprene socks that will not only cut down on the chafing caused from fins, boards and water skis, but they'll also keep your feet warm!. The water socks have grip soles to help stop slipping.
These snorkel socks have extra thick soles to give added protection on the soles of your feet with reinforced stitching. These come in a set of 2 pairs and will protect your feet even when you're not wearing snorkel fins.
#1 - Wildhorn Outfitters Snorkel Fins/Socks
Wildhorn Outfitters not only produce quality products, they also have excellent customer service.
Their topside fins are something different from the ordinary. These are both a shoe or bootie and a fin. The neoprene bootie has some stretch allowing for a little flexibility in sizing.
These fit like a shoe and have a closed-in toe which will help prevent cramping and hypertension in your foot. Each fin has an adjustable Velcro strap around the ankle to provide further support.
#2 - Cressi Palau Short Snorkeling Swim Fins
The Cressi Palau Short Fin is an adjustable fin great for using in the pool or at the beach. It has a soft short blade and foot pocket with a good heel strap making it easy to release or adjust when needed but won't slip or loosen as you swim. These are short enough to fit in carry-on or regular luggage without taking up too much room.
These can be worn barefoot or over thin booties and come in 4 sizes and each size will adjust to fit 3 to 4 consecutive sizes taking the stress out of ordering online.
The Cressi Palau Short Fins come in 6 colors.
Favorite Traditional Snorkeling Mask Sets
Cressi Adults Palau Mask Fin Snorkel Set
Cressi have been making quality masks, fins and other snorkeling and diving gear for a long time. This set includes a set of Cressi Palau Short Fins, a traditional style two window face mask with a silicone skirt edge that adapts to fit most faces.
The set also includes a curved snorkel with a Dry Top similar to the full face mask snorkels - it has an anti-splash end with a valve that seals the tube as you dive. A mesh carry bag is included.
Cressi Kids Rocks Mask Fin & Snorkel Set
The Cressi Junior Kids Rocks Snorkel Set comes in two sizes and is designed for kids aged 6 to around 14. The set includes a set of fins, a traditional style two window face mask with a silicone skirt edge thats designed for narrower faces.
The set also includes a curved Dry Top snorkel which is similar to the full face mask snorkels - it has a splash guard on the end with a valve that seals the snorkel as you go under water. A mesh carry bag is included. The snorkel is designed to go on left side of face so that it can be attached to the mask strap by a snorkel keeper clip.
The fins are composite duel vented blades to provide excellent power and save energy while swimming. They have an open-heel with soft and comfortable foot pockets with easy to adjust buckles.