Full Face Snorkel Mask Review
Full face snorkel masks have overcome many of the negatives aspects of snorkeling. New brands continue to enter the market, and prices and quality really varies.
We've put together a list that covers the best quality brands, and which mask and snorkeling gear to buy if you need to stick to a tight budget.
As well as listing the best masks, we also cover other questions you may have including how these masks work, how to pick the correct size, and whether they are safe for children. You'll also see our recommendations for other snorkeling gear including fins, and snorkel vests.
Which are the best full face snorkel masks in 2018?
I must admit, I've had great fun testing full face snorkel masks. After many hours of researching online, watching lots of videos, and personal testing, these are the ones we recommend above all others.
- Ocean Reef Aria Full Face Snorkel Mask
- Seabeast AF90 Full Face Snorkel Mask
- Tribord Subea Easybreath Full Face Snorkel Mask
- Wildhorn Outfitters SeaView 180° Full-Face Snorkel Mask
- Usnork Full Face Snorkel Mask
- SeeReef Full Face Snorkel Mask
Click the line item below to find the answer to your most pressing question, or see why we recommend these full face snorkels and other snorkeling gear.
What is a full face snorkel mask?
A full face snorkel mask covers 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 water-tight seal.
Full face snorkeling masks have wide elasticized straps to hold them in place 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. They aren't any shorter than a traditional snorkel, it's just that the air is funneled internally through the snorkel to the lower section of the mask.
Full face snorkeling masks vs traditional snorkel masks
One of the main reasons people enjoy full face snorkel masks so much is because they let you breathe using both your mouth and nose. This is a much more natural way of breathing.
Fogging and leaking are the two biggest complaints with traditional snorkel masks. Sometimes, no matter what you try, you can't stop a conventional mask from fogging. With the new full face snorkel masks, the fogging is either completely eliminated or drastically reduced (depending on the brand).
Full face masks cover your entire face but are split into two separate chambers. The upper chamber is the viewing section. The lower 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, a full face mask will 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. When buying online, make sure the company you purchase from has a good returns policy in case you need to swap it over for a different size.
Should you buy one?
If you love leisurely snorkeling, then absolutely you should! Recent innovations in full face masks are a big improvement over conventional snorkel masks. The new designs make snorkeling an astonishing and unforgettable experience. These masks 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 if the wearer has a moustache.
When choosing any full face mask, go for ones with a flat lens over ones with a curved lens. Curved lens tend to distort the view and can make people feel dizzy.
How does a Dry Top Snorkel work? What stops water from getting in?
Full face masks have a dry top snorkel system. There are conventional snorkels with these incorporated into them as well.
Dry top snorkels have a hollow ball float inside the snorkel piece. Every time you go under water, the ball float rises and stops water from coming into the snorkel and into your mouth.
If any water does enter the snorkel, it is channeled along a inner section on either side of your head that is separate to your nose and mouth. The water then drains out through a valve located in the chin area as soon as you raise this above water level.
Can you breathe and talk underwater?
You can't breathe once the end of the snorkel is completely submerged. You need to take a breath and hold it as you go under. The Dry Top system means you don't need to blast blow water out of the snorkel when you come back up. You just breathe normally again once you're floating back on the surface.
You're able to talk with most full face snorkels but it's very muffled and difficult for anyone else to make out what you're saying.
Ocean Reef Aria - The Snorkie Talkie!
Ocean Reef make full-face Scuba masks as well as snorkeling equipment. They have recently developed and released a communications unit for the Aria (which is the name of their full face snorkel mask). This has been given the very catchy name of The Snorkie Talkie.
If you're interested in a full face mask with a communications unit, then there's some information below, as well as on our Aria Full Face Snorkel Mask review page.
Can children use these?
Children seem to take to these so much quicker than traditional masks and 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.
The video below shows how easy it is for kids to put on, adjust and use full face snorkel masks.
Looking for some more information on full face snorkel masks for children?
Click the links below to find out more information.
How to pick the correct size
These will leak if you're not wearing the correct size so you need to makes sure you get the right fit for your face. 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.
Just like when buying clothes, sizes are not universal across different manufacturers. There are small variations. Size charts with correct measurements are available for all brands of snorkel masks, so check these before making your purchase.
The Best Full Face Snorkel Masks in 2018
These are my picks of snorkel masks currently available in 2018. There are slight differences between them. With each of these 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. These are all made with quality silicone that gives more flexibility to create a comfortable seal on your face.
These 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.
If you want to learn more detail about each of them, have a look at the full reviews and decide which one you want to go with. These really bring full pleasure back into snorkeling. Once you’ve tried snorkeling with a quality full face snorkel mask, you'll never go back to the old style mask and mouth piece again.
Ocean Reef Aria - Best Overall
Ocean Reef donated the full face Scuba masks used to bring the Thai boys and their soccer coach out of the cave they were trapped in during July 2018.
Ocean Reef Aria comes in 4 sizes, including one especially for the kids.
Seabeast AF90 - with Anti Fog Coating
Seebeast has recently released a new full face mask based on customer feedback of their previous mask. The new mask has some really great features. Not only is this vastly better than it's brand predecessor, this mask has big advantages over other full face snorkel models.
The Seabeast AF90 mask comes in 2 colors and 2 sizes, which are suited to most men, women, and teens.
The Seabeast AF90 also comes with a detachable GoPro style camera mount, mounting screw and 2 earplugs.
Tribord Easybreath FFM
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 in 2017.
Wildhorn Outfitters SeaView 180° Panoramic
Which 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 Usnork - Best on a Budget
SeeReef Full Face Snorkel Mask
READ THIS before buying!
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 using 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 masks are designed for leisurely surface snorkeling. They work wonderfully well when breathing calmly. You may need to remove the mask when swimming longer distances to get to a new snorkel location. Heavy breathing/exercising is less effective in full face mask designs.
These are not designed for swimming laps in a pool. The tubes on full face masks are not wide enough to provide a swimmer with enough oxygen when swimming at an exercise pace. If you want something for swimming laps, or for more vigorous snorkeling, then have a look at the PowerBreather Snorkel or center-mounted swimming snorkels. These are made for specially for swimming laps, or for endurance swimming in choppy water.
The reality of good quality 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. 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.
What about the really low priced ones?
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 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 they are 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 on Amazon, you'll find a lot of complaints on how these cheap full face mask don't live up to expectations.
Which full face snorkel masks to avoid in 2018?
When choosing any full face mask, always go for ones with a flat viewing section. Ones 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.
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, or snorkel tubes break when you're trying to detach. Some masks are so poorly made that they leak in places they just shouldn't. Others have problems with the ball float getting stuck.
Two 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.
These are NOT recommended at all:
Other Snorkeling Gear & Accessories
Not a confident swimmer but want to enjoy snorkeling?
Snorkeling vests come in two styles - full vest style with a front and back panel, or a horse-shoe style which has ties to hold it in place.
Snorkel vests are not life preservers. Life preservers are designed to keep your head up and out of the water. Snorkel vests allow you to lower your head into the water and are specifically designed to help you manage your buoyancy in the water. They are inflated and deflated by the wearer via a tube on the chest area.
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 good swimmers benefit from snorkel vests, taking the hard work out of snorkeling in choppy water, or for longer periods.
#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 2.5 mm 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 with reinforced stitching to give good protection for the bottom of your feet.
They come in a set of 2 pairs and will protect your feet against sharp rocks or coral even when you're not wearing snorkel fins.
#3 - L-RUN Unisex Water Shoes
L-RUN specialize in multi-functional barefoot water and fitness shoes.
One big advantage of these is that they have an anti-skid, ultra-lightweight and breathable outer sole. They are made with quick-drying vamps fabric - this will help keep the mold away.
#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 Lap & Swimming Snorkels
PowerBreather Snorkels - 5 Models to choose from
If you're not quite convinced yet that a full face snorkel is the way to go, then have a look at the PowerBreather Snorkel.
These are great for swimming laps, or snorkeling in choppy waters. These come in 5 different models to suit different swimming environments. The PowerBreather Beach Set comes with a Cressi face mask. Click the button below to find out more information on these snorkels.
Finis Swimming Snorkels - Freestyle, Swimmer's and Junior
Full face masks aren't designed for lap or endurance swimmers. If you really want to improve your technique or swimming times, have a look at the 4 top swimming snorkels. There's ones for adults and children.
Finis, Michael Phelps Focus, TYR Ultra-Lite 2.0, and Kraken are the most popular brands.
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 that's 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.
I know it sounds cliche, but I genuinely have a passion for travel - and let's face it, who doesn't enjoy a great adventure? I've always loved the beach and snorkeling, and to me, some of the best experiences are with the people you get to meet on the journey.
This website and its articles are about providing valuable and helpful information for everyone looking for unforgettable holiday and travel experiences.
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Indepth Reviews - All the Pros & Cons
One of the best overall reviews I've read!
- Product Rating
This made it easy to choose which one.
This is one of the most comprehensive reviews I’ve read of full face snorkels. I was really excited when I first discovered these, but didn’t know where to start when it came to what to look for. Thanks for taking the time to include the extra info. From this page I was able to click through to the one I thought I wanted and find out a lot more detail. Great post.
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