The best snorkel masks have become a lot more advanced over the years thanks to advancements in technology.
If you’re interested in going snorkeling while on holiday I think you’re in for a treat. Just make sure you take the right one with you.
Beginners should look for a few things in a snorkeling mask to make sure their underwater experience is magical.
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Best Snorkel Mask For Beginners: Main Features
Some of the best diving masks come with all sorts of bells and whistles, but beginners don’t need top-of-the-line models. You don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars on a mask to have a great time. Here are some of the main features you should keep an eye on:
- Leak proof
- Tempered glass
- Easy adjustments
- One piece lens
- Anti fog technology
1 – Leak proof – If your snorkeling mask has a good silicone seal it shouldn’t really leak when you’re in the water. Beginners have to be especially careful about leaking skirts. Due to a lack of experience it’s easy to panic, which could potentially lead to a lot of problems.
Even if you’re a strong swimmer you shouldn’t go too deep while wearing a mask that could potentially leak. As you go deeper towards the ocean floor pressure builds up. Instead of keeping water out the mask a skirt will buckle under the pressure allowing water to rush in.
2 – Tempered glass – Most of the features you want to see on a snorkeling mask for beginners tend to revolve around safety. You should make sure your snorkel mask lens is made from tempered glass to avoid a serious emergency. Masks can break easily when you bang into something.
Not only is tempered glass stronger but it won’t break into big pieces that could stab you in the eyes. It’s more scratch resistant too, so your snorkel mask will last longer. Normal lenses are fine until something goes wrong, so stay on the safe side and stick to tempered glass.
3 – Easy adjustments – Beginner snorkel masks shouldn’t be expected to have the most amazing straps in the world, so they might come a bit loose when you’re in the water. If you spend hours in the sea your perfect seal isn’t going to last all day even with a good silicone skirt.
Hopefully it will be easy to make quick strap adjustments to your snorkel mask. A convenient buckle will allow you to adjust your strap in a few seconds. Choosing a snorkel mask with a split strap will save you from making as many adjustments while providing more comfort.
Please Note: If you’re wearing the best snorkeling fins you’re less likely to panic in these kinds of situations. For example, when you have a pair of Wildhorn flippers on your feet it’s easy to tread water while you sort out any mask problems.
4 – One piece lens – Now we’re moving away from the safety features and onto a few to help you have fun. You’ll want to see as many things as possible when snorkeling. Turtles might be slow but you can still miss them if your mask doesn’t offer you a good view of your surroundings.
A one piece lens is the bare minimum and full face snorkel masks are even better. These designs will prevent your view from being obstructed. The exact one you choose will depend on how deep you intend to go, but always remember a wider view is never a bad thing.
5 – Anti fog technology – Snorkel masks are like reading glasses because they sometimes fog up. When you’re reading the newspaper you can take off your glasses to wipe them clean. Unfortunately it’s not going to work when you’re under the water.
If your snorkeling mask is fogged up it will affect your visibility and you’ll miss out on lots. It’s why you should really look for a mask with anti fog technology even if you’re a beginner. Try to go snorkeling without it and you could end up spending too much time cleaning your mask lens.
Traditional vs Full Face Snorkel Mask For Beginners
When it comes to snorkel masks there are two main designs to choose from and each comes with its own benefits. It’s important to know what kind of snorkeling you’ll be doing before choosing one. Let’s take a look at each style so you’ll know which mask is right for you:
- Full face snorkel mask
- Traditional snorkel mask
Full face snorkel mask – If you plan on spending most of your time snorkeling on or near the surface the best full face snorkel mask is for you. It will offer you a 180 degree view allowing you to see everything that crosses your path, plus the snorkel is built into the mask itself.
Being able to swim around without a snorkel stuck in your mouth is extremely pleasing. Sadly, you won’t be able to use a full face mask deep under the water. It’s very dangerous and must be avoided. You won’t be able to pinch your nose to equalize your ears for starters.
Traditional snorkel mask – Basic snorkeling masks like the ones you’ve seen countless times in the past are for people who crave adventure. Maybe you want to dive deeper to see more fantastic creatures and coral reefs. Traditional snorkel masks will let you equalize your ears.
You will have to use a separate snorkel which will take a while to get used to. Diving deeper means the best snorkel vest is off the table too. Better models have more features built into them, but as a beginner any good mask that lets you snorkel further down is perfect.
Beginner Snorkel Masks With Prescription Lenses
If you have bad eyesight you won’t be able to wear the first snorkeling mask you see. Luckily these days you can pick up models with prescription lenses. You’ll just have to email the company to tell them exactly what you need and they’ll ship the customised mask out to you.
I know we said it’s best to use a snorkel mask with one lens to improve visibility, but it’s possible to put two different corrective lenses in certain snorkel masks should you require it.
Advanced Snorkel Mask Features You Might Like
Maybe you don’t want a snorkeling mask for beginners even though you’re new to the sport. You might know it’s going to be fun and plan to take it seriously. If so, there are more advanced features you’ll love and we’ll discuss the top ones you should watch out for:
- Anti glare lens
- UV protection
- Low volume
- Camera support
Anti glare lens – You’ll probably be going snorkeling in a tropical paradise, so it’s surely going to be sunny. An anti glare lens will stop the sunlight from affecting your vision when you’re trying to enjoy the scenery. It’s beneficial when you’re close to the surface of the water.
UV protection – It’s hard to notice how much damage the sun does to your face when you’re in the water for hours. Due to the fact you are in the water you underestimate the heat. If you don’t want the ultraviolet rays to harm you make sure your snorkel mask has UV protection.
Low volume – If your mask is low volume it means your face is closer to the lens and there is less space for air to accumulate. Less air inside the mask means it’s a lot easier to equalize your ears when necessary. When your eyes are closer to the lens your field of vision increases too.
Camera support – Everyone is taking photos and recording videos these days. Wouldn’t it be cool to take some action cam footage while snorkeling too? You can mount GoPros on some snorkeling masks. It’s great when you don’t need to hold the camera in your hands.
Choosing The Best Snorkeling Mask For Beginners
In a perfect world, your beginner snorkel mask will come with all the safety features we’ve talked about. A few of the features to improve your vision under the water would be great too. Just decide what’s important to you personally before you come to a final decision.
If you do need a little help don’t forget to read the unbiased reviews on Amazon. It’s helpful to get tons of advice from different people with experience of different snorkeling masks.