Written By
Published Jul. 26, 2021

Whether you’re about to explore the depths for the very first time or you’re a frequent ocean adventurer, a great snorkel mask can make the difference between an exciting dive or foundering. If you’ve tried a traditional mask and it makes you slightly uncomfortable, consider grabbing the best full face snorkel mask. They can provide extra coverage, eliminate the mouthpiece, and encourage a relaxing swim through the sea. So gear up for some wonderful aquatic adventures with the best full-face snorkel mask. 

Things to consider before buying a full-face snorkel mask

If you’ve never used a full-face snorkel before, you may not know what to look for or how to prioritize the fit and features you’ll need to have the best experience possible in the water. With that in mind, we’ve created this helpful guide to introduce you to some important points to consider. First, you’ll want to make sure you understand the difference between a traditional mask and a full-face mask. Then you can think about your ideal underwater adventure, skill level, and any additional gear you want to bring with you. 

What exactly is a full-face snorkel mask?

Unlike a traditional snorkel mask, which covers only the eyes and nose, a full face mask surrounds your entire face from your hairline to your chin. Separated into two sections, the top gives you panoramic views of undersea life, while the bottom encases your mouth and nose, connecting you effortlessly to the snorkel tube at the very top of the mask. With a full-face mask, you won’t have to suppress any gag reflexes, nor will you need to focus on clamping your jaw down on a rubber tube insert in order to breathe. A well-made mask means you’ll be able to breathe through your nose and mouth without fogging up your views. Wide straps hold the mask in place, and a water-tight seal around the perimeter of your face means little to no leakage, no matter what. 

Who should try a full-face snorkel mask? 

Full-face snorkel masks are best for swimmers who are looking for some leisurely fun and like to stick close to the surface. They’re not meant for freediving because of the restricted access to your nose to equalize pressure. You also want to stay away from a full-face mask if you’re planning on exerting yourself in the water, either by swimming hard or treading water for a long time. As your heart rate rises, the pace of your breathing increases, as does the likelihood of taking short, shallow breaths, which can leave you feeling overheated, dizzy, or light-headed. However, if you’re perfectly happy to float along the surface, looking down on the sea life below, then a full-face snorkel might be the best way to increase your comfort, expand your view, and help you breathe easy. 

Do you wear prescription glasses? 

It’s never a good idea to cram your everyday glasses inside a snorkel mask. And you certainly don’t want to size up to accommodate them; this could lead to leaks or injuries. However, if you can’t make the jump to contacts but still want to experience awe-inspiring ocean life, you may need to consider grabbing a custom snorkel mask. While most snorkel masks won’t automatically come with custom lenses, a few companies make models designed to be altered. Once you pick out the size and style you want, you’ll be able to send your mask to an outside organization that will install prescription lenses so you can see clearly underwater.

Are you trying to document your aquatic excursion?

While underwater photography certainly exists, a hands-free option for filming will give you more flexibility, as well as more security while collecting underwater memories. If you’ve already invested in a GoPro, make sure you look for a full-face snorkel mask that comes with a camera mount. A built-in mount in your beach gear means you won’t need to worry about dropping the camera deep into the water or watching it float away. 

Related: Best underwater scooter for safe and fun aquatic adventures

Best overall full-face snorkeling mask: Tribord Subea Easybreath

Award-Winning

A fun, safe way to skim the surface and see the sights below. DRY FREAK

Check Price

This Easybreath full-face snorkeling mask is the winner of the Oxylane Innovation Award, and for good reason. A double chamber air vent valve provides continuous, clean fog-free airflow with a hypoallergenic silicone facial lining to prevent leaks. A dry top, secure lock snorkel tube prevents salty water from entering from the top, and an additional spare ring keeps the snorkel head from detaching. A removable camera mount can handle your GoPro and the 180-degree panoramic view lens means you won’t miss a thing. This mask is available in four colors and three sizes, including an option for kids under ten. 

Best full-face snorkeling gear for people who wear glasses: Ocean Reef Aria Classic 

Sea Clearly

This pick will let you include additional lenses, so you won’t have any trouble identifying your favorite fish. OCEAN REEF

Check Price

The Aria Class, from Ocean Reef, is great for those who need to install prescription lenses. While the mask itself doesn’t come with prescription options, the company has partnered with See the Sea, which is dedicated to improving visibility for underwater explorers. The company will install needed lenses inside the mask, without impeding the mask’s fit or the seal that keeps out water. The Aria Classic comes in three sizes and two colorways with a full 180-degree panoramic view, updated air circulation including vents in the top portion of the mask, and a reinforced seal around your nose and mouth to prevent fogging.

Best full-face snorkel mask for photographers: WildHorn Outfitters Seaview 

Preserve Memories

If you want to capture underwater footage, this mask will secure your GoPro with a removable camera mount. WildHorn Outfitters

Check Price

The Seaview 180º V2 utilizes FlowTech technology that supports natural breathing with four intake valves that draw in and circulate fresh air. Anti-leak silicone creates a tight yet comfortable seal around the face, and an auto-drain system gets rid of any occasional water from the mask without needing to take it off. A removable camera mount is situated near the chin/cheek area instead of the top of the head, which helps it stay securely underwater even as you float along the surface. The mount fits all GoPro cameras and swivels, so you’ll never miss a shot. It’s available in three sizes and four colors with an adjustable elastic strap to secure the perfect fit. 

Best kids full-face snorkel mask: Zipoute Kids Full-Face Snorkel Mask

Cue the Jaws theme

A super fun way to introduce your little one to the joys of under-the-sea exploration. ZIPOUTE

Check Price

This Zipoute full-face snorkel is explicitly designed for small swimmers. This mask has separate channels for inhalation and exhalation to increase healthy airflow and prevent any build-up of CO2. Fresh air shoots straight to the nose and mouth via the large intake tube while exhaled air shoots out through the side. The flat, anti-fogging lens provides a panoramic view without any distortion, and the breathing tube has a floating ball that prevents water from entering the mask if submerged. The mask is one size fits all with adjustable straps to help fit your child’s features. It’s sized for kids whose eyebrow-to-the-bottom of-the-chin measurement sits between 3.45 and 3.94 inches). Our favorite part of this mask is the shark design, which is entirely removable should your child not be as enthusiastic about it as we are.  

Best budget full-face snorkel mask: Zipoute Full-Face Snorkel Mask 

Don’t empty your wallet

A sturdy, secure full-face snorkel mask with a smart, safe design. ZIPOUTE

Check Price

Just like the kids’ version, the adult mask from Zipoute is a budget-friendly way to breathe easily and comfortably underwater. There are separate air flow channels for inhaling and exhaling, preventing fogging bolstered by a 180-degree lens with an anti-fog coating. A silicone seal and floating ball prevent leaks supported by a drain valve and dry-top design. A camera mount will allow you to capture memories and the foldable breathing tube makes it easy to store in your beach bag. Each mask comes with a mesh bag, earplugs, screw, and an O ring for easy assembly. Available in three colors and two sizes, each mask has adjustable straps so you can customize a comfortable fit. 

FAQs

Q: Why are full-face snorkel masks dangerous?

A cursory Google search will bring up several fear-inducing articles that discuss the dangers of full-face snorkels, and they all relate to CO2. If a full face mask doesn’t fit well, forming a tight seal around the nose and mouth with exit vents for exhalation, you risk breathing potentially dangerous levels of CO2 back into the mask, which you could then inhale with your next breath. Inhaling CO2 can lead to dizziness and even losing consciousness, making poorly made or inappropriately used full-face masks dangerous.  

Luckily, there are a few things you can do to make sure your mask is safe. Don’t buy the cheapest mask you can find; when it comes to your safety, it’s worth spending a few extra dollars to ensure the model you use was made thoughtfully and follows regulations and guidelines. Try on the mask before jumping into the water, making sure the seals are tight to your face. Stay on the surface, don’t dive deep underwater, and try to avoid submerging the mask at all. Don’t engage in strenuous swimming while wearing your mask: leisurely drift, or float through the water.

Q: Can you go underwater with a full-face snorkel?

While many masks are protected from water rushing in through the snorkel tube, they are not designed to be submerged underwater. Expelling any water that comes in can be difficult, and the quick breathing that comes after holding your breath can increase the chance of CO2 being trapped in the second chamber. Full-face snorkels are meant to be used on the surface, looking down at marine life below. 

Q: How long can you breathe underwater with a snorkel mask?

While no snorkel will let you breathe while fully submerged underwater (you need to be scuba diving for that), you can bob along the water’s surface, remaining face down, for as long as you are comfortable and breathing easily. As long as you aren’t over-exerting yourself or feeling any sort of distress, you can spend as much time in the ocean as you want. 

Final thoughts on the best full-face snorkel mask for you 

Whether you’re going on a tropical vacation or hitting up a nearby beach, bringing a full-face snorkel along for the journey can only add adventure and excitement to your trip. The most important thing to consider before jumping into the water with your new beach accessory is safety. Take the time to go over any safety guidelines, make sure your mask fits securely, and that you have a plan in place should you experience any trouble breathing. Beyond that, you can think about any additional features you may require, like prescription lenses or a camera mount. The best full-face snorkel will make breathing easy and comfortable, giving you the perfect view of aquatic life. 

MORE TO READ