How to Buy a Scuba Diving Mask?
Here is Aussie Divers Phuket tips on how to buy a new scuba diving mask.
Your first investment as a scuba diver
Buying a dive mask should be the first investment you make as a scuba diver. As having your own mask with a proper fit will go along way to making your dives more enjoyable. When looking at buying a dive mask there are a number of different shapes, styles & sizes available, how do you choose the right one for you. The choices may seem endless, however, there are some basic things to search for, here is our guide to buying a dive mask.
First step – Right Fit
The key to finding a good mask is getting the right fit, after all, there is nothing worse than having to clear a leaking mask every 5 minutes whilst on a dive. No matter how nice a mask looks on the internet, in advertising or on social media, if it doesnt fit your face then it is not the right mask for you.
You will need to try on the mask, check the skirt fits well, nosepiece or frame doesnt rub etc & that the mask is comfortable to wear. Keep in mind that your dives will generally last 40-60 minutes and an ill-fitting mask can quickly ruin your dive.
The In-store Test
Whilst trying on the mask for comfort follow these steps to check for a correct fit & to minimise the chance of leaks.
Look up and place the mask in a comfortable position on your face, without the strap in place.
Gently breath in through your nose (not forcefully) & hold your breath, you should feel the skirt ‘stick’ to your face & no additional air seeping in.
Slowly tilt your head down & see if the mask stays on whilst holding your breath.
If the mask stays in place whilst you are holding your breath & looking straight ahead or slightly down then it is a good fit & should not leak whilst underwater.
Note that if you have a beard or moustache then you may not be able to get a proper seal.Most in-store sales assistance, instructors & divemaster should know this method & be able to assist you with it in-store.
Whilst trying on masks you should also remember that you will be breathing from a regulator mouthpiece & should also try the mask on with a snorkel or regulator in place.
Once you have tried the above method to check for a good fit & seal you can then try the mask with the strap in place & check for comfort. Also, it pays to check that the nosepiece fits well and you can easily reach your nose to equalize the ears.
Skirt Colour – Clear, Black or Coloured
The colour of the silicone skirt really is a personal preference, with a variety of options from clear, black & even coloured skirts now available. Clear skirts will let a lot of additional light into the mask, black skirts block this light out & eliminate glare front he inside of the mask.
If your a new diver who may feel a little claustrophobic whilst underwater having some extra vision & light with a clear skirt may help. Photographers will generally prefer black skirted masks as there are fewer distractions.
The skirt colour is a personal preference & you will generally find that most styles of the mask will offer both clear & black skirted versions of their masks.
Low Volume vs High Volume
Mask volume refers to the amount of air inside the mask & is something that freedivers pay close attention too. As freedivers rely on only the air inside their lungs whilst breath-hold diving a low-volume mask is key as it needs less air to equalize as you descend.
Low-volume masks however generally have less field of view & scuba divers may want a mask with more volume & larger lenses for better vision whilst scuba diving.
When you are trying on different masks take note of how much vision you have & go with a style & volume size that you feel most comfortable with.
Single Lens vs Twin Lens
Single-lens masks have a single pane of tempered glass, with no frame abstraction down the centre. Twin lens masks have two pieces of tempered glass with a nose bridge separating each lens. This will be another personal preference choice, the single-lens masks offer a much better field of view & may be better suited to those with bigger noses & high nose bridges.
With most major manufacturers the twin-lens masks will, however, have prescriptive lens options available. If you wear glasses & need a prescriptive dive mask then the twin-lens options will be the better choice.
Buckle & Strap Options
When trying on the masks also have a look & feel of the buckle & strap options. Try the mask on with the strap in place, feeling how comfortable the strap sits. Also test out the buckle system & how easily adjusted this is. If you are doing cold water diving can the buckle be adjusted with gloves on.
Final Mask Tips
Lastly, once you have found your perfect mask there are a few final tips to go over prior to taking it for a dive.
Prior to diving, you will need to pre-clean your mask to remove any residual silicone oils leftover from the manufacturing process.
Try not to over-tighten your mask as this may cause mask leakage.
Bugs eat silicone, make sure to store your mask in a plastic mask box.
Rinse your mask thoroughly with fresh water after each use. Keep out of direct sunlight as much as possible.
Hopefully, this guide to buying a dive mask will help you with your next mask purchase. Once you have found that perfect mask it will last a lifetime, so hold onto it & look after it.
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