For the longest time, if you appeared on the dive boat with a full face mask, your fellow divers would gawk at you–and they still might. However, I assure you, full face scuba masks are the next hot product in recreational diving equipment. Once reserved only for the likes of scientific and commercial divers with their work taking place in generally more hostile conditions with a need for more advanced communication techniques, these relatively unknown pieces of diving equipment are now making a giant stride into the recreational scuba realm. How? Through more affordable prices and benefits that even the snobbiest of recreational diving gearheads can’t deny are game-changers.
So why exactly do you need a scuba diving full face scuba mask? For starters, let’s talk about communication. Generally speaking, us recreational divers don’t struggle to communicate too much with our array of hand signals. In fact, they tend to bleed over into our everyday lives. I frequently give the ok or cool signal to non-divers outside the water when a verbal response is not warranted. But what if you could identify that odd creature beneath the waves as you watch it, have an unprecedented sense of someone’s comfort or stress level underwater, or find clarity in those unique situations when signals just don’t cut it? Now you can. Full face scuba masks can be outfitted with intercoms to make verbal communication a reality underwater. Physical comfort is also a huge benefit of full face masks. A common complaint I hear from new divers is in regards to mask and regulator comfort. With a full face scuba diving mask, we no longer need to worry about biting down on a mouthpiece or not being able to breathe through our noses. Physical comfort also accounts for the convenience of such accessories in a coldwater environment. The final important benefit I perceive with these masks is increased security: you are at less of a risk of dropping your regulator or mask.
Best Full Face Scuba Masks Reviewed
Best Overall – Ocean Reef Neptune Space
My top choice for full face diving masks is the highly popular Ocean Reef Neptune Space mask, and for good reason. Not only can this piece of diving technology be outfitted with a visor lamp, but it is available in different colors, and incredibly comfortable in fit. These aren’t even the Neptune Space’s best features though–built for a wider, unobstructed field of vision, this mask features a built in second stage regulator and underwater intercom communication integration.
Ocean Reef has been a trusted brand with commercial and research divers for sometime. It’s about time the recreational community took their word and embraced this top-quality brand. Most notably, the Neptune Space features a streamlined polycarbonate, panoramic visor with a premium-grade silicon spring for maximum strength and comfort. Don’t worry about leaks or breakage ever again! My favorite feature of this mask is the adjustable air flow knob for convenient adjustment and the powerful, simple-to-use, wireless communication abilities.
As a recreational dive professional, I would recommend this mask with hesitation. On one hand, I am excited by the communication abilities and durable, feature-heavy design. On the other hand, I am weary of the lack of skills required to use it. I would recommend caution to new divers in using a full face diving mask with the concern their basic underwater skills will not be polished and practiced enough to suffice in an emergency situation. For instance, the lack of signaling or stress identification needed with verbal communication, mask and regulator clearing and recovery skills, and so on. If you have around $650 to spend and are looking to upgrade gear, check out the Neptune Space.
- Polycarbonate panoramic visor
- Premium silicone face skirt
- Built-in 2nd stage
- Adjustable airflow
- Coldwater certified
- Balanced regulator
- Six point harness
- Strong and resilient
- Extremely comfortable fit
- Adjust airflow to a level comfortable for you
- Trusted model in the commercial and research diving industries
- Customizable with a variety of colors and visor lamp
- Lower price point
- Expensive add-ons
- Difficult to clear mask of water
- Air connect hose can easily detach when caught on something
- Added buoyancy from air volume
OTS Guardian Full Face Scuba Mask
All anyone can talk about with the OTS Guardian is comfort. It kind of implies it in the name, after all. With the Guardian from Ocean Technology Systems you feel comfortable and protected. This full face dive mask’s greatest calling card is its perfectly engineered seal. A huge issue common among many full face dive masks is the lack of a proper seal affecting the diver’s ability to hear the communication intercoms audibly and inefficient air consumption. The OTS Guardian is specifically designed to eliminate these issues with a super strong and comfortable double skirt. They also introduce the opportunity to customize your full face dive mask to fit your face properly, since every face is structured differently and easy equalization is a must. Ocean System Technologies does not think one size should fit all.
Ocean System Technologies has been around for nearly 40 years now and is a leader in the commercial and scientific diving equipment communities as they continuously produce new, advanced technologies in the field of underwater communication systems and full face masks. This full face scuba mask bumps up the price a bit to approximately $850–quite an investment, however necessary for the advanced features. I would caution the same as I did for the previous mask in exercising caution committing fully to a full face mask at the risk of valuable underwater skills diminishing.
I would recommend the OTS Guardian mask to divers interested in experiencing the underwater world with a full face mask. Despite the high price point, this would make a great starter mask for someone new to the world of full face masks. My favorite feature has got to be the adjustability for different facial structures to increase the ease of equalization. This is a chief complaint I hear from divers looking to buy new masks as many find it difficult to find a model that suits their face and is easy or comfortable to equalize with. Problem solved.
- Ambient breathing valve for air conservation at the surface
- Adjustable for unique facial structures
- Polycarbonate visor
- Designed for easy maintenance
- Double skirt
- Removable second stage
- Double face seal
- Conservative air settings
- Easily adjustable for comfortable fit
- Good first full face mask
- Easy clearing
- Communication abilities
- Even higher price point
- Expensive add-ons
- Communication intercoms not included
- Difficult to share air
ScubaPro Full Face Mask
This full face scuba mask is all about simplicity and ease-of-use. It has an extremely safe, versatile design that can benefit anyone from a coldwater to technical diving setting. It has an expansive field of you and the mouth and nose have their own compartment which makes the transition to a full face mask easier for more seasoned recreational divers. It is super comfortable with a wide silicone skirt designed to fit a multitude of faces.
Priced around $700, you are partially paying for the brand here. ScubaPro is a household name for divers and has been producing quality equipment for quite some time, maximizing safety and simplicity. The ScubaPro full face mask is a great mask for anyone who has been recreationally diving for a while already and wants to make the transition to a full face scuba mask. Not only does it include the compartment feature but ScubaPro is a brand recreational divers know and trust.
One thing that really stood out to me with this mask is the five point spider strap with stainless steel buckles. It is easily adjustable and secure, making it possible to mold the mask to many different facial structures while not having to worry about leakage or it coming off. A mask respected by commercial divers, scientific divers, tech divers, and recreational divers alike from a trusted brand–the ScubaPro Full Face Mask might be your best option if you’re ready for a full face scuba mask transition in the near future.
- Separate compartment for mouth and nose
- Super wide silicone skirt
- Five point spider strap
- Reduced weight for increased comfort
- Mineral anti-fogging treated
- Direct inhalation possible
- Bridges the gap between traditional masks and full face
- Lightweight and comfortable
- Does not fog at all
- Suitable for coldwater
- Medium price point
- Very adjustable
- Communication intercoms not included
- Lesser field of vision
- Difficult for some divers to get a good seal
- Regulator not included
IST M37 Pegasus Full Face Scuba Mask
This ultra-cheap full face mask is comfortable, affordable, and easy. The M37 Pegasus really makes a fantastic option if you are not too sure about full face scuba masks or on a tight budget. Personally, I would rather spend some time with the M37 Pegasus than a more expensive model before I would invest in something from Ocean System Technologies or Ocean Reef. This is a really good product to get comfortable with, but perhaps is not the makings of a long term equipment investment. This simplistic full face scuba mask is designed incredibly lightweight and easily attaches to your octopus securely.
Priced around $100, this budget-friendly mask comes from IST. IST has been around for over 35 years and is known for their quality, affordable diving and snorkel equipment. With the M37 Pegasus, they have crafted a model that fits lightweight and comfortably to the face to reduce jaw discomfort and maximise adjustability. It comes with a matte-rubber finish and a wide-view, dual tempered glass lens for a sturdy and clear line of vision.
I would recommend this mask for the price point alone. $100 for a solid full face mask is pretty unbeatable. With that said, you get what you pay for. I think the price of this mask is a really big draw because some divers might be hesitant to transition to full face scuba masks and this reduces the investment. You still get a comfortable fit and quality mask, but it doesn’t break the bank. As I said, this mask may not last a lifetime, or even many years, but it is a great entry into the world of full face scuba masks.
- Dual tempered glass lens
- Easily adjustable straps
- Comfortable silicone skirt
- Matte rubber finish
- Incredibly lightweight
- Lightweight and comfortable fit
- Easy octopus attachment
- Sturdy glass lens
- Extremely budget-friendly price
- Matte finish is non-reflective
- Easy to equalize and low volume
- Only available in black
- No communication intercom abilities
- Lower quality build
- Less features and accessories
- Does not include regulator
Ocean Reef Space Extender Integrated Full Face Mask
Looking to explore some coldwater diving? Icy water can be challenging, yet rewarding. Different gear than we use in the tropics is required to ensure divers have proper exposure protection from the frozen temperatures. The Ocean Reef Space Extender Integrated Full Face Mask is designed specifically for this purpose. The Space Extender is coldwater certified and comes rife with advanced features and a high-budget price tag that will make sure you feel warm and cozy while you explore frigid temperatures.
Be ready to dish out a minimum of around $1000 for this beauty. Another selection from Ocean Reef, this mask has it all: underwater communication capabilities, maximum adjustment for a comfortable fit, an integrated regulator, the options to rig with another air valve or corrective lens, air release adjustment, and more. Definitely worth the cost for all the desirable features, the Space Extender is a top-of-the-line full face scuba mask.
For a mask this expensive, I feel a bit silly to say my favorite aspect is the look. But this mask is sleek, edgy, and just looks plain good. You can also customize it with a huge selection of colors available. As I said, it sounds but goofy to call attention to something so simplistic when this mask introduces many high quality, advanced features–but if I’m going to dish out that kind of money, I want something that looks awesome too.
- Built for coldwater diving
- Integrated regulator
- Communication Intercom abilities
- Air release control valve
- Directional exhaust valve
- Surface Air Valve
- Balanced regulator
- Comfortable fit and highly adjustable
- Customize with a range of colors
- Sleek look and style
- Communication capabilities
- Options for ad-ons
- Very expensive
- No surface supplied air valve
- Expensive ad-ons
- Bulky and a bit heavier than the other models listed
Considerations Before Making a Purchase/ Frequently Asked Questions:
What exactly is a full face scuba mask?
A full face scuba mask is exactly as the name suggests: a mask that covers your entire face. These masks combine the regulator and mask into a single piece of equipment, initially designed for the purposes of exposure protection in cold water or other harsh environments, underwater intercom communication, and more. They have been a staple for commercial and scientific divers for quite some time, however they are now beginning to gain traction in the recreational diving community and are being viewed by some as the next big thing.
Are full face scuba masks safer than a regular mask and regulator?
It depends who you ask, but for recreational diving, I would say no. As I expressed concern in the beginning of the article, full face scuba masks mean the absence of essential diving regulator and mask skills. Should a diver find themselves in a situation where these skills are required of them, they may be diminished and unpolished. For instance, what happens if a full face scuba mask model that is difficult to clear gets knocked off a diver’s face? This could create a dangerous situation. On the other hand, I have many past students who would rejoice knowing a piece of equipment like this is available to them.
Most good full face diving masks are expensive, is it worth the cost?
This is a difficult question. I would say it depends on your intentions for its use. If you live and dive somewhere where it is a harsh environment or the features a full face scuba mask offers would come in handy, by all means make the investment. If you are teetering on the fence or just want to experiment with full face scuba masks, I would recommend not investing in a more expensive model right away. They are exciting pieces of equipment and could pop up a lot more in the future, but in terms of recreational divers, I don’t foresee them becoming anywhere near the industry standard anytime soon.
I’m interested in other diving opportunities, is this a good investment for me?
Perhaps! Are you interested in coldwater diving, research or scientific diving, commercial diving, or venturing into tech diving at some point? Then a full face diving mask may be a great equipment investment for you! In these other facets of the diving world, full face dive masks are necessary and frequently used in many cases.