Avid snorkellers always try to find the best gear to optimise their snorkelling excursion. Well, there is not much to look for since there are only limited types of snorkelling tools and today, we are going to talk about snorkel masks.
The main gadget for snorkellers is the snorkel mask which will be crucial in determining the amount of air inhaled and the quality of vision through the goggles underwater. For this issue, there exists two kinds: the full-face snorkel mask and the traditional snorkel mask. Therefore, which one of these two is more efficient?
Key facts about the full-face snorkel mask
This kind of snorkel masks is not widely known in the world given the fact that it is recently innovated but this fact is simply not true, people have been using this accessory for years and they have a great feedback. This mask consists of a full one-part piece that includes a huge window for the full face. This tempered glass covering your face is useful for distributing the pressure across a larger area in addition to the integration of your breathing system (nose and mouth) in the same area.
The tube on the full-face mask is usually mounted on the top of the window and allows the flow of air in the direction of the face to ensure the largest amount in. The breathing part of the face is usually separated from the upper area that includes the eyes in order to guarantee more filtration of the air and to prevent the inhalation of water particles.
Key facts about the traditional snorkel mask
The original version of full-face masks is the regular ubiquitous snorkel mask that is usually separated in two parts: the goggles which cover the eye and prevent water from penetrating, and the tube which is mostly mounted inside the mouth.
Wearing the snorkel mask in this combination will cause some problems and water may slip into the goggles making the vision worse and the experience less enjoyable. A tube in the mouth will also be a struggle for people who find hardships in breathing with one channel only (which is the mouth in this case)
For these issues, we would like to go through each point of difference between these two snorkel masks and make it easier for you to choose. On our reefmask web shop, you will find collections of both types and the guides will help you pick the best fit for you.
Main differences between full-face snorkel masks and traditional snorkel masks
• Compact piece
Having one compact piece, the full-mask snorkel will make it easier to fold and pack unlike the twoseparate-piece regular snorkel mask which makes it easy to lose a piece and ruin the snorkelling experience. The tube on the full-face mask is also foldable which makes one full face mask more compact and versatile than a traditional one.
• Wide panoramic view
The huge facial window of the full-face snorkel mask will make the view incomparable. You just get a full view of the underwater magic with a crystal-clear tempered glass. Traditional snorkel masks don’t offer this privilege as their view is narrower and the goggles can sometimes get foggy and scratched. The high-definition image of the full-face mask will absolutely win the competition and you would choose it every day of the week over the traditional alternative.
• Breathing quality
Breathing through the tube of the full mask is an absolute ease compared to the tube of the traditional mask. This is explained by the larger volume of air around your mouth in the full face one. That bubble in front of your face will make breathing easier and breathing with both your nose and your mouth will allow more oxygen inside and longer diving period before going back to the surface.
• Anti-leak seal
The seal of the full-face mask provides perfect sealing against the skin that won’t allow any small water particles to penetrate inside and disrupt the breathing process. The traditional mask also closes the area around your eyes with a tight seal but around the nose, it will just have a plastic mount that doesn’t provide sufficient sealing and separation from water, this will cause fog to build up in the inner part of the lens and water vapour will make opening your eyes undesirable.
• Action camera compatibility
Adventurists don’t enjoy the extreme experience without recording most of it, as for taking the best scenes of your life underwater during a snorkelling trip it would be something to regret if you miss. That is why compatibility with action cameras - and specifically GoPro that will have a dedicated mount for the full-face mask - is a must. This option cannot be provided by the classic mask due to the small size it has but you can also wear a head mount for your action camera and dive in.
• Crystal clear view
With the tempered glass of the full-face snorkel mask, there will be no fog anymore due to the water vapour accumulating inside the mask. This will enhance the quality of the image and prevent some potential issues under water like space disorientation leading to lose consciousness. Dealing with goggle fog on the traditional mask will make the experience unbearable and it is a common issue among snorkellers.
Which one should you use between these two snorkel masks?
If you feel like we are backing the full-face mask snorkel then we should have a valid reason. Well, it appears obvious that the full-face mask gives better view underwater and is compact and easy to pack, this should be the perfect combination for recreational snorkellers that don’t do a lot of diving in the open waters.
As for professionals that like to fish underwater or just extreme sport enthusiasts who want to immortalise the experience, they can also benefit from the wide view and the action camera compatibility.
Other snorkellers also practise a lot of free diving using their snorkel masks, as the pressure rises downwards, the seal of the full-face mask will provide perfect integration and zero droplets of water inside.
Now that it is obvious that full mask snorkel masks are the new technology that will mesmerise all the snorkellers around the world, we as aussies that love swimming in the ocean, it will be like a necessity for us when heading towards the sea.
To be fair, it is needed to say that full face mask snorkel masks are useful for surface recreational snorkelling but as you become adapted to diving and have enough experience, you may prefer the traditional snorkel. It is also stated that full face masks have problems in getting rid of the CO2 which will make breathing harder as you dive deeper, but there is nothing to worry about, as they are proven to be safer and are recommended to enjoy a lovely experience in perfect safety and prevention from clogging or incapacitation.
There are other factors to consider when picking the snorkel mask that fulfils your needs: size, material and dimensions, as these factors can vary drastically and some research will be needed.
John - Manager at Reef Mask
Passionate about the ocean & its beauty, John has been a passionate Snorkeler for over 10 years. Educating people on snorkelling techniques and equipment.