The Complete Guide to Scuba Masks

The Complete Guide to Scuba Masks

There are many different pieces of equipment that you need when you go scuba diving. One of the most prominent pieces of equipment is your scuba mask.

These masks come in various sizes and shapes, and they are all made from similar materials. What is the importance of having a good quality mask?

Let’s take a look.

Why do you Need a Scuba Mask?

A scuba mask is not only there to help you see underwater. It also acts as a piece of safety equipment, and that is mainly thanks to its design. The scuba mask creates air pockets the helps you prevent injury specifically to your eyes due to compression.

In this article, we will walk you through everything that you need to know about scuba masks. One of the most important sections of this article discusses how to maintain the scuba mask to maximize its longevity properly. We will discuss that and a whole lot more, so I recommend that you keep reading.

Scuba diver swimming next to a school of fish

What are Scuba Masks Made of?

Scuba masks are usually made of a combination of Silicone, Perspex and Plastic but some high end masks may contain more expensive materials such as Carbon Fiber. There are 5 main components to a scuba mask that are made of different materials. These components are:

  • The strap
  • The buckles
  • The skirt
  • The frame 
  • The lens.

Not all scuba masks are made the same. Some scuba masks are made with cheaper materials to be more budget-friendly, and some are premium.

However, any scuba-specific mask must follow a few safety standards. To explain what they are made of, I think it would be best to break the scuba mask down into several different components.

The strap can be made out of one of many different materials. It is not uncommon to find scuba mask straps made from silicone. In fact, this is the most common type of strap. However, neoprene gets used to cover the straps in some cases to increase their durability. 

The buckles are attached to the strap and sometimes to the skirt of the scuba mask. It is essential to remember a scuba mask, where the silicone skirt and the silicone strap are one, might not need buckles. With all of that being said, a scuba mask buckle will often be made from quality plastic materials.

The skirt of a scuba mask is the silicone piece that creates a seal around your face. This skirt is by far the most crucial part of the scuba mask. If the seal is not good enough, you will not be able to compress the air pocket of the scuba mask.

Not only can you have a very uncomfortable dive if you go deep but not being able to pressurize the air pockets can be dangerous for your eyes.

This may seem pretty obvious, but the frame of a scuba mask gives the scuba mask its shape, and it is the component that houses the lens of the mask.

Many different aesthetics can be given to a scuba mask purely by the frame’s shape and design. A reasonable quality frame will be made from either plastic or, in some cases, on the most premium of masks from carbon fiber.

Scuba diver smiling on the boat

In some cases, you do get a frameless scuba mask where the lens fits into the mask’s skirt. This option is a convenient one; however, it is not the most practical option in many cases. For example, if one component of the mask breaks, you often have to replace everything.

The lens of a mask is made from perspex glass. The minute some people hear “glass,” they immediately start to wonder what happens if the glass breaks so close to your eyes. Well, that is where perspex comes into play. Instead of shattering into sharp shards of glass, it cracks and breaks into small blunt pieces. 

The perspex glass needs to be fitted to the frame precisely. The quality of the perspex needs to be top-notch so that it does not cave under pressure. It is never advisable to go on deep dives with cheap scuba masks for this very reason

How Much Does A Scuba Mask Cost?

Now we have discussed scuba masks’ prices, I feel that it is essential to talk about safety. If you are a casual scuba diver who only dives in shallow Waters on clear days with large groups of people, your mask’s quality is not as critical; however, it is still a good idea to try and not cut corners with this vital piece of scuba gear.

If you dive with two or three people and dive around caves and deep waters, you have to get a good quality mask.

How Exactly Does A Scuba Mask Work?

The seal that is created by a scuba mask creates an air pocket. You control the pressure within this pocket by exhaling with your nose. This pressure prevents too much compression that would result in injuries. 

While a scuba mask looks like a simple piece of scuba gear, it is rather complex. A scuba mask isn’t just there to help you see underwater. It plays quite a significant role in keeping you safe.

We have written a recent article about the dangers of scuba diving. I highly recommend that you give the piece a read after reading this one. You can even save it as a bookmark for later.

How Long Do Scuba Masks Last?

A good quality scuba mask can last up to 20 years. However, this is if you look after it and keep it in near perfect conditions. It would be more accurate to say that a scuba mask can last up to 5000 dives or around ten years.

You find that many scuba divers hold on to their masks for as long as possible. Remember, the way that a scuba mask sits on your face is very personal, and when you find a mask that strikes the perfect balance between comfort, visibility, and safety, you don’t often want to let it go.

However, you will need to change your mask eventually. This is inevitable.

How to Make Your Scuba Mask Last Longer.

Let’s take a look at a few ways you can properly maintain your scuba mask to make it last longer.

  • Don’t throw your mask around after your dive.
  • Store your mask inside a protective cover.
  • Wash the mask after every dive.
  • Dry the mask after washing it.
  • Use anti-fog solutions to minimize having to take it off in the water.
  • Do not leave the mask in the sun. You can warp the mask by doing this.
  • Wrap the strap in neoprene.

Being in the ocean feels magnificent, especially in the right conditions. Once you get out of the sea and the euphoria caused by an increase of endorphins wears off, the salt can be horrible to deal with.

It makes everything sticky, but when it comes to your scuba mask, it can be troublesome. Salt is corrosive and can damage your mask, especially any silicon components. 

Scuba diving looking at a fish in a sunken cage

How To Know When to Replace Your Scuba Mask

Once the skirts of a scuba mask become flimsy from wear and tear, it will stop creating a perfect seal. When this happens, you want to change your mask immediately. 

One of the first things to give in on most scuba masks is the strap. Most wear and tear are placed on the strap by putting the mask on and taking it off.  It is also the part of the mask that deals with the most tension when it remains strapped to your head.

Finally, if it looks like the mask’s frame is no longer keeping the lens in place tightly, then this is a sign that you should immediately replace the scuba mask.

Is it Dangerous to Use Old Scuba Masks?

Look, this section is going to be more about personal preference based on personal experiences. When buying any scuba gear, you only want to buy that gear from a reputable store or diving facility.

Yes, you may find some terrific deals from private sellers, and this might be a great option if you know the person but try not to buy old scuba masks from strangers.

Using old scuba masks is ok, but you might want to run through a few inspections.

In the previous section, we spoke about a scuba mask’s structural integrity and how you can notice a few problems simply by looking at the skirt, the lens, the frame, or the strap. If anything looks slightly off, it might be a good idea not to use that old scuba mask.

Don’t Forget Your Dive Insurance!

Before you go out on any dive trip or holiday, it is essential to make sure you have insurance that covers you if something goes wrong. Check out our dive insurance article for more information.

Or go straight to these dive insurance company websites:


Diver Alert Network (DAN)

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That brings us to the end of this article. Hopefully, you now know everything that you need to know about scuba masks. More importantly, I hope that we answered any questions that you may have had. For any other diving-related questions you may have, why not check out some of our other articles.

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Scuba Masks FAQs

How much does a scuba mask cost?

On the more budget-friendly side, scuba masks cost anywhere from $20 to $80.
For a more premium scuba mask, you can expect to pay anywhere between $130 up to $200. Remember, though; you cannot put a price tag on safety.

How can I make my scuba mask last longer?

Don’t throw your mask around after your dive.
Store your mask inside a protective cover.
Wash the mask after every dive.
Dry the mask after washing it.
Use anti-fog solutions to minimize having to take it off in the water.
Do not leave the mask in the sun. You can warp the mask by doing this.
Wrap the strap in neoprene.

How do I know when to replace my scuba mask?

Once the skirts of a scuba mask become flimsy from wear and tear, it will stop creating a perfect seal. When this happens, you want to change your mask immediately. You should also replace your scuba mask if the lens becomes loose in the frame.

Paul Fulbrook

Paul Fulbrook is a writer, scuba diver, ex-science teacher and marine biologist. He has a passion for coral reef biology, diving on coral reefs and writing about diving. He also loves cats and his children (sometimes).

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