Frameless vs. Framed Scuba Masks: Which One Is Best?

frameless vs framed scuba masks
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If you’re investing in scuba equipment, then one of the pieces you’ll be looking for is a mask. It takes a lot of research to be able to find gear that suits you, and you want to make sure that you get the right face mask.

A good mask will optimize your diving experience and enable you to see the world from a different point of view. As you can see, a scuba mask can make a significant impact on diving. Hence, you’ll need to choose between frameless vs. framed scuba masks.

Direct Comparison

Frameless Scuba Mask

-Lens: Molded into the skirt, thinner, slightly curved
-Visual Range: 180 degrees and above
-Construction: Thin materials
-Replaceable Parts: None

Framed Scuba Mask

-Lens: Supported by the frame, elevated, located on top
-Visual Range: 150 degrees
-Construction: Thick materials
-Replaceable Parts: Yes

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Breaking It Down

Between frameless vs. framed scuba masks, we’re going to compare the vision, fit, uses, and what type of diving situations each mask works in. When it comes to investing in a scuba mask, it’s best to understand what each type does. In that way, you’ll be able to find one that suits your driving style.

Plus, masks aren’t cheap, and it’s best to choose one that’s in your budget and comes with all the features you’re looking for.

Design

To get a better idea of what factors contribute to the mask, it’s important to know how they are built. Each mask is made very differently that is why they have different features. Ultimately, these factors play into the vision, fit, and where each mask excels.

Framed Mask

A framed mask has a design where the frame is the foundation of the mask. It provides support for other parts of the mask.

First off, it holds together and supports the lens, ensuring that it stays in place. Secondly, it attaches and holds the strap and the skirt. Each of these pieces is separately manufactured; hence, the need to hold them together.

Frameless Mask

A frameless mask combines the frame to all other parts of the mask. The lenses are molded directly into the skirt, which makes it more of a durable and solid product.

Similarly, the strap is attached to the skirt. Overall, the closeness of all the elements enables the mask to sit closer to your face.

Winner: Frameless Mask

Obviously, the winner is the frameless mask. It’s not only an enhancement but also reduces the weight and bulkiness of the whole mask. This makes it easier for transportation, gives it a longer lasting build, and enables it to enhance the field of vision.

Visual Range

Having good visual range can enhance your experience and makes it easier to see the world around you. Most scuba masks work to provide you with a significant visual range, at least up to 150 degrees. However, not all masks have a full range of vision.

Framed Mask

A framed mask has less vision range, usually 150 degrees. However, the sides of the mask tend to be bulky and limit the range. Looking at the design again, the lenses are placed on top of the mask instead of molded into it, which elevates the lenses. The slight elevation in the mask can cut off your vision.

Frameless Mask

A frameless mask lens is molded into the mask and is crafted to be thinner. On top of that, the sides of the lenses are slightly curved and are usually separate instead of being connected.

This not only enhances your range of vision but also enables the lenses to be crafted to your prescription. Lastly, the lenses extend further back than on a framed mask, allowing more vision.

Winner: Frameless Mask

The frameless mask is the winner in this round just because you’ll have more than 180 degrees of vision. When you’re under the water, the last thing you want is to miss out on an event because your goggles are blocking your view. Plus, if you need prescription lenses, you’ll have the ability to choose different power levels in each lens, ensuring that you won’t miss anything.

Durability

The last major factor to consider is also the durability of the mask. It’s important to have a mask that is long lasting and can withstand multiple uses, travel, and harsh environments. We need to take a closer look at both of the masks, as one of them is more durable than the other while only costing a fraction of the price.

Framed Mask

Framed masks are made from thicker materials that can come apart and be cleaned and maintained. This also makes it easier to replace parts, so if the lenses crack or the strap snaps, you can order a replacement part. While the bulk may be a downside to some, it does mean that there’s extra protection from scratches and cracks.

Frameless Mask

Frameless masks are made from a thin material and are molded together. While this makes them lightweight, this also means that they are more prone to damage.

Frameless masks may break easier, and you won’t be able to replace any parts. Besides that, the price is higher, meaning you’ll have to take better care of them.

Winner: Framed Mask

Framed masks are more affordable, durable, and can be easily maintained. You’ll be able to take them apart, clean them, and pack them separately.

A frameless mask needs to be taken care of and may be prone to cracking, breaking, and tearing over time. This is why framed masks are the winner.

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Final Recount

Frameless Scuba Mask: 2/3
Framed Scuba Mask: 1/3

If you tally up the different factors, we’d have to say that the overall winner is the frameless masks. They excel in design, have enhanced vision, can be used with prescription glasses, and are less bulky. Although they aren’t as sturdy as framed glasses, as long as you take proper care of the mask, you should be fine. 

Pros and Cons

Framed Mask

Pros:

  • Enhanced durability
  • Scratch resistant
  • Can replace parts

Cons:

  • Bulky
  • Heavy

Frameless Mask

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Wider vision angle
  • Prescription lenses

Con:

  • More prone to breaking

 Final Verdict

We’d have to say that the clear winner is the frameless mask. The reason for this is its enhanced design which takes what already works on the framed mask and makes it even better.

It features a slim design, is lightweight, and enhances your experience by enabling you to see everything around you. If you’re looking for a magical time the next time you’re swimming, then using a frameless mask will give you a better experience.

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