In the scuba community, full face masks are slowly becoming more common and all the rage. The reason for this is that the mask is more comfortable to wear for more extended periods and isn’t as limiting on your breathing. However, there are plenty of other benefits of using a full face scuba mask.
But how do you know what features to look for in a full face scuba mask? Well, to help you make a better decision, we’ve created a list of fullface scuba mask pros and cons. This can help guide you on what to keep an eye out for and which types of full face scuba masks to avoid.
The Benefits of Using a Full Face Scuba Mask
While some benefits may be obvious, others may not. To help you get a better feel for why snorkelers and scuba divers tend to prefer full face masks over the traditional half mask, we’ve listed out these following factors.
1. Easy to Breathe
A full face mask enables you to take a full breath of air and exhale it naturally. This is one of the key points of why divers like it better than others.
The ability to naturally breathe can help you stay relaxed, calm, and focused on everything else. Plus, there’s no need to learn how to manage your airflow or practice breathing techniques with the mask, which is required with other types of scuba gear.
2. Creates a Barrier
The mask fits over your whole face which keeps you protected from coming in contact with water. If you have facial hair, a full face mask will keep you protected and will prevent water from spilling in. Naturally, a half mask keeps the lower half of your face exposed to the water and in some cases can even slip and let water in when you move any of the muscles on your face.
With a full face mask, the edges are sealed. The mask moves with your face, which prevents water from slipping in. Likewise, they are sturdier and more secure, which prevents them from falling off in waves or harsh waters.
3. Built-In Snorkeling System
While there are plenty of snorkels that can be used separately from a scuba mask, a full face snorkel is much different. Your traditional snorkel can be used underwater and will close out any water from trickling into the system, but there may still be a bit of leakage in some lower end snorkels.
However, with a full face mask, any water that slips into the snorkel will be automatically filtered outside of the mask via another channel. This prevents any water from coming into contact with your mouth, saving you from coughing or choking. Overall, it enhances your experience and enables you to enjoy your swim while relieving the tension of accidentally swallowing water.
4. Enhanced Circulation
One of the most common problems with scuba masks is that they tend to fog up when you’re using them, limiting your vision. Full face masks don’t fog as easily and are equipped with a dual ventilation system that keeps airflow in the mask.
The air will be filtered in through one part of the mask and circles around the interior. From there it will then be sent outside of the mask, preventing any fog.
5. Comfortable and Prevents Jaw Fatigue
With no mouthpiece, your jaw won’t get sore or fatigued because there will be no need for you to bite down. Essentially, you can enjoy diving for longer periods because your jaw won't need a break or become uncomfortable.
6. Doesn’t Restrict Vision
Lastly, full face masks use a curved lens that extends beyond your vision line, giving you a full range of vision—a design flaw that many half masks make. However, the frame becomes sealed behind 180 degrees, which helps you see without blocking the surroundings out.
The Disadvantages of Using a Full Face Scuba Mask
Although there are plenty of advantages, there are still some disadvantages to wearing a full face scuba mask. One should always be knowledgeable about the potential risks to a product before they use it. Hence, we will give you a quick rundown of where full face scuba masks go wrong.
1. Unable to Free Dive
The deeper you swim underwater, the higher the pressure is going to be. Unfortunately, full face masks aren’t strong enough to equalize pressure that forms over time.
With a traditional scuba mask, you’ll be able to relieve this pressure by breathing out of your nose. Hence, full face masks aren't recommended for those who want to free dive.
2. Made from Plastic
Most full face masks are crafted from plastic and can easily be damaged. If you’re using one, you’re going to have to be careful and keep it protected. This includes keeping it protected when you’re not using it.
Always keep the mask in a carrying case, preferably one that has some cushioning.
3. Very Bulky
A full face mask is bulky because it covers your whole face. If you want to travel with it, you’ll need to make adequate room. On top of that, it features more plastic than it does rubber, which means that you’ll need to avoid placing it where another object could hit into it and crack the plastic.
4. Doesn’t Build Skill
Lastly, even though full face masks are beginner-friendly, it doesn't teach the necessary skills in order to use a mask and snorkel. With traditional scuba masks, it’s common for water to floor at times, which can cause an experienced diver to panic. That’s why it’s recommended to practice with both types before attempting to use a snorkel and mask combo.
Hopefully, this quick comparison of the fullface scuba mask pro and cons have given you a better outlook on why full face masks can be good and bad. Each diver is different and may prefer one type of mask over the other.
Nonetheless, full face masks are ideal for specific situations. If you have facial hair, breathing problems, or are just starting, they can be an excellent method to transitioning you into diving. Just be aware of what the cons are, as this can help you decide if a full face scuba mask is suited for you or not.