As you search for the perfect snorkel mask, you will come across information that contradicts one another. Some say that full-face snorkel masks are the way to go, while others suggest you stick to traditional ones.
To decide which type of mask is right for you, you will need to gather some more information. How does a fullface snorkel mask work, and is it really all that different from a traditional mask?
The final choice about which type of mask fits your current snorkeling requirements is up to you, but learning more about the relevant difference between each mask type can help you to make that decision when the time comes.
Traditional vs. Full-face Snorkel Masks
Traditional snorkel masks have two separate pieces: the mask and the snorkel. These two pieces can be separated into distinct parts. To breathe, you must take in air through the mouthpiece, which is connected to the snorkel.
Full-face snorkel masks, on the other hand, are set up differently. While some full-face snorkel masks can be disassembled for storage, the snorkel and mask are fully linked together when worn for snorkeling. In fact, your mouth and nose are in the same large compartment of the mask.
In a way, this means that you can simply breathe in and out the same way that you would if you were not underwater. How does a fullface snorkel mask work? How is it possible to breathe with this type of setup? Where does the air come from?
Let’s talk about the exact details of how this type of mask can be used successfully.
How Does a Fullface Snorkel Mask Work?
Today, we’ll talk about how the best full-face snorkel masks really work. These masks have been tested to show that they are safe, and their unique setup is what makes them work so well.
Full-face snorkel masks keep the air circulating so that the fresh air you are inhaling is separate from the CO2 that you are exhaling. This is key for safe snorkeling.
The tube on a full-face snorkel mask is typically split into three distinct sections. The middle section is the area that all fresh air for inhaling comes in into the mask. When you breathe in, fresh air floods down this part of the tube and into the mouth-and-nose pocket. The air comes through a series of valves.
When you exhale, the exhaled air is channeled out through different valves. These valves go into the remaining sections of the tube. The valves then help to balance the equilibrium and ensure that fresh air—not CO2—remains in the main mask compartment that you breathe in.
Finally, let’s talk about the tube. The tubes on full-face snorkel masks are typically dry tubes. This means that there is a small valve at the top of the tube that prevents water from getting into the mask. If any water gets in, it should easily drain out through special water valves at the base of the mask.
How Does This Differ From Traditional Masks?
When diving with a traditional mask, it is not possible to breathe in through your nose. Instead, you must rely on your mouth to get air. While this can be more complicated to figure out how to do at first, you do not have to worry about the risk of CO2 building up and preventing you from getting oxygen.
Still, using a traditional mask can be hard and confusing. If you aren’t a confident swimmer or you get stressed easily, traditional snorkel masks can be incredibly off-putting. In those situations, using a full-face snorkel mask might be the right choice for you.
Are Full-face Snorkel Masks Safe to Use?
There has been a lot of controversy surrounding the use of full-face snorkel masks. Some snorkeling companies prefer their customers to stick to using traditional masks because of the perceived risk of using a full-face snorkel mask. Is there a good basis for this restriction? Let’s discuss.
The main problem that people point out when talking about the risks of using full-face masks is that you could, theoretically, have an overload of CO2 in the mask due to the fact that you breathe in and out in the same area. If CO2 began to build up in the mask, oxygen wouldn’t be able to get in, and you would not be able to breathe.
This, however, is not an issue if you have a reliable full-face snorkel mask. The best masks made by the best companies have done quality and safety tests to ensure that their masks will not allow this type of build-up to happen. The masks should have three chambers to circulate air properly.
Of course, it is always good to be aware of the potential risks of using any type of snorkel mask. Before snorkeling, you should always learn about the risks, proper technique, and other useful bits.
When Is it Smart to Use Full-face Snorkel Masks?
Now that you understand how full-face snorkel masks work, let’s talk more about the do’s and don’ts of using this type of mask.
A full-face snorkel mask is perfect for:
- Leisurely snorkeling
- Snorkeling from 0 ft. to 10 ft. underwater
- Getting a glimpse underwater
- Calm water
A full-face snorkel mask should not be used for:
- Swimming vigorously
- Rough waters
- Diving below 10 ft
If you try to use a full-face snorkel mask at the wrong times, you could create a very dangerous situation for yourself. As with any type of diving, you need to be smart about when and where you are going underwater. With caution, you can have a safe, enjoyable dive!
Now that you know more about how full-face snorkel masks work and how that differs from a more traditional setup, you can decide which type will make you the most comfortable while underwater. Remember, full-face snorkel masks are more appropriate for those who prefer to be able to breathe through both their mouth and their nose while traditional masks require you to breathe through the mouth only.
Both setups can work depending on what type of snorkeling you want to do, so keep that in mind when you make your choice. With a careful selection, you can have an enjoyable dive that you will remember forever!