There are many types of scuba diving masks available such as the classic model with one big lens (single pane), the modern-day two-window variety (double pane), frameless designs, the ones with bifocal lenses, masks with a purge valve at the bottom of the nose, masks with rubber nose but without opening, low volume, high volume masks and such others.
The best scuba masks however fall into one of these two categories – they are either full face, or ear scuba diving masks. Which one is better? The choice is often personal. They are both popular among expert divers. Even beginner divers can use them both.
Let us take a closer look to understand their features and differences better.
The Pro Ear Scuba Diving Mask
Divers use this mask to keep their ears dry and for equalization purposes. This is done through cups over ears that are attached through flexible tubes to the facemask space. There is a one-way valve in the earpiece. This type of diving mask is best suited for divers who have narrow faces, but for others they can be a bit uncomfortable because they may feel some pressure on their temples when below the water.
Your ears will stay dry though, particularly during diving, and the sealing is fine as well. You will be able to look sideways comfortably. Water never gets into your ears.
Your earpiece will be equalized automatically if you are equalizing the mask correctly. There is no need to develop any new habit to make this happen, which is a great relief for those who have just started diving. However, some debris, like sand, for example, can get into your earpiece tubes. Also, you might face an issue when you are trying to rinse the tubes of this mask.
Full Face Scuba Diving Mask
This kind of mask will seal your complete face as opposed to the ear diving mask that basically covers only the ear. There is also the valve and mouthpiece through which you will get the breathing gas.
Why should you use this mask? Use this type of diving mask when the water is polluted or it is too cold as it will cover your entire face. These masks will protect you better against corals that can prick your face when you get too close, and also from jellyfish stings.
You get more breathing security too with this model. In an ear-only mask, you must always grip the mouthpiece with your teeth to breathe, but here, you can keep breathing even if you have an oxygen toxicity convulsion for some reason or become unconscious. Because of this reason, many professional divers, who go deep into the water, or venture into riskier areas, prefer this mask. Those into recreational diving rarely use them.
With the full face mask, you can see clearly below the water and there is space too for equipment you use to communicate with your surface team.
Use the full face type if you are planning a long dive session, because holding the mouthpiece between your teeth for that long can be uncomfortable.
You can use the ear scuba diving mask if you are just starting off. But after a while, it is probably best to switch over to the full face scuba mask type.