Looking to take a dive and explore the unknown depths? As fun as that can be, making sure you have the proper equipment – in this case a scuba mask – is probably the most important decision you can make.
Best Scuba Mask: Comparison Table
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Our Pick of the Best Scuba Masks
This can be a daunting proposition. However, to make life easier for you, we’ve selected our top five scuba masks that we think will make your diving expeditions as trouble-free as possible. Find them below.
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- Soft and squidgy, providing a very comfortable and effective seal against the face
- High-quality material
- You may have to treat the glass on this mask with an anti-fog solution to get the best result according to a customer review
Scuba diving is an exciting, life-changing experience that brings you, the diver, into the world of Loggerhead turtles, Clownfish, Black-Tipped Reef Sharks, Pillar Coral, and so much more. You can take in the wonders of an aquatic world that is only accessible to a few.
And every dive is worth all the hours, the money invested, and the risks you take to get down into the glorious depths of Poseidon’s kingdom.
Today, we’re looking into diving regulators, and how they can help you dive deeper, and safer than ever before. To help in that process, we’re looking at one particular high-end diving regulator, the Apeks Flight.
What is Scuba Diving?
Scuba diving is a type of underwater diving in which a diver uses a breathing apparatus. This breathing apparatus is independent of a surface supply of air, which means that the diver has independence of movement.
In scuba, divers carry their own air supply in scuba cylinders, or scuba tanks, which hold breathing gas under high pressure.
This breathing apparatus allows the diver to breathe under water for up to 60 minutes with an air reserve remaining in her tank. Having an air reserve is highly recommended by all safety standards, to avoid suffocation beneath the water.
The amount of time a diver may remain beneath the water will be determined by a number of factors, including tank volume, depth dived, and air consumption rate.
There are a variety of different scuba systems available, so it’s important to study up on which option might best suit your needs.
It’s also important to note that there’s at least a minimum level of fitness and health required for safely participating in scuba diving activities. Unfortunately, anyone with breathing difficulty, such as asthma or bronchitis, will likely be discouraged from scuba diving.
Necessary Equipment for Scuba Diving
Your scuba gear set up is vital for your successful advent into this awesome exploration of the oceans and lakes around the world. A critical list of scuba gear includes the following items.
The right fins are important for having the smoothest, most comfortable experience possible while diving. There are a number of styles with different lengths and flexibility levels of fins, which is why many divers believe it’s vital to own your own pair, rather than renting.
If you do choose to buy your own fins, try renting a few different pairs with varying lengths and stiffnesses to determine which options best suit your diving style.
Your diving mask is another key component to the right gear set up. These need to fit perfectly for the best comfort and safety. If you can only afford to purchase one piece of equipment, this is the one you need.
Snorkels are vital for safety when diving. They can help a rescue team or boat identify your location. Snorkels also enable exhausted, injured, or otherwise indisposed divers to breathe more easily because they prevent the divers from needing to lift their heads to breathe at the surface.
4. Buoyancy Compensator
Buoyancy compensators are necessary for stabilization when you dive. They are usually bulky and awkward, so a lot of divers rent them from companies, rather than purchase and haul their own.
5. Scuba Tanks
Another item you may wish to rent instead of purchase is the scuba tank. Generally speaking, tanks are included in the price of a dive. They’re bulky, sometimes hard to re-fill properly with breathing gas, and may be difficult to store. Since they’re generally included in dive costs anyway, most divers don’t both buying their own.
6. Wet Suit
Something that you’ll want to purchase for yourself is the wetsuit. You’ll want your own for the right fit, right warmth level, and sanitary reasons. Wetsuits keep the body warm enough to safely swim around in the oceans and rivers and lakes without being inflicted with hypothermia.
Finally, the regulator is an absolutely mandatory piece of equipment for scuba diving. These devices allow divers to breathe under water via partnership with many of the other pieces of equipment we’ve talked about already.
Regulators connect to the scuba tanks, and supply the breathing gas to divers as they go under water.
Divers can rent regulators from most dive shops, but this is one of those items that many divers highly recommend owning yourself for optimum quality and assurance.
What is a Regulator?
A regulator is a part of the scuba diving breathing apparatus equipment. This diving regulator is the part of the breathing system that pressurizes breathing gas and delivers it to the diver. This gas is what allows the diver to breath under water, and is stores in the scuba tank that’s carried by the diver.
The regulator is the part of the breathing system that has a mouthpiece.
There are two stages of a regulator, which are simply referred to as first stage and second stage.
The performance of a diving regulator is measured by the capacity of the regulator to deliver breathing gas at peak inspiratory flow rate, the cracking pressure, and the work of breathing.
Diving Regulator Care
There are a bunch of things you can do to take care of your diving regulator to help make sure it functions safely while you’re diving, as well as lasts for a number of years between dives.
For your gear to keep you safe and last many years, it’s important to take proper care of each item. Because we’re looking at diving regulators in particular, we pulled together these tips for both predive and postdive care.
1. Connect Your Scuba Tank to the Regulator
As you prepare for your dive, you should connect your regulator to the tank. Take a couple of breaths from the regulator, and check your submersible pressure gauge. Make sure everything is in order before you proceed.
2. Give a Visual Inspection
Next, you need to look over your hoses and mouthpiece, and make sure that there are no cracks, tears, holes, or other damage in either of these.
3. Slide Your Hose Protectors
Next, if you use them, you should slide the hose protectors away from the first stage so that you can check beneath. Look for corrosion or any other damage on the first stage.
4. Disconnect from Your Scuba Tank
Now disconnect your regulator and replace the dust cover. Inhale forcefully on every regulator being used on your dive, and hold a vacuum to fully test their condition. There should be a tiny trickle or air, or none at all leaking out. If more than a tiny amount of air comes out, your gear needs some help and is unsafe to use.
5. Check the Second Stage
Finally, check the second stage for any housing cracks or damage.
1. Rinse the Regulator
Rinse your regulator with clean, clear water. Be sure the purge valves in the second stage don’t get depressed in the process. Then, remove the dust cover on the first stage.
2. Dunk the Octopus
Now, you’ll dunk the whole thing and rinse out the second stages with running warm water. Run this water through mouthpiece and exhaust diaphragm.
3. Rinse the Fitting
Finally, rinse the fitting that connects to your low-pressure inflator. Slip the coupling back and forth a few times as you hold it under warm running water.
How to Choose a Diving Regulator
Of course, before you will be ready to decide whether or not the Apeks Flight diving regular we’re looking at is right for you or not, you’ll want some tips on how to best choose the right regulator for your personal diving needs.
1. Balanced Versus Overbalanced Versus Unbalanced Regulators
To know which regulator is suited to your needs, you’ll want to know what these terms mean, and how they affect the use of the diving regulator.
A balance regulator uses more parts in the first stage of the regulator than other types of regulators. These parts help ensure that the regulator delivers the same amount of air at all depths and pressures. That means the performance of balanced regulators is consistent throughout the dive.
An unbalanced regulator has fewer parts in the first stage. That means this type of regulator sacrifices a bot in the performance area at lower tank pressures and greater depths. This kind of regulator is really only good for basic diving.
An overbalanced regulator incorporates technology that makes breathing get easier as you go deeper. This type of regulator is going to be your top-end models generally speaking.
2. Diaphragm Versus Piston Regulators
Diaphragms or pistons are used to lower pressure from the scuba tank. They both perform about the same, and work perfectly fine for pretty much everyone.
Piston regulators are the simple, basic models that have a slight performance edge over the others at greater depths. Overbalanced regulators cannot use pistons.
Diaphragm regulators are more resistant to water with silt and other particles, and colder temperatures.
Generally speaking, most people do not choose the type of regulator based on this particular aspect of the regulators.
3. DIN Versus Yoke or A-Clamp Regulators
Two types of fittings exist for attaching your regulator to your scuba tank.
DIN stands for Deutsches Institut fur Normung. This type of regulator fitting screws directly into the scuba tank. This is the more common model used in Europe.
Yoke regulator fittings screw over the tank instead. This type of fitting completely encircles the tank, and is attached with the yoke screw to keep it in place.
Both types of attachment fittings are commonly used and reliable. This particular aspect is more of a preference than quality choice.
High Pressure and Low Pressure Ports on Regulators
Another key component that determines the quality of a diving regulator is the number of pressure ports. These ports connect with parts of your regulator, like an octopus, inflator hose, dive computer, pressure gauge, or other extras.
Low Pressure Ports
Low pressure ports are used to connect low pressure items like your buoyancy compensator inflator and your alternate breathing source.
High Pressure Ports
The high pressure port connects high pressure things like your dive computer, or analog pressure gauge.
If you want some extras, you’ll need to choose a regulator with a number of high pressure ports for connecting those extras on.
At some point, you may choose to dive nitrox, so if you’re going to invest in a regulator, you may wish to choose one that is nitrox compatible for your future endeavors.
An Apeks Flight Diving Regulator Review
The Apeks Flight regulator is ranked as one of the top ten diving regulators of 2018 by The Adventure Junkies. The Apeks Flight diving regulator has also received excellent ratings from Scubadiving.com, as well as a number of other scuba diving related sites.
The Apeks Flight diving regulator is a yoke regulator.
- Incredibly lightweight at only 1 pound, 9 ounces
- Nitrox compatible to 40%
- Diver adjustable venturi to prevent unwanted free-flow
- Balanced first and second stages
- Lightweight second stage for avoiding jaw fatigue
- Perfect for travel
- Exceptional breathe performance
- Usable in waters down to 50 degrees Fahrenheit
- Comes with a limited lifetime warranty
- Optimum strength to weight ratio
- Has a brass skeletal body
- Multiple high and medium pressure ports
- Low maintenance
- Smooth, easy breathing
The main downside to the Apeks Flight diving regulator is that it is pretty pricey. It usually runs around $$$ brand new. That’s a fairly hefty investment for most people in just one part of their gear set up.
Our Verdict: If You’re Ready to Invest, the Apeks Flight Diving Regulator is a Top-Quality Choice
Of the various diving regulators we’ve looked at, the Apeks Flight is one of the absolute best options on the market today. The price is pretty steep, but if you’re committed to scuba diving, we think the price is well worth it for this regulator.
The super lightweight, sturdy structure, ease of breathing, and features to diminish jaw fatigue make this an excellent, high-end diving regulator.
If you’ve got the $$$ to invest, we’d recommend getting the Apeks Flight regulator without a second’s hesitation.
- soft and squidgy, providing a very comfortable and effective seal against the face
- high-quality material
- you may have to treat the glass on this mask with an anti-fog solution to get the best result according to a customer review
The Atomic Venom Frameless Mask is a new hybrid between the Venom Mask and the Atomic Frameless Mask, resulting in a very nice, comfortable and very high-quality product.
Soft, frameless mask
So what’s new about the Venom Frameless scuba mask? Well, the new material is super soft, super elastic, and really flexible. It’s very soft and squidgy, providing a very effective seal against the face.
The main seal itself has a new geometry, so it’s slightly plumper than the traditional skirt; what this does is provide a nice even, soft amount of pressure all around the ceiling edge.
It also provides a very effective seal without applying too much pressure, which means wearers can come up after the dive without having a big ring around their face. The double skirts, which are on the inside, provide that very long effective seal, and just make it that much more comfortable.
Effective than a traditional silicone seal
For any gentleman who have facial hair, this scuba mask provides a very effective seal just under the nose, and stops water from coming in, which is much more effective than traditional silicon. All the black silicon is more rigid and this just holds the shape of the skirt, stopping the mask from changing shape.
However, it is all completely malleable, so you can use this as a backup mask, tucking it away into a pocket completely flat. The glass itself uses Ultra clear, Scotch White material, and is a glass with very few impurities, giving you a much clearer view, a more natural color and allows more light to come in through the lens.
Both buckles use a simple ratchet system, and a simple pinch clip release, as well as a nice comprehensive double mask strap to hold it onto the head.
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The Scubapro Synergy Twin Mask, as the name suggests, is a twin lens design frame. It is built with a nice strong structure around the frame and big reverse teardrop lenses to allow for plenty of visibility.
There are loads of different features with this mask – the Synergy Twin Mask features Scubapro’s new true fit skirts, which go all around the skirt and around the sides. Up towards the bottom of the skirt, there are ridged areas, which basically provide strength to the skirt.
When wearing this scuba mask, it will push up against the skin, but the ridges prevent the skirt from buckling, due to the extra strength.
The mask also has variable thickness around different points in the skirt, with a very thin section underneath the nose, to allow for the movement above the lip, and is great for facial hair as well. There are also a number of ridges and reinforcing areas around the whole skirt.
- Great visibility
- Made of gloss-finished silicone, making for a good seal
- Features a retainer preventing excess strap from flapping around
- Soft frame can be uncomfortable on long dives
- Fogging under water
The Scubapro Synergy has also got the buckles directly fixed to the skirt, which gives much flexibility and facilitates all the movement done with the head. Turning is transferred to the skirt, rather than the frame, which then affects the whole stability of the mask.
The mask is available in sleek, metallic, dual color finishes for a stylish look, all made with tempered glass. The inside is gloss-finished silicone, making for a good seal, with a secondary skirt all the way round and a big ceiling area completing the look.
Easy to Adjust Straps
Strap-wise, the Synergy is very easy to use, with robust buckles included, which allow for quick adjustment – pulling outside will cause them to tighten up, as you would expect.
You have also have a button top and bottom, which releases the locking mechanism, which allows for easier fitting than lifting up the mask.
The retainer also prevents excess strap from flapping around; you also get a large strap, which helps spread some of the load towards the reverse of the head, stopping it getting tangled up in the hair. It also keeps it place when move around, such as when you’re jumping into water.
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The Oceanic Cyanea Mask is inspired by the snowboarding scene – instead of a silicone mask that can get easily tangled, Oceanic has opted to get an elasticated webbing band, which is surprisingly comfortable.
The mask itself has twin lenses, which are also modified teardrop lenses, giving really good peripheral vision and giving you downward vision too, which makes reading gauges or computers much easier.
- Soft and comfortable on the face
- Rigid frame but not bulky
- Easily adjustable buckles
- The elastic on the sides is a little too flexible that you have to keep adjusting the mask tighter
Elastic Mask Strap
The Cyanea is a framed scuba mask, so it’s built with a rigid frame. But luckily, it doesn’t have the same kind of bulk as a traditional framed mask.
Because of this mask strap, the mask is attached to the frame but because it doesn’t require buckles, much like a silicone mask strap does, it can actually fold down really flat. The mask strap itself is an elasticated bungee, so it’s got plenty of stretch in it and you can adjust it as normal by moving the main buckle backwards or forwards to make it longer or shorter.
Once it’s been set up, that will hold its position, while still allowing for that extra give to make it a little bit easier to put on and take off. On the inside of the mask strap, you have waves of silicone. This means the mask will still grip the back of your head and it will still grip the back of your hood as well.
The mask strap isn’t going to be moving around during the dive. However, it’s not quite as sticky as a full silicone mask strap is, so it won’t pull your hair nearly as much as a traditional strap.
Adjustable Snorkel Loop
This scuba mask is also fitted with a snorkel loop, as this is a bit wider than a traditional mask strap. Your normal snorkel loop or you snorkel keep isn’t actually going to fit over the top of it, so Oceanic have had this bungee loop fitted, so you can fit the tube of the snorkel through it.
This snorkel loop is elasticated, so you can stretch it over the top of the snorkel, and it holds it at a nice angle, so once you can use it while snorkeling.
The skirt itself has ridges just around the ceiling edge of the skirt and these work to transfer the pressure from the mask. So at the end of the dive, you don’t have a ring around your face, and it’s a bit more comfortable and evenly spread around the seal.
Inside, we have a second seal, with a really wide ceiling area all the way around the face. Instead of just a single point of contact, it is really wide, trapping the air inside and stopped the water from getting in.
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The Cressi Eyes Evolution Mask is very small low-profile mask, designed primarily for free diving really, and scuba diving if preferred. The Eyes Evolution has a very small profile; the frame and skirt have a low internal volume too.
It is made from a rigid twin lens frame, but has an elastomer rubber material bonded onto the frame, which houses the buckle system. This gives it much more flexibility to move around and flex with the diver, and is a bit more comfortable as well.
- Provides great flexibility to move around
- Clear viewing and comfortable fit
- Customer reviews stated that they have difficulty adjusting correctly to their face.
Twin Lens Design
Again, the Cressi Evolution has a twin lens design, with a reverse teardrop shape to the frame, giving it loads of low visibility when looking down. It also allows you to see further down without having the need till your head. The mask is also built with a raked-in frame as well, so it is angled in towards the cheekbone, lowering the internal volume and moves the frame back too.
The buckle system, as a mentioned, is fitted onto this rubber elastomer material, which gives it an in-out flexibility, as well as swiveling up and down. Adjustment of the mask is simple; pulling on the outside excess will tighten it up, and there is a simple lever, where all you have to do is pull-up, allowing it to flow back through.
The strap is made from silicon, and is slightly 3-D molded, so there are reinforced ridges and patterns built into the strap itself. It spreads out wide to help grip the strap onto the back of the head, spreading the load.
The skirts include a secondary skirt on the inside, which is comprised of a silver section, which increases the surface area that can be sealed against the skin and helps to prevent leaks from occurring whilst in use.
Because it’s quite a low profile skirt, its got some reinforced ridges on the inside and this is there to prevent the skirt from buckling, so when you are you are diving down, the pressure in the mask area is reduced slightly (preventing it from sucking to your face). The ridges essentially give it some added strength. It has a nice clean, low-profile, being close to the eyes, giving you loads of visibility as well.
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The Hollis M1 Mask is a great, frameless mask with a modified teardrop design that goes down quite low, making it very easy to reach gauges. If you’re a side mount diver, or using side mounted stages, you can look down and see your gauge very easily. It has plenty of peripheral vision, with wide-angle viewing and a soft skirt as well.
The mask buckle is attached directly to the skirt, which means that it’s nice and flexible, and also means that if you using as a backup mask, it’s going to fold completely flat, making it nice and compact.
- Frameless design makes it very easy to reach gauges
- Molds to lots of different face shapes
- Sports a very tough, robust buckle
- Great for spearfishing
- Fogs up on long dives
It also sports a very tough, robust buckle too, with a one-way ratchet so you can tighten it. You can then just push on the lever to lengthen it off how you prefer. It is very quick and easy to adjust, with a very comprehensive double strap that cradles the back of your head and grips very well onto the back of neoprene hoods.
Inside the mask itself, you have a double skirt design – comprised of an internal skirt and an external skirt, creating a very wide seal all the way around the face, making for a very wide sealing surface.
This effectively stops the water from getting in while keeping the air inside the mask. The M1 has a very flexible, soft skirt, molding to lots of different face shapes. It also molds around the cheekbones and around the temple very effectively, creating a strong seal, and there is big nose pocket as well to help equalize the ears.
Best Scuba Mask: Final Thoughts
Seen something you like?
There are plenty of options here, each providing something special or unique for the lucky wearer. So which did you go for? Make sure to let us know!