Buying a scuba mask & snorkel for beginners

Posted on (Updated on ). 8 Min Read
Hand holding up scuba mask

In part 2 of my “Ultimate guide to buying scuba gear for beginners” series, I will give you tips, tricks, and recommendations on buying your scuba mask and snorkel set when you’re new to diving.

Use the table of contents to read to the sections you are interested in most or jump to another part of the series.

Best scuba masks for beginners

These are my personal recommendations for the best scuba diving masks for beginners.

– My top pick –

Atomics Aquatics SubFrame

Instructor's Choice

Premium scuba mask with great looks.

  • Extremely durable
  •  Looks cool
  •  Lifetime frame warranty
  •  Very comfortable fit
  • A little narrow
  •  No prescription lens option
Atomic Aquatics SubFrame

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Atomics is a well-known high-tier brand that makes premium equipment that’s generally regarded as top of the line in the scuba diving industry.

The Atomic Aquatics SubFrame is my personal top pick as the best scuba mask in 2023 and I use it myself.

It is ultra-comfortable, has low volume, and gives me the maximum amount of vision. Atomics is a well-known high-tier brand that makes premium equipment that’s generally regarded as top-of-the-line in the scuba diving industry.

The mask comes in different colors, however, I stick with my black one all the way. You know…black is the color…

The mask has been with me for the last six years and survived thousands of dives, hundreds of students, and dozens of hits, scratches, bends, and careless throwing into my dive bag. 😃

I can recommend it wholeheartedly, and you like it, too.

You can see it in action on a bunch of different photos across the Social Diving website and social media.

The SubFrame mask comes in 1 and 2-lense configurations, so you pick which one you like better.

It also comes with the unique Atomics Aquatics lifetime warranty for the frame which shows the confidence they have in their products.

A drawback is the lack of prescription lens options, however, as I don’t wear glasses I don’t need them anyway.

If you want the absolute best scuba mask for beginners, grab the Atomic SubFrame below!

Mares X-Vision Chrome Liquid Skin

Best for prescription lenses

Well-made, very affordable, looks cool, and offers a prescription lens option for any eyesight.

  • Very affordable
  •  Looks good
  •  Prescription lenses available
  • Large mask volume
  •  Doesn't feel as valuable as others

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The Mares X-Vision series is well-made, very affordable, looks cool, and offers a prescription lens option for any eyesight.

I have sold quite a few of them to students who were looking for prescription lenses and not one has complained.

The Mares X-Vision features a nice 2-lense design and different frame colors are available.

Mares updates the series every other year so the current version might have some minor design tweaks, depending on when you are reading this buying guide.

It’s a low-priced option to others on the list, which only suffers from a rather large mask volume.

If you don’t want to spend more than $100 / €80 on a mask, the Mares X-Vision series might just be the right choice for you.

ScubaPro Synergy 2

Perfect sealing of your face that comes at a premium.

  • Very durable
  •  Good fit
  •  Very tight sealing
  •  Mirror lenses
  • No prescription option
  • Sometimes too tight for bigger heads

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ScubaPro makes great gear and their masks are well-regarded as some of the best.

The ScubaPro Synergy 2 TruFit dive mask is my recommendation if you are looking for an outstanding scuba mask that will last you for years to come.

It is not as cheap as the Mares X-Vision, however, it gives you a truly unique experience.

It will seal your face perfectly, making blowing out your mask underwater almost an unheard occurrence.

It looks suuuuuuper cool and I especially love the mirror lenses that come with it.

The mask is available in 11 colors (you know already that my favorite is the black one) and a large number of dive professionals and recreational divers swear by it.

If you want a great mask that will last you for many years, the Synergy 2 TruFit is your pick!

AquaLung Plazma

A lightweight, frameless scuba mask that feels great!

  • Great for small heads
  • Frameless
  •  Lightweight
  • Some quality issues reported
  •  Aqualung's logistics are notoriously shaky
AquaLung Plazma

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I used to only recommend AquaLung for all equipment pieces until the overall quality started declining. I am happy to say the Aqualung Plazma dive mask is a true exception to this and I like it very much.

The Aqualung Plazma dive mask is a frameless (!) scuba mask and I like it for its lightweight, as well as super comfortable fit.

And it looks really really nice!

It will fit on pretty much any head, both adults and children, so it also makes for a great birthday present for aspiring Junior Open Water Divers.

Besides that, it also looks cool and will definitely stand out among the crowd.

Best snorkels for beginners

These are my personal recommendations for the best scuba diving snorkels for beginners.

Cressi Ultra Alpha Dry

A great choice for a budget foldable snorkel.

  • Foldable
  • Budget-friendly
  • Lots of color option
  • Latex free
  • Mouthpiece on the larger side
Cressi Ultra Alpha Dry

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Cressi’s Alpha Ultra Dry foldable snorkel is a great budget option that also looks cool and has a comfortable fit.

Unlike other foldable Cressi snorkels, this one is made with scuba divers in mind and has a much smaller size (not talking about the length).

It can be stored away super easily and fits into any BCD or suit pocket underwater. It is also latex-free which is a big plus for many divers.

The mouthpiece is a little larger than on my Tusa snorkel, however, I think it is just as good.

Like pretty much all Cressi scuba gear, it comes in dozens of colors so pick what suits your style (have I mentioned yet that I love the black one? 😎 ).

The Cressi Ultra Alpha Dry is a great snorkel for beginners and experienced divers alike.

Oceanic Ultra Dry 2

Great, affordable dry snorkel not just for scuba diving.

  • Dry snorkel
  • Great for diving & snorkeling
  • Replaceable mouthpiece
  • Not foldable
  • A bit large
Oceanic Ultra Dry 2

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The Oceanic Ultra Dry snorkel is one of the best dry snorkels on the market at an affordable price.

A dry snorkel will keep water from coming in through the top of the tube through a seal, while the bottom piece will release water, as soon as your head hits the water surface after a dive.

Of course, you still need to blow the remaining water out, however, it will be much less.

It is not foldable, however, flexible enough to not be in your way during a dive.

The mouthpiece is replaceable, which means this snorkel will last a long time before needing replacement (if ever).

Of course, it comes in different colors and it is also great for snorkeling only.

Get the Oceanic Ultra Dry if you are looking for a dry snorkel and don’t need the foldable feature.

What is the scuba diving ABC set?

The ABC set consists of a mask, snorkel, and a pair of fins and should be the first thing you buy as a beginner. Better sooner than later.

Since masks and snorkels often come in sets, I combined them here, while making a separate post about fins.

I recommend getting your own ABC set during or right after your beginner scuba diving course.

Mask at beach
Scuba masks are made with tempered glass.

Diving mask

A scuba mask (not goggles!) allows you to see underwater and some models offer the option to put in prescription lenses if necessary.

They come in different configurations such as mono and dual-lens, and every diver needs one.

It’s much more hygienic to buy your own mask and will make you feel more comfortable underwater.


A snorkel is used at the surface when scuba diving or snorkeling so that you can look at the underwater world without using air from your scuba tank.

They come in different shapes and colors, however, are fixed at a maximum length of 35cm, at a diameter of 3cm.


Fins are used to move underwater without using our hands. There are different fin kick styles, and they come in different shapes, sizes, colors, and features.

Depending on the style of diving you do, and which kind of exposure suit you’re using, you might need some which are made of plastic or full rubber.

We will cover buying your first set of scuba fins in the next part of this series.

Where to buy a scuba mask and snorkel for beginners?

These are my top picks for buying scuba masks & snorkels for beginners online.

Of course, there is always the option to buy from your local dive store or directly from your scuba diving instructor.

If you want to see more recommendations, check out my where to buy scuba gear article.


This concludes our beginner’s guide to buying a scuba mask & snorkel.

If you are on a tight budget, I suggest spending more on a good mask and saving money by getting a cheaper snorkel.

Get quality gear and stay away from cheap copies as otherwise, you will have to buy twice.

If you have any questions or need help finding the right mask for you, leave a comment below.

You can find the other parts of this series here:

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Always dive with friends and happy bubbles. 😃



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