How to Pick the Correct Size Full face Snorkel Mask
Just like with clothing, manufacturers of full face snorkel masks use different sizes as their standard.
Masks are sized as XS, S, S/M, M/L, and XL but it's not until you take a closer look at individual size charts, and you'll see small variations in these general sizes.
Doug Kramer & Family
PBA Champion, Doug Kramer with his family on holiday with Full Face Snorkel Masks.
Image Source: https://www.instagram.com/dougkramer/
Click on the line below to take you to the answer of your most pressing question, or keep scrolling to read the entire article.
Fit and Comfort doesn't come in all sizes
Masks made with higher quality materials have a softer, more flexible skirt. (The skirt is the piece that creates the seal between your face and the mask).
Some of the masks that sit at the lower end of the full face mask price range are made with stiffer materials which aren't as forgiving with faces of not-so-average size.
What all fail to mention is that it's not just the length of your face that counts for comfort and a good fit, but also it's width. The size of your nose can also be a factor.
Faces that aren't so average
As we know, faces come in all shapes and sizes. What manufacturers are trying to do is fit a standard sized full face mask, to a variety of face shapes. If your face is wider than most, you'll probably find the mask is ok, but it may not feel as secure as you'd hoped.
Manufacturers claim their range of sizes will cover about 90% of the population, so there is always a small chance you may not get a mask to fit comfortably, even if you follow the size chart.
If you've been blessed with a larger than normal sized nose, you could find that no matter which brand you buy, most full face snorkel masks will rub on the bridge of your nose. This may cause some minor discomfort. If the mask you choose is not generous in this area or the material is stiff and unbending, this can really cause some pain.
Choosing a full face snorkel mask for children
It's not just faces that come in different sizes, children do too. Some kids are big for their age while others are small.
If you have a big 5 year old, they could easily fit into some of the masks for small children, whereas you could be hard-pressed finding a mask small enough to fit a regular sized 5 year old.
This is why it's important to look past the age of the child. It's about the size of the child you're buying for, not the age.
Best Full Face Snorkel Masks
Measurements & Size Charts
To work out the size that fits best to your face, it's recommended you ask someone to help take the measurement (in a straight line) from the bridge of your nose, to the tip of your chin.
Check the sizing chart below to work out which size of the best full full snorkel mask brands is closest to the size you need.
< 10 cm
3.9" - 4.5"
10 cm - 11.5 cm
4.5" - 4.9"
11.5 cm - 12.5 cm
> 12.5 cm
< 10 cm
Ninja Shark have a universal adult size that fits from age 12 years+
3.8" - 4.5"
9.5 cm - 11.4 cm
4.51" - 5.1"
11.5 cm - 12.9 cm
4.51" - 5.1"
13 cm - 14.5 cm
Head Sea Vu Dry
< 10 cm
< 11.5 cm
> 11.5 cm
< 12 cm
> 12 cm
4" - 4.5"
10 cm - 12 cm
> 12 cm
< 10 cm
3.9" - 4.9"
10 cm - 12.5 cm
4.9" - 5.3"
12.5 cm - 13.5 cm
< 13.5 cm
< 12 cm
> 12 cm
If you're uncertain, always go DOWN a size.
Most full face snorkel masks have standard sizes of S/M and M/L in their snorkel mask range.
The Ocean Reef Aria standard size is slightly smaller than others, and along with Mares Head Sea Vu, Tribord Easybreath, and Wildhorn Outfitters SeaView, these come in a greater range of sizes compared to other brands.
The Ninja Shark has a big advantage over the others being a universal Adult size as this takes the guess work out of choosing the correct size.
Note: Although the Tribord comes in XS sizes, these are getting hard to find.
Full Reviews of the Best Full Face Snorkel Masks
Now that you've checked the chart and maybe even worked out which brand sells the size closest to your face measurements, click the image link below to read a full review on each snorkel mask.
Ocean Reef Aria
Aria masks have slightly smaller sizing, and are made with higher quality materials. These also have a near transparent skirt material near the nose and mouth area giving a better peripheral view.
Ocean Reef also make full face Scuba masks so you know you're getting a quality product.
Ninja Shark has redesigned their older mask and released a greatly improved newer version.
Their new mask has 2 big advantages over other masks. The first advantage is that the Ninja Shark allows you to equalize so you can take your snorkeling deeper than other masks. Plus these come in 2 sizes - a Kids size, and also a universal adult size that covers snorkelers over the age of 12 years. This takes the guess work out of choosing the correct size for everyone.
Wildhorn Outfitters Seaview V2
The SeaView 180 Panoramic V2 comes in 3 standard sizes including an XS for children. These come in a new range of colors.
All SeaView masks include a camera mount incorporated into the design of the mask.
Tribord have a greater range of sizes in the mid pricing range although they are now phasing out their smaller sizes to cut down on manufacturing costs making these more affordable than ever.
SeaBeast AF90 anti-fog masks come in 2 sizes to suit adults and teens.
Things you need to know before buying a full face snorkel mask
Even with some great innovation taking place with full face snorkel masks, there’s still no getting around some things.
Whether it’s a traditional mask or a full face snorkel mask, water will get in if there’s any hair between the skirt of the mask and your face. Beards create tiny spaces that will cause water to enter the mask.
Most of these are not designed for Free Diving or spear fishing. There’s too great a volume of air inside the face cavity of the mask, and it quickly becomes uncomfortable when diving below 10 feet (3 meters). The Ninja Shark mask will allow you to equalize, so go deeper than regular full face masks but is not recommended for Free Diving.
Remove the mask when swimming longer distances to get to a new snorkel location. Heavy breathing/exercising is less effective in full face mask designs. Most full face snorkel tubes are not wide enough to provide a swimmer with enough oxygen when swimming at an exercise pace.
Full face snorkel masks are designed for snorkeling in relatively calm water. The float valve system only works when the snorkel is in a vertical position. As with traditional snorkels and masks, if you lean your head too far forward, water enters the snorkel piece. Water may also enter the snorkel tube when duck diving.
These are not designed for swimming laps in a pool. Full face snorkel masks are designed for leisurely surface snorkeling. They work wonderfully well when breathing calmly, but are not a good choice for swimmers while exercising.
Still not sure if a full face snorkel mask is for you?
If you want to swim laps, or love to dive deep while snorkeling, then have a look at the PowerBreather Snorkel.
These come in 5 different models for different swimming requirements. These are made for endurance and lap swimmers, as well as recreational snorkelers.