A snorkelling mask is no different to a diving mask. You should always buy in person at a specialised dive shop.
All masks vary to style and shape, but below are things to look out for:
All masks have a frame which holds all the parts together. These come in various shapes and colours. These should be sturdy plastic. Check for cracks or lose fittings.
The seal is the soft silicone skirt (old styles are rubber)that presses to your face. It should have an inner and outer seal (double seal) which ensures a better seal around your face. Seals vary according to style and make, so be sure to find one that fits comfortably and seals well to your face. The mask should not fall off when you suck in through your nose, hold your breath and shake your head without the strap on.
The strap is also made of silicone but can be found as rubber as spare parts. Silicone is better but both do the same job. The strap is there to hold the mask gently to your face. It is just extra security as a good fitting mask should stay on without the strap. You will find the straps are usually split in two for extra security as a three point contact. If you have long hair, then consideration should be given to a slap strap in addition to the normal one. This is because silicone can easily tangle in there and pull hairs out. The slap strap is neoprene rubber and slides nicely over hair.
- The Lens
The glass of a mast MUST be Tempered Glass. This will prevent shattering if struck and in turn prevent serious eye injury. Plastic MUST NOT be used. It shatters into sharp pieces when struck and is not suitable for diving. You can tell it is tempered glass by the word “Tempered” or “T” stamped on the glass near the frame. Masks are found in two types. Single lens and double lens. Generally your decision is down to preference and volume, but if you find you have a large brow, single lenses can be more comfortable.
Cost is generally anywhere from £25-£100, but the latter is rare and usually reserved for crazy new designs or fads. The overiding thing here is safety, fit and comfort. If is doesnt fit it will leak. If its not comfortable you will not wear it. If it doesnt have tempered glass you risk serious injury…