The Difference Between Mask Lenses


Knowing the difference between mask lenses is an important tool that will help you to make the most informed decision about which mask is best for you. First, it is important to determine whether you intend to use your mask for scuba diving or snorkeling. From there you can decide if you would be best suited for a single or double lens design.

In a heavily saturated market, there are becoming more and more types of masks on the market. Navigating between these complex technologies can be intimidating. To simplify this process we thought we’d outline the main differences you will encounter.

Ready to get started? Let’s go.

The Types of Masks

Snorkel Mask

It is important to note that if you invest in a mask intended for snorkeling, it is likely not suitable for scuba diving. This is because the material used will not be able to withstand the pressure changes when scuba diving.

A snorkel mask can come in many different shapes and sizes. One type is the full-faced version which allows you to glimpse into the underwater world without struggling to keep a snorkel in your mouth. But these masks aren’t great at going to any sort of depths more than 8 feet.

Scuba Mask

Masks intended to explore the depths of the ocean require significantly more technology than surface masks. This is largely due to pressure when descending deep into the ocean. Scuba mask lenses are made using tempered glass. This is much stronger than the plastic used in snorkel masks.

With the added technology comes an additional price. Scuba masks do come pricier than snorkel masks but are worth the added investment. A mask intended for scuba diving can be used for snorkeling making it an investment that is likely worth making.

Single Lens

Originally, masks were designed with a single lens. This may seem desirable as it is thought to produce an uninterrupted field of view. Unfortunately, this is not the case in early models. A single round faceplate was used to deliver a porthole style distorted view that sat quite far from your face. This space came with the additional issue of an internal volume that was undesirably large and posed a serious problem for diving below the surface.

Throughout the years we were able to replace the round faceplate with an oval one which removed the distortion. Black skirts have been replaced with clear silicone that reduces tunnel vision making this a desirable lens option. In our modern world, there are full face masks that incorporate a single lens design. These are becoming more and more popular amongst snorkelers all over the world.

Multiple Lens

The downfall of having multiple lenses is that each lens historically had to be framed at a 90-degree angle. This broke your view providing lots of obstacles to be looked through. It was only recently that manufacturers stepped up their game to a point where they could create a frameless design. Here they bonded the frame without a frame and found a way to incorporate more windows. The sweet spot is between 2-4 windows, the remaining two on the sides providing added peripheral vision. Similar to a bug’s eye, this type of lens gives a truly unique and uninterrupted view of all the underwater world has to offer.

Globo Surf Overview

Knowing the different kinds of lenses can help you not only when you are selecting the right mask but also when it comes to cleaning your mask. Being able to know the advantages and disadvantages of each type of mask will allow you to choose a mask that will best suit your needs.

When it comes down to it, the difference between single and multiple lenses should be made on personal preference. Try heading to a dive store near you and trying on multiple different kinds to become familiar with what you like and don’t like. The most important thing to consider is the proper fit of your mask. This will prevent it from leaking.

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Globo Surf
My name is David Hamburg. I am an avid water sports fan who enjoys paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Anything with a board or chance I can get in the water I love! I am such a big fan I decided to start this website to review all my favorite products and some others. Hope you enjoy!