2018 ScubaLab Mask Review | Scuba Diving

2018 ScubaLab Mask Review

scublab mask review

Here are the results of our test of 24 single- and dual-lens dive masks.

Jon Whittle

We tested 24 single- and dual-lens dive masks for comfort, field of view and adjustability.

How We Score

The bar graphs with each review show the mask’s combined test diver scores for overall comfort and for field of view. The scoring is:

1 = poor
2 = fair
3 = good
4 = very good
5 = excellent

How We Test

ScubaLab test divers evaluated and scored masks on the following factors:

Ease and security of adjustments: How simple and effective were the buckles and strap adjustments? Were they easy to adjust? Did they stay in place once adjusted? Did the strap stay where it was placed?

Overall comfort in the water: Was the skirt comfortable and soft on the face? Did the frame or other components rub on the face? Was the nose pocket comfortable when pinching your nose?

Field of view: Both horizontally and vertically, to what degree did the mask frame or skirt block your view? Relative to other masks in the same category, what was your perception of the mask’s overall field of view?

Dryness: How effectively did the mask’s seal and strap system keep out water?

Mask volume: How easy was it to completely clear the mask after intentionally flooding it? Did the nose-pocket size and shape allow you to easily pinch your nose to equalize?

Divers were asked to rate each mask’s resistance to fogging during the dives, which were conducted in 72-degree water with air temps from the upper 40s to low 60s. Divers provided written comments about their experience using each mask and, at the test’s conclusion, selected their favorite masks in each category.

When a mask did not fit a diver well enough to complete the test, the diver was asked to describe why (skirt too wide, mask too small, etc.).

Each mask’s construction details — including frame, strap and buckles — were evaluated for ruggedness and design details and, where applicable, disassembled to gauge ease of swapping straps or lenses.

TUSA M3001 Freedom Tri-Quest

Tusa M3001 Freedom

Price: $89; TUSA

Jon Whittle

The Tri-Quest’s supple skirt earned high marks for comfort and dryness, and its buckles scored similarly well for ease and precision of strap adjustments. But where this mask really excels is in its panoramic field of view, made possible by the domed windows on the sides. Despite the mask’s size, its crystal clear lens makes you forget it’s even there. It needs a good blast to clear, but nothing unreasonable considering its volume. For remarkable comfort, solid all-around performance and an eye-opening field of view, the Freedom Tri-Quest is our Testers Choice.

Aqua Lung Reveal X1

Aqua Lung Reveal X1

Price: $89; Aqua Lung

Jon Whittle

Bright, contrasting candy-colored frames make the X1 an eye-catching mask. It scored well for comfort, and its super-soft skirt allows it to fit a wide range of faces. It has a good field of view, but some testers found that more of the mask’s frame was in view than they would like. One tester went as far to say it was “like looking through a porthole.” Test divers loved the mask’s buckles, each of which feature a single, easy-to-find quick-release button that makes adjusting the strap a smooth and simple operation.

Beuchat Maxlux S

Beuchat Maxlux S

Price: $58.41; Beuchat

Jon Whittle

The Maxlux’s baby-soft skirt tied the top score for comfort. The supple silicone was also very effective at keeping water out, earning the highest score for dryness in its category. The latches on the mask strap were a little difficult to work — especially for divers wearing gloves — and the horizontal field of view felt a bit narrow, but that didn’t stop divers from choosing it as one of their favorites. For outstanding performance and comfort at an unbeatable price, the Maxlux S is our Best Buy for single-lens masks.

Deep See Profile Plus

Deep See Profile Plus

Price: $89.95; Visit an authorized Aqua Lung/Deep See dealer

Jon Whittle

The Profile Plus comes with an HD lens that blocks UV rays and reduces glare, which came in handy during our sunny day of shallow diving in crystal-clear viz. The mask features large seals that were very effective at keeping water out and, except in the case of some narrower faces, impressed testers with a comfortable, dry fit. The easily operated quick releases allow you to quickly and securely adjust the strap. The mask is more difficult to clear than its size would suggest, a trade-off for the deeper-set seals.

Indigo Industries ProVantage

Indigo Industries ProVantage

Price: $69.95; Indigo Industries

Jon Whittle

The ProVantage’s skirt is angled at the forehead and under the nose; divers found it made a good seal that was both dry and comfortable. However, some testers found that the frame put a slight bit of pressure against the bridge of their nose. Where this mask really shines is its smooth, secure strap adjustment. The mask earned the highest score in its category thanks to its finely tuned quick releases that made freeing the strap a cinch. The ProVantage provides a nice field of view and is easy to clear for its size.

Mares Juno

Mares Juno

Price: $66; Mares

Jon Whittle

The Juno’s strap buckles have large quick-release buttons that make it easy to adjust, even underwater. Its crystal-clear lens provides an excellent vertical field of view. Several divers noted the Juno’s soft silicone skirt, so it was no surprise it scored very well for comfort. Despite the softness of the seal, a few test divers also found it leaky and had problems with water entering through the bottom of the mask. But testers whose faces fit the seal consistently picked it as one of their favorites.

OMS Tattoo

OMS Tattoo

Price: $99; OMS

Jon Whittle

The Tattoo took the top score for ease of clearing and equalizing in its category, even though it also had one of the largest fields of view in the test. In fact, it ranked highly in every category. Its 3D-contoured strap and quick-release buckles made it easy to achieve a secure fit. Some testers reported leaks, but overall, divers found it “delightfully dry,” and were impressed with the comfort of the mask skirt and seal. The Tattoo is available with two different-size skirts to accommodate a range of faces.

Scubapro Steel Pro

Scubapro Steel Pro

Price: $85; Scubapro

Jon Whittle

The streamlined Steel Pro is well-suited to both scuba diving and freediving. Test divers with smaller faces found that the soft skirt kept them nice and dry. The mask strap attaches to rotating buckles, and adjustment was very secure, although some testers found it awkward to work the quick-release levers while adjusting the strap. However, its low volume made it extremely easy to clear. The lightweight mask folds pretty compactly thanks to its frameless design and is an attractive option for a backup mask.

Sherwood Scuba Scope

Sherwood Scuba Scope

Price: $115; Sherwood

Jon Whittle

The Scope was nearly the most expensive mask in our test, but it comes with a level of comfort that didn’t go unnoticed. Divers found that the elastic mask strap was able to snugly hold the mask to their face without unnecessary pressure. The frosted skirt (also available in black) is soft and comfortable, although those with smaller faces experienced the best fit. The Scope’s wide lens helped it tie for the top score for field of view. Many testers chose it as a favorite, and one noted, “Loved it, I’d buy this.”

TUSA M1003 Freedom Elite

Tusa M1003 Freedom Elite

Price: $80; TUSA

Jon Whittle

Testers found the Freedom Elite to be an exceptionally comfortable mask and bone dry. The skirt is made of varying thicknesses of silicone to reduce leakage in key areas, and features dimples near the forehead and cheekbones to increase the skirt’s softness and flexibility. One tester describes it as a “soft, sure fit that hugs your face nicely.” The mask isn’t the easiest to clear but scored well considering its size. Despite its large volume, divers found the field of view to be narrower than the frame would suggest.

Zeagle Scope Mono

Zeagle Scope Mono

Price: $89.95; Zeagle

Jon Whittle

The Scope shares a name in common with another mask in this category, and sports a similar (optional) elastic mask strap, which divers found comfortably snug but tricky to adjust underwater. The soft skirt provides a very comfortable fit and an effective seal (more so on wider faces), and is easy to clear. Throw in the fact that the mask’s wide field of view took top score in its category, and it’s no surprise that Zeagle’s first-ever mask went neck and neck with our Testers Choice when divers picked favorites.


Dual-Lens Masks

Akona Breeze

Akona Breeze

Price: $35; Akona

Jon Whittle

The beefy frame on the Breeze gives it a boxy look and limits field of view a bit. But the streamlined skirt keeps the mask’s volume surprisingly small, making it easy to clear. The buckles swivel up and down — though not side to side — and are secure, earning a very good score. Despite its low price (less than half the average price in our test), the Breeze was rated very good overall. For its modest price and what one tester described as “solid performance and comfort,” the Breeze is our Best Buy for dual-lens masks.

Aqua Lung Reveal X2

Aqua Lung Reveal X2

Price: $89; Aqua Lung

Jon Whittle

The big lenses of the X2 sit in a lightweight frame close to the face for an exceptional field of view — “fantastic view,” noted one test diver. The skirt has an accordion-like fold at the frame that lets it conform to ride softly on the face. The buckles operate with a single easy-to-find button and are precise, tying the top score in the test for adjustability. The X2’s wide, curved strap is comfortable and secure. Tying the top score for overall comfort, the Reveal X2 was one of the favorites of multiple test divers.

Cressi Calibro

Cressi Calibro

Price $94.95; $104.95 (w/ HD lens); Cressi

Jon Whittle

The Calibro’s standout feature is the “fog-stop” system — a soft extension of the skirt that blocks moist air from reaching the lenses (the pocket is open at the bottom so it doesn’t interfere with clearing). The design’s effectiveness depended on fit — divers whose faces worked best with the Calibro’s slightly narrow fit found it most effective; one tester called it “exceptionally fog-free.” The buckles attach via strong, pliable rubber tabs that let them move freely, helping the mask earn a very good score for comfort.

Deep See Horizon Ice

Deep See Horizon Ice

Price: $89.95; Visit an authorized Aqua Lung/Deep See dealer

Jon Whittle

The “Ice” refers to the lens coating designed to block UV rays and reduce glare. The effect was apparent (and welcome) in our test in the bright Florida sun. The Horizon formed a dry seal on most divers very well, although we’re not entirely sure why. We suspect it’s the dimensions of the skirt edges — pretty much in the midpoint top to bottom and side to side among the masks here — that helped it fit a wide variety of faces well. Whatever the reason, the Horizon took the top score among all masks for dry fit.

Indigo Industries Provision

Indigo Industries Provision

Price: $69.95; Indigo Industries

Jon Whittle

The Provision’s skirt has a pronounced taper toward the edge, designed to reduce irritation. That feather edge earned the Provision a tying top score in its category for comfort. Helping with both comfort and fit was the strap attachment, which mounts the buckles on silicone tabs on the skirt just behind the frame, where they pull the skirt snug without pressing the frame onto the face. The very intuitive and sure-operating buckles were also a winner, tying the top scores in the test for ease of adjustment.

Mares Sealhouette

Mares Sealhouette

Price: $65; Mares

Jon Whittle

Among the smaller masks in our test, the Sealhouette has a tiny internal volume, and that won praise from test divers who gave it one of the higher scores for ease of clearing. The mask’s small size and extremely close-fitting frame surprised some with its wide field of view, though it was a little too snug for a few test divers. For those it fit, it was rated very good for dryness. The buckle release buttons, made of soft rubber, were easy to find and pinch, though some divers found them a little sticky in operation.

Oceanic OceanVu

Oceanic OceanVu

Price: $99.95; Oceanic Worldwide

Jon Whittle

The buckles on the OceanVu slide on bungeelike bands molded into the skirt. The arrangement keeps the strap just where you want it, and helped the mask tie the top score for comfort. The big lenses sit close to the face for a very good field of view in all directions. The close fit also gives it a surprisingly small volume, considering its size, and made it a snap to clear. It took very good scores in every category, was named among the top favorites by multiple divers, and was a contender in its category.

Scubapro Zoom Evo

Scubapro Zoom Evo

Price: $79; Scubapro

Jon Whittle

With very good scores for comfort, adjustability, dryness and ease of clearing, this was among the favorites of more than one test diver. Unfortunately for the Zoom EVO, we didn’t score on ease of changing lenses, since its design offers the simplest no-tools lens swap we’ve seen. There’s also a huge range of corrective lenses available in 0.5 diopter increments, from -1.5 to -8.0 and from +1.5 to +4.0, plus bifocal lenses from +1.0 to +3.0, making the Zoom EVO appealing for those who need help with their lookers.

Sherwood Scuba Targa

Sherwood Scuba Targa

Price: $70; Sherwood

Jon Whittle

With a noticeably soft skirt, the Targa was rated very good for comfort, particularly among divers with narrower faces. The buckles attach to long silicone tabs on the skirt, offering a comfortably secure fit, and release by squeezing buttons at top and bottom. While modest in size, the Targa’s lenses offer a good view, especially downward, although some divers found the frames blocked the horizontal view a bit. In our bright-sun test dives, the Targa’s frosted skirt did a nice job of letting in light without the glare.

Tilos Avengia

Tilos Avengia

Price: $46.95; Tilos

Jon Whittle

The tiny skirt and basic strap (plus the supervillain name and look) had us expecting a Spartan experience from the Avengia. But it ended up near the top scores in its category for comfort, and fit nearly all our test divers well. “Surprisingly comfortable,” noted more than one test diver. The flexible nosepiece lets the lenses wrap around for a very good view. While the mask’s volume is ultralow, clearing it wasn’t so simple because the abbreviated skirt beneath the nose pocket required just the right angle.

TUSA M-211 Freedom One

Tusa M-211 Freedom One

Price: $89; TUSA

Jon Whittle

Masks seem like simple gear until you look closely at their design, as the Freedom One shows. Its skirt has tiny dimples at the temples and cheeks, designed to soften the skirt for better skin contact. Beneath the cheeks, small ridges in the skirt stiffen it to maintain its shape at depth, and the rear sections of the strap are contoured to match the shape of the head. That attention to detail helped the Freedom One earn near the top scores in its category for comfort, and find itself on the favorites list of multiple test divers.

Seadive SeaFire Ray Blocker HD

Seadive SeaFire Ray Blocker HD

Price: $125; XS Scuba

Jon Whittle

The SeaFire’s skirt is molded directly onto the frame for a streamlined profile that sits very close to the eyes — some divers said they felt like their eyelashes were brushing the lenses. The lenses have a proprietary coating designed to block glare and harmful rays while sharpening definition. While our test didn’t score the effectiveness of tinted lenses, several divers commented that the tint seemed to enhance contrast while reducing glare during our bright-sun dives in shallow, crystal-clear water.

Zeagle Scope Dual

Zeagle Scope Dual

Price: $99.95; Zeagle

Jon Whittle

Those jumbo peepers — nearly 3½ inches high — give the Scope Dual a startled-alien look, but they earned top score for field of view. The view benefits from a tight-fitting skirt overmolded onto the frame (lenses are removable and available in correctives). Choose an elastic or silicone strap; the latter has single-button buckles that operate flawlessly. With top scores for comfort, adjustability and ease of clearing, and selected as a favorite by more test divers than any mask, the Scope Dual is our Testers Choice.

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