A full face scuba mask is designed to cover the entire face, as its name suggests. It uses a built-in regulator as opposed to regulators you have to bite with your teeth on regular scuba masks.
Professionals are most likely to wear full face scuba masks. Occasional divers are typically inclined towards using a more affordable conventional scuba mask.
What is a Full Face Scuba Mask?
A full face scuba mask covers the entire face. It’s the professional alternative to regular scuba masks. It allows divers to breathe through the mouth or the nose using the connected regulator.
The main benefits of a full face scuba mask include:
- The ability to breathe through the nose (built-in regulator)
- 180-degree view (a rectangular shape with contoured corners)
- Improved communication (optional built-in microphone)
Comfortable diving is the result of these benefits. The ability to build through the mouth or the nose isn’t specific to regular diving masks. The enhanced field of view also maximizes vision in low light. Full face scuba masks are also known for facilitating communication. Divers can talk using a simple push-to-talk system as they don’t have to hold on to the regulator in the mouth.
The design of a full face scuba mask is characterized by an open plan without internal subdivisions. This means a full face scuba mask is characterized by free flow air which allows breathing without a mouthpiece and communicating with other divers.
Straps hold the full face mask up, similarly to the regular scuba diving mask. The difference is there are more straps on the full face mask.
How Does a Full Face Scuba Mask Work?
The full face scuba mask works by providing breathing gas to the diver. It also creates an air barrier between the diver and the water.
It provides breathing gas
Breathing gas is provided to one air space for the mouth and the nose. A small percentage of full face scuba masks only provide air to the mouth.
It provides air space
Air space provided by the large transparent faceplate ensures unobstructed underwater vision.
How to Equalize a Full Face Scuba Mask?
All scuba divers need to equalize. This is done either through a built-in nose plug that you press or a nose skirt that you press. Most nose plugs in full face scuba masks can be adjusted as everybody has a different face shape which makes equalizing easier.
How to Clear a Full Face Scuba Mask?
Full face masks rarely flood. However, divers need to know what to do in case it happens.
Divers need to look down, press, and hold the purge button until the mask is clear. Breathing might not be possible in the process. This is why a spare mask is recommended as a backup.
Read More: Common Scuba Diving Dangers and How to Avoid Them
Full Face Scuba Diving Mask Pros and Cons
Full face scuba masks have a few benefits and drawbacks, just as regular scuba masks. However, they have more benefits than drawbacks.
|ADVANTAGES / PROS||DISADVANTAGES / CONS|
|Easier breathing||Harder to clear|
|Larger field of view||High buoyancy|
|No jaw pain||Higher costs|
|Reduced fogging||You may become a lazier diver!|
|The ability to communicate better underwater|
|Included nose clips for quick equalizing|
|More comfortable cold climate diving|
- Easier breathing
Full face scuba masks are ideal for easier breathing. Comfortable breathing characterizes these masks. Both inhaling and exhaling are considered more comfortable compared to regular masks.
- Larger field of view
Curved protective lenses are seen on many full face scuba masks. These are made with a rectangular design with corners bent around the head. This enhances the field of view essentially meaning divers can see better.
- No jaw pain
Suffering from jaw pain is common when using a regular scuba diving mask. This is pain is eliminated when wearing a full face scuba mask that doesn’t require constantly biting a mouthpiece.
- Reduced fogging
Fogging happens rarely when wearing a full face scuba diving mask. Integrated ventilation and constant airflow reduced humidity buildup inside the mask.
- The ability to communicate better underwater
Some full face masks come with integrated microphones for easy communication. This includes easier communication with other divers. Integrated intercoms make talking easy, especially since there’s no mouthpiece to worry about.
- Included nose clips for quick equalizing
Nose clips are often built-in gull face scuba diving masks. This ensures quick and easy equalizing. These clips are often adjustable for even more diving comfort.
- More comfortable cold climate diving
Scuba diving in cold climates can feel uncomfortable. Drysuits are mandatory in cold climates. However, a full face mask covers the entire face. It helps maintain body temperature better than a regular scuba diving mask.
Apart from being larger and heavier, a full face scuba diving mask also comes with other potential drawbacks.
- Harder to clear
Clearing a full face scuba diving mask takes longer. Its larger size means there’s a risk for more water to make its way inside. This means clearing takes considerably longer.
- High buoyancy
Higher buoyancy is also specific to full face scuba diving masks. It traps more air inside which means it has a higher floating tendency. More strength is needed to maintain the body in the correct position as it tends to raise quicker.
- Higher costs
A full face scuba diving mask also costs more. Priced between $600 and $1.600, full face scuba diving masks require a larger upfront investment compared to regular diving masks.
Other smaller drawbacks
Full face scuba masks are sometimes associated with too much comfort which might even make the diver lazy. Some seasoned divers say those wearing these masks lose their hand signaling communication skills, essential in group scuba dives.
Those wearing full face scuba diving masks are often tempted to only communicate among them leaving others out of the conversation and essentially using diving hand signals less.
When to Use a Full Face Scuba Mask?
Beginners are some of the ideal users of full face scuba diving masks apart from professional divers given how easy it is to breathe with them.
Diving masks offering a wider field of view are also recommended when scuba diving in amazing locations such as next to shipwrecks.
Bulky and heavy full face scuba masks aren’t as practical as traditional diving masks when traveling frequently from one diving place to another.
Full face scuba diving masks are known for unrestricted breathing benefits. Secondary benefits include better visibility through a larger field of view and potential for better communication with built-in intercoms both among divers and with those at the surface on the boat.
Full face scuba diving masks are mostly used by professionals but enthusiasts are starting to rely on them as well given their benefits.