The 5 Best Full Face Dive Masks In 2022

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OTS Spectrum full face diving mask tested above water
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ots spectrum ffm releasing bubbles underwater
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A full face scuba mask is more than just a really cool looking piece of kit. Its applications for commercial diving have been proven for a while, allowing divers into cold or even polluted waters with more protection and comfort.

These masks have come a long way since they seemed a thing of science fiction. Developments by leading brands have made them both safer and easier to incorporate into recreational diving. Each model has some quirks or unique design features that make using them something each diver should be aware of before buying.

The ability to talk to other divers around you while exploring a wreck or marveling at megafauna almost makes diving with a FFM another type of dive entirely. That some models provide a greater field of vision than conventional masks, is also a game changer for some scuba divers too.

This guide features some of the best models by leading brands, describing the finer points of using full face scuba masks for diving and presenting a general map of how each model fits into the market and into your budget. These options include masks that have communication capabilities for underwater chatting as well as simpler ones for merely making cold water diving a little more pleasant.

Read the reviews and check out the buyer’s guide down below for more information.

The Top 5 Full Face Diving Masks in 2022

All the Full Face Diving Masks We've tested

ots guardian full face scuba diving mask on diver
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Full face masks are used primarily by technical divers and commercial divers, but they are increasingly popular with recreational divers as well. They are recommended in cases where the diver is exposed to cold water, polluted water, or for maintenance work, fixing a sailboats propeller, for example.

The OTS Guardian is a full face mask for scuba diving with a high-impact ABS frame, glass-filled polycarbonate visor, and polycarbonate regulator housing. The mask also features an interlocking silicone skirt and a double sealing flange for a secure seal.

The two-piece design features a removable second stage for easy cleaning and storage. Divers will appreciate how the unique one-way valves located in the oral-nasal area reduce CO2 retention and keeps the mask from fogging up.

Specs & Features

  • Weight: 4.75 lbs
  • Dimensions: ‎12 x 9 x 7 inches
  • Mask: Skirt; 55-60 Shore A Liquid Silicone, Frame; Glass Filled Nylon, Hardware; Stainless Steel
  • Lens: Polycarbonate
  • Regulator: Glass Filled Nylon Housing

Our Overall Review

We have thoroughly tested - and read reviews from other experts and users. In summary, this is what we think:

4.4

Reasons to buy:

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    A very comfortable Full Face Scuba Mask
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    The automatic defogging function is a game-changer
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    5-point head strap
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    The glass lenses is very durable
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    Removable 2nd stage for easy cleaning and storage

Reasons NOT to buy:

  • check-markEqualizing was not as intuitive as it is for other full face masks like the OTS Spectrum
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Where to buy:

ots guardian scuba mask display on mannequin

OTS Guardian Full Face Scuba Mask

Ots Spectrum Review
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The Spectrum is a bare-bones full face mask for scuba diving with solid design qualities. It’s the less expensive model from Ocean Technology Systems (OTS), mainly because there’s no regulator included, but also because there’s less viewing glass.

Like other full face masks, the Spectrum proved to make cold water diving less frigid and more comfortable. When coupled with the Buddy Phone two-way communication system, it also makes this FFM a nice bit of kit for underwater work on boats as well as super fun for recreational dives.

There’s also the possibility of adding an ambient breathing valve to conserve air when topside, making this a really good entry point into full face mask diving.

We tested the Spectrum a few times side by side with the OTS Guardian. Its price and quality slides the Spectrum into the more affordable range of masks and welcome addition for cold water divers and sailors with compressors on board.

Specs & Features

  • Weight: ‎4.75 lbs
  • Dimensions: 12 x 9 x 7 inches
  • Mask: Skirt; 55-60 Shore A Liquid Silicone, Frame; Glass Filled Nylon, Hardware; Stainless Steel
  • Lens: Tempered Glass
  • Regulator: Glass Filled Nylon Housing

Our Overall Review

We have thoroughly tested the OTS Spectrum. In summary, this is what we think:

4.5

Reasons to buy:

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    Pricepoint compared with other Full Face Scuba Masks
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    Universal skirt design fits many sizes and forms of faces
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    The ability to pinch the nose for equalization is a bonus
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    The 5-point head strap is very comfortable
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    Add any regulator to the FFSM

Reasons NOT to buy:

  • check-markMore prone to fogging than other full face masks like Guardian and Neptune
Read full review

Where to buy:

ots spectrum ffm

OTS Spectrum Full Face Scuba Mask

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Ocean Reef’s most popular full face mask is the Neptune Space G.Divers. This is an accessible option for recreational scuba divers looking to improve their cold water diving experience. It’s a comfortable model that is probably the easiest of all full face masks on the market to quickly remove and it has a lot of optional add-ons.

Similar to the OTS Guardian, it has a large field of view and includes a 2nd stage regulator. This is a great beginner FFM, especially considering you can add a surface valve, a communication system as well as an octopus adaptor to be able to use your backup should your primary reg fail for whatever reason.

Defogging isn’t an issue as purging air from the 2nd stage flushes out condensation and clears things up pleasantly quick. Equalization is also not as difficult as expected, with two adjustable nasal plugs that you push to block your nose. Remember to test pre-dive.

The Neptune Space G, with the surface valve and comms add-on will run somewhere North of $1500. A considerable investment, but one that more and more people with the means are enjoying.

Specs & Features

  • Weight: 1.89 lbs
  • Dimensions: 4 sizes available (XS, S/M, M/L, L/XL)
  • Materials:
  • Mask: Stainless steel, plastic, chromed brass
  • Lens: Polycarbonate

Our Overall Review

We have thoroughly tested - and read reviews from other experts and users. In summary, this is what we think:

5

Reasons to buy:

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    Easy purging
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    Great for cold water diving
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    Protection for working under the waterline with contaminants
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    Upgradable with add-ons
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    Easy to quickly remove

Reasons NOT to buy:

  • check-markAir consumption is greater than normal
  • check-markBulky and you’ll need a backup mask anyway
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Where to buy:

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Ocean Reef Neptune Space G.Divers

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Poseidon is one of the brands that foster a loyal, almost tribal following. If you ask a scuba diver about their gear from Poseidon, they’ll invariably answer that they’ve been using a particular series for many, many years without any issue.

The Atmosphere full face dive mask has a reputation for being a reliable cold water unit that won’t fog up, won’t break down and has the best regulator for almost freezing temperatures. It’s the Jetstream 2nd stage that Poseidon–backed up by its legion of acolytes–claims doesn’t break down in frigid waters because it was designed specifically not to.

The first stage continues the impressive engineering. This is where the thermo-dynamic, anti-freezing mechanisms harness warmth from air exchange work. This is also where the ball valve, on paper at least, looks to provide the whole unit with one of the best anti-leaking processes among all FFMs. We can’t confirm this yet, but Poseidon claims it provides better breathing performance (more air and bottom time)

The double-feathered edge seal and 5-finger strap system do a good job of accommodating different head shapes and providing good comfort at the same time. Combined with the promise of fewer servicing needs than alternatives, the Atmosphere is an impressive mask.

Of course, it too has communication capabilities making it very suitable for professional work and a great bit of kit for recreational divers with $1,000 plus to spend.

Specs & Features

  • Weight: 2.4 lbs
  • Dimensions: 4 sizes available (XS, S/M, M/L, L/XL)
  • Materials:
  • Mask: Stainless steel, plastic
  • Lens: Polycarbonate

Our Overall Review

We have thoroughly tested - and read reviews from other experts and users. In summary, this is what we think:

5

Reasons to buy:

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    Easy breath even at deeper depths
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    Little maintenance
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    Reliable in almost freezing conditions
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    No fogging
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    Easy purging

Reasons NOT to buy:

  • check-markNot ideal for bonded prescription lenses
  • check-markGetting replacement parts when traveling can be difficult
Read full review

Where to buy:

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Poseidon Atmosphere

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This full face mask from ScubaPro is another minimalized model in terms of its profile. It wears like a traditional mask with tempered glass–effectively teardrop–and an accessible silicone nose covering to make equalizing easier.

Similar to the OTS Spectrum, this mask is less bulky and will be easier to get used to than the standard full face mask form. But like all models, Scubapro’s has optional add-ons to incorporate a surface or ambient breathing valve to conserve air when adjusting the mask topside and for surface swimming.

This mask will appeal to divers looking to use their own 2nd stage regulator and for the ability to equalize like normal by pinching their nose. It seems better suited for divers without bigger craniums or generally rounded faces.

Take note that it doesn’t include an ambient surface valve. But with this valve and perhaps the communications system, Scubapro’s full face mask has proved to be a mask that will last a while.

Specs & Features

  • Weight: 2 lbs
  • Dimensions: 12 x 9 x 6 inches
  • Materials:
  • Mask: Stainless steel, plastic, silicone rubber
  • Lens: Tempered glass

Our Overall Review

We have thoroughly tested - and read reviews from other experts and users. In summary, this is what we think:

5

Reasons to buy:

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    Durable and reliable
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    Good for cold water diving
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    Good for diving with contaminants during work
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    Use your own 2nd stage
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    Communication possibilities
Read full review

Where to buy:

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Scubapro Full Face Mask

Related Reviews

Guide to Full Face Masks for Scuba Diving

A full face mask, as the name suggest, is a dive mask that covers the entire face. Rather than having a dive mask covering your eyes and nose, and a regulator in your mouth, you combine the two.

Since they cost more money than normal masks it’s a good idea to understand what you’re investing in with such a scuba mask.

By integrating the regulator into the mask, the diver doesn’t have to hold on to the regulator in the mouth, and it frees up the mouth for talking. This can be done with a special underwater radio intercom system that’s compatible with the specific models of FFMs.

For many divers, it also makes the experience more comfortable in cases where they’ve had dental work or just generally have issues with a regulator in the mouth. For bearded or mustachioed divers, full face masks will also keep a seal better.

Another good reason for full face masks is to protect against the environment in which one is diving. Either the cold or in waters where there is a high level of contaminants.

We’ve examined 5 models here and it looks like there are more worthy candidates. We’ll be trying to get our hands on the Ocean Reef Neptune III, a relatively new model, in order to see what updates have been made.

We’ll update this guide as we gain more insight and accrue more experience.

Scuba Diver with full face mask
Scuba Diver with full face mask
Photo by: Malcolm McMullen

Some Advantages of Using FFMs

Great for Cold Water

Probably the main reason for a lot of those who switch to full face masks is to deal with cold waters. When you’re diving in temperatures that are below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, a full face dive mask will keep your face from freezing. That avoids discomfort and can maximize dive time.

Great for Maintenance Work

Problem with a propeller? Need to plug a leak? Oftentimes having scuba equipment makes you a good friend to sailors who need to have an inspection or even some minor work done on the hull of their boat.

Examining a ship under the waterline requires dealing with unpleasant contaminants from the anti-fouling paint that, because of its ablative properties, is almost always rubbing off. A full face mask protects your face just a bit better than a conventional mask and regulator can. In this case, a FFM is peace of mind.

Better Breathing

Without the reg in your mouth, there’s not at all the level of discomfort you get in the cheeks and jowls. Of course, if you’re a serial diver, your muscles are used to this. But it’s nice being able to relax your mouth and just breath inside a FFM. It’s one of the reasons a lot of divers never go back to anything else.

You can talk

Using an optional, integrated underwater intercom system, you can talk to your dive buddy, the surface boat, and anyone else who is on the same channel. A huge advantage to divers doing search and recovery, or any other activity that requires better underwater communication than standard hand signals can manage.

In our case, when we were testing these units underwater, we could relate our experiences, the same way we would exchange our observations about a normal dive. In many cases, the lack of talking is a pleasant switch for some divers that don’t want to have someone in their ear. In these cases, it’s possible to have the communication add-ons without using them. In this way, a diver uses less air as well.

More securely attached

Instead of just a single strap holding the mask in place, the full-face masks on our list have several independent straps that need to be placed around your head, making a mask loss much less likely.

Most have 5, but some, like the Ocean Reef Neptune Space G actually has 6 straps in a spider or finger formation to match as best possible different cranium shapes. As mentioned this makes accidentally having a mask getting knocked off virtually impossible. During testing, when we practiced switching from conventional mask and octopus to full face mask, the FFM hung securely from the 2nd stage anyway.

Less risk of losing regulator

Because the regulator is integrated, there’s less risk that a diver will lose the regulator by accident during a dive. And for people with some form of dental or jaw problem, it eliminates the need to hold on to the mouthpiece.

Larger field of vision

The best full face dive masks provide almost a 180-degree field of vision, more than any traditional dive mask. In particular, the Guardian and the Neptune have a huge viewing lens with light also illuminating the peripheral view. That’s useful when identifying megafauna and noticing the shadows of larger things either swimming or sailing.

No Fogging

Because of the way the purging process works, simply pushing out of the mask by pressing the regulator purger will expunge humidity and remove any fogging. That means no anti-fogging additives and no need to struggle with letting water in to rinse the inside lens. In practice, this doesn’t work so well with the Spectrum and Scubapro’s more minimal FFMs, but it worked swimmingly well with the Guardian and the Neptune Space G.

Scuba Diver Full Face Mask

The Drawbacks of FFMs

They’re Costly and Bulky

Full face masks are expensive, with prices ranging from $500 to $1,700 for a mask with the additional options that you may or may not want. And they are of course quite a bit heavier for dive travel than a traditional mask. And for maximum benefit and safety, an additional course in using your new full face mask should be considered, typically at a cost of $500 or so.

The reality is that you can learn your way to the basics online–including youtube–and the best education is always going to be experience. Having stated this though, practicing with it in a pool or in no more than 15 feet of water is a really good idea. Your range of movement is hampered slightly, meaning you have to get used to knowing where to press for chatting and for equalizing.

More Air Consumption

It’s hard to deny it, but using full face masks results in high air consumption. There’s certainly some reliable metric or scientific measuring experiment that compares FFM diving with conventional scuba mask diving. Without citing that here, our anecdotal evidence, gleaned from repeating the same dive profiles again and again reveal that we use more air when we have full face dive masks. Not much, but it’s something to take into account when planning dives at depth of 90-feet or more.

For recreational purposes, it’s not really relevant, but it’s also worthwhile to note that these masks are rated for no more than 130 feet. We’d recommend not going beyond 80 or 90 feet before having a few dives at substantially shallower depths.

One exception that probably exists, though we have not yet tested adequately enough to state one way or another, is the Poseidon Atmosphere. Its 1st stage and 2nd stage engineering make it a unit that probably functions extraordinarily well at deeper depths. It also likely means the air on demand function leads to less wasted air–but we’ve not yet tested this premise.

Switching Masks

One of the more fun activities during a Divemaster course is switching your entire scuba unit–BCD, mask and fins included–with your dive buddy while underwater. The idea being that you should be comfortable with your kit and how it works should the need to improvise present itself.

This is not really a drawback as much as it is a bit of good practice.

With this in mind, you should practice switching between your full face scuba mask and the conventional dive mask that you should be carrying with you.

You should practice getting the FFM off quickly and efficiently and getting your alternative in your mouth. From there you should know exactly where your backup mask is and be practiced at getting it on and clearing it.

FAQ

Frequently asked questions about Full Face Dive Masks

How do you equalize your ears with a full face dive mask?

Some full face masks like the OTS Spectrum have a silicone nose covering instead of rigid polycarbonate. In these cases, you pinch your nose the same way you do with any type of dive mask.

For rigid, full facial coverings a nasal piece sits up against the nostrils, closing them shut when you put pressure on your chin. This piece can be adjusted to the exact dimensions of your nose.

Are full face scuba masks safe?

Full face masks for diving are safe. The best models are more reliable, but generally this technology has been around for long enough to be an established equipment for commercial divers, tech divers and now recreational divers. Because of the ability to communicate underwater, it gives some people a sense of security too. They should always be used responsibly and tested and practiced in controlled environments.

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