Snorkelers have overwhelmingly selected the latest WildHorn Outfitters Seaview V2 180° Full Face Snorkel Mask as the best full face snorkel mask currently on the market.
These masks are gaining popularity, and I get it. They hands down promise the easiest most satisfying snorkel experience for beginner snorkelers. I was a huge sceptic until I saw Simons favourite gear YouTuber review them. Gotta say – I’m starting to see why people are going for it. Really, who doesn’t love the sounds of no longer gagging on salty water while enjoying a wide 180° field of view and the freedom to breathe naturally through both your nose and mouth? We also talked with folks who’ve successfully used full face snorkel masks with the less ocean-loving other halves as a way to introduce them to the ocean.
Best All-Rounder Full Face Snorkel Mask
The WildHorn Outfitters Seaview 180° stands out amongst the crowd with thousands of reviews confirming it’s many features. Designed and tested in the USA, its latest model boasts a patent-pending safe C02 expelling ‘Flowtech’ system that claims 50% easier work for breathing compared to its competitors, an anti-fogging crystal clear 180° visibility, a side-mounted dry snorkel, and auto water purge so you’ll never need to take off the mask or purge if water comes in. Also includes a camera mount down near the chin area (this position helps to keep the camera fully submerged).
Best Full Face Snorkel Mask runner up
The ‘Head’ Seaview 180° Panoramic View Full Face Snorkeling Mask is brought to us by the well regarded and trusted Mares who manufacturers this mask in Italy to ensure safe C02 expulsion. It boasts similar features to our top pick including anti-fog 180° degree vision, dry snorkel, and auto-purge . Note the camera mount is coming in the next version.
Best Full Face Snorkel Mask for shallow freediving
OUR PICK: Body Glove Full Face Snorkel Mask
This Body Glove Full Face Snorkel Mask gives you access so you can equalise during shallow depth freedives. Genius. Also recommended by Simons favourite gear review channel MicBergsma, and I gotta say I went from ‘these full face things are sooo lame’ to wanting to try it in exactly 6min. (Thanks for the video, MicBergsma!). It’s also softly padded and reviewers confirm it feels super comfortable on. All the features as the others above including a safe Co2 expulsion, anti-fog 180° vision, dry snorkel, auto-purge and forehead positioned camera mount.
Why you should trust us
Simon is a marine conservation biologist and world-renowned underwater photographer who dives, snorkels and freedives for a living. He is a co-founder and Principal Scientist at the Marine Megafauna Foundation, where he leads the global whale shark research and conservation program. His marine research and photography are routinely covered by major media outlets, including the BBC, National Geographic, Discovery Channel, and New York Times amongst many others. One of his photographs was chosen as a personal favourite of Sir David Attenborough’s, in conjunction with BBC’s Blue Planet II series, and another illustrates one of the global PADI scuba diving certification cards.
I (Madeleine) am an avid scuba diver, snorkeller and recreational freediver who’s dived some of the most spectacular locations around the world, including Misool and northern Raja Ampat, Lembongan, Lembeh Straight, Tulamben, Fiji, Vanuatu, and of course at home in Australia. I’m a minimalist and likes to travel light (which Simon encourages, as he can then use my baggage allowance!!), opting to mostly hire dive and snorkel gear wherever I go. I’ve been sampling the world’s equipment for over a decade. I have opinions.
How we made our selection
WE RESEARCHED FULL FACE SNORKEL MASKS
- I spent 5 hours in full face snorkel mask research on Amazon and LeisurePro.
- I read hundreds of reviews covering all experience levels and snorkelling needs.
- I viewed dozens of YouTube reviews and product explainers.
- I spoke to snorkelling retailers in both Australia and Indonesia who specialise in snorkelling, freedive, and diving fins.
- Simon and I spend our lives in the water and know what is needed for various situations.
- We’ve chatted to dozens of other snorkelers about their fins and what’s important to them.
- We interviewed marine biologists and snorkelling tour guides to get their feedback on functionality and durability.
THE REALLY GOOD-TO-KNOW’s
Full face mask PRO’s
- Great for kids, those who are new to snorkelling, or have anxiety about snorkelling, or the ocean in general.
- They allow you to breathe naturally using both your nose and mouth.
- They have a ‘dry snorkel’ so no water gets in through the snorkel (though decent normal snorkels also do this)
- Leakage automatically drains without you needing to shake out the mask or purge.
- They are less likely to fog thanks to their one-way breathing design.
Full face mask CON’s
- Some models may have CO2 build-up issues so it’s best to stick with trustworthy brands. Safety first!
- They attract lots of attention. You might be ok with that, but if you don’t like attention when you’re half-naked in your bathing suit, you may not enjoy wearing it.
- It’s bulky and takes up a lot of room in your luggage.
- Some models can’t keep up with heavy breathing if you are being very active or just needing to swim against a current.
- You’ll likely overheat if you are even a little bit active which can feel stuffy, hot and sweaty.
- Its only really designed to look down from the surface so if you dive down alot it will cause pressure and most tend to leak.
- They can feel claustrophobic if you have a tendency toward that already.
- You can’t talk to your buddies on the surface unless you take off the whole thing. Massive downside. One of the best things about snorkelling over scuba is the ability to chat – point things out, and shout out to each other at the surface. Saying that though, if you are literally beside your buddy you can talk properly (though still a bit muffled!) while submerged since your mouth is completely free to move.
I found this video super useful and entertaining – enjoy!
FULL FACE SNORKEL MASK COMPONENTS
I’m using our top pick Seaview V2 as a visual example, and when there’s a major variation in designs I’ve explained the difference in italics.
- Auto Drain – Automatically expels salty water without the need to do anything.
- Fog Resistant – The one-way breathing system helps to reduce fogging in the eye area.
- Fully adjustable straps – Help to create a perfect fit.
- Camera Mount – An attachment for your camera or go pro. The Seaview positions the mount at the bottom of the mask near the chin to make it easier to keep submerged. Many position it at the top of the head near or on the snorkel which means you need to always keep your head fully downward.
- Anti-leak silicone – creates a seal to prevent water from entering the mask.
- Maximum visibility – crystal clear 180° panoramic view.
- Dual Airflow Dry Snorkel System – Separate air-in/air-out channels ensure C02 is effectively cleared. The dry snorkel design prevents any water from entering the snorkel even when fully submerged. The snorkel position comes in two options – front and side. Seaview claims the side mount keeps the snorkel clear from water.
OUR CRITERIA FOR PICKING THE BEST FULL FACE SNORKEL MASK
This is a little different from other products guides we’ve done, and this is because there are legitimate safety concerns with the full face mask. Thus, we ONLY looked at masks by reputable brands, and these brands all had basically the same features and construction. So, rather than look for a certain style or feature, we went for ‘reputable safe brand’ first, and then from there watched youtube reviews and read product reviews to see which performed best against the manufacturer’s claims (Be sure to do your own research on this). Thus – the criteria list is short:
- Safety there’s been some concerns about deaths caused by C02 build-up in full-face masks, so be sure to buy from a reputable brand.
- Popularity and Reviews we looked at the volume of reviews that confirmed the features outlined by the manufacturer.