What Size Snorkel Mask Do I Need?
When it comes to choosing the right snorkel mask, there are quite a few factors that you’re going to want to keep in mind. But perhaps the most important consideration is going to be finding a mask that fits you properly. All of the anti-fog and dry-top snorkel technology in the world won’t help you if you feel absolutely miserable while wearing your mask.
With that in mind, we’ve decided to put this guide together to help you answer one of the most important questions you’ll be facing when shopping for a mask – what size snorkel mask do I need?
There are a few significant differences to look out for depending on whether you want to purchase a traditional mask and snorkel set or a full face snorkel mask. Let’s dive right into it!
Traditional Mask and Snorkel vs. Full Face Snorkel Mask
Before sizing up your new snorkel mask, you should first decide whether you want to go with a traditional mask and snorkel set or a more modern full face snorkel mask. Both options have their pros and cons to be sure – if you need more info on choosing what option is right for you, don’t hesitate to browse through some of our in-depth mask reviews.
How to Size a Traditional Mask and Snorkel Set
In order to size a traditional snorkel mask, you’ll want to first hold the mask up against your face without putting the straps over your head. It’s usually a good idea to have a quick peek in a mirror in order to gauge exactly where the mask rests on your face.
Next, you’ll need to perform what’s known as the ‘suction test.’ Press the mask gently but firmly into your face, and then inhale through your nostrils. A proper fitting mask should remain pressed against your face when you let go of it. Not only that, but you should also be able to move your head around slightly without it falling off.
Once your mask has passed the suction test, you can now place the straps over your head. The goal is to have an airtight fit without having to tighten the straps too much. The straps should rest comfortably near the top of your head and not on your ears, otherwise it will end up feeling extremely uncomfortable during lengthy snorkeling excursions.
All that’s left to do now is insert the snorkel piece into your mouth. If it doesn’t break your airtight seal, then congratulations – you’ve found a proper fitting snorkel mask set!
How to Size a Full Face Snorkel Mask
Sizing a full face snorkel mask is quite a different process indeed when compared with sizing a more traditional setup. It’s especially important to go through and complete all of the following steps if you’re planning on ordering your mask online.
The good news is that it’s incredibly easy to figure out what size you should go with. Simply measure the distance between the bottom of your chin and the top of the bridge of your nose. Once you have your measurement, simply consult the sizing chart of the full face snorkel mask that you’re interested in – nearly all manufacturers should have this information readily available either in store or online.
For example, using the Ocean Reef Aria Full Face Snorkel Mask sizing chart, your sizing options would be:
- Less than 10 cm - XS
- Less than 11.5 cm - S/M
- Greater than 11.5 cm - L/XL
Once you’ve figured out the proper size that you should go with, we still recommend that you perform the suction test that’s described above in the section for sizing a traditional snorkel mask set.
As you can see, finding the proper sized fit for your snorkel mask doesn’t have to be a difficult process. Sure, there might be an extra step or two depending on if you’re going with a traditional mask or a full face mask, but it should still take less than two minutes to figure out what size you’ll need.
One final word of warning however – just because the process of sizing a mask is incredibly easy doesn’t mean that it should be skipped. We’ve seen many novice snorkelers make this mistake only to end up with a mask that’s constantly filling up with water and completely ruining their experience out in the water. There’s a reason why we would rank ‘proper size’ as the most important factor to consider when buying a mask.
In the end, what size snorkel mask you need is going to depend entirely on how comfortable you feel wearing the mask. As long as you can get a nice and snug fit that holds an airtight seal without needing to tighten your straps too much, then you’re golden.