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Are expensive masks worth the extra money?

Discussion in 'Fins, Masks and Snorkels' started by mbelvadi, Dec 28, 2018.

  1. mbelvadi

    mbelvadi Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Canada
    5
    0
    1
    I am a relatively new diver (under 100 dives) and am ready to buy my second, more serious, mask to replace the "starter" one I got when I certified. On YouTube I see "top 10 masks" reviews that seem to almost equate masks in the $40 range with some in the $250 range, and likewise Amazon reviews seem if anything to be harsher on the more expensive ones. So I could really use some help.

    Is this a "you get what you pay for" or a "you pay for a famous name and fancy styling" product market?

    I can afford the more expensive options but don't feel the need to have the most expensive if it's really not better, and I don't care about style or brand, just wide view and no leaking.

    I am hoping to buy something that will last 5 years or more at about 100 dives per year.

    Advice welcome!
     
  2. tbone1004

    tbone1004 ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Greenville, South Carolina, United States
    15,261
    6,590
    113
    only if they fit you better than the cheap ones. I dive cheap masks, and they fit well. If they didn't and a more expensive mask did, I'd get a more expensive one, but thankfully the cheap ones fit well.
     
    stuartv, Sh0rtBus, mbelvadi and 4 others like this.
  3. taimen

    taimen Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Europe
    617
    282
    63
    No :) unless they are the only one that fits you.
     
    stuartv and mbelvadi like this.
  4. Barnaby'sDad

    Barnaby'sDad Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Virginia
    529
    266
    63
    I've got one that was ~$30 and one that was ~$80. The ~$30 mask fits better. I wouldn't spend more money with the hope that more $$ = better mask (for you).

    I would recommend buying locally for your first mask, if possible. If you run into a fit issue (my first one didn't work out), they should swap it out and give you another one.
     
    mbelvadi likes this.
  5. RyanT

    RyanT Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Maryland
    1,634
    1,249
    113
    I agree with the other posters. Try some on and get the one that fits well. A more expensive mask isn't necessarily a better mask. Just get the one that fits!
     
  6. AJ

    AJ Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Netherlands
    620
    316
    63
    I have an expensive Atomic mask and a cheap Aqualung. Both perform as expected. So no reason to buy an expensive mask for the sole reason of being expensive imo.
     
    mbelvadi likes this.
  7. ORsolodiver

    ORsolodiver Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Oregon
    19
    12
    3
    I have a Hollis M1 that I really like. Paid $100 for it. Just purchased the DGX "Ultra View Single Lens Frameless Mask" for $29! Easily as good if not better than the Hollis.
     
  8. Eric Sedletzky

    Eric Sedletzky Great White

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Santa Rosa, CA
    3,430
    2,900
    113
    There’s two things:
    1) Quality of build
    2) Fit

    You have to balance the two components. There are some really expensive masks that are not really any better than less expensive masks but they’re riding on their name to get a premium price.
    There are some really cheap masks that are on the market for the snorkelling/pool toy world which I would be hesitant to buy or use for serious scuba or freediving.

    I would look at masks that are considered “professional” level diving equipment and pick one that fits the best. Sometimes this can include very cheap Chinese knock offs of more advanced designs, but if the build quality seems to be good, seams look good, tempered glass, buckles look beafy, and overall not too cheasy, then I guess the cheapo mask would work.
     
    mbelvadi likes this.
  9. Kevin Floyd

    Kevin Floyd Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Houston
    66
    21
    8
    It’s not really a price issue. IMO its 3 big factors beyond the obvious fit and feel

    Frame vs Framless
    Lens material
    Strap material

    If you read a lot of other reviews and conversations (most notable are DIR threads) you will see a lot of talk about “frameless”. These are maskes that don’t use a frame to hold the lens in and as such are more durable, hold the lens closer to your eyes for better 180* vison. Down side can be that because they are closer to your warm face can fog the mask more easily. But frameless will fold almost flat for easy storage in a pocket if you carry a second back up mask.

    Lens material: super cheap maskes use plastic or polycarbonate. There truly suck and scratch very easily. The lens should always be tempered glass. With an ANSI rating.

    Strap material: I really prefer a single neoprene strap as opposed to a rubber strap with a neoprene cover. The neoprene strap doesn’t roll over on it self the way rubber straps can and makes mask replacement underwater super easy.

    I carry 2 maskes: the XS Foto Frameless GoPro mask as my primary when I use the GoPro or as the back up when I’m not.

    And the Scubapro Frameless Gorilla as my back up when using the GoPro and my primary when not.

    The Foto comes with a rubber and neoprene strap I put a Hollis strap on the Gorilla.

    The Foto is less then $100 on amazon last I checked and I think the Gorilla was less then $150 plus a $10 strap replacement.

    Obviously if you don’t want to mask mount a go pro just go with the Gorilla or anouther frameless option.

    The other feature you can look for is a double sealed skirt. This is a common feature on most good frameless maskes I have looked at and nice to have because I have a short beard.
     
  10. shurite7

    shurite7 Dive Shop

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Missoula, MT
    880
    326
    63
    You can buy a $5 or $500 mask, if it doesn't fit then it is worthless.

    Go for fit and comfort! Try on masks and eliminate those that don't fit. If you can, go dive with the masks; of course, not always an option. Then examine the features of the ones that do fit. After that take a look at cosmetics and price. Take the reviews of masks with a grain of salt. They are simply opinions and have nothing to do with a mask that fits you. If you take care (both handling and stowage) of the mask it will last for quite sometime. Don't be afraid of buying several masks until you find the one you really like.

    Good luck.
     
    mbelvadi likes this.

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