Over the last decade or so, freediving has gone from an absurdly niche sport…to absolutely skyrocketing in popularity.
Because of this, diving shops have now spun out entire product lines of freediving equipment. A notable piece of freediving gear that has some controversy surrounding it, is the freediving mask.
Now you may be wondering…Is there really a difference between a freediving mask vs scuba mask?
Or is it just another clever marketing ploy designed to get us to dig a little deeper into our pockets for yet another freediving gadget we don’t really need?
The answer here is: yes, there really is a difference between a freediving mask vs scuba mask. Freediving masks tend to be smaller, thinner and have less volume. This makes them easier to equalize, so you save more oxygen, are able dive deeper and equalize better at depth. Scuba masks on the other hand tend to be bulkier, have more volume and have greater visibility.
The main difference between a freediving mask vs scuba mask, is in the shape and design of the masks.
Scuba masks on average are bigger, heavier and have more volume.
Freediving masks, on the other hand, are designed to be shorter, more compact and with less volume.
Let’s take a closer look at the differences and start by looking at the pros & cons of scuba masks:
Now that we’ve covered scuba masks, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of freediving masks:
You do not need a freediving mask. You can certainly freedive with just a scuba mask. But, if you want to equalize comfortably at deeper depths and maximize your potential as a freediver…you’ll eventually need to make the switch and invest in a freediving mask.
If you’re thinking about investing in a low-volume freediving mask, but not sure where to start, I recommend grabbing the Aqua Lung Sphera X Mask – you can read my post about it by clicking this link here.
As stated before, the main reason freediving masks are better for freediving, is because they have less volume.
A low volume mask is important for freedivers, because it requires less air to equalize, saving more air in our lungs for the rest of our dives. After all, we don’t have big oxygen tanks that let us exhale huge breaths to equalize large-volume scuba masks.
We need to be as efficient as possible with the air in our lungs. That means wearing a small mask that can easily be equalized with short bursts of air.
As a side note: if you aren’t training with an Air Restriction Device (ARD) then you’re leaving untapped breath-holding potential on the table. Low-volume freediving masks may help you conserve oxygen during dives…
But you’re seriously missing out if you aren’t training with an ARD – I’ve written a post about how Air Restriction Devices boost lung/oxygen efficiency, click here to read it.
Do you need a freediving mask straight out the gate?
Or is there a specific depth at which you should switch from a scuba mask to a freediving mask?
Well, I’d say you should be fine using a scuba diving mask up until you’re diving passed about 85 feet deep (~ 25 meters deep). Beyond that, you’ll need more air in your lungs to equalize at greater depths, so you’re better off investing in a freediving mask beyond ~ 85 feet deep.
In my personal opinion – it’s better to just invest in proper freediving gear – even if you’re a beginner. Not only is it safer and will give you time to get used to wearing it all…
But wearing good freediving gear is also a nice motivation boost to help push you further and fully immerse yourself in the sport.
If you’re serious about tapping into your full potential as a freediver, not only should you invest in a freediving mask, but also you’ll need to invest in the correct freediving weight belt (one that doesn’t cut off your oxygen supply during your breathe-up!).
To help you do point 3: Press the mask against your face as if you are wearing it. The straps should not be around your head (dangling underneath is fine). Now breathe in through your nose and let go of the mask. The mask should be sucked tightly to your face. You should hear no noise of air whistling through into the mask. This means it’s water tight and is a good fit.
The Aqua Lung Sphera Freediving Mask ticks all the above boxes, which is why it’s one of the most popular freediving masks on the market.
You can get your Aqua Lung Freediving Mask for the price of less than a week’s worth of groceries by clicking this Amazon link here.
When it comes to freediving, you don’t really need a complex, top of the line snorkel.
Many expensive snorkels often come with intricate purge valves, specialized mouth pieces and bulky splash guards.
If you’re freediving: you don’t really need any of this.
All you need is a short, basic, J-shaped snorkel. It’s important to use a snorkel that is short and simple so you reduce drag and maximize underwater thrust. Also, if possible, try to use a snorkel that is quite soft and flexible. That way it bends around your head making you more hydrodynamic.
I recommend the Kraken Aquatics freediving snorkel. It ticks all the boxes above and is VERY affordable Click here to see it on Amazon.
Gerrie is a passionate Freediver, Spearfisher, Digital Marketer, and author for the Apnealogy website. Gerrie is an SSI Level 1 certified Freediver who loves geeking out about freediving and spearfishing gear and lives for his family and adventure.