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How Does A Full-face Snorkel Mask Work?

If you’re all ready to go on your snorkeling vacation but are yet to find the best snorkel mask for you, you may be beginning to panic at all of the varying information on the internet. Some people say that full-face snorkeling masks are the best option, while others think that traditional masks are the only way to go.

There is a lot of false information on the internet about the different types of masks, so you’ll need to do your own research and figure out what type of mask sounds like the right one for you. Luckily, we’re here to help make this process a little easier by collating all the information you need and putting it in one short article. 

We’ll be looking at the different types of snorkel masks, how they compare up to each other, and when the best time to use a full-face snorkel mask is. The decision will still have to be made by you, but we hope that this information will aid you in your reasoning. 

How Soes a Full-Face Snorkel Mask Work?

In this article we’ll be discussing how full-face snorkel masks work, provided they are of a high-quality. This type of mask has to be tested to ensure that it is safe to be used before it can be sold, and the unique concept of them is what makes them so popular and effective. 

full-face snorkel masks keep the air inside of the mask circulating around so that there is a clear separation between the new, fresh air coming in and the carbon dioxide that you’ve been breathing out. This keeps you from inhaling the carbon dioxide back into your body so that you are safe while underwater. 

The tube on the full-face snorkel is compartmentalized into three sections, with the middle section being the pathway for the fresh air to come down into the mask. All you need to do is breathe in, as you normally would, and the fresh air will be sucked down the tube into your body. This fresh air travels through valves before it reaches you. 

The carbon dioxide that you breathe out goes through a different set of valves to keep it separated from the oxygen. These valves keep the amount of oxygen in the mask at a steady rate without mixing any of the carbon dioxide into it. Your exhalations will leave through the other sections of the tube. 

The tube itself has a valve on the top of it to prevent water from getting into your mask. This is to keep you safe and comfortable, as no one wants their vision compromised by a lot of water inside their full-face snorkel mask. That being said, there is another valve at the bottom of the mask that will allow any water inside the mask to drain out easily without letting any more in. 

Traditional vs. Full-​Face Snorkel Masks

Traditional snorkel masks come with two components, the mask for over your eyes and nose, and the mouthpiece that’s connected to the snorkel. A traditional mask is very easy to use as you breathe through the mouthpiece and see through the mask. 

On the other hand, full-face snorkel masks have the mask and snorkel linked together when you wear it. This differs from traditional masks as the nosepiece is actually connected to the mouthpiece, rather than the mask itself. 

In its most simple form, this means that you can breathe freely underneath the water without having to think about it. We’ve already talked about how full-face snorkel masks work, so you know that they’re very easy to use and don’t require any practice. 

Some full-face snorkel masks can be disassembled for transportation purposes, so don’t worry about the added size of them in your gear bag. People who use full-face masks prefer them to traditional masks as the eyepiece doesn’t fog up from if you accidentally breathe out of your nose, which is something that traditional masks are notorious for. 

How do Full-Face Snorkel Masks Differ From Traditional Masks?

Traditional masks don’t allow you to snorkel and breathe through your nose at the same time. The only way that you’ll be able to get any air to your lungs is through your mouth and mouthpiece. This can sometimes be a little tricky at first to get the hang of, but it is safe to use as there is no danger of the carbon dioxide building up in the tube. 

Having said that, some people don’t like traditional masks because they cannot get the hang of breathing through their mouths. If you’re easily stressed out and just want to enjoy your snorkeling experience without having to coordinate your swimming and breathing technique, a full-face snorkel might be the way to go. 

Are Full-Face Snorkel Masks Safe to Use?

Whether full-face masks are safe or not has been a big debate topic for a number of years, and some snorkeling businesses choose to make their divers wear traditional masks to avoid the controversy. But is this split opinion warranted?

The main factor that concerns people about full-face snorkel masks is the potential for carbon dioxide to get trapped in the mouthpiece so that you keep breathing it back in rather than oxygen. 

However, if you purchase a high-quality full-face model, this should not be an issue as there are mechanisms in place to prevent you from being overloaded with carbon dioxide. Trusted manufacturers will also have done safety tests to ensure that their product is completely safe. 

Make sure that you’re choosing to buy your full-face mask from a reliable brand and that it has three chambers in the tube leading from the mouthpiece. It is always better to be prepared and have done your research before buying gear blindly, but we think full-face masks, as long as they’re high-quality, are not particularly more dangerous than any other mask. 

When is it Best to Use a Full-Face Snorkel Mask?

Hopefully, now you have a better understanding of how full-face snorkel masks work and how they can be used most effectively. There are some instances where it is better to use full-face masks rather than traditional ones, so let’s have a look at these now. 

full-face snorkel masks are the ideal piece of equipment for when you’re:

  • In calm waters. 

  • ‘Lazy snorkeling’, or not moving around too much. 

  • Snorkeling up to 10 feet underneath the surface of the water.

  • Only having a little look at the wildlife underwater. 

Now here are a few times where a full-face mask would be less than ideal:

  • When you’re freediving.

  • Exercising or swimming very quickly in the water.

  • Diving more than 10 feet underwater.

  • Where the water is rough. 

Using a full-face mask in the wrong circumstances could lead to very serious situations and you might put yourself in danger. It is important to be smart about where you’re going to be snorkeling and diving, so make sure you pick somewhere safe to enjoy yourself. As long as you do this, you’ll be able to snorkel freely without worrying about any danger. 

Final Verdict

Now that you know a little more about full-face snorkel masks and have seen a comparison between them and traditional masks, we hope that you’re more confident in coming to a decision about which type you’ll go for. The most distinctive difference between the two is that full-face masks allow you to breathe through your nose and mouth, while traditional masks allow you to breathe through only your mouth. 

Both types of masks have their pros and cons, but it really comes down to how you plan to go snorkeling. As long as you choose the best mask for you, you’re sure to remember your snorkeling adventure forever. 

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