It’s hard to choose a spearfishing mask – other than your hunting device, your mask is your single most important piece of equipment in the water. In a pinch, you can get by without a snorkel or fins, but the same isn’t true for your mask.
If you can’t see underwater, you can’t acquire targets. And from a safety standpoint, your environmental awareness for yourself and your buddies is almost entirely dependent on vision in the water.
To help with your decision, we’ve broken down the best options to help you find the best spearfishing mask for you in 2023.
5 Best Spearfishing Masks
- Best on a Budget/Best for Beginners – Cressi’s Metis Low Volume Mask
- Best for Aspetto/Ambush Spearos – AQUALUNG’s Sphera X Mask
- Best for Wider Faces – Riffe’s Naida Mask
- Best for Content Creators – Hammerhead Spearguns’ MV3 Action Diving Mask
- Editor’s Choice: Best All Around Mask – Mares’ Viper Mask
Best on a Budget/Best for Beginners
Key Features and Notes
Cressi is a well-known freediving and spearfishing brand widely used by beginners and salty veterans alike. The Metis is their entry-level mask, but don’t let that fool you.
With a low-volume profile to keep air usage low, a soft nose pocket for easy equalization, and a silicone skirt for comfort, this mask fits the description of a top-tier mask at a fraction of the price.
The lens shape is suited for downward peripheral vision, which is great for beginners who might need the extra field of vision at the surface to spot their prey.
This was my first ever mask for dedicated spearfishing, and I used it for two years without issue. In fact, I actually still have it as a loaner, and it still performs well in the water five years after purchase.
The easy push buckles still function and have accommodated a wide variety of head sizes, including children. This mask is great for budget seekers or beginners who aren’t willing to go all out on gear with its price to performance.
Best for Aspetto/Ambush Spearos
Key Features and Notes
Although not well known for spearfishing gear, AQUALUNG has created one of the best masks I have personally used in the Sphera, of which the Sphera X is an improved version.
The mask has the lowest volume profiles in the market, which is essential for maximizing dive time. The mask’s skirt and strap do well at distributing tension and fit comfortably with an air-tight seal.
The mask shines in aspetto/ambush diving, which is the preferred method for spearos in clear water environments like Hawaii. In this technique, spearos dive to the bottom and wait for as long as their breath hold will last, with the intention of letting fish come to them.
As you want fish to come in, you also want to minimize any threatening movements like turning your head for target acquisition. Because the Sphera X has a 180-degree field of vision, you could be facing directly toward the ground but be spotting a target fish in your peripheral vision.
As such, this mask is ideal for aspetto/ambush hunting. I’ve shot the most amount of mu (a fish known for their intelligence and skittishness) using this specific mask and technique.
Best for Wider Faces
Key Features and Notes
Another tried, and true name in the spearo world, Riffe’s production quality is second to none. The Naida mask was designed for people with wider faces in mind, and it hits the mark with a comfortable, air-tight seal.
The mask is low volume like the other masks on this list, and the frames are nylon instead of the standard PVC to give it extra strength and durability.
Typical of Riffe design, there aren’t any cost-cutting shortcuts at the expense of quality. The plastic and silicone skirt is high quality and can be felt at first touch.
I have a wider-than-average face and high cheekbones, making finding a mask that will seal adequately difficult.
When I borrowed my buddy’s Naida, I found it did a great job accommodating my higher cheekbones and wider eye profiles without sacrificing any field of vision or extra volume around the eyes.
The straps are also high quality and feel great around the head. The design and build quality are highly recommended for anyone with a wider face.
Best for Content Creators
Key Features and Notes
Hammerhead Spearguns is a manufacturer based out of Oahu, Hawaii. With generations of diving knowledge behind them, they’re a popular choice throughout the state of Hawaii for everything from wetsuits to guns to spearfishing gloves.
Their masks are a popular choice as well, and the MV3 Action Diving mask is no different. Like other masks on the list, it has a low-volume profile and a silicon skirt for comfort, but the real benefit to this mask is in its action camera mount.
The mount is compatible with most action cameras, including all models of the GoPro, and retains its angle throughout a dive, provided it doesn’t knock into the reef.
This is also the only mask I’ve used that will hold its seal with a mounted camera – other lower-quality masks will often break the seal and flood if the user so much as turns his or her head the wrong way or too quickly.
Because I use a GoPro to share my experiences with friends and family, this is my current daily driver, and I couldn’t be happier with it.
Editor’s Choice: Best All Around Mask
Key Features and Notes
Primary rival to fellow Italian manufacturer Cressi, Mares is a reputable freediving and spearfishing brand that has consistently manufactured quality gear for decades.
The Mares Viper Mask is no exception to this. Again, like other masks, it has a silicone skirt, a low-volume profile, and easy-adjust buckles.
Where it stands out the most is in its sealing. Because Mares worked alongside a variety of freedivers/spearos and prototyped this model with them, their final product is exceptionally good.
To test it, I sealed the mask around my face without the straps on and then exhaled slowly through my nose at the bottom of my pool.
To my surprise, the seal only broke in two places – at the top of the mask towards the surface and at the bottom near my nostrils. The seal actually kept its integrity around the rest of my face.
With a good seal, you won’t need to over-tighten the straps, which can cause discomfort and distraction. With a striking aesthetic and solid construction, this is a great mask for any spearo in any environment.
Things to Consider When Buying the Best Spearfishing Mask
Mask lenses come either clear, tinted or with a reflective coating. Color tinting is used for two things: color correction and sun protection. Orange/red tints are used, primarily by scuba divers, at depth to correct the blue-washing of hues.
Other masks may be tinted slightly darker to help with overly powerful sunlight to have a similar effect to sunglasses on land.
Both of these tints are not helpful for a spearo as the benefit of color correction at depth is outweighed by the time spent at the surface to acquire a target, and b) dark-tinted lenses will make it much more difficult to see and distinguish targets at a depth where light filters out quickly.
There is a compelling argument for reflective coatings in that many fish look to the eyes of potential predators to see if they are in danger. With a reflective coating on your lenses, fish cannot tell what you are looking at, which may give you enough of an edge to get in range and shoot.
However, if you hunt in a sharky area, bear in mind that the sharks can’t see your eyes either, which may embolden them to tax your stringer.
Most of the masks listed have options for clear and reflective lenses.
Mask fitting is incredibly important. Without a good fit, your mask won’t seal properly, which will cause it to flood at depth.
Since the point of the mask is to get the water off of your eyes so you can see, a poorly fitted mask is often like diving with no mask at all. A poorly fitted mask will also affect your field of vision if it is too small.
Buckles and Straps
Although not on the top of the priority list, having straps that will evenly distribute tension around your head will help with comfort, especially on longer dives.
Easy-to-use buckles are also very nice to have, as your head shape will change slightly as a dive goes on due to factors like hydration and water temperature.
Field of View
Different styles of diving require different fields of view – try to determine what technique works the best for your target fish in your target environment.
For example, the Sphera X linked above is great for aspetto diving in Hawaii but would be suboptimal in the kelp forests of California, which require lots of vertical field of vision to acquire targets (in which case I would recommend the Metis).
Mask Color and Volume
Mask color does not matter at all when it comes to fishing performance, so pick what you like. Volume, on the other hand, is extremely important as it will affect your breath-hold and ease of equalization. In general, the lower the volume, the better.
Although cost is a subjective metric, it’s best to look for price to performance and build quality to help guide your decisions. $20 saved on a mask is $20 you could be putting into a speargun, gloves or any other piece of equipment.
What’s the difference between scuba, snorkeling, and spearfishing masks?
Scuba masks, like spearfishing masks, are designed to keep an air-tight seal at depth without sacrificing the comfort of the diver.
Because of this requirement, they tend to be of higher build quality and, therefore, more expensive than snorkeling masks. Scuba masks also hold the field of view as a top priority.
Snorkeling masks also hold the field of view as a priority but aren’t designed to go into depth. While they, in theory, can hold an airtight seal at depth, they are often uncomfortable and often leave red rings where the seal was made due to cheap components.
Spearfishing masks have the characteristics of scuba masks but with lower volume.
They are designed to comfortably hold an air-tight seal at depth, are often made of higher quality components, prioritize lower volume to preserve breath hold, and on top of it, all try to maintain good to great field of vision for target acquisition.
No matter who you are or how long you’ve been diving, all spearos need a quality mask. Since every spearo is different, and different environments require different gear, we went with a generalist approach in building this list.
Again, our pick for the best all-around mask is the Mares Viper, but the other four listed are great choices as well. Happy hunting!