Are Scuba and Snorkel Masks the Same?

by Mihai Pinzariu on September 24, 2019

Confused about the difference between scuba and snorkel masks? Maybe you have a snorkel mask and you’re wondering if you can use it to scuba dive, or you’re keen to start exploring the underwater but not sure where to start. Here at Ninja Shark we’ve had a lot of questions from people who are wondering if snorkel masks and scuba masks are the same things, so we wrote this article to help clarify the difference between the two.

Are scuba and snorkel masks the same?

It’s easy to confuse the two pieces of equipment when you’re a beginner, and we don’t blame you! They both look similar and you often see them floating around beautiful tropical beaches… but actually, snorkel and scuba masks are definitely not the same thing. While they might appear to be similar, “diving” a little closer will show there’s a lot that makes them different!

1. They’re designed differently

It all starts with design, and scuba and snorkel masks are designed to perform two very different tasks. While scuba diving and snorkelling both involve floating around underwater looking at beautiful scenery, they are actually very different activities.

When you’re snorkelling, your body usually stays floating above the surface of the water. Only your face is submerged below water, and a snorkel is designed to help you breathe while you’re gliding along the edge. You can enjoy little dives here and there, but generally, snorkelling is all about enjoying the wonders from a bird’s eye view at the water’s surface.

On the other hand, scuba diving involves completely submerging your entire body underwater and going deep below the water’s surface. For this reason, scuba masks require a different design that is less buoyant than snorkel masks. Basically, they need to allow the least amount of air to be trapped inside the mask so that there’s nothing pulling you upwards while underwater.

With snorkel masks, buoyancy doesn’t factor in so much in the design as you’ll be floating along the water’s surface anyway. That said – you can still dive underwater while snorkelling! And some snorkel masks now feature an advanced design that is less buoyant and allows you to dive well below the water’s surface to get a closer look at all the sea life. (Check out our Pinch Your Nose & Equalise! Mask)

2. They are built differently

So we know now that scuba diving involves diving deep below the surface of the water while snorkelling is more about shallow swimming near the water’s edge. That means that there are higher risks involved with scuba diving, where people can often be floating around 100 metres below the water’s surface!

Because of that reason, scuba masks need to be built with the highest quality materials to ensure the safety of divers. They are subjected to extremely strict and rigorous testing, and need to be strong, sturdy, and durable as they are face a lot more water pressure than snorkel masks. To guarantee the safety of divers, scuba masks need to handle being deep underwater.

That’s not to say that snorkel masks aren’t safe or made to last, though. A good snorkel mask will be designed to last a lifetime – if it’s doing what it’s meant to do. Take your snorkel mask 100 metres below water and it might be a different story!

3. They use different materials

Because scuba masks are designed to go deep underwater and handle a tonne of pressure, they need different materials than snorkel masks. Think of the material difference between the two as being like a light sweater versus a heavy snow jacket. One needs to withstand heavy blizzards and rainfall, while another needs a light material to keep away breeze. Both can be made from high-quality materials, they just have different needs.

Scuba diving masks need to withstand under pressure and not crack or break – or they’ll put the divers’ life at risk. Windows of scuba diving masks will usually be made from tempered glass rather than acrylic or plastic, as with most snorkelling masks. Tempered glass is stronger than acrylic, and when it breaks, its shards have no sharp edges, reducing risk to divers. With snorkel masks you don’t have to worry about using strong materials like tempered glass, as there’s no risk of goggles shattering under pressure. Easy!

Another difference between snorkel and scuba masks is skirt and frame materials. It’s absolutely essential for scuba masks to be made from a safe, durable, and high-quality silicone that can create a watertight seal around their face. This ensures that no water will gush in while they’re deep underwater and pose a threat.

Most of your average snorkel masks will go for rubber or traditional silicones, making them less durable and more prone to crack and dry out – which is OK when snorkelling (except annoying), but life-threatening when scuba diving. At Ninja Shark, we use a medical grade silicone on our masks so that you can enjoy your snorkel mask for longer.

4. Scuba masks are more expensive

If you hadn’t already guessed it by now, scuba diving is a much more complex and taxing activity than scuba diving. It requires going deep below the water’s surface and withstanding enormous amounts of pressure, and scuba masks need to be sturdy, strong, and durable to protect the life of the diver. So naturally, scuba diving masks will be much more expensive than snorkel masks.

The need for rigorous testing, quality materials, and guaranteeing the safety of the diver makes them extremely pricy for someone who’s just looking to explore the sea nearby. Snorkel masks, on the other hand, are available at a range of price points. You can find extremely cheap masks (although likely bad quality), as well as more expensive and advanced snorkel masks.

The difference between scuba and snorkel masks

By now, you would have learned the big world of difference between scuba and snorkelling masks. To sum it all up, here’s the difference between the two:


– Scuba masks and snorkel masks feature different designs and are created for different purposes. Scuba masks need to be less buoyant and allow less air inside, while with snorkel masks buoyancy isn’t an issue in design;


– Scuba and snorkel masks are built differently. Scuba masks need to withstand huge amounts of pressure and guarantee the safety of divers, while snorkel masks don’t need such sturdy builds, Material – Scuba masks and snorkel masks are made from different materials. Scuba masks need stronger, durable materials that keep water out of the mask and handle high amounts of pressure. Snorkel masks range in material quality & type.


– Scuba masks are more expensive than snorkel masks. The need for a stronger, sturdier design, rigorous testing, and high-quality materials make it a pricier but longer lasting investment.

How many people dream of snorkelling but don't feel comfortable wearing a snorkel mask?

The Influencer @lud.around is a NINJASHARK lover!

NINJASHARK is the sound of a revolution in snorkeling. Whereas other water equipments companies are constantly adding poor quality products, we listen to your feedback and constantly improve our products to fit for all of your needs.

"I'm not leaving my room without the mask. The full face snorkeling mask from Australia is comfortable and fit me perfectly! Love how easy it is to breath out your nose and mouth when you snorkeling and even has earplugs!"

“The mask include GOPRO mounts, so you can easily film and photograph underwater scenery! I highly recommend especially to people who have a fear of snorkeling! This mask is really easy to use and is safe!” said @lud.around. “I can’t wait for my next trip with my new mask!”

The Ninja Shark full face snorkel masks makes your experiences the best they can be. They are exclusively sold on the Ninja Shark website.

The Ninja Shark full face snorkel masks comes equipped with advanced Anti-Fog technology, automatic drainage, no CO2 Buildup with improved uni-directional valves, and a revolutionary breathe flow system so you can breathe through both your nose and mouth.

“If you thought we’re just here to sell you products, think again. You’re part of the Ninja Shark family, and your feedback matters! We’re constantly working to improve our products and deliver the full face snorkel mask that exists only in our dreams!”

What customers are saying about us…

“Awesome set.

Loved the complete set. I even used the waterproof phone pouch to take photos and videos underwater. It made my Fiji experience so much better than using the free snorkel set that hurt your face after 2hours and leaving a sun/mask mark. The ninja leaves no marks and gives great vision under water in comparison. It did take some getting used to but it definitely paid off! Only frustration is that the tightening straps are quite basic; they should be much simpler to loosen and tighten both in and out of water.” – Jock

Try our line of snorkelling and swimming gear
by Ninja Shark! You’ll love it.

All Ninja Shark Products are tailor-made
with medical silicone.

We care about making our products safe and healthy for you—and our planet.
That’s why the Ninja Shark Full Face Snorkelling Masks are made from a non-toxic and environmentally friendly anti-allergic medical grade silicone, that’s not only safer for your kids but safer for you too.

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Based on 1494 reviews
Package : Air Adults (Mask + Fins + Bag)
JEANNIE O. (Piara Waters, AU)
Bloody love this!

Never snorkelled in my life. Petrified of putting my head under water. But now my neck is bad - if I don't alter the way I swim - then no more swimming for me. This has opened 'a whole new world' - (haha -that songs stuck in your head now) - to me. I'm just using my ninja gear in my gym outdoor pool atm. My legs are getting so strong - and my lungs too - as I'm doing some great breathing. I have huge surgery coming up soon - and i believe this is allowing me to get to a great level of fitness - in preparation. Honestly - i can't go on enough about this product enough. My friend bought a cheaper version. She's given it away already... say no more 🤿🤿🤿

Electra - Full Face Snorkel Mask
Bolang C. (Perth, AU)
Great design

This is the best snorkel mask I’ve ever had. Very comfortable on face, easy to breathe. I am not a good swimmer, it makes me feel safe and enjoy snorkelling without distraction. Thank you ninjiashark.

Best snorkel ever!!

Got one of these for me and my 7 year old daughter for Xmas. We’ve used them twice already and love them!! So much easier to breathe, can see so much and just makes the whole snorkelling experience better! Would highly recommend!

Clear as day

Clear to see and easy to breathe,
Whole family loves the NinjaShark Snorkel mask.

Lifetime Warranty
Robyn H. (Adelaide, AU)

The best snorkel and mask combination. No going back now! I could snorkel for over an hour easily. So glad I made this purchase

(DRAFT) Package: Dry Snorkel (Set + Fins + Bag)
Mermaid M. (Townsville, AU)

While travelling in Timor leste l met a fellow snorkeller. We snorkelled for 10 days together the food was shit but the water was stunning. The friend was using Ninja Shark fins and mask mine were steaming up, letting in water and heavy. On arriving back in Australia l ordered straight away.
I was a little bit anxious on receiving my order as the mask was quite different to my old one and the fins were short and adjustable ( l wanted them to be my size ! ) well to my luck the weather was beautiful ( yes mid winter in Mackay ) and perfect for boating so off we scooted to Cockermouth ( don't laugh it's a real place ) jumping in and WOW I'm now a mermaid 🧜‍♀️ the mask and fins felt like part of me. I actually cried as not only was the equipment allowing me to explore as l wanted but the reef was STUNNING. So lm indepted to Ninja Shark for making me the mermaid l always aspired to be 🧜‍♀️

Took it to Tahiti

I wasn’t quite sure about getting a full face mask but bought mine (Electra package) before a trip to Tahiti which we got home from yesterday - absolutely LOVED it!!! I’ll be getting one for my wife before our next trip to a similar destination. BTW I make LOTS of crazy videos with lots of toys. YouTube video placeholder
Life changing

I do love my full face snorkel.. the freedom of nose breathing under the water.. the meditative and relaxative effect of this snorkeling is unexpected and great. Fits so well.. comfy to wear for long time.. highly recommend

(DRAFT) Diving Dry Snorkel Set with GoPro mount
jomm11 (Brisbane, AU)
Super quality & fit

So happy we got Ninja shark, perfect for Great barrier reef snorkel day.
Flippers, mask, dry wallet, carry bag (good quality bag), anti fog spray, happy days.

Ninja Shark Kids Mask

We recently brought the Ninja Shark Kids 3-11 Mask + Fins + Bag package for our 7 year old who absolutely loves it! Will be buying three more for the rest of the family. 😊

Even better than expected!

I saw the kids full face snorkel masks online, and thought they looked pretty cool. I ordered two for Christmas, for my 3 and 6 year olds. Wow, did they have a great time with them!

I wasn't sure how the 3 year old would go with it, but he was comfortable in it almost immediately, and spent hours swimming around and seeing a whole new world of underwater scenery.

They were easy to fit, zero issues with them staying on. No leaks or fog.

They can't wait to get back to the water!

Highly recommend this product :)

Electra - Full Face Snorkel Mask
Nick J. (Brisbane, AU)
mask swimming

The mask did exactly what was stated. I was very happy and will get another mask for my daughter.

Electra - Full Face Snorkel Mask
Sheara R. (Perth, AU)
Great way to swim

I have NEVER been able to snorkel but love swimming. These full face snorkels are an absolute game changer in my life. Now I try to swim around 5 kms a week in the local pool. The Ninja mask makes it easy to do laps. I’ve been using the Ninja Shark for a quite few years and find the new Electra the best full face mask ever. No leaks, no fog and really easy to use and great quality. I’ve noticed my regular chats with other swimmers at the pool have encouraged many of them to purchase one of their own. I’ve given my older models to my grandkids and they love them too.


I got one for the 3 year old and one for the 5 year old, I thought maybe the 3 year old would get the hang of it eventually but they both loved it and mastered it pretty quickly. We’ve only used in the swimming pool, excited to go snorkeling in the ocean soon. Great product.

Lifetime Warranty
Sarah B. (Surfers Paradise, AU)
Love it!

Amazing product ! Have the electra package, kids love it. So easy to use. Highly recommend

(DRAFT) Diving Dry Snorkel Set with GoPro mount
Jennifer M. (Brisbane, AU)
Love it

Bought these for myself and my husband after getting the full face masks for the kids, and they were so good we’re getting them for the rest of the extended family for Xmas. The fact u can dive down and not get water down ur snorkel is a brilliant bonus! Makes our family holidays much easier and better without snorkel dramas!

This made our holiday

The product itself was amazing, but the service we received allowed us to get our 2 sets of masks for our cruise. We took them with us and used them multiple times for snorkelling on our cruise to Nouméa and New Caledonia. It was amazing snorkelling and being able to breathe easily, and the fins were the most comfortable I've ever used. I've got size 13 feet, and not only were they completely adjustable, but they were THE most comfortable fins ever invented. A massive shoutout to Colleen Zamora from your support staff who helped me out and made it possible to take our gear on holidays! Thanks Colleen!
The photo is us snorkelling off Amadee Island looking for turtles!

My kids love them

I’ve got three of these masks for my younger kids, however the oldest wants one too as the young ones rave about how good the are.

Summer Family Fun

Our Ninja masks have made snorkelling as a whole family very easy and enjoyable. The kids (and parents) find them super easy to use and have allowed us as a family of five to snorkel for longer than we ever could using traditional snorkel gear. I would highly recommend these masks.

Lifetime Warranty
Geri D. (Sydney, AU)
Lifetime warranty

Glad I have but haven’t needed to use .. yet

Great Mask

Love this mask. Kids find it so much easier snorkelling with the Ninja Shark. The snorkel mask is super clear and doesn’t fog up. The adjustable straps are great and easy to loosen and tighten. Very happy that we made the decision to get these for the kids.

A must for snorkelers!

Recently purchased the Equaliser Pro Mask, Finns and bag. 🤿 🐠🐡🐟🦈 Had an amazing time snorkeling off Fitzroy Island, the Pro mask allowed me to explore for over 7 hours. Higly recommend! Planning must next snorkeling trip! 🤿💦🌴☀️


we used our new masks over the weekend. they were amazing, my daughter barely had her head out of the water all day.

Lifetime Warranty
Lina J. (Gold Coast, AU)
life warranty

This is great! More stores should do it!

Lifetime Warranty
Olivia (Perth, AU)
Fantastic snorkel!

Our 5 year old has never snorkelled. Put it on and was snorkelling no problem straight away! Easy for him to put on and off by himself. We bought the full package with flippers (also amazing and he can put them on by himself) and the two wet bags. The foldable snorkel is so handy for storing while we are travelling. And the lifetime warranty gives us great comfort that we can use it for future trips! We are so impressed with this product I’m going to get mum and dad one too!