Goggles vs. Masks

There's a breathtaking world underwater. Whether it's the small ecosystem of a lake to the vast world of the ocean, snorkeling can allow you to explore and experience this world firsthand. If you're looking for a great place to do some Key West snorkeling is one of the best destinations for snorkeling in the United States. However, you'll need to properly prepare before you decide to go snorkeling. There are several pieces of equipment that you'll need for snorkeling, but one of the most difficult decisions can be choosing between a mask and goggles. You can make your decision easier by weighing the pros and cons of each.

Pros of Goggles

They're lightweight and easier to carry around than masks. In fact, some goggles can easily fit in your pocket. Their lightweight design also means they're commonly more comfortable to wear for extended periods of time than masks. Goggles are also usually cheaper than diving masks, but the added expenses of possibly needing a nose clip and an attachment to keep the snorkel upright may balance out the prices.

Cons of Goggles

While goggles can be quite useful in shallow waters, they are not very useful in deep water. When diving deep underwater, pressure builds up in the goggles since they're meant to have an airtight seal around the eyes. This creates a problem called mask squeeze. The pressure creates suction that can damage the skin around your eyes and the eyes themselves, causing bloodshot eyes and bruised skin around the eyes.

Goggles don't cover your nose, so a nose clip is usually necessary.

While their light weight may be a benefit in some instances, it may also be a disadvantage since that also means they can easily move out of place while snorkeling.

Pros of Masks

Masks sit snugly on your face and won't move around in the water. Not only is this less frustrating but it also helps prevent leaks.

For those who may worry about the effects of mask squeeze, you can take some solace in the fact that mask squeeze is a somewhat misleading name. Masks allow you to equalize the pressure by covering up your nose as well. You release some of the pressure by breathing air into the mask, which helps prevent mask squeeze. Goggles don't have this option, and the only way to equalize pressure in goggles is by taking them off. This allows you to dive much further in a more comfortable fashion than you can with goggles.

Masks also don't require the added purchase of nose clips since they cover your nose as well as your eyes. Many masks also come with the snorkel already attached.

Since masks have basically flat and wide lenses and goggles typically have very small and somewhat rounded lenses, masks usually allow the user to see better while underwater as well.

Cons of Masks

They're somewhat heavy and bulky, and some masks may be less comfortable to wear than goggles. While nose clips basically prevent the user from breathing in through their nostrils, masks only cover your nose. You'll have to get into the habit of breathing through your mouth only to prevent sudden suction, mask squeeze and possible leaks.


Both goggles and masks have their places in the world, but masks seem to be the best option when it comes to snorkeling. Goggles are more designed for swimming and snorkeling in very shallow areas. While you're getting your preferred equipment ready to go on one of the many Key West snorkeling tours and the beautiful ocean waters will be waiting for you.