Choosing the Best Snorkel and
Snorkel Set for You:

A Guide to Snorkeling Equipment Including Our Picks For Top Snorkel And Snorkel Gear Set

How do you choose the best snorkel and/or snorkel set for you? After all, there many types and styles of snorkels available.

Whether you are using it while scuba diving or for snorkeling only.

We have written this guide in the hope that it will help make your choice easier. We tell you the main things to consider in a snorkel and which features may or may not be for you.

Scuba diving with snorkel attached - a highly debated subject

But to put your mind at ease, one of the first things to understand is that any snorkel will basically get the job done.

The snorkel is (well, let's make that, can be) a simple piece of gear and all will let you breathe while your face is underwater.

However, there are many features available which may get the job done more comfortably and efficiently than the basic rigid "J" snorkel. It all comes down to your preference and how often you will be using the snorkel.

So, with that being said, what do you look for when choosing a snorkel?

  • Comfort and Fit
  • The mouthpiece should be comfortable in your mouth and the snorkel should not feel like it is pulling at your mouth (at least not excessively). The more comfortable mouthpieces are typically made of silicon. There is a bite piece which you bite down on to keep the snorkel in your mouth. You should not feel like you are biting down with a ton of force.

  • Features
  • There are many features of a snorkel to help make your experience more comfortable and efficient. For instance, a purge valve makes it easier and more efficient to clear a snorkel. Without one you have to tilt your head back, blow forcefully through the tube or take the mouthpiece out of your mouth to clear the snorkel.

Snorkel ready to go out in the water
  • Semi-dry/Dry
  • You have the choice between an open tube, semi-dry snorkel or dry snorkel. (For more info, see our page on dry snorkels.)

    Which type of these scuba diving snorkels is best for you is personal preference. If you consistently swim in rough water, you will probably want to opt for at least a semi-dry snorkel. That way you won't be gulping large amounts of water.

    A dry snorkel has it's advantages, especially if you are prone to diving down alot to check out things underwater (and if you want to keep your eye on something below you). One disadvantage that some people experience with certain dry snorkels is that it is sometimes hard to get a good breath (not all the time, but occasionally).

  • Length and Diameter
  • If the tube of your snorkel is too short, it will constantly be filling with water. If it is too long, it will be harder to get a full breath and harder to exhale all the air or water out of the tube.

Snorkel with molded tube

The same goes for a larger diameter snorkel. The larger the diameter, the larger the dead space and the harder it is to clear the tube. Conversely, if the diameter is too narrow, it will make it harder to inhale and exhale.

Ideally you want to minimize the dead space you have in a snorkel without the snorkel being too short or too narrow. That way it will be easier to clear the snorkel of any CO2 buildup and any water in the tube.

I can't say that there is an ideal length or diameter for everyone since every body is different and everyone uses a snorkel in their own particular way. I've read some suggestions on the internet regarding length and size but nothing that seemed to come from an expert voice so I don't want to repeat them here (if you know of any, please let me know).

That being said, most modern snorkels today will be appropriate for the average diver/snorkeler. I wouldn't get too hung up on it. Have a talk with your salesperson and/or the manufacturer if you have any doubt about the best snorkel for you.

  • Bulk
  • The more bells and whistles you have on a snorkel, the chances are the bulkier it will be. This could cause the snorkel to have more drag, catch on something while you are diving or just plain annoy you. While it may be a great snorkel, it may not be the best snorkel once you hit the water.

  • Price
  • A scuba diving snorkel is probably one of the least expensive pieces of scuba gear you will be buying. So price isn't as much a consideration as it is when you are buying a computer, BC or regulator.

    You can get a good selection of decent snorkels in the $15-$25 range. The most expensive models are usually the dry snorkels and these are typically priced in the $30-$50 range.


Our Picks For Best Snorkel And Snorkel Gear Set


First, a note on our thought process on our choices:

While we give you lots of information to help you make an informed choice of the best snorkel for you, many people still want guidance.

We get asked often for our recommendations on various pieces of dive and snorkel equipment.

Let's face it. Sometimes the choices can seem overwhelming. So we have spent many hours reading and wading through various options for best snorkel and best snorkel set.

Our opinion is that if a vast majority of users give the snorkel and snorkel set good reviews, chances are they will work for you also.

So to try and help you cut down on some research time, here are our picks for best snorkel and best snorkel gear set.

These lists were updated as of November 2015.


Best Snorkel: Our Recommendations


The snorkels listed below make our list of best snorkel for both value and quality. All have gotten great ratings and reviews from users, so they should work for you too.

If you need a good quality snorkel, there are a few options out there. However, we had to narrow it down to one so we had our work cut out for us.

Choice #1:

After much reading and review we picked a Cressi snorkel as best overall snorkel and best value snorkel

It gets high marks from users and has received overwhelmingly positive reviews (from over 290 reviewers as of November 2015) and is rated 4.6 out of 5.

Both snorkelers and scuba divers have given this snorkel high marks. And, best of all, it is priced at the lower end (especially when on sale) but delivers as good a performance of more expensive models, if not better.

Pros:

  • Easy to breathe
  • Very dry breathing
  • Very lightweight, not much drag
  • Easy clearing
  • Comfortable mouthpiece
  • Quick release attachment for easy on and off

Cons:

  • Small amount of water gets in (a few reviewers)
  • Flap got stuck from time to time (1 reviewer)

Choice #2:

We do have another option for you though (OK, we couldn't just stop at one). If you prefer not to have a dry snorkel, we chose another snorkel that might be a better fit for you.

We voted this Aqua Lung snorkel as best basic snorkel. It is however, more expensive than the dry snorkel we picked above - go figure.

It has received good reviews for comfort and design (4.8 out of 5.0 as of November 2015). The purge valve is also noted as a nice feature as well as the flexible tubing on the bottom of the snorkel. This is a tried and true model and many people have been using this snorkel for years. You can't get a better recommendation than that.


Best Snorkel Set: Our Recommendations


If you are in the market for a complete snorkel gear set, there are alot of choices out there. We chose two sets as our overall winners - one is more of a basic snorkel set if you are just starting out and/or won't be using it that much.

We also give you another option of a higher quality snorkel gear set - of course, that also translates into more money. No surprise there.

Our pick for best basice snorkel set - A Phantom model

Choice #1:

The winner for our best basic snorkel set is a Phantom set.

At this price point and given all the positive reviews, it also gets our vote for best value snorkel set.

It consistently gets high ratings from users. Most are surprised at the quality for the price.

The pros and cons of this set as I see it are:

Pros:

  • Mask works well with no leaks
  • Foot adjustment on the fins make for a comfortable fit
  • Good quality construction
  • Snorkel easy to clear if you go under and get water in
  • Nice field of vision with mask
  • Snorkel is very dry
  • Comfortable mouthpiece

Cons:

  • Fins not comfortable for wide feet (several reviewers)
  • Mask leaks (several reviewers)
  • Mask fogs* (see my comment below)
  • Fins can be uncomfortable

* It is not unusual for a new dive mask to fog. I give you quick tips to help keep your mask from fogging here.

Also to note on this set: Several reviewers stated that there was an insert in the fin that is meant to be taken out (may depend on your foot size). So if the fin feels uncomfortable, please keep this in mind.


Choice #2:

Best overall snorkel set - A Cressi set

If you are going to do alot of snorkeling and would like to upgrade we have picked another snorkel set for you.

This set gets our vote as best overall snorkel set. Of course it comes at a higher price point but is that really any surprise? :)

Users give it very high marks for quality and comfort. The snorkel is a dry snorkel so you won't be swallowing that sea water. Always a nice thing!

The pros and cons of this set according to the reviews are:

Pros:

  • Very comfortable fit on mask; good field of vision
  • Mask doesn't leak
  • Fins are comfortable with good power
  • Easy to purge snorkel if needed
  • Good quality construction
  • Bag has extra room for towel, water, etc.

Cons:

  • Mask leaked (a few reviewers)
  • Poor quality clip on fins (a couple reviewers)
  • May need socks/booties to get out of water if rocky

Overall this is a good solid choice for a snorkel set that still won't break the bank. Lots of satisfied users here.


Hopefully we have made your choice of the best snorkel and snorkel set for you a bit easier. If not, feel free to drop us a line and let us know.

For more information, check out our other pages on masks and snorkels:

Scuba Diving Mask Introduction //Scuba Diving Masks: Basic Info //Mask Care, Maintenance, Defogging Tips //Prescription Scuba Mask //Features of a Scuba Snorkel//Folding Snorkels//Dry Snorkels



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