The Dry Snorkel:

How it Works, Features, Advantages/Disadvantages Plus Our Picks For Best Dry Snorkel - 
Updated for 2019

You've heard of a dry snorkel but aren't sure if it is for you? We'll take you through the pros and cons of this snorkel and hopefully make that decision a bit easier.

A dry snorkel - is it the best for you

If you've been shopping for snorkels, you know there are tons of styles and features out there.

When you think about it, it's pretty amazing there are so many out there since the snorkel is the most basic piece of scuba gear you can find. But now there are lots of bells and whistles you can choose from in a snorkel.

(You can read our page on all the features of a scuba snorkel available to choose from for more information.)

OK, let's start with the basics - what is a dry snorkel?

It is a snorkel that has a mechanism that lets a minimal (or no) amount of water into the snorkel. This includes when you accidentally submerge the snorkel or when the snorkel goes underwater while you are skin diving or scuba diving.

If some water does get into the snorkel tube, it is channeled out of the tube so it does not interrupt the flow of breathing.

There will be some type of float valve mechanism on the top of the snorkel that will close when the snorkel is submerged and open when the snorkel is on the surface.

A dry snorkel.

With this type of snorkel the diver should never have to clear the snorkel of water. This will save some energy and should make for a comfortable surface swim.

So what are the advantages of a dry snorkel?

  • No Water
  • Obviously this is the biggest advantage of these types of snorkels. If they work properly you should not get that mouthful of water which inevitably happens with other types of snorkels.
  • Saves Energy
  • These snorkels should allow the snorkeler to conserve some energy and swim more efficiently. The person won't have to forcefully blow air out the tube or raise their head to clear out the snorkel. Ideally, it will be one uninterrupted swim.

What about the disadvantages of a dry snorkel?

  • Possible Air Blockage
  • Some people have reported that sometimes the valve on the snorkel will close when it is not supposed to, making it difficult to get a breath. Of course, all you have to do is raise your head to get air but this pretty much defeats the purpose of this type snorkel.
  • Buoyant Underwater
  • I have also read reviews from scuba divers who complain that the snorkel bangs them in the head underwater and "floats" around. Of course, this can, and does, happen with any type of snorkel.
  • Bulk/Drag
  • Many of these snorkels come with other bells and whistles, making it bulkier than the plain jane snorkels. This can cause more drag and may cause it to pull on your mask more than a streamlined snorkel.

Reading about people's opinions and reviews of these types of snorkels online, there seem to be 2 themes that reoccur.

The first is "I absolutely love this snorkel" and the second -"I haven't used it in a long time, want to buy it?"

I found more positive opinions of the snorkel when people were using them for pure snorkeling and not for scuba diving. This may be something to take into consideration if you are thinking of using this type of snorkel while diving.

Pros and cons of a dry snorkel

Best Dry Snorkel Recommendations:

We have updated our list for 2019 so you have all the most up to date choices out there. This year we have added a second choice for best dry snorkel (because who doesn't like options) and also added our pick for Best Value dry snorkel (because who doesn't like to save money). I think all these choices are good solid options and will serve you well whether scuba diving, snorkeling or swimming laps.

Choice #1: We have looked at and read many reviews and ratings of the dry snorkels that are available. Given the pros and cons of each snorkel and the overall satisfaction of users, this model has maintained its spot as our #1 pick in 2019

Best dry snorkel - a Cressi model

This Cressi model continues to get great reviews from users and has earned a rating of 4.6 out of 5.0. This is  from over 1,000+ reviewers, so obviously a popular model. Can't get much better than that.

The snorkel has a soft silicone mouthpiece and a flexible tube making it very comfortable for users. It also has a large purge valve at the bottom which makes it easy to expel water, a key consideration in any snorkel.

It does a great job of keeping water out of the tube while you are snorkeling in all conditions.

After reading through the numerous reviews, I see the pros and cons of this best snorkel as follows:


  • Comfortable and flexible mouthpiece
  • Purge valve works well
  • Keeps water out well
  • Lightweight, comfortable in mouth
  • Tube soft and pliable
  • Attaches easily and securely to mask
  • Great value


  • Water gets in when freediving (several users)
  • Top mechanism got stuck, not letting in air (several users)
  • Mouthpiece on small side (a few reviews)

Overall, we thought this snorkel earned the top spot since it gets very high marks for comfort, resistance to flooding and its purge valve. All of these are important features in a dry snorkel and they will help make your snorkeling experience that much more comfortable. And as an added bonus, the price is very reasonable.

Choice #2: This dry snorkel recommendation comes in a close second scoring a strong 4.6 out of 5.0, same as our #1 pick. The number of reviews (1.000+) for Cressi gave it the edge to stay in our #1 spot. However this Phantom model has a respectable 185+ reviews and I think it makes a good solid choice.

Best dry snorkel - a Phantom model

This Phantom model features a quick release buckle which makes it easy to detach from your mask. And if you have every struggled with a clip you are sure to appreciate this feature.

It also has an angled mouthpiece making it comfortable to use in the water. The mouthpiece can also be replaced if it starts to wear after lots of use - saving you money in the future.

The Phantom also has an easy purge system with a generous sized self draining chamber which is what you want in a dry snorkel. An easy self draining purge of any water that may get in.

After reading the many reviews of this model, here are my list of pros and cons:


  • Comfortable mouthpiece
  • Keeps water out well
  • Easy to use/breathe
  • Good quality
  • Streamlined/good alignment
  • Great value


  • Float got stuck (a few reviewers)
  • Noisy when breathing (2 reviewers)
  • Let water in (several reviewers)
  • Tube to narrow, harder to breathe when under exertion (1 reviewer)

Best Value Dry Snorkel Recommendation

New for 2019 we have added our pick for Best Value Dry Snorkel. You really don't have to spend alot of money on a snorkel to get good performance and get the job done.

We pick an Aegend model for the best bang for your buck snorkel. It has scored an impressive 4.7 out of 5.0 based on 35+ reviews.

Best value dry snorkel - an Aegend model

This model boasts a quick release clip which gets great reviews from most users. It is easier than the standard clip as it opens wide to put your strap in.

The Aegend also has a flexible mouthpiece that is replaceable if you have any problems with it down the road. Like our other 2 picks, it also has a purge chamber at the bottom of the tube making it easy to expel any water that may get in.

This model also comes apart making it easy to pack and a great travel snorkel.

The pros and cons of this best value pick after reading the reviews are:


  • Fits well
  • Keeps water out
  • Good quality
  • Easy clip
  • Good length
  • Inexpensive/great value
  • Comfortable


  • Valve got stuck with sand (1 review)
  • Clip opened in ocean (1 review)
  • Mouth fatigue (1 review)

Best Mask and Snorkel Set

If you are looking for both a mask and a snorkel, oftentimes you can get a deal if you purchase them as a set. We searched for the best sets and have come up with these options for you to consider.

Choice #1: Our first choice for 2019 knocked last year's winner off the #1 spot. It is however made by the same, reputable company.

For our top spot we have picked a Cressi model. It scored a solid 4.5 out of 5.0 based on 170+ reviews. 

Best mask and snorkel set Cressi

The snorkel in this set is the Supernova which I picked for our #1 dry snorkel in the recommendations above. So rest assured this isn't just an add on snorkel. You can read all the benefits of this snorkel in the #1 pick for dry snorkel above.

The main selling point for the mask in this set is the panoramic view. It has 2 lenses on either side so you have excellent peripheral vision. This will give you greater visibility and a wider field of vision. Many reviewers touted this aspect of the mask.

This mask also features a double feathered edge skirt which is designed to give you a better seal and to fit a wide variety of face shapes. If you ever had a leaky mask, you know you want that good seal!

Straps are also equipped with quick adjust hooks to help you get the right fit easily.

As I see it after reading all the reviews, the pros and cons of this mask/snorkel set combination is:


  • Seals well, no leaks
  • Comfortable to wear
  • Good quality
  • Fits well
  • Great peripheral vision
  • No fogging


  • Strap broke (2 reviewers)
  • Mask leaks, couldn't get a seal (several reveiwers)
  • Peripheral view distorted (1 reviewer)
  • Mask fogs (several users)

Choice #2: This was our #1 pick last year but got bumped down to #2. However it is still a solid choice and continues to receive great reviews from purchasers (over 1,250 as of this writing in 2019). 

This mask and snorkel set come from the same respected brand, Cressi that made the #1 choice. It has a respectable rating of 4.2 out of 5.0 based on the 1,000+ reviews. While the rating is a little lower than I usually pick, it was countered by the overwhelming number of reviews. After reading the reviews and having Cressi brand items myself, I am confident that this would serve you well.

The mask on this set is a low volume mask with a silicone skirt and gives a great field of vision.

As and aside, after my old mask started leaking, I purchased a low volume mask (a higher end product, not this model) and absolutely love it. The field of vision on these masks are great. I don't know if I can go back. LOL.

(If you are interested, I purchased this Atomic mask).

The snorkel has the same features as I highlighted above and gets great reviews.

Best Dry snorkel and mask combo

And the price is very reasonable for a mask and snorkel set.

The manufacturer also states that this is a good back up mask as it can fold up and fit in your BC pocket. Can't say I ever have a back up mask with me, but if you want one this should fit the bill.

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


  • Great field of vision
  • Comfortable fit on mask, silicone skirt
  • Mask seals well, doesn't leak
  • Snorkel keeps water out
  • Purge valve works well
  • Mask, snorkel are lightweight
  • Good quality/great value


  • Mask fogs (quite a few users, see below)
  • Mask strap broke (a few users)
  • Mask/snorkel leaked (several users)
  • Glass broke in mask (2 users)

(If you have trouble with your mask fogging, check out my page with tips to prevent your mask from fogging.)

Best dry snorkels 2019

For more information on masks and snorkels, check out our free guide here.

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