Snorkeling can be fun for the whole family, but keep in mind that buying kids snorkeling gear is different from buying snorkel equipment for adults.
Kids are smaller (and growing!) and have different needs than adults. This needs to be taken into consideration when buying the best kids snorkel set for your little loved one.
You want to get the most comfortable mask, fins and snorkel for your child so that he/she is comfortable and enjoys the experience.
Nothing can ruin a snorkeling trip faster than a leaky mask (unfortunately, I speak from experience here).
And the good news is that you don't have to buy the best kids snorkeling gear out there (read most expensive), just what is the most comfortable for your child.
After all, they will outgrow it so you will have to invest in new equipment eventually. Because hopefully they will love it as much as you do!
When buying a snorkel mask, of course the most important thing is to make sure it fits properly.
It is important to ensure that the mask seals tightly to the face. This will prevent water from leaking into the mask and getting in the child's eyes. It is a good idea to have your child try on the mask before using it in order to ensure that it is sealing properly.
Kids snorkeling gear often has age guidelines to help parents determine if the masks will fit their children. Unfortunately, these guidelines do not work for every child so, if possible, have the child try on the mask. It is a good place to start though.
If you buy it online, just make sure you are able to return it.
To see if it fits your child properly, follow these steps:
The most important step to getting the correct fit is to check the skirt as it is barely touching the face. The proper skirt fit will do the most to making sure the mask doesn't leak.
Another thing to consider when buying kids snorkeling gear is making sure that the snorkel is the right size for your child's mouth.
Snorkels are often too large for children to bite down on the rubber knobs in the mouthpiece.
These rubber knobs help keep the water out of the child's mouth, so it is essential that the mouthpiece is small enough for the child to reach these knobs.
It is best to buy a lightweight snorkel so that the child will not feel weighed down. You may also want to buy a purge snorkel for your child so that he or she can blow out any water that gets in.
Another option that is available is a dry snorkel that keeps all water out. You can get more details on our page on dry snorkels here.
Adjustable fins are also very helpful when buying kids snorkeling gear.
Since children tend to grow very quickly, these fins will allow you to adjust them to your child's ever-changing size. That way, you can use them for several years, as opposed to having to buy new ones every time your child grows.
There is nothing wrong with full foot fins (have no adjustable strap), though your child will probably get less use from them since they will outgrow them faster. However, if they are more comfortable in them, I say go for it.
Fins need to fit well without being too tight or too loose. If the fins are too tight, they will cut off the child's circulation. If they are too loose, the fins will fall off when the child tries to kick.
You should also make sure the fins are flexible and not too rigid. Rigid fins are more difficult to swim in, particularly for beginners.
It is also a good idea to add a wet suit to your bag of kids snorkeling gear.
A wet suit will keep your child warm and allow him or her to stay in the water for longer periods than he or she would while wearing a normal swimsuit.
When purchasing a wetsuit, it is important to make sure that the wet suit fits and is snug around the child's neck, legs and arms. This will keep water out of the suit and make the child warmer.
You can read our complete free guide to buying kids wetsuits here.
Depending on your child's swimming ability, a snorkel vest
could also be important to add to your bag of kids snorkeling gear. A vest can keep them afloat with little or not effort so they can enjoy the underwater sights.
Life vests can help children relax since they don't have to fight to stay on top of the water since it is a buoyancy device.
For the added benefit of your piece of mind, most snorkel vests also come in highly visible colors so it is easier to keep an eye on them and pick them out in a crowd.
In addition, if you go on a snorkel tour boat, many operators require that you wear snorkel vests (depending on what country your are in of course). If your child has his/her own vest, you won't have to worry about the condition of that rental piece of equipment.
If you are looking for just a vest, a snorkel set or a complete snorkel set (snorkel set including vest), here are some quick links so you can jump right to the information you need.
Click here for our picks for best snorkel set for kids
Click here for our picks for best children's snorkel vest
Click here for our picks for best complete kids snorkeling gear (snorkel set including vest)
Snorkel sets are great for kids and can be very economical. You can usually save money by buying the whole set as opposed to buying each piece individually.
Kids snorkeling gear has come a long way and there are now quite a few choices available.
However, to narrow it down to the best, I wanted a set that was highly rated and reviewed and received good all around comments from parents.
Because that is what is most important. That the parent felt the child was comfortable and safe and had a good time snorkeling with the equipment.
I figured if the kids snorkeling gear works for most people, chances are you will have a good experience with it also. All 3 choices below have garnered lots of positive comments from parents (or grandparents as the case may be :) ).
And, if not, all sets of snorkeling gear are easily returnable.
So after all that, let's get on with our picks for best kids snorkeling gear set:
Our first pick for best snorkel set for children in 2020 is a return winner. This was our choice last year and it continues to get lots of great reviews over time. Our #1 pick is again the Head by Mares model and has a rating of 4.5 out of a possible of 5.0 based on 470+ reviews.
Like last year, it was a close choice between #1 and #2 but this set won out because of the much larger number of reviews. Mares is a well known company in the diving world, so probably to be expected.
This set features a dry snorkel which keeps water out while above and below water. This feature should help children get more comfortable with snorkeling.
The mask is made of tempered glass and gives a nice clear view. The fins have a quick release system so once you have your customized fit you don't have to adjust that strap.
This set also comes with your choices of a handy carrying bag making it easy to transport. You can pick from several cute animal bags (sharks, clownfish, turtle , octopus, frog) or, if your child wants something more subdued, it comes in a choice of 2 colors - pink or blue. Many parents report their child loves the bag and is comfortably worn as a backpack.
Reading through the reviews, the pros and cons of this set are:
Our second choice in 2020 for best kids snorkeling gear set is a new entrant onto the list. It is a Promate model and has received a strong rating of 4.5 out of a possible 5.0 based on 140+ reviews.
This is a solid choice and is more economical than our first choice but without sacrificing quality.
This set also features a dry snorkel which is designed to keep all water out. As an added bonus, the snorkel has a signal whistle which is a nice safety feature.
It features an open heel fin with adjustable straps making for a more comfortable fit.
This set also comes with a handy carrying bag making it easy to transport and not lose anything. There are 3 different color choices - pink, blue or yellow.
Note: This snorkeling set is also available with an additional add on of a snorkeling vest for your child. So if you are looking for a kid's snorkel vest in addition to the gear, this may be a good economical choice.
Reading through the reviews, most parents were very happy with the performance of this set. I have highlighted the pros and cons here for you.
Our third choice for best kids snorkeling gear set is another new entry in 2020, knocking out last years pick. This pick is from the well known Cressi brand.
This set received a strong rating of 4.6 out of 5.0 based on 420+ reviews.
The mask on this set features a wide field of vision and is made of tempered glass, not cheap plastic like some models. The skirt on the mask is made from silicone for a comfortable fit.
There are 2 choices for the snorkel in this set - a dry valve or a semi-dry valve. As of this writing in 2020 the sets that had the dry valve were the color options of:
I will say it is not really clear from the description but you can tell by the pictures. The company should fix this in my opinion.
Whether you purchase the dry or semi dry snorkel, it does have a purge valve making it easy to expel water if any does get in.
The buckles on the fins are easily adjustable so kids will be able to grow into them.
This set comes with a net bag - not as fun as our previous choice above, but it is practical and functional.
The main negative aspect for this set as I was reading through the reviews was that quite a few reviewers stated that the mask broke. While there is always going to be some issues, this complaint came in an unusually high number of times. With that being said, the vast majority of the 420+ reviews were positive.
The positives and negatives as I see it from the reviews are:
If you already have most of your kids snorkeling gear and are just looking for a vest, we have some picks for you.
All our picks are highly rated and come in bright colors so it will be easy to spot your child in the water, giving you an added degree of comfort.
Plus wearing a snorkel vest usually gives a child an added degree of confidence, making him/her more likely to enjoy the adventure.
We have chosen three models of vests for your kids snorkeling gear. Two are a one size fits all for children and one model comes in both a child's size and adult sizes.
So let's see what our picks are for a child's vest.
Our first pick for best kids snorkeling vest in 2020 is a new entrant and is a Scuba Choice model. It garners great reviews from many users and has little negative feedback allowing it to claim our top spot this year.
It comes in a bright purple color so you can spot your child easily in the water. This model has a strap (removable) that will keep the vest from riding up while inflated.
This vest features a name box so you can rest assured it doesn't get mixed up with other's gear.
The manufacturer states that the vest will fit kids up to 100 pounds.
Our third pick for best kids snorkeling vest is another new entrant for 2020. Our #2 pick this year is a Rrtizan model.
This snorkel vest comes in high visibility orange or a neonish blue color. It features adjustable waist and crotch straps for extra security and comfort.
The model is specifically for children and it is one size fits all. According to the manufacturer, it is good for children up to 130 lbs. This choice also comes with a handy mesh bag.
The pros and cons of this vest according to users are:
Our third choice for best child's snorkel vest in 2020 is a Promate model. It was our number 2 choice last year but got knocked down a notch from our top two picks above.
Like the above models it has a crotch strap for added security and comes in a bright color so your child is easily spotted. In this case, the vest comes in a day glo yellow or orange. This model also has an adjustable waist so you can make it both secure and comfortable.
This vest comes in adult and child sizes with the smallest size (Junior/Small) for children under 80 lbs.
The pros and cons of this vest according to many users are:
If you need a complete snorkeling set plus vest, you might consider buying it in one complete package. Here is a choice I think you would be happy with. As an added bonus, buying it all in one package could save you some money. And who doesn't like that?
Sometimes it is easier and cheaper to get everything together. And if you are looking for a complete of kids snorkeling gear - the snorkel set (mask, snorkel and fins) plus the vest - this might be for you.
Our first choice is a new entrant in 2020. It is made by Promate and is the same set as our #2 pick above for best snorkel set - with the added bonus of a snorkeling vest. So if you liked our number 2 pick above and were planning on buying a snorkel vest too, a set has been premade for you :).
I won't repeat all the details here but this set comes in 3 color choices - pink, blue and yellow.
This set was our winner last year but got knocked down to second place for 2020. Our first place winner has a higher rating but some might find the design of this set more to their liking.
It is another set made by Promate and has received a rating of 4.0 out of a possible 5.0. Not fantastic but still not too shabby.
This set includes mask, fins, snorkel, snorkel vest and mesh bag.
The snorkel is a dry snorkel, keeping the water out while your child is out there with his/her head in the water.
The mask has a silicone skirt and strap for a more comfortable fit. The fins are adjustable with an open heel design.
This snorkel set comes in 2 colors, pink and blue.
The pros and cons of this complete set:
We hope this guide to buying kids snorkeling gear will make your choices easier. It's a great activity to do with your child and you should both have some great times together.
P.S. You might also find our mask, snorkel and fin guides helpful (mask, snorkel and fin guides are just as useful for snorkeling as they are for scuba diving).
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