You might’ve thought that shopping for a snorkel is as easy as choosing a color.
Unfortunately… It’s not that simple.
So…. whether you are off on a tropical adventure or just want to explore the underwater world at you local beach, having your own gear is always a good idea. It’s of course more hygienic, more comfortable and best of all you know it fits you perfectly. Our guide will help you choose the snorkel that best suits you and your budget.
In this guide, we’ll help you understand:
- Different styles of snorkels
- Best snorkels for each activity
- Best models out there right now
Ultimately, making your snorkel shopping decision easier.
- Type: Semi Dry
- Mouth Piece : Large
- Comfort level: Low
- Price: Mid Range
- Strong durable design
It’s ergonomic like it’s flexible sister, but with the benefits of a splash-proof snorkel top. It’s a great design for scuba divers and snorkelers.
It fits the face and makes breathing easy, and it’s hydrodynamic so it has limited drag. It’s good quality and long-lasting so it’s a win-win.
What we love
- Low water resistance
- Ergonomic comfortable mouthpiece
- Long-lasting and great value
- Built in splash guard
- Generic semi-dry snorkel disadvantages
- Large mouthpiece
- Type: Classic
- Mouth Piece : Small
- Comfort level: High
- Price: Low
- Great option for scuba divers
This snorkel is one of the best classic snorkels on the market. It’s made from modern materials, so it’s super adapted to freediving and spearfishing.
The tube is made from special polymers with shape memory, allowing it to bend and return to its original position.
This makes it super comfortable to wear. The mouthpiece was also designed with the user in mind.
It has an ergonomic shape to minimize discomfort to users even during prolonged use. It’s a specially designed, durable, and easy-to-use piece of equipment.
What we love
- Great value / Very affordable
- Designed for freediving and spearfishing
- Flexible and comfortable
- Light weight & great for travel
- Generic to classic snorkel style
- Not the best attachment clip
- Type: Full Face
- Skirt: Durable Silicone
- Comfort level: High
- Price: High
- Separate breathing chambre
After using the WildHorn Outfitters Seaview, you’ll never go back to your run-of-the-mill snorkel mask again. Snorkeling has never been this easy or comfortable!
With the FlowTech advanced air intake system, this full-face mask offers 50% more air circulation compared to others on the market. With 2 chambers and 4 one-way valves that ensure the fresh air flows freely. It’s an innovative system that ensures there is absolutely no build-up of CO2, making this one of the safest full face masks available.
The patented design and position of the snorkel tube stay above water more easily, giving your head significantly more freedom of movement than typical full face masks.
Ideal for all levels, even kids or newbies who are going snorkeling for the first time. And true to its name, it offers a 180-degree view for the best underwater viewing experience
This full-face mask is also 100% leak-proof. Even with facial hair, rough seas, or fast swimming it never lets even a drop of water inside.
What we love
- Effortless breathing experience
- Leakproof without having to pull straps super tight
- Stays perfectly in place once adjusted
- Beautifully clear 180-degree views
- Removable snorkel for travel
- Action gopro mount on top
- Sleek and more stylish design
- Variety of colors available
- A little pricey
- Not the sleekest looking option
Types Of Snorkels
The classic snorkel has the traditional ‘J-style’ appearance. It’s a curved plastic tube with a mouthpiece.
Some classic snorkels can be maneuvered fit better. Classic snorkels are usually the cheapest style.
You can use them for all activities, from scuba diving to snorkeling, and they’re the preferred style for freediving and spearfishing. Modern classic snorkels have been modified and adapted for freediving and spearfishing.
The classic snorkel is more rigid than most other styles, so it can be less comfortable.
The simplicity of the design also means that the only way to expel water from the snorkel if it becomes submerged is to blow out a full breath of air with force.
However, this style is a great option for beginners, as it’s easy and cheap.
- Easy to use & pack
- Low drag
- Rigid material = Less comfort
- Hard to clear water
- Lets water in easily
Dry snorkels are named so because they keep the breathing tube completely dry.
This is thanks to the valve at the top of the snorkel, which blocks water once submerged. Dry snorkels have a purge valve at their base, so it’s easy to remove water from the tube once you’re at the surface.
This is especially great for skin divers.
For scuba divers, the dry snorkel can save you energy due to the easy purge feature. The only concern with this style for scuba divers is the buoyancy of the snorkel.
The top valve mechanism means it constantly has air inside the tube. Scuba divers have to adjust their weight accordingly, and it can also cause drag.
The snorkel can be frustrating if the valve at the top of the snorkel gets stuck. The valve shuts if the snorkel is too far forward or backward, closing before it’s submerged underwater. This can make it unnecessarily hard to breathe.
- Breathing tube stays dry
- Makes skin diving easy
- Purge valve = easy clearing
- Can be harder to breathe
- Buoyancy affects scuba divers
Another popular snorkel model is the semi-dry snorkel. As the name suggests, this type is a combination of a dry snorkel and a classic snorkel.
A semi-dry snorkel tube does not have a float inside to create a seal. Instead, it has a splash guard on the top of the tube that significantly reduces the amount of water that enters the top of the snorkel.
Because there is no water-tight seal, this snorkel tube doesn’t work well for diving under the surface. Semi-dry snorkels are best for snorkeling on the surface, and are particularly useful in more choppy conditions.
- Excellent for choppy surface conditions
- Helps keep water out of the tube when on the surface
- Allow for wider range of movement without flooding
- Purge valve and sometimes self-draining valve keeps water out your mouth
- Not as ideal for diving under the surface as they don’t leep the water out completely
- Bulkier than a classic snorkel so not as good for travel
What Is A Flexible Snorkel?
You can get both dry and semi-dry flexible snorkels, you may also find some classic snorkels with flexible sections.
Flexible snorkels have a rigid tube and a flexible portion, and usually a one-way purge valve at the bottom. This means only a little breath is required to expel water from the snorkel.
It suits scuba divers who value comfort and a good fit around their faces.
The flexible portion means that when the snorkel is removed from the mouth, it drops away from the face, which gives users a better view. It’s a great style for both scuba divers and snorkelers.
- Easy to pack for travel
- Flexible and comfortable
- Purge valve = easy clearing
- When not in use it sits away from the face for better viewing
- The valve can become clogged with sand and dirt
- Open top of snorkel so it lets water in easily
What Is A Full Face Snorkel?
The full face snorkel does what it says on the tin, and covers the full face of the wearer.
It’s a combination of mask and snorkel, so there is no mouthpiece, arguably making it the easiest to use.
The mask style means the lens extends behind your eye, giving you a 180-degree view, which is quite epic.
Beginners sometimes prefer the model as they don’t have to bite on a mouthpiece. It also means you can breathe naturally, in and out through your mouth or nose.
Some beginners find this calming. This can cause fogging but some models have compensating mechanisms for this.
It also has the benefit of not leaking when you smile. This, of course, happens often when you’re checking out what’s going on in the ocean!
This style can be used for snorkeling, only at the surface of the water.
It can’t be used for skin diving, to go under the water, or by freedivers. There is no way for the user to equalize the air in the mask. It also can’t be used by scuba divers.
- Easy to use so good for beginners
- Natural breathing
- Smiling doesn’t make it leak
- Allows relaxation of the jaw
- Larger mask lens so better view
- You cannot equalize the mask so it can’t be used for skin diving, freediving, spearfishing, or scuba
- Not easy to pack for travel
- Fogs up
- Snorkel positioning can be difficult in choppy conditions
There you have it – now you know about all the possible snorkel styles and what activities they’re good for! So now, please free to look over our full reviews on the best snorkels out there.
What Type Of Snorkel Do You Need?
For pure snorkeling, a more rigid snorkel is good. A purge valve assists with water expulsion.
A splash guard prevents water from getting into your breathing tube due to splashes or waves. Skin divers may prefer a more flexible tube for reduced drag when ducking underwater.
If you’re a beginner, then you’re in the market for something that’s easy to use. Avoid snorkels with gimmicky add-ons. They tend to be more expensive and have unnecessary functions.
More advanced users who use their equipment more frequently may need something of better quality. In this case, go for something more flexible that fits around your face comfortably.
Scuba Diving Snorkels
For scuba divers, snorkels are vital, especially if you’re diving in locations that experience choppy seas and more difficult conditions.
Using a snorkel before and after a dive is essential when the waves are choppy, especially if you’re unfortunate to end up in an out-of-air situation. It can be the difference between being able to breathe and not!
Snorkels For Freediving And Spearfishing
If you’re freediving or spearfishing, you’ll need a simple, classic ‘J-style’ snorkel. There’s no need for valves and extra features.
If you’re keeping your snorkel attached to your mask rather than attaching it to your buoy, a simple snorkel with a flexible tube is best suited.
These are more lightweight and cause the least drag.
Frequently Asked Questions
This depends on your definition of underwater.
For example with your head facedown in the water you can stay indefinitely. When diving down under the surface this would depend on your experience.
A less experienced snorkeller would last anywhere between 20 – 45 seconds.
A more experience snorkeller might be able to stay submerged for more than 1-2 minutes.
Normally there is a clip or mechanism on the side of the snorkel that can be attached to the mask strap.
Some users prefer to place them under the mask strap for extra security.
Research has shown that when diving down underwater it is safer to remove the snorkel.
This allows for a direct breath without restrictions upon surfacing. The snorkel will also find a more hydrodynamic position while you are swimming around underwater.
Did you ever think there could be so much to know about snorkels?! We hope our homework has made your life easier.
Now you can choose the style and model that are best for you and the activities you’ll be doing, and spend more time saying hi to sharks instead of shopping for snorkels!
Check out our full snorkel gear reviews.