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You might’ve thought that shopping for a snorkel is as easy as choosing a color.

Unfortunately… It’s not that simple.

Whether you’re planning to do some diving, snorkeling, freediving, or even spearfishing, you’re gonna want the right snorkel for the job.

AT A GLANCE: OUR TOP PICKS FOR BEST SNORKEL

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.

Quick Comparison
IMAGE PRODUCT
Mares Ergo Splash Snorkel
  • Our top choice
  • Semi Dry Flexible
  • Purge valve & splash guard
  • High-quality construction
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Cressi Corsica Classic Snorkel
  • Great budget option
  • Lightweight + streamlined
  • High-quality + durable
  • No purge valve or splash guard
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TUSA SP-0101 Hyperdry Elite II
  • Purge valve & dry top
  • Top-quality materials
  • Long-lasting + super comfortable
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AquaLung Nautilus Roll Up Snorkel
  • Great for freediving, snorkeling + scuba
  • No purge valve or splash guard
  • Compact & lightweight roll up design
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Omer Sub Zoom Soft Pro Snorkel
  • Smaller + softer mouth peice than most other models
  • Cheap
  • Durable + lightweight for travel
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Cressi Super Nova Dry Snorkel
  • Suprisngly low price yet high quality
  • Flexible tube + comfortable mouthpeice
  • Dry top & reliable purge valve
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WildHorn Outfitters SeaView 180
  • Ideal for complete beginners
  • Patented easy breath system + anti-fog design
  • Wide field of vision
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Types Of Snorkels

What is a Classic Snorkel?

classic snorkel

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.

Pros
  • Affordable
  • Easy to use & pack
  • Low drag
Cons
  • Rigid material = Less comfort
  • Hard to clear water
  • Lets water in easily

Best Classic Snorkels

cressi snorkel

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.

Pros
  • Great value
  • Designed for freediving and spearfishing
  • Flexible and comfortable
Cons
  • Generic to classic snorkel style

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cressi snorkel

It’s made from high-quality materials but doesn’t have the high price tag.

It’s only real disadvantages are that it has a small mouthpiece, which is hard clamp down on and keep in the mouth.

This is only an issue for those with wider mouths.

It isn’t fitted particularly well around the face which combined with the small mouthpiece could make it hard to keep in.

Pros
  • Travel-friendly
  • Low priced but made of high-quality material
  • Great for beginner snorkeling, freediving, and spearfishing
Cons
  • Small mouthpiece
  • Not flexible/fitted around the face

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aqualung snorkel

This classic snorkel is a little different as it’s foldable.

Although it’s marketed as a travel snorkel, it’s also great for scuba divers who don’t like to dive with a snorkel attached to their masks.

Its packable feature means it fits easily into a BCD pocket in case of choppy conditions or emergencies!

Pros
Cons
  • Can get soft in very warm temperatures

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What is a Dry Snorkel?

tusa hyperdry snorkel

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.

Pros
  • Breathing tube stays dry
  • Makes skin diving easy
  • Purge valve = easy clearing
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Can be harder to breathe
  • Buoyancy affects scuba divers

Best Dry Snorkels

Dry snorkel

This snorkel is an upgraded dry-top snorkel that has all the best features of Tusa’s snorkel range. It has a low profile dry top without the bulk of conventional dry snorkels.

Its splash guard is effective and the integrated float blocks the snorkel top when submerged so you can’t get a drop of water in your breathing tube. It has one of the most comfortable mouthpieces on the market.

Pros
  • It stays very dry
  • Super comfortable design
  • Soft mouthpiece
  • It comes in nearly 20 different color choices
  • Hydrodynamic shape
Cons
  • Thin tube difficult for heavy breathers
  • It’s a more expensive model

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cressi supernova snorkel

This snorkel has a very flexible tube which means you can see all the fish without too much jaw fatigue.

It’s great for travel or for scuba divers to keep in their BCD as it folds up.

It’s also a pretty stylish option compared to other options on the list.

Pros
  • Fits in BCD pocket
  • 19 different color choices
  • Flexible mouthpiece and tube
Cons
  • A little bit more expensive
  • Dry snorkels are more bulky so not as ideal for travel

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What is a Semi-Dry Snorkel?

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.

Pros
  • 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
Cons
  • 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

Best Semi-Dry Snorkels

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.

Pros
  • Low water resistance
  • Ergonomic comfortable mouthpiece
  • Long-lasting and great value
Cons
  • Generic semi-dry snorkel disadvantages

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What is a Flexible Snorkel?

flexible snorkel example

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.

Pros
  • 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
Cons
  • The valve can become clogged with sand and dirt
  • Open top of snorkel so it lets water in easily

 

 

Best Flexible Snorkels

mares ergo snorkel

It’s in the name – this snorkel is ergonomically designed for your comfort and effortless breathing!

The hydrodynamic nature of the snorkel reduces drag and its flexibility means you always have the best view.

It’s a well-designed piece of equipment which makes snorkeling the most comfortable it can be.

Pros
  • Low water resistance
  • Ergonomic comfortable mouthpiece
Cons
  • Generic flexible snorkel disadvantages

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genesis surf snorkel

This is a great model for all experience levels.

It has all the usual benefits and has received good user reviews across the board.

Pros
  • Contoured barrel reduces water resistance
  • Easily replaceable mouthpiece
Cons
  • A tendency to become clogged with sand and dirt

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What is a Full Face Snorkel?

Diver waiting on surface

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.

Pros
  • 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
Cons
  • You cannot equalize the mask so it can’t be used for skin diving, freediving, spearfishing, or scuba
    diving
  • 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!

Best Full Face Snorkels

DiveLux Full Face Snorkel Mask

The DiveLux is a comfortable and reliable full-face snorkel mask that’s surprisingly affordable.

It’s also ideal for traveling, made of lightweight polycarbonate plastic and soft hypoallergenic liquid silicone, it’s safe and durable. The snorkel is also a little longer than other full-face options which provides added protection if the water’s a little choppy!

Plus it comes with a waterproof phone case for free!

Pros
  • Sturdy and strong construction
  • Scratch-resistant lens
  • Anti-fog properties
  • Wide, unobstructed views
  • Hypoallergenic silicone
Cons
  • Needs to be tight to avoid leaks

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aqualungflex snorkel

This is one of the more advanced full face snorkel masks out there. Some full-face masks have a lack of airflow through their narrow snorkel tubes.

This causes too much CO2 but the Seaview 180° has compensated for this.

Its breathing tube is in a more natural side position, and it has one-way valves to the breathing chamber keeping more fresh air in your mask. It also minimizes fogging.

Pros
  • Designed to keep as much fresh air for breathing
  • Less fogging
Cons
  • Hard to pack for travel
  • Much more expensive than traditional snorkels

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aqualungflex snorkel

The Ocean Reef Aria has great airflow and anti-fog properties, as it has four valves in the mask’s interior chamber.

It also has a wide breathing tube so you can always get enough air in.

Even if you’re swimming lots and breathing hard, you shouldn’t get out of breath with this model.

Pros
  • Good airflow
  • Anti-fog properties
  • Easy breathing
Cons
  • Flimsy straps

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Snorkel Activity Guide

Pure Snorkeling

Diver waiting on surface

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

OUR PICK
Mares Ergo Splash Snorkel
$26.95

Comfortable, reliable & long-lasting, this is our top snorkel for scuba diving.

Buy Now

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!

Freediving and Spearfishing Snorkels

Diver waiting on surface

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.

Conclusion

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!

Choosing the right mask, fins, and dive computer is important too. Fear not – we can help you with those as well!

Check out our gear reviews.

Happy bubbles.

Austin Tuwiner Administrator

Austin is the website owner, and began scuba diving at just 16 years old. After traveling and diving all over the world, he is dedicated to bringing the hobby to more people.

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